Elder Coy at Five Years Old!

Elder Coy at Five Years Old!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Super Best Parts Version!

Oh goodness, I'm so sorry, so much has happened this week that I can't even feasibly summarize it all.

Very quickly, I'll give a brief summary, then tell you only the super-best parts version

Monday was a cool day, we got to go to a Borneo Cultural Exhibition fair thing, that didn't have much open besides a glorified night market during p-day. I got a new t-shirt and sarong though, my favorite ones yet!
That night was a huge multi-branch family night with Elder and Sister Bashaw, who are going home in not too long. They're last mission was in Navoo, and they had a great show.

Tuesday morning was Zone Counsel, focused on Goal Setting and finding new investigators. Elders Misa and Jackson set up a huge scavenger hunt through the church to tie back to actually putting effort into 'finding', and it went really well.

Well, the rest of the week was great, and had lots of cool stuff happen, I went on splits with Elder Hobbs again and we had a great day. But really, the rest of this letter will be yesterday (Sunday).

So, Sunday morning was Branch Counsel. Acui got to attend in place of Ella, as she is now the 1st counselor in the Primary Presidency (Ella being the president). Afterwards, we called everyone that we could to come to church. 5 minutes before Sacrament started, Merang and his family showed up! He, his wife Doo Abun, and they're 6 kids (5 girls, youngest is a boy) all came in and sat behind the deacons for Sacrament. It was very reverent and respectful, much more then usual. During the prayer for the bread we heard the door open, and when we opened our eyes, Elder Sutherland said, "look who's on the stand." Janggu, the inactive 2nd counselor, and his kids had all come in! Elder Hobbs told me later that was the 1st time he'd ever seen him come, and Elder Hobbs has been here 8 months.

After Sacrament, usually the kids would all run up and start eating the sacrament bread. I pulled Dundang up there with me before that happened, and together we cleaned up the sacrament.

Sunday School was fantastic. Before the lesson began, President Balley decided to have Kanyan be ordained. Brother Kong was chosen to ordain him to the priesthood, and Dundang was able to stand in the circle. It was all in Iban, so I didn't understand it at all.

Sister Norlia's lesson was on Isiah 54-56, but she turned it to welcome Merang's family. She also asked them to share their thoughts and feelings during Sacrament. Merang said that they had been driving to the church, and was feeling lost. He then had remembered some directions we had given in relation to the police station, and as they drove by the church, his wife wondered if the church was that big white building with no crosses or signs. They came, and Merang felt that God had led them to the church. His wife said that on they way there, she had no thoughts or feelings, but during the Sacrament her heart started pounding and she felt that this church was different.

After the lesson, we looked at our phone to see 6 missed calls from Kelvinson, grandson in Catarina's lesson. We found out that they had randomly tried to come to church, tried many churches that were all wrong, got lost and caught in the rain, and went back home. Our phone had been on silent, so we had completely unaware of the whole thing. After church, Ray and Chong followed us again, so we ran out there. Catarina was not happy with us, but we begged their forgiveness and shared Ether 12:27 talking aobut how sometimes God gives us trials to humble us, but if we keep on trying, we will be blessed. 
Apparently, they're relatives had been contacted by Elder McCown and Elder Sutherland while on splits. We went to visit them, and they were very willing to listen and let us in. The matriarch of the family is a very nice and more educated woman named Madelina. There were no men in the house, so we sat on their huge front porch and they sat on the inside of the doorway. We didn't have a large amount of time, so we shared how we were representatives sent by Jesus Christ to share a message that would bless their families. They also owned 2 cars, and a old school bus (those are much smaller in Malaysia). There's a good chance they could take them to church next week.

Well, that's not even all that happened that day, but we got a flat tire on the way home.
Doing our goals, after discussing in quite in depth, we realized that it is a realistic possibility that we could have 21 investigators at church and progressing next week. It seems ludicrous even as I type it again, and Satan has been trying to dissuade us from it, but that goal was set under the spirit's direction and we can't change it now. This week will be a test of everything we are as missionaries, but we feel that miracles will occur if we can endure it well.
I love you all, thank you so much for all your prayers!

-Elder Christensen

Monday, August 18, 2014

Well, okay. I don't even know where to begin this week! 

Last Monday was very relaxing, with an awesome game of Rugby. It was pretty sweet, very fun.

District meeting was also a great experience, we had a sort of Transfer in review, seeing how we could specifically improve. It was also held at the Beus's house, as it was also in honor of the birthdays of Elders Bester and Durrant.

Transfers were pretty crazy this week, as we were opening back up the area that was closed last transfer, had two trainee's coming in, and Elder Hobbs apparently missed his flight in Singapore and accordingly didn't fly into Sibu until Saturday night. We have 4 new Elders in our district now, Elders McCown and South are the greenie's (malay and chinese speaking respectively), and Elders Jahali and Daily are in Branch 1.

We had a really cool experience this week, when Elder Kong returned from his mission! He is apparently the 1st missionary to serve from branch 2, and he has come back a natural leader. The reaction to his spirit and drive was amazing to see. 

Accordingly, we called and met a lot of less actives to invite them to come to church to hear David Kong's home coming talk. During sacrament, all of the Elders (except the Chinese that couldn't make it) sung 'We'll bring the World his truth'. We hit an all time high in church attendance of 77 people! We even invited Jerry's family, who actually came! They had gotten lost though, and showed up right as Sacrament was ending. Jerry, his wife Helen, and daughters Veronica and Elialyssa all stayed for the next two hours, and it was perfect for him. In Sunday School, Sister Norlia shared a perfect lesson on the Restoration of the Gospel using Daniel's dream interpretation in the Old Testament, and Priesthood was David Kong teaching about the Priesthood. It will be very interesting to see what he thinks this next week.

After Church, we had Chong and Ray follow us, two young men from our branch. They apparently had a really good experience, as we met Entalai and did some bold door contacting. It was fun, and they didn't want to stop.

Now, people.
We met Ingang, who's still struggling but strong. Celesty and Menin apparently decided they don't want to learn anymore, as they have decided our church is too far away to be considered at this point. Also, her husband apparently decided that if she wanted to go to church, she would have to find her own way to go as he isn't considering bringing her on his moto anymore.

Merang's family, the family we just started teaching, is doing fantastic still. We went out there to visit them with Bro. Kong, and he informed us that he will be attending our church this next week as he wants to see the specific differences in our worship and is very interested in knowing if this church is true. 

Secolony had a cool lesson, as we met his dad this week! Apparently he usually works in the Congo, but is home for 2 months. We were able to teach the Restoration, and his father asked us to shower his son the next time that people were being showered at our church (he didn't know what to call baptism).

Lena is still trucking along, and is getting better. We are still praying and doing all we can to help her be truly ready for her baptism (and trying to convince her to let Kanyan baptize her, he'll be recieve the priesthood next week :-)

Catarina's family is great, and they love to learn and have us there. They just also apparently do not have easy access to church, but they all want to come.

Love you so much!

-Elder Christensen

Sunday, August 10, 2014

I'll need to just focus on the most important stuff this week.

Well, this last District Meeting was an interesting one. Earlier, Elder Misa had told me that during his reporting with the A.P.'s that 'Sibu was falling'. I tried to figure out exactly why that was, as this district and this zone had seen amazing miracles and such amazing progress in the last couple weeks, and it came down to the fact that our goals were not being hit. That was all that our leaders were seeing. District meeting was completely focused on that accordingly, not only hitting our goals but doing all in our power to achieve then. We also watched the videos of Team Hoyt and Derek Redmond to show the way that Heavenly Father will carry us once we have made that goal. 
The craziest thing about it all was, after it was done, I realized it was everything that I was currently weak at as a missionary. I've never been a numbers oriented person, and numerical goals are not my forte, but Elder Sutherland and I have pushed ourselves to the absolute limit this week accordingly to achieve our goals. It has been amazing. 

I was actually sick for a couple days, nothing serious, but a cold only. We kept going though, and by the end of the week we had indeed hit our goals, but more importantly we had some amazing miracles occur.Friday we had gone on splits with the Chinese Elders, and it was also Elder Durrant's birthday! He said his best birthday present was trekking through the jungle and really enjoyed it. That same day, Elder Sutherland and Elder Baer contacted a nice girl named Caroline who invited us back Sunday night.

Speaking of the Chinese, Winnie is now on date! September 6th is the prospective date, but no missionary has ever met her step mother, the only legal guardian she has. There is a worry that, if she doesn't get permission from her step mother, Winnie could not be baptized. We are praying for an opportunity for that to happen, as Lena is also on date for that same day.

Ingang told us we couldn't meet her this week. Next week can.

Catarina's family continues to be awesome. We met with them a few different times, and their children are all very receptive, although we don't know what Catarina quite thinks yet.

Jerry's family is still doing great, but really needs to come to church. We are hoping to be more forceful with them and help them see the blessings they could be getting.

Kanyan was baptized! He was so great, but the most significant part was his testimony at the baptism. He told a lot of his life story, of when he was young and living in Kampung he had gotten caught up in all of the drinking and smoking and cock-fighting that goes on there, and stayed that way until he got married to Lena. A couple years later they moved to where they are now and met Acui and became friends, and that was before Arin was born. After the Elders met them and they had gone to church one time, Kanyan had traveled to Bintulu. While there, he had thoughts that helped him realize he wanted to go back to church again and stop drinking and smoking. The rest of the story you already know :-)

At church the next day, Kajup came to church with his wife and daughter! The branch's reaction was so great toee, as they welcomed him back like a prodigal son. We also had a nice church attendance, with 67 people there!
At church the next day, Kajup came to church with his wife and daughter! The branch's reaction was so great to see, as they welcomed him back like a prodigal son. We also had a nice church attendance, with 67 people there!
Sunday night, Bro. Kong followed us out to visit Caroline's family, who promptly invited us in. His name was Merang, the race of Ulu, and his wife was a Kenya woman named Dabung. They have 5 daughters and 1 young boy. It was an absolutely astounding lesson that shocked us both to the core, as it ACTUALLY FOLLOWED PREACH MY GOSPEL! Neither of us had ever had a lesson where we actually taught the entire Restoration in one sitting, offered a soft baptismal commitment, and have it accepted. The Dad said, that "if we do obtain that knowledge, of course we will be baptized!" It was amazing, and still seems too good to be true. We pray that it will continue.

This week has been hard, long, stressing, physically exhausting, and rewarding beyond imagination  Thank you for your prayers! (Also, please pray for the Chinese Elders to find new people to teach).

-Love, Elder Christensen 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Weeks are full of days, and normal days make normal weeks. Sometimes though, those normal days decide to become very abnormal days, making for exceedingly abnormal weeks. Like this week. 
Honestly I think the only normal-ish days were Monday and yesterday.
Here we go.

Well, Monday we a relaxing P-day with a good family night at Acui's house. Nothing too spectacular there, but Tuesday we had a pretty good District meeting in the Morning at the Beus's house, focused on our drives to be Successful missionaries. We all discussed what we hope to see in the lives of the people we teach to know that we are a successful missionary. Everyone had good input, and personally I tell myself to work for conversion. Later that day was Kanyan's baptismal interview (I've been spelling his name wrong the whole time), so I went on splits with Elder Jackson to the Zone Leader's area as Elder Sutherland went with Elder Misa to ours. We had a good day visiting less actives in a place called Sentosa, and had a cool miracle. We had visited a member named Sister Lucy who had given us a Kitab Mormon when she heard that we were completely out. On the way home, we were riding past a roundabout when Elder Jackson thought he heard someone call out 'Elder!'. We went back to the house to the little girls we thought called out, but nobody said they had. We ended up contacting an entire family there, and giving them the one Kitab Mormon that we had just recieved. 

After that we went to Institute at the Beus's house, only to have Elder Hobbs call us and ask us to pick up groceries for Elder Bester, who apparently had fallen quite ill within a couple hours. We ran and did so, and after getting to their house also gave him a blessing.
That night was the night which Elder Sutherland had planned to take the de-worming pills.

Wednesday morning, Elder Sutherland was completely down and out for the count. Whatever those pills did, he was knocked out all day. I got to read a lot of the Teachings of Joseph Smith the Prophet!

Thursday, Elder Sutherland finished recovering by about 6 in the afternoon. We did weekly planning and then got to go meet Kanyan and Lena again. We taught about the temple and had a great lesson with them, but apparently Lena is a little discouraged that she's not ready to be baptized with her husband. We then went to begin splits with Elders Bester and Hobbs that night, to be completed the next night. The A.P.'s were also supposed to stay at our house that day, but they had missed their flight in K.L. due to traffic. Accordingly, they showed up Thursday night and left Friday morning to go to Bintulu. A Lot of mail was brought!

Friday, Elder Hobbs and I spent a lot of the day out in Permai Jaya. We met with a new family out there, Catarina being the matriarch, and they were extremely receptive. A teenage son named Harry was asking questions that were exactly the same ones Joseph Smith asked before he prayed, and the Restoration fit like a glove. It was great. 
We then also met with Jerry. Some of his kids were in Miri, so we had a shorter and sweeter lesson about Alma 32. Jerry is starting to realize how churches are different from each other, and that's a good thing as it will be easier to show how this church holds all the truth. 
On the way back it started raining buckets. We had another appointment scheduled after our Branch Missionary council at Edwin's house, but that appointment turned out to be happening a birthday party we didn't know about. In the confusion, we tried to cancel the appointment and Acui called us. I couldn't hear her very well, but it sounded like she said that Kanyan wanted to wait on his baptism for Lena to be ready as well. It was of course his choice on such a thing, so we said he could.

Saturday morning we called everone to say the baptism was called off, and went to permai. We met Catarina's family again, and this time another son, Kelvinson, asked quesions that went right into the Plan of Salvation. My tire then randomly went flat, so Elder Beus came to bring us home. When we got home, we were called by Acui again asking when the Baptism was. I apparently had completely misheard her the night before, and we ran over as soon as she called (we wouldn't have been able to do that if I hadn't hit a flat tire). The baptism is now on for next week.

Sunday morning gave me a needed spiritual revival after what happened, and at church Dundang received the Aaronic Priesthood! 

Well, yep. That's the week.
I love you all!

-Elder Christensen