Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Quick message this week

Hi Family,

I'm still good.  .... I didn't think enough before composing this letter.  I don't really know what to write about this week.  Our plans for almost every day were destroyed by splits with the zone leaders, assignments from the Assistants to the President, and multiple trips, of an hour each way, to the airport.  Actually, the most vivid memory from this week was of the airport.  Elder Black (whom I love more and more each day - as a side note, he said munchings and crunchings yesterday, which I thought you would appreciate) and I were sent to pick up a brand new Taiwanese missionary, coming from the Manila MTC.  His flight was delayed several times and his plane arrived very late.  We arrived at the airport, and heard an announcement telling us (we thought) that his luggage would be at belt 34.  We waited at belt 34 for 35 minutes after his plane had landed before we came to the startling realization that there was no luggage on that belt at all.  We remembered a fact that we somehow had heard but not processed the first time: that we actually needed to wait at belt 35.  Belt 35 was halfway across the airport.  We panicked, in the most dignified manner we could muster, over to the correct belt, where we discovered that the last pieces of luggage had just been moved off the belt by airport staff to make room for the flight that had just landed.  No one was coming through the gate, and there was no one else to welcome passengers from that missionary's flight.  I tried not to imagine my head mounted on the wall of President Mains' office, and a poor lost Elder roaming the Singapore airport for a week.

Just as I was browsing the prices of one-way tickets to Guam, our Elder appeared to claim his luggage.  It turns out that he had just been very late getting off the plane, a little lost in the airport, and slow through immigration security.  Elder Black and I waved him down and directed him to our gate.  As he came through, we hugged him earnestly, and told him how happy we were to see him, although he had no idea just how happy we were.
Even though he had no idea what to do in the airport, (just like me) God was watching over him and blessed him, especially through immigration security.  I know God is willing to bless us if we put our trust in him.  This came especially powerfully to me as I read Alma 38:5.  I thought, 10% trust in the Lord = 10% deliverance.  90% trust = 90% deliverance.  My goal this week is to find ways to express my 100% trust in the Lord's power, and lean not unto mine own understanding.  As I do this, and as anyone does this, I know that He will give us 100% deliverance.

Love to you all!

P.S.  My Chinese name is Xiong, said Shiong, and moving your voice from low to high tone, as if asking a question.  It means bear.  Chinese people think it's funny that my name is bear, and it's even funnier that my name really is Baer.  Most Chinese elders get a name that is phonetically chosen.  Fronk is Fang, Fabiano is Fang, Fredricksen is . . . Fang.  Wadsworth is Wang, etc.
I don't have a first name yet.


That was a good cheese stick!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Elder Evan Gets a Haircut

(Sorry about the poor quality of these photos, I've been having a tough time getting the images to scan well...)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Greetings from Singapore

Hi Family!
I'm doing great now!  I'm still adjusting, but my attitude is better, and I am loving this work!  Since it would be impossible to tell you all about what living here is like, I will just summarize a few things, and then tell you more about my companion.
1) #1 weird, can't-get-used-to fact:  No napkins.  Eating here is a lot messier than in Utah, and only American fast food places have napkins.  Whenever I eat out at a burger place, I get a pocketful of napkins, and save them for a juicy meal.
2) It is always hot and muggy, and I just sweat all day.  Most buildings have some kind of super air conditioning system called "Air-con," which works really fast, and really well.  Because I'm always soaked with my own sweat from outside, sitting down to eat inside gets really cold.  It's a strange feeling.
3)  I might need some Mozart to play while I sleep, because "[at least] half the time I don't know what the heck anyone's talking about"
4)  Everything's pretty expensive here, so this week I ended up just buying a lot of bread and cheap Nutella-knock-off in order to subsist.  Actually, I'm not worried too much about money, but I'm definitely not living the kind of lifestyle that most Singaporeans live.
5)....What do you still want to know?
Elder Black talks to an investigator and Elder Wang ignores my picture
Elder Black is the best!  I'm convinced that I couldn't have been put with a companion more perfectly matched to me at the beginning of my mission.  He is so kind and sensitive to my needs, and more importantly, to the needs of the people we teach.  He has a desire to do the Lord's work, and he studies, plans, and works well.  He is also perceptive and hilarious, and just an all-around super companion!  learn so much from him every day.  (plus, he knows what I'm saying when I pull out a "Legendary!" KFP quote, and he knows the Cheeseburger song!)  I'm thankful the Lord has blessed me with the opportunity to work with him, and I'm going to love the rest of my time with him!

About my work this week:  Miracles happen!  At times that I least expected, Elder Black and I would find an opportunity sitting right before us to place a Book of Mormon, to teach an unplanned lesson, to help someone in need, and to add investigators to our teaching pool.  I don't mean to focus only on the numbers aspect of our goals, but I was surprised to see the extent to which we met and surpassed our goals, with the Lord's help.  It was obviously miraculous, when compared with the previous weeks' records.  Just yesterday, for example, we knew in the morning, that we weren't going to have our planned number of new investigators.  We prayed that we would be guided to someone, so that we could obtain the goals that we had set by the spirit on the previous Sunday, and so that we could help one more of God's children come closer to Christ.  Yesterday alone, met and taught 3 new investigators, and see the beginning of reactivation of a member, and the progression of another long-time investigator.  The really cool thing is that we didn't even leave church all day, except to eat at home.  The Lord had prepared these several people to receive the gospel, and he brought them to us!  It's very likely that the feeling I have doesn't come through well in this email, but I hope that you can at least know that I'm doing very well, I know the Lord will bless everyone with success if we are willing to rely on Him, and I know that miracles happen, if we are humble enough to see them.

I love you all and pray for you always!


Here are pictures of the MRT (kind of like a subway) station near our house.  We travel through this area several times a day.  it seems strange to me that this scene is right in the middle of the city.

One MRT station looks just like our countertops . . .

The Singapore cityscape at night, from a "remote" apartment building, 16th floor

Another view, from other missionaries' apartment, 9th floor
A gigantic mall.  We're on the 5th level.  I was so exhausted from taking the escalators that I had to stop for a minute to take a picture before continuing upward.  This picture doesn't really do justice to how big the place is, really.

A living world Map and some other mirrored modern marvel