Monday, November 25, 2013

Love, and a short letter

November 24, Sunday

Hi Everyone!

I had an unusual amount of stress this week, and I’m pretty sure it was all caused by my knowledge that I had a talk to prepare for sacrament meeting.  Last week at church Elder Black was quicker than me to sit down and become occupied with something else when we saw a member of the bishopric approach, so I got to speak today.  My talk was as immaculate and eloquent as could be expected of a talk written the hour before sacrament meeting, but the on-the-spot translation into Chinese destroyed any coherency that had survived the translation from mental panic to a written outline.  Nevertheless, I received a few complements from members about how clearly I spoke.  I sat down after I finished speaking and felt all my stress drain away. 

I learned a lot about just how refreshing the Sabbath can be today.  I really felt it bring a lot of peace into all my activities as I centered my thoughts on Christ.  Even though today didn’t feel especially restful, since we had so many lessons to prepare and teach.  I really do feel recharged and ready for a new week.  I’m so glad that I’m already used to Sunday activities that help me keep the Sabbath day holy.  So many people here are shocked by this commandment – they didn’t realize that it brings great blessings, and they find it very hard to consistently keep.  I know there really are great blessings associated with keeping the Sabbath day holy, and I see them so abundantly here.


P.S. I learned one more thing:  don’t accidentally give a contact homework to read 3 Nephi 3:7.

November 25, Monday
I just went biking in Pulau Ubin today, Monday. (drat.. I had no camera with me.)

Zoo photos

We found the zoo photos Brennan promised to send last week -- he had sent them to Evan, who hadn't checked his mail right away.  Enjoy!

Hi Evan, 
I thought you might like to see the polar bear I met at the Singapore zoo.

He was giving out high fives to people, then he would swim around for a minute, and come back, and give more high fives,  He chose me once, and I was so excited!


Here's a blurry picture of [some kind of] spitting cobra.  Maybe you can use your snakey knowledge to identify it.  Have fun!

Monday, November 18, 2013


My camera just died, so I have no way to send you a picture of my letter this week.  Drat.
Transfers are today, and I probably find out where/whether I'm being sent in about 30 minutes.  If I'm going to Malaysia, I won't be able to take the phone I have now.  This phone has flashcards, Pleco, Hanping, which are all awesome apps for learning Chinese.  it is also really easy to access as I'm out and about, which is how so much of my language study is done.  Elder Black and I want to go look around at phones today after email, to see if there is one worth buying and taking to Malaysia for language study purposes.
[about 30 minutes later]

Oh, I just found out I'm not affected by transfers - I'll still be here in Singapore West with Elder Black. Woot!  I will still want to go look at phones today, but not necessarily want to buy one immediately.  

I'll begin to send you pictures of the Zoo from last P-Day.  I'll look for a way to send you my letter - I don't have time to type the whole thing now, but If I could photograph it I can send it.  

After a while he was able to send a photo of a hand-scribbled letter.  Here is a readable transcript:
Hello Everybodee,
You might be wondering how I’m doing.  If you’re not, I’ll still tell you.  I’m doing great!  This week was very full and very fulfilling, even if not everything went my way.  Although we had an investigator drop us and a couple of others say that they are losing interest, and we were totally rejected by a few people on the MRT [mass rapid transit /subway], I felt like I was focused on my goals, I improved my studies, exercises, and plans, and I gave my best effort.  I feel like a “real missionary,” and this is a good, satisfying feeling.

This week, in likening the scriptures unto myself, the theme seemed to be, dearly beloved family, that Elder Black and I cheerfully did all things that lay in our power, and then we stood back in utmost speechlessness to see the arm of our member-present reaching out to take from us our whiteboard marker.  And there was also written upon the board, and moreover, right on top of our plan of salvation, a new writing which could not be read, which did not give our investigator understanding concerning the ways of the Lord, and it was written and changed from time to time, according to the irrepressible eagerness which that member gave unto it.  And thus we see that in a small amount of time, the member can bring about great destruction to our lesson.

Well, we met our goal for member-present discussions, but a couple of our members went a little overboard at the worst possible times and would not be restrained from sharing something completely off-topic or insensitive to the investigator’s level of understanding.  Elder Black and I had several simultaneous face-palms, or sit-back-and-grin-helplessly-at-each-other-while-praying-for-our-investigator moments.
Despite their help (just kidding) I’m really glad to be working with the members, and it’s been great getting to know them.  When I come home, I’m going to welcome a chance to get to know the missionaries in our area and to work with them, because I know how valuable member missionary work is, and how good it is for full-time missionaries to get help from members.  After all, it’s really member missionary work, not just work to be done by those called to serve full-time missions.  As President and Sister Mains like to say, “A release from being a missionary is a call to serve a lifelong mission.”