Monday, March 3, 2014

Doing well in Johor Bahru

Dear everybody,
Things are going well for me here in Johor Bahru.  By that, I mean that I still have a lot of hours that are not filled with lessons or any kind of appointments, but that I have been able to count a lot of blessings this week.  Elder Fabiano is teaching me some really great contacting skills, and I'm actually excited to re-learn how to begin talking to people and extending invitations to come to church and learn with the missionaries.  I am trying to be especially sensitive to what people's real needs are, not just what sentences I can take from the manual and apply triumphantly to what they just said.  While I am getting better at drawing connections to many things I have read in Preach My Gospel, I feel like I need to constantly adjust my focus, realigning it with what people really need and how I can fill that kind of need.  I hope I am doing a good job.  I really can't tell to what extent my influence has been helping anyone,  but I pray every day to be guided by the Holy Ghost and directed to know where to go, what to do and what to say.

I am having a lot of fun as Elder Fabiano's companion.  He can joke and laugh about anything, even when things are not going his way.  He is also a great example to me of Faith as a Christlike attribute.  I think there are many Christlike attributes he demonstrates, and I am excited to have his help in developing them in myself.

Elder Harr and Elder McCarthy are the two new (English-speaking) Elders in my district, after Elders Loke and Wadsworth went to East Malaysia.  Elder Harr, it turns out, was in the MTC at the same time as me, and we remember a lot of the same events there!  He also started his mission when he was 18, and he's from St. George.  He's really resourceful, athletic, and soft-spoken - a real pleasure to be around.  His trainee, Elder McCarthy is from New Zealand, was triple-culture-shocked with 9 days in the Philippines MTC, one day in Singapore, then going straight to JB.  He has the best accent ever, and he is ready to get straight to work.  He's a great positive thinker and a ton of fun to be with.  He towers over all the Chinese and Malaysians and even the missionaries.

Most of this week was taken up with moving house.  I love the new apartment - I'm sure it's one of the nicest ones in the mission.  I'm still trying to help the other Elders catch the vision of establishing a house of order by putting away all the boxes and finding places for items we use, instead of just stepping over them or stubbing our toes on them, but it's becoming more organized day by day as I take a few minutes out of my journal-writing time to put things away.  I really didn't take many pictures this week because my hands were always full.

Thank you for your thoughts about Our Refined Heavenly Home.  I have been trying to refine our home here in the mission as much as I can, and it was really interesting to read about it.  There's a lot more I'd like to say and discuss, but that will have to wait.  I am also really happy to hear the small and simple details about life at home, like Dad's shiny tux and choir fails and rain and trimester ends and ACT and Irish dance and Wolf Badge and forest project and Lacrosse games.  Keep them coming!

I love you all so much!  I hope you can feel it.  I can feel your love!

Steamboat (hot pot) dinner for elder Loke's farewell

  Fixing our chairs so they don't scratch the wood floor.  aka "ghetto-smurfing the chairs."

P.S. I'd appreciate your prayers on behalf of Stan.  His father passed away unexpectedly in a car accident this week.  He's in his hometown for the funeral now, and I hope he's still doing alright.  I've had limited contact with him, but the missionaries where he is say that he found the church there, attended sacrament meeting with his wife, and bore powerful testimony, thanking Heavenly Father for giving him the knowledge that he's gained about the gospel so that he could endure this trial.  He's amazing!  I know he's still having a hard time, so just keep him in your prayers.  Thank you so much!

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