Wednesday, October 1, 2014

More Thoughts about Driving . . .

Before I get into my thoughts about driving here, I should share a couple of events that were pretty nice.  Tuesday night we went with a set of Elders to visit a sister who, by attendance, is less active. It's not through her own fault. She has a very strong testimony, went through the temple about a year ago, has failing eyesight, and her family, also members, won't bring her to church. The missionaries visit her as often as they can and share a scripture and teach the gospel to her. This week her son and a three of her grandchildren were there. There was a very sweet spirit there. The missionaries said the grandkids have never been so quiet. The son, not active, was touched. He was committed to bring his mother to church this Sunday. He said he would if nothing came up. We're praying that he will do this. His mother needs it. He needs it. I'm sure we'll be visiting with family more often.

The other event Tuesday was our district meeting. We were missing a couple of missionaries due to transfers and a trip to Singapore to get a tooth fixed, but it was an amazing meeting. Our DL does well in keeping the meeting to an hour and a half, but this week we went a little over because all the Elders were so involved in developing a vision for the district for the next few months. Quite a vision was developed. One of the outcomes of the vision is to have the senior couples (two of us) work more closely with the branch presidencies in many areas, one of which is to increase attendance.

In the branch council meeting Sunday, that was one of the concerns brought up. Yesterday we met with the District President so he could show us how to set up the AV equipment for the showing of General Conference. He has invited us to attend Branch Presidency training this coming Saturday so we can be more involved in helping the Branch Presidencies meet their goals. He is also concerned about attendance. Coincidence that all this should fall together at once? I think not.

There is much to be done here. We have been called here for a reason. With our combined prayers we will work hard to help in anyway we can. Thank you for remembering us and this wonderful people. We need to strengthen their faith and their testimonies.

There are more adventures in driving other than driving on the other side of the street and the motos that are just plain crazy. Many of the streets here in Sibu are divided with a good sized island that you can't drive across, more like a divided highway. The streets stretch on for blocks before you can make a right turn. You have to drive to the next big intersection and make a U-Turn. The stretches of road between intersections can be 1/4 mile or more.

We have a set of missionaries that live about a two blocks from our place. (We call them the Chiniese Elders because they serve in the Chinese branch.) We had to pick up an Elder there today that was staying with them while his companion was in Singapore getting a tooth fixed. To drive to the Elders' apartment, we have to drive at least 20 blocks, making two U-Turns. It's a good thing, I guess, but the one-way streets or lanes is a little strange. I think about taking pictures of all this stuff, but I'm always driving. Hopefully I can get some sooner than later. 

One more little oddity to me is driving down the street and looking at the car on my right. I get a little freaked out not seeing anyone in what would normally be the driver's seat in America, then I realize where I am. Whew! It still takes some getting used to. We've only been here two weeks so I guess it's still normal.

Don't forget to mention the ditches! I had to leave myself a note so I didn't forget. There are many streets, especially the narrow ones, that have drainage ditches along both sides of the street. Some of them are about four feet wide and four feet deep! I hope I never get to write that I've driven into one! The driveways are barely wide enough to turn into without driving into them. The more wealthy people have covered the ditches with wood or other materials. Some oncoming vehicles pull over a little when they see you coming. Some do not. Some speed down the street. Some slow down. Driving here sometimes feels like a free for all!

On a more humorous note about driving is signaling for a turn. I'm still hitting the windshield wipers 'cause the turn indicator is on the other side of the steering wheel. I guess it's funny, but I'm getting tired of doing it. Somedays are better than others for my blinking abilities. Oh, the things you have to get used to when driving on the other side of the street!

Pictures! I received this picture today from the missionary couple who's in charge of the MTC senior couples. This is a picture of the group of us that were CES or YSA missionaries. We're on the fourth row back on the right end as you face the picture.

A promise given:  “It is going to be alright.  Your affairs are going to be all right.  Your children will be all right and your grandchildren and your home and your holdings.  All have been placed on the altar and they are watched over by more faithful servants than we could have in mortality.”
Elder Boyd K. Packer, 2012 Seminar for New Mission Presidents, LDS Church News July 8, 2012

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