Sunday, February 22, 2015

Back to Bintulu, Chinese New Year, and More!

Tuesday we got some help from our zone leaders to get President Gara and family to the temple. Not quite sure if it's going to happen when they'd like. I know there is no housing available at this time.

Sister Bodell and I took part in our weekly district meeting. Sister Bodell had the "Dress for Success" moment. She taught the Elders how to tie a necktie without it being around someone's neck. Yes, you'll have to have her demonstrate that. She found the directions on a YouTube video. 

I had the assignment to share from the White Handbook. I started by saying something like this might be a "janky" assignment and proceeded to talk about our language and how we shouldn't use slang or abbreviations. We should be about that sort of thing. Then I read from the Senior Missionary section which says that some of the rules for young missionaries don't apply to senior missionaries. The point was made, but humorously.

We left district meeting early so begin our sojourn to Bintulu. It was a nice drive, and I avoided most of the potholes! We presented a seminary teacher training for the Sungai Plan Branch. There were 20+ people there. They weren't all seminary teachers, but members wanting to improve their teachings skills. We had a good time, and we were invited to come again. That's a good sign.

We returned home Wednesday afternoon with an additional three boxes of stuff from the Senior Couple house we closed a couple of weeks ago. That house is now done.

Happy New Year! Tonight is the Chinese New Year's Eve. It sounds like a war zone with fire going off all over the neighborhood and city. A neighbor told me that at midnight it will sound like the world is exploding. Here is a little video and some pictures that will help explain a little more about the night. The first shots were two doors down from us. The second was just across the street. This was happening everywhere! Then the dark of night came, and the big guns came out all over the city. The ending fireworks are again from our neighbor two doors down.

video

The noise was much louder than this, and it went on for hours each day. When midnight hit you would have thought the world was exploding!

The Chinese people also decorate their homes for New Year's, just like we do for Christmas, but the only colors you see are red, gold, and white.





Thursday of this week I went with the Elders from Branch 2 to dedicate the land for the building of the branch president's home. When we got there we discovered it wasn't just his home, but also the home of family members of his wife. They are building a 12-door longhouse. Longhouses are just what the name implies. They are "houses" connected to each other in a long row. 

We had a good sized audience for the blessing. Many of the workers (family members) stopped what they were doing and came over for the prayer. They are not members of the Church, but active in their own Christian religions. I had written the prayer in English, translated it into Malay, and had our language tutor proofread and correct it. I gave President Balley his choice of English or Malay. He chose . . . You guessed it! English! I was surprised. I did have to change some of the wording as I gave the prayer to include the other homes that were being built and their future occupants.
As usual, there were refreshments afterward. Sitting in homes here is on the floor. Most people don't own furniture like chairs, couches, etc. It gets a little hard on the old body at times.

The Grand Scheme of things

This plot of ground will eventually house a 12-door longhouse.
President Balley's plot of ground for his section of the longhouse
Seated on the ground, ready to partake. President Balley is sitting next to me.
Also in the picture are Elders T, C, S, and L.
Just plain colorful! 
The gathering!

It's now three days later since the Chinese New Year began, and there are still fireworks and noise day and night, but it has calmed down. New Year's day the Chinese people spend with their families and then for the next two weeks they visit their friends. Everyone has oodles of food! We did a little visiting, and I got a little sick. But I am fine again.

Saturday the Branch 2 Elders, Elders C and T, had four baptisms. They were a mother and her three daughters. I was busy at the time so I didn't get a picture of the family. The oldest daughter gave a talk in Sacrament meeting last week and did an outstanding job. They were all so happy tonight. They will be a great asset to the Branch 2.

We had to get laundry done Saturday evening so we skipped Seminary. Three loads of laundry; towels and white dresses from the baptism and my white shirts. We had to finish the laundry on Sunday because we are taking off for Singapore bright and early Monday morning. I think the flight leaves at 7:10 AM. We have to leave the house no later than 5:30 to get to the airport on time.

(Just a reminder that you can click on the pictures to enlarge them.)

Sunday was the usual, at least for the most part. Sister Bodell attended two Primarys, helping them to understand Sharing Time. In the evening we attended a little gathering in honor of President Gara's son's 12th birthday and the one year anniversary of Brother Alok and his family being baptized. Sister Bodell made a cake for the occasion.



Here are a couple of pictures to share . . . 

It surprising that no one still lives in this house.

There are a couple of these palm trees around. I think the shape is totally fascinating!
Tomorrow we're off to Singapore for Zone/Missionary Conference and the renewal of our visas. Bon Voyage!








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