Sunday, March 1, 2015

Singapore: Zone/Senior Conference, Sight-Seeing, and a Devotional with Elder Ballard

Happy Six Months! As I work on this week's blog I would like to point out that March 1, 2015 was the 6th month mark of our mission. It's really hard to believe we've been away from our family and home that long. I know our Father in Heaven is blessing our children and our grandchildren. I catch glimpses of those blessings every once in awhile when we FaceTime or receive emails. I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father that blesses all of us so abundantly.

This has been a great week. We've been blessed with instruction from our mission president, President Mains, and several others. We've also been able to do some sight-seeing this week, but more of that later.

Right now Sister Bodell and I are sitting in the chapel of the Singapore Stake Center, the same building our zone/senior conferences were held. We are waiting for a fireside to begin. There are three speakers, one Apostle, Elder Ballard, Elder Rasband, the senior president of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy, and the Presiding Bishopric, Bishop Stevenson. This is exciting to be in the presence of an Apostle of the Lord, Jesus Christ. That is a rare enough occasion living in Southern Utah, even more rare in Malaysia. It's exciting to see the members of the stake here; Malaysians, Chinese, Whites, and various accents. You can feel, though, the Church is the same wherever you go. That is such a blessing. I will report on this fireside later.

This is the chapel in Singapore. This is where Zone/Seniors Conference was held, as well
as the Devotional with Elder Ballard. I can imagine that someday, when the time is right,
that it could easily be converted into a temple.

A note or two about Zone/Senior Conference. The theme for Zone Conference was Faith. The theme for Seniors Conference was Serving with the Heart. President Mains asked all the missionaries to fast this next Fast Sunday for increased faith. President Mains has great faith. It is a privilege for us to receive of his faith as he teaches and directs the Singapore Mission.

We were able to do more sight-seeing while in Singapore. Here are some pictures from our excursions. There are so many from which to choose, but I choose not to more neither you nor me so this is just a sampling.

Sister Bodell and the Singapore skyline by night
In the Gardens by the Bay were these Lego creations.
More Lego flowers
A giant tree from the grove. That's Sister Bodell and Elder Pryzbyla.
You can see that the trees are huge!
A good view of the "giant" grove of trees
This is a famous sight in Singapore. It's called the Merlion.
On the left is the tallest hotel in Singapore. The building in the forefront is the opera house.
Gardens by the Bay
The two large structures are giant green houses and terrariums.
You can also see the "giant" grove of trees where Sister Bodell and Elder Pryzbyla were
standing in the earlier picture.
Elder and Sister Tedrow, Elder and Sister Hammer, Elder and Sister Bodell, and Elder and Sister Pryzbyla
Carvings inside the glass buildings

Inside one of the glass domes
 All decked out for the Chinese New Year
That gives you a tastes of the Gardens by the Bay. It's beautiful, and there is so much to see. We plan on going again.

I need to say a word about the devotional so I don't forget. Actually, I'm posting my notes from the meeting so I don't forget. There was a wonderful Spirit there.

Devotional with Elder Ballard notes:
Bishop Gary Stevenson, Presiding Bishop of the Church talked about the restoration, specifically the 90 day period in which the Book of Mormon was translated and events that transpired during that 90 days:
John the Baptist
Peter, James, John
Three witnesses
Eight witnesses
All one year prior to organization of the Church

Chapter 5 PMG, BofM Keystone of our Religion

When you want to talk with God, pray. When you want God to speak to you, read the Scriptures. Elder Hales

Concluded with testimony. 
Elder Rasband's (Senior President of the Presidency of the Seventy) wife: We can stand and declare that Jesus is the Christ. He understands our weaknesses, pains, sins. He understands each of us. 

Elder Rasband introduced Elder Ballard, his ancestry. direct descendent of Hyrum Smith, then the roll of Apostles of the Church
• Ephesians 4:11-14
Preeminent roll of apostle to testify of Christ
• Ephesians 2:19-20 We are fellow citizens, built upon the foundation of apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone

• D&C 107:23-
• The Church is led by living prophets and apostles today. The leaders of the Church are no strangers to the voice of Jesus Christ. 
Elder Ballard's daughter spoke about power and faith of prayer - burning of spirit with in our body. 

Elder Ballard's wife bore her testimony and talked of love.

Elder Ballard talked about Ammon, the great missionary, recounting his and his brothers' experiences in preaching the gospel to the Lamanites. (Alma 26), comparing to the responsibility of the missionaries today.

• Carry the message of the restoration of the Gospel and the message of Jesus Christ to the world. 

• The glorious Plan of Salvation/Happiness - we know more about this plan than any other group of people on the earth. 

If your testimony is faltering, read the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon. Remember you are a son or daughter of God. We are brothers and sisters. 

• Partake of the sacrament in remembrance of Him. Do it in reverence. 

• Ask the Lord for forgiveness. 

• 3 Nephi 27. Behold I have given unto you the Gospel because my Father sent me.
  Because of the Atonement, we can all be forgiven. 

Challenge: During the next 90 days, pray that I may find someone with whom I can share the Gospel, and/or to have a spiritual experience. 

• 3 Nephi 11 - understand the voice of God ... This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased, in whom I have glorified my name. Hear ye Him. 

• Importance of baptism taught 13 times is in 3 Nephi 11.

I am grateful we had the opportunity to be there for this devotional. It gave us food for thought and motivation to improve ourselves.

We spent from Monday to Saturday in Singapore. We returned late Saturday night to Sibu. Had a good sleep and got up early Sunday morning.

Brother Steven, the second counselor in the Branch 1 Branch Presidency celebrated his baptismal birthday today. It was a year ago that he and his wife were baptized. It was a wonderful celebration with speakers, testimonies, hymn singing, and food. Sister Bodell had gotten up early to make a cake for the dinner. Brother Steven was very appreciative. He had tears in eyes. He is a stalwart young man, maybe only 23 or thereabouts.

The picture is Brother Steven, his wife, and their son
I do have to say something about the menu. It was typical and spicy. There was chicken curry, some sort of fishy, anchovy something which I shied away from, but I couldn't say no to President Gara when he offered me Punggung Ayam, or as we call it, chicken butt. It's that tiny little piece on the back of the chicken. It wasn't too bad!

It has been a good day. President Balley of Branch 2 asked me to give a blessing of peace to a sister in his branch. I also participated in three other blessings today. President Gara (Branch 1) and his daughter, Monica, and son, Augustine. President Gara has been given several extra responsibilities at work (promotion) and now serving as chairman of the school board where his children attend school. He's been experiencing headaches and dizziness. President Chua, the District President, is taking him to the doctor tomorrow. His daughter has had a constant sore throat and school concerns. His son is having school concerns as well.

This afternoon I took the ZLs to Rantau Panjang. When I dropped them off, I had the distinct impression to tell them to make sure they had prayer before starting out. I also had the distinct impression to promise them they would be blessed with someone to teach. When I saw them later, they told me they had found a man who had previously been studying the Church but had been in Kuching the past several months. He told them he wanted to be baptized! He was at the celebration tonight. He is a friend of President Gara's. What a blessing to feel the Spirit the way I did today.

In between all this goodness, Sherrie and I conducted a music conducting class. We've done this for a couple of weeks. This has been a lot of fun. We will continue until they don't need us anymore.

We're almost back to a normal routine this coming week. However, we are flying to Kuching on Tuesday for a missionary training by Elder Funk. I'll report on that next time. Until then, remember we love all of you. The Church is TRUE! One more thing I should add here is that I bore my testimony in both branches this morning in Fast & Testimony meeting. Yes, I did it in Malay, but I had it written out. I'll leave you with my testimony now. This is my "cheat" sheet.

Good morning, Brothers and Sisters.
Selamat pagi, Brother dan Sister.
I would like to share some thoughts and my testimony with you this morning. 
Saya mahu kongsi beberapa fikiran dan kesaksian saya dengan kamu pagi ini.
I wrote it down so I wouldn’t forget.
Saya menulis sehingga saya tidak akan lupa.
Six months ago today, Sister Bodell and I began our mission at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah.
Enam bulan lalu hari ini, Sister Bodell dan saya mula misi kami di Pusat Missionary di Provo, Utah.
Our testimonies have been strengthened by serving our Father in Heaven here in Sibu. 
Kesaksian kami telah diperkautkan oleh pelayanan kepada Bapa kita di Syurga di sini di Sibu.
The Gospel is the same wherever you go in the world.
Injil ini sama di mana mana kamu pergi di dunia ini.
One of my favorite scriptures is found in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 76, verses 22-24.
Salah satu tulisan suci kegamaran saya terjumpa dalam Ajaran dan Perjanjian, bahagian tujuh puluh enam, ayat dua puluh dua sampai dua puluh empat.
Read A&P 76, 22-24. (Click on link)

I share my testimony with you. I, too, know that Jesus Christ lives. He is our Savior and Redeemer.
Saya kongsi kesaksian saya dengan kamu. Saya, juga, tahu bahawa Yesus Kristus hidup. Dia Juruselamat dan Penebus kita.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His Church. He leads us and guides us through a living prophet.
Gereja Yesus Kristus Orang Suci Zaman Akhir adalah Gereja-Nya. Dia meminpin dan bimbing kami oleh nabi yang hidup.
I know that Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet of God.
Saya tahu bahawa Thomas S. Monson nabi benar Tuhan.
I know that the Church was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know that Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son in the grove of trees. 
Saya tahu bahawa Gereja dipulihkan oleh Nabi Joseph Smith. Saya tahu Joseph Smith lihat Bapa dan Anak di dalam dusun pokok.
I know Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon. I know it is the Word of God.
Saya tahu Joseph Smith menterjemahkan Kitab Mormon. Saya tahu ia Firman Tuhan.
I am grateful for your love and support and for the strength you give me as I watch you serve in the Church.
Saya bersyukur bagi kasih sayang dan sokongan kamu, dan bagi kekuatan kamu memberi saya apa bila saya melihat kamu melayani dalam gereja.
You have our love and admiration. May our Father in Heaven continue to bless and strengthen you
Kami beri kasih sayang dan kekaguman kami. Kami harap Bapa di Syurga akan terus memberkati dan memperkuatkan kamu.
This is my prayer and testimony. In the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Ini doa ku dan kesaksian ku. Dalam nama Juruselamat, Yesus Kristus. Amin.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Tony. Happy 66th old man. We love reading your posts on the mission site. What an experience! Nellie and Roland


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