Saturday, April 11, 2015

Zone Meeting, Lawren's Farewell, Senior Date Night

There is a brother in the Chinese Branch who is quite the artist. He present us sketcehds he ahd made of Sister Bodell and myself. He did a really great job. He may do another set. Who knows!

Elder Bodell

Sister Bodell

Tuesday we had an outstanding zone meeting conducted by Elders H & M. Elders S & S also presented part of the training. Today's topic: Begin with the End in Mind. Why are we here? What should be the end result? Obviously we are here to teach people about Jesus Christ and His Gospel. To what end? The end result would be preparing people for exaltation by helping them to keep the covenants they make at baptism, but to prepare them to go to the temple. We watched a couple of videos. One was from The District series, where the family that had been taught was able to attend the temple. After the teaching and discussion, the ZLs asked each missionary to share which temple was the favorite and a testimony about the temple. They had asked me to prepare slides to show as each missionary shared their testimony. The following movie was the result of that assignment. The only thing missing in the video is testimony of each of the missionaries. (For those of you with analytical minds, the slides were paused as each missionary shared his thoughts.) Let me tell you, it was a very spiritual, moving experience! There were two missionaries whose parents had been divorced without ever having been sealed. Their testimonies were very moving about the importance of temple sealings. I don't think there was a dry eye among any of us, including the young missionaries. There were many reasons why each temple was chosen, all touching our hearts. A group hug would have been appropriate after this meeting. There was a lot of love in this meeting.

After zone meeting, I was informed that President Gara had asked me to speak that evening at his son's missionary farewell party! How do spell "S-C-R-A-M-B-L-E"? That's what I was doing while lunch was being purchased.

Purchased? Yes, purchased. A hamburger eating contest was proposed at the last zone meeting. This involved one missionary from each district in the zone and one of the ZLs. Food? It was supposed to be a Big Mac, fries, chicken nuggets, and a drink. The first one done was the winner. No Big Macs today. McDonald's was out of beef so chicken was substituted. (Only in Malaysia!). (We all had non-Big Macs after the contest.) And the winner . . . Elder S from Sibu Jaya! After lunch we had the usual zone meeting picture before everyone went their own way.

Let them eat cake! Well, maybe chicken burgers instead.
Elders P, M, G, and S

Elder S is the winner!

Elders J, G, H, G, C, W, O, P, S, M, W, C, S, W, L, and T
Sister & Elder Bodell, Sister & Elder Mills, Sister & Elder Tedrow

Later that evening, we attended Lawren's Farewell Program and dinner. There were three speakers: Me, Lawren, and President Chua. When we arrived, President Gara told me that he'd like me to tell why Lawren was going on a mission as there were several members of his and Sister Mina's family who were there and not members of the Church. The amazing thing about this is, is that is exactly what I had prepared. It was short, sweet, and pertinent.

Brother Steven and son with Elder Bodell,
Brother Steven had recently gotten a buzz. He's working up to shaving his head.

Sister Mina, Sister Bodell, Lawren, President Gara, Elder H, Elder Bodell
Olivia, Monica

More of President Gara's family.
His sons, Willington and Hendri are in this picture.
The next morning we got up early (4:00 AM) so that we could go out to the airport with several other missionaries to see Lawren off. It was a good send-off. There were six young Elders there and Lawren's family. Lawren is the first missionary to leave from here in several years and the first from President Gara's family. We came home afterward and slept another couple of hours.

Elders H, L, P, M, G, C, & S
Can you guess who's got the new missionary shoes?
That would be Lawren!
President Gara's family with Sister Mina's sister and two of her children.
And finally a picture of President Gara's youngest son, Burayun.
You can't read it too well, but this is in front of the departure sign.
Checking in at the departure desk.
The last time the family will see Lawren for  the next two years.
Things got back to normal after we got some sleep. Wednesday afternoon we went to Alexson's for his reading lesson. Sister Bodell may not go next time. She got several mosquito bites while we were there. Nothing unusual . . . after all, this is the jungle! While we were there, I had an epiphany while we there. I need to make some flash cards for him with just syllables on them so he can join them together to make other words. I started doing this on Keynote, but then I thought flash cards might be better. Anyway, I've got to get moving on that as we have another lesson on Friday, and it's Thursday already!

Thursday we spent much of our time preparing activities for the children for Conference this weekend. We've been able to watch most of it, but this weekend we should have the translations in Malay and Mandarin. 

We also are planning for a visit from President and Sister Mains, the Mission President and his wife. They're coming to interview the Elders in preparation of transfers in a couple of weeks. There will be some changes made in our area. There are 40 missionaries going home in the next few months and only 20 coming. This will result in a decrease in the number of Elders in Sibu. There is a similar issue with Senior Couples as well. It will be interesting to see how it all works out.

Friday night was Senior Date Night. We hosted dinner here at home with President and Sister Main and Elder and Sister Mills. Sister Bodell served meatloaf, baked potatoes, broccoli, carrots and cranberries, and applesauce pie. It was all very tasty. She even went so far as to find a new way to fold napkins on the Internet.

A great gathering. If you expand the picture, you an see the folded napkins on the plates.
Elder & Sister Bodell, President & Sister Mains, Elder & Sister Mills
Saturday and Sunday we went to the church for Conference. We had downloads of English (Baptism Room), Malay (Chapel), and Mandarin (RS Room). Saturday's sessions were at 4::00 PM and 7:00 PM. Sunday's sessions were at 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM. We'll show the Priesthood and Womens sessions next Sunday. 

It was great to hear our Church leaders speak, especially President Monson. I'm grateful that we have the opportunity every six months in General Conference to raise our hand in a sustaining vote for him and the other leaders of the Church. I do sustain President Monson as a prophet, a seer, and a revelator. There are some who say no; some say maybe sometimes, but this is the Church of Jesus Christ. It is His Church. He does direct it. I know that to be true.

Saturday was also Elder C's birthday. He requested a confetti cake. You can't buy them here in Sibu, but Sister Bodell granted his request and made one using sprinkles, which you can find here. We had a pizza lunch prior to the first session of conference and had birthday cake for dessert.

Happy Birthday, Elder C!

What will next week bring? That is a good question! Every week is a new adventure, even when there is nothing set. I do know that Monday there is a FHE to which we are invited, and the usual language trainings. What surprises will we find?

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