Sunday, August 2, 2015

Borneo Cultural Festival and Baptisms

The ZLs have several baptisms this week. We are preparing and printing the program for the baptismal service. We asked the ZLs if they would get us the names of those giving the prayers and talks and what hymns the investigators would like sung at the service. Tuesday night the ZLs went to the homes of those being baptized. The first is an older couple. After their visit with them, the ZLs called and gave us the some of the requested information, after which, there was a, "Oh, by the way. Brother Biki would like to you baptize and confirm him." Speechless I was! I really only know them by greeting them each Sunday as they attend church. Brother Biki's reason for asking me is because, "He always seems to have the Holy Ghost with him." Speechless I was again! There's something to live up to!

We had a little discussion about doing it in English because that's all I'm really capable of, but the Spirit told me that I should do it in Malay. So Malay it is. I sat down the next day and composed, with the Holy Ghost's help, the blessing that I should give when I confirm Brother Biky a member of the Church. I wrote it in English, then translated what I didn't know with Google Translate. I then emailed that to our beloved ex-language tutor, Micah, who fine tuned it.

I need to back up here and share a bit about the second family that's being baptized Saturday as well. It is a family of five, including the father, mother, and three children. They have all asked that I baptize them! Speechless and overwhelmed I am! What a privilege and honor! Again, this is something that I never expected. Pictures will appear later in this blog.

So, this weekend is going to be very busy. Saturday includes seminary, the baptism, washing the baptismal clothes, printing pictures of the families from the baptism for their individual Books of Remembrance, and washing the baptismal clothes. Sunday includes the usual Sunday meetings with both branches, Branch 2 choir practice, and a gathering at Sister Star's place. She is having a special dinner for their neighbors who are being baptized on Saturday. It's probably more like an open house.
Somewhere during all this we need to find time to get our own laundry done and get packed to leave for Singapore Monday morning. Next week is Zone Conference.

Needless to say, I am not waiting until Saturday or Sunday to start this blog. I would never get it done. As I write this now I'm thinking I will be lucky to get it sent out by Monday.

Thursday was the beginning of the Borneo Cultural Festival. We wanted to check it out. We were a little early. Many vendors were still preparing their wares, mostly food. We discovered this was opening night which began with a parade. The parade started as most US parades start . . . police and the national flag. There were several ethnic groups that walked in the parade. There were a few surprises . . . a bagpipe band which looked like it was made up of young men from some sort of "Scouting" group. There was also another youth marching band. A highlight of the parade was a Chinese dragon. This short video will give you a little taste of the parade.

After the parade, there was a group of youth who performed with drums. This was very interesting. They also performed with a Chinese dragon.

The Borneo Cultural Festival is held behind the Wisma Sayan, the tallest building in Sibu. We've also been told it's the tallest building in the state of Sarawak.

Wisma Sayan

The gathering for the parade

It has been a cultural evening. We were also able to converse with a couple of Chinese ladies, who shared their cream puffs and little sandwiches which were like Sloppy Joes. Both were tasty. That was our dinner for the evening. We came home later and had a strawberry smoothie.

Here it is Saturday evening. We are home from a beautiful baptismal service that ran very smoothly. Sometimes the services seem a bit confused, but tonight was different. Two wonderful families were baptized. Tomorrow they will be confirmed members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As I mentioned earlier, I was able to baptize six of the seven that were baptized this evening. I've now baptized more people on this mission than I did when I was just a young missionary 40 plus years ago.

Elder Bodell, Elder S, Sister Urai, Brother Biky, Elder C. I had the privilege of baptizing Brother Biky.
Sunday I confirmed him a member of the Church.

Elder Bodell, Elder S, Kalvine, Kimberly Vannesa, Alleysia, Sister Rurin, Brother Petter, President Gara
Such a beautiful family! What a blessing for me to be able to baptize each of them.

One of our responsibilities as a senior couple missionary is to bring the baptismal clothes and towels home and wash them after the service. We also need to print pictures for the new members' Books of Remembrance. That is what we are doing this evening. The pictures are printed. The second load of laundry is done. In the meanwhile, I am finishing up this blog; however, I will not finish it tonight. There is the big dinner tomorrow night.

Several of the people at Sister Star's dinner

Sister Lucy and Sister Minah

Sister Molly

Kalvine, Elder C, Brother Lois (pronounced Luis) Brother Juban, and Brother Steven

Brother Gorka, and Sister Mina and Michael in the back

Sister Mina, Michael, Monica, Anne Michelle, and Lauren

Sister Bodell and President Gara

Sister Rurin and her husband Brother Petter helping with the dinner preparations

And dinner is served!

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