Sunday, August 30, 2015

S&I Inservice Training and Travels

It will be good to be back in Sibu tomorrow. We have been in and out as we've traveled to various cities this week to participate in Seminary and Institute Inservice Training. Sister Bodell talked about inviting just one more student to seminary and institute and challenged the teachers to do so. She also challenged them to challenge their students to do likewise. I showed a video of a talk given by Elder Kim B. Cook of the Church's Quorum of Seventy. He is the new Church Commissioner of Education.  The talk was given at the annual August S&I Broadcast. After the video I had the teachers pair up and share what they learned from the talk. We then shared their thoughts with the class. If you'd like to watch the his talk of the entire broadcast. You can find it at

There was a lot taught in this broadcast! Our traveling training took us to Kuching, Mukah, Sibu Jaya, and Bintulu. We are still in Bintulu as I write this. We have been able to visit with several seminary students in their homes. I had the opportunity to give one young man a Priesthood blessing to help him school. His family are recent converts to the Church.

Transfers were also this week, but we haven't been back in Sibu long enough to meet the new missionaries there. We have met several new ones, however, in our travels this week. There are 21 new missionaries in the mission this week.

Here are some pictures from our travels this week:

Elder G and Elder L in Kuching. Elder G is holding a kuching.
Brother Beliang and family. They have a son on a mission in the Singapore Mission.
Brother Senen and family, a family committed to 100% attendance to seminary.

Some humble homes of the people in East Malaysia:

This housing is pretty typical wherever we go.

While in Kuching, we had dinner from a little stall called the Cat's Pyjamas.
The owner is an atheist who loves to watch General Conference.
We had dinner with the Sliders and the Hammers.
There are several stalls surrounding the open air seating.

Mukah: While in Mukah, we stayed at a "resort" hotel. Sounds good, but we've stayed at places much nicer. The grounds and view were outstanding. 

Some of the flowers of Borneo are beautiful! 
Sunset on the China Sea
The sun setting behind the trees 
Now that's a sunset!
This little critter was in the hotel lobby as we were leaving.
More Seminary Visits

Sister Bodell visiting with student and explaining the young lady can complete the assignments from home.
Her parents won't let her attend seminary at night.
Into the jungle in search for another student to visit.
The path was wet from a recent rain.
Emerging from the jungle this longhouse appeared where we found the student for whom we were looking.
I was able to give the young man a blessing.

After attending a seminary class and church Sunday morning in Bintulu, we returned back to our hotel. It rained and rained and rained.  After the rain stopped, we went out for a little walk around the hotel before it started to rain again. It looks like the forecast calls for rain most of the afternoon, evening, and tomorrow morning. I think we were blessed to get the pictures we did.

We were able to do a little swimming when we first arrived in Bintulu.
The pool area is beautiful. I could have stayed there all afternoon.  
A new birth from a coconut
The Park City Everly Hotel where we stayed in Bintulu
An island jungle across from the hotel
Viewing Point . . . Okay! I couldn't resist taking the picture.
Another shot of the hotel
And another shot of the pool area.
Monday morning we return to Sibu. It's Independence Day for Malaysia August 31. That's when they gained their independence from the British. Both branches we attend have activities planned tomorrow, but we will be traveling. I hope they don't get rained out. I suppose next week's blog might have something to say about that.

Our travels this week have brought us in contact with many wonderful and stalwart members of the Church. It's not easy being a member here. There are cultural differences that need to be overcome, a new church culture to learn. As I've said before, the members here are truly pioneers. Most of them are first generation Mormons. They are learning, as did the early Saints, line upon line, precept upon precept as they learn the Gospel. They have strong testimonies of the Church and are doing their best. I am grateful for them. I am grateful for my ancestors, some of whom were early pioneers. They are all great examples to me. My testimony is strengthened because of all of them. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's living church on the earth today. There are living prophets and apostles who guide us and show us the way back to live with our Father in Heaven and with our Elder Brother, Jesus Christ. I hope that we are able to make it and be together as families and friends.

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