Sunday, September 6, 2015

Independence Day, New Missionaries, and Happy Anniversary!

Before I start this week, there's a picture that I didn't have from last week that I need to post to remind me of the wonderful people here.

It is always a pleasure to visit and present inservice trainings in other areas. The members welcome us with open arms. Every city is like visiting family. We have made wonderful friends here.

After our S&I training in Bintulu, we went to dinner with the teachers and others.
L to R: Brother Gilani, Brother Junis, his daughter, President Jalil, Sister Dara,
Sister Magi, Elder W, Brother Azim, Sister Roebecca, President Lai, Elder H, Sister Bodell
Bidding the Park City Everly Hotel (see last week) adieu, we headed back for Sibu. We made one stop at the YMCA to pick up Elders S and O from the Branch 1 Independence Day activity. 

The YMCA is where we had youth conference last December. If you missed the pictures of the YMCA from last December, you'll need to check them out. It's surrounded by jungle!

Here are a few pictures from the activity.

Sister Berbara and Petersen

Brother Steven

Is this a great place for a barbecue or not?
Chicken on the barbie, Iban style

Elder O, Elder S, and President Gara (Gotta love his shirt!)
Visiting family is wonderful, but it's always nice to get back to your own home and relax. It's nice not living out of a suitcase, too.

Tuesday night is becoming a habit of attending the Chinese Branch FHE. More family! This week was no exception. The lesson was good. The game was a lot of fun! It was called The Seven Second Challenge. We had two teams; one at a time we would draw an slip of paper from a bag with challenge that we had to complete in seven seconds or less. The challenges included things like name five automobile brands, name five things missionaries can't do, read a complete sentence from a book, and so on. It became pretty challenging

The branch president's daughter is a real cutey. Her name is Charity, and Charity never faileth to provide humor or entertainment. Tonight was no exception. Can you read her name tag? It belongs to Sister Bodell. She put it on and paraded around the room. She is really a cutie!

Charity never faileth . . . 

Tuesday evening we went with Elders S and O to visit Sister Bintang and Brother Gorka and family. The Elders reviewed the recent convert lessons on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sister Bodell gave Jacky and Loren each a piano lesson while we were there, too. As usual, Sister Bintang prepared a lovely meal. I don't think we've ever had the same thing twice when we've been there.

There are no better people than these folks!

This week commemorates our one-year anniversary as well as Elder S's one-year anniversary. This called for a little celebration. It's been awhile since we've been to Anson's for dinner. Good food, food friends.

Anson's is a favorite missionary dining experience!

Elders E, S, O, S, T, Y and Sister Bodell
Where did this week disappear? It's Sunday evening already. Today has been pretty amazing! The Branch 2 choir is still going strong. Two weeks from today the choir will sing in Sacrament meeting A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief in Indo, in parts, with a narration in the middle. They have such a beautiful spirit. We started Christmas today in choir practice. We started learning the parts for the chorus of Angels We have Heard on High. This is going to take some work, but I have faith they can do it. We finish choir practice each week by me selecting a couple of people to pick their favorite hymn and having them conduct the choir. I'm trying to teach them how to conduct a choir so when we leave they can continue to have a choir.

This evening we had our second seminary council meeting. We had five of the eight kids there. A couple still need to be called. Two weeks ago we asked one of the young men to be the president of the council. It's our intent, again, to be shadow leaders to help them learn how to conduct, plan, and prepare. The president came this evening with a printed agenda and conducted the meeting very professionally. We were so impressed. Here's a 17 year old that has never done anything like this before. Totally impressive. He told us two weeks ago that he was very nervous about accepting this assignment, but knew that the Holy Ghost would help him as he prayed and prepared. He was so right! His faith is astounding. He is planning on turning his missionary papers in December and wants to be on his way by March 28, his 18th birthday. He will be an amazing missionary!

We are "house" shopping for a house for a set of Elders. We found a nice one, but it's pretty large. However, it has been approved by the mission president's wife. We are going to look at one more on Monday, but it's pretty far out. It would be quite the bike ride everyday. We shall see what tomorrow brings.

That pretty much sums up the week. We are impressed with the new Elders in Sibu, both fresh from the MTC in Provo. Both are energetic and want to learn and work hard. They both have firm testimonies of the Gospel. We love them already! We look forward to working with them!

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