Monday, October 26, 2015

Face to Face, Ponderizing, FHEs, "S" Day, Sunday

One of the many blessings we've enjoyed this week was listening to the Church's Face to Face program with The Piano Guys. It was very inspiring. These guys are so talented and have strong testimonies of the Gospel. The venue for the program was atop the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. What backdrop! What a view! During their discussions I discovered the next scripture I will ponderize. More about that in a moment. If you missed the broadcast, you can view it here: (You may have to cut and paste the link into your browser window.)

The program is about an hour long, but well worth it. If you have youth in your home, they need to watch it.

The Piano Guys during the Church's Face to Face broadcast
As I mentioned, I found a scripture to ponderize while watching this broadcast. The scripture is found in D&C 64:33-34. It says:

Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.

Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days.

This is not only important for me to remember as a missionary, but for all that I do. Be not weary in well-doing, laying a foundation, small things will become great. I need to be willing and obedient. Blessings await.

Monday night we attended the Branch 2 Family Home Evening at Sister Julie's. The Elders gave a great lesson and then played a game called Jontoh. The kids loved it. You have to have a lot of trust in this game. Everyone sits in a circle with the legs extended to the center. One person stands in the middle between the feet, then leans back and is passed around the circle. Sound confusing? Here, watch this.

We have been blessed with the association of many wonderful Elders here in Sibu. We love to help them get from place to place, eat with them, prepare meals for them. We love them. In return, the return their love to us by being of service. Frequently they want to help us in return. This past week four of "our" Elders came over and washed the two Church cars of which we have custody. When they were done, they wanted to know what else they could do. They told us to make a list of things we needed help with for next time and they would work it into their schedules. They are so willing to serve others. We are very fortunate to be here with them.

While Elders J, P  . . . 
and S cleaned the mats . . . 
and the outside of the cars,
Elder T thoroughly vacuumed . . . 
the interiors.

The cars were immaculate when they were finished. Sister Bodell fed them a good breakfast of pancakes and scrambled eggs.

Tuesday night was FHE with the Chinese Branch again. Sister Bodell and I had the activity. We played Smell the Stick, a game that we have played for many, many years. Those in attendance enjoyed it trying to figure out the game. 

Before FHE, however, Elders S and J had to test the strength of our stick, to make sure it would hold up under pressure.

Albert and Elder S
Gary and Albert
The atmosphere is still hazy. It's getting old fast. We're hoping the rainy season will start soon and wash all the gunk away.

Visibility is not so good!

School traffic times, when dropping and/or picking up, are something to be avoided. Cars are double and triple parked; traffic is backed up for at least a couple of blocks. It's really nasty. Even letting the students out for lunch will create a traffic jam. Here's a short video of a school letting the students out for lunch.

I thought these spiral staircases were interesting. I like the paint jobs! They surround a parking lot by one of the bike shops that the missionaries frequent.

The week has gone by quite quickly. We've had lunch with the Elders several times. We spent Saturday morning getting ready for the big "S" Day activity, and Sunday was a day of rest. I'm not sure from what we rested though. I will share in a moment about Saturday and Sunday. (I want to interject here that it's now 9:00 AM Monday morning. We are sitting in a little café at the KL airport on our way to Singapore for Zone Conference this week.)

Okay, Saturday and Sunday were full. I mean really full! Saturday morning we had to get a little shopping done for the seminary activity. It was a great success! The seminary council did a great job planning and producing it.  We had about 50 people there. The activities included a 7 Second Challenge, Ultimate Frisbie, Balloon Stomp, and reading and recording chapters of the Book of Mormon (Kitab Mormon) in Malay. Boy! These kids can really read Malay fluently. We still have many more chapters to go before we have the entire Kitab Mormon finished. Here are some pictures from the activities. Sister Bodell took the pictures as I was busy with recording.

Ballon Preparation
Bust those balloons! Go get 'em Elder S!

There are more pictures, but they aren't that great.  Besides, I need to share some thoughts about Sunday, along with some pictures.

Seminary was held at 6:00 PM and then we discovered we were invited to a birthday party for our little friend Cassidy when seminary was over. Today was also the first anniversary of Sister Doo's baptism (Cassidy's mother). The rest of the family was baptized a year ago last week. It was a good celebration.

Our man, Cassidy

Cassidy with his family and friends

I love this picture of Cassidy with kisses from his mom and dad.

Looks good! Tasted good! Snake! Yes, I ate some.

Chicken Curry

Yummy vegetables!

Sunday was an exhausting day. We started with the usual Branch 1 Sacrament meeting at 9:00 AM, but on the way to church we discovered that we had forgotten something so we had to return home to get it. Because we were late, Sister Bodell had one of the Elders play the opening hymn. We got there in time for Sister Bodell to play the Sacrament hymn as the Elders were trying to figure out how to make the piano play on it's own. The relief on their faces was almost comical.

I had to leave Sacrament meeting early so I could attend Branch 2 Branch Council meeting at 9:30, Temple Prep at 10:00, and Branch 2 Sacrament meeting at 11:00. Later we had a seminary council meeting at 3:00 PM and dinner at our house with four of our Elders. At 6:00 PM we were out to Brother Steven's to visit with him and see his new baby.

Brother Steven and family

This is a great family. The boys' names are
Peterson (oldest) and Pitrikson.

After dinner we hurried home to get a load of laundry done before setting off for Singapore early Monday morning. More about that next week.

The Gospel is true. I have a firm testimony of that.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

On the River to Kapit, Zone Meeting, Skyping, and Cooking Class

I failed to mention that Sunday night we went to an FHE at Brother Gima's. Most of the family was there. We missed Alexson, though. He's been really hard to catch lately. His work schedule is not conducive to teaching him. I miss our reading lessons. 

Anyway, Elder T gave a really good lesson. As the family comes closer together, they come closer to Christ. Elder T had everyone stand up and join hands. There was a picture of Christ on the floor. We drew closer together as we drew closer to the picture of Christ. It was a great object lesson.

Brother Gima and family gathered for FHE

It's P-Day. The young Elders from the district met at our place this morning. We drove down to the river (after having to jumpstart the Altius), parked the cars, and boarded a boat bound for Kapit, a little town about three hours up river from Sibu. 

The boat is something else. The engine sounds a little rough. About five minutes after departure we stopped in the middle of the river. The engine was turned off. Whatever the issue, it must have been fixed. The engine doesn't sound quite so janky now. Hmm! Maybe I spoke too soon. We are stopping again, mid river. We're now 20 minutes out from our departure. Yes, I'm writing this along the way. It's about a three-hour boat ride. At this rate it will be time to get back on another boat for the return trip. Five minutes later and we're moving again.

And away we go . . . Sister Bodell, Elders, P, O, and J
Cruising down the river with Elders S, J, T, O, S, J, P, and R

Our boat is enclosed and, fortunately, is air conditioned. This could be a really long trip if not. I would like to take pictures along the way, but most of the windows are scratched plexiglass. Everything would look really foggy! Sister Bodell prepared herself for mosquito protection by slathering with repellent, wearing mosquito repellant patches, and netting. It all worked! Not one bite on the whole trip.

Bring on the little vermin! Sister Bodell was prepared!

One of the pleasantries of the boat ride were the movies showing on a nice flat screen TV. The first was the new Fantastic Four movie. It was followed by some Chinese movie. There was a third . . . something about zombies or vampires or something. Didn't watch that one at all. It didn't matter what language they were. We couldn't hear the audio and were too far back to read the subtitles.

The ride to Kapit took close to 3½ hours. There were two stops along the way. We arrived about noon, grabbed a bite to eat, and headed to the museum which was closed and wouldn't open until 2:00 PM. The museum is an old fort. We did a little walking around until it got too hot. We finally had to find some air conditioning or melt. We actually looked like we were melting due to the perspiration. I had a pleasant young Muslim woman offer me a tissue to wipe myself off. We ended up taking together for 15-20 minutes. She had spent time in Australia, but she really didn't have an accent. She learned most of her English watching American TV when she was a child. 

A view of the river from the dock at Kapit
Our boat departing the dock
The Kapit boat terminal
Boats docked along the river

We didn't make it to the museum because our boat back left at 2:15. It was a little faster trip back to Sibu. It was nonstop. I still couldn't take any decent pictures out the window because it rained most of the way back, and the windows were pelted with rain drops. This was sad because this was a much nice, newer boat which you could clearly see out the windows. It's too bad, too. The view of the jungle along the river was just like you see in the movies.  There were some really long longhouses, some with as many as 20-25 doors. We'd like to find a way to go back and see them up close. They were really nice looking. 

The name of the place seems like an oxymoron! 
Proof that we made it to Kapit.
The closed museum . . . Fort Sylvia
If you enlarge the picture, you can see where water levels have been.

The jungle and river look just like something out of an old Tarzan movie.

The boat back was much newer and faster!

Tuesday was Zone Meeting. The training from the ZLs was about Speaking to Everyone. How would the prophets contact people? What would they say to them? How would they say it? There was some good discussion. It all boils down to love.

The Sibu Zone minus two
Elders D, S, and  O
Elder and Sister Mills, Sister and Elder Bodell
Elders T, P, S, J, R, M, and J
Ya gotta love 'em!
The week has been pretty normal for the most part. We've done the usual shopping and mending. 

We did have a treat on Sunday morning. We had the opportunity to be of service to  Sister Doo and her family. Last Sunday they were going to Skype with Elder C, but it fell through. We had gone to their place so they could use our computer. The camera on their computer isn't working.

This Sunday we went out to try again. Elder C and Elder S, both home from their missions had a wonderful chat with the family. It was good to hear them all chatting away in Malay. At the end, Elder S offered a prayer that was very heart-felt. I didn't understand a lot of it since it was in Malay, but I felt the Spirit during the prayer. It was a beautiful experience. It's nice to know that that there are  missionaries out there that are still interested in the people they taught. I'm glad we were able to help complete this call.

Es C&S Skyping with Brother Merang, Sister Doo, and family
Check out the picture! We're there, too.

This week's Relief Society cooking class was fruit pizza and salad dressing for a tossed salad.

Sisters Martha, Doo, and Norlia giving a thumbs up on the fruit pizza

Mixing the pizza crust

It tastes so good, even without toppings!

Sister Julie snitching a piece of kiwi

Sister Doo modeling the almost finished pizza . . . 

The finished pizza and the tossed salad with a citrus oil & vinegar dressing
Pizza toppings: strawberries, kiwi, mandarin orange slices, sliced grapes, pineapple, and blueberries

Sisters Julie, Martah, Norlia, Doo, and Lydia slicing up the pizza
The sisters had a good time and really enjoyed the treat. There were a few daughters there also that snuck in and tried the pizza, too. 

Everyone here likes to have their pictures taken!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Busy Week! Where Has It Gone?

This has been a pretty busy week. Well, maybe not that busy, but we made a trip to Bintulu for some S&I teacher training in Bintulu. We ended up eating out several times with the missionaries. And best of all, we've had General Conference.

We downloaded General Conference and watched it when we could during the week in the comfort of our home. We also watched most of it again at the church this weekend. Member attendance was somewhat disappointing. There were several who didn't come for whatever reasons. It's too bad because they missed out on an excellent Conference. It is always wonderful to listen to the messages of the General Authorities, especially President Monson. How blessed the world is to have a living prophet on the earth to help and guide us. I am so very grateful to have a testimony, to know that President Monson is a living prophet! There were so many good messages. Sister Bodell and I are going to work on ponderizing the scriptures.

Sister Bodell has selected Moses 7:18 to ponderize this week. I have selected Moses 1:39. What's yours?

We took a little trip to Bintulu for S&I training. We had the teachers prepare a short lesson to present to the rest of us. We then had a critique session that worked really well. The S&I teachers in Bintulu are awesome. We're going to miss them when it's time to come home.

I haven't written much because I'm a little behind. I need to get this done because one of my daughters told me that she and her family are going to start using the blog as part of their FHE.

I do have some pictures to share, though. Enjoy!

There's a great Indian restaurant in the Bandar. The food is delicious.
It can be both spicy and hot as shown by Elder S eating the traditional way with his fingers.

The district at the Indian restaurant.
Elders S, T, Dalin, Elders S, O, Y, and E

The same gang and place from the other end. Sister Bodell is in the middle.

Elders O and Y cleaning up after a pre-transfer meal for Elder Y.
We're going to miss him!

S&I Training in Bintulu

There's another good restaurant just up the street from the Indian restaurant.
This one is called Noodle House. It's Chinese in nature, but they serve some delicious western food, too.
Elders S, O, T, S, P, J, Sister Bodell, Elder Bodell
Elders P and J are new to the zone. We lost Elders Y and E.