Saturday, November 21, 2015

Service, Transfers, FHE, Seminary Road Trip, Christmas in the Air

You may recall that I had the opportunity to speak last Sunday. The topic was service in the Church. It turns out that our granddaughter, Lydia, gave a talk in Primary last week as well. Her topic? Service. Coincidence? I don't think so. This is not the first time this has happened. Her mother sent a copy. I shared it with our missionaries here, and I'd like to share it with you. I loved it!

Missionaries do service every day as they promise to serve the Lord for a year and a half or two years. My grandparents are serving a mission in the Singapore Mission. They live in Malaysia. Their part is to teach the people who have been baptized already how to do their church callings and also teach about seminary and institute. But they also help the younger missionaries a lot. Helping people is doing service.
They drive missionaries places, help teach lessons, help with baptisms, help set up video calling for special holidays. They help the primary with their primary program, or help give talks in Sacrament Meeting.
The young missionaries go over to wash cars for my grandparents. It isn't very cold over there. It is already Monday for them. Just this morning my grandparents said that after the cars were clean, the young missionaries wanted to serve some more so they asked them if they'd like to wash some windows.
Serving others makes us happy. I hope we can all find happiness in helping others. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Monday morning I picked up the missionaries who were coming over to wash the cars. The first thing Elder T said to me when he got in was, "Elder Bodell, I am slightly angry with you this morning." 

I thought, "What now?", but said "And why is that?"

"Every time we try and serve you and get caught up, you do something like picking us up to take us to your place to wash the cars. We just can't get caught up with our service for you!"

Of course we laughed, but as I thought about it I realized that it is the same thing with our Father in Heaven. The more we serve him, the more we are blessed. We are forever in His debt. We will never "catch up." Oh, how He loves us! I am so grateful to Him and to my Savior for everything they have done and continue to do for me.

I am grateful for the Gospel and to have living Prophets and Apostles to guide us and show us the way. They are prophets and apostles just like those in Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Not everything they said was popular, but that didn't change what the Lord's teachings. Amos 3:7 and Isaiah 55:8-9 are good examples to remember. Not everything the Prophets and Apostles say now is always popular, but that doesn't mean it's not from the Lord. I know President Monson speaks for Him.

Transfers were also announced on Monday. We will be losing Elder O, Elder J, and Elder P. We're a little bummed about it, but that's the way of it in the mission field. We lose and we gain, but the friendships will last forever.

Tuesday was pretty busy. I did some driving to get bike parts and bike boxes. We also had district meeting. Elder S, Sister Bodell, and I created a Jeopardy game with questions from the Book of Mormon, Preach My Gospel, General Conference, Teaching Skills, and Fun Facts. It was a lot of fun. The Elders seemed to enjoy it.

This is a picture of the Sibu District as of Tuesday. There will be three new faces tomorrow to replace the three that leave.

Back Row: Elders T, J, S, and S
Front Row: Elder P, Elder & Sister Bodell, Elder O 
Can you believe this is the same group?
We went to really nice place for lunch after district meeting to which we probably won't return. The food was delicious, but it didn't sit well with Sister Bodell nor me. It was not a fun afternoon.

Later that night we had dinner with the Chinese Elders at President Chua Huat's. His wife fixed a wonderful meal which sat much better with us than lunch did. After dinner we all went to the church for FHE with a few other members of the Chinese Branch. Sister Bodell gave a wonderful lesson on the Light of Christ, after which we played a couple of rounds of Jenga.

President Chua Huat carefully removing a piece. 
Charise carefully placing her piece on top
Wednesday was transport day; getting the Elders to the airport as well as picking up their replacements from the airport. Our little district now includes Elder A, and Elder C. There is a new greenie coming, but he's not here yet. He'll arrive tomorrow, but we won't be here. We start a road trip for Seminary and Institute graduations and inservices. Most of that report will come next week.

When is a handshake more than just a handshake? Good ol' Elder T! He gave me a very nice compliment last Sunday. I told him that he had to write it down so I could share in his words and not mine. He gave me his text today. To me it is very humbling analogy, but I still wanted to share. We love the Elders here. 

Shaking Elder Bodell's hand is like . . . well . . . 2 Nephi 1:15—
But behold, [Elder Bodell's hand] hath redeemed my soul from hell;
I have [held] his glory, and [my hand] is encircled about eternally,
in [the hand of Elder Bodell's] love.
Seminary Road Trip

We began our annual seminary graduation and inservice road trip this week. Our first start was Bintulu, then on to Kuching. Thursday evening while we were in Bintulu, I was informed that I was going to be a speaker at the Kuching seminary graduation on Saturday night. So, in addition to preparing for inservice, I needed to prepare some remarks for the graduation program. The first chance I had to even think about it was driving home from Bintulu Saturday morning. I received  inspiration and pulled it together in between the Kuching inservice and the graduation program. I think it went very well.

 Here are a couple of pictures of the students and teachers from Bintulu and Kuching.

The entrance to the Sungai Plan chapel in Bintulu
The chapel is in a shop lot in Sungai Plan.
The chapel interior
The seminary and institute student in the Bintulu District
The same group, but less serious
The students, teachers, and leaders in Kuching 
On a less serious note
Google made this animated version of pictures from pictures of the Kuching group.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in Malaysia. Christmas decorations are popping up all over, but it's okay because they obviously don't celebrate Thanksgiving here.

Nine reindeer and Santa in a . . . 
 . . . boat? 
Yes, a boat. There's no use for a sleigh in Malaysia!
On Sunday we attended two Sacrament meetings in Kuching. One was Malay. The other was the Kuching International Branch – Mostly Chinese. It was the first time since we've been on our mission that we've heard the Sacrament prayers in English, actually the whole meeting was in English. It was wonderful to understand the entire meeting!

Next week we've got a little more S&I business to take care of and Thanksgiving. Not sure how that's all going to work out. I'm sure we'll find out. This has been a great week, but tiring. The Church is still, and always will be true.

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