Sunday, November 1, 2015

Zone Conference, Singapore, and Great News

Zone Conference has been bitter-sweet. It's always a spiritual high to attend Zone Conference. The Spirit felt this week was amazing. The talks and activities brought us all closer to each other and to our Savior, Jesus Christ.

We had the opportunity to direct the missionary choir for this Zone Conference. The music selected included an EFY medley of As Sisters in Zion and We'll Bring the World His Truth, and the Singapore Mission song, Reap the Harvest, which was written by Sister Simmons' father. Here is a video of some of the activities of the conference with a recording of the EFY recorded during conference.

The young missionaries had a great time with the post-conference activity. They really got into it. You saw pictures in the previous video, but here they are in action.

The number of senior couples is diminishing quickly. We had to say good-bye to many of our friends this conference. We will miss the Tedrows, the Hadleys, the Mahs, the Bishops, and the Mills. This was their last Zone Conference in Singapore. We only have one more Zone Conference before our time is over here. As far as we know there are only two couples coming in soon . . . one to replace the Tedrows in the mission office, and one to replace the Hadleys as Public Affair missionaries. That's all that is known at this time. If anyone reading this is retired and looking for something to do, I would strongly suggest going on a mission and applying for the Singapore Mission. Your help is greatly needed in East Malaysia. It will be a blessing in your life.

The Bishops, the Kanes, the Mahs, the Hammers, the Bodells, the Evensons, the Mills,
Presidents and Sister Simmons, the Bensons, the Sliders, the Harrisons, the Tedrows, the Hadleys
We didn't do a lot of sight-seeing or shopping while in Singapore this trip, but we were able to go to the Gardens by the Sea again. The gardens are an ever changing display of color and interest. This trip provided eye-popping displays of chrysanthemums. I also took pictures of several sculptures that I thought were interesting. We were there with the Hammers and the Evensons. The Evensons are new to the mission, but not missionary work. They were stationed in India, but due to a visa issue they had to change missions. They are now serving in Miri, Sarawak, East Malaysia and have about six months left on their mission.

Mostly Mums

Mostly Sculptures

No, Sister Bodell in not under water!

Jack Rabbits

Native Americans

Ride 'em, Cowboy!


Dragon and Eagle

Simba, the lion

Monkey Surfboard

Silly Goose

Two-Headed Dragon


The heron again

Sister and Elder Bodell

The Bodell, the Hammers, and the Evensons
for Lego Lovers

One reason for not much sight-seeing is because I had had to spend some time at the dentist's office on Monday getting fit for a crown, and again on Friday having the permanent crown installed. We were also involved with some of the Zone Conference activities. We did, however, get to eat at some non-Asian type restaurants, including a Mexican restaurant called Muchos. It was excellent! It's the best Mexican food we've had here. The Friday night before we left Singapore we ate Tony Roma's. I don't remember the last time I had ribs. Oh, they were good!

Sister Bodell, the Tedrows, the Bishops, the Mills, Elder Bodell
We returned to Sibu late Saturday afternoon and stopped at the church on the way home to prepare for seminary. Elders B and P were there and told us that President Balley and his wife were at the hospital with their two children requesting blessings for the kids. We got seminary started. It was the final test. When Brother Merang made it, we hurried home to change our clothes (We'd been flying all day!), and returned to the church and picked up the Elders. We hurried to the hospital where we met President Balley and his family. He asked that I give child a blessing, which I did. That was a blessing for me to be able to do.

After the blessings, we returned to Sibu to what we call the Fruit Bowl for something to eat. By this time it's 8:00 PM. The missionaries call the evening Sibu Sabtu, or Saturday Sibu. We were back home by 9:30 and unpacked.

Sunday morning we got ourselves together and headed for church. Unfortunately we forgot to open the gate to the driveway. Oops! Well, the gate was bent and wouldn't open by the electric motor. It almost wouldn't open by hand. Later in the day, President Chua and Brother Seow came over and bent it back into shape. We had to take the gate off it's track and bounce on the bend to get it straight. I felt better after that, but it was not the best way to start the day, but it was a good way to end the day by having the gate operational again.

There was some good news today! I had the privilege of standing in the circle when Augustine, President Gara's son, was ordained to the office of Priest. That was exciting to see that finally happen. He's been 16 for several months. Another exciting thing today was watching a couple of young men not play on their handphones during Sacrament meeting. They mostly listened to the speakers. It was a first!

I was also told about the group FHE last Monday night. The previous month I had challenged all the youth there to read the scriptures 15 minutes a day and come prepared the next month (last Monday) to share a scripture. They ALL did! I am sorry that I missed it. We were in Singapore on Monday at dentist to get a new crown on the tooth that had the root canal. (My teeth should be fine for awhile!)

Do you remember the scripture that I was ponderizing last time (D&C 64: 33-34)? I'm still working on it. The first part of the scripture begins, . . . be not weary in well-doing, for yea are laying the foundation of a great work, And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.

I saw a fulfillment of that verse Sunday during choir practice. When we were at the church Saturday, I asked a couple of sisters if they would direct the choir for me. I told them that I was rather tired from the trip home from Singapore, and I'd like to sleep through choir. They accepted the challenge, and WOW! Did they do a great job! I wasn't expecting what they did. They were energized. They reviewed parts. They taught a new song. They demonstrated how not to sing. (One of the local missionaries wasn't watching and was blaring his part. Oh, my! They have learned how to direct and teach a choir well. Both Sister Bodell and I were so impressed! I will teach again next week, but I'm turning the choir over to Sister Doo and Sister Norlia. They've got it! It was awesome to watch them, and no, I didn't sleep through choir practice. It was way too fun!

I have to brag again about the seminary council. They met again Sunday after choir practice. This group of youth are truly amazing. They are going to be great leaders in the church here in Sibu. They are first and second generation members of the Church, and they are just awesome. I am definitely going to miss them when we return home.

Speaking of returning home, we received our proposed travel itinerary for our flight back home at the conclusion of our mission. We are presently set to fly home on March 1, 2016. That's four months from today! I'm not sure how to deal with the mixed emotions that started this week at Zone Conference and will continue for who knows how long. It's going to be hard to leave.

I am so grateful for this experience. It has really strengthened my testimony. I know my Father in Heaven lives. He does hear and answer my prayers. I know Jesus Christ is His only Begotten Son; that He lives and loves all enough that He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross at Golgatha for sins and our infirmities. I am so grateful for that knowledge. He is my Savior and my Redeemer.

I know Jesus Christ restored His Church through the Prophet Joseph Smith. We have a living prophet to guide us today.

I am grateful for the Book of Mormon. I read it every night before I go to bed. It is the Word of God just as the Bible is. It is true.

I am grateful for our family and friends and their support for us as we serve here in Sibu on this mission.

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