Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas 2010

nee how mah! (the greeting in chinese but i don't know how to spell)
     how are you all doing? i don't really know what to talk about actually.  it was so fun to talk to you.  i feel like we didn't get anywhere with our conversation though ha but i don't know what else i would have said.  the skype thing surprisingly worked out well.  but now you won't look as different in 2012.  so we'll see if i use it again or not.  elder dass said you guys looked like a fun bunch of people.  so good job making a good impression.  its true though.  you guys are so awesome.  when i said i miss ice cream i mean i miss your ice cream and hot fudge.  of course they have ice cream here and in malaysia but its just not the same as at home sitting around watching the amazing race or something.  don't worry about the girl thing. ha ha dass exaggerates.  elder garrett told me to call them because they were having a crisis and didn't know what to do so they were going to move 4 hours away from sandakan.  but thanks for the girl advice.  i never knew you went back to england after the mish.  its time you told me a few more mission stories daddio.  but it is different here because chances are i'll never make it back to malaysia. hey what kind of schedule did you missionaries stick to back in the day? what was a normal proselyting day?  how do you think it's different than today?
     i'll give you a little more detail about what happened this christmas week.  first of all have i ever told you about the carpenters?  they are hilarious.  they are the office couple.  he's american born and she's from australia.  they are perfect for their job.  the live in perry ut.  they go home in two weeks.  ha, she is so trunky.  she has a count down and everything.  anyways i thought it might be interesting for you to go to their homecoming.  i talked to them for a while the other day, very interesting people.  i told them about the kendell's and that we might be in the same ward in twenty years ha ha they thought that was funny.
     well all week we had dinner appointments with the expats.  so good.  on christmas eve after our dinner appointment we headed over to president clark's house.  he invited all of the elders in singapore and in Johor Baru (the city on the edge of penninsular malaysia) to come to his house and spend the night.  there were 16 elders.  it was very fun.  we stayed up pretty late.  sister clark gave us tons of snacks and drinks and we watched that new cartoon of a christmas carol and played games.  in the morning we all woke up and had a big breakfast of french toast and scrambled eggs cooked by president clark.  then sister clark gave us all a gift.  i got a package of ferrer rocher chocolates.  i got so much candy.  then we had a white elephant that we all contributed to.  i got a lame gift but it was fun.  for the rest of the day we kind of lounged around with president.  we watched that south africa rugby movie Invictus.  it was awesome.  a few of us helped sister clark cook up dinner.  a few elders had a baptism.  we played squash and ping pong and basketball.  it was basically a p-day.  dinner was awesome.  it was like a thanksgiving feast.  two senior couples, the carpenters and the howarths joined us.  i was sitting on the same end of the table as president.  us and a few elders had a long conversation after dinner.  he is an expert on everything. man he is smart and way cool.  our conversation ranged from jet ski to stocks to hunting to skype to missionary work and beyond.  ha ha we talked about a lot of random stuff.  sister clark made awesome pumpkin pie.  after dinner we all made our way to the living room.  president clark talked to us for a second only and then we sang two verses from every christmas song in the hymn book.  it was a lot of fun.  i think that is a clark tradition but they sing each full song.
     the sunday following was pretty good as well. me and dass ended up having to give talks in the expat ward.  we were told late and had no time to prepare.  but they turned out really well.  right after dinner we went over to the sloan's for dinner.  i told you a little bit about them already and they might have sent you pictures.  they were so awesome.  both from new zealand. another family came over called the furners.  he is american and she is filipino.  they met in geneva while he was serving his mission there.  they remind me of the wilkins a little bit.  the ladies were very pretty and funny.  they gave us those popper things that you pull apart and there is a prize in the middle.  i ate a lot of food there.  everytime i finished a plate they gave me more.  ha ha so i ate quite a bit but it was so delicious.  it was to best food i've had in a while.  i swear they are professional chefs.  brother furner is like an exec at a 'flavors and scents' company that is centered in geneva, that makes perfumes and flavors for like every company in the world like calvin klein and coke.  he said in one day you probably use 10 products that they help to produce. anyways they were so awesome.  we talked for a long time.  they have a lot of funny stories from their missions and their crazy lives.  the furners go to a different country every month just for fun.  man i feel like i'm rambling but it was fun.  they gave us tons of food to take home and a huge gift basket as a christmas present.  awesome!
     well that's about it.  merry christmas!  happy birthday!!  don't miss me too much.  i had a question.  i kind of want to buy a new camera.  sony has this cool water proof one TX5 also a cool one TX9.  but i don't know if sony is any good.  will you look into that mom.  i don't know if i want waterproof because you lose some quality but it would be nice here in the storms and also backpacking and the touchscreen is cool. ok have a good week. say hi to everyone.  Kalau kamu makan banyak, jangan menjadi gemuk!
elder petersen 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New City, New Ways


where to begin.  well first of all happy birthday mollie!!!!! and merry christmas all.   my letters might be shorter because i won't be typing as long.  oh well.
     i'm loving Singapore.  its really sweet.  i'm kind of scatter brained right now and don't know what to type.  i'll just give you my first impressions.  first of all it is a big city.  there is one stake here and like nine wards.  it's weird to be serving in wards.  me and elder dass cover 3 wards.  2 local wards called the clementi ward and the woodlands ward.  and then the 1st ward also known as the expatriate ward.  this is for all expats so everybody that is not from sinapore.  it is mostly full of white people.  i was having like reverse culture shock on sunday.  i was in a big chapel packed with white people.  so weird!  on sunday 2 of our wards meet at the same time in different buildings so we go on splits with local YSA's to cover both. then we meet up at 1:00 for the last ward.  its interesting.  its cool to be out of a city and district of 2 elders.  here there are like 10 elders and then sometimes the assistants also there is Teng and Law(chinese), Ulrich and Kelly(office), lam and Nightingale(ZL), me and Dass, Whittaker and Rathnayaka, and the ap's Rajah and Hormon.  its cool.  we actually do stuff on p-days and throughout the week. 
     we had a baptism on saturday.  thats what i like to see.  it was this lady named Christine.  she is mostly deaf and mostly blind and cannot talk.  ha i don't know how they taught her. Dass learned a little bit of sign language.  ha the baptism went pretty well.  this week i've eaten dinner at about 5 member's houses, and gone to 2 parties.  we went caroling with a few white families and i've recieved numerous christmas presents.  ha oh man you've gotta love christmas in singapore.
     during the week before i moved here, Kelly, Ulrich, Dass, and Martin worked on translating like 30 hymns into malay and singing and recording them onto a cd and typing up the words in a booklet to give a cd and booklet to every member family in malaysia.  this last week we assembled everything and got it ready to ship.  it took a while.  next month president clark wants us to translate selected primary songs as well.  so that takes up some time.
     there's not a whole lot of investigators here but we do have a few.  there are so many different people and backgrounds here.  everyone is pretty set in their ways that i try to contact.  ha but the work rolls forward.  the city is awesome.  there is all of the american commodities and more.  lots of good food.  from american fast food to asian cuisine.  its pretty cool.  there's a lot of electronic stuff.  all the top name brand kinds of stores.  its sweet.  the main shopping district is centered on Orchard Road.  it is comparable to times square in New York i hear.  so that's pretty cool.
     Dass is pretty cool. so far so good.  he was born in the UK near to scotland.  his mom is half indian half english. his dad is full indian.  he moved to malaysia like six years ago.  now his family lives in KL.  his parents were converted when he was young or maybe before he was born.  he's great and english and malay.  he has a funny accent because it's indian and british.  i have to ask him to repeat a lot of stuff because i just don't understand.  ha ha buts it's nice that he speaks malay a lot.
     the other day we were at a member's house for dinner.  their kids are mostly grown up like upper teens low 20's.  there were a bunch of elders.  after dinner the mom told everyone to pull out their scriptures.  5 iPhones came out!  everyone used the scripture app.  ha ha only in Singapore.
     well that's all for today.  i'll let you know about skype.  but i think it'll be easier to call.  i'll call you first around 7PM there sunday night.  then you can call me back. i can't wait to talk to you.  i don't know if i'll have anything to say though ha ha.  Merry Christmas.  hope its a good one even with a married daughter and a son in a far off land.  the church is still true.  i'm so glad you guys are active members.  you don't realize it but you change so many lives.  so keep it up.  jump lagi!
elder petersen 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bittersweet Transfer

merry christmas!
     man i don't even know where to begin this email.  a lot happened this week.  the biggest thing would have to be that on friday morning i got a call from the zone leaders that i was being singapore.... i had mixed feelings for sure.  i was happy to finally move, i was disappointed to go to singapore where i couldn't speak malay, i was really sad to leave my recent converts, and my future companion was not looking good.  shoot.  
     so friday saturday sunday and monday we went to many people's houses.  we went and saw all of my recent converts, we saw most members, we went to a buddhist temple, we ate at all of our favorite places and went to all of our good investigators.  so it was pretty busy

     i never thought i would be so emotional for a transfer but i tell you what, it was tough.  

     the hardest one was to say goodbye to Ning and his family.  they were basically like family to me.  i met them clear back in june and have been really good friends ever since.  almost all of our other baptisms and success have stemmed off of them and their referrals.  when i told them i was going it was tough not to cry.  i just tried to tell them thanks and how much fun i had with them and how much malay i learned from them and how much they've strengthened the branch.  i was really crying.  ha ha embarassing.  that was on friday. on saturday rayne called.  she's the oldest daughter, like 17.  she was crying.  ha ha she's like why do you have to go and all this stuff.  i don't think she ever 'liked me' like had a crush on me but she was dying.  then i talked to rinijah, like 10.  she was crying.  they said there mom was crying too so i talked to her.  ha ha they were all crying.  i asked if the boys were crying and they said no but they're sad.  so they talked me into coming over to their house for one more evening.  
     sunday was pretty tough too.  we, i got up and bore my testimony.  all the members make fun of you if you cry so i didn't really cry.  but i couldn't look at rayne or rinijah cause i knew it would make me sad.  ha ha.  dang, well looking back on it i don't know why i was so sad.  i can't tell you how much they've helped me and the branch.  it just can't be measured.  also i've just really really seen their faith grow you know?  man being in one area for so long just really kills you.  you get too attatched to these people.  but i guess that's a good problem to have.  on sunday we ate at three different houses.  sister doris cooked so good for us.  i'll send you a picture.  her family was so good to us.  on monday we ate dinner at two houses.  gotta love the members.  
     recap of sandakan: i loved it!!!! oh man it's gotta be the best area in the mission.  the worst part about it is that there are only two elders so it gets boring and you can't cover so much of the city.  it was so fun.  me and elder carter worked hard and me and elder garrett reaped the rewards. we had a lot of fun.  what a great place to start the mission.  really good people, really good malay, really good experiences.
     so now i sit in the big city.  on tuesday i got to travel all day alone.  wow that was sweet.  i got to the mission office around 6:30 pm.  elder dass met me there.  he's my knew comp.  his name is pronounced like doss, ryhmes with boss.  he was born in KL.  he's indian.  he lived in england for a while.  that's all i know.  his malay is of course really good and his english is good and he speaks tamil.  anyway i met him at the mission office and we had to go out because we had a dinner appointment.  he seemed pretty cool actually.  he's pretty nice.  he speaks malay a lot so i don't think i'll forget it all.  he seems like he works hard. and he doesn't seem to strict on the rules.  i could see it going both ways but i'm going to be positive.  well our dinner was so good.  we cover the expatriate ward.  so if any white people live in singapore they go to our ward.  its cool.  that means we get a lot of dinner appointments.  oh yeah!  also that means christmas will be good.  also this is the best time of year to be in singapore,  there are christmas decorations everywhere and right now i'm listening to mariah carey christmas music in the mall.  also chinese new year is right around the corner.  its huge in singapore.  i'm pretty excited.  so singapore is looking good.  i'm hopeful.  i don't want to be here for 7 months but i don't think i'll have a choice.  its a far cry from sandakan east malaysia.  but i think i'll like it.  plus there's like 8 elders here. that's good.
    today we went to the singapore zoo.  it was a lot of fun. i don't really know my schedule for the next little while.  i will let you know next week when i will call you.  probably monday the 27th here  so that'll be sunday night there.  i have to check with elder dass.  i hope you are having fun at home.  an elder's family came here to pick him up.  the skanchy's.  they might email you.  they went to the zoo with us.  it made me miss you guys.  ha ha we've had fun at the zoo before like in seattle.  anyways i can't wait to talk to you.  i hope it snows there..and here. say merry christmas to the ward!
elder petersen

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Simple Prayers, Pondan Trash

hello family!
     i ran out of common malaysian greetings.  your email is comical.  wait a second i want to be involved in the gift exchange!  tell me who i have to buy for.  ha ha that's comforting that there's still a lot of drama at home.  ha ha.  it makes me laugh but then again i am not there.  oh man i think utah might lose to boise st.  dang. where is tcu playing?  how are the jazz doing?  ah now i understand what you meant about the left shoulder thing.  yeah there's usually only like 5 of us max to do anything so the right shoulder is pretty natural.  another "myth" i heard in the mtc is that a sister should say the opening prayer and a priesthood holder should say the closing prayer.  ha i haven't brought that one up with my opposition here.  we've got a "problem" with the white shirt thing.  i mean its not a problem but most people don't where white shirts and ties.  a lot do but a lot just can't really afford it.  the weilands have done a good job of buying some cheap white shirts and they also have a rack of ties.  in fact a lot of people wear jeans and a nice shirt to church.  it can be the nicest clothes they have.  it may not be a skirt and blouse but they make sure to always be very clean.  ha yeah i can imagine you being quick to anger only because of me.  elder garrett always makes fun of me because i am impatient and get mad quickly in some situations.  oh well.  i usually have good reason for it.  its been my goal lately to not get angry but sometimes i just can't help it.  sounds like you still got the best work parties around.
     i got transferred!!!  oh wait no i didn't.  i'm still in sandakan.  iha i heard that i won't get transfered until march 2012, when i go home.  i'm going to live the one area mission just like in the good ol days.  i can't remember if i told you about the pondans or not.  i'm not sure if that is how you spell it.  pondan means like gay or someone who cross dresses.  its terrible.  its funny actually but its creepy.  sandakan has a lot of pondans.  you see a girl walking ahead of you.  you think to yourself they look kind of manly.  then they turn around and give you a creepy smile and a wave. ahhhhh!!!!!! ha its scary.  its so scary when they look pretty girly but then they say hello in a deep voice.  ha ha it reminds me of brian regean, excuse me sir? MAM! ha ha anyways its creepy. they are so dumb and they usually travel in packs of three or four.  thats enough about this.  another thing that i know i've said before is about the garbage.  in malaysia there is garbage everywhere.  no body thinks twice about throwing a plastic bag or a bottle on the ground.  i admit i am also guilty of this. :(  don't tell delose or the highlanders.  elder tovar told me its ok as long as you say Satu Malaysia! when you throw it.  that means one malaysia and its something they always say here!!
     yesterday i was watching the saturday morning session of general conference.  i don't know if you saw it all because its the first one.  the first speaker after president monson is elder holland.  you've got to go online and watch his talk.  it was so good.  i seriously almost cried.  it just helped me realize how much i missed you guys and am thankful for all you do for me.  so thank you! i love you.  one question for you daddio.  we have an investigator named freddy.  he is the bomb.  he really knows the new testiment.  he has basically accepted every doctrine and commandment we've taught him.  he loves the book of mormon. and even bought the new translation of the triple in indo. he started coming to church regularly.  he prays all the time.  we don't really know what his deal is.  he just said he hasn't recieved an answer to his prayers.  anyway thats his background.  the other day we were teaching in depth about lesson 2.  our doctrine about adam and eve was new to him but he accepted it.  but he asked why they had a commandment to have kids before the fall but we teach they couldn't have kids.  i told him what i thought and know but i couldn't find a good scripture to back it up.  what do you think?  if you think of anything profound email the weilands so i can get it earlier.
Trevor, Joshua, Kwong, Elder Garret

  saturday we had a baptism!!  his name is Kwong and also his son Joshua.  this is jessica's husband who was baptized a few weeks ago.  he just wasn't baptized yet because he could never meet with us to learn and he hadn't been to church very much, the son followed.  

Kwong's Family

its so awesome that we got them all.  Jessica, Kwong, Joshua, Mery jean, and Ling Ling.  

they have more kids below 8.  what a great family.  he is chinese and goes by Kong, or King Kong.  he was buddhist when we first met.  he knew nothing about Jesus Christ really.  he came to church once and during someone's talk, i think pres w, he just turned to his wife and said i know this is true.  i want to join this church.  ever since then he learned fast and accepted everything we taught.  now his family is all baptized and very happy.  he doesn't understand everything and is still learning but he has a testimony of Christ.  Awesome!
Joshua, Kwong
  one last highlight.  this actually just happend yesterday.  we went and had a recent convert lesson with Ning and his family.  i love them.  they've helped me so much and just been a huge blessing to this area.  they've been having a lot of troubles lately with their old church, St. Michel's anglican church.  that church owns their house actually.  they let them live there for free.  we knew this problem would eventually arise.  st michels gave them a lot of anti mormon crap and also told them if they kept going to our church they would be kicked out of the house.  that's 8 people without a house.  so during the last four weeks they haven't really come.  they went to Kampung a few times which i guess is better than st michels.  yesterday we had a lesson about coming to church.  it wasn't anything outstanding but i really felt the spirit.  i expected the worst like if they might tell us they're never coming back to our church.  quite the opposite actually.  they said they might not be able to come this sunday but they understood the importance.  i wasn't sure we made a whole lot of progress.  we asked Ning, the father, to say the closing prayer.  i've only heard him pray one or maybe two other times.  last time he prayed wrong but it was good he was still learning.  the prayer he said was great.  everyone was actually quiet and focused.  he did it exactly right.  it was heartfelt and honest.  i don't want to go into detail but the things he said let me know that he trusted God and just wants to help his family.  i honestly started to cry a little.  just because i've seen how much this man's faith has grown.  it's so cool.  i can't describe in words what i felt but the power of prayer is amazing.  the closing prayer was the best part of that lesson. 
     man this letter ended up pretty long. alright i'll talk to you next week.  next week i'll probably tell you whats up with me calling you on christmas.  i don't really know how it works yet.  can you send me a picture of ben lomond or something covered in snow, or snow in the yard.  i want to show malaysians what snow looks like.  i love you.  watch that talk.  say hi to everybody.  bertahan sampai akhir!
elder petersen

Thursday, December 2, 2010

KL, Thanksgiving & School Rules

 you ok!?(common greeting said by pretty much every punk we walk past with the hand in the thumbs up position)
     well well its things sound great at home.  it makes me a little trunky that you guys are having so much fun.  after church sunday we went to the weilands for dinner.  that's when i got the big news.  oh man GO UTES!! that was so awesome.  ha it sounds like they played terrible at first.  dang that would have been so exciting to watch.  oh man so trunky.  ah that's interesting what you say about the right hand deal.  i mean it is kind of logical that you might use your right hand but i wouldn't say it's required.  i had elder garrett read what you wrote me and he's not convinced.  he just said it was dumb that you guys took it to the extreme by saying well should they prepare and bless with their right hand?  ha ha i think that's a great argument.  i don't think i'll be able to change any minds, everyone is pretty hard headed, but at least i'm convinced.  i don't get what you're saying about the blessing thing.  aren't you supposed to do it with the right hand on the head and the left hand on the shoulder?  here's one, does it matter if the person that is actually giving the blessing is on the very bottom.  that's how they always do it and sometimes it's awkward waiting for them to put their hands up there. christmas isn't so big no.  there's a huge muslim holiday called hari raya.  that's there biggest deal here.  christmas is celebrated by the christians and chinese though.  a few stores have christmas signs.  i don't think a lot of people can afford santa to come if you know what i'm saying.  so its pretty small here.  black friday sounded fun.  i've always been interested to know how it really is.  so what did you buy? anything sweet?  atta boy oskar.  you done me proud.  don't let your head get big.
     right now i am back in sandakan.  it feels like home to be back.  did you know i've almost been here for 7 months! holy cow.  we got back from KL this morning.  that's why i didn't email you yesterday.  we didn't get a p day in KL.  the trainings went pretty good.  it is very repetitive by now but its still good stuff.  that was the last training for a while i believe.  it was good to see all of the elders.  ha ha man there are some funny guys.  i mostly was with my mtc group, tovar and thurmanwe went to burger king and carl's jr and chili's so yeah KL was a success.
     what is the wilkins address? i want to send a little something something.  i've seen those lyrics before to men of harlich but they are different.  try to get from mr delose.  thanks though. 

Footpath mid construction
you saw that footpath huh?  it's pretty dang lame.  ha ha oh man a lot of work and not a lot of pay off.  i don't think it will really be used and i don't think it will really help anybody become super healthy.  whatever.  the wielands made us a thanksgiving feast!  it wasn't the same as being home.  it sounds like thanksgiving was kind of a small deal at home this year.  i guess without me you guys are just all lost.  
Up close look

oh i was going to tell you about the schools here.  they're messed up.  most people go to private schools.  that's more of the norm.  there's government schools but they are mostly muslim and i think they have big disadvantages.  their school year goes from january to november so they are all on break right now. they have grade 1-6 like in america then they have form 1-6 like US grade 7-12.  after form 5 you choose whether or not you want to go to form 6.  there's no advantage to graduate really unless you're rich.  there's no advantage for most jobs here to go to a university.  it doesn't change your pay and its a big hassle.  ha so a lot of students have no motivation.  it's totally different than america.  also because it is a muslim nation they have to learn a lot about the muslim religion.  they totally hate christians.  like some of our investigators say "my teacher said that there's not enough room for everyone so only muslims go to heaven and all christians go to hell, is this true?" ha we're like no!  anyways its an interesting country.
     that's almost it for this week.  it was fairly uneventfull.  a big chunk of it was taken up at KL.  if i don't get transferred on the 14th of this month then i probably won't get transferred until late january.  ha ha i want to get out of here.  i love it here but i feel like i'm getting kind of lazy.  i'm losing my sandakan motivation.  i talk to a lot of my friends and they are like on a regular 6 week transfer cylce and stuff.  like they say "i'm with my 4th companion and we're in our third transfer cycle" or something.  ha i'm just like oh yeah i'm in my first area with my second companion.  we don't have any cycles.  i'm here until somebody leaves.  ha ha this mission is crazy.  did you get that email about elder schone?  pretty crazy.  he's recovering  but still in bad shape.  i'll keep working hard till i leave this place.  i got your christmas package.  it's awesome.  thanks.  merry christmas! we got a small tree up in the house.  ha next week we might decorate a little.  alright don't miss me too much this holiday season.  i'll be back before you know it.  i love you! 
elder petersen

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wedding Cheers & Steamboat Chow

where are you (a common greeting by the local ruffians haha)
     so did the storm hit!  it sounds like it was something from a movie, like from the 'day after tomorrow' or something.  are you all alright? oh man that game sounded awesome!  at a boy oskar, believe!  i miss those intense gut-wrenching-palm-sweating-roller-coaster-of-emotions-come-out-on-top games.  they are the best.  but when you lose, oh man you are sad.  i've got high hopes for utah next week most because it is at rice eccles stadium.  if they win, email the weilands to tell me.  if they lose i'll see next week.  ha ha carter kids, ha ha byu fans.  ha ha that was the best part.  yeah singapore is a blast everytime.  its a money drainer though.  the exchange rate isn't very good from ringget to singapore dollar.  so it takes a hit into our monthly support.  yeah they drive on the left there and also here in malaysia.  sweet jaynanne.  going to the dances! tell me about it.  dad dustin randall is travis randall's little brother.  remember him from our basketball team in 6th grade? that funny big kid?! ha hafor christmas i suggest you all donate all of your belongings, except for two outfits a blanket and some meager food, to charity. that would be what i would do if i was there this year.  but it's your descision.  thanks for my totals.  it seemed like it was a little more before, oh well.  keep it how it is.  say hi to wendy wilkins for me.  actually send me their address.  i have some post cards but i don't know who to send them too.  what great people!

     this week was a little cut into because of our trip to Singapore but there is still stuff to tell you.  first of all i can't remember if i've told you some of the things that are different than america, but i've just gotten used to them.  you've got to ask me questions so i can remember.  for example: crossing the roads.  ha there is no such thing as a cross walk or a little walking man at the traffic lights.  it's every man for himself!  it was especially hard when i first got here because i wasn't sure to look left or right because they were on the wrong side of the road.  you've just got to time it and the shoot the gap!  its like real life frogger!  maybe i should have played more frogger before the mission.    another thing is that every road has a median.  maybe a few only don't.  so when you turn on to a road you only have one option.  every road is one way until you get to a roundabout or a u turn spot.  interesting.  they only have 3 tv channels if they use an antenna only.  most people have rabbit ears.  the rich have astro satelite tv.  but the people we teach only have the three stations.  tv1 tv2 and tv3.  ha we've come to know a few of the programs because some of our investigators are devoted soap opera fans.  and each channel has a catchy jingle for their station.  ha ha oh malaysia.

     i have a question for you daddio.  at church some of the members were laughing because one of the deacons kept switching what hand he passed with.  they said we should all pass with the right hand and take with the right hand.  their reasoning made sense but is it true?  i was the only one who said it wasn't true.  i got a lot of grief.  i told them to show me where in the D&C it said it.  i told them to find instruction from a prophet or find it in the handbook.  i still haven't seen any proof.  it seems like if that was true that they would reiterate it over and over when i was in deacons quorum or it would be something we told our investigators.   i've never heard anyone say that.  let me know.

     the work here is progressing like usual.  we just recieved a great referral family of filipino's from Jessica.  they are really nice and have a bunch of kids with 2 over eight.  near to jessica's house last sunday there was a big wedding.  we were going to go teach jessica's husband but there was just way too much noise.  they wedding was on this big platform above the trashy water and they had a live band.  so we just visited and watched the wedding.  anybody can go up to congratulate the couple and get your picture with them.  so we went up.  ha when we got to the front there, everyone started clapping and cheering.  i'm telling you i'm a celebrity here in malaysia.  just because i'm white.  but we congratulated them and got a picture.  

they were very nice.  i'll send you a picture next week.  never again in my life probably will i be able to just stand up and recieve tons of applause.  i love it :)

     the last thing i wanted to tell you about was the steamboat!  it was two weeks ago.  there are these restaraunts with this thing called a steamboat.  it is awesome!  we found this one restaraunt on top of a 'mountain' overlooking the sandakan bay.  it's 25 ringget and it's all you can eat.  they put a burner on your table with a pot of soup stuff.  then they have this big table of raw meat.  you just cook and eat as much as you want.  we mostly concentrated on the beef and chicken.  after we were stuffed we ate prawn and crab also.  they have a broad range of seafood.  it was so so good.  we just sat on this table overlooking the town and pigged out.  it will be a repeat for sure.  also, they had bottomless ice cream and rice and soft drinksbut like i said we focused on the beef and chicken. 
  things are going great here.  next monday we go to KL for another mission training.  i don't think we'll have p-day on wednesday.  my email might come later.  it should be fun.  the church here is doing well.  we are aiming for high attendence to the christmas social and sacrement meeting.  let me know how thanksgiving goes.  say hi to everybody.  pray for the utes. kebenaran akan mengatasi!
elder petersen

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Baptisms 4 weeks in a row...Rock on Sandakan!

Ronny Ning, Sujira, Elexson, Christoper, Surima
onuabar! (hello in bahasa sungai (river people language) a minor language in sandakan)

     oh man so much to say and so little time.  i want to respond to your emails but i can't remember everything you've said.  lets see...that sucks that utah lost. oh well. go jazz! snicket sounds cool.  jonathan being baptized is awesome. yeah we got new manuals i think. yeah i got janets email.  that was cool.  oskar don't cry over spilt milk.  ha i didn't even play basketball when i was your age and i turned out pretty good.  oh wait yeah i did.  ha ha.  james is the man.  i'm excited for him. 
Ronny Ning, Sufira, Elexson, Christoper, Surima

     so right now i'm in singapore.  this letter is going to be short probably.  that's what i say every time.  last week we had four baptisms!  rock on sandakan.  
there was surima and her three kids christoper elexson and sujira.  they are pretty cool.  they are also a referral from the ning family.  the baptism went very well.  their cousin and recent convert of 17 ronny ning baptized them.  he was pro.  i conducted.  i was able to confirm christoper on sunday.  the dad was right on track to be baptized but he can't quite kick smoking.  when we met him he was at 17ish a day.  he's dropped down to 5 so that's pretty good.  he also got a job where is away from home for like 19 or 20 hours a day.  ha susah. don't worry he'll make it.  
Sujira, Elexson, Christpoer, Surima

so this rounds of my recent converts at 21, but who's counting right.  wow have i been blessed.  when i got into sandakan it was dead.  there hadn't been a baptism in a year.  we went to the right places and met the right people and now wow look at the results.  its awesome.  we have had a baptism every saturday for 4 weeks in a row.  i hope to match this pace again later on my mission.  that would be so cool.  we're not going to be having any baptisms for a few weeks but there is some on the horizon.  don't fret.  we had this tradition where the saturday after the baptism we ordered pizza.  so for 4 weeks in a row we got two regular hawaiian chicken pizzas.  i'll miss that this weekend.
right now i'm in singapore.  its huge!  its a sweet place but i don't know if i could serve here.  there are a lot of people.  we're having some fun right now.  there's a good group of guys doing visa runs this week.  in two weeks we should be going to KL another training. well i'm out of time.  i have to go but keep up the faith.  send me a christmas package cepat!  i don't know what i want.  maybe some mac and cheese.  maybe just some money so i can buy a cool souvenier.  hey dad did you check my accounts.  i want to know.  i love you! don't fight.  read the scriptures. do whats right.  saya paling baik!

elder petersen

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Food for Thought

     i don't know what to write this week.  it might be short.  that is tragic about the utes.  oh well. life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone...ahem sorry.  a puppy!? i always wanted a puppy. i see how it is.  tell grandma i say hello and wish her well.  how cold is it?  man it is so hot here.  i am sitting inside and my back is just all sweaty.  it never changes here.  ha ha its either hot, or hot with rain.  i miss the good ol fast and testimony meetings.  i thought the stowers were moving a long time ago?  did you tell elder cherrington about me?  i wish i could meet him.  he sounds really nice. a volcano in indonesia huh?  we are still untouched in malaysia.  always safe. 
     well i got transferred... ha no just kidding.  i'm still in sandakan.  don't worry i'll be here a while.  i think that i will probably just be here for the full 2 years.  but seriously.  i really like it here but its time for a change.  i want to leave.  i like the people and the language is really good here. but you can only handle the same annoying branch members for so long.  i need something new.  a few people will be transferred next week but the next big transfer is in december.  i'll let you know if anything every happens.
     so the news of the week is that we had another baptism!  whooa baby! rock on sandakan.
Junatan, Elder Garret, Jessica, Mary Jean, Ling Ling,Trevor
Jessica's family was baptized.  three people got baptized.  jessica, her 11 year old daughter mary jean and an 8 year old Ling Ling.  she has four other kids that are younger than eight and are all awesome.  she also has a 12 year old but he hasn't really come to church yet. and the husband is in the works.  the goal is that the 12 year old son and the husband get baptized on the same day in a few weeks.  these guys are the cousin referral from a less active family of our branch.  the week before we went to singapore in august there was that one funeral.  i don't know if you remember me telling you about how i helped dedicate that grave.  well the first day elder garrett was in sandakan we met this family for a post funeral traditional thing.  we've been teaching them ever since.  they are really awesome.  they live out on a water kampung(village).  pretty darn poor.  very very smart.  i think i told you about the little girl Ling Ling already.  like 2 months ago she said the closing prayer in one of our meetings.  it was so good and so cute.  oh man it melts your heart.  actually mom, monday we visited them and mary jean prayed specifically that you would be healthy.  it was thoughtful.  the baptism went well.  
Junatan, Jessica, Mary Jean, Ling Ling, Trevor
we had their cousin junatan baptize the mom and i baptized the two girls.  i'll be honest, they love me.  ha ha they are just so funny.  we really like them.  maybe i'll send you a picture.  so that puts the total up to 17 i believe, of people i've baptized.  i've just been so blessed to meet all these people.  we are having another baptism this weekend. oh yeah! rock on sandakan.
     these last few days have been not so good as far as food goes.  it really is more of a burden than anything to eat.  i'm sick of the same thing every day.  i'm sick of rice 2 times a day every day.  i like the food but its just monotonous.  the only thing that keeps me going is the burger stands at night and kfc's cheesy wedges.  every p-day we go and get kfc.  i get the same thing every week.  the zinger combo with strawberry miranda and another large cheesy wedge.  its good.  but like i said, these last few weeks haven't been so good.  we were fed some gross stuff.  it started on sunday.  every sunday we eat at the wielands for lunch and have a meeting.  usually its alright.  its not near as good as mom's food.  she always tries "new" stuff.  this last sunday we had steamed fish and steamed chicken and rice and steamed gross malaysian sweet potato and pumpkin.  and she gave us this nasty drink.  it was berdongdong or something.  i'd never heard of it.  it was a thick drink.  it was just blended and it had all this stringy junk.  i basically had to chew my "fruit juice".  that night we went to visit a recent convert.  they fed us even though we said "no no we're just here to say hello, we already ate".  they fed us rice (of course) with burned lean chicken and hard pork.  ha ha i of course ate it with a smile.  and last, we're fed noodles pretty often.  last night we had them again.  it was nasty.  i never have liked their noodles.  ha ha i can't describe it but its no good.  i seriously want to puke sometimes when i eat the noodles.  i just put on a bunch of chili sauce or drink a lot of juice.  so that's the three experiences in the last three days.  now don't get me wrong, i'm thankful that the wielands cook for us, and i'm thankful that our recent converts give us some of their scanty supply, but its nasty.  ha ha of course i'll keep eating it but its only getting worse.  usually after one of them feeds us we go and find a burger stand.  i'd be a gonner without those romli burgers.
     well sorry but that's about it for this week.  no huge spiritual experiences.  no huge new news.  just same old same old.  i'm still alive. i've had the flu lately but its not so bad.  just a headache and runny nose.  next week we go to singapore for a visa run!  that'll be a nice break. i can't believe i've already been with elder garrett for 3 months.  these last three months flew by.  things are going good here.  i love the work and i love the people.  the language is great.  i'll email you next week from the big city. sampai minggu depan!
elder petersen

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy Halloween in Sandakan

helo keluarga saya!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY OSKAR!!  man how old is that kid.  i'm going to send you something soon but i haven't yet because i've been really busy.  but don't worry oskar i will...eventually!(name that movie)  p-day is always a highlight of the week.  i love hearing the news from home.  GO UTES!!!  oh man they better pull it together for tcu.  that is going to be an awesome game.  maybe i'll be able to watch it somehow.  it'll be one of those tender mercies of the Lord.  don't worry dad i'll be praying for them, and i'll make elder garrett also, and maybe our recent converts.  keep me updated on the status of the nation.  the elections are very interesting.  everytime someone her says obama! to us, i boo.  ha ha maybe they'll catch on.  dad maybe you should be president.  actually the other day me and elder garrett were talking about what you said.  we were talking about why everyone hates america.  america is the place.  without us the world would be in chaos.  we settled that they hate because its the promised land.  hopefully our next president realizes that.  hey speaking of that little british outpost in zulu...send me the men of harlech lyrics!!  i've asked like 10 times.  to answer your question there are a lot of good singers in our branch.  there is a lot of natural musical talent in malaysia.  the three of our piano players can't read music but they play the hymns by hearing the notes and man they're good.  they can also sing.  i guess sister ______ just drowns them out haha.  i don't know why a lot of people have western names.  i'd say its mostly the chinese or the filipino.  they have long chinese names but they go by a christian western name.  i guess the world's just getting westernized.  our native malaysian investigators and members and old members all have weird names like rinijah sujira enol surima jumrah tingak jasli. its interesting.  this place is a mix of cultures.
Jumrah and Children
     this week was awesome like usual.  first of all we had a baptism of Jumrah and her family.  

Jumrah is the mother.  her and her husband have a 19 year old boy 17 year old girl 12 year old boy and 8 year old boy.  the mom, girl, and two boys were baptized.  this family is the cousins of our recent converts the Nings.  she's really an awesome lady. 

it's sad that the husband didn't get baptized. i don't know if he ever will.  he's super super lazy.  he is always asking us for money.  he actually told us that he would come to church if the church would pay half of his house payment. ha ha ha.  oh man we almost just laughed in his face.  he sits home every day.  he doesn't work and he doesn't want to find work.  and the big problem is that he smokes like 20+ a day.  every time we ask him if he's cut back he says yes yes, and then proceeds to smoke 2 or 3 during our lesson.  ha ha he's a joke.  but he gives us a laugh.  i won't forget about him.  anyways the mother and the three kids are really really nice.  they are solid.  the mom can't read but she told us that if she could read that she would read the whole Book of Mormon in one day, that she wouldn't sleep till she finished.  that's pretty easy to say when it can't be tested i guess but she is solid.  the 17 year old daughter is pretty good.  my fear is that she likes the church because me and elder garrett are so funny and awesome and good looking.  i can see her going back to st micheals but hopefully not.  i can tell she's gaining a good testimony.  she even showed a lot of interest in next years youth temple trip.  so they're great.  we were blessed to teach them.  like i said they are a referral from the ning's.  this upcoming week we have another baptism.  i'll tell you about them next week. they're a bunch of cute little kids.
     last week we lost a faithful saint.  it's going to hurt the branch but hopefully we'll get blessed because of him.  last friday torch tabiar went to the manilla mtc and in a few weeks he will enter the singapore mission.  he's so awesome.  he was the branch mission leader and the pianist and taught gospel principles. we'll miss him.  he was a funny guy.  when i first got to sandakan he barely knew english and was having a hard time getting his papers in for some reason.  his family is dirt poor and his mom had cancer or something.  president wieland worked a lot with him to get his papers in and he paid for a lot of his stuff.  also his english is getting pretty good.  he's going to be a good missionary and his family can only be blessed from this.  well on wednesday he had a farewell kind of party at the church.  a lot of members came and also some investigators that knew him.  we sang a few songs and then had like a testimony meeting thing.  his younger brother and sister are members.  they are not as active of members as they used to be.  the three of them are really close.  niether lina or jeffery could get through it without crying.  i almost cried to ya know.  it pulls at your heart strings.  they aren't going to see this huge role model in their lives for two years.  i'm pretty sure he supported the family at least in part with his job.  i started thinking of when i left the mission and how much i knew i'd miss you guys.  i also thought of what it would be like to come home in two years.  i started getting emotional.  i almost started crying, not because i was happy or sad but because i just know that you guys love me and i love you too.  just thinking that made me feel really really good.  oh man trunky thoughts.  so just so you know, i love you!!!

       well halloween almost went unnoticed here in sandakan.  good thing we were here.  we still celebrated it.  we looked hi and low and eventually found pumpkins.  they weren't your average american bright orange pumpkin but they were pumpkins.  on sunday night we took the four pumpkins to the ning's house.  it was a blast.  at first they were pretty confused.  they didnt' catch the vision at first.  but they had fun cleaning out the inside.  after they knew we were carving faces into the front they got even more into it.  we brought four pumpkins so that me and garrett could have our own then the boys could share one and the girls could share one.  it ended up like this somehow: garrett had his own, ronny had his own, rayne had her own, and i had to share with the two little kids.  ha ha oh well they are the coolest kids.  needless to say we kept it simple.  triangle eyes with a big nose and a big mouth with one tooth in the middle(the tooth was rinijah's idea).  

it was a lot of fun.  they took a lot of pictures on their phones.  they were pretty proud of their handy work.  so halloween lives on in malaysia!!

     that's all this week.  i have some pictures to send you.  i'm not sure what our time difference will be after daylight savings time changes you.  oh well.  dad will you check and tell me how much money i have in each of my accounts.  and if that one is still making a ton of interest?  i took money out once and it seemed low.  keep an eye on my money!  and keep me in the know about UTAH and about the elections. i heard there was a terrorist attack on a bunch of catholic followers by al quieda.  i don't know really.  alright peace out. i love you!  saya tahu bahawa gereja ini benar!
elder petersen

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sing Until Your Heart's Content

hello friend!  what is your name! (the standard english greeting people yell at us all day long)
     Thank you for all of your emails.  they are awesome.  it sounds like you had an awesome stake conference weekend.  that is so so so so cool that james got his mission call. tell him congrats for me.  he's going to be really awesome. 

     i'm sorry this letter is coming late.  we spent the morning at a zoo, well i wouldn't call it a zoo but thats what the sign said.  ha it cost 3 ringgit to get in, the price should tell you the quality.  it was pretty cool.  they had a lot of monkeys and fish and birds and thats about it. i'll send you a picture maybe.  Torch is leaving for the mtc on friday so yesterday and today we've been going around with him.  we had fun.  tonight he is having a farewell party.

     this week i just have a lot of random stuff to tell you about.  first of all we had a baptism on saturday!!!  her name is kimberly.  she is 13.  her mom is a long time member and a long time inactive.  kimberly has a lot of friends at the church so she enjoys coming and learning.  it was a frustrating baptism though.  she needed a ride to the church.  it started at 7 so president and sister wieland went up to her house around 6.  all the people in the house said that the mom, lilybeth, wasn't home.  so sister wieland said she'd sit there and wait because lilybeth would have to come home eventually.  president took kimberly to the church so that she could get ready and change clothes.  well after a while, maybe like 40 min, i'm not really sure what happened but kimberly and president went back up the house.  sister wieland was still waiting.  the secret got out that lilybeth was hiding in her room that whole time.  sister wieland went in and forced her out and told her that she must support her daughter.  apparently kimberly and lilybeth also had a yelling match.  meanwhile i was sitting at the church this whole time waiting and getting impatient because they were late.  kimberly came in tears.  i was confused.  the young women did good at supporting her.  the baptism went on.  it was a happy occasion.  needless to say, lilybeth didn't come to the confirmation the next day.  this upcoming saturday we are having another baptism. i'll tell you about them next week. 

     after church on sunday we were waiting for president wieland.  it was us and some youth and some of the ning family.  i taught them 'go fish'.  they loved it.  i've played it like 6 times since sunday.  ha ha i guess its simple enough that they understand and anybody could win, even the little guy.  it was hard to explain actually.  i finally got them to say 'go fish' in english if they didn't have the card.  they like it. 

     i wanted to tell you about this one lady.  sister _______.  she's pretty cool.  ha ha but she sings pretty bad.  well its not too bad but its high pitched and super loud.  any song we sing, you can hear sister _______ belting it out.  elder garrett's theory is that she is a long time member and wants everyone else to know that she knows these english songs.  on sunday i led the congregation in the rest hymn, called to serve, in indonesian.  we recently got these indonesian hymn books.  we still sing three songs in english but we are trying the rest hymn in indo.  its hard to get sometimes because of the syllables and they don't all know the tune.  so i was in the front trying to lead it.  it was going good except for sister _______.  she was belting it out in her high pitched tone in english.  i was so ticked.  she doesn't want to sing indo. she could at least sing quiet or hum.  maybe after i get transferred i'll look back and this will be funny but right now she's bugging me.

     if someone says good morning or says how are you at the pulpit then the crowd all responds.  its cool.  different then in america.
     there is this one word i want to explain.  it will be hard.  it is so weird.  the word is 'anu'.  it has no meaning.  it is like saying hmmm or uh.  everyone uses it.  for example "do you know anu?"  and then i'm like who? and they say "you know, anu.  they live in anu"  ha ha i laugh every time.  they think i can read their mind or something.  this is only a sabah thing.  there are some words and what not that are only used in sabah and this is one of them.  i'm not doing it justice for you but trust me its funny.

     when people see white people they usually throw out a white or american reference.  for example they say obama! or a movie star.  i get a certain one where ever i go.  without fail.  every person i've met has called me this character.  its not even a cool guy. bean.  ha ha ha oh so many i'm sick of it.  they all say Mr. Bean!  or i pull a face and they laugh and say oh like mr bean.  ha ha there is no similarties between me and him.  elder garrett laughs every time.  malaysians...

    i told you i had some random things.  don't worry there'll be more later.  and don't worry i'm still having plenty of sweet spiritual experiences.  i  just didn't write any this week.  for example yesterday we had a really good lesson with freddy.  oh man i felt the spirit.  i hope things go good this next week for you.  good luck with observing the sabbath better.  say hi to the ward.  i'm counting down the days until i can call you.  haha i know its still a while away but it'll be here before you know it. anyways peace out girl scouts
elder petersen