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.  its....mr 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 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Building Homes

oh man i love p-day.
i don't have a whole lot to say, not like last week.  this week was pretty good.  the rest of the training was pretty good.  i had a lot of fun in KL.  it was really really fun to see those elders again.  we played this one card game called "presidents" that i am going to have to tell you about.  its kind of like scum.  ha ha anyways yeah i learned a lot.  the training was the exact same as in singapore.  to answer dad's question kl is interesting.  it is very modern but at the same time it is still malaysia.  not even close to as modern as singapore that's for sure.  they have a good train and subway and bus system.  and they have big malls and what not.  but there is still tons of like cheap restaurants and markets and local kind of niches.  its pretty cool.  but i wouldn't want to serve there.  too big.  i'm a fan of the small city.  sandakan is so awesome. 
     we got home on friday night and went to work saturday morning.  we tried to see as many people as possible saturday because we didn't see a lot of people for a whole week. plus it was an important day because a few key investigators promised to quit smoking by that day.  so we went around.  they were all doing awesome.  no specific stories but they are all good.  jessica and enol both stopped smoking. 
     sunday was an excellent day.  we had to wear our suits. oh man so so so so so hot.  i'm not really a fan.  oh i have a story for the suits.  all of west malaysia recently had a zone conference and they all got their suits.  us six from sabah were the only ones at the mission training that didn't yet have our suits and we were supposed to get them in KL.  for the 5 days we were there no one ever told us about the suits.  we actually forgot.  but on the last day we saw a big bag that had our suits in them.  we didn't see our pants anywhere so we figured it was the jackets only.  so we grabbed them and packed them.  on saturday night sister clark called from singapore and she was ticked.  she was really mad at us because she thought we didn't have our suits.  she said that they anounced it all week and that everyone else grabbed theirs.  she said we would have to ship them that day and pay for it too.  we were like whoa whoa we have our suits.  we then figured out that we forgot our pants.  but she didn't let up. man she was mad.  ha ha but anyways sunday was good.  we wore our suit jackets.  someone from kl is getting transferred up here next week and they are going to bring the pants with them.  

at church i translated for president wieland while he conducted.  it was pretty fun.  i didn't know all of the big words he always uses so it was funny to some members that speak english and malay that i really simplified and even changed many things he said.  he's just too complex.  ha ha it rained pretty hard so we were nervous that no investigators would come but we had 10 and some children fight the rain and come.  thats when you can tell they are dedicated.  its so awesome.

     yesterday was pretty fun.  in the morning we helped Enol and Surima build a house.  it is like a 10 foot by 25 foot house on stilts in the jungle.  they are getting forced to move out of their old similair house so we're helping them build this one.  it was fun.  it was like building the fort.  i feel bad that its so dang small but thats what they know so i guess its ok with them.  we actually were very surprised at where they live.  i'll take and send some pictures next week.  they live on the top of this one hill.  we thought there would be like three houses back there but it turned out to be like 30 and a store and a school.  ha ha its insane.  its what we call a kampung (village).  

also, yesterday we had a very very good lesson with freddy.  he knows so much about the gospel.  he is very knowledgable about the bible.  we've taught him every thing.  we've clearly laid it out there.  we've answered every question twice.  he has come to church four or five times.  he even bought the brand new triple combination and he enjoys reading the kitab mormon.  but he will not accept a baptismal commitment.  we don't know why.  yesterday we had a great lesson and i really felt the spirit but he said again that he has to think about it.  its so frustrating.  what to do.

     this morning we went to the driving range with president wieland and hit a few buckets of balls.  it was pretty fun.  its going to be a repeat activity.  there are big transferrs this weekend.  elder garrett has friends in high places so we know most of the transferrs and i'm not effected.  looks like i'll be in ol' sandakan till mid december at least.  ha ha oh well. its awesome up here.  just kind of lonely with only two elders.  we are having a baptism this weekend.  her name is kimberly.  she is 13 and she has an inactive mother.  but she enjoys coming and going to young womens.  it'll hopefully bring her mother out again.

     thats about it this week.  keep doing what you do.  let me know about james.  thats pretty sweet.  i remember this time last year when i put in my papers.  wow good times.  i love you all.  bertahan sampai akhir!
elder petersen

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Humble homes

salem melikom dan satu malaysia!  (greetings and one malaysia, thats what they say on the radio all the time)
     This week was just about awesome!!!  actually, i can't think of anything that happened.  ha i forgot to write down ideas for stuff to write you.  sorry this letter is late.  we are sitting in the big KL right now.  we flew into KL on monday and have been having a week long training.  its a continuation of the training in singapore in august.  it is only the west malaysia and sabah and singapore missionaries.  its been really good.  its fun to see everybody. ha ha needless to say, we've been having some really good times.  i'm learning a ton.  this email will be kind of short because we are just stopping for a second.  we do not get a p-day here but we do get to go out in the evenings. 

a few things first, whats the slack's address, and i'm sending a letter to our house but its for james i just don't know his address.  oh i got your package ha ha there was a ton of chips.  thank you, they are very good.  i read that article about truth will prevail.  it was good.  i never told you but we made a t-shirt.  maybe next week i'll take a picture and send it to you.  it has a cool sandakan branch logo thing on the back and the front says truth will prevail in malay 

"Kebenaran akan Mengatasi".  its sweet.

     so this weekend was general conference.  dang it was so good.  i was talking with the wielands the other day and i asked them if its always been this good and i just never knew or if this was like a really good session.  ha ha they said no its always like this.  anyways i'm glad i got to sit down and watch all five sessions.  i love conference.  i really felt the spirit strong during a few of those talks.  the church is so true.  so here's how it all went down.  in the past they've sent 10 disks to us, the five sessions in english and the five sessions in indo.  this time they only sent 5 disks.  each disk had like 10 languages like mandarin, urdu, english, tamil, tagalog, and for the first time malay.  so we wanted to show english upstairs in the church and malay downstairs like in the past.  but there was only one disk for each session.  so we played it in order in malay downstairs and the english out of order upstairs.  i don't know if you understand all that.  for the priesthood session we had people that didn't know enlish so we only could play it in malay.  so i watched 2 hours of priesthood session in malay.  i was really surprised at how much i understood,  i understood the bulk of every talk.  it was good but not the same as english.  its hard to get way into it without the inflection of those apostles. instead it was a monotone return missionary.  oh well still way good.  on sunday we played it starting at 10 am.  we had 14 investigators come and watch it, and more members than in a long time.  some of our investigators told us that they really liked it.  one man even told us several different talks and what he liked about each one.  its amazing.  i mean that was the words of inspired men.  even through the monotone translation people can still recognize the spirit and truthfullness of the message.  it was so awesome.  i love conference.  i didn't watch it at the same time as a majority of the world, but i still felt that unity, that this church is bigger than sandakan, bigger than malaysia. i hope the people of sandakan also realized that.  after watching general conference, i know that the lord has called these inspired men to lead his church.  like you said, they are prophets of god and so there will be opposition to their messages.  it just strengthens it all the more.  President Monson is so good.  i don't remember all the talks, i'm going to watch them all again, but the speakers that i remember being good were monson eyring uchtdorf holland bednar perry gong and many others.  

     there were no baptisms this week but don't worry, more are on the way.  i have a feeling i will be transferred soon.  i've been in sandakan a while now and it would be nice to move but to tell you the truth no where else seems better.  me and elder garrett are hitting a solid stride.  we're doing good and having success and having a lot of fun.  i want to see these investigators get baptized before i get transferred.  rock on sandakan.  

i have one quick experience.  i don't know if i have time to do it justice.  last week we were teaching Jessica's family.  they live out in a wooden shack on a water kampung which is basically a huge community of houses on stilts above a filthy ocean.  her house is very small and very run down.  she has six awesome little kids and a buddhist husband who is slowly coming around.  we were talking with them about why they weren't coming to church.  they said they don't have any money for the bus fare.  that is a pretty solid excuse.  we were trying to talk with them about saving a little at a time throughout the week.  we read this scripture in the book of mosiah.  it promises that if we obey all the commandments we will be prosperous.  we told them that if they kept the commandments then they would have money to go to church.  looking back later i realized how bold that was.  whoever thought that i would be in malaysia sitting on the floor of a wooden house over the garbage filled ocean teaching a large poor family that if they keep the commandments they will not only get through the week, but they will actually become prosperous.  

it was one of those wow kind of moments.  this is why i'm here.  this gospel changes lives and could be the only chance these people have.  i felt very humbled.  we're so blessed.  i'm thankful for the oppurtunity to teach these kind of families the everlasting gospel.

This is the kampung - some places there is water, but most places is a muddy swamp.  Multiple families live in each "shack", with no running water, electricity, or sewage lines -- so you can see what fills up around the houses...

things sound great at home.  GO UTES!!!!! its unfourtunate that byu won.  were they bragging this time.  oh i was talking with elder parrish for a while.  he's really cool.  he is signed to play football at utah state and he was really glad that utah state won last week.  oh so how'd my video work, i never heard.  it was short but i could send many!  ha ha we'll see.  i can't think of anything i want for christmas.  anything i need really i can buy.  there are pretty modern cities over here.  whatever can.  all can.  also can.  well, things are going great here.  don't fret.  i'll be home before you know it.  the church is true.  Kebenaran akan mengatasi!
elder petersen

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


hello hello
     wow i don't know what to say here.  it sounds like you guys had a really good week.  really special.  ha ha nothing super special happened here and i don't know if i can compete with those last few letters.  it was really cool to call homeit was good to talk to you mom.  ha i totally thought you were jaynanne.  you sounded very young or something ha ha.  not that you usually don't sound young:)  i enjoyed the pictures.  i feel left out but what can you do.  its good to see everybody there, everybody reuniting.  i haven't seen daniel in a long time.  that looked fun.  your many temple experiences sound great.  i miss the temple.  sometimes i think about it.  like right now i'm reading in exodus when they made the tabernacle, and it makes me reflect on our modern temples.  very different, but same purpose.  i'm excited for steffanie.  it sounds like she'll do good.  she's lucky to have you guys help her.  its nice to hear that byu continues to lose.  that'll teach them.  dad i really enjoyed your talk.  i remember bringing grandpa up that first time.  i was nervous also ha ha.  he was a good man who had a good testimony.  reading your talk made me emotional.  it probably the best talk there.  you are an awesome speaker.  always good.
well like i said, this week had nothing super special.  one huge highlight was our baptism this last saturday!!  very good.  his name was Masalim.  he is the grandpa of the Ning family.  so that makes 9 people.  he was the last non-member from that house and now they are all baptized and doing good.  its so exciting.  i am so glad that i ever met them.  they are so nice and have helped us so much.  it brings me joy that i helped them change their lives.  they were telling us that before they were baptized their family was different.  more angry, especially the mom.  less love.  more confusion.  they didn't like going to church.  now we can't get them to leave the church.  they are always laughing and playing.  there is definately love there.  they are no longer confused.  their lives have a purpose, a direction.  they know where they are going as a family.  how awesome is that!!!  i was so blessed to ever knock their house. 

     a lot of random things happened this week.  First of all i need to teach you how to say Sandakanthe a's are pronounced like aw, like in lawn. all a's in malay are alike. 

I caught two more rats.  there wasn't even bait on the trap but two wandered in there at the same time and we got em both.  there are still plenty more to catch.  

we have a new mission policy.  pretty much every other mission in the world is the same, or close.  as in all of their policies and what not.  our mission has been very different in the past as far as the name tag thing, visa runs, clothes we wear, who we can and cannot teach,  stuff like that.  starting next week we all have to wear suits to church.  we're one of the few missions that doesn't already do this.  its going to be hot.  a lot of elders are angry.  i'm just like whatever, i look good in a suit ha ha.  it will be hot though. Next week we are going to KL for a weeklong training.  that should be really fun.  we'll get to see a lot of fun elders.  and President Clark's trainings are good.  i don't think we will be having a P day so i don't know when i'll email you next week.

     the first week of every month we have a branch social.  since it is october, this last friday we had a costume party.  they don't celebrate halloween here but we did.  it was pretty fun.  they had a bunch of clothes so i threw some on and ended up with a preacher type outfit.  we played games and ate food.  i won a trophy for my costume.  we also got to judge the noodles.  none were really that good. i mean how good can noodles be? ha ha but we had to give out the trophys.  it was a fun party.  i think sister wieland will send you some pictures.   on monday we went and had family night with the Chins their son added dad on facebook ha ha.  their other son is just getting into this mission field today.  Bro chin is the first counselor in the district presidency and sister chin is the relief society president.  they're pretty nice.  we had fun.  she cooked for us.  we played Jenga. the game with the block tower that you have to pull out peices and put them on top.  ha ha they got way more into it than we expected.  they were good.  it was intense.   
     i have a few thoughts about grandpa i miss him.  just think of how much we grew because of him.  i feel pretty bad that i didn't really sit down and talk with him or try to get to know him until this last year.  i enjoyed my time with him.  think of how much we grew because of him.  i think our family grew closer together.  i think we kind of set our immediate needs aside and focused on him.  that's pretty christ like.  he needed our help and we had the means so we helped him.  i think this whole ordeal must have been hard, and frustrating at times like when dad and the brothers were sorting out the will and finances and all of that.  but i think that i saw our relatives more than in the last five years combined.  we had more contact and discussion.  we were forced to, but i think it was a blessing.  it was frustrating at the time to bring grandpa around but i really enjoyed brining him around the store or around church or just sitting and talking with him.  i learned patience ha ha.  anyways, this whole thing has been a huge blessing.  think what we were supposed to learn from all of this.  there was probably some intended reason we had to go through this whole thing.  very interesting to think about.  i hope you realize it too.

     thats all for this week.  things sound great there. keep going to church and reading and praying.  hopefully i get to watch conference this weekend.  they scheduled it for this weekend but i don't think we'll have the dvd's yet.  we'll see.  it sounds good.  i'm excited.  i'm safe.  i'm healthy.  i love you all!!
Elder Petersen