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