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