Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mountains and Squirrels

tinggi tinggi gunung kinabalu!! 
     hey guys whats up.  this was a great week.  that is so cool that kolton is going to korea.  asia rocks!  back two years ago when i was waiting for my mission call i anticipated going to europe.  i was really envisioning my self over there in holland or germany or something.  i never thought going to south america was in my future.  right at the end i thought wow what if i went to asia and what do you know i did.  i love it over here.  looking back asia is the perfect place to serve a mission.  it's so nice here.  wow spencer went to the dance eh?  nice!  that was expected.  the others were not.  ha ha that's good though.  it sounds like the rest of your week was awesome.  oh to be a kid on halloween again.  ha ha good times.  dad you really are the master of raking in the candy.
     well this week was awesome!!!!!!  oh man it was really fun.  i emailed you last wednesday night.  right after that president and the ap's and the sandakan and tawau elders flew in.  so we had a lot of people in our house.  it was fun.  elder williams from my group is serving in tawau so it was awesome to see him again.  ha ha he really cracks me up.  he is so funny.  in both of those areas there is an elder from the last group.  they just finished their training.  they are elder putnam and elder brooksthey are so funny.  elder putnam is half japanese and brooks is from canada and looks and acts just like a character from monty python.  so funny.  

well thursday morning we woke up before the sun was up.  we got up at 4:30 so that we could all pile into a tour bus at 5:00.  we took a two hour ride to the mountain.  we were all pretty much asleep on the bus but it was really cold because of the air con.  when we got off the bus at the lodge there it was even colder outside!  ha ha it was like 60ish with a good wind.  ha ha we were all shivering.  i haven't been in weather that cold for quite some time.  
we all paid our fees and then headed up the mountain.  we weren't able to go to the very top because it costs so much and is supposed to be done in two days.  but we were able to go halfway up.  the trail started at about 6000 feet and we topped out at 9000 feet.  actually president clark had a gps and it read 8992 feet.  there was thick thick jungle on either side of the trail so you couldn't really go anywhere but i took the gps from him and stretched out as tall as i could and climbed a little bit into the jungle so that i could hit 9000.  it was floating around 8999 for a while until finally it read 9000.  ha ha everyone cheered.  it was funny.  the trail was only 4 km one way but it was dang steep.  needless to say i was way way sore for about 4 days afterwards.  ha ha.  up there there was thick clouds the whole time so you didn't really have a good view but every now and then there would be a break in the clouds and you could see out forever.  it was so pretty.  so all in all it was way fun.  i don't think any previous zone has ever done it and i don't think any will for a long long time.
     the next day was zone conference.  the wielands from old sandakan were there.  it was really great to see them.  they actually left on tuesday.  we said our goodbyes and took a picture.  when they bore their dying testimonies i got pretty emotional.  they are really great people and i will miss them.  they really helped the branch there.  sis w is president clark's sister.  they had a teary goodbye.  i was thinking how sweet it would be if way down the road me and jaynanne served in the same mission.  that would be so sweet.  well the trainings were way good.  it was a good zone conference. 
     we have a few good investigators that we've been meeting with.  nothing big to report but yeah we are seeing a lot of people.  they are so funny.  this one family cooks us dinner everytime.  ha ha we tell them not to but they still bring out the noodles everytime.  actually we saw them last night and they gave us fried rice instead.  oh it was good.  they also gave us rose flavored juice mixed with milk and little cake things with small fish cooked in.  ok also can.  we went to a recent convert's house the other day and she also cooked for us.  ha ha wow.  she made "vegetables", and banana heart which is the top of a banana tree, and squirrel.  yep that's right.  they caught squirrels outside their house and last time i asked them what they do with them and she said they eat them.  so we showed up monday and what do you know squirrel was on the menu.  ha ha it was actually pretty good.  pretty tough meat.  lots of little bones.  if you didn't focus on where that little guy has been running around then it wasn't so bad.  ha ha i haven't eaten that many crazy things here but there are definitely things here that aren't in america.
     on monday was of course halloween.  here in malaysia this great holiday goes unnoticed by the majority of the population.  in fact nobody celebrates it.  but strangely enough every year it is celebrated by church members across the country.  ha ha i guess they just picked it up from all of the american missionaries.  there was a party on monday and actually there was a lot of non members there so it was great.  
we couldn't find and pumpkins this year so we carved watermelons.  it is way different.  they are hard to gut because they aren't hollow.  but they are way easy to cut.  everyone loved it.  i don't think most people have seen a jack o lantern before.  they were amazed.  for my costume i just put all of my clothes on backwards.  ha ha everyone was laughing.  elder hawkins had to help me close up the shirt and tighten the tie but it was a hit.  at one point i put a mask on backwards and from the back it looked like normal.  ha ha.  it was a lot of fun.  
mom i just got your letter.  it was awesome!!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY OSKAR in advance.  i can't believe you are going to be 12.  don't worry i'll still put you in your place when i get home. 
     well that's about it.  it was an awesome week.  sorry there's not anything super spiritual.  i had a lot of good experiences actually.  i talk to a lot of people on the bus and i pretty much always feel like the things i say are really things they need to hear.  yesterday i gave the district meeting training and we talked about The Spirit.  we had a great conversation and shared spiritual experiences.  in some of our lessons when we teach certain principles, people's faces light up and you know they are feeling the spirit and finding an answer to their long time questions.  i love those moments.  i really love being a missionary.  it is a blast.  i know i'll have no other time like this in my life where i can just teach people about Christ all day.  sometimes i don't realize how sweet it is but i want you guys to know that it is sweet.  i hope you guys don't take the church lightly because you are so familiar with it.  i love you all so much and can't wait to sit down and just tell you story after story of awesome people i've met here.  i hope you have a good week and i am looking forward to your email next week!
elder petersen

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