Monday, March 3, 2014

From East to West & how's my Chinese you ask?

out to lunch in Sibu

I am now serving in the far west part of Malaysia called Sitiawan.  Sitiawan is a very small city with about 32000 people. That's really small compared to my last area in Sibu with about 150,000 or something like that. My new companion is Elder Lee, a native elder from Singapore. He is fluent in Chinese and English and actually has been called to serve speaking Malay. It's really fun to have him as my new companion because he is so dang awesome!!! He is 24 years old and is a convert to the church with a great testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. 

So, now that I am in Sitiawan with a native companion who is fluent in Chinese, my first thoughts were, "My Chinese is going to excel like crazy." But not really. I guess for the first few days I was here, I felt intimidated by both the people and my companion. They all spoke perfect Chinese and I was the only one with broken Chinese. So for a couple of days I really struggled to speak the language. At one point when we were talking about the Book of Mormon with a less active, I was given the opportunity to explain about Lehi, something that I've done before in Sibu, but I was at a lost of words to do so. My companion apologized and even said, "His Chinese isn't that great." Which is true, my Chinese isn't great. Over the next couple of days I prayed fervently and studied diligently to receive the gift of tongues and speak Chinese. Sunday came along and I was still nervous, but I had the opportunity to bear my testimony and although it was a very simple one, it helped to know that my Chinese was still there and I had a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel and that's all that really mattered. Ever since that moment, my Chinese has gotten much better and improved so much that last night during nightly planning, I said the closing prayer in Chinese and after it was done my companion looked at me and said, "Wow, you have really good Chinese." I'm excited to learn from him with his perfect Chinese and his amazing teaching skills.

So Sitiawan; like I said, it's really small but I already love it.
The few members we have in Sitiawan(about 75), are great and we know were all of them are. In Sibu, we didn't even know where a lot of our members were and tried hard to find them. There is about 25 active members who have amazing testimonies and out of this small branch have they done and are doing great things. They have seminary almost everyday and the branch council is a well put together council with a real feeling of going forth and doing the work the Lord wants us to do. I feel like if Sitiawan grew in membership, it would be a powerhouse for the gospel. 

Our church building is in a shop lot building so when we first pulled up to the Church I didn't even see it, but when you open the 'garage door' there is the sign that says, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints' with church-like doors leading inside. It's so cool!!!! Still very small.

We already have a good size teaching pool to teach but we are always looking for more people to teach and find. Elder Lee and I share the same feeling of wanting to do as much as we can while we are here in Sitiawan. 

I'm glad I had the experiences I had in Sibu and I'm especially grateful I was able to spend so much time and have become close friends with the people in Sibu. I will miss them very much and I hope one day I can return there to see what things have transpired there. 

Good bye Sibu, Hello Sitiawan!

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