Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Searching out those Amazing people out there

Miri Conference with Elder Pratt...Elder Watkins is on the back row.
Hey Everyone,

Well this last week was pretty good. We found a couple of new good people that hopefully don't just disappear on us. The first one is a family with a super crazy mix going on ha-ha the mom is 1/2 Mexican and 1/2 Kadazan and her kids are 1/4 Mexican 1/4 Kadazan and 1/2 Chinese ha-ha so another crazy mixture of people. They speak English well and are Roman Catholic. The mom is Jesse and her two daughters; Betrish and Bronwyn. We taught the two girls while the mom was getting her hair done at a members saloon (BTW Saloon in Malaysia is a hair salon) They were pretty dang good and pretty smart; they actually new quite a bit and it surprised me. We were supposed to meet with them Sunday but, something happened where the mom went out and the two girls didn't know where she went but, we set up another appointment with them for this Saturday. So we are pretty excited about them.

Samuel he is a super long, long, long, long time investigator of the church. He and his wife are working on some things to get married.  It would take a long time to explain but it has to do with the Malaysian culture and then it gets more complicated and I am feeling too lazy to type it ha-ha. But, basically we stop by and see him at his work and make sure that his plan is going good to get it all solved. His baptism date is for the 6th of April or sooner; if he gets all this stuff taken care of before then. He has been coming to church for the last 6 years.....basically he never had encouragement to take care of the problems or people just tried to fix it for him and then he didn't want them to fix it. But, now things are all on him and we just encourage him and make sure that he’s following the plan he set.

Yafet is doing great, he fasted for a couple of days and I hope it helped him. He was smoking about a box a day and now he is down to about 7 sticks or less a day. He is super amazing and his understanding of the scriptures is awesome but, the smoking thing is just holding him back right now. He is way funny though we were teaching him and then he said; Elders I need to go smoke in the bathroom and he ran off to the bathroom…he didn't smoke though. But, he made me chase him all the way there because I was trying to grab his cigarette from him but, he pulled through and didn't do it. Hopefully his sister, nieces and nephew can help him out with it.

Desy and Victor and Maryann are still doing amazingly. Yesterday Sister Jemimi told us that she just stopped by a couple of days ago and thanked them so much for sending us to their home and teaching them. She said that she has really seen a lot of changes in their lives and things are just getting better. Their 10 year old girl, Maryann prays every night. She prays that her dad will change and be better and so far it has actually happened and Maryann is super happy and so is Desy. Desy was actually married before and has 2 other kids one is named Mario and he is already married and has the two coolest little kids ever but, that is not the story here. The story is his wife who is a local usually is there with the kids when we teach Desy and family but, she'll hide in the back room and is not really willing to come and listen. Well, yesterday she finally came out…her name is Annlee; she is Dusun and she is from Sabah. Well she finally came out after many invitations and she loved the lesson. We taught about the Ten Commandments and it went well. Afterwards we did a quick review of the Book of Mormon for Ann. Well she loved the facts of the Book of Mormon. We gave her a copy and gave her some homework to read and then she was way pumped to read it and even told her daughter Mariam, don't bother my book and move the marking, I need to read it later ha-ha…cause usually the little girl moves the marks around in all the books ha-ha We also gave her the Restoration movie. Well actually Desy already had a copy and she got super excited and wants to watch it.

We also saw Fiona the other day and things aren't going so well for her family. Things are rough but, she still made it to church the other day and it was great to see her and her family there. She finally left her husband. I guess he has just been dragging her down. Turns out she used to own her own saloon and was doing really good. But, now things are rough and it’s not easy to follow the church standards but, she knows she'll be blessed for following them. She said; the last two times she has really felt the spirit when we have been teaching her. We have been preparing some great lessons that are just for her and she keeps going; Wow…my hair on my arms are standing up; what is that. Sister Jemimi told her that is the spirit. It was amazing. So she is struggling but, she knows she can rely on the Lord.

Next up is Jacob, he is still doing awesome. On FHE at the church he brought his girlfriend who is Roman Catholic and is the daughter of a very rich man who is also a Datuk which is title here in Malaysia (you can look up more about the title it is hard for me to explain). But, well we are hopefully going to teach her if we can. We’ll see first what happens.

On Monday we tried to find a less active lady and ended up setting up a return appointment with her mom, named Julia. She is a super nice lady…she was just way sweet to us and hopefully our appointment with her tomorrow goes well.

Madam Yapp and her son Mac Duncan are back on date for February 19th. Sister Wendy is also going to help them take care of the whole Buddha thing finally it will be done with, And then she can get baptized. So slowly, slowly she is going to get baptized. We explained temples and eternal families and the authority from God again and helped her understand it. She also wants her husband to learn; he is Iban but, he is off out-stationed, working elsewhere.  But, other than that things are going good here just trying to search out those amazing people out there.

Till next time,
Elder Watkins

Pictures from Exchanges in Sandakan

Elder Kampenhout

Elder Martin


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Miri and Tamparuli

Flooded Bridge in Tamparuli

Hey Everyone,

Well, it was a pretty good week. Midius didn't get baptized because his school pretty much is like a jail and they made him go back to kampong for a month and he was going to try to come down on Sunday but, couldn't get a ride. So, now he won't be back for a month and we will have to wait till then for his baptism.... which isn't super awesome but, what to do, right? We’ll just have to keep in contact with him until then and keep him reading and praying.

Desy and Maryann are still doing awesome. Maryann can pray all by herself now and she is super awesome. Desy is also doing great. We taught Desy the Word of Wisdom and she is like yeah, coffee is crap; when I drank it I went like crazy and felt like people were watching me and she said, I only drank at Christmas and so she totally agreed to follow it with no problem. But, they are pretty awesome and made it to church this last week too.

Yafet is now on date for the 12th of February. He is doing awesome and he is already working on the word of wisdom he stopped tea, coffee, and alcohol so far and now he is working on smoking. He said once that’s done he'll be ready for baptism. He told us all this because we just asked him yet again; another simple but, soul-seeking question. He is way funny. He told us he'll get baptized. He also doesn't care if he gets the melchizedek priesthood or even the aaronic priesthood or if he has a calling, he just wants to change his life and become a better example for his son's. He is way cool I think one day he'll be a strong leader. He was like a pastor of another church here called; SIB and he said it was good but, this one is the best and he’s learning a ton. We also gave him this card called the “Calendar to Baptism” where you fill out the days till their baptism and when they'll meet with the elders and have their interview etc. and he was like; “Wow this is awesome. Now I don't have to always carry my Book of Mormon around, if I forget when I meet you guys because it is all right here in my card and it even has a nice picture of Jesus Christ’s baptism”. He was pretty excited. He also told us how he wants to do a cigarette fast to help him quit. He said he has done it before and that he can do it again. But, we told him he wouldn't have to do it alone he can do it with the help of the lord. We told him about blessings and offered to give him one and he said; “sure” and so we gave him one…so we will see how it goes for him.

Fiona is doing great as well. She didn't make it to church because she had some family problems and ended up moving out. We saw her last night and things seemed to just be really rough for her. The night before we figured we would talk about overcoming trials with her. We talked about how Christ had already overcome the world for us all and how that we have got our friends there to back us up always. She just said; something like…I feel warm and really good right now and then Sister Jemimi was like yeah; that’s the Holy Ghost and she is like yeah, I like this. And after going to our conference in Miri that they talked to us about, how if you want to be happy we must obey god’s commandments and we told her that’s the way to be happy just follow god and all his simple things and he'll bless us. But, of course we will have trials but, at least we know god is there for us always. So we brightened her day and things are going better for her, I hope.

Well, since I talked about Miri I might as well jump into that. We went for a mission tour to Miri to see Elder Pratt. It was pretty excited and we learned a lot of good things. Pres Clark talked about obedience and it was awesome. Elder Pratt also talked about how of course the doctrine of the church is important but, some of the most important things we can teach to our RC (recent converts) and investigators are the commandments because that is how they stay strong and keep receiving blessings. That is how they know god will help them in their life. So he told us to focus on obeying them and how to follow them and not to just teach them but, teach them and make sure they understand that this is for their happiness. So it was a pretty good conference.

Weighing their Chickens...

David Chong eating a little Chicken...I think I will pass on the chicken :)

Peter Wong on the Bridge in Tamparuli

This Friday, I am heading off to Sandakan for exchanges so that should be fun. But, things are still going good here. For p-day we went off to Tamparuli, which has a big handicraft and morning market. We went around that and it was pretty cool. Usually tourists go there for white-water rafting. We just walked around and found some cool things; like a handmade machete! ha-ha so, I got one for cheap; it’s pretty cool. Well I can't think of anything else right now off the top of my head…so, that’s all.

Until Next week...
Elder Watkins

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Faith in the Priesthood...

So eh??!?! Hey Everyone,

Well I am practicing my "Manglish" (Malaysian English) because I now have a book about it and its way funny to learn all the things. Many of them I already knew but, now I am learning all the best ones and now all the people in our zone are using it.

Well enough with that but, this last week was pretty awesome just as usual. Some great news is that Fiona is back! Fiona is awesome and I am way happy she is back. She came back with her mom and so we have started to teach them again. We taught her mom and set her on a baptism date for Feb 9th. So we are pretty excited for her to be back. She is awesome. I love her kids to death, Elvince is now back with her too and he started Chinese school.  We started to teach him the little Chinese we know but, he has only gone to school for 2 days and he is still working on his Chinese. Sister Leslie usually follows us to teach her and she speaks great Chinese and has helped him out a bit. Sis Jemimi also has been helping us out with Fiona as well and they have become awesome friends which are the best because now they both support each other, and they are awesome. So is Fiona's mom, Yaat doing awesome. She is down with baptism and down with what we teach. She loved the Plan of Salvation because she was worried she'd have to hang out in a box under the ground and be scared until the second coming and that she would be trapped until she is resurrected but, we helped clear that up and now she is a lot happier. But, other than that they are doing awesome. Fiona still has some plans to move to KL in February but, they are still not super clear when she'll leave. Sounds like that she'll be shipping off right after her mom is baptized. Luckily she is heading off to Shah Alam in the Klang Branch area and there is a member there that can bring her to church still.

But, an awesome story for this week is about Sister Jemimi. She is totally a champion and she brought her friends to church that we have been teaching and they loved church. But, Monday we heard that she was sick and so we planned to go give her a blessing on Tuesday since that night there was no way to get to her and give her a blessing. Well from the sound of it all Monday she was pretty dang sick; her bones hurt and she wouldn't eat anything and she was just out of it and way sick. Well, we got out there really fast yesterday afternoon and she was doing a bit better but, still looked pretty sick. So we gave her a blessing and then I gave her a Propel packet that you had sent me, since it said antioxidants or something like that and Vitamin C so, I thought that could only help. So I mixed it for her and told her to drink it and to get some rest. So that was about 2 in the afternoon. Later that night she came and brought Leslie to help us teach Fiona and Yaat. Well we didn't expect her to come but, man she was already back to normal, she said that not too long after the blessing she was feeling awesome again and that she feels like a 100 bucks again. Well she is a woman of strong faith and so the Lord is always watching out for her. She is awesome and she has really helped my testimony increase about giving blessings and how much they really help. Here in KK the members really have strong faith and they all know if someone is sick to call someone to get a blessing which is awesome. But, when they call us we usually get a member to come and get the member to do the blessing to help them know how to do it and they are a lot better at speaking the language than us of course ha-ha. But, since I have gotten here I have given a lot more blessing than before in my other areas. Since the weather isn't so awesome right now many of the members are getting sick and we have been giving a lot more blessings recently.

Also exciting news with Jemimi is that her son will be getting baptized on February 5th he is turning 8 on that day and will baptized on his 8th birthday. He is way funny his name is Randy. We are also excited because Jemimi husband is coming back from KL and he is willing to learn so we will teach him while he is here. We will be going off to Kudat with them on February 2nd and we are pretty pumped about it.

Well, we haven't given up on Maria David quite yet, she is still hanging in there.  I gave her a call on Thursday morning and talked with her a bit; she was sick :/ but, she said she can’t meet this week cause she has a the whole week off for the anniversary of her father’s death and she'll be doing prayers... or something like that. All I know is that it is something in the Catholic Church. But, she straight away thanked me for calling her and said she is sorry that she is super busy but, not to give up on her.

Sister Dorkas is doing awesome also.  Her brother, Yafet came to church in December a couple of times but, he was only down here for a bit and he lives quite a ways away. Well, now he is back for like a month + and he apparently loves church. We taught him the restoration and he loved it. He also loves it that we come to teach him ha-ha. A funny side story is that sister Dorkas went to talk to some friends in the middle of the lesson…well she was being loud and so basically he told her to be quiet because he was trying to learn. Well it turns out Dorkas told us yesterday that he really got after her later that night said you were talking way too loud and I was trying to learn…ha-ha. She told us this and she just laughed and said; well, that’s a good sign right?

She also gave us another referral her name is Josephine. Josephine is 1/2 German and 1/2 Papa New Guinea. She has been in Malaysia for about 17 years and is married to a Sino Kadazan. So her 6 kids are 1/4 German, 1/4 Papa New Guinea, 1/4 Chinese, and 1/4 Kadazan. So it’s quite a mixture. Turns out she has heard about the church before but, never really learned. We taught her and her son and she was awesome. The lesson went really well and she loved it. She comes from a Catholic back ground but, doesn't frequent church very often.  She then asked us if it was alright to come to see our church on Sunday and we said; of course. She said; don't be surprised to see me at church this Sunday.

Mixdius is a kid from Ranau… maybe if you remember back when I got here we were teaching him and his brother, a member in Singapore. Well after a long kampong trip he is now back and is ready for baptism! Well the catch is he goes off to Ranau again for his “practical” which is like a test for his college for 3, he is getting baptized and confirmed this Friday before he heads off to school. He is way awesome and it’s pretty excited. We teach him the last bit tonight then he will be interviewed and then it will all be awesome! We are excited for him. He would have been baptized a while ago if his school hadn’t made him go to kampong during the holiday for so long. He stays in a hostel and during the holidays they close it and send everyone back home.

Well Desy and Victor are also doing awesome. Maryann their daughter was the only one who made it to church because of work but, she loved church so much. She even knows how to pray now; which is awesome. Last time we were there she had 2 new friends for us to teach and they also came to church. Well Desy is doing awesome she gave the closing prayer last night and asked the Lord for help to know whether it is true or not. She ended her prayer in tears because she felt the spirit and knew that Jesus loved her. They are having rough times but, she and her kids are doing awesome and are really progressing. This time when we taught them we had Pres. Fausto come because he speaks the Filipino dialect and it went really well. So they are doing great as well.

Things are still going good here with no real concerns. The branch is growing and the work is always progressing. Well I think that is all.

Madam Yapp is still coming to church but, is hard to meet with her. We are not quite sure what is going on with her partly because she really only speaks Chinese so when we call she doesn't really understand us and we don't understand her... But, she is still working towards February 19th. But, that is all I can think off. Till next week.
Elder Watkins

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Best New Year's Eve!

Hey Everyone,

Well this last week was good. I’ll start off with the best part…Stell got baptized!!! Woot ha-ha it was a great baptism. She was super ready and way happy to be baptized for the first time in her life. She was even happier that now her family is one step closer to being an eternal family in the Celestial Kingdom ha-ha. She was awesome. She bore an awesome testimony and it was great.

Ya Ming also got baptized, a recent converts son. The father baptized him and it was awesome. It is even cooler to see how the gospel has helped the family and it has also helped the father to be prepared with the priesthood. He was already an elder and it was great to see him baptize his son. So, all and all, it was a great New Years Eve ha-ha. 

We also live next to where they do the big New Year count down so that night we could hear all the music from all the bands playing and then see the awesome fireworks show afterwards. It was really cool because it was over the ocean. The sisters even saw it a lot better from their home because we had a big hotel blocking most of our view.

Saturday was a totally awesome day. We rode the bus to go out and see some members about getting some referrals that she had told us about. When I got off the bus a man came up to me and said, Elder Watkins?  I thought how does he know my name??? Then I said, oh yeah, I am wearing a name tag ha-ha so, I asked him if he was a member and he said, yes, and he was from Manila in the Philippines. His name is Joseph and he has been working as a care giver for people here in Malaysia for about a year. His Family has been members since like 1981 but, he didn't join the church until 1995 after learning from the elders for 14 years. He was awesome. So we took his number and said we would call him and hopefully come see him next week. Later that night sister Jemimi brought us to her referral and all of a sudden "wham" its Joseph again ha-ha, he lives with the referrals that sister Jemimi wanted to bring us to. The referral was Victor, and his wife Desy, and their children, whose names escape me except, Maryann. Also another young family, Mario and his wife Anylee, and his two younger children, and then his sister, Mylin who is 19. So it was a pretty huge referral. They are some of the nicest, humblest people we have met, just like Fiona. They love to just learn about Christ and they are very happy even though they don't have much. We have seen them twice already. They didn't make it church because it was hard because Mylin has a car but, went off to town for fun and it is hard for them to take the bus with a lot of small children. But, this Sunday hopefully they can come.  Joseph came to church and he said this Sunday he will bring them with him. But, we are pretty excited to teach a family. There Malay isn't the best, since Victor and Desy were born and raised pretty much in the Philippines. They can speak conversational Malay but, nothing gospel wise ha-ha. But, they still are willing to listen.  So we see them again this Friday and we will push to get them to church this Sunday.

We also have been teaching Serah and her brother Johnny. They are a referral from Sister Fiona before she went back to kampong. They are doing great too and we are happy that his brother is also willing to listen. We just hope we can get them to church. Serah wasn't working before but, now picked up a job at Cash and Carry so she has to work sometimes on Sunday which isn't the best but, we will continue to work with her and her brother.

Also, last week Elder Sorensen was here to do our baptism interview for us and Elder Wright went to Tawau to go and do an interview for them. So while he was here during lunch Sorensen wanted to check out a shop across from us and in the process we ran into a lady name Sianis who is Rungus, from Kudat and she sells beads and handicrafts that she makes her self and then sales them. She is a Christian and lives around the city and works in malls.  I told her we are here as teachers for a church and share about families and Christ. She has 2 small children and I didn't find out if she has a husband but, she was pretty excited to meet again. Earlier this morning I confirmed our appointment with her for tomorrow and she was very happy to hear from us.

Maria David is still in the process, I suppose.  She is super busy to meet and we were supposed to see her yesterday but, she had meetings all day and wasn't free. We want to push to meet with her at night with her family but, she is a little reluctant because she thinks her mom who is a super hard core catholic would be angry if we came there. But she thanked us for our kindness and told us not to give up on her that she might have time later. I’ll have to give her call later today and try again. She is awesome and has read part of the Liahona already.

So this week we have some more luck with the people we have. Were still trying to meet with all these new people we have gotten but, the last 2 weeks it has been rough. Everyone went back to Kampong and is still there or is just getting back. Sunday our attendance at church here was like half of what we usually get, actually it was probably less than that, it was pretty empty this Sunday. So things are looking up. We are hoping to see Madam Yap tonight with the District President Ling and teach her the first lesson again.

Well that’s all I can think of besides now in KK there are 3 companionships... Which is awesome but, not so awesome because two companionships are sisters...AAAAAAAAAAHHHH we are outnumbered.... so what to do, Yea? Who knows but, we spent a lot of time splitting everything up evenly and it wasn't easy at all... but, it’s done and the new sisters, Sisters Hite and Sister Howard are here. Also we had something sad happen sister Rinet left us and we got a new sister named Goodwin... Sister Rinet was awesome and worked hard so, she will be missed. So it will be crazy with 3 companionships in one small branch. But, it was hopefully help the work progress faster.

In two weeks we head to Miri again for mission conference so that will be interesting. But, we are working hard still here and working on getting some new people on date. But, the work is progressing and the Lord is blessing us. Hopefully we can keep working hard with the ones we got and find new ones through the members and our own efforts. 

Sarang Haeyo (Korean)
Elder Watkins

Special Thanks…

Thanks for all the cards from the Fosters, Bates, Uncle Scott, Grandma Watkins, Misty and Milton. And a big thanks to all of those who sent a letter in the 12 days of Christmas, it was awesome to hear from you all and all the wonderful things that are going on. 
Elder Watkins