Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Last e-mail!!!

Halo Keluargaku,

Well, this is it, the last e-mail! Isn't that crazy? It sure feels wild how fast the time has flown. It's totally unreal to me at this point that I'm even going home though. It still just feels like a regular P-Day. I think it probably won't hit me until I get on the plane. Anyway, it's definitely sad to leave. I think I'll probably end up missing Malaysia and the awesome people here for the rest of my life, but I'm excited to see everyone again and move on with the next phase of my life too. It's just kind of how things go, right? And I'm definitely grateful that just because I get released as a missionary doesn't mean that my missionary work is done! It's one of the great privileges of our lives to get to share the gospel with other people. The Lord always blesses us far more than our investment of time or energy ever warrants. I'm grateful for facebook too! Even going home doesn't mean that I'll have to lose contact with the people back here.

Well, as far as the work, I think we finally found the miracle investigator that we've been looking for for so long. We met this awesome kid from Sabah the other day and had our first sit down lesson with him. He's really great, accepted everything and actually asked us three times to take him to church on Sunday. he's staying with another guy who is really interested in learning too. Both have already kept their commitment to read from the Book of Mormon and it's looking like things are going to work out just great. It's awesome to see one more time how the Lord does his own work. We definitely didn't do anything to warrant getting such an awesome investigator, but sometimes Heavenly Father just gives you a referral and things work out just the way that they should.

In the ongoing chronicles of trying to get all the exotic foods I can before I go home, last week I had stingray! It was actually really delicious, not at all a fishy taste and a great meal. So I think that was the end of my food adventures down here as I don't know any places here in JB where I can finish off my exotic food wish list. I only had two items remaining, "biawak" and "ular sawa" (you can look those up in google translator if you really want to know what they are :D), but I guess I'll just have to save those for another adventure.

We're going up to KL for one more meeting tomorrow, and then it will be off to Singapore on Monday for exit interviews and our final dinner with President Clark. Tuesday morning we get on the plane and we're off to America (I can't believe you knew about my flight plans two months ago! I'm glad you didn't mention it to me at that point actually :D).

In the end, I already miss Malaysia, but I've had an awesome mission (more than I ever earned). I'm so grateful that I've been able to be part of the Lord's work in building up the kingdom in some small way out here. It's been the greatest privilege of my life to be a full-time missionary! I love this gospel and I've loved sharing it with other people. Thanks so much for all of your support back home. I couldn't have made it without all of you!

I love you all so much! See you in a week!

Love you!
Elder Blissett

Friday, August 5, 2011


Halo Keluargaku,

I have my flight plans! Wild, huh? The rest of the elders actually got theirs a while ago, so I started to worry if something was wrong when I didn't get mine until just last week. But now it's officially confirmed. I'll be arriving home in Salt Lake City at 2:40 PM on Tuesday, August 16. Not too far away, huh? In fact, this is the second to last e-mail I'll be sending home from the mission field. I'll be leaving Singapore early Tuesday morning and flying to Tokyo, then from Tokyo I go to Los Angeles and from Los Angeles head up to Salt Lake. It's wild that things are all winding down, but I've had a great time out here and we have definitely stayed very busy getting everyone oriented in the new area before I head back.

I finally completed one of my biggest crazy mission food goals. This last week we met up with one of the members of the branch and ate "ulat." Do you remember that part in the Lion King when Timon and Pumba eat those big grubs from the tree stumps. Yup, these are something like that. I think in English they are called something like "sego worms," but to describe them they're basically these big fat white grub looking things with this soft rubbery skin. They contract their whole bodies to move, and look thoroughly disgusting! We totally ate them! I found out not to long ago that you can buy them at an Iban outdoor market here in JB and we finally managed to do it this last week. An Iban member taught us how to cook them (which basically just involved frying them up with some onions) and we all enjoyed a nice snack at his house. The biggest surprise of all? They actaully taste good! Really! You pick them up by their little head/jaw parts and bite off the head. Their skin has a really rubbery texture and, as our member always tells us, the inside has a liquid that is "like milk!" So, that was a lot of fun, and no one ended up getting at all sick. A win/win, right? :D (I have pictures, but didn't bring my cable to send them, so I'll just have to show you when I get home).

We're having a lot of fun getting the area together and ready for my departure. We're working with lots of good potentials and the work shows some great signs for the future.I love it so much here. It will be hard to leave, but I'm looking forward to everything ahead too!

I love you all so much! I'll see you at 2:40 on August 16!

Love you!
Elder Blissett

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

New Companions...Again!

Halo Keluargaku,

Well, in the ongoing chronicles of "Elder Blissett Can't Manage to Hang on to a Companion," I'm getting *two* new companions this week! That's right, this last Saturday we found out that not only was my companion Elder Christensen getting transferred, but actually everyone in my district except for me is moving out, one back to America, and two to Sarawak. Crazy, huh? I'm actually really excited though. The new elders in the house should be really fun and it will be a great way to finish off. I guess they're giving the newly split branches a fresh start with a whole new set of elders. The transfer was actually sparked by the huge influx of elders we're getting today though (19 new missionaries! that breaks the previous record of 16 for the largest group to come in at once), and so we'll also have the joy of having two brand new elders in the house and two elders who have been out just a little over a year to train them. It should be a blast in short. So I'll be in a threesome. My new companion Elder Gallinger is kind of the designated trainer for the new guy we'll be with, and Elder Goering (one of my favorite elders) is coming down here to train too. So, kind of a complicated transfer, but it basically means that everything down here is different now and kind of my new job is to get everyone oriented and off to a good start before I head back!

So, that was definitely the biggest news of the week. We're heading into Singapore today to pick up the new guys. There will be so many elders headed into Singapore that they actually won't have room for everyone to sleep though, so the rumor is that they're going to put us up at a nice hotel near to the church. So it should be a lot of fun. A good chance to see everyone that I haven't seen for a while and some nice classic training to go along with it.

Well, I can tell that the e-mail up to now must be pretty confusing to read, but I've actually just found out about all of this in the last couple of days and haven't really sorted everything out yet either. It's alright though, we're just going to figure it out as we go along and have a good time doing it! :D

As far as the work goes, we actually had a pretty good week last week and have found a lot of good potentials that I'm excited to start working with. It's kind of crazy right now with all the changes going on, but I think we'll be able to get some good people on baptismal date before I leave, so I'm really looking forward to that. There's nothing better than being involved in the work of the Lord.

It's going to be a whirlwind last couple of weeks, but that's really good. It means I'll stay busy. There's a lot left to do here!

In the end I'm working hard, I'm loving my mission and I can't wait to help these new elders get a good start too.

I love you all so much! I'm so glad to hear that everything is going well at home. Thanks for all your support

I love you!
Elder Blissett

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Progress in Malaysia

Halo Keluargaku,

It is kind of getting down to the home stretch, huh? It's funny, there's actually still one more group leaving about three weeks before us, so it still feels like it's so far away, we're not even oldest in the mission yet! I definitely am excited to do a lot of fun things back at home though and to see everyone again. It will be hard to leave Malaysia, kind of a bittersweet experience. Good things ahead and good things behind, right? For now though we're still working hard and this last week we've been able to see some special success.

The biggest news though is that this last week Elder Christensen and I officially became the first elders to serve in the newly formed Masai branch. Woohoo! What a cool experience, huh? The branch officially split last week and we're really excited about working with the new branch presidency. Both members of the presidency (there's not a second counselor yet) are from Sarawak. The president has been a member for about two years and the first counselor is actually one of Elder Lang's recent converts. He's been a member for about six months. That's one of the coolest things about serving here in Malaysia I think. Everyone is a convert, and most people are pretty recent converts. In our newly formed Masai branch the average membership length can't be much over two or three years. We have a couple of members here who have been members for about 15 years (longer than the branch has been around), but for the most part everyone is pretty new. The church is still new out here. Actually the first member ever baptized in Malaysia is in the KL branch. He was baptized sometime in the 70s. It's crazy to see now what he pioneered here in Malaysia. I'm sure he's happy!

We've been in Malaysia during a really cool and historic time, and under a great mission president. Elder Lang is down here in JB on exchanges, and he just pointed out to us the other day that when our group got to the mission field the mission had just formed their 20th branch. Now there are close to 30, with growth still looking really good. It's been really awesome to be a part of seeing the church develop in a relatively obscure place in the world. The new missionaries coming in next week though have a pretty awesome two years ahead of them too though. We have 19 new missionaries coming in next week, which constitutes about a quarter of the mission. Apparently only three non-zone leader companionships in the whole mission will not be training, everyone else is getting a "son" or "daughter" this week. Crazy! It will be a wild time to be in the mission for sure. I think the average age of the mission after we leave will have to be under 1 year.

Well, we took a blow this last week in that our investigators on date moved back to kampung in Sarawak. It wasn't an entirely unexpected move, but it was still a little disappointing. They actually live near a church in Sarawak so we're hoping the transition there is smooth and they still end up being baptized. Oh well, the work goes on and we're working with some people here now that we're really excited about. It's good to know that I'm just responsible for doing my best and everything else takes care of itself.

Anyway, that's kind of the news for the week. I love you all so much though. Still sprinting to the finish. :D

See you soon!

Love you!
Elder Blissett

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Grateful for the Scriptures of the Restoration

Halo Keluargaku,

Well, we've had kind of a quiet week out here too! The Stake President was at church this last week interviewing people for callings in the new branch, so we're expecting the split to happen anywhere in the next couple of weeks, even though they won't have the new building done until next month. It's a really exciting time to be serving here in JB. People aren't always flocking to hear the gospel quite like you'd hope, but it's always fun and always good to be in the Lord's service.

Our investigators on date are still doing well. We might have to push them back a week or two, but for the most part everything is looking good. The biggest problem is that now they don't have a phone of any kind, so the only way we can get in touch with them is to go directly to their house, which is actually kind of far away. Oh well, we'll figure out a way to work through it.

We got a great referral from a branch member this last week. This branch member is one of the very best, she's seriously responsible for about half the people in the branch now. Anyway, things are looking really solid with him although he wasn't able to make it to church this last week because of a headache. It's so awesome to be able to get some help from the branch members. It makes a *huge* difference. So if any of you out there have any friends you think might be interested don't be shy to ask them if they'd like to meet with the missionaries. We need help, we can't do it all on our own! :D

Well I feel bad not really having any more news to report except that I'm falling in love with the scriptures of the restoration again. I've been reading the Pearl of Great Price this last week and it's unbelievable to see what even the brief 50 or so pages of the book of Moses and Abraham restore about our understanding of so many doctrines that are so debated in the world today! All kinds of information is there from the Pre-Existence to the origins of man to the antiquity of the gospel and even issues like the role of grace versus works. And the Pearl of Great Price is only just a small piece of what we've received from the restoration. Additional scripture is definitely one of the great blessings of being a member of this church. Plus it's a lot of fun!

Anyway, I love you all so much. Sorry I don't have more news to report. We're still working hard and seeing a lot of good things happen. I'm doing my best to sprint to the finish!

I love you all so much! See you soon!

Love you!

Elder Blissett

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Branch Splitting

Halo Keluargaku,

Well it looks like the family reunion was a lot of fun. I'm sad that I couldn't be there too, but I think we've had a pretty good week here too and that kind of seems to make up for it! Things have just been going a little bit better this week, we're catching some of the breaks we've been looking for. Missionary work is like that, up and down all the time.

Well, we've had a good start to the week, but things are still looking a little bit the same as they did last week. Our investigators on date are still looking really good to be baptized near the end of the month. They're working through everything really well and seem to have a real desire to be baptized. It's cool to see that and I'm excited to see how everything turns out for them.

Hey, I almost forgot the biggest news of the week! *drumroll* Our branch is splitting! Woohoo! That's actually great news, and we just found out last week totally unexpectedly that the branch will be splitting in the next couple of weeks. It's a great sign of the growth of the church here, and the best part of all is that the new location they want to put the newly created Masai branch in is a *lot* closer to the members and investigators who will be attending there. Anyway, it should be Elder Christensen and me serving in the Masai branch, so we're very excited. (Just a note, it's pronounced Ma-sigh, Ma like your Mama, and sigh like I sighed because I was sad). The branch actually applied to be split for the first time about a year ago. Anyway, since that time they tried a few different ways to split the branch, but they couldn't get the required First Presidency authorization for any of the split plans. Well, attendance has been going down so we though it was still going to be quite some time before the split. It turns out though that the split was actually approved about 4 months ago, but because of a mix up with some secretaries we never heard about it. Well, it's all worked out now and we should have a new branch in a matter of weeks. Very exciting and a big surprise.

Well, other than that, things are kind of just the same-old same-old. But I'm still loving it. Being a missionary is the best!

I love you all so much. Thanks so much for everything! Have a great week and I'll see you soon!

Elder Blissett

Life Pattern

Halo Keluargaku,

Well, things are going pretty well out here in the field. Our investigators who accepted a baptismal date are still doing well, although we had to move the date back to work out some details, but now they're still looking really strong to be baptized towards the end of July. In other good news the other elders here in JB are having a baptism this weekend putting an end to what has been kind of a small drought of baptisms in the area. So we're all really excited about that.

We had a small miracle yesterday. It was one of those everyday miracles out here in the mission field. We'd spent hours and hours out knocking and not really finding anything. A really tough day with a lot of rejection. Well, it was getting to the last few minutes we had to knock before we would turn back and go to do a baptismal interview for the other elders. Well, of course it would be right at the end of the day when a small miracle occurs and two of the last four houses we knocked turned into fairly interested new investigators. Just more on the theme of how Heavenly Father organizes the circumstances of our lives, I really feel like sometimes Heavenly Father organizes things so that you don't really find any new investigators until the last moment, just before you're about to turn around and go home. He pushes until you've given just about everything, and then the blessings come. That seems to be an interesting life pattern, and one that I've seen over and over again in my mission.

Well, other than that, things are moving along just the same. We're getting out and working hard and finding people and seeing people progress towards baptism. That's the life of a missionary, huh? :D Sometimes it's hard, rarely it's easy, but it's always 100% worth it. Something I wouldn't trade for the world.

I love you all so much. I'll definitely be keeping the family in my prayers. I'm so grateful for our family of faith!

Love you!
Elder Blissett