Thursday, September 24, 2009

Selamat Pagi!

Halo keluarga saya!
How's it going? Sounds like it's going well! Things are really good here too! Thanks so much for writing and the pictures and everything. It's definitely always a pleasure to hear from home. And the food too! Everyone in my district has closets packed with food! In fact, the guys from the other Indo district just got three boxes of food from some of the outgoing elders. Guess it's something of a tradition to pass on your leftovers... The MTC is kind of a weird place.

But hey, speaking of the district next door. They're the zone leaders now! The Indos (we) are officially the oldest guys in the zone now. We just had a huge group of Mongolians head out over the last couple of days, leaving us the guys in charge. So that's kind of exciting. Always nice to be able to be the guys who look like they know what they're doing!

We've actually got a new branch president too! President Dodge just got released, so President Crawford has taken over for him. He's an economics professor from BYU and is actually really nice. Always good to have people in charge that you can get along with.

Phew! Sorry, this really lacks organization. Anyway! You asked about the food, mom, and where my companion is from. The food here is... umm... ok! It's about what it was at the cannon center at BYU with probably a few fewer options. The rumors are true though, it definitely does some weird stuff to your digestion. Just good preparation for Malaysia, right? And my companion is from Southern Califronia. Thousand Oaks is the name of the city. I kind of doubt you've ever heard of it. Most people around here seem not to have. Apparently it's nice though.

Things are definitely speeding up here. When we first came, everyone told us that after the first week, everything goes into a kind of hyperdrive and I can definitely confirm that that's true. I don't know if it's just that we're doing the same things everyday or what, but something has made this last week fly by. It seems like Sunday was just yesterday and we're already halfway to the next week. It's a good thing though! With this much class you need time to go a little bit faster in order to keep from going a little crazy.

Speaking of crazy, our district has a mascot now, and things have gotten a little out of hand with it. We blame it on cabin fever. Our mascot is this little squishy, spiky green ball we drew a face on and named Lucu (which means funny or cute in Indo). At first people were content to just squeeze him and make jokes about him now and again, but in just the last few days, somebody found a little car for him, built him a perch, began construction on a house for him and wrote home to get another ball so he'd have someone to keep him company. Several of the elders in our district are actually involved in a bit of a custody battle over who gets to take him home at night.

Like I said, the MTC is kind of a crazy place...

Ok! I learned all kinds of interesting facts about Malaysia that I'm dying to share! Sooo, it sounds like most people in Malaysia don't actually speak Malay as the first language, at least the non-muslims. That means that in West Malaysia, the Elders basically teach all of their lessons in english, since almost anyone over there who speaks decent Malay is Muslim and illegal to teach. Over in East Malaysia, pretty much the opposite is true, all the Elders teach in Malay all the time. Only the people there have only learned Malay as a second language after their local language, so I guess they don't even speak it particularly well (or at least "properly" I guess). Anyway, very interesting.

Also! We found out why there aren't any church materials printed in Malay. The government over there is pretty restrictive about what can and cannot be printed, and I guess they decided the church could print their materials in Malay if they wanted, but that they couldn't use the word "Allah." I guess they feel like that word belongs just to the Muslims. Unfortunately, there isn't really another word they can use, I mean, you can't just take the word "God" out of the scriptures, so until the government budges, the Malaysians will just have to figure out Indonesian (which can be very confusing). The church has a team working on translating the materials anyway, so hopefully some day we'll be allowed to print them.

Oh! Ok! I was supposed to describe the TRC! It's basically just a center here where we go every Saturday to teach volunteers in kind of a "real life" investigator situation. The volunteers all speak Indonesian, they're either return missionaries or native speakers, and it's almost always a very intimidating but also very awesome experience. This Saturday we're teaching Lesson 2! Wish me luck, huh?

Anyway, thanks again so much for writing you guys, it means a lot. And the pictures! Johnny is definitley looking adorable. I love you all so much, I think about you all the time. It's so fun to teach about eternal families and think about my family back home that, you know, is almost kinda just getting started (or starting over at least)!

Thanks again! I love you all so much! Can't wait to talk to you again!

Dengan Kasih,
Elder Blissett

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Minggu Dua (Week Two)!

Halo keluarga saya!
How's everything going back on the home front? It's been so good to hear from all of you!  It's funny, I've only been gone for two weeks but it kind of feels like forever. You become very disconnected from the world around you at the MTC which is actually really unnerving. It's pretty funny to hear the rumors spread around about how BYU is doing or anything else. News travels fast around here and letters from home are almost always filled with sports updates.

Whew! I really feel rushed, I guess I'll just have to send a letter with whatever I miss, huh?

So! Laaast Saturday we finally taught in the TRC for the first time. That's a place where people from around Provo come in to pretend to be investigators so we can get some "real experience." We taught in Indonesian the first 6 (of 8) principles from lesson 1, and even though we had notes, the entire experience was very terrifying. We got to teach Brother Leo's wife, so it was good to have someone so forgiving, but still very scary. This weekend we're actually teaching the whole lesson in Indo without notes, so I hope it all turns out OK! I'm pretty sure it will, the language is actually coming along really well. I only have to look up a few words per panel in my Book of Mormon stories book and I'm starting to read Preach My Gospel too! It's very exciting!

Alright, sooo, my companion is still great. We're really close as a district and close with the other Indo district as well, so sometimes it's hard to stay focused, but I'd rather have that problem than have a district I didn't get along with. I can tell we're all really growing up a lot. It's amazing to see how people are starting to realize the measure of the calling and growing into it admirably. Everyone in our district is doing really well.

Ok! Every Sunday we have great firesides with staff from the MTC, and every Tuesday a general authority comes to talk to us. This week Elder Holland came, and since I'm singing in the MTC choir, we got to sing for him and for the whole MTC. It's a huge choir, but it's still fun to be a part of that. Anyway, his talk was absolutely amazing. I don't think he read a single word from a prepared talk but the whole time just spoke to us like the missionaries we are! I had no idea he was sometimes kind of a "table pounder." He definitely gave it to us straight, but it was so awesome. I'd never really realized how important, how wonderful and what a privelege it is to serve until I heard his talk. He was really really great!

So, we spend lots of our time talking about Indonesian culture in our class and we hear lots and lots of crazy things. It's definitely a very different part of the world. Most notably, Brother Leo was telling us about in his time in Malaysia, he almost always had an Orang Putih (white person. Which reminds me, in Indo "parents" is orang-orang tua, which means old people. Funny, huh? :D) companion. Which, you know, isn't that surprising. What was, however, is that he said routinely when they'd knock doors in Malaysia, people would open up, take one look at the white guy on their doorstep, gasp and run away to go hide in the house! Not close the door, not say anything, just run away and hide. He said after they called out to them to tell them everything was ok, they'd start to see a the whole family kind of peek out from around the corner, and finally after some coaxing they'd come out to invite them in. He says they just don't really see many white people so it's always very shocking when they do. Very, very strange.

Anyway, it's been so good to hear from all of you. Thanks so much for the pictures and letters. It's always so exciting to hear from home. Isn't Dear Elder great? I love you all so much and think about you everyday. Thanks so much for giving me the chance to come out here and do some good. I know this gospel is true and that our family has truly been richly blessed by it. So good to get to talk to you guys again! Dear Elder me if you have any specific questions for next week!

I love you soo much!

Dengan Kasih dan Hormut, (with love and respect. I guess they sign letters like that! Who would have thought to sign with respect?)
Elder Kevin Blissett

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Selamat Pagi!

Dear Family!

Thanks so much for all your letters and support, it really means a lot out here where any contact with the outside word is a little bit limited. It’s kind of funny, all the sidewalks here are covered almost as if to prevent you from seeing any of the outside world (including the sky). Very unsettling.

Thanks again for writing, it means so much to me. It was so good to see pictures of little John Boy. He even looks so much older in the pictures we took while I was still there. I guess I’m just getting used to seeing the slightly younger Yellowstone version of him.

The MTC is going really great! It’s a very, very cool to be in a place where (quite literally) every minute of your day is planned out in order to help you to become a missionary machine. Everyone here is very serious about using every minute of your time to learn how to more effectively invite others to come unto Christ and to bless their lives with the gospel knowledge we have.

Indonesian is going excellently. The language is very straightforward and actually leaves out a lot of the parts that were very hardest about Spanish. Our very first morning here our teachers had class, so we were just assigned to learn how to introduce ourselves on our own. By the end of the next day we had already learned how to bear our testimonies and pray. So now we’re only praying in Indonesian at the beginning and end of every class, trying to bear our testimony in the language everyday, and singing exclusively Indonesian hymns. One of our teachers said that by the third week we’d probably only be speaking Indonesian. Very, very exciting. I just bought the children’s songbook (Buku Nyanyian anak-anak) and one of those Book of Mormon story comic book type things (Cerita-Cerita Kitab Mormon) and can already get through most of them with the help of a dictionary. So things are going great. I can’t believe we’ve only been here a week. We truly have been blessed with the gift of tongues.

My companion is named Elder Lang and we’ve been getting along really well! He’s much more outgoing than I am, but I feel like we really compliment each other and have made a power companionship so far. He’s actually become kind of the funny guy in our district, so it’s pretty fun to always be where the action is. There are four other elders and two sisters in our district as well. One set of elders and the sister s are going to Indonesia, and the other elders are coming with us to Singapore. There’s actually another district learning Indonesian as well, and I think they’re all coming to Singapore. Elder Lang’s best friend is actually in that district. They opened their mission calls on the same day and got the exact same calls, funny huh?

Our teachers are excellent. Brother Ross is about 26 and served in Indonesia, and Brother Leo is actually from Indonesia and served his mission in Malaysia (Singapore). So we definitely have guys who know what they’re talking about. It's so fun to see their different teaching styles and to learn so differently from each of them. We spend a lot of time talking about the culture of the countries we're going to, which is definitely an MTC highlight. It's gonna be a really different adventure, but I think I'm going to be really safe and have a lot of fun too!

Umm... Ok... so! Fun fact! The name of the church in Indonesian is
Yesus Kristus
dari orang-orang suci
zaman akhir

which means literally, "The Church of Jesus Christ from the Holy People of the Last Time Period." Definitely cool. The first line of the name is taken from Portuguese, the second line from Dutch, the third is Indonesian and the fourth is Arabic, so you can tell even from that that I'm headed to a very diverse, very culturally rich place.

I've seen Elder Brown, Elder Taggert and few other people I know which has been a lot of fun. They both seem really happy and very focused on the work.

Um... Anyway, thanks again so much for writing, let me know if you have any kind of specific questions you wanted me to answer, there's so much to talk about it's hard for me to know what to include. We've only been here for a week but it kind of feels like forever (which is a good thing).

Jadi, in the end, saya tahu bahwa gereja ini adalah benar dan saya tahu bahwa Thomas S. Monson adalah nabi Allah. Saya tahu bahwa Allah Mengasihi kita dan membagikan injil ini untuck kita dapat punya kebahagiaan. Saya banyak mengasihi kamu!

(So... I know that this church is true and I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God. I know that God loves us and gives us the gospel so we can be happy. I love you so much!)

I love all you guys a lot! Kiss Johnny for me and tell John I said hello!

Dengan Kasih (with love),
Elder Blissett

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Options for sending letters

Posted by Georgia:

Hello everyone! Should you wish to send a letter to Kevin (and I hope you will), you may use his address in the column on the right. Another option is to use the website This is a free service when you are sending a letter to someone in the Provo MTC. You submit your letter electronically and they print and deliver it. This means you don't have to hand write your letter or go to the trouble of mailing it. If you submit the letter by noon MST, it is delivered to him the same day.

You may also use the website to mail letters to him once he is in Singapore or Malaysia. There is no "pouch" service there, so you do need to pay the cost of a stamp. You just sign up for an account on the website to pay.

I'll be posting Kevin's letters on this blog while he is on his mission. He won't be able to access the blog to see any comments, but feel free to make comments and I'll print them out and mail them to him.

Kevin is safely in the MTC! Everything went well and he was very excited to go.