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!