Halo keluarga saya yang kukasihi!
How are you all doing? It sounds like things are going really great! I can't believe how grown up little Johnny looks. That picture you sent me of John feeding him is probably the most adorable thing I've seen. He just looks sooo excited. Definitely the Johnny I remember. Thanks so much for the picture. I hung it up on my little board and I laugh everytime I see it!
Things are going really well here at the MTC. I'm getting over my cold which is definitely a welcome relief. Stuffy noses are just a pain! Unfortunately though, it looks like the MTC is kind of going into lockdown mode for swine flu. We had an informational meeting with one of the doctors here to talk about swine flu prevention, and he told us that they've already had 4 confirmed cases. There are signs all over the place now warning people not to shake hands or hug or anything! Very weird for missionaries. Don't worry though, I'm still applying all the good disease prevention techniques you raised me with!
Saturday is our halfway point! I can't believe it! We will have been here for a month as of tomorrow which, I've got to say, is very very exciting. Don't get me wrong, I love the MTC, but I think Singapore/Malaysia is going to blow me away. Plus it's starting to get a little cold here. I can't wait to step off the plane into that wonderful tropical heat.
Indonesian is still going really well! This last Saturday at the TRC we taught lesson two. Turns out we only had two volunteers show up to be investigators though, so we had four missionaries teach each investigator. I think maybe it was a little overwhelming for everyone. Can you imagine if we taught every investigator with four missionaries? Talk about applying pressure. We did really well though. Things are defintely coming along faster than I ever dreamed they might. I talked to some elders speaking cambodian the other day, and they told us that after being here for six weeks, they'll be teaching the first lesson for the first time. I think we nailed the right southeast asian language!
Hey, Mom, you wondered last week why the church doesn't just print the Book of Mormon in Malay with all the words 'Allah' replaced with the english 'God.' I don't know exactly. In fact, in Malay there's a word, 'Tuhan,' which means 'Lord' that gets used all the time in the scriptures. They could definitely just replace all the 'Allah's with 'Tuhan' without changing much meaning at all. I guess they just want all or nothing though. Which is good I guess! Brother Leo said he thought that by the time we left they'd have worked out with the government to get Malay materials, so we can hope, right?
Speaking of Malay, the language is coming along well, but it's definitely very different from English. You just have to learn to express your ideas in a way you'd never think to do in English. I mean, Malay has over 6 or 7 different words that basically all mean "to say," but with slightly different meanings, and no word at all for "excited." What kind of language doesn't have a word for excited? Who knows! I do love it though, such a different experience! Another kind of funny thing Malay does is cram a bunch of words together to make like these monster words. Everything already seems to take twice as many syllables to say, but then they'll bust a word like "mempertanggungjawabkan" (which means "to take responsibility for") out and you start to think maybe your teachers are just playing a joke on you.
Hey, speaking of Malaysia, I heard there was a big earthquake in West Malaysia? Is everything over there still ok? Is that even true?
Ah! The big news this week is that I had kind of my first success and first rejection as a missionary! I don't know if I've told you about the Refferal Center (RC), but we go there every week to spend an hour calling people who request free materials from the church (like Bibles or movies. Lots and lots of free Bibles for people in the South. I think like... over half our calls are for them) to make sure they received them ok. Anyway, our "supervisor" type sister has been really urging us lately to invite people to watch conference this weekend. Soo I mentioned it to this lady who started to sound really interested. She even stayed on hold for a little while while I got her Bishops number for her to call and find out where to watch it. So very cool! It sounds like I sent a sister to conference. Hooray!
My first rejection was actually kind of fun as well. I called this lady and introduced myself with,
"Hi, my name is Kevin, and I'm from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints"
"I thought I told you people not to call me again!"
"Uh, Yes Ma'm!!" *rushing to hang up the phone as fast as possible*
So that totally counts as a door slammed in the face, right? I think so.
The MTC is such a... well... let's be honest... kind of funny place. We always sing three prelude hymns before firesides (which I actually really love), and this last week our final hymn was "If You Could Hie to Kolob." Immediately when it was announced there was such a collective gasp of excitement that the Brother announcing it actually commented on it. Where else in the world do teenagers get so excited about singing a hymn? It's really a great place.
Anyway! Things are going really well! I'm getting along great with my companion and everything is coming so fast. I really feel like I'm growing more than I ever have in my life. I know I'm out here doing the right thing, and that this work is going to bless the lives of many, many people in Malaysia. I love you all so much. Thanks so much for all your letters and support!
Saya mengasihi semua kamu!