Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Hello dearest mother (and family)!

How's Utah? I imagine there's probably already snow on the ground, right? It's so funny, I think my internal clock is tuned to Utah weather because everytime we're about to leave the house here, I catch myself looking around for my jacket to put on before I go out. Still warm here though. I don't think there's any worries about that changing!

This week has been really good. I feel like I'm learning so much everyday about becoming a better missionary. It's funny, you wouldn't think there's much to learn about how to have a conversation with a stranger on the MRT until you tried it. It's not easy! Not only because it's very scary (which it is!), but it's also hard work to keep things moving. People just aren't used to chatting and it certainly takes a lot of effort to get started, but it's getting easier and more natural everyday.

Goodness, there's so much that happened this week I don't even know where to begin, but maybe I'll just work backwards! So! Today is P-Day. Not a whole lot going on on our P-Days, just hanging out, doing any shopping we have to do and watching movies on our approved mission list (which actually includes a lot more than you'd think it would). It's so nice though.

Missionary work is pretty stressful, we're always rushing from place to place and trying to muster up our courage to talk to people and trying to find out where to go. All things you don't really think about normally, but that get really taxing when it's all you do everyday! Most of our days here we just spend street contacting, which I think is pretty different from most missions in the world (and even most areas in our mission). We can't knock door to door like most missionaries, so we spend most of our time trying to find public squares and things where people are just sitting around and we chat with them. Singapore is so busy not many people are ever just hanging around, so we'll often talk to most of the people in an area pretty fast and have to move on and find something else. Hard work for sure. Most of the time people we talk to are not particularly interested in learning about the church. There's a lot of rejection here in Singapore, but everyone is almost always really friendly about it and we don't really spend a lot of time trying to convince people who don't really seem interested.

It's so refreshing though when you finally find someone who looks like they might want to learn.
I've actually been really surprised by how many people I've run into who just seem like they've been prepared to receive the gospel. A few times now I've talked to people who randomly have a copy of the Book of Mormon, or even a guy the other day who's run into missionaries in multiple Asian countries. Places where there are hardly missionaries at all. Just the other day I talked to a girl from the far northern tip of Sumatra (in Indonesia) in a city up there called Medan. I started to teach her all about the restoration, and just as I was about to give her a copy of the Book of Mormon she told me she already had one. I was shocked! I guess though one of her friends in Medan gave her one, which is shocking because I think the branch there is really, really small. There's only two missionaries in the entire city, and it's very isolated from the rest of the church. Sometimes it just seems like people are being made ready though. It's amazing how you can kind of see God's plans unfolding with people you'd never really expect.

Just yesterday I met this really awesome girl I'm convinced is going to be baptized. We were just sitting around in kind of a park area in the financial district talking to people, and I saw this woman sitting across the square I thought I should talk to, so I went over there and started a conversation. It turns out that one of her good friends had just died unexpectedly about 3 months ago, and she had just decided that it was really time for her to pick a church to start going to and be baptized. She explained that her friend had just died and that he hadn't been baptized and she was pretty worried about that. I guess she'd just asked a priest if there was any way that people could be baptized after they'd died, and was pretty disappointed to hear that the answer was no. So I pulled out a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and explained to her a little about the Spirit World. She kept saying how weird it was that she'd just been wondering about all these things, and here I showed up to talk to her about religion. She actually wasn't even on break from her work, she'd just gotten kind of stressed and decided to take a few minutes outside. I dunno, the whole thing was just too perfect. We actually even set up an appointment right then to meet and teach her again. It's the kind of thing where you just can see clearly that God really is preparing his children to accept the gospel. Definitely a cool thing to be a part of.

Anyway, we're still out here working hard. Things are sometimes tough, but I'm doing my best to learn how to relax a little more and just let what happens happen. I'm doing better everyday though, and I'm sure it's just a matter of time before everything really starts to just feel more natural.

Anyway, I have to run, but I love you so much! It's always so good to hear from you and get to write home. Hope things are still going great in Utah!

Love you!

-Elder Blissett (Kevin)

Monday, November 9, 2009

First Week in Singapore

Halo Keluarga Saya,

So, here I am my first week in Singapore. It's probably one of the craziest cities I've ever been in. Very different from what I was expecting. So, first off, what does it look like. It's definitely a big city, but the rumors about it being very clean are definitely true. The only place I've ever seen trash on the ground is right next to a trash can, where someone must have missed trying to put them in the can. It's also really green here. Not at all like cities in America that are just packed with concrete. There's tons of trees and grasses and bushes and all of those kinds of things all over the place. Sometimes it's almost like being in a Jungle.

There's an unbelievably large number of Chinese here. I had no idea how many there actually were going to be. Tons. Almost everybody. There's also a lot of Indians, Bangladeshi, Malay, Sri Lankans, and lots of Filipinos. All kinds of people. And basically no white people at all. I wasn't expecting that. I'd always gotten the impression that there would be lots here on business or working (it turns out 1/4 of Singapore's population [1000000 people] are non-Singaporeans just here working). Not true though. In fact, this morning I counted while we were on the MRT (their subway system) coming to the mission office. I saw six. Six out of hundreds of people. I think I go every day seeing less than a dozen. Definitely makes you start to feel out of place.

The food is pretty good. Ethnic foods from all over Asia mostly. Our first day here we had Indian food on banana leaves and they taught us how to eat with our hands (you'd be shocked how much technique goes into it). We've also had lots of Chinese food and whatever the members will make us. There are still American places around here though. In fact, today our zone is going to Chili's! You wouldn't believe how many 7-11s there are around. Tons!

People speak very different English here. At our first appointment multiple times I thought my companion and the investigators were going off in Tamil. So afterwards I asked him about it, and he looked at me kind of funny and just told me they hadn't spoken a word. I couldn't believe it! It's a miracle anyone here can speak english to each other since everyone has a totally different accent (Australian, Chinese, Indian, Mongolian). It's actually made me feel pretty proud of my own native-level English. Probably not good, but true! They also sometimes use words here that don't really exist in English. For example, people are constantly saying the sound 'lah' after words. 'lah' is kind of an emphasizer in malay, so I think that's where it comes from, but often you'll hear people say things like "all the timelah" or "they just tell me all that garbagelah."

I've been totally blown away by what kind of workers people are here in Singapore. It's actually hard to get appointments with anybody since they all work so hard. The other day we were talking to a girl about our age on the bus, and she told us she worked 60 hours a week. That's 5 twelve hour shifts in a row. And all that for something like 1000 Sing a month (1.3 Sing is worth $1).

One more funny story. The first day I went to my new apartment (which is the nicest in the mission by the way. Very nice apartment), I went almost straight to the bathroom. I was just about to sit down, when I noticed there wasn't any toilet paper, so I found Elder Bukhchuluun and asked him where I could get some, to which he replied "Oh, we don't use any." "What? What do you mean we don't use any?" "Yeah, we just take a shower. Everyone in the mission does it." Uh... Surprise surprise! So, I've been on a big search for toilet paper these last few days. I already finished off the paper towels in our house, and I've taken to hoarding extra toilet paper every time I use one of the bathrooms at the church. Crazy place.

Anyway, I'm doing ok. Trying to learn a lot all at once is hard, and sometimes I think maybe I push myself too hard, but I'll figure it all out. Growing pains, right

Love you so much! -Elder Blissett (Kevin)