Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy New Year!

Halo Keluarga Aku! Macammana?

Well, we're still reeling here from the after Christmas release. It's such an awesome holiday, but it definitely comes with a lot of plans, excitement, occasional stress and tomfoolery that it always makes it a little weird to go back to normal life. It ended up being so good here even though most of the country really doesn't celebrate. Getting to call home was really the highlight of the day though. So good to hear from you all! Well, it feels like this week just got started, but it's actually going really well so far. Maybe I'll tell you about it backwards since that's easiest for me to remember!

On Sunday we attended all of our wards in one day for the last time. Right now, we have two wards that meet at 9 and one that meets at 2, so, so far Elder Merrill and I have been able to go on splits with members to make the two in the morning, and then both go to afternoon church later. For the new year though, almost all the local Singaporean wards are switching to 9 o'clock, which means we're going to have to miss at least one of our wards at least once a month. What a mess, huh?

We also found out that the Filipino ward that meets here is being changed to become a Filipino non-Permanent Residents ward. All the PRs are being moved to the local wards, which is actually going to be a huge change. There are a lot of Filipinos here (that ward was huge), so it looks like all the local wards are going to be getting a big influx for the new year. It will be a really good change in the end though I think.

Both of our baptisms went through on Saturday! So, so good! S.H. ***and H.Y. ***were both baptized by their home teacher, which was really, really awesome. So good to see people make those simple right choices that will bless their lives forever. They just both looked so happy afterwards too. It was awesome. It turned out to be a really good week for the whole mission actually! We were able to have the most baptisms this last week we've had since the mission split 2 years ago. So very exciting! Definitely a good way to end the year. So good to be able to be out here doing this work that blesses people forever.

Everything else is going really well. I think Elder Klemm and I are going to go visit an art museum later today, which should be really good! I'm doing great though! Bahagia (happy), Sihat (healthy), dan kerja keras (and working hard)!

I love you so much! Glad you're feeling better! Talk to you soon!

Elder Blissett (Kevin)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Halo keluarga saya,

I can't believe I'm writing home again already! The weeks here have really started to pick up and things are going better everyday. I guess the first piece of exciting news is that Elder Merrill and I should be having our first baptism on Saturday! Hooray! Her name is M***, and she's super awesome. She's a Singaporean here in her twenties. Really friendly and very funny. She's been learning for over a year now, but she's finally made the decision to go ahead and be baptized. It's so exciting to see how excited she is about it, and to be looking forward to performing my first baptism ever this weekend. So it looks like everything is going to go through alright. Very, very exciting.

I've had a good week besides that as well! The people we taught this week first of all were a lot more consistent in showing up for appointments, but were also just some of the very most receptive people I've met the whole time I've been here. One of the most notable is a Myanmar lady named R ***. We met her through J***, our other investigator from Myanmar, and so far she's been on fire. Just a week ago she hadn't heard anything at all about the church, and now she's reading the Book of Mormon everyday (even taking it to work to read on breaks) and meeting with us a couple of times every week. Sometimes it just looks like people are ready for the gospel. She's actually a nurse too, Mom, which kind of feels like a connection back home. Her life has been really tough lately (both of her parents are very ill, one in the last stages of cancer, another with kidney failure. Her brother who stays here in Singapore just got married to someone she doesn't really get along with, and she's having some trouble finding a place to stay here at all), but instead of letting all those things make her bitter, she's tried to just turn everything over to God. It's awesome, and it looks like she's just ready. So we'll see where things go with her. Very exciting.

It's beginning to feel a lot more like Christmas here, although you wouldn't know it by just looking around here in Singapore. It's a much smaller deal than I thought before here in Singapore. In fact, it seems like whatever decorations there are put up anywhere are just designed to advertise sales happening at one of the many, many malls here. You'd think it'd be a bigger deal here with all the revenue it's bound to bring in for all the malls, but apparently most people just don't celebrate.

I'm picking up little pieces of Singaporean slang now. The big word I've started using now is "can." A lot of times here, the affirmative answer instead of being "yes", will just be "can," as in the sentence, "Hey, do you want to go to the park today? Can!" "Will you take this picture for me? Can!" or, "Would it be alright if we met on Thursday? Yeah, can, can!" It actually sounds kind of nice. One we should consider bringing home.

Anyway, things are still going awesome here. I'm working hard and learning more everyday. We're meeting people to teach, and our teaching is going better. Aaaand we have our first baptism this weekend. Awesome!

Hey, thanks to everybody out there who sent me Christmas letters. It makes suuuch a difference to hear from you all, and I really, really do appreciate it. It may take me a little while to get back to you all, but I'm planning on it! Thanks so much. I love you all so so much! Hope everything is still going well! Talk to you soon!

Love,Elder Blissett (Kevin)

P.S. Hey! I did meet Sister Nielson! Awesome to have a connection back home!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Things are going really well here! Everything is moving so much faster now. Elder Merrill was telling me the other day that when you get into a new area, time seems to move really, really slowly, and that that's just a little blessing to help you get adjusted. Once you're in the groove of things though time flies by. We're constantly saying to each other that it feels like we're always going to bed, sleeping for a few minutes, waking up and then going back to bed again!

Christmas finally is starting to feel a little bit like it's coming. It's defnitely weird to have a warm Christmas season, but there are so many decorations up here by this point, and our wards are having a nativity this weekend, so it finally feels like the holidays have arrived. It's so funny, I keep asking people here if they're excited for Christmas, to which most people reply that they don't really celebrate. You can always count on them saying right afterwards though, "Yeah, I usually just go over to a friends house and have a big meal and we give each other presents and stuff." Don't celebrate, huh? Think again!

So this last week was really good, but pretty tough. (Literally) almost every appointment we had set up all week fell through. That was kind of disappointing, but we were able to fill it up with lots of good contacting so hopefully a few of the people we met doing that will meet with us again. Usually we have pretty good success with that, and that's really where most of our investigators come from.

So last night we had kind of an interesting appointment. Here in Singapore, we almost never meet people at their homes. I think most people are just uncomfortable doing it and from what I can tell people don't even really have friends over a lot. So last night, as usual, we met a couple of people Elder Merrill met on the MRT the other day. They were two really friendly girls and Elder Merrill just asked them if they knew a good place where we could go and talk for a little bit. One of the girls said she knew a park near there and off we went. So we start walking over and chatting a looking at the national library and things, not really knowing where we're going, until we finally get to this building with glass doors. Elder Merrill must have been thinking at this point, "Hmm... this doesn't look much like a park," but I hadn't heard where we were going in the first place, so I just kind of went along with it. One of the girls tried to open it, but it was locked, so she told Elder Merrill she wanted to go ask a nearby security guard what was going on. As she started to walk over she asked Elder Merrill, "So hey, do you guys drink?" Uh oh... So it turns out the words "Park" and "Bar" can sound suprisingly close in a crowded MRT station. We were in the building and were starting to sit down before we fully realized what was going on, got a hold of ourselves and beat a hasty retreat to a nearby McDonalds. The lesson went ok, but they weren't really that interested...

We're having good appointments too though! Still have people who are progressing and we may even have a baptism on Christmas Day! How cool would that be? Every time I go to a member's house here, I see how different it feels there from everywhere else we go. There's just something different about the spirit that goes with people who are faithful members of the church you can't feel anywhere else, and I want that so badly for our investigators. After we meet a new investigator for the first time, it's gotten pretty common for me to turn to Elder Merrill and say "Elder, I want them to be baptized so badly." And I don't want it for the numbers either! We just meet so many good people who deserve the gospel so much, and I just can't stand the thought that they might not get to experience that. There are definitely some cool people here in Singapore. (My favorite are the people from Myanmar. Soo nice, such good people. Haven't met an unfriendly one yet).

Anyway! I think that's kind of the news for this week. Things are still going really well. Elder Merrill and I are working really hard and having good success. It's the Spirit that does the work though, I'm learning that more and more everyday! I love you so much. I can't wait to here from you again, and I'm thinking about all of you back home all the time! Love you so much! I'll talk to you soon!

Love, Elder Blissett (Kevin)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Morgan's Mission Call...

Halo Keluargaku,

It's so exciting to hear about Morgan's mission call! I thought I was going to have to wait an entire extra week to hear, so it was a pleasant surprise to see my inbox filled with the good news. Anyway, I already told him congratulations but congratulate him again if you see him. And how cool to keep up the tradition of Horns in Colorado, huh?

So things are really starting to look like Christmas here. There are lights going up all over the place and the shopping malls (which is basically every building in Singapore) are starting to get really busy. Have I talked about the malls here yet? They're everywhere! We take the metro system here all the time (it's called the MRT), and it literally feels like every station is a mall. I'm convinced it's some huge percentage. Anyway, if you're a shopper, Singapore is the place to go. They have pretty much every store in the world here. Lots and lots of "Western food" as well. I'm actually pretty shocked with the number of times we've eaten at a Quiznos or McDonalds or something like that (I heard there even used to be a Taco Bell). I think after spending 8 months in Malaysia, my companion is dying for good old American food though, so, no problem.

This week the work was good, but definitely tough. We've had lots of appointments fall through, but the ones we've been able to keep have been really awesome. One of the best people we met this week is named J ***. She's from Myanmar (there are a ton of Myanmars here), and actually somehow found her way to go study nursing at Idaho State University. So, she's only here in Singapore for a few months while she tries to save up some money and work her way back to the states. Anyway, she's really good. Super good hearted (I think Myanmars are the friendliest people I've ever met) and willing to learn and come to church and everything. She's actually been learning from some Sisters in Idaho for a while, and comes to church almost every week, but hasn't really been willing to commit to be baptized. At our last meeting though we set a date! Dec. 26. That would be some kind of Christmas present, huh? Anyway, things are looking good so hopefully everything goes through ok!

Anyway, the work is really starting to pick up here and Elder Merrill and I think are finally starting to feel like we're getting the hang of things. It looks like we have about X number of people who will be baptized in December which is a pretty good number for Singapore ***6***. So hopefully everything works out! We're working hard, and working better everyday.

So good to hear about Johnny too! What an adorable, active kid, huh? I talked to a guy just yesterday whose wife had had a new baby just the day before. He seemed really excited about it, but when I asked him what the baby's name was he looked at me kind of funny and said "Oh, he's still very young." So after talking to him a little bit, I found out that at least in Southern India, people don't name their babies until a goodly time after their born. He seemed to think it was kind of funny that we did too! The things you find out, huh?

I can't believe how diverse it is here too! I just did a quick count, and I think I've run into multiple people from at least 13 different countries! You'd think with all these Asian countries being so close to each other they'd all be pretty similar though. Not so! Every group is so, so different! Did I tell you that here in Singapore almost everything (defintiely things the government puts out) is written in 4 different languages? English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. So crazy, but very, very cool.

Anyway, it was so good to get to write home and hear about how everything is going out there. I'm still well! Having a warm (very unusual) Christmas season, but all is well! I love you all so much! I can't wait to call home!

Love you!

Elder Blissett (Kevin)

Working Hard and Giving Thanks

Halo Keluargaku,

So good to hear from you (like always). We just had a big thanksgiving lunch at the Mission President's house and I was wondering what all of you were up to back home. I've been looking forward to finding out all day!

So to answer your question, no, people don't really celebrate thanksgiving here in Singapore. Actually, that's not entirely true. I guess a lot of the church members here have thanksgiving celebrations of sorts, but definitely not quite the same as back home. This morning we went to the American School here to play some good old, classic American football for a few hours. While we were leaving, we saw a local woman who was working at the school and one of the Elders called out "Happy Thanksgiving! Do you celebrate Thanksgiving?" to which she shouted back, "No, I'm not Christian." Who knew it was a Christian holiday, huh?

Anyway, our celebrations were really great. Almost felt like being back at home and celebrating Thanksgiving with everybody (except not quite so tasty). Sister Clark even commisioned our Elder from Singapore to find somewhere to buy a pumpkin so she could make us some home-made pumpkin pie. It was truly excellent.

This week has been going pretty well in terms of the work too. I really feel like I'm getting the hang of how to be a missionary and how to approach people to talk. I feel a little more confident and in control which I think helps other people want to talk to me a little more too. Plus we're working with a few really awesome investigators. The first is this guy named J***M***. He's really cool and although we've only met him twice, things are definitely coming along with him. He's a super, super receptive learner. The other day we were teaching him about the Plan of Salvation and were talking about Adam and Eve. I knew that he came from a Buddhist background, but he'd told us earlier that he'd read the first couple chapters of Genesis a few years back. So I asked him if he would tell me what he remembered about that story. He then went on on maybe like a five minute nearly flawless recitation of the story. He seemed to remember even every subtle detail. To understand exactly how crazy that is, I guess you'd have to understand that I'm in a country where people rarely have any idea what a "prophet" is, and most people I talk to haven't even heard of a person named Moses. It was awesome.

We're also teaching a teenage chinese girl named C***. Her boyfriend is a member but I think we're the first missionaries she's ever met with. Last night we asked her if she'd like to be baptized to which she replied basically, "Oh yeah, absolutely." It's just so good to find people so willing to accept the gospel. Sometimes that's rare here in Singapore.

The last really awesome people we met with this week is actually a family. The father's name is P ***, and they're actually from India so they don't have a family name at all. We usually just call them the "P family." Anyway, they have to be the most humble people I've ever met in my life. Just soo good and attentive. We planned on just stopping by and giving a lesson, but they wanted to feed us before we left. They didn't eat with us though, just set up the table so that we could eat first and they would just eat after we left. It would have been kind of akward, but you could just tell as they were doing it they just thought they were doing the decent, hospitable thing. We didn't even really know them, but they just took such good care of us. Such good people. P even walked us all the way to the bus stop, and then waited with us until the bus arrived. He showed me just how far I have to go in humility...

Unfortunately our meeting with that woman (whose friend had just died) I met didn't really pan out. By the time I was finally able to get a hold of her to confirm our appointment (I was dialing the phone number wrong!), she just told me she didn't think we could meet that day because it was raining. Just after that call she sent us a text saying that she was really happy with where she was in life, and didn't really want to meet with us. It's tough because I know we had so much to offer her, but I know that this isn't going to be the end of her exposure to the church either. God has a plan, and someday, somehow or another she'll hear the message of the gospel. It just wasn't time I guess.

Anyway, things are still going well here. Elder Merrill is awesome and I'm learning a lot from him everyday. It was really hot outside today, and I actually got a little sunburned playing football, but I don't think things really ever get much worse than this. The heat actually isn't nearly so bad as I was expecting. Good news I guess!

I love you so, so much! I can't wait to hear from you again!

Love, Elder Blissett (Kevin)