Well, here I am writing from the beautiful city of Kuala Lumpur. We came down here on Monday to see the mission tour with Elder Nelson and we won't be heading back until later today. Missionary gatherings are always a lot of fun, and this one has been particularly nice, but I think it will be good to get back into my area too! Elder Nelson was actually a really special experience. You definitely don't look at an apostle the same way during your mission you did before. It was just so awesome to have someone really called by God as one of his special witnesses right there just talking to us for so long. We had a missionary meeting in the morning that was only the 26 missionaries in West Malaysia, President and Sister Clark, Elder and Sister Watson (he's in the area presidency for asia), and Elder and Sister Nelson, (plus one Indonesian member who was going back to Indonesia before the member meeting that night). It was awesome, you could just tell he cared so much about us and wanted so much to give us something valuable. Such a smart man too! Did you know that he actually speaks 8 languages (including a little chinese). I think the best part though was the time he gave us just to ask questions at the end. He told us that was probably the only opportunity we'd ever have to ask an apostle questions in such a small group, and I think he was probably right. It was awesome. Historic also! When he went to East Malaysia just before coming to see us it was the very first time in the history of the world that an apostle made a visit to the island of Borneo (did I ever clarify that? That East Malaysia is Borneo? Well, Borneo is a big island, and the top half is East Malaysia).
Things are going really well with Elder Porter! I got to see Elder Watkins too coming down here to KL so that was fun.
Did I forget to tell you about Chinese New Year much? It was fun! I was waiting for Elder Porter to arrive so I spent a lot of the first day just visiting member's houses and snacking (that's what they do, everyone sits around a table and you have snacks, then you all move on to the next house and do the same thing). The Ang Pow was plentiful, although not nearly as much as some of the member kids seem to pull in. Two of the youth in our branch brought in 600 ringgit, which is a little under 200 US, but when you consider that almost everything here in Malaysia is about 60% cheaper, it becomes a really sizable amount of money. Ah, the food here is so delicious! I think my favorite is the Chinese food (which is a surprise! I thought it was going to be Indian). Have I talked at all about Chinese food? I don't think so. It turns out most of the sweet, syrupy stuff we have in America is nothing like real Chinese food. Chinese food is actually really savory, rarely sweet at all. There's kind of a few options, you either get nasi (rice) or mee (noodles), and if you get noodles you either get it fried or in a soup. There's a ton of different kinds of noodles here, but one of my favorites is called Kuew Tiao (which has innumerable spellings). Its a long flat noodle about 1/2 an inch wide. It's super delicious either goreng (fried) or in a soup. Really delicious, and super fun to practice your chop stick skills. The Indian food is good also, lots and lots of curries. Indian food you almost always eat with rice or with some kind of nan or roti (which all seem to me to just be variations on tortillas). Did I tell you I ate fish head curry the other day before Elder Hall left? That was an experience! Turns out most of the meat on a fish head is in the lips. Who would have guessed? The hardest part was making myself eat the eyeball though. You have to scoop it out with your spoon, put it in your mouth and suck all the meat off because there's a hard kind of plasticky part of the eye that you can't eat. Very different, but lots of fun!
So, things are still going great here. It's funny, even without being forced to speak Malay everyday mine seems to be getting a lot better now. My listening comprehension is kind of dismal, but I'm finding that I can say or translate into Malay whatever I hear in English. So, keep working, right? Elder Porter is helping me out a lot after spending six months in Sarawak, where it's all-malay all-the-time.
Ok, I have to run, but I love you all so much!
Love you! Talk to you soon! Elder Blissett (Kevin)
P.S. My e-mail is changing to firstname.lastname@example.org