Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Zone Conference

Halo Keluargaku,

So, P-Day got moved this week because it's *Drumroll please*.... Zone Conference! Surprise! It's ok, I'm sure you won't be disappointed to get an e-mail two days early, and I'm definitely not disappointed since Zone Conference's P-Day is all day instead of ending at 6:30 like all the other P-Days. Woohoo! So it sounds like maybe we'll be going to a waterfall south of Ipoh today. I'll make sure to take lots of pictures.

So, Zone Conference means the Elders from all over have all come down to Ipoh. We have 10 sleeping in our apartment now, and let me tell you, it's crazy. We have mattresses spread all over the floor and luggage taking up every spare bit of space left. Super fun though. I still haven't ever lived in an apartment with more than 2 Elders in it, so it's always a cool experience getting to get together with all the guys for a few days.

So, yesterday night people started to arrive, today is our all day P-Day, and tomorrow we'll be having our training with President, Sister Clark and the APs, which should just be a treat. Zone Conferences are actually a blast. By Wednesday we'll be trying to piece together our week and get back to work, which is always kind of an experience. It'll be worth it though. Zone Conference is the best!

I got to talk to some of the Elders from my MTC group serving in Indonesia this week! Crazy, huh? It turns out they were in Singapore for a visa run, so I found out who they were staying with and gave them a call. It was awesome for sure, I didn't think I'd get to talk to any of them until after the mission. It sounds like they're doing really well. Indonesia is a totally different place for sure. You would think that being so close we'd have really similar mission experiences, huh? Not true though. Sounds like pretty much everything is totally different there!

Anyway, things are still going really well here. Elder Porter and I are working very hard and having a lot of success. So, onward and upward, huh? It's such a testimony to me that 19-21 year old kids can come out here and make this work happen, all with very little supervision, but it happens. That's the beauty of the gospel. When you're on the right team, you're bound to win, right?

Hope things are still going well at home! I love you all so much!!

Talk to you soon!

Elder Blissett (Kevin)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The hot season and a 144 hour work week

Halo Keluargaku,

Well, it's actually been a pretty good week this week. Still very, very hot, but we've had a lot more rain lately, so that's good. It's funny, when I first arrived everyone in Singapore told me, "Oh, this is the rainy season, wait until the hot season comes," and I never really believed it would be that bad. Turns out it's about that bad. People here are telling us it's even unusually hot this year, so, lots of sweaty clothes this week. It's alright though, when everyone sweats you don't even notice it that much at all!

My companion made an interesting observation the other day. We often talk about the guards here at Prima Ipoh, who seem to have one of the easiest jobs in the entire world, just sort of sitting around and watching people. The employee here who runs the small shop seems to spend most of his time watching Tamil movies or playing video games, so not too taxing. But for the last couple of weeks we've been meeting one older guard who always seems to be here. At first I never noticed, then Elder Porter said to me one day "that guy is here everyday." So, I started to watch. Every time we left the building, there the uncle was. When we came back at night, he was there agian. Everyday. So this week I finally got the chance to ask him.
"Hey Uncle, do you work here everyday."
"Wow! So much work. So what time do you start in the morning uncle"
*Another guard pipes up* "Oh, he works continuously"
"He... He what?"
"He works here continuously"
"What do you mean, like... everyday?"
It was then that the uncle explained to me that he starts work at six in the morning, works until three the next morning, sleeps on the floor of his guard house for three hours, wakes up the next morning and does it again. He goes to his home once a week for a few hours to drop up some dirty clothes and pick up freshly washed ones from his married children, then comes back to work.
That makes for a 144 hour work week. Every week.

I guess for the last 40 years, he was working as a driver, where he followed the same schedule with two hours of sleep a night. As an explanation, all I could seem to get from him was, "the pay is good."

So, that's my crazy story for the week! Other than that, our teaching pool is really solid. Lots of great people who are really looking for the truth. April should be a really good month for us, which is awesome. It's inspiring to meet so many people who are just so ready to hear the truth. This week I've been working really hard to dedicate myself more fully to the truth, and to live it as well as I can, and I've noticed something wonderful. It's always scary to make changes in your life, to try and be more faithful and more diligent than you were before, but it always works out for the better. The more we commit ourselves the more free and happy we get. That's the beauty of knowing the truth and of being able to live it. Like it says in the scriptures, the truth really does make you free. Very cool.

So, I love you all so much. I'm working hard to serve honorably here, so I can come back with my head held high. Can't wait to see you all again. Love you!

Sampai kali depan,
Elder Blissett (Kevin)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Halo Keluargaku,

So good to hear from you all. Things have been a little bit standard here in Malaysia this week. Still very hot, but a lot of great people to teach. The work is moving forward here everyday. So cool to be a part of it, and to be able to watch people make changes in their lives that affect them for eternity.

So, mostly same-old same-old here. I'm staying with the Dabels (the senior couple here. They're from Canada) while my companion makes a trip to Singapore, which has actually been really fun and productive (speaking of fun and *unproductive* things, it turns out they're opening a Universal Studios in Singapore tomorrow. Maybe President will approve it?). Staying over here is actually a lot like going home. Nice home cooked meals, a clean apartment, cookies before bed. I'm basically back in the United States! Unfortuately the Dabels are headed home in a couple of months, and their actually closing their apartment. That means we'll be back to only two missionaries in all of Ipoh. Lonely, huh?

I spent the P-Day today with some members since my companion is gone. We went to go play badminton, which is actually kind of a national sport over here in Malaysia. It was a blast! I had no idea how much I liked it, it's been so long since I've played, but it was really awesome. A little bit like tennis for everyone.

Elder Porter and I have been working really hard these past couple of weeks. Really getting out there and knocking on doors, which is something I haven't really had to do since the begining of my mission. It's filled with kind of funny experiences though. I don't think you realize exactly how many... well... crazy people there are in the world until you go out into a neighborhood and decided to knock on every door on the street (it makes me wonder about our own neighborhood). People are just funny!

Some of my favorites are people who just like to tell you yes.
"Hello, we come here from a church. We come to tell people that God has restored his church on the earth and called a prophet again, just like last time"
"Oh yes, I know that already"
"You... You do?"
"Oh, yes, I already know everything"
"You know there's a prophet on the Earth?"
"Nope! Haven't learned about that one yet..."

Another favorite is people who refuse to answer the door. Just the other day we were going back to a home we'd been invited to and knocked on the gate. I could see the uncle (that's what we called older people here in Malaysia) sitting in his couch, so I called out to him. He slowly raised himself from his chair, turned to look over at us, and without a word, turned back around and sat down.

"Alright, uh... see you next time uncle! Maybe we come back later!"

Wah. Lots of fun. Sometimes hot. Sometimes wet (just the other day we were tracting in the light rain and met a really nice lady at her home. We kept telling her about why we were there, but about every third sentence she'd tell
us, "But... it's raining!" "Yes, it is raining. That's ok, we like the rain." "But... It's raining."), but always lots of fun!
At least it shows we're out looking for people, right?

Well, these last couple of weeks I've been studying the New Testament. It's amazing how the stories kind of change every time you read just to meet your needs. It's an amazing book, and has just pointed out to me once again what a treasure the scriptures are. There aren't any other books like them in this world.

Well, I'm about out of time, but I love you all so much! I'm so grateful we have e-mail. What a blessing, huh?

Alright, talk to you next week. Love you!

-Elder Blissett (Kevin)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Spanish Book of Mormon

Halo Keluargaku,

Sorry about last week's e-mail! I guess things didn't get through, but at least you heard that I was safe and everything. Just a crazy Malaysian e-mail system I guess.

It's been a pretty exciting week of seeing the Lord's hand here in Ipoh. So many things that are just too crazy to be coincidences. We met with one man this week in a way that was really special.

Until just recently one of the Elders in Sitiawan had to come up here to Ipoh every month while his companion from Hong Kong made a trip to Singapore. So, we'd just sent them off at the bus station and were getting ready to get down to the work of the day when we realized that, surprise surprise, the cell phone was missing. Thinking that the Elders from Sitiawan must have accidentally taken it we made a quick call, and found out that somehow it had ended up wrapped up in one of the Elder's freshly laundered clothes, wrapped in a towel and buried in his luggage. Whoops!

So, we tried to think of a solution for a while and finally decided the best thing we could do would be to have them send the phone back in a package on a local bus service that also happened to do deliveries. You'd have to see the buses to understand exactly how risky that was, but it really looked like the only reasonable solution. The Sitiawan elders asked me if I wanted them to send anything else with the package. I remembered one of them telling me they had a Spanish Book of Mormon in their apartment (which is a really, really unusual thing to have. Up to that point I don't think I'd heard a single word of Spanish my whole mission except *maybe* one time on the MRT in Singapore. For some reason or another there are *no* South Americans here in Malaysia). Anyway, I'd been thinking lately that I'd like to see how much Spanish I remembered, so I told them to send up the Book of Mormon in the package too.

So, the next day we were expecting to have them send the package in the morning, but they called us and told us the bus had been inexplicably delayed almost two hours. Oh well, so, when the time came, we went down to the bus station to meet the bus, got the phone and were just getting ready to leave. I called the Sitiawan Elders to tell them the phone had gotten here safely. Just as I was hanging up I saw my companion, Elder Porter, listening very intently to an African man standing right next to him speaking some kind of crazy language to his friend on the phone. Elder Porter looked at me for a second and asked, "Is that... Spanish?" I crept a little closer to listen and found out that, yes, this African man was in fact speaking Spanish. Weird. So, we started to unlock the bikes when he got off the phone, and I just had to ask him where he was from and if that was really Spanish he was speaking. He told me he was here studying in Ipoh, that he was from Equatorial Guinea (Don't worry, I had to look at a map too), and that their national language was in fact, Spanish.

It was then that I suddenly remembered my companion and I had *just happened* to have received perhaps the only Spanish Book of Mormon in all of Malaysia, special delivery. It was too crazy. So, I gave it to him, explained who we were and set up an appointment for the next day. It was crazy to hear him read the title in perfect Spanish. I literally haven't heard a word for months. As we were walking away he said, "Hey, maybe you should keep this. Maybe this book can help you." To which I replied, "No, I'm pretty sure that one is for you."

Crazy! The Lord really is in this work and is willing to orchestrate all kinds of "coincidences" to move things forward. I made a list of the ones that had to happen for him.

1. The Elders from Sitiawan happen to come here to Ipoh every month.
2. They had a Spanish Book of Mormon in their apartment (which one of the elder's randomly discovered).
3. I suddenly started to get an urge to review my Spanish.
4. They accidentally stole our phone, and had to send it on a bus.
5. The bus got delayed almost 2 hours.
6. We happened to overhear this man's conversation in Spanish.
7. He hung up and started to talk to us just as we were leaving.
8. A man from Equatorial Guinea decided to come study in Ipoh, Malaysia.

Wah, it's all too much!

It makes this part of the story all the more sad, as he didn't show up to our appointment and the phone number he gave us connects us to a huge group of very confused sounding people who don't really speak very much English or Malay. Oh well, I know that Book of Mormon was for him. I'm confident things will work out for him somehow!

So, long story ah? It just really impressed to me so much that the Lord really is watching out for all of us, and doesn't just have a big plan of salvation for everyone, but little plans of salvation for each one of us. He knows for everyone the events that people need to lead them to their baptism and activity in the church, and he's working on all of us in ways that, I think if we really understood, would seem just as out of this world and this one!

Anyway, I'm really happy to hear that everyone's safe after the earthquakes and flying glass and fires and all the other disasters going on in this crazy world. I know the Lord is watching out for us always, and all of this is for our good!

Love you so much! Tell Johnny I'm proud of him for getting self-reliant and walking on his own!

-Elder Blissett (Kevin)

Last Week's E-mail

Halo Keluargaku,

Sounds like everything is still going well at home. Cold I imagine, huh? That's an interesting difference from here where the heat has been absolutely blazing for the last few days. Definitely the hottest it's been since I've gotten here. What's funny though, is that we're also getting the most rain I've seen since I've arrived. Even Elder Porter who just got here from Sibu, a city famous in Malaysia for it's floods, said that the rain here on Sunday was about the hardest he's ever seen. Just so loud and coming down in waves. I took a video, but I'm afraid it may be a little too big to send. Next time, ah? But hey! It looks like I can send you a video of the Ipoh bus system! Hooray for the new e-mail system. So, public facilities here aren't always world class (I've heard the general hospital is quite the experience), but occasionally we find ourselves in a position where the bus looks like a pretty good idea. So here's a little taste of what an Ipoh bus ride is like! I don't know that the film can quite convey the craziness of the driving. You feel very safe though! Buses are huge.

So, the week here in Ipoh has been kind of just about getting back to normal. After so many mission tours and everything it's weird to just be back to normal missionary work again, but also really nice. Hopefully we're going to get some time for a while to just get back to it and build up the area. In the last couple of weeks we actually had a lot of investigators who looked really good drop us, which is always hard, but at least it gives us a chance to focus on those who are really committed and to try some new things. Getting dropped is just part of missionary work right?

We have seven new missionaries coming in Tuesday of next week. Everyone is talking about really big transfers coming up so no one is really sure what's going to happen. Sounds a little bit like we're going to be in a totally new mission by next week. Definitely keeps things exciting. Transfers are a lot of fun.

This week I've been trying out a promise Sister Nelson gave us at our last mission tour. She talked to us about the scriptures and told us that what most people don't realize, is that the scriptures are an answer book for all the questions we have. She promised us that if we'd approach the scriptures everyday with our biggest question in mind, how to help a particular investigator or increase our faith or what is the celestial kingdom like or anything, whatever our question was, that if we'd prayerfully approach the scriptures with that question in mind, we'd find the answer every time. She actually told us we wouldn't even have to read for long, that we'd just run into the answer. So she challenged us to try it for just thirty days and that's what I've been doing. So, after one week only I can already testify that that's absolutely true. I've had diverse questions, even some I didn't really think there were answers to at all, and all of them have been answered to my satisfaction. The scriptures are amazing, a huge gift from our Heavenly Father. They really are just our answer book to life. All we have to do is humbly, prayerfully approach them truly searching for answers, and we'll find them. Every time.

So, that's the week here in Ipoh! We're keeping up the hard work and having a lot of success. Ipoh is amazing, I'm learning to love it more and more and really coming to believe it's one of the best areas in all of Malaysia. I'm really blessed to get to work here.

Love you all so much! Talk to you soon!

Elder Blissett (Kevin)