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)