I can't believe it's been a year either. Actually, I still technicallyhave one day left, but the more I think about it the crazier the idea gets. I can't believe that it was a full year ago that I stepped out of the car and into the MTC, or that in one more year I'll be stepping off the plane and into Salt Lake! What a crazy thought! But, I think it keeps me motivated too. It's a little sad to think I only have a year left, but I think I can work twice as hard in this second year asthe first and everything will work out just fine. Just crazy, but pretty fun too.
The rain is always so nice. I love to see the storms rolling in here in Malaysia. The thunder and lightening can be pretty amazing, and it always feels so cozy if you can manage to be somewhere safe during the storms. This last week we actually had some pretty major flooding all over different parts of Tawau. Church attendance was a little low because of it (lots of members seem to enjoy living next to rivers. If it was me, no thanks!), but overall the rain turns out to be pretty fun. In the road in front of our house the drains where normally all rain the drains down to were actually working in reverse and spewing water out to flood the whole road. The was actually a piece of the sidewalk with water bursting out of it like a small fountain. Pretty crazy, but lots of fun.
It actually ended up holding another surprise for us just yesterday too. All the flooding had subsided and I actually kind of forgot it even happened at all. So, we're taking a "shortcut" to get to member's house when we come to a really small stream. More like a trickle. Less than a foot wide, a tiny little thing. So, anyway, I step out to take a small hop onto the opposite bank, land nicely and, surprise, am immediately sucked into the ground up to my knees. It turns out the sturdy looking bank was actually a 2-3 foot deposit of soft, freshly flooded mud. So, after finding a board to help me get out (I couldn't step anywhere near me without sinking into more mud, so I required a little additional assistance), a friendly nearby man helped me get my shoes and socks and legs and pants sprayed off so I could get back on the bus to go home and get cleaned up. It was a mess. There was another guy who saw what happened with one of the biggest smiles I've seen on a Malaysian. He just couldn't stop laughing, and who can blame him. It's not everyday you see an orang putih (white guy) crossing through your back yard and getting stuck up to his knees in mud. They just kept asking, "kenapa kamu limpas sini? Ada jalan sana." (why didyou cross through here? There's a road over there). So, that was fun. A good story, right? :D
Other than that, things are going pretty average. The new training we got from President was awesome, and I think already the quality of our lessons is going way up. And, something else happened! One of the fairly recent converts here has randomly given us 8 referrals in the last week. It was so crazy, but such a blessing. Everything is better if you can get a referral, so hopefully we'll be able to baptize several of these! Awesome.
Other than that, still just working hard, learning everyday and loving it. Missionary work is the best. Once you get a taste for it you just find you don't ever want to stop.
Love you all so much! Elder Whittaker's doing good! We're loving it out here.