Well, I have lots of good news to start off. First off, it looks like we're going to have our first baptism here in Tawau on October 9th. Yaaaay! Definitely the best news I could be writing home about. The sister's name is P ***, and she's the daughter of a pretty recent convert here. We were actually teaching here before, but because of a big misunderstanding she and her fiance (now husband) dropped us. But, about a month ago her mom contacted us and told us she wants to learn again, and now, after her wedding last week, she's looking really solid to be baptized. Really excited and super eager to learn. Her mom is awesome and is actually getting ready to go to the temple for the first time this November, so it's a really exciting time all around for their family. It's so nice to be meeting with someone who is so eager to learn. I'll tell you what, there's is nothing in this whole world that cheers a missionary's heart more than asking an investigator to pray and hearing things like, "I want to continue learning about your gospel and go to church every week. I'll keep praying and I believe in thee." So awesome! We're really excited. Keep praying for her though. These few weeks before someone gets baptized can be really hard sometimes, so she'll still need plenty of help.
The other good news is that I found a solution to my shoe problem. Things were looking really bad when we were in KK, and I was honestly terrified that at any second I was going to be socks on pavement. The heels did not hold up as well as I was expecting. So, in desperate times I was driven to (what seemed like) desperate measures. All over the place around bus stations here in Malaysia there's always a pretty good number of older men who hang out on the sidewalk with piles of shoes all around them. They're actually kind of cobblers, but seemed a little
bit sketchy to me, and as I couldn't find a missionary who had ever used one, I was a little wary. But, being in such dire straits, I gave it a shot, and it actually went great. Took about ten minutes, cost me 12 ringgit (less than 4 dollars) and all of a sudden I had nice, newly repaired heels. It doesn't even look that bad. So, it's a good solution for maybe another month or two, plenty of time to get my new shoes. Tragedy averted and lesson learned. Use the old men by the bus stations!
Elder Whittaker and I were sneak attacked by giant ants this week. We were walking through a "kampung" (technically it means village, but kind of like a small neighborhood of houses on stilts) looking for Christians. A few people pointed us down a path, and Elder Whittaker, observing that a low hanging limb had ants on it, was very careful to cross without disturbing them. Unfortunately he tripped and smacked the branch, follwed immediately by me triping in the exact same spot and hitting the branch again. At first there didn't seem to be any problem, until Elder Whittaker looked down and saw his arm was covered with giant ants. About the time I saw him start spinning in circles and smacking his body, I started to feel a stinging on various parts of my body and started spinning around as well, dropping everything and smacking every ant I could see. So, after about five minutes of that, we were safe (except for some insect juices on our clothes) and surrounded by what seemed like over 100 dead ant bodies. We're lucky Malaysian ant bites don't itch or leave big marks or we'd be in real trouble. The strangest thing is though there were people all around us watching these two crazy "orang putih" spinning around in circles, going crazy and smacking themselves all over, and they didn't do anything about it. Not even laugh! They all just stood around and watched. It was very strange. Elder Whittaker and I both found ant bodies in our clothes that night.
We're working with a Filipino family right now who are doing great. Three of the kids at least are lined up to come to church right now, and the oldest daughter seems really interested. Has a lot of real intent and is just willing to try and learn for herself if the message is true. We're really excited about it and are hoping it signals some more baptisms soon!
KK was awesome. We ate a lot of McDonalds/Burger King/Whatever American food we could find. It was exceedingly delicious. Zone Conference was great (like always) and district conference was especially fun. The member of the Area Presidency there was an Seventy named Elder Subandrio, who is actually from Indonesia. It was surprisingly exciting to hear a major church authority speaking Indonesian and just made me realize how much progress this part of the world is going to make in the church. Who would ever think that one of your Malaysian recent converts might someday become a Seventy. It's hard to imagine now, but it's bound to happen someday!
I'm absolutely loving the work! I know that this church really is the Savior's church here on the earth today, led by Him. There's no doubting it when you spend as much with the gospel as a missionary. It gets more clear everyday.
I love you all so much, I'm so glad things are going awesome at home. We actually got to talk to the daughter of a member this week who was at school at LDS Business College in Salt Lake. She just came back here about a week ago. It was crazy to talk to someone who just came from my home, but super fun. She might be staying here in Malaysia, but if she goes back I'll be sure to give her our number or something so that you guys can take her out to dinner or something and talk to her all about Malaysia. Very cool.
Florida sounds awesome, we'll have to make another trip sometime!
I love you so much. The church is true, and I'm so grateful that we can enjoy it together as a family. That's one of the greatest blessings we could receive.
Love you! Talk to you soon!