Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Elder Bednar's Visit

Halo Keluargaku,

Well, Elder Bednar's visit was absolutely awesome! You were right, he came here right after organizing the first Stake in Indonesia, which in and of itself would be really awesome, but the talk that he gave us was absolutely awesome too!

The meeting was with Elder Bednar, Elder Pratt (of our area presidency), President Clark and all of their wives as well as all of the missionaries from West Malaysia, Singapore and Sabah. So all and all I'd say that there was about 100 people there, which made the meeting feel pretty small and intimate. It was awesome to see how Elder Bednar taught. He's a master at the art for sure! The whole session though basically just revolved around Elder Bednar asking us questions, and then us asking him questions! He taught us all about the pattern of teaching people by the Spirit and using questions inspired by the Holy Ghost by demonstrating it by example right there in the meeting. It was awesome! Other highlights included an apostolic promise that someday in the future we'll be able to look at the church in Malaysia and see that we were "laying the foundation of a great work" and that in the future the church is going to be a *lot* bigger here. He gave some great marriage advice, saying that we should "look for a woman who will reverence her womanhood" and who understands her role in the plan of salvation, and also taught us all about how to end a mission right. And all of that on top of teaching us what he actually came to teach us about teaching by the Spirit and helping people be agents for themselves in learning. It was a spiritual feast for sure!

So that was *awesome*, but this last week we had not only that, but also a great experience with meeting a Chinese family as we were out door contacting who is absolutely awesome. Again, it was one of those times that we were really surprised to be immediately invited into the house to share our message even though it looked like they were just about to head out. Well, we shared our message and I'm not sure entirely how much of it they understood, but at the end of the lesson they told us that they'd be praying as a family not more than five minutes before we came about a health struggle their father is going through and they really felt like we'd be sent there at just that moment as an answer to their prayers and as a comfort. It was awesome, and the best part is that they came to church this last Sunday. So, we're going to keep working with them for sure. Apparently the husband is going to Indonesia for about a month this week though, so that we'll be a struggle, but we definitely have a great start on good things happening with this family.

So in short, it's been an awesome week! We've received a lot of blessings from the Lord and I think that this is only the beginning for this area. Missionary work is more fun than ever. I was comforted to hear Elder Bednar tell us at the conference that we should basically be more lost about how to do missionary work on our last day in the field than we were on the first day (emphasizing that we just can't do this work on our own), which was a big comfort because sometimes that's a lot how I feel. But it's a blast, and I'm loving it!

I'm so grateful to be a member of this church. I know that it's true now more than ever. It was so powerful to get to hear Sister Bednar bear her personal testimony that her husband really was who he claimed to be. You know that she knows him better than anyone, and it was so cool to see how powerful her witness was. I love the church and I love the chance I have to come and share it with everyone else!

Thanks so much for your support. I'm so glad to hear that everything is going so well at home! I love you all so much!

Love you!

Elder Blissett

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Halo Keluargaku,

This week has been pretty good out here in good ol' JB. We're really looking forward to Elder Bednar's visit next week and just working hard in the mean time to spread the gospel. We had another pretty cool experience the other day randomly knocking into an 18 year old Iban girl who happens to be pretty good friends with one of the young men in the branch, so we're expecting to see her at church on Sunday with a few other possibilities. So the long and short of it is that things are gradually getting better as far as the work here goes, and that's very reassuring to see.

Today we're planning on going to an Indian place nearby the mall where we're e-mailing today. It's actually the second time that I've been there, but it's super delicious. You can order there what they call "banana leaf," which means that they serve you your rice and curry and things on a banana leaf, which, you know, would be kind of fun, but is made a million times better that the rice and curry are all you can eat and you only pay extra for the meats that you order. It's Indian food paradise! If there's only one material thing I'll miss here in Malaysia it will definitely be the foods. It's so delicious and so cheap. If I remember right there's actually a couple of Indian places in Salt Lake that aren't bad, but they're so expensive! Additionally I know that eating with your hands is pretty looked down upon in America and I'm not sure I even know how to eat curry with regular silverware. In my mind chicken was designed to be eaten with the fingers.

Elder Browne and I are still getting along pretty well. It's interesting to see how we both develop from week to week. Being around someone 24 hours a day definitely has an effect on you, and it's always kind of cool to see how your personalities kind of affect each other. We're working hard though and striving to be obedient and according to President Clark, that's the secret for happiness in a companionship, so that's turning out to be pretty true for us.

Welp, other than that, it's kind of the same old same old. This week we're still working with some of those potentials I told you about last week, but we haven't gotten any of them to church yet, so we'll see who finally makes it! Missionary work is a process of sifting as much as anything, so we're out on the lookout and expecting to hit gold soon!

I love you all so much. I'm so grateful for the chance I have to be serving out here.

Love you!
Elder Blissett

Little Miracles

Halo Keluargaku,

It was really awesome to talk to you guys too! It was definitely cool to see Johnny especially. I can't believe how big he's gotten and how much he can say now too. What a goof! But definitely calling home was one of the highlights of the week.I remember I wanted to tell you about a few of the cool experiences we had last week.

This last week Elder Browne and I have been doing a *lot* of knocking. Anyone who knows missionaries knows that that isn't normally a missionary's favorite thing to do, but actually this week I've really enjoyed the chance to just get out and work and see some things happen. So that was kind of a miracle in itself, but the best part is that scattered throughout our marathon of knocking we kept having these cool little experiences that kept us going. One example was the house we walked up to and were immediately invited to go in. That's a very unsettling experience to have someone just invite you to come in, but we were pretty excited about it. Well, it turns out that an really nice Iban family is staying there, but the craziest thing is that the day we were walking by the mother of the wife in the family just happened to be visiting for a week from Kuching. The really crazy part is that this mother has been having the missionaries over in Kuching for what sounds like a couple of months and absolutely loves them, so of course she was super excited to invite us in and have us visit her daughter in JB. What a little miracle! We ended up having a great contact and now we're really excited to start to teach this family.

Another example is the house we knocked on where again we were immediately invited to come in. In this family the husband has just started going to a Christian church for about three weeks. Before this he kind of followed Iban traditional worship, so he was pretty new to the experience of coming to church. Anyway, his problem was that of all the many churches that were out there, he just wasn't sure which one of them were true. He said he'd asked priests about it before and they had pretty much told him that all the churches were true and he could follow any one that he liked, but that answer wasn't really satisfying to him. Anyway, about halfway through the contact he looks again at the name of the church on the card and says something like, "You know, I've never known which church was true, but I think maybe it's this one, because this one is The Church of Jesus Christ. I think the one that is Jesus Christ's church is the right one." We thought so too!

Another experience happened when we went contacting in a relatively new place that we just found out is in our area. Well, we start knocking on houses and find a row that's a lot of Hindus. Hindus are really nice, but often they're not the most receptive so we weren't super excited about it. Well, imagine our surprise when three houses in a row come out to talk to us and agree to return appointments. We'll see how it all turns out, but we were really grateful to even have gotten that far.

So, I guess the lessons that I've learned are that the Lord really is in this work and watching out for us, that hard work really can bring forth the blessings of Heaven, and that even the most monotonous parts of missionary work can be fun too! So it's been an awesome week!

I'm loving it here more than ever. JB is a super awesome area, and we're really excited for the chance we have to work here.I love you all so much! I'm so grateful for this experience that I'm having out here.

Love you!
Elder Blissett

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Work Is Like Magic

Halo Keluargaku,

Well, it's been a good first week filled with lots of work here in JB. JB is a really fun branch. There are a lot of good members here and for the first time on my mission I'm finally living with 3 other elders which is a lot of fun! Elder Browne and I kind of picked up the area in a bit of a slump (we call it a tidal wave here, there will be a lot of stuff going on, and then you'll drop or baptize all the investigators in your pool and be left with nothing for a few weeks after that. We do our best to avoid them), but we've actually had a lot of fun working on getting things started. It's actually been pretty satisfying. One of the lessons I've learned on my mission is that work is like magic, if you have a problem you just work on it for long enough and the problem goes away. Well, we've definitely been doing a lot of that this week!

JB is interesting for a number of reasons. One is that it has one of the largest populations of Ibans outside of Sarawak in all of Malaysia, and the reports are true, they are a little bit different to teach and contact, so it's been a lot of fun trying to learn how to do that effectively. Another reason is that it's directly across a small stretch of ocean from Singapore, but has still managed to be a distinctly Malaysian city. It actually seems like there are more Malay speakers here than almost any of the other West Malaysian areas, which is crazy since it's across from probably the largest English speaking country in all of South-East Asia. You're definitely in a totally different country as soon as you cross over the bridge, there's no middle ground.

Elder Browne is really good. We've had a good time working hard together and getting to know each other. His Malay is great and his teaching skills are really sharp so it doesn't even feel like being companions with a relatively new Elder. That's a lot of fun! We're doing well.

Well, other than that, there's not a lot new going on! Just another day in the vineyard, right? But I'm loving my mission so much. I'm so grateful for the chance I've had to serve. I know more than ever that this really is the Lord's church restored to the Earth and I couldn't be happier to be a member of it. Being a missionary is far and away the greatest experience I've ever had in my life. Nothing else compares to it. I love this work and I love the church.I love you guys too!

Can't wait to talk to you!

Love you,
Elder Blissett

Johor Bahru

Halo Keluargaku,

*Drumroll please*

Well, you've guessed it, I got transferred from the lovely city of KL to... Johor Bahru, a lovely little city on the very southernmost tip of continental Asia, right across from Singapore. Luckily I'm still in West Malaysia so I'll still get to meet with Elder Bednar when he comes, but I also have the excitement of moving into what will more than likely be my last area. It's crazy to know exactly how long you'll be in a place, but I'm really excited to get to work and finish things up.

Well, I've actually only been here in JB for a day, so I don't really know a whole lot about it except that it's a fairly large city with a pretty large population of immigrants who commute across the bridge to Singapore everyday for work. Luckily that also means there's a pretty large Iban community here which should be a lot of fun. I'm living in a house with four elders which is a first on my mission and an experience that I thought I wasn't actually going to have. So that's really exciting. Four elders is a blast.

It was pretty sad to leave KL. It's funny, KL actually turned out to be a very close tie with Tawau for my favorite area, and in many ways I actually liked it even more. Also disappointing is that Elder Lang and I were getting along great! I tell you what, we would have had a really awesome companionship if we'd gotten to stay together a little longer. I'm really glad we had the chance to have a "do-over" companionship though and I think that was a pretty fun way to end my stay in KL. The investigators we had there are in really good hands, Elder Lang is one of the best missionaries in the mission. Interestingly enough, I'm now actually serving in the area that Elder Lang was serving in before he came to KL, so I've acquired the responsibility of taking care of his people too! It's funny how that worked out.

I'm serving with Elder Browne, who I haven't really gotten to know very well yet (I just arrived last night), but who I'm really excited to work with. He's actually only been in the field for about two months, so it will be kind of fun to help get him set up for the rest of his mission. Anyway, I think we're both really looking forward to the companionship. The other guys in our house are pretty cool, so I think we've got a lot of fun times ahead of us.

It sounds like Easter back at home was pretty fun. I can't believe Emma figured out how to die eggs with silk ties. How did she even think of that? Johnny is getting tougher and tougher to recognize everyday too! I can't believe how much he's grown up. I can only just see little traces of the baby Johnny face I used to know when I look at him now. That's pretty exciting!

Well, not a whole lot to report. Just that I'm excited to be in a new area and I'm ready to get to work! I'll tell you how the adventure is going soon!

I love you all so much. It's been such a blast to be out here on a mission and serving the Lord, but I couldn't be doing it without your support. Thanks so much for your prayers and support!

Love you all so much!
Elder Blissett