It is kind of getting down to the home stretch, huh? It's funny, there's actually still one more group leaving about three weeks before us, so it still feels like it's so far away, we're not even oldest in the mission yet! I definitely am excited to do a lot of fun things back at home though and to see everyone again. It will be hard to leave Malaysia, kind of a bittersweet experience. Good things ahead and good things behind, right? For now though we're still working hard and this last week we've been able to see some special success.
The biggest news though is that this last week Elder Christensen and I officially became the first elders to serve in the newly formed Masai branch. Woohoo! What a cool experience, huh? The branch officially split last week and we're really excited about working with the new branch presidency. Both members of the presidency (there's not a second counselor yet) are from Sarawak. The president has been a member for about two years and the first counselor is actually one of Elder Lang's recent converts. He's been a member for about six months. That's one of the coolest things about serving here in Malaysia I think. Everyone is a convert, and most people are pretty recent converts. In our newly formed Masai branch the average membership length can't be much over two or three years. We have a couple of members here who have been members for about 15 years (longer than the branch has been around), but for the most part everyone is pretty new. The church is still new out here. Actually the first member ever baptized in Malaysia is in the KL branch. He was baptized sometime in the 70s. It's crazy to see now what he pioneered here in Malaysia. I'm sure he's happy!
We've been in Malaysia during a really cool and historic time, and under a great mission president. Elder Lang is down here in JB on exchanges, and he just pointed out to us the other day that when our group got to the mission field the mission had just formed their 20th branch. Now there are close to 30, with growth still looking really good. It's been really awesome to be a part of seeing the church develop in a relatively obscure place in the world. The new missionaries coming in next week though have a pretty awesome two years ahead of them too though. We have 19 new missionaries coming in next week, which constitutes about a quarter of the mission. Apparently only three non-zone leader companionships in the whole mission will not be training, everyone else is getting a "son" or "daughter" this week. Crazy! It will be a wild time to be in the mission for sure. I think the average age of the mission after we leave will have to be under 1 year.
Well, we took a blow this last week in that our investigators on date moved back to kampung in Sarawak. It wasn't an entirely unexpected move, but it was still a little disappointing. They actually live near a church in Sarawak so we're hoping the transition there is smooth and they still end up being baptized. Oh well, the work goes on and we're working with some people here now that we're really excited about. It's good to know that I'm just responsible for doing my best and everything else takes care of itself.
Anyway, that's kind of the news for the week. I love you all so much though. Still sprinting to the finish. :D
See you soon!