first off, i would like to extend my sincerest of apologies for the lack email last week. i knew that mom would be freaking out, but the Lord always finds ways to test us and help us to grow mom; just think of it as an opportunity to improve the Christ-like attribute of patience :)
ok, so i'll start from wednesday two weeks ago. elder kunioka and i were really starting to light things on fire in KK. the very next day after my last email to you, we went out and set 11 baptism dates! it was crazy! needless to say, we were really excited; elder kunioka was finishing his mission with a bang, we were getting along great, and everything was just peachy... until friday rolled around (two fridays ago). we had a tele-conference scheduled with all the zone leaders, president skelton, and the assistants. it was pretty boring, but at the very end the assistants announced that they were going to tell us some transfer news. now, i don't know how it is in other missions, but transfers are the most talked about thing here, so everyone was really excited to hear about it. this is how the conversation went:
"ok, the first transfer is Elder Wright is going to KL to be zone leader with Elder Ogden. that means that Elder Grant will be leaving KL and going to KK to be with Elder Kunioka (i thought for sure they just made a mistake, and that they meant to say my name. i mean honestly, he only had one week left). Elder Neil will also be going to KK to be in a three some with Elders Kunioka and Grant (this is when i pooped a bit i think). Elder Troxel will be going to Kuching to be with Elder Tuckfield."
both elder kunioka and i flipped out. the only person who was angrier than i was about this was elder Kunioka. but, after we hung up and got to shout about it for awhile, we cooled off and had a good last couple of days together. it was extremely difficult to leave KK though. even though it's been my shortest area, i got closer to the people there than in any other place where i've served. it was like when i left on my mission, but worse in a lot of ways. i knew when i left home that i would be coming back one day, but it wasn't the same this time. i don't know if i'll ever get to see those people again in this life. it was sad, but the Lord needs me in Kuching... which brings us to this week.
kuching is a cool place, and my new companion, Elder Tuckfield, is equally as good. he's uber-smart. he's only like six months older than me, but he has already finished 2 years at BYU because he graduated from high school when he was 16! yeah, his ACT score was 35... i feel like a moron. but it's good and i'll learn a lot from him. i was a bit surprised when i got here though. historically, Sarawak has been a missionaries dream. the work flies here, and just like in Sibu, people just practically beg to be baptized. Kuching used to be the same way, but much to my surprise, it's not the same way now. having been here for a little over a week now and having talked with the other missionaries, i think i've diagnosed the issue; the missionaries in this zone just have lost their vision of what is possible. i mean that for whatever reason, this whole zone has just become perfectly satisfied with mediocrity. i'll give you an example:
i was reporting with some of the leaders in the districts here, discussing the weekly numbers of the companionship's in this zone. i expressed my concerns and offered one possible way to help motivate the elders for work smarter. i said that i would be willing to take any companionship out to dinner at the restaurant of their choosing if they managed to get 20 member present lessons in one week. when i said this, the other two elders just stared blankly at me for a few moments, and then after some throat clearing said, "wow, that's a bit lofty, don't you think?" i totally felt like that coach in the movie "miracle". but i'm praying that elder tuckfield and i will be able to help turn things around over the next couple months and help Kuching become even more successful than it used to be. just pray for us :)
anywho, you had some questions last week:
1. easter isn't really celebrated in malaysia, not because it's a muslim country, but because the christian population decided that they would rather have a 3 day weekend and chose to make good friday the celebrated holiday. good friday was huge here, but i didn't hear a single mention of easter from anybody. malaysia is such a funny place.
2. well, the hot weather starts around january and lasts until the end of december... with occasional rain.
3. i'm so happy you got the quad for kelvin. he won't even know how to react. sending it to the mission office in singapore would be the best thing, i think. you can get really anything there. but if you could send the package of deodorant to me in kuching ASAP, i would be very grateful. this is my new address:
6E6 Villiage Grove Condominiums
Lorong F BDC Stampin
93200 Kuching, Sarawak
4. no, i haven't gotten it ;( but i'll give the KK elders a call and see if it's gotten there yet.
that's crazy that you had to do a rescue on andrew. i love that kid so much. but what was he thinking? i don't know if you ever met his older brother Ben Martin, but i was pretty good friends with him. he was the seminary president my senior year and is currently serving in London. if you get a chance to see andrew again though, tell him high for me.
oh yeah, do you know what SKYPE is? apparently it's a webcam thing that is pretty cool. i ask because it may be a possibility here... only a possibility though, because we haven't asked president skelton yet. i wouldn't count on anything, but it would be awesome if we could do that. i'm not exactly sure when i'll get to call, but it will probably have to be the same kind of situation as Christmas. i'll most likely call the morning after mothers day here, and mothers day evening there. we'll see though. i'll let you know for sure next week.
that is crazy that you got 8 inches of snow there! apa freak ini, it's april! whoa, it's april! time is flying. i don't know where either february or march went. now april is almost done, and i'm feeling like it's still january. why couldn't time go this fast in high school?!
so i live in a house with two companionships. the other two elders names are Elder Bickmore and Elder Roberts. we were all just chatting last night about how fat we've gotten, and decided that we would have a contest over the next month to see who can get the best abs. no doubt i will win! by the time May 22nd comes around, i'll be sittin' pretty with a six pack.
this morning was way cool. everyone in the zone went to this way cool Orangutan reserve. we went in the morning so that we'd be sure to see some because that's when they feed them. it was so cool! i was like 6 feet from this huge mother Orangutan! but my dang camera ran out of batteries! no worries, i'll just have one of the other elders print me off some pictures.
i think that's just about it... i hope all is well in provo. i hope you payed attention in conference, because it was phenomenal! be sure and read all of the talks again when the ensign comes out. don't just be a hearer of the word, but a doer. i love you all.