Wednesday, March 25, 2009
"A Crazy Week"
Well Well Well...
This week has been extremely crazy! On Thursday morning, we headed in to the office to helps the Elders and Sisters who were on their visa runs to load up with supplies, which took a pretty long time! They sat around for awhile after loading up, so we just spent some time talking to them. After they all left, we finally settled down and were going to start on our studies when Elder Palmer came out to our desks, and asked Elder Palfreyman and I to go down to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS, equivalent to the IRS), to pay some stamp/tax fee for an apartment the mission is renting. So, we headed down there, got a ticket stub to wait in line, and waited. As we sat there, I turned to Elder Palfreyman and asked him "When you signed up for your mission, did you ever think you'd be doing anything like this, paying taxes for the Church." With a very bemused look on his face, he replied, "No, I really don't think I ever considered it at all." It was very fun, but something way random to do! Thus is the life of an office elder! We had so much to do in the office that day. The Zone Leaders called us at two in the afternoon and told us that we had two visa runners! We had to order more name cards, and we had an appointment to go to, so I took Elder Barlow with me to order the name cards. When we got there, I called Elder Palmer a few times as I bargained down the price of the name cards. We still had to pay a pretty substantial amount though, and I drew out some of my own funds. Again I asked myself, "Did I sign up for this?" But, it was hilarious. I love the office because of how random it is. I really enjoy what I get to do here! After that, we spent the night finding, which was very successful!
On Friday, we had studies and lunch with a member, did more work at the office, then took Elder Barlow out with me for a couple appointment that we had. We jumped on the bus, and realized after about twenty minutes, that we were on the wrong bus. By this time, we were very far from the appointment, and we were going to be pretty late, so we got off the bus, ran through some apartment blocks, ran across a road. climbed a fence (that I got stuck on), ran across another road, jumped in a cab and rushed over. The cab driver was confused and took us to the wrong place, and still charged us the full amount, with a thirty cent discount. Argh! We rushed up the escalator to where we were meeting this investigator and the sisters, who were passing us this investigator, only to find that he was still not there! The poor sisters were waiting there for awhile! We waited around for awhile, gave this man named Efwur a couple of calls, and found out that he was still pretty far away, so we called told him that we'd meet him at another stop, because we had another appointment there, and he agreed. Got to that stop, waited for another ten minutes, gave him a call, and found out that he was at the train stop that we were originally supposed to meet! Asked him why he was there, and he said that we were supposed to meet there! Anyhow, we told him to come to the train stop that we were at, that was only one stop, or three minutes away. Fifteen minutes later, we gave him a call, and he was still at the same stop! It was very frustrating, and I showed it, so he said he would be with us soon. As we were waiting, our next appointment turned up, so we just went along with that instead.
A little background: This lady named Joyce had called the office a few times before, and was trying to look for a member who had been featured in the newspaper because of his mission call as an employment specialist. They had put the mission office number as a reference, and so she called us. The member was out of town, so we told her he'd call her back, but she called a few times, till she finally said, "Missionary Chua (what she calls me), I have a problem. I want to find a friend." I was so confused, and, what she went on to explain was that she was in her early sixties and had never married, and now, she wanted to find someone to be her companion, as she had been lonely since her mother passed away. Couldn't really help her out with that, but I figured that we could teach her about the Plan of Salvation and activity in the Church, so we agreed to meet up with her. We went to a MacDonald's, where she was nice to buy us a drink, then sat down and asked us if we knew any men in their early sixties who were single. She again explained her plight, then looked right at me and asked "I'm attractive right." I know that this might sound rather unsympathetic, but at that point, I almost burst out laughing, and Elder Barlow was just weirded out. We tried all different angles of the gospel, but she said that she already went to another Church. She said, "Actually, there is a man at my Church that fits that description, but he is a blur collar worker, and I am a professional, so that won't work." By this point, Elder Barlow was pretty frustrated, so he said that he knew a man that was like she described (which he did), but then sarcastically added, "Oh wait, he's a blue collar worker." We told her that we weren't a matchmaking agency, and suggested going online, but she didn't want that. All she wanted was a husband, and there was no one at our Church who met our criteria, so she told us a number of times not to forget her if we found anyone, then walked away.
After that appointment, we called Efwur, and found out that he was finally there. Took awhile to find him, but we eventually found him. The first thing he said was "I have been waiting here for a long time...", and that's when I snapped and told him that we had waited for him for an hour an a half, so he apologized. Turned out that all he wanted was to "learn from the sister missionaries," a.k.a. marry them, so we passed him back to them. Didn't have too much time left, but we had to find some inactive members, so we skipped dinner, and walked to these random flats. Found out that one of them was still living at the address we went to, but his Grandmother refused to give us any contact number, so we started looking for the next person, but, it was getting late, so we started heading back to the train station, but we couldn't find the right bus. We kept running for these random buses that took us back to the apartment that we had been.. ..three times! It was a tiring day!
On Saturday, we had our planning session, then headed to NUS for an appointment with a man I contacted a few days before. Our member was late so we pushed the appointment back till we could wait no longer, then went off for the appointment without the poor member. It was good that he didn't go. When we got there, we found the man, Ming Hui, who said he had brought a friend. Guess what? That friend was a pastor from California! I had a feeling earlier that something like this was going to happen, but I didn't expect his pastor. We started off with a prayer, then started explaining our side. As soon as we got to the prophets, he said that he wasn't going to attack Joseph Smith's moral character, then went on to call him a liar, their, loose man, and all sorts of other demeaning and derogatory adjectives, and called The Book of Mormon, "that book", pointing to it vigorously and insulting it too. The worst part was when he called us servants of the devil, leading people to hell with us. So, the appointment didn't end up being too fun, to say the least.
Brother Dewitt, the Father of one of the missionaries who used to serve here, had to come here for surgery, so we had visited with him and his wife, and gave him a blessing. After the crazy pastor appointment, we visited with them with them, and had a wonderful meeting with them, with some great spiritual experiences shared. I really had my testimony strengthened about Heavenly Father's love for His children. We were able to meet up with them again last night, after a couple of calls from them about referrals that they had for us. Brother DeWitt is a missionary machine! We had three meals with them, which was very nice of them.
Well, after that appointment with them on Saturday, I misread the time, and we started taking a cab to our next appointment with Velmurugan, only to find out that we were an hour early. So, we got off the cab and took a bus back. When we got there, we waited with Han, our member for a while, got a hold of Velmurugan, and found out that he couldn't make it!
On Sunday, we had Church and studies and a good dinner appointment. But, in between all that, we had an appointment with one of our investigators, who had a problem with drinking, smoking, and gambling. The week before, when we met him, he was pretty drunk, and made us eat Otah, these spicy fish paste sticks wrapped in Banana leaf. This past week he was better though, and over the past two days, he seems to have been improving. We've been teaching him about the strength that can come through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and about the Restoration of proper priesthood authority. I think it worked out pretty well.
Monday was very very busy. We had a lot to do, what with missionaries leaving and a whole bunch of paper work and supply inventory-ing. We stayed in the office till almost eight. I took Elder McEntire, who just left for home today, out with me to hand out some old Chinese copies of The Book of Mormon. Met some nice people, but some very rude people too. It was interesting. Bumped into some old high school friends. That reminds me, I bumped into an old middle school friend last week, and another high school friend yesterday. Anyhow, we managed to give out more than a dozen copies, so that was good. It was weird, "pushing" these books, along with a few we had that had the old translation of the Church's name called the "doomsday generation" instead of Latter-day Saints.
Elder Wright was assigned to and gave a great district training on teaching for new investigators. As I mentioned earlier, had dinner with the Dewitt's, then went over to Sister Angelina's, where we helped her resolve some concerns about who could and when people could go to a temple, along with why we don't have a temple in Singapore yet.
All in all, it was just a very fulfilling, but crazy and tiring week! Hopefully the rest of this week will be a little slower! Would love to get some mail! :)