Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Times and Seasons

This week has been pretty fun and crazy at the same time!

Wednesday and Thursday were pretty normal. We met with Seoko, who is back from Myanmar. Unfortunately, his parents said that he could be baptized, and so he says he can't, even though he's 28. We really do respect that decision, but we really think there's something more behind it, so we're going to have to meet up with him sometime soon again to see what the matter is. We were able to meet up with Joe to teach him a recent convert lesson, and he's doing great. It's going to be sad when he goes back to China in a couple of weeks. We also met up with Ming Hui, who brought his pastor the last time we met with him. This time, it was just him, and the conversation we had was a lot more pleasant. He asked some great questions though somewhat skeptical. Still, great appointment!

Friday was busy, to say the least. We went into the office for studies, then we went on with our plan for me to go with Elder Perrett (one of the Assistants), to Johor Bahru, across the border in Malaysia to deliver some items to the Elders there. The other Assistant has had some visa problems there, so it was easier for me with my Singapore passport. Anyhow, we got on the highway to the checkpoint, and got stuck there for about two hours before we got to Singapore immigration. We were in the mission van, but we weren't sure whether we were supposed to go into the bus or car lane, and Elder Perrett thought that the car lane was a safer bet, so we sat with all those cars, then got into some trouble with the immigration officers for being in the wrong lane. Thankfully, they didn't make us turn back. After we got through the immigration, to took another hour and a half to get across the Causeway to Malaysia. What we did not realize was that people were going over there for a short break as it was Good Friday. Anyhow, we listened to the same CDs and just talked about the mission and all that. When we finally got to the immigration in Malaysia, we found that we only had one immigration card between us, so we thought we'd just get one at the counter that we were going through. When we got there however, the lady didn't have a card, so we had to run around for a few minutes looking for the booth that had the card, and run to a counter to get my chop. Elder Perrett was tapped slightly with a car by an errant driver. Anyhow, when we finally got across, we had already been on the road for more than four hours.

Then it started raining.

When I say raining, it was POURING! We stopped at a gas station to look at a map, then headed to our destination. Unfortunately, the rain was pouring down and we couldn't see the signs and missed the first turn. We ended up by the ocean, so we figured that we just had to turn around and head back up that road. Unfortunately, they don't have too many road signs there, so we had no idea where to turn or where we were going, and missed the next turn, going up on a highway that didn't have any turn-offs! We ended up finally finding one, and that's where all the trouble started. That one wrong turn lead us on a very long drive. We continued on the highway, and kept trying to turn around. There were a couple of times when we just missed the right turn-off, and continued on the highway! When we were getting on one of the ramps, there was a man who was trying to look for his sandal on the side of the road. Unfornautely, the place was flooded, and we completely engulfed him in water. Felt rather bad about that. Anyhow, we continued on until we found ourselves hitting a toll booth to get on a highway to the northern part of Malaysia. That's when we realized we were lost. We missed the u-turn right at the toll booth, so, when we got there, we asked the lady where we could turn back, and she said there was none! Then she told us we could turn off to a town right near there, which we ended up doing. We were so confused by then, so we stopped at a mall we saw there and grabbed a quick bite, which wasn't so quick because we ended up getting the hottest dishes ever that had to cool down. The ticket payment machine was broken, so we had to find another one at another part of the mall. By this time, I was just laughing my head off and Elder Perrett was rather annoyed. We wandered around for a bit, then found the road that could take us back to Johor Bahru. We continued on, then…. Hit traffic, which we had to sit in for more than an hour. When we finally cleared the traffic, we felt so free that we drove on.. and on… and on.. and found ourselves right next to the western part of Johor. So, we turned around and headed back, but, there were no signs, so we drove on.. and ended up in the Eastern part of Johor, where it was rather dark and bushy, and not too many people. We had left the office at eleven, and, by this time, it was already eight at night. We decided to head back to the town. I was looking at the map, and suddenly realized we were right by the road we were supposed to get on, so we stopped at a gas station and got directions! We stopped once more for directions and finally found the Elder's home at 8.30p.m. Then, we had to find their keys, which were under a couple of different buckets. We finally finished up and headed home. Thankfully, we didn't hit too much traffic. When we got to the checkpoint, we decided to go through the bus lane on both sides of the Causeway, and that only took about a half hour! Argh! We took the wrong road in Singapore too while we were headed home and took awhile longer. For some reason, Elder Perrett wouldn't let us stop at a MacDonald's to get some food. We eventually got in the door slightly after ten. Eleven hours! That was longer then my drive from Utah to Arizona!

It was a fun day.

We had General Conference viewing on Saturday and Sunday, which was absolutely amazing. I was particularly moved by President Eyring and Elder Holland's talks. President Eyring talked about overcoming adversity, relating a story about a man and saying that that man had "examined his life to be sure that he had done all he could to be worthy of the Lord's help. It was clear that his need and his faith in Jesus Christ were leading him to be obedient to God's commandments when it is hard to do. He said that he saw that opportunity as he and his wife were reading in Alma where the Lord had prepared a people to find the gospel through adversity." I sure hope that I can work to truly be completely worthy of the Lord's help.

In Priesthood session, he talked about the help that we need to give to our fellow brethren, because of the war that is intensifying between the Lord's forces and the Adversary's forces. He recounted the story of two rangers in Somalia, and their sense of duty that they had, that we too should have. He said, "You will need bravery and you will need boldness because you are enlisted in the Lord's army in the last dispensation. This is not a time of peace. That has been so since Satan arrayed his forces against our Heavenly Father's plan in the premortal existence. We don't know the details of the combat then. But we know one result. Satan and his followers were cast down into the earth. And since the creation of Adam and Eve, the conflict has continued. We have seen it intensify. And the scriptures suggest that the war will become more violent and the spiritual casualties on the Lord's side will mount."

Lastly, I had a wonderful spiritual experience listening to Elder Holland's talk on the Savior lonely road to Calvary.

He said, "one of the great consolations of this Easter season is that because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. His solitary journey brought great company for our little version of that path—the merciful care of our Father in Heaven, the unfailing companionship of this Beloved Son, the consummate gift of the Holy Ghost, angels in heaven, family members on both sides of the veil, prophets and apostles, teachers, leaders, friends. All of these and more have been given as companions for our mortal journey because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His gospel. Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone nor unaided, even if sometimes we may feel that we are… these scenes of Christ's lonely sacrifice, laced with moments of denial and abandonment and, at least once, outright betrayal, must never be reenacted by us. He has walked alone once. Now, may I ask that never again will He have to confront sin without our aid and assistance, that never again will He find only unresponsive onlookers when He sees you and me along His Via Dolorosa in our present day. As we approach this holy week—Passover Thursday with its Paschal Lamb, atoning Friday with its cross, Resurrection Sunday with its empty tomb—may we declare ourselves to be more fully disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, not in word only and not only in the flush of comfortable times but in deed and in courage and in faith, including when the path is lonely and when our cross is difficult to bear. This Easter week and always, may we stand by Jesus Christ "at all times and in all things, and in all places that [we] may be in, even until death," for surely that is how He stood by us when it was unto death and when He had to stand entirely and utterly alone."

Had a nice meal with the Yee family that night, who are some wonderful stalwart members in the ward. Was able to have a couple of appointments the last two days, but nothing too exciting.

Well, I hope that you all have a wonderful week! Take care and God bless! 

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