Thursday, February 2, 2012

Gong Xi Fa Cai !

So Chinese New Year has been awesome! Going into it I thought it was going to stink because last year in Sitiawan it was basically 3 weeks of nothing... one week to prepare for New Year's, one week of celebrating, and another week of cleaning up. During this time not a single person would allow us to set up appointments with them or anything. I did get a lot of money though, so that was what I was looking forward to (haha), but this year was different. I did know that my new area, Sibu, was going to be different for New Year's, though, because it's known throughout the mission as the place to go for New Year's! Man were they right! Days before the New Year celebration people were launching fire works throughout the night causing us to stay up, not being able to sleep. We had so many people wave us down and let us in to come celebrate with them, as they tell us to help ourselves to tables of cookies, treats, cakes, and drinks. We didn't eat many meals because my stomach was full for days from so much sugar and sweets. Ha ha some days I felt so sick! We went to house after house after house, visiting and opening so many doors with so many people, allowing them to see and get to know missionaries. We shared as much as we could about the church at each house - sometimes lessons, sometimes just introducing ourselves and saying we're from the church. It depended on the people and circumstances, but we really did make an impression on a lot of people. We got to know a lot of the members so much better, meet their friends and families. Also just meeting with complete strangers and being able to celebrate with them and give us an opportunity to share the gospel with them was great.

The night of Chinese New Year, from six at night till four in the morning, the whole sky was lit up. The whole town had such a fog over it from all the smoke that you'd cough in from all the smoke entering into your lungs. The streets the next day were completely covered with what is left from the fireworks. They're still covered with fireworks as people are still lighting them! Its way cool as they have massive, flag-pole length strands of firecrackers that make your ears ring as they're going off. It was way fun and cool. Things are the same here though. Just doing missionary work. The Elders in this house are great. It took some time for Elder Valentine and I to come out and be open with each other, but the longer we're together the more we like each other and become friends. So that's really good! We have a ton of new investigators from the New Year's, so right now we're just trying to meet with them and start really teaching. We have a ton that are pretty good quality and promising, so I'm excited! Sorry, I haven't had much time to write lately. We've been busy.

(Elder Forsyth was transferred in January to Sibu in East Malaysia and is now serving as District Leader. His new companion is Elder Valentine. Elder Forsyth and Elder Moody served for 9 months together in Miri. Elder Moody was transferred to Singapore where he is serving as Zone Leader).

Friday, December 16, 2011

Scrooged in Singapore!

HEY! Uh... Merry Christmas, kinda? Sorry mom, if you're looking for someone to up the Christmas spirit - its definitely not me. I'm known as the anti-Christmas in the zone. I hate any and all Christmas music as much as I hate country music. Elder Moody, on the other hand, could be recruited as a Christmas elf for how much spirit he has. Its terrible. He would have been listening to Christmas music since September, but I put a stop to that, and he's been able to listen to Christmas music in December, and that's it. That's probably the only argument we've ever had. lol. Anyway, I'm doing way good at not getting into my gifts. Patience isn't a struggle I have. I haven't counted them, I haven't even taken them out of the box yet. I read the letters then put the box with the rest on the floor. I LOVED all the letters and everything. They were HILARIOUS! The "Book of Morons" was soooo gooood!! Elder Moody was stoked that he made it in. He considers it as being accepted into the family, so all good!

(The "
Book of Morons" is a collection of all the stupid family pictures we take. We had to include a couple of pictures of Elder Moody with his short-fat tie. How could we not?)

So Singapore was way good! It was fun. We went around china town and had a bunch of other errands to run that day, so it wasn't anything super fun, but it was nice. I think its pretty nuts how much I end up flying in this mission, and just traveling in general. Pretty unique I think. We flew to Kuching (just a city on the far west of Borneo), had a layover, then flew to Singapore. We got in and headed to the mission office. We waited for Sister Lowe who was picking up her 2 new Senior Sisters that she is going to train for a month or so before she goes home to america. When they arrived we went out to go have lunch together. Goodness those two senior sisters are special. Sister Lowe is just crazy and awesome! So they'll have fun meshing. The other sister I don't think said a word while we were there actually. She was in shock, so green. She didn't eat anything either when we ate.

Right now, in Miri, the Hodder's are the senior couple here in Miri! They've been here already for 3 months so they've adjusted and are amazing! Sister Hodder loves me! I've been her good friend since she has come into the field so I'm her favorite elder! She spoils me. I interpret for her during church and she brings little candies and other little goodies for me to snack on during sacrament :D

As far as the work is concerned, we are not currently teaching a family. We are in the process of passing off our investigators, Zhen, James, and his other friends we've contacted, to the Malay speaking Elders. Their Chinese isn't good enough to understand what we are talking about. Well, it was fun having someone to teach for a little while. But its all good, we got more people for the Lord, and hopefully they'll get baptised!

So tomorrow we'll have a joint branch Christmas party and, yes, everyone but the Muslims celebrate Christmas. Stores play the horrible Christmas music and there are decorations everywhere, so its all good. We'll be Skype'n you our Christmas Eve morning... so that will be your Christmas. Please send all the Skype information again in an email just in case I've lost it somehow. I love you mom! I'm pretty hurt that Nathan is your favorite now. But you're still mine! Thanks for the update, Adam. Sounds way sweet and intense! MECH-WAR!! I'm excited were almost to 2012 when the world ends. Its going to be awesome to see all the dumb things that happen next year!

And, yea, Mom. I've gotten cards from both Grandparents, bishop, some people in the ward, just some nice cards and things. Except from the fortunes I got $20! WOOT! I'm way excited to open the gifts! Anyways love you all!

(In thick British Accent) HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Staying with Moody in Miri

Night-time view of Miri

Hey family. So things are going good, I'm still in Miri with Elder Moody. We were going to be transferred, but we talked with the AP's and told them not to transfer us, so they convinced President : D Woot! It was on grounds that we were tearing it up in Miri, so we should be able to stay. So we got a little while longer, however there is still a possibility of transfers this October when the greenie comes in.

Anyway, for some things I want for my package, I could use some more of those sleeping pills (note from mom... Valerian Root, an herb) that you sent me in the MTC. I ran out. Grandma can get me a ton of Warheads, that would be awesome. People can't handle the slightest bit of sour here. Also they cant lose face, so its hilarious watching them try to gulp down warheads without making a face. Ha ha, so funny! Also a Chinese CTR ring would be cool. I'll figure out my ring size and send it to you. The other CTR ring you sent me earlier was way too big. I've lost quite a bit of weight out here.

So, I haven't gotten Adam's letter yet, but it should just be waiting in Singapore, so I should get it soon. I sent my camera card with Dallen's gift, in a soft padded envelope like the one I sent to Noah. Sounds like that was a nasty fall on both dad's and Nathan's account. Tearing stuff in your shoulder is never good, I knew a bunch of people that messed up their shoulders in sports and could never do as good again... but as long as dad can use the mouse, he should be up to full strength in no time!

Yeah, we'll probably get General Conference in like 3 months from now, like when I was in Sitiawan. Things are changing a bit in the mission, in the sense that its cracking down on rules hardcore. But don't worry, Mom. Obedience is my other middle name ;P (His 'other' was is "Dunn"). By the way things sound great about the play! I do want to pick up piano when I get home, so you can teach me mom. I really want to go back to how I was and focus on music again and really learning guitar again. So I'm learning a lot about myself lately. I started to learn how to "bead". Man, its stressful for me. I start shaking, I can't help but to hold my breathe when I'm trying to put the string into the bead, so after five minutes I'm super red in the face, and after 15 mins I have to stop cause I feel light headed. That small, tedious stuff just stresses me out, its hard for me to do it. Elder Moody says its really therapeutic, but I just start to rage as I keep dropping and losing beads or completely mess up.

Also - so this was exciting! Elder Moody and I both totally almost died! It was intense! So it was raining and it was late at night. We were riding on the shoulder of the road with lights and helmet and all that saftey stuff. Anyways, we were just cruisin. Then all of a sudden this Black Dodge Rodeo-looking vehicle, probably going 50mph+, sideswipes E. Moody. I'm pretty sure an angel used the force and forced/pushed this guy from completely smashing me, because he completely almost rolled his car by flying into the oncoming lane going away from me, then continued to fly all over the road until it took control again. I thought he was drunk, but it turns out he wasn't. He was just driving-impaired... some young kid with his girlfriend. He pulled over to tell us, in English, that we need to be more careful. So, I gave him a dressing down in Chinese. He was in shock and didn't say anything, so we just rode off. We're both completely fine, but I'm pretty sure my "Spirit points" were used up from that, so I need to rest and take it easy for awhile till I get my buffs back. Hmm... what else? Ya, thats pretty much it.

Ill try to get some finances together and send the package I have for you guys. Moody's package took 4 months to get to his house from here, so just forget about the package, then in four months you'll get a surprise! Anyway, Ill see you later!

Love, Elder Forsyth

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Missing my bros!

So, yeah, I got Cody's letter. It was hilarious. I was laughing so hard. Elder Moody just thought I was a jerk because we had this big stack of letters and all the missionaries got a letter but him. Then as I'm reading my letter I was just laughing my head off, so he was just like "you're a jerk". ha ha I let him read the letter afterward to make him feel like he got a letter. Ahh man, I miss hanging out with the family, mainly the brothers., Elder Moody is the closest to understanding our humor. I was laughing so hard in Cody's letter, Moody laughed, but not nearly as much as I did, but he did say that both our handwriting styles are identical and look like crap ha ha. Also that the humor and wording is just like mine, and that Cody and I are really alike. I told Elder Moody that the only difference between me and Cody is that Cody is fat.

(top picture of Cody showing that he is NOT fat as Elder Forsyth claims, despite Elder Forsyth's teasing)

(picture of the Tres Hermanos - last picture together before missions. Cody is now taller than Elder Forsyth)

I read Cody's Patriarchal blessing afterward. It was incredible, really unique, talked so much about his mission. Very powerful, I really enjoyed it. Don't worry, Cody. I read your letter before your blessing. I'm not completely hopeless. So ya mom I think its funny that you asked about the rain. Its been raining like crazy, Also there are no dryers so you just air dry everything in this humid climate, which takes forever. Half the days I wear Croc's cause my shoes are soaked from the previous day. Oh ya... this week has pretty much stunk in terms of numbers. Elder Moody and I aren't about numbers at all, but just for numbers-sake they kinda stunk. We don't really have anyone to teach, and we knock and knock but nothing. Plus all the rain, so it hasn't been too fun. Umm... so things are awesome as always with Moody and I. Just the same. We both work the same and understand each other really well so its been an awesome companionship. There are transfers this next Saturday, because some Elders are done with their mission, so we're both nervous about them; mainly because there is a small companionship pool to pull from.

So Roy, our recent convert, he's amazing. He is an incredible kingdom builder and was definately prepared to recieve the gospel. Looking back, Elder Moody and I never truly focused on him, he was never a priority. We always focused on others above him, but he took everything we gave and taught him and did it and progressed better than any other person I've taught. He's incredibly active and loves the gospel. It gave me a really good insight that there are those people that are just truly waiting to hear the gospel, something they truly need and want. Even though at the time he probably had no idea he wanted it or anything like that, at the time his family just really liked white people, so they invited us in. If you want to pray just pray we'll be able to find some people to teach. Other than that, pray for each other. Missionaries are entitled and get enough blessings, protections and other things. Its all good here.

I'm not real great at keeping a journal. To be honest, I'm not full of tons of spiritual experiences on my mission. There were some for myself, and I've seen others have them from the people were teaching, but not many. We don't teach a lot. We go out and do all the work, working really smart, but the people just don't want it. We usually don't get past a wave goodbye or a "don't want" so we move on. I can really say that the people that I've seen baptized are people that were already prepared, golden investigators so to speak. That's Chinese work in Malaysia. That's how it is wherever you go. So, a lot of my mission is temporal. A lot of it is just trials, mainly humility trials. If anything, its funny that you wrote about Paul's tribulations, Mom, because most the time I feel like Paul. But I already read his story and know how that went, so I just keep going. I realized that I think a lot of my mission is sowing, supporting, and simply giving people their chance to accept the gospel.

However, if you would ask me, I would say that I've had tons of success in my mission. Those three baptsims in a year was more than most get serving in Malaysia for longer period of times. Elder Moody went 8months or so without anything close to a baptism. Not that he was doing anything less or more than what I was doing... just simply that's how the work is here. We're with the more stubborn and prideful people, that's our lot and pull of the straws. Everyone on earth gets their chance to hear the gospel, some people are more accepting than others. Something I don't think a lot of Elders or people understand. Some missionaries get more baptisms than they can count on their fingers and toes, not only some Elders, but their whole mission is like that. But a mission is not about baptizing, its about doing the work that the Lord has appointed to you to do. including going through your trials and other things to prepare you and others for the future.

Just last week one of the Malay speaking elders was giving the training in our district meeting, and he was telling how it was a time when he was feeling horrible and really down, thinking about home and other things, all because he had a month with out any baptisms. I chuckled on the inside comparing his lack of baptising to my own. I personally thought the baptism of Yi Ling was going to be my first and only baptism of my entire mission, and was happy to continue to serve and have nothing but people wave me off for another 19+ months, then go home. So, I feel so blessed and lucky that the Lord led Elder Moody and I to Roy and Charles, who were both just literally waiting for Elders to come and to be taught. So, who knows? Maybe I'll get more, maybe not. Either way my mission is the most important thing that Ive done in my whole life, and will be one of the greatest things I've ever done in my life regardless of how people view it success-wise.

So in the next package I think just a bunch of sugar candies and sweets would be good. They have no American candy anywhere. Umm, I'll think of some more stuff for you to put in it though. But mom if you feel that writing to me more (besides emails) would be good, I'm totally down and will be a good steady writing pen pal : D Thanks for sending that letter, Adam, I'm excited to get it. So, Dad, can you write me a letter on things happening in the world and stuff like that. I heard some of the stuff going on in the Middle East and it sounds like the chess board is being set up over there. Well, I gotta go, so have a good week! And, Mom, when you send the package, remember the more vague the better. Just label candy, don't put specifics and it'll get through just fine. Trust me.

; P Love Brandon

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"Behold, they have labored exceedingly...

...and brought forth much fruit; and how great shall be their reward!"
- Alma 29:15

Charles entering the
waters of baptism!
September 3, 2011
Baptized by Elder Moody
Miri, Sarawak, E. Malaysia

"OK, so last Saturday we had the baptisms of Charles, age 9, and Roy, age 32. It was really good. It was nice, short and sweet and to the point. A lot of the baptisms here in the Iban branches last an hour to an hour and a half because of the talks, and because they always start a half hour late, but we got done in about 30 minutes. We had a good turn out of people and they were both stoked to be baptized! The next Sunday Roy got confirmed, but Charles did not because the person he usually goes with (Sister Chai) had to work, so Winny, an inactive member was supposed to bring him, but didn't come because she is too busy with getting ready for her wedding which we will be attending. The next Sunday rolls around and still no Charles at church to be confirmed. It was Winny's wedding day, so she and Sister Chai were too busy to bring him." Stay tuned to find out if Charles finally gets confirmed...

"Roy who just loves the missionaries and the church is going to go work on a rig for the next month and a half or so, so with transfers this month we may never see him again. We did our farewells with him and are sorry we won't be able to teach him the new member discussions."

Now, back to the wedding...

This is Winni (also known as Candi) and her new husband at their wedding.

So, a few weeks ago, when Winni (Candi) was getting ready for her wedding, we asked her, "Is there anything we can do to help?" This was an epic mistake which would come back to haunt us. While we were at church, waiting for Charles to show (the second time) to get baptized, President Chan called over to Winni's house. She was asleep, but President Chan "reminded" us that we were singing at the wedding. Elder Moody and I looked at each other and you could have heard crickets chirp! What!?!? We never said we would sing at the wedding! We were stressing out, and President Chan reminded us that we had offered to help. Yikes!

So we get there and there were about 300+ people. President Chan tells us we're going to be singing, so get ready. So we were sweating bullets and President Chan wasn't doing a thing to get the program changed so we wouldn't have to sing. Instead, he seemed to be really enjoying himself at our expense, laughing at us white guys along with all the other Chinese people. Anyways, after all the food, some people got called up and they started singing, but it was Karaoke... Asian Karoke... so it sounded horrible... but, man, do these Asians go at it!! We then looked at Chan and had this "are-you-joking-us? You-just-want-us-to-go-sing-Karaoke" expression on our faces". Its not even a formal thing. There was no special presentation or special musical number (thank goodness). They just wanted us to go sing karaoke, and it was just go up and sing. Sigh. Ive never been that had for so long. President Chan got us so bad.

So, I haven't got the letter yet. Perhaps on the 24th when we have transfers. Elder Moody and both feel one of us is going to be leaving. In the meantime, we have a lot of work to do. The church here is in its baby stages. There are hundreds of Iban members, but that's useless because we dont speak Malay. Also, the Chinese members dont know gospel Malay, so there is a huge language barrier. So its just the China missionaries doing the work. Right now we have 3 on date for the following saturday, There all doing really good, still have a few concerns to get over, but they all have a strong desire to be baptised and have been coming to church and keeping other commitments. Abboy, Ellen, and Kelvin. All not related, but very close. Abboy and Kelvin are 21, they are best friends, and also have the same work. Ellen is Abboy's girlfriend and is one of the best with wanting to be a part of the church. They all smoke, so if you want to pray for them, pray that they can overcome their smoking addiction. Anyways, I'll let you know when I get the letter. Umm what else? Good luck with your musical. That's cool that you've been hired to direct, Mom. Love Love love...

Elder Forsyth