Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First 4 Days in Bintulu

Thomas was busy the first 4 days in Bintulu.  He visited many people, taught lots of lessons, attended the local church meetings, and, on his first P-Day (preparation day during which he gets to do errands, check his email, and do other activities), got to play futsal with the other missionaries in the city (8 total).  He apparently played well.
The members of the Bintulu 3rd Branch (the congregation Thomas is working with) are all Iban and Malay is their 2nd language.  Thomas is able to understand the Malay people speak but is still not quite fluent in speaking Malay.  However, he has taught some of the lessons in Malay and gets help from his companion, Elder Bench, who speaks the language fluently.  He hopes to learn some Iban before long.
Thomas is very impressed with the church members in Bintulu, who work long hours 6 days a week but still take the time to volunteer and help others.  He is also grateful for Elder and Sister Orien, a senior missionary couple who serve as the young missionaries' mentors and love them like their parents.
Quite a few members in the congregation remember Ben, Thomas' older brother who served in Bintulu 2 years ago.
Here are some of the pictures Sister Orien took at Thomas' first weekly "district meeting", in which the 4 young elders and the senior missionary couple get together to discuss the work in the area and do some training.  The meeting was held in Elder and Sister Orien's apartment.
Elder and Sister Orien and the young elders