Thursday, April 26, 2012

hello all!! im doing very well. its usually just really hot. but lately its been kinda hot and rainy. rode my bike in the rain for the first time. it wasnt raining very hard but i got soaked haha. the worst is when it rains, and the clouds hang out and the wet, humid air just lingers because the sun cant dry the air at all. also usually when we bike to someones house i'll get kinda sweaty, and then we go in and the sweating really starts haha. but its all good cuz they dont seem to mind. i think ive probly lost about 6-7 lbs already. my pants are starting to show signs of fitting again hahaha, so thats good.

riding a bike is awesome. i would actually not like having a car most of the time cuz the traffic and roads here are atrocious. ya that bus ride to Sandakan was 7 hours cuz the "highways" here are bad. i guess its kind of hard to make a road go through a jungle. but ya Sandakan is the closest area to Tawau, and then Kota Kinabalu (KK) after that. so we're pretty isolated. we have been meeting with an inactive member, Daniel,  who has some problems with members of the branch here, but he's a really cool guy. he still has a testimnoy, but he just for some reason cant stand some of the members here. i guess there has been major drama in the past. so we're just trying to help him repair his relationship with God before he thinks about going back to church. (its been about 10 yrs...) but he used to be the branch mission leader, and he usually loves the missionaries if he feels he can respect them. and he basically told us how mature we already are, even though we're wuite young. but next week he wants to take us to the city of Semporna, which apparently has some of the best diving in the world. obviously not to go diving but to see some of the other cool stuff around there. Elder Trotter has never been there or seen anything cool like Daniel has told us about. so we're super excited for that!

so being a missionary is actually not that much different. it definitely feels different and weird when you're in the MTC, but now that im in the field, its a lot more normal, cuz like in the MTC every single second of your day is planned out, but its just not as jam packed in the field. of course not to say we dont work hard or we're lazy, but it's just different. I think it'll probly change after a while cuz even though i feel like ive been here for a while, its only been three weeks in the field. The language is actually coming along really well. i still usually have a hard time understanding peolpe, but i can say probly about 80% of everything i think to say. about 95% in lessons. apparently Malay is like one of the top threee easiest languages to learn haha. cuz there is only one tense. no past or future tense, which just makes it hard to think of how to say stuff if you cant put it into a tense. but ya Malay is just kind of a lazy, very non-specific language. and it definitely reflects in the people. they're very like wishy washy people, usually very non-committal. so its hard to teach people because of that sometimes. I wrote this to Ben Basilius and wanted to copy it into this email as well.

by the way ben just got his call to serve in the Seattle, Washington mission!

yes we have a senior couple here in tawau. theyre funny and awesome. about what youd expect if grandma and grandpa lanier cam to malaysia haha! just me and elder trotter in tawau. as far as food goes. we basically just eat fried rice/noodles and fried chicken. we COULD eat seafood and fish and all other kinds of weird stuff, but the rice and chicken is already hard enough haha. also one member family like to cook for us and she makes this either tuna or milkfish dish that is like marinaded in vinegar with onions and peppers that is pretty dang good. its called kinilau. i'll have to take a picture sometime. most stuff has a little spice to it but nothing i cant handle haha.

ya so two funny and related stories from this week. so we're headed home on our bikes, and we always pass a car place with some crazy guy that works there, but he ahsnt been there since i came. so two nights ago he was finally there, and the car place is like on a corner so theres a stoplight right there. so trotter is like waving to this guy, and he truly is some crazy malaysian guy haha, no shirt, just yellin and stuff. but trotter kinda passes him and turns around to keep waving, and doesnt realize he is headed for the back of a car. i'm a little ways behind trotter, so by the time i realize he is going to hit the car its too late. he barely looks before he can break and then hit the back end of a pickup truck hahahah! he was able to kind of lean forward so just his chest basically hit the car, and nothing happened to the car or trotter. just trotters pride is a little hurt hahaha. and then today, on our way to email, he basically does the exact same thing. we were coming to a stoplight, trotter sees one of our current investigators, and trotter continues to wave and doesnt realize how close he is to the stopped car. i barely have time to tell him to turn around before he smacks into the back of this car hahha! this time it was like a little SUV and trotter kind of smacked his cheek into the back windshield and jams one of his fingers pretty badly. less funny when it happened, but i am currently laughing as i write this haha.

 thats it for this week!

I love you all!

Elder Giblette

so i finally took pictures of our house mommy :D its super nice. like we liev like kings compared to everyone else. for real. very few people have more than one room. (but they'll have like a communal kitchen and bathroom)

 thats the lady who was baptised. wayyyy short haha. shes a filipina.


this is a cicat. (chee-chot) they are everywhere basically haha. they're incredibly fast and they basically just crawl along the walls and ceiling haha. this one is wayyy tiny.

half of a monitor lizard in the sewer drainage. probly eaten by another lizard. trotter has seen some like five footers, but we havent seen any big ones since i came

i decided to splurge on some quality sunglasses. these cost me about $2

this was our mcdonalds feast. at lunch they have like almost half priced meals. so all that, four fries, a mcchicken, a quarter punder, a bigntasty, a double cheeseburger and four drinks was about 30 ringat. which comes to about $10. awesomeness.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tons of info & pictures

where to start. oh ya it was awesome to hear that bro Gordhammer heard about me! ya i guess i forgot to mention that i gave a talk my first Sunday haha. oops... ya i actually wasnt that nervous, i just knew that it wasnt going to be very long. i think it probly ended up being about 7 mins tops haha. but ya i definitely can speak better than i understand. but everyday elder Trotter tells me how impressed he is with my language. So now its mostly a matter of time really. it simply takes time to have a lot of experience talking to people. the problem is that most people dont speak very loudly, and Tawau in general is kinda of noisy. I really never thought about how cushioned the MTC is as far as hearing the language i was learning. no noise or distractions there, plus i was hearing it from another english speaker (teacher) who was helping me learn. but everyone seems pretty impressed by my language. at least everyone that kinda knows my situation. basically everyone we talk to on the street or wherever is really suprised that we are "sudah pandai malayu" which means we already know how to speak malay. but usually i can only understand about half of what they say haha. its funny because the word "pandai" is used like for literally everything. it is roughly translated into "to know how" but they'll use it like "pandai speak malay" or "pandai ride a bike" or "pandai to sin" used for EVERYthing haha. but it's cool because that makes the language and explaining things easier to learn.

so a little bit more about Tawau. to Carson- yes it will definitely be cool to say "when i was living on the east coast of Borneo" hahah. i really am in the eastern most "big" city in the Malaysian part of Borneo man.    it's pretty crazy over here, just in Malaysia in general. people basically do whatever they want haha. except its okay because theres just kind of naturally a low amount of crime. probly cuz very few people have something of great value haha. but nobody outside of law enforcement is allowed to own a gun. and there is absolutley no tolerance for recreational drugs of any kind. if you get caught with marijuana. death penalty. so thats really nice in a way. i dont know if its a Tawau thing or probly in many parts of malaysia, but a lot of people ride motos around. like halfway between scooters and motorcycles. they seem to think they are really bad-A when they ride around in groups hahaha. it's pretty hilarious. the car situation isnt that crazy here. except all cars are basically compact. i think the biggest like non-commercial vehicle that i've seen people drive is a toyota land cruiser. but its mostly little compact cars that look likea  taller version of the volkswagen golf car. and then also a lot of people have a compact truck from toyota called the Hilux. but the funny thing about cars is they're really small and weak n stuff, but people of course try to pimp em out with ridiculous decals and spoilers haha. and for some reason people will like have a decal that's like some weird english word on the sides of the car, but on one side it'll be normal, and the other side will be the same word but spelled a mirror effect haha... pretty funny. i'll try to take a picture of it this week.

as far as the poeple are concerned, there are a lot of people from the Philippines. there kind of like the malaysian versiion of illegal mexicans in america. they come illegally to malaysia looking for work. but theyre better than mexicans because they dont bring the same kinds of problems that mexicans tend to bring. so we end up teaching ALOT of filipinos. usually they can speak malay, but also sometimes they speak no malay and they think they can speak english haha. the baptism we had when i got here was for a filipina women (filipino for men, filipina for women) who could not speak english or malay, so i guess the teaching went pretty slow. luckily elder trotter had recently baptised a filipino family about a month ago, who are super strong btw, and they like helping us teach people that only speak tagalog. but right now we're teaching a filipina omen who can actually speak and understand english pretty well but we still need translators. shes totally ready to be baptized and her date is for the 28th i believe. obviously i could tell you banyak banyak banyak (lots lots lots) about Tawau right now, but theres other stuff i wanna right about right now haha!

so i dont really have a time limit for emailing, so dont worry about sending "too much" or anything. also videos are perfectly fine so i'll try to send some that i have today.

so i have a crazy story and a funny story. which one would you like first? okay the crazy one. so elder trotter has been teaching a couple, Phillip and Lavigne, for about two months before i came. they have two babies and seemed okay to me. but phillip has a problem. about 30 years ago he killed a man... and wasnt caught. i dont know the whole story and neither does trotter. so basically what president clark had told Trotter was that for phillip to be baptised, he had to turn himself in, and then pay whatever consequences that entailed, and then basically has to be active for close to a year before he can be baptized. so last week we were going to basically tell him that, and of course we didnt expect that lessoin to go well, because of course phillip isnt going to turn himself in cuz hes got a family to take care of and hes got a life. so we were basically going to give him the scoop and expect to not really continue teaching him after thatt. anyways we go over there and we go and sit down (i'll tell you about a typical house later) and as we come in lavigne kind of just leaves. i thought she was going to the bathroom or something so we didnt think about it. we wait for probly about five minutes and phillip goes out to get lavigne. so we hear raised voices and it eventually leads up to a distinct smacking noise! like as loud as a hand clap. we kind of freeze and then we hear TWO MORE smacks! both us have no idea what to do, and the member that was with us also has no idea what to do, the member was a girl. so after a little bit phillip kind of casually pokes his head in the door and tells us we'll have to teach them next time, next time. so we awkwardly and scaredly walk past phillip and lavigne, who is sitting down. she didnt look like she had just gotten smacked, but i guess she had been hit kind of on the neck/jaw. so as we are leaving, we kind of get out of the house complex, and dont really know if we should leave or not. then we hear phillip hit her AGAIN! so the member that was with us kind of peaks around the corner to see what's going on, and we just kind of sit there for a few minutes... we ended up just leaving because we had no idea what we were to do. CRAZY and SCARY. we havent been back since

ok time to lighten the mood with a funny story. so elder trotter's shoes are starting to get a bit old, and the sole of his right shoe is gettin pretty thin. now keep in mind that the shoe probly still has a good month AT LEAST. so he had kind of tried to figure out a way top get nwew shoes, cuz he got them from i think mr mac nad they have a warranty program but there werent gonna give him the shoes he wanted. so he remembers that there are a good number of street cobblers here in Tawau, so yesterday after a teaching appointment we go to one so trotter can ak how much it would be to fix it, and kind of get an idea of what the guy would do to fix it. so we go to this guy and trotter hands his shoe over and asks him to kind of look at it and like give us an estimate. so this guy is like kinda weird of course and like looking up and down the street, not really examining the show that much. kind of like just a distracted guy. so we keep asking him how much, how much, and this guy doesnt really tell him anyhting, and then all the sudden this guy rips a fat chunk of trotter's insole out hahahhahah! it was priceless. the guy was just kind of looking around and whatever, and then out of nowhere he just rips the insole out hahaha. after that he's like, "ya this shoe needs to be fixed..." hahahaha at this point trotter is just fuming cuzs his shoe is now ruined. so trotter doesnt really have a choice now but to have the guy fix it. i actually started taking video at this point so hopefully i'll be able to send it later haha. so what the guy ended up doing was cutting the rest of the insole out and replacing it with this stiff, flat piece of rubber/foam. haha so it takes a while to do it and of course trotter just hates the guy. the guy also wanted 25RM (ringat malaysia) for the job, which is way too much haha. so trotter was luckily able to talk the guy down to 13RM. but ya, it was hilarious. i was jsut like laughing the whole time, and trotter was just basically awe-struck haha. so i've learned my lesson. if i ever need new shoes, im just gonna buy some hah. oh ya speaking of shoes i LOVE my shoes. and as much as i hate to admit it, the black slip-ons are wayyy comfy. so thank you dad haha

so my house/appartment is wayyyyy nice. basically we live in a complex thats like half a hotel and half an appartment complex. but ya a normal house in malaysia doesnt even compare to our place. i'll take pictures for next week. so there are basically two kinds of housing in Tawau. you have what are called "kampongs" (pronounced com-pong; pong with a long o) which are like really big groups of sketchy wood houses that are built like all together. it's hard to explain but i have pictures and videos. and then there are like concrete or like non-wood housing complexes. which look kind of like smaller suburban houses, except like flat roofed and smaller. i might have pictruers but imagine like the first floor of a normal house, and then put anywhere form six to ten families in it. like the first floor of our house, but split into 10x10 ft squares. usually this is all a family has, but also usually families arent over 5 people. but ya it's crazy. hopefully i have some good pictures and i can send my videos. so when people see the picture you sent of our house, they are like amazed of course. i think i'm gonna take it out of my photo book because i feel like guilty when i say that's my house... i just never realized how much we have and how blessed we are. you really cant know what true poverty is until youve seen it first hand. you can see pictures and hear about it, but you'll truly never know until you see it. it sounds sad but the people here arent really affected by because they just dont know what they dont have, so a tiny little wood house is just normal for them.

so as far as the whole money situation goes. it's all figured out. i guess there was like a block on my account because it was international, which is understandable since i didnt tell wells fargo haha. so no worries there. i wont really need to take any personal money out unless i decide to buy an external harddrive. but i dont think that'll be soon. and when i do it'll probly be around 100USD. but ya $300 in my account will be PLENTY haha. considering that's almost a 1000 ringat haha. I always love hearing about anything and everything! and from ANYONE hahaha. oh ya also that earthquake was not felt by me at all. the senior couple here mentioned it to us but i guess nobody even died where it happened. ya as far as natural disasters go, malaysia and singapore have virtually zero. indonesia basically takes ALL the brunt of any storm that might go towards us haha. no worries at all there mommy :)

I love you all so much and cant wait till next week!

so after seeing my pictures, i have forgotten about other stuff i wanted to write about haha

so in malaysia, Mcdonalds is a HUGE deal. like im not k\joking at all all when i say it's one of the nicest, if not the best, restaurants in town. poepl go there like for dates. the building itself is quite nice. they bust your table at mcdonalds here. it is a thing a beauty. anyways, i forgot to tell you that i went to the city of Sandakan thurs fri and sat this week because trotter had leadership training in Sibu. Ya so i bussed 7 hours to Sandakan on thurs and did exchanges i guess with an elder there, because his companion also had leadership training. so sandakan already has a mcdonalds, so of course thats where i wanted to go for lunch. thats where these pictures were taken. Tawau is opening a McDonalds THIS FRIDAY!!! nobody has ever been this excited for a mcdonalds in the whole world haha! ya so thats the scoop about mcdonalds. we also have a KFC and a Pizza Hut but they're not the same as american ones. thats why mcdonalds is so great, its the same as in america.

a view from our place in the morning. pretty sweet view!

 so there is a picture of jon paul, who is the son of that family i was telling you about. they are Myla and Tony, and this is their son. he's pretty funny. likes to run around naked hahaha. he's five. they're filipino and they are awesome. Tony is one of the few members who owns a car and he is always willing to bring people to chruch. 

 also pics of some jungle on my way to Sandakan. 

 also a pic of some investigators that are pretty solid (that's elder Trotter) (haha i guess i'll tell you more about him next week :D)

 a "megamac" which is like a double big mac haha. i did not get that but i probly eventually will haha. 

 a couple pics of the water kampong here in Tawau. its crazy, it goes out over the ocean, and the whole thing is supported by skinny little stilts. I took a long video of it but i dont think the videos want to work right now. i may end up putting them on one of my flash drives and sending them to you. cuz there are some pretty awesome videos i took.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


oooooooookayyyyyyy. the email youve all been waiting for!

P-day is on wednesday, so i think thats tueday for you. still havent figured out the time difference. i think its late at night for you right now. (bare with me, this keyboard is trash. it's literally difficult to press the keys) the mouse is even worse haha. so ringat is what they use here. and it is about 3 ringat to a 1 dollar. I'm adjusting well and basically all they eat is rice, noodles and chicken. we have a KFC here, and we'll eat there every once in a while. Ya so basically all of malysia is straight jungle except for where there is civilization. its crazy humid too.

my body is doing well. i think ive already lost like 6-7 lbs. my lanuage is pretty good. i can understand like 90% of what my companion says, and in a good conversation about half of anyone else hahaha. a lot of it is just the way they talk and like the phrases they used. cuz i think i still for the most part speak english, but use malay words. im not too worried about it because my trainer is pretty great. the members here are few but theyre pretty strong. my trainer, elder Trotter, was saying that tawau has one of the most functional branches, meaning th mebers, about 60 active, actually fulfill their callings. trotter recently baptized a guy named tony and his wife. they are what we like to call kingdom builders. they are super awesome. tony is one of two members who own a car. he brings people to church, he goes to activities. just amazing. plus he is now a preisthood holder. the problem for tawau is it is basically all palm oil plantations. so the men will go and work for like up to three months at a time, (they work generally about 2 hrs from town) and they just send money back to their families. so the branch here is struggling for preisthood holders. my apartment is way nice. its stil a little hard adjusting to living here. the bathrooms are just like one room with a sink, toilet and shower head and drains. theres no toilet paper. which is actually far superior to TP. we have a detachable showerhead that is used for both showers and... other bathroom uses haha. its tough though cuz basically in the morning after i shower, it takes me a long time to stop sweating. even when i take cold showers. but i get better and more used to it each day.

the people here are crazy and the stores and cars are crazy. everythings crazy here haha. 

love you all and look forward to next week!
Elder Giblette

 Getting my new bike

 Ice cream with Joann, who was just baptized on Saturday

 Tawau airport


 Our MTC district arriving in Singapore!

 This is what 24 hours of travel across the world looks like!


Tuesday, April 3, 2012


ok, here's the big one.
Travel Plans.
We leave to the SLC airport Monday April 02 @ 4:30 PM
We leave from SLC to LAX @ 8:20 PM
Arrive LAX @ 9:25PM.
Leave LAX @ 11:50PM (April 2)
Arrive Hong Kong @ 5:40AM (April 4)
Leave Hong Kong @ 8:05AM
Arrive Singapore @ 11:45AM (April 4)
These are local times. I think the bset time to call will be when im waiting in SLC. I also want to call from Hong Kong to let you know I made it across the ocean haha. but you'll have to figure out what time it will be for you when i get there. I have no idea how it works out with crossing the dateline haha. So let me know if hong kong will work out this week, otherwise I'll probly just call from SLC. if you think other times would work better just let me know. I'll be fine as far as luggage goes. I will be able to bring it all with me. I have $180 in cash so I'm set for that. I should be able to fit all i need to send home in one package, which I'll do this week. hopefully mom your last two packages are mostly food haha, cuz i can just give that stuff away. I can;t think of anyhting else I need and if I do I'll be able to get it from the store here.
Calling Card. I will plan on using that card I already have, although now that I think of it I don't think it is an international card (once again i dont have it with me...)so unless the hong kong time thing works out really well I won't worry about calling from there (unless you really want me to and you send me an international calling card [if that exists])
Visa. I don't have to worry about my visa. all we do is go to Singapore, and simply get our 90 day visa once we arrive. it is true that every 90 days we go back to singapore to renew the visa haha.

WE CANNOT WAIT TO LEAVE!!! seriously it was the best when the enlgish group came in that we did not have to send off, but we get to leave with them. Sometime this week i hope we get the chicken cordon bleu (spell check hahahaha) and if we get pizza on friday we'll be very lucky. From what we have gathered from our teachers, door-to-door proselyting isn't any more or less used than any other place. the whole thing with Muslims is that we simply cannot teach them. if we contact one like at their house we just ask them if they know where any christians live and tell them to have a good day. 

i feel like i should have much more to write about, but i think i've got everything covered. Elder Evans and Elder Saunders are doing well. i bump into them every once and a while. I think they both leave the same week. not sure.

I think i'll have another chance to email on monday before I leave. otherwise i look forward to your letters! I'm pretty sure that once we get into Singapore we can send a quick email home with our address and whatnot.

Love you all!

Elder Giblette