Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions

The Singapore Mission, where I've been assigned to serve as a missionary (YES!!!), covers three countries: Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei. I'll be spending most of my time in Malaysia.

FAQ: Where exactly is Singapore/Malaysia? --Don't worry, I wasn't exactly sure either. Americans are terrible and Southeast Asian geography. It'll help if you know where India is, for it's southeast of India... South of China and Thailand and Cambodia, and nowhere near Japan so get that out of your head right now.

If you keep going south past Indonesia, soon enough you'll bump into Australia.

Malaysia is split up into two main parts: Peninsular Malaysia, the southern tip of which turns into Singapore, and then East Malaysia, which is on the big island of Borneo (the biggest island in the bottom-left corner of the picture). Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore are quite developed and even Westernized in some cases, while East Malaysia is rural and the people are less wealthy.

FAQ: How's the Church there? -- New. There's currently one LDS stake in Singapore, and no stake in Malaysia yet. The first missionaries in this part of the world came in the 1960's, so the Church is still growing. I'm so humbled and excited to participate in the work here. The work is moving forward! In 2010, our mission baptized 1020 new members!

FAQ: Is there a Temple there? -- The people in Singapore and Malaysia are in the Hong Kong Temple district, although I believe the nearest one is in Manila (Philippines). It's far.

FAQ: What language do they speak? -- My assignment is the Malay language, which is from the Austronesian language family (e.g. Tagalog/Filipino, Fijian, Tongan, Samoan, etc.). It uses our alphabet (the Roman), so I'll be studying it for 9 weeks in the Missionary Training Center. It's an official language of Malaysia, and so is English (but their English is usually quite broken). In Singapore, most people speak (a strange version of) English, or Chinese.

FAQ: Are you excited? Are you scared? -- Yes, and yes. I am SO thrilled and humbled to have this opportunity. I'm also intimidated, because I know that many challenges lie ahead. I'm a 21-year-old girl from America who is goofy and flawed and doesn't know what she's doing a lot of the time. However, I KNOW that this literally is God's work. I will be on His errand, and so He WILL help me. As I obey His commandments and work hard, I will not be left alone. He will strengthen me, guide me, comfort me, and make my paths straight. There will literally be angels protecting me. I have faith in my Savior Jesus Christ and I know He's working constantly with the people here because this really is His work. Read Jacob 5:72.

Deep down, I'm not afraid at all.

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