Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hellos and Goodbyes

What a week we have had in KK.  On Wednesday the Singapore mission received 27 new missionaries!  That's right 27!  And we only had 6 leave.  WOW.  It is so exciting.  Of the 27 new missionaries, 6 of them came to KK.  We have two new Elder companionships and 1 sister companionship.  We had two of our KK missionaries transferred to Singapore.  It is so hard to send them off.  It is just like sending your own son off again on a mission.  We get so attached to these elders and just love them.  They are doing amazing work here.  On Monday morning we had the missionaries who have been with us for so long come over for a "farewell" breakfast.
Back row l to R:  Elder Glad from Virginia; Elder Jacob Reid from Farrmington, Elder O'driscoll from Sandy and Elder Howell from West Jordan.  We had to send Elder Jacob Reid and Elder Howell on their way to Singapore.  Elder Howell will be coming home in December so as the missionaries say, he will die in Singapore.
The new Elders we got are Elder Parker from Mesa, Az.; Elder Shoetz from somewhere; Elder Peterson from somewhere else; and Elder Gottfriedsen from Las Vegas.  The sisters are Sister Wilson from Virginia and Sister Cabella from Micronesia.  All six of these new missionaries are go-getters and were so anxious to get out and get started the first day they were here.  Elders Gottfriedsen and Shoetz and Sis. Cabella came right from the MTC.  They are all amazing with their language skills already and their knowledge of the gospel and how to teach.  They are so well prepared.
The sisters will be staying with us temporarily.  We have found an apartment for them, but we have to wait until all the paperwork has been signed and money exchanged before they can move in.  It should, hopefully, be sometime next week.  Their apartment is in the same complex as the elders so that will be very nice and convenient for everyone.  It is also close to the area they are assigned too.  We don't see much of them around our apartment.  They leave mid-morning and usually don't get home until 10 pm the time they must be home.  When they can move into their own apartment, we will have to take them shopping for dishes, pots, pans, linens, etc.  The apartment has furniture but not furnishings.  They and I are looking forward to shopping.   Sis. Wilson is 1/2 Korean, 1/4 Cuban and 1/4 Jamican while sister Cabella, although she comes from Micronesia, is Philipino.  All I can say is watch out KK.  With these missionaries on the lose, things are going to get wild and crazy.
Elder Watson when he was here last week told us that there are 10 missions in the Asia area and these 10 missions are responsible for over 1/3 of the world's population.  I told the missionaries that gave them all about 2 million + people to contact and convert.
On Friday morning we got some terribly sad news.  The branch president of KK1, Pres. Francis Simon, passed away suddenly and totally unexpectedly.  We here in KK are all in shock.  Just last week he was talking in the meetings with elder Watson and this week he isn't even here.  We are all struggling and having such a hard time.  It was just such a shock.  We're still not sure what happened.  We think it might have been a blood clot to hit his brain, but we haven't heard officially.  Pres. Francis' service for LDS members was yesterday in a village called Papar, about an hours drive from here.  While he and some of his children were LDS, no one else in his family was.  They are mostly RC and were not very happy with the way his children wanted to have his funeral.  He kinda ended up with LDS services on Saturday and then other family services today.  They buried him today in Papar.  Again, Ben was asked to dedicate the grave.
 I thought you would enjoy this.  These guys in the bright neon green shirts are the undertakers.  It says "Undertaker" right on their shirt.  You can't read it very well but the back of this guy's shirt says something about Caskets and Funeral Directors and gives phone numbers to call.
This guy seemed to be the head undertaker.  He supervised the others and smoked cigarettes the whole time.
This is the first "hearse" they sent.  It slid off the road and rolled into a ditch on its way to Papar.  If you look close you can see the dents and the windows broken out.
This is Ben dedicating the grave.  It just poured rain all night and all morning so the ground was just soaked and oh so muddy.  The lady behind the casket in the black is Pres. Francis' daughter Caroline, such a wonderful member.Next to Ben is Pres. Fausto, counselor in the district presidency, and Bro. Gary the YM's president and a piano student of mine.  You can see the ropes and boards the the casket is resting on.
They lower the casket on the ropes and then the undertakers start shoveling the dirt back into the grave.
Here the grave is almost all filled in and the temporary cross marker up.
Then we all laid a flower on the grave.
All in all it was a nice service for Pres. Francis.  He was a much loved man in the branches and in the community.  The KK missionaries will especially miss him because he was always taking them places and arranging trips for them on their P-days.  It has been really really hard the last few days coming to grips with his sudden death.  It is really extra hard on the branches here because KK2's branch president was released about one month ago and they have never put anyone in in his place.  Now KK1 does not have a branch president either.  Two branches and no presidents or presidencies.  The district president, pres. Ling, really has a lot on his shoulders right now trying to run two branches.  Hopefully, things will straighten themselves out quickly.
So you can see it was a week of hellos and goodbyes but we know in all cases the goodbyes are just temporary and we will all meet again.  What joy we can all find in the atonement.  How sad for those who don't understand or don't know about this wonderful gift they have been given.  It really is true, Families CAN be together forever.  Instead of hugging your toilet this week, hug your family and keep them close to your heart.  We love you all.  Drop us a line.  E/S Read


  1. That good-bye is a rough one. Sorry about the president. I got a little teary with the picture of Dad dedicating the grave. I was so proud of my dad and I'm missing him. You guys are doing great. Love you very much.

  2. The Elder in our ward leaves for the MTC/ Singapore mission in 2 1/2 weeks. You should get another fresh batch in about 3 months. You'll have to look for Elder Wiberg. He will be amazing. I'm continually amazed by your experiences. Thanks for sharing.