Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas from Miri

Dec 15th
I am going to go buy a web cam today. And since I don’t have a cord to charge my camera, I will buy one of those as well.  Thanks mom and dad, I am looking forward to Skypeing you on Christmas.

We have been working really hard in getting people back to church, but people are being stubborn.  It is so confusing that they don’t come to church, but they love for us to come to their houses.  Yesterday we had a Christmas party and it was a huge success we had so many people come.  The missionaries sung a song with santa i hope i can get a copy of it!!  We then played with the kids and shared a spiritual thought.  It was really great and there was TONS of food.  It was crazy!!

This week we are going to kuching for friday and Saturday. In order for me to Skype,  I will have to buy a web cam.  Do I have permission?   At the internet kadi there is a ton a swearing but it is all in chinese so i don't think you will understand alot of it so is that ok?? oh that would be so cool to get letters!! Adam Poll wrote me did you get it!! oh and i sent Elysa’s present and a bunch of letters I hope they get there! Let me know about that!! oh it sounds like the quilting business is taking off! good for you!!! Wow you guys sound like your doing so good!! love you all!!! Merrry Christmas!

Dec 23rd
Kuching was great.   I was able to purchase a web cam and a new camera.  Thanks mom and dad!  I was able to get the extra Christmas package as well.  YA!!!!! i love the Books and the Stickers!! and the Thoughts!! and Everything thank you thank you thankyou thankyou!!! it was so good!!!!!  I look forward to talking to you on Christmas.

Dec 25th.
From Dad- We were able to have a nice video conversation with Derek through Skype.  He looks very good!  We talked with him on our Christmas eve, which was his Christmas day. He and his companion ended up taking a taxi to the internet café due to bike trouble.  We talked for about an hour.  He was smiling from ear to ear and so were we.  I think we all needed it.  He has grown up and is serving well.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

I got my Christmas Package

My week has gone pretty good!! I look forward to buying for my secret Santa person at home.  They should get a pretty nice gift, because that limit I can buy something really nice!  Yes I did eat a lot of pie when I was at home.  So I guess next year you won't have to buy that many.

I have tried to get with the family that said they would make the gingerbread house with me, but they keep cancelling.  So I may not get it done!  Sorry!
I have to take two showers a day over here because we sweat so much.  But it doesn't help.  Plus we never dry out.  I have tried using powder that should help with this, but it hasn't work so far.
That is funny about Oscar it sounds like he has a girlfriend!! 

We got 2 new Chinese Elders.  Elder Kong and Elder Chan.  Because of the work we have done.  And Miri is getting a 3rd branch which will be the Chinese branch.  The elders will help get the members to understand that there are several people like themselves that belong to the church.  Also help in setting up the priesthood within the branch.
I love my Christmas package.  It was fun to get all the decorations.  I am loving all the dental supplies.  Are you trying to tell me something?  ha-ha I know those are just the small things that could fit in the envelopes.  ha-ha  The bouncy balls have been really fun to throw at my companion! ha-ha just kidding!
Hey, Sky wrote me this week!  That was such a great surprise!  It totally made my week!  Will you call him and tell him thank you!
Elder Fletcher

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Thanksgiving at Pizza Hut!

Well, I am just going to be emailing you guys today, because I don't have much time!  We went to Batu Niah Caves today.  I hope you have looked them up.  They are super cool.
I took all the pictures you wanted me to this week!  Then guess what happened!!  The Lord is trying my faith.  I lost my camera case and cord at the caves.  So I will for sure buy a card reader this next week!!  It was amazing.  Oh, my car sickness is starting to come back, but I was good just felt really sick!!
Well I do think that is a normal holiday at the Fletcher house! :) jjk Mom I love you!! ha-ha  Because we don't have a senior couple up here we went to Pizza Hut for Thanksgiving!  It was really good!
Well training is good.  We are getting a lot done.  We just found out today that 2 more Chinese elders are coming to help us out!! ha-ha ya ya ya!!!!! Elder Kong and Elder Chan.  They are natives!!  Elder Mitchell knows Elder Kong and says he is a really cool guy!!
Well this week we have had a lot of disappointing things happen, but we moved forward with faith.  We saw the miracles by the end of the week!!
Well I am super sweaty and gross!  But I'm having a lot of fun!!  I will for sure get those pictures to you guys!!
hmm something interesting over here they don't say the word siwang or death in Chinese.  They just take their pointer finger and curl it!!
I am looking at your pictures of the gingerbread houses now!! They look good.  I haven't started my house yet.  I am doing a family night with a family in our group (soon to be a branch) and we are going to make them!!!:)
Ok and as for the Christmas Skype! Well last Christmas they had a senior couple up here.  Everybody went to their house to Skype.  Well this year we don't have a senior couple.  And the internet kadi's here are not exactly family friendly.  So everyone in our district are thinking they will just call home.  But there is another option and that is if a member offers their computer for us to use.  We only have one member that would have the ability to do that. We are really good friends with they, but we also have a rule that we aren't suppose to use members computers.   We could probably get it approved if they offered, but we can't ask them.  So it is up in the air right now.

Some of the languages that I'm learning besides Mandarin are Hokkien (from the Han area of China), Hakka (from Taiwan), Cantonese (from Hong Kong), Malay (from Malaysia), Iban (from the Brunei), and some more.  So I guess you could call me Mr. Language! :)
Have a great week!  I will try to send those pictures next week!
Elder Fletcher

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sorry for no updates

We apologize for no updates for several weeks.  Derek is doing great.  We have been sent several pictures of his journal pages which we translate into his blog.  But for the last two week he has not been able to send us anything but one line answers to questions to we ask on Sunday night.  Here are a few pictures that we have received from him.  Sorry.

Derek Eating Dragon Fruit 
Dragon Fruit


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Crocodile Farm and At the Beach in Miri

The Crocodile Farm

"I think he is hungry"

"Say cheese"

My district in Miri
By the Ocean
 Houses in Miri

Monday, October 21, 2013

2nd Letter from Miri, Mayalsia

This is how Derek's letter came in this week.  Keep in mind it is 10:30 Sunday night.  Shawn has gone to bed and I have take my medicine that knocks me out:  How do you login to Dropbox?  New email:  Are you guys there?  New email:  What is the login for the Dropbox? 
New email I guess he felt he needed to write something:  Sounds like you guys are super busy!! ha-ha That sounds like a lot of fun for Abbi though!!  Dad good job!!  Keep working hard.  Sorry I can't help my arms don't reach that far!  ha-ha  Mom I think your quilts are amazing!!  Ok well I am going to see if I can get this picture thing working.  It is amazing here.  I love it!!  Yes I bought a bike!  I don't get it till Wed!  It is a really good bike and I got it for a steal, cause it was a missionary's who is going home this week and he just put all new parts on it!  A new bike here is about 1100 rm so that is about $325.  I got a great bike for a steal!!!  Hold on a minute!!
New email:  So I made a new one.  I uploaded my letter and pictures to it.  I hope that it works.

This Shar, I woke up for some reason, but it was to late.  He was getting off.  This was the last part I got from him.  I tried to get something from him, but this is what came back:
I wrote my letters in picture form this week and they should have loaded... if they didn't I"m sorry.  I don't have a lot of time I have to go bye... I spent all my time figuring out this picture thing and you guys weren't responding..

So I go to check both Dropbox accounts.  And nothing has uploaded.  I hope that he can work on this a little bit through the week.  I also hope he does not throw the letters he has written.  Even if he has taken pictures of them.  This has been a very hard two weeks not knowing what he is doing or how everything is going.  I know he loves it there.  He works hard.  He puts his heart into everything and never gives up to a challenge.  Give him the biggest mountain and he will climb it.  Give him the hottest desert to cross and he would do that.  This is what is Father in Heaven has asked him to do so he will do it.

I guess we will be staying up late next Sunday night.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

1st letter from Miri, Maylaysia

Oh that sounds like a lot of fun!!  You guys sounds busy!!  Abbi be careful!  You are still young!  Ok so I don't have a picture of my comp yet, but I do have a little bit!  I am serving in Miri, East Malaysia!  It is kind of crazy!  We are the only Chinese speaking Elders in this whole area.  The whole city is ours!  Most people don't speak English or Chinese, but there are some!  We teach the English and Chinese lessons. 
I have my first lesson with Christian Kou tonight.  He is investigating different Christian churches.  We are going to teach him the restoration.  Hopefully he will see the difference between our church and others.  We have been knocking the past 2 days and all we have been able to hand out is a pamphlet.  Nobody wants to talk to us.  We have been praying  for members to help us out.  We only have 20 Chinese and English members.  We are planning on doing service for them and hopefully that will open their hearts to our message.  I have been studying about Ammon recently and relating it to Miri.  I am trying to figure out how the spirit wants this work to go in Miri.  We will have to see how this works.
We are actually eating out more then we eat in.  I don't have to cook very much!  The reason why is it is cheaper to eat out then buy groceries here!  The food is fantastic.  I love it!  We are actually going to eat roti canai.  It is fried bread with kari you dip it in too!!  It is so good!!  It is 1 riggot for a thing of bread and that is about 33 cents.!! ha ha!!
Most areas we have to go into are rundown with tin roofs with garbage everywhere!  It is crazy! It is insanely humid here.  I sweat just sitting here!  It looks like there might be no way to stop the yellowing of the shirts, but we will see!
I have a nice Sunday shirt, but that is about it!  Well we have our first lesson in 2 weeks tonight!  Our phone ran out of minutes so hopefully we are able to get some on there by the end of the day!  I have a bike right now that was left, but it has one gear and it always falls off of it.  Elder Conner is leaving in like a month, and I will buy his bike for 600 riggot that is about 200 American.  It is a really nice bike!  Hopefully I can sell it when I leave this area!
I have to go email my president.  I'll send you the pictures that I do have!  I'll take more this week! My companion is Elder Mitchell!  We are going to a Crocodile Farm to day!  It'll be really cool.
We live in one of the nicer areas in Miri!!   I'll take more pictures.  I have been super tired.  Our bed time is at 11 instead of 1030  But I was in bed at 10 ready to sleep! Ha Ha!!

Elder Fletcher

None of his pictures made it through this week!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

I'm flying to Singapore!

Derek left Tuesday afternoon for Singapore.  He has a long day of travel ahead.

local time
Utah Time
Leave SLC
Arrive LA
Leave LA
Arrive HK
Leave HK
Arrive SP
This was the last letter he sent:
Dear Family,
Was a good day.  We got a lot done!  Well I had my luggage issue.  But that finally got figured out, so that was nice.
This week I really have felt the love we receive when we obey the rules!  I have gone to bed and gotten up on time every day this week.  I have felt less tired, happier and all around better.  I love these feelings.  So I'm going to still do my best everyday to keep these rules!
       "Be perfect at what you can be perfect at!"  Coach Corb
I also got tons of candy today and my Ipod!  Thank you Dad and Mom for my Christmas present the speaker is great!  I love it!  Everyone loved the Baklava.  They said Thank You!
OK, so my Chinese is still not perfect.  My teacher told me when I pray I'm saying "we thank thee giving us no things".  When I should be saying "all that I have"  I'm trying some of the words get mixed up.  Practice make perfect right.
In field orientation was great.  We learned tons of information about being a missionary.  They got us all pumped up.  We are so excited to go out into the field.
I forgot to write in my journal this day.  So much going on.  I know I am packing to get my suitcases under weight.  But I forgot if there was anything major to tell you about.
Today was Conference.  I learned a ton about working with members!  I am just, so excited to get out to the field!  We are going to have a great 21 1/2 months out there!  Conference was definitely a spiritual feast.
Such a wonderful experience with conference.  Now we have heard the words of God.  It is now our responsibility to act on these words.  We must convert ourselves to Christ.  We all need to turn outward in service.  I will do my best.  I know with the Lord I can do anything.  He is on my right side and my left.  And go before me and prepare the way.  With him I cannot fail.  I will make my brother proud.
Thank you so much for your thoughts mom!  I love you!  And it was an amazing conference session!  Sorry to hear about the dog!  Hopefully it gets worked out and the dog will stay in its own yard.  I miss it there.  Your quilt sounds really cool, you always make it work!  I like the new idea you have for the business!  I know Grandpa would be proud of you!  I know he loves you very much!  And has always been there to help you when you're in trouble!  I think back on Pres. Uchtdorf's talk at Priesthood Session.  It was amazing!  You should watch it!  I love you Mom!  I can't wait to talk to you tomorrow.  Keep working hard!  "You can do it Now"
Elder Fletcher

I sent something home for Ulu!  I bought a thermometer.  I'm all packed and underweight
49.4, 47.5 and 14.5.  I haven't gotten the sheets yet, but I have the watch, so at least that will make it to Singapore!
Love ya,

Dad and Mom stayed awake much of Wednesday night, because we didn't get this email below like they thought they would around 11:00 pm.  We finally received it at 2:30 am Thursday morning.  It sounds like he had a long time traveling, but he is very eager to get to work.  We should get our first letter Monday morning early.  We don't know where he is going within his mission right now.  Hopefully he won't forget to tell us!  This is what we got at 2:30 am Thursday:

Love you guys!  Singapore I'm here!! :)  I made it and have been doing good on the train ride to the mission offices.  Our goal was to place a Book of Mormon, neither the assistants or us complete this goal.  But I did place a pass along card!  Although my Chinese was not very good and broken, I was still able to communicate!  The assistants complimented me on using so much Chinese the first day! They said they didn't know of any other missionary that talked with that kind of confidence the first day!  They also told the president! :)  Well I love you guys.  Thank you for preparing me!  See you around Christmas!  Love you guys!  :)

Pres. Mains and Sister Mains with Derek at the Singapore airport

Friday, October 4, 2013

16th Letter from the MTC - Sept 30th

No I haven't gotten trunkie yet.  But I have condensed all my stuff into one bag, my carry one and my personal bag.  I'm so scared, but excited all at the same time!
Well, that's good that Abbi has done well in her classes.  Tell Abbi to keep up the good work and I'll be waiting for her letter!  I am also excited for the packages and Ulu's letter!  I will be sending home a package and maybe a suit case depending on this email we get from the Mission home.  Honestly I have been able to work it all out I'm just waiting for your packages.  Then I will decide on the stuff to sending home that i have picked up at the MTC.  No worries I will try to find room for this stuff you are sending me tomorrow, I will make it work!  You guys are great thank you!  If you could sent me the carry on and personal bag restrictions for my airlines that would be great thanks!
I'm sorry to hear about the dog problem!  I would say just go kick that dog! kai wan shao! In Chinese! How are our dogs and Carmen?  The dog hasn't hurt them?
Oh that's good about the quilt!  What are your plans for making over the business?
Oh Grace was a really great friend!  I miss her making fun of me and my jeep! Is she going to write me?  Oh who has been asking about me? Tell them all "HI" and they should write!  Well I mean I know that I was a lady slayer back in the day!
How are Grandma and Grandpa Fletcher doing?  I miss them!  I haven't heard from them.  I thought about them today at the temple.
It is going to be really different writing letters over in Singapore.  We will have to figure that out when I get over there!
I'll send home my weekly email in a minute!
Love your son,
Elder Fletcher
We had Skye TRC which was fun we talked to a native from Taiwan!  We committed her to pray with her husband!  That was cool!!  Dai Zhanglao (Elder Delicana) leaves tonight!!  Kinda sad he really became a good from in the 2 weeks he was with us!!  He is going to Rancho coucoumuanga California because he was having visa troubles!!That was cool!
We had a good lesson today on what missionaries we want to be when be reach the end of our missions.  We set are goals!  We will see how that turns out in 2 years!  We had our last devotional in the Marriott center this week!!  The next one will be in like June!!  We had a lesson on street contacting.  Now I am really excited to go!!  5 hour layovers here I come!!
We had a lesson on loving your investigators today.  Which I thought was interesting!! Because we really don't think to much that it might be hard to love someone!  But just think about it!  Think of someone you can't stand.  Think of someone that just scares you.  Think of someone that has hurt you.  How can you love them?
Well first we start by realizing who they actually are.  They are a Son or Daughter of Our Heavenly Father.  They are your Brother or your Sister.
Now think with me for a second, how much does God love you?
Well guess what He loves them that same amount.   Because we are all His children! He wants the best for you always.  He wants the same for them.  When you think you can't stand someone just remember they are a child of God.
As missionaries we have been call to Preach His Gospel to everyone.  Not to just those we are comfortable with.  God loves each of His children.  All this leads in to some events I will talk about later in the week.
We got our travel plans today!!  Crazy I know!!  Today our lesson was on talking to everyone!!  We all heard a talk this past week about finding the people in the house with the red sign.  That means find everyone.   Something really interesting is, stories from converts that were ready to hear our message but missionaries walked the other way, because they were to busy to stop and talk to a child of God.
Today we learned that we should talk to everyone and meet everyone.  Forget about numbers but get to know people!  Elder Bednar said it himself "If you come up to me on your missions and say Elder Bednar we taught 14 lessons this week! I will say I Don't Care.  But what I do care about are those 14 people those 14 homes those 14 families who are they?  What do they like?  What are their challenges?"
Got a package of cookies today!  But I didn't know who they were from, so I had Elder Simmons eat one first! ;)  But they were really good!! So I have had a couple experiences where I have had to act out a word because I couldn't think of it in zhongwen or yingwen!  That's not good!!  Ha ha oh and apparently in Chinese culture somebody calling you fat and zitty is a compliment.  It is how they show they care about you.
Today I got my Chinese name!! Qiu which you guys already knew, but my first name is Shan4 Qin2 which Shan4 means righteousness and good deed like with service and it has a hint of humility in there.  Qin2 means hardworking with a hint of never giving up.  Ha Ha.  Our district wrote down our traits on a post it and our teachers did too.  Then Jin Laoshi pick out names with the help of He laoshi a native from China!
Great Devotional today!! Bore my testimony in Chinese during fast and testimony meeting! Well that was about it!! Ha Ha!! It was super relaxing!! Which was nice!!
Welll i love you guys!! wo ai nimen!!
you xinxin you banfa.
Elder Fletcher

Monday, September 23, 2013

15th Letter from the MTC Sept 23

This week is a couple of emails grouped together.

It sounds like you guys are all really busy! Sorry about that! It also sounds like Weber is doing good! But BYU isn't.. we could hear it all night!  It was so loud!
Those were cool quotes.  I like to get quotes!  I miss hearing Ulu's piano playing! That is cool that he played for Tyler's farewell. OK I'll look up Alma 29:9 in a minute! I'll have to read it in Zhongwen!  That's my goal from now on! :)  OK I'll wait for more! I would love to talk to Ulu.  I could tell him so much! I hope I'll see Tyler at the airport. I'll email Monday when I am leaving exactly!!
Love you guys!
Qiu Zhang Lao
My week!
I have started to understand the Zhongwen scriptures.  Most of the time they bring new meaning to the scripture.  We have found tons of pictures to put in our room for the past couple weeks.  We really have made it a "sweet" room!  OK so try this and see if it works:  take dry ice, put it in the same cooler as grapes.  Leave it closed for a while! It should make soda bites AKA grapes that are carbonated.
Zhongwen is coming easier and easier.  Yinwen is making less and less since.  So I made these cool charts for my investigators.  They can see their progress and we can see their goals!

I learned 2 characters that are super interesting! The character for the word yi4 is me under a lamb and it means righteousness! Keep in mind these characters were made thousands of years ago.  So tell me how did the Chinese people know if we follow the lamb it would be righteousness? The other character is ling2 which means spirit and it has 3 mouth radicals.  But only 2 of the mouths have body radical under them! This character is used in words such as sheng4ling2 and ling2hun2 which mean holy ghost and soul respectively.  So you tell me how exactly a 1000 years ago they knew about the Holy Ghost?  I have my suspicions that the gospel was in Asia before we thought it was or at least part of it!
OK so we played soccer today and I was goalie... it was nuts we were playing Brazilian Elders. They are crazy good at soccer! But now worries they couldn't score on yours truly! I guess all those swat drills in football paid off! So we got our full Chinese name tags.  I'll send home a picture!
So jing laoshi is as old as the sisters in our district if not a little younger!!  That was kinda funny!!  Today we also had a sub and he went to Singapore Chinese speaking.  He basically talked the whole class about it!! We are so excited!  He said most of the Chinese areas are in East Malaysia.  Which is crazy, so we will most likely be over there!!  Oh and there is spiders the size of soccer balls and grasshoppers the size of footballs.  He told us to find out about Sun Bears and Mouse deers.
Sun Bear

Mouse Deer

The BYU game is on right now... and I am trying to not focus on it... it is hard though! So the the character for today is hui3gai3 which means repent, but the character written a thousand years ago means "heart everyday change"
Our devotional was really good today.  We learned how to become great missionaries! So this week I am studying all the great missionary stories in the Book of Mormon and seeing how I can become better!
Oh by the way you have asked about what you can send me.  I cannot take beef jerky over with me.  They will take it.  You have even said that the beef jerky that gets sent in packages does not arrive.  I guess this means that I will not have jerky for 2 years.
I have to go!  Have a great week!
Love your son!
Elder Fletcher

Monday, September 16, 2013

14th letter from the MTC Sept 16th

Yes another week has past! Yep! Singapore, here I come! Almost! You asked about my goals that I'm working on, but I have so many so which goal did you mean? Sorry? So the language is coming!  No, I haven't messed it up again.  I have it memorized pretty well now.  So that won't happen again! Ya I don't think he would like that very much, but I bet he understands!   Oh, that is funny that Carmen would play with the papers as you are writing.  Tell her "Hi" for me.  Oscar does like to talk to everyone.  He really goes down and barks at Dad.  Maybe he does miss the boys coming over.  He is a weirdo!
It sounds like canning is going good though! I'm sorry we keep losing branches.  Don't wish the cold on me yet!  Wait like 3 weeks OK!!  Water aerobics sounds good!  I miss swimming!
Tell Abbi to just pound flash cards 24/7 and all will be OK! :)   Oh I'm glad her color guard is going good!  Ya I don't really pull any other pranks.
Our new teacher is Brother Johnson so Jin laoshi!  Basically he is the best!  What is going on with the luggage? What essential stuff should I have?  I'll go buy a phone card!  If  Ulu wants to come over he is more then welcome.  I would love to talk to him.  Good thing Weber is winning and BYU is playing Utah this week at BYU oh that will be nuts!!  We actually know where we can go to watch the scoreboard of the game so that will be a little tempting!
Love you guys too!!
OK so my week!
The older districts left, so now we are the oldest.  Well they gave us a bunch of cool gifts.  They gave us the scrolls, Nerf guns and "The Spray Bottle".  They go spray the tree every morning with Cream Soda so it smells like Cream Soda! ha ha!  I always wondered why it was the Cream Soda tree!
Oh we got Elder Delicana this week!  His visa didn't come, so he is with us till he gets his reassignment.  He is from the Philippines, he is Elder Simmons companion.
Elder Delicana stole my camera
Today I learned missionary work isn't about teaching it is about being their friend.  I have a present and I'll be sending it home.  But it's for ULU! :)
Elder Baer and I set the record for most times called up to the front desk in 24 hours.  We don't enjoy that every much!  We have been going around during free time to find some secret places we can study in peace!  I love it!
Forgot to write in journal
Dad did you get my card!!?  I sent you one and has Elysa gotten hers??
We have 2 weeks left as Zone Leaders!! wot wot!! ha ha I'm so excited for Singapore!
I have been really wondering if our Mission President sends us letters in the MTC, because everyone else has gotten one.  He like tells them what he expects they learn in the MTC.
Elder Baer and I taught priesthood because our Branch Presidency had meetings.  We taught about Baptism.  Everyone said such nice things to us about it!
"I really liked your lesson today in priesthood.  It really changed how I think I could teach baptism to help my investigator" -Elder Simmons
"Wait what do we even learn in priesthood usually?" - Elder Murray
"Exactly" Elder Simmons
Then later that night we watched The Testaments! in Chinese.  I was able to understand basically the whole movie!
Oh and you need to watch Ephraim's Rescue!
Well I got to go!
Love you guys,
Elder Fletcher

P.S. Xiong Zhong Lao (Elder Baer) is exaggerating in his blog this week about my love for BYU football!

Friday, September 13, 2013

13th Letter from MTC Sept 13

Dear Mom,                                                                Sept 13, 2013

My week has taken a turn for the worse as of yesterday.  Things are a little harder.  My body doesn't want to work like I want it too.  But no worries the Lord is with me and I shall not fear!

It really is amazing what one bodies can do when we are determined!  Honestly that's the only reason I could run at State!  I have always been proud that you, because you push through all the pain that you have on a daily basis.

I sent Dad a card for his birthday hopefully he will get it.  And did Elysa ever get her card?  I never did hear?

Oh ya I have heard of the cell phone thing.  But I haven't thought much of it. And my phone card has a lot of minutes I think!  The last group had a 7 hour layover in L.A.?  That is long. Does that mean I probably will have one too?

I love you too MOM!  Thanks for the letters.  It's amazing how much Satan tries to fight the progression of the gospel.  I love the Lord and will always try to make Him happy with trying my best everyday!

Oh do we have resistant bands? I would love those!  That is about it! You guys have had me prepared so thank you!  Oh and there is a book out there that talks about how Jesus teaches and it is written by Rammson, I want to read it after my mission!

Love your son,
Elder Fletcher

Monday, September 9, 2013

12th letter from MTC – September 9, 2013

Hi there family,
I love Neil L Maxwell.  He came to talk to us this week.  He really cares for everyone! The storm that came through while he was talking had such bad lightning, they wouldn't let us leave.  So he walked around and shook tons of Elders and Sisters hands!  The drinks are an MTC secret! Just kidding it is just a bunch of different juices!
Yes the Lord does have a plan for my mission, but He just hasn't told me yet. Richard G. Scott said "If the Lord doesn't tell you what to do, that means he trusts you to do the right thing."
As I learned over this past week if you turn yourself to the Lord and say "Lord I will do my best, but can you cover the rest?" He will help you!  He has helped me learn to love my new teacher and my old teachers and certain Elders and the Gym people that send us back inside cause it is raining!
I have just turned my trials to the Lord and said if I can't handle a situtation Heavenly Father will you help me? It has work all this week!
OK so my responsibilities as one of the zone leaders.... are well just make sure no one kills anyone else! ha ha! Really I just plan sacrament meetings and take new elders around and just check up on everyone!
Planning, many times as I present a plan to the Lord I get a bad feeling so I change stuff till it feels right.  By doing that I really feel like the Lord is guiding me! He really is helping me! I know I can't teach these people any thing! But I know that the Lord can work though me when He needs to and I feel that everyday!
I really like that quote from Spencer W. Kimball!  I just wrote it down in my journal!
Oh that sounds like so much fun! Tell Abbi good luck!! I'll be cheering for her!  Tell her I love her!
Oh good did you read Elysa and Spencer my letter!? oh that is cool did they get anything that Elysa liked? oh and she emailed me today! Did you get my letter about Brando? and Peaches... I miss those!!!
OK my 2 new teachers...
Well bai lao shi is leaving on Wed. so we will get jing lao shi.  I'm so excited he is super nice!  But bai lao shi was super strict its kinda crazy he is the one that got mad at me for the picture of the phone! And Jiang lao shi is great!  She just barely got home from her mission and she has so many good stories it is really wonderful! They both served in Taiwan!
Love your son,
Elder Fletcher

ps. Oh and thanks for the info mom!! ya I am still waiting to get my travel plans so I can decide on the suitcase!  ya it sounds like I'll be OK though! Thank you guys i Love you!! and yes please send the BYU report every week! WE COULD HEAR THE GAME!! I was so sad!!!! is the BYU and Utah Game and BYU??? Can you send me a list of all the Home games??? :) Love you Guys!!!

pss. OK funny things of the week!!
the other district left their door open and somebody stole their mattress! and their room got silly stringed. Oh and we got a Nerf Bball hoop for our room!!
OK so I have gained 12 lbs since entering the MTC. So they kicked us out of playing pai qiu because it was sprinkling! oh and 7-11 in Singapore is just 7! I took the role of mo and investigator and Elders Murray, Simmons, Clarkson are teaching wo! Oh and this week i also messed up the first vision... I said I saw a flying pig instead of a pillar of light... yep... oops! We watched Johny Lingo this week! oh and Phone call!! well that's all the fun stuff I can think of! well Love you Guys!!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

11th letter from MTC – September 3, 2013

Well, OK!  How was your week?  Here is mine:

On Tuesday we have a speaker come speak to us.  This week was Neil L Anderson.  Here are some quotes:
  1. “Be bold in what you say and believe.”
  2. “What do you love?”
  3. “How much do you love God?’
When you answer these questions take the work “I” and put it away for awhile!

So at breakfast, lunch and dinner we have cool drink making contest.  I’ll send you some pictures.

Today I have been praying all day for the Lord to tell me what I need to do with my mission.  I what to know how I can best accomplish His will.  I haven’t gotten an answer yet.

Well, Bi Lao Shi leaves this Thursday and I’m really sad because he is like my inspiration.  He didn’t know any Chinese and now he is fluent!  He really has helped me a lot with the language.

Today Bi Lao Shi left.  He is going to school a lot more and going into pre-med.  He was a friend!  He pulled me aside today and talked to me!  We talked about praying and planning.  He helped me understand what I was missing.  He really showed me that even though he was my language teacher, he was really a friend!  Every night I talk with God about what I did and what my plans are.  It helps me make better plans for the future!

Well today was interesting.  We taught 2 brand new investigators with no prep.  It was interesting to see how the spirit prepared us throughout the day with what was needed to say and do!  We decided to strive for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.

Qi deo thought:
“Be perfect at what you can be perfect at.”  Rick Corbridge
Planning, rules, praying
Do you want to change and follow the rules?  Because you want to please God.  If you come unto God, He will make weak thinks strong.
TRC we taught a sister who served a mission in New York.  Also a Brother & Sister who served in Australia and Washington D.C. North.  That was really good.  We taught them to have a notebook with them while they pray.  They all agreed to keep the commitment.  Then we got 2 new teachers Jiang lao shi & Bai lau shi.  Well they both seem nice and knowledgeable.  I hope we can learn a lot from them.  So I have my purpose in Chinese memorized.  Also the First Vision almost memorized!  Working on D & C 4 and finishing the First Vision.

Elder Baer and I were called as Zone Leaders today.  He feels really good about our companionship!  We will stay Zone Leaders until we leave for Singapore.  We are in charge of 7 districts!  I have no idea what to think or do.  Well the Lord has said “I have shaped the back of these I call so they may bare burdens.”  I take great satisfactory in that quote!  Well I have to start working on greater love for everyone in our district.

Well, I’m going to email you a little tomorrow.  This would be a long email.

I know this church is true!  I know the Lord loves us individually.  I know he wants the best for each of us.  As we give Him everything He will make us in to what he needs us to be!  I love the Lord.  I love Joseph Smith!  I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God!  I say this in the name o our beloved redeemer Yesu Jidu Amen.

Wo ai ni men,
I love you guys,
Elder Fletcher
Qiu Zhhang lao

There are symbols that he has written above the Chinese.  But I just can figure them out right now.  Have to look up in the Chinese dictionary during the week.

Monday, September 2, 2013

8th Letter from the MTC


Ok I just sent a hand written letter describing this last week.  I am very happy that I got your email though because I really wanted to email you guys too. 

I am sorry to hear that Abbi dropped Chinese; it is a really amazing language! I enjoy speaking it! But you got to do what you got to do!  Let me know when Abbi gets asked to Homecoming and by whom and how.  Abbi has as a pretty hard schedule. I know she can do it she is a smart girl!

 I am sorry the peach tree broke will it be ok for next year??

 Oh Liby???? NO!!! I love Liby! That is too bad to hear, I feel bad for Brandon’s mom that her dog Liby died.  Tell Brandon’s mom, I am sorry and tell her to tell Brando that I am sorry.  Actually I will tell Brando.  He emailed me today!

Oh the rain! We got caught in a rain storm on our way back from the Marriot center Tuesday.  It was crazy and fun and then we had a district testimony meeting that was neat.

I am sorry the flowers at the house are dying, because of lack of water.  Does that mean the weeds die too? Haha

So, our cat Carmen is putting up a fight? Does the other cat look bad too?

I heard that BYU was losing 10-7.  I was super sad.  Brother Averret, the 2nd counselor in the branch presidency, said that it isn't worldly if it is BYU, so I am ok getting the football scores.

You know how I said I had more times? Well I don't anymore. Elder Baer and I were just called as Zone Leaders. We both feel the pressure of handling 7 districts now so we are a little worried about the stress. Our branch president is confident that our strength as a companionship will be able to overcome anything as we put our trust in the Lord. We are confident that we can turn it over to the Lord when we need to.

We were able to really have the spirit with us as we taught Yan Di Xiong and it was an amazing experience to see him realize there is a God and that we can talk to him.

I really like that quote from Thomas Edison, that you gave me, I wrote it down in my quote journal. 

So, I sent a big letter home.  I hope you guys get it! I have to go! Love you guys so much!

Love Elder Derek Fletcher

9th letter from the MTC?

Dear Family,

I thought I might get a head start on my letter now, even though it is only Wed.  This past week was my last week as District Leader, and I am grateful!  It really was an honor to serve but it was really hard.

 I really have started to focus more on my pronunciation of words and the tone I say it in.  SYL (Speak Your Language) is really cool because to helps you run your sentences together.

Monday - P-Day
Wake up, Study Book of Mormon 1 Nephi Chapter 1 and Genesis Chapter 1-5, - which was good.  Then I went to breakfast, then the temple.  I then came back and printed off emails and wrote responses.  Well, then came the good part.  I was able to take a NAP!! We came across a little extra time and we were able to take a 10 minute nap.  After the nap, we went and did laundry.  While our clothes were washing we went to the computer and emailed.  We switched out clothes to the dryer and went back to the computer room to finish our emails.

So, what is going on at home?

After emailing we prepared to teach Zhai Dixiong.  He is a 31 year old that works as security guard at a pub.  We taught him about God, Family, Prayer and Christ!  We set up to teach him again on Wednesday.  After that we just studied then went to bed.

Well we played some wicked volleyball.  It was a blast! That’s all I remember really.

I don’t remember a whole lot except that we taught Zhai Dixiong and after the lesson Elder Baer and I thought that we missed something.  So, on Saturday we are planning on teaching him the Plan of Salvation and reviewing the first lesson.  We didn’t commit him to be baptized.

We met with Zhai Dixiong, today his friend introduced him to the church.  Well he is a pretty awkward guy.  Elder Baer and I feel that we shouldn’t rush this guy, because if we push him he might just run.  He is 20.  After the lesson, we went and played volleyball.  That is all I can think of.

Friday, Today,
Well so far we studied this morning and went to breakfast.  Elder Baer has a cold…After breakfast we did some service.  We cleaned toilets to day.  Oh we also climbed the walls, that was fun.  And now it is almost personal work out time.  Elder Baer just wants to sleep.  So, my personal work out is going to be push-ups, sit-ups and resistance workout (if you can get one for me that would be awesome)

Well last night, some English speaking sisters wants us to bear our testimonies in Chinese, so we did.  We then asked to hear theirs and now they want to teach us a practice lesson.  Everyone here is so willing to learn and practice, it is amazing!

Well, I am going to go.  At this time I am in bed and it is almost lights out.  Here is the rest of the day after Elder Baer slept while I worked out.  I got the mail before language study.  I got 2 letters! Woot woot.  Then I started character study and SYL.  Then Lunch.  We had class and then dinner and then class again.  And now I am here.  Well tomorrow I have my first TRC.  That will be exciting.  TRC is like investigators or members come and we get to practice teach them. Or really teach them.  We are going to teach them about praying before you search the scriptures and about anything else that they ask.  Well, I am going to write another letter.  I will send this tomorrow.

Elder Fletcher

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Derek's 8th letter from the MTC

Dear MOM,                                                                         Aug 31, 2013

I got my packages!  And I loved them!  I really like the shoes!! They are so nice.  I'm not sure if we need anything.  But thank you!  Oh by the way you will never find all my sock! I promise! HA HA

I would love to see the quilts that you have been working on Mom.  It is hard to charge people, but if you were working for a company outside the home; you would want to be paid for what you are worth.  What is the Easy Street Quilting?

I hope your back gets better soon.  It is probably pretty painful!  Hey I'm having some back pain too!  Maybe you just transfered it to me! HA HA

Tell Steph I want pictures and that I love the name!

So Mom do you want to have a race reading the Book of Mormon?  Where are you at?

I'm sorry about answering the question and not making complete sentences.  I forget that you don't have a copy of your letter in front of you.  I'm trying to write fast.

Thank you for your example.  I do love the Lord.  I know He loves each of us on a personal level.

Love your son,
Elder Fletcher

Dear Dad,

I'm glad Weber won.  I guess we were just a very prideful team. Today I heard Utes were playing, but no one knew the score.  Ok I want a picture of the paper cut out! Did you drop cable?

BYU?  Who do they play?  What'sthe starting line up? You have togive me updates. Ok so we climbed the walls and took flying pictures. I'll send them home Monday!

Well ok I got to go it's lights out.

Sorry there isn't a family letter I've been really busy.  I'll write a good email.

Your Son,
Elder Fletcher

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Derek's 7th letter from the MTC

Dear Family,

You want to know something funny?  We all wrote the same questions home to our families.  The answers all came back the same.  It shows that the gospel is the same every where.  Thank you for your answers.  Have you guys seen the new temple movie yet?  It is really good.

Oh Ya, I totally forgot to tell you Elder Oaks was coming.  Last Tuesday we had Richard G. Scott here.  So I’m reading the Book of Mormon and highlighting every time it mentions Jesus.  In 1 Nephi Christ is mentions to many times.

That was great to hear about the Smith’s from our ward.  Tell them “HI” from me.  Have you heard from the guys?  I’m really starting to miss them.

There is a quote I have “The closer you get to the Lord (Light) the more dirt (uncleanness) you can see on yourself!”  I really like this quote.  It makes you think.

Here are some fun things I did this week:  I had light saber battles.  I put ketchup on Sister Keith’s hand.  I went to school with her.
It was great to hear about Brandon’s farewell.  Thank you for going.  He is a very calm guy on the outside…but when you get him with he is crazy on the inside.  Brandon may get to see me if they broadcast the devotional next week like they are this week.  I sing in the choir!  Thought you would like that Mom!  HA!  HA!

So I looked up the song Abbi wanted me too.  I only have a Chinese hymn book.  I hope it is the same song.  It sounds good in Chinese.  I hope Abbi is saying the Chinese teacher’s name with the right tones.  If she doesn’t she could be calling her something really bad.  Ha ha.  I did get a letter from the Blue Cougar (I mean Griffin).  I haven’t heard from the other 2.

That is funny about the leftovers and food.  I think I have gained like 10 lbs.  My district says to send the cheese here!  It might be gross!

You guys are so weird for looking up and following other missionary blogs.  But I love ya!  None of them have a blog.  Oh Elder Murray is now the District Leader.  We switch every 3 weeks.  No more stress.  We have a blast as a district!  My 3 weeks are up as a District Leader.  I feel a little relieved.  Now I can focus on learning the language a little more! 

On Saturday, we start the mornings with TRC.  It’s basically where returned missionaries, member and investigators come and volunteer to have messages shared with them.  Because no investigators here speak Chinese we usually get members or returned missionaries.  This time they had a Chinese investigator and our teacher picked us to teach her.  I have no idea why, but it was super hard.  She had a mainland dialect and we are speaking a Taiwan and Singapore dialect.  Well, we had problems understanding each other.  Our teacher said she had been taking the discussions for 3 months so we were ok.  But when we were talking to her, she said that this was her first time talking to the missionaries at the MTC.  We were terrified before the prayer.  After it was like our Chinese ability didn’t matter.  We taught her that she should pray and ask Shen for guidance before she reads the BOM every night!  We committed Zhai to a date next month to be baptized!  That is what my Saturday is like.

Sunday, we had the opportunity to bear our testimonies in Chinese to some sisters again.  You guys need to watch the movie Legacy again.  I love that movie!  We watched it this Sunday.  Here are some quotes from the movie:

“Serve your mission in a way that when your 2 years are up Heavenly Father will say “Well done my good and faithful servant.””

“The days are long but the weeks are fast in missionary work.”

“Let’s help God keep his promises.”

So today I went to the temple this morning and now I’m writing letters and shining shoes!  I enjoy it a lot we are having quite a relaxing p-day.  I have some pictures that I will be sending!

Love you guy!

Elder Fletcher

Monday, August 26, 2013

Derek's 6th letter from the MTC

Hi! Family!                                                                        Aug 26, 2013

OK i looked up the hymn #270 like you asked Abbi.  But I looked it up in Chinese; I don't have an English hymn book, it sounds good in Chinese!
Well that's good to hear about Brandon's and Minroy's farewell.  I don't exactly know if I'll see him.  I have some other friends here that are going Asia and I don't see any of them except when I go to the store.
Brandon is a very calm guy on the outside... but he is crazy on the inside!  He might see me if they broadcast the devotional next week! Like they are this week! I sing in the choir!
So Abbi got into Med Term and Jamie is her teacher.  She is good.  Abbi will like her.  Long Lao3 Shi1 ha ha did she say it with the right tones? If she doesn't she could be calling her something bad! ha ha
That was cool you got to see the 3 guys.  I haven't heard from the other 2.  I miss them.
That is funny about the food.  Yes it would be gone if it was here.  I think I have gained like 10 lbs.  My district says send the cheese here!  But it might be gross!
You guys are weird about looking for all the blogs, but i love you!  No, none of them have one.  Oh Elder Murray is now the district leader.  We switch every 3 weeks.  No more stress! Oh ya we have a blast!
OK so Saturday, well lets see... well OK.  We start the morning with TRC uh... ya so basically returned missionaries and members and investigators come and volunteer to have messages shared with them.  Because no investigators here speak Chinese, we usually get members or returned missionaries.  This time they had a Chinese investigator and our teacher picked us to teach her.  I have no idea why but it was super hard, because she had a mainland dialect.  We are speaking a Taiwan and Singapore dialect.  So we had problems understanding, but our teacher said she had been taking the discussions for 3 months so we were OK.  Then when we were talking to her she said that this was her first time talking to missionaries at the MTC... well we were terrified.  After the pray it was as if our Chinese ability didn't matter, and we taught her that she should pray and ask Shen for guidance before she reads the BOM every night!  We committed Zhai to a date next month to be baptized!  That was my Saturday

Sunday, we had the opportunity to bear our testimonies in Chinese to some sisters again.  Basically my 3 weeks are up so I'm no longer the District Leader! I feel relieved!  Now I can focus on learning the language a little more!  You guys need to watch the movie Legacy again.  I love that movie!  We watched it on Sunday!  Here are some quotes from the devotional and the movie!
"Serve your mission in a way that when your 2 years are up Heavenly Father will say "Well done my good and faithful servant""
"The days are long but the weeks are fast in missionary work"
"Lets help God keep his promises."
So today I went to the temple this morning and now I'm writing letters and shining shoes!  I enjoy it a lot.  We are having quite a relaxing p-day I have some pictures I'll send from this week!
Elder Fletcher

Saturday, August 24, 2013

5th Letter from the MTC

Dear Family,                                                                           Aug 21, 2013

This week has been a little crazy.  Every day I write 100 flashcards that I must memorize by the next day.  The next day I write 100 more that I can work on throughout that day.  I do my best.  I know when there is something besides myself working on this.  I feel very strongly that I have something helping me.

For the first time ever I feel that I have Grandpa with me.  He is helping me.  I know that I set my goals high.  But I always have.  Here they are:  S.Y.L. every day, all words in orange book (2500), read all the Book of Mormon in Chinese, First Vision memorized in Chinese, My purpose as a missionary, and D & C 4 memorized in Chinese.

I will always leave behind something when I leave. I choose not to think about that, but rather I hold this statement in my mind “It’s not what I will get from my mission, but rather what can I give?”  This mission is not mine it is the Lord’s and I’m just a tool which He can work through.

Thank you so much for those tips.  They really helped.  So I know the Lord has helped me through another person whose name is Bi lao shi or Jeffery Peterson. He just got back from his mission and is a teacher.  He is a lot like me in the aspects of not really knowing Chinese very well when he entered the MTC.  He has really helped me learn.

I saw Grandma’s email when I only had 4 minutes left to email.

I want to share something with you in Chinese:

        Wŏ zhí dáo Yēsū Jí dū shì zhū Juē,  Tá sí wéi wó cóng zuí tā,
        dē Jíu wŏ men,  wŏ xíangxìn Tiánfu aí wŏ men,
        Tā yáo wŏ men heí dào,  Shēn biān Yēsū Jí dū shì Shén de,
        érzi.  Wŏ aí Tiánfu.  Wŏ yáo,  gén suí Jìemìng.

 That is my testimony.  Basically grammar is totally different in Chinese.  So good luck in translating it you will need the gift of tongues!

Love you,
Elder Fletcher

PS.  Thank you for the care package.  If anyone has mission stories or MTC stories I would love to hear them.