Monday, February 24, 2014

In Miri with a new companion

Dear Family,

Let me begin with a story:
In our quest for an example, we need not necessarily look to years gone by or to lives lived long ago. Let me illustrate. Today Craig Sudbury presides over a ward here in Salt Lake City, but let me turn back the clock just a few years to the day he and his mother came to my office prior to Craig’s departure for the Australia Melbourne Mission. Fred, Craig’s father, was noticeably absent. Twenty-five years earlier, Craig’s mother had married Fred, who did not share her love for the Church and indeed did not belong to the Church.

Craig confided to me his deep and abiding love for his parents. He shared his innermost hope that somehow, in some way, his father would be touched by the Spirit and open his heart to the gospel of Jesus Christ. He pleaded earnestly with me for a suggestion. I prayed for inspiration concerning how such a desire might be rewarded. Such inspiration came, and I said to Craig, “Serve the Lord with all your heart. Be obedient to your sacred calling. Each week write a letter to your parents and, on occasion, write to Dad personally and let him know that you love him, and tell him why you’re grateful to be his son.”

He thanked me and, with his mother, departed the office. I was not to see Craig’s mother for some 18 months. She came to the office and, in sentences punctuated by tears, said to me, “It has been almost two years since Craig departed for his mission. His faithful service has qualified him for positions of responsibility in the mission field, and he has never failed in writing a letter to us each week. Recently my husband Fred stood for the first time in a testimony meeting and said, ‘All of you know that I am not a member of the Church, but something has happened to me since Craig left for his mission. His letters have touched my soul. May I share one with you?

“‘Dear Dad, Today we taught a choice family about the plan of salvation and the blessings of exaltation in the celestial kingdom. I thought of our family. More than anything in the world, I want to be with you and with Mother in that kingdom. For me it just wouldn’t be a celestial kingdom if you were not there. I’m grateful to be your son, Dad, and want you to know that I love you. Your missionary son, Craig.’

“Fred then announced, ‘My wife doesn’t know what I plan to say. I love her and I love our son, Craig. After 26 years of marriage I have made my decision to become a member of the Church, for I know the gospel message is the word of God. I suppose I have known this truth for a long time, but my son’s mission has moved me to action. I have made arrangements for my wife and me to meet Craig when he completes his mission. I will be his final baptism as a full-time missionary of the Lord.’”

A young missionary with unwavering faith had participated with God in a modern-day miracle. His challenge to communicate with one whom he loved had been made more difficult by the barrier of the thousands of miles which lay between him and his father. But the spirit of love spanned the vast expanse of the blue Pacific, and heart spoke to heart in divine dialogue.

No hero stood so tall as did Craig, when in far-off Australia he stood with his father in water waist deep and, raising his right arm to the square, repeated those sacred words: “Fred Sudbury, having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”

This is amazing and really stands out to me! The example you give to others is so important! Live your life every day as if the Savior was beside you.

This week has been full of good byes. Every companionship in our zone was affected by this transfer. My new comps name is Elder Wadsworth. He is also the new District Leader. I am still in Miri, East Malaysia. I will hit 6 months in Miri this transfer and that is 1/4 of my mission in one area. Crazy! Elder Wadsworth is from America, I think, he is about 7 weeks older than me and super funny. We are going to have a great time. We knew each other in the MTC. I am so excited.

My favorite investigator is back and he has cut back a lot on drinking and smoking and wants us to come over a lot because he feels so happy when we do. Also Bruce Lee has been less stubborn. Frank the Guy that we always get ice cream from and 100 pluses from now has a Plan of salvation Pamphlet and is willing to hear more. It has over all been a really good week.

Regarding the newspaper article picture: It is about our free English class! it talks about how we are helping people learn English so they can help further their lives. Yes that is a flyswatter that my companion is holding…yep there was a bug on the board. Just kidding, the flyswatter is used as part of a game with English that me and Elder Schuetz made up.

My whole bike tire blew up this week, the tire has a big hole in it... I am not sure how, I just bought that tire 2 weeks ago.

Well I got to go love you!!!

Elder Fletcher

Derek is on the right next to the white board
Bike tire blowout in less than 2 weeks

Monday, February 17, 2014

Superbowl and Valentines letters

It is so great to hear from you!

Thanks for letting me know about the Super bowl. I didn't hear about it! Sounds like a crazy game. It always seems like some of those big games turn out to be flops just like the BYU bowl game did. This is what I heard from everybody about it. Maybe BYU will be better next year!

It sounds like it is still pretty cold over there. We just got out of the cold season! It got pretty cold here J Just kidding, it felt cold but it was only like 70 degrees. Haha.

I am glad you guys are doing great!

I have been doing great this week. Except for ever body seeming to be on edge and there has been a lot of stress for the Chinese New Year. I have been working double time to be the peace maker over here. Despite the stress, something really cool happen yesterday. Everyone got fired up to do member missionary work. Everyone is now helping out. The branch president from a long time ago stopped by to visit. He bore a powerful testimony about member missionary work and how that will help the full time missionaries so much! :) It was great! Everyone is now getting on bored with it! Even our less actives are helping out.

Health wise I am doing ok.. kinda.. I have been sick with a head/throat cold all week as well as my knee has started to act up. I am not sure why, but it hurts to walk around, although, I can ride my bike just fine. If my knee hurts next week, I will go to the doctor. It just takes time away from the missionary work.

Here is the quote of the week:
A member said over the pulpit this week and said "we have a mickey mouse in the white house so the second coming is on its way!" haha it was so funny!

The Elders in Singapore went to go visit Marie Lofthouse’s grandson. They couldn’t find him. The address she gave is missing an apartment number. He also isn’t answering the phone. Please get with her, the missionaries really want to talk to him.

Thank you so much J You guys are the best!! I love you so much!

Love your son,
Elder Fletcher

Prison warden Kenyon J. Scudder has related this experience: A friend of his happened to be sitting in a railroad coach next to a young man who was obviously depressed. Finally the man revealed that he was a paroled convict returning from a distant prison. His imprisonment had brought shame to his family, and they had neither visited him nor written often. He hoped, however, that this was only because they were too poor to travel and too uneducated to write. He hoped, despite the evidence, that they had forgiven him.

To make it easy for them, however, he had written them to put up a signal for him when the train passed their little farm on the outskirts of town. If his family had forgiven him, they were to put a white ribbon in the big apple tree which stood near the tracks. If they didn’t want him to return, they were to do nothing, and he would remain on the train as it traveled west.

As the train neared his home town, the suspense became so great he couldn’t bear to look out of his window. He exclaimed, “In just five minutes the engineer will sound the whistle, indicating our approach to the long bend which opens into the valley I know as home. Will you watch for the apple tree at the side of the track?” His companion changed places with him and said he would. The minutes seemed like hours, but then there came the shrill sound of the train whistle. The young man asked, “Can you see the tree? Is there a white ribbon?”

Came the reply: “I see the tree. I see not one white ribbon, but many. There must be a white ribbon on every branch. Son, someone surely does love you.”

In that instant he stood cleansed by Christ.

His friend said, “I felt as if I had witnessed a miracle.”

I found this during personal study this week. I love the power of love and forgiveness. It is so amazing to see the love that others show. The love we show to others directly affects their lives. There are many good things we do, that we might not see the fruits of but no act of service of love is in vain it always is carried to human hearts by the Power of the Holy Ghost.

It has been a crazy week. It has been crazy with trying to figure things out, and helping people come unto Christ, the Word of wisdom, church councils, college and just tons of things have been on my mind.

My mission president has been talking to us all about our goals. He is very interested in our futures. I told me that he will write a letter of recommendation to get me into BYU if I really want to. But now, I don’t know if really want to. I know that I have tons of time to make this decision; it is just on my mind today. I am thinking about doing something in business management.

Well despite all these questions, I am doing great. I feel more spiritual then ever this week. I have had so many opportunities to bear my testimony. I am also a lot more confident in my Chinese. I actually like speaking Chinese more then English.

The pictures I included are of a monkey that was so cute! And a member that has about 70+ chickens for cock fighting. Very interesting!

Transfers are this week. Here is how you will know if I am getting transferred. On Saturday if I will withdraw $60 from the checking account, I am going to the east, $100, I will be in the west and nothing, I will either stay here or be going to Singapore. The money will be the cost to ship my bike. The mission will reimburse me for it, but I have to pull it out of the account because I will be all out. Oh and if I don’t email you on Monday, I will be training.

Well I love you guys so much!!
Love your son
Elder Fletcher

Monday, February 3, 2014

Chinese New Year

Jan 27th,


 Oh wow looks like you guys are doing great.  I am so happy to see what you guys have been up to.   I had a dream last night all in Chinese.  I was explaining to these little kids how to play a game called stone.  It was really funny.  I think I will try it in real life and see how it works. 

This week has been super interesting.  This next week looks like it will be the same.  So, it is almost Chinese New Year.  Because of this, people are not interested with our message.  We have had trouble setting things up.  Although, the interesting thing is they all want us to come over and eat food.  But they don't want us to share a message.  Haha, we will anyways. 

Well this has been my week we taught our favorite investigator the message of the restoration.  He was really excited and said that he would read the book of Mormon and when he knows it is true, he will tell us that he wants to be baptized.  We are going to go over the word of wisdom with him when he gets back from Kuching.  He really needs it!    The Lord and the Holy Ghost will help him accept it.

This week we also got a little sick with sinus colds.  It has rained everyday none stop since Monday and so.....we get wet, then get cold and then we get sick.  We also bought a cake (for his birthday we assume) this week and ate it all gone.  Then we Timtam slammed, This is how you do it.  Bite off a corner of the top and a corner of the bottom of the Timtam.  Hold the Timtam in your mouth and dip the other end of it in the Milo and use it like a straw to suck up the Milo.  As you do this the Timtam starts dissolving.  The goal is to flip your head back and drop the Timtam into your mouth without dropping it into the Milo.  Oh and you can't use your hands. 

The APs came up this week, and that was cool!  We also moved our couch from the living room up to our study room.  It is now the inspiration loveseat.  We have put it to good use planning and such.  From the sounds of it, the next transfer  is on Feb 20.  This is one week earlier than expected, because president Mains is traveling. haha oh boy!!

Yes Dad, I actually refer to myself as Elder Fletcher in my head.  Ya, it is weird!  haha Derek just sounds funny!

Well, I love you guys so much! Oh and I want to start conditioning for the Iron Man so if you could send me some of the times and distances and orders and stuff that would be much appreciated.  love you guys so much!

 Elder Fletcher

Family “Did you get your package?”

Derek “yes I did!! it is so great!! haha i love it we have been playing with all the bouncy balls and poppers and wall climbers and everything!!! haha it was great!! it still is great!! thank you!!  I gave a popper to our security guard!! :) i did like the card!!

Proverbs 23:7 for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.


Feb 2

Hey you guys. 
This week has been super crazy.  It has been Chinese New Year all week which means that nobody wants to meet and talk about the Gospel, but they all want us to come over and eat food.  I have biked further this week then I ever have before my mission; visiting everybody and eating food.  Biking on a full stomach doesn't always feel very good.  Chinese New Year night was crazy loud, I couldn't sleep.  If you thought there were a lot of fire works in America you are wrong.  Everyone on our street was lighting off firecrackers and big fireworks in the sky that were super loud, so we didn't sleep.  It was a crazy night.  And to top things off, our investigator went home to Kuching for the holiday. 

 Today, I am on splits with elder Kong.  He is so funny.  He is a big native and he makes jokes all the time.  This morning we had to go help set up for the Chinese new year party this Saturday, so i am a little late getting this email off. 

How are you all doing, it sounds like you all are really busy. Oh I found out that Makayla is going to Canada on her mission.  Tell Lexi that she will do great in Taiwan and that the language will come and not to get frustrated.  Her Chinese was way better then mine in high school, so she has more of a head start then I did.  If Kyle does more to Singapore, I am going to have to hunt him down to help us out.

well love you guys!!

Elder Fletcher