Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Weekly District / Zone Meetings

We get together once a week on Tuesday morning for training. Afterwards we all go out to lunch. This Tuesday we returned to the restaurant that we went to with Sister Rhodes and Sister Pinkston. Elder Boyter and I arrived earlier and watch as all the missionaries arrived on their bikes. It was impressive.

The young man that waited on us before was there. It was good to see him. The owner was not there. Most of the others that were working there were Muslim. As I mentioned before it is against the law to teach Muslims.

The food was great. We had a good visit with the restaurant employees. I look forward to returning to this restaurant again. And as always it is great to be with the missionaries.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Baby Melissa

Melissa tried to join the family in time to see us before we left on our mission. She came almost four weeks early. We were in the MTC and missed the birth. She was born healthy. Last Sunday she received her name and a blessing at church. Grandparents, Bonnie and Dale Romrell, Sabrina, CG O'Malley and their 5 children all came for the blessing. We called them that afternoon on google plus and were able to see all the kids, grand kids and Baby Melissa. Was very busy. The grandchildren could see themselves on the screen and enjoyed making faces. It was so wonderful to visit and see them.

It has been tradition for me to make a quilt for each grandchild when they are born. The mothers picks the fabric. This is Melissa's quilt. I use the star log cabin pattern for each of the quilts. It has been fun to see the different varieties of color combinations there are. Each are unique just like the children are.

Long Houses

In the Iban tribe they have lived in long houses. It is our understanding that multiple families live in the same long house which is divided into separate living quarters. As one group dies, the next group moves into it. Ibans were headhunters and practice this up until about 50 years ago. Some headhunters are still alive. They have a tattoo on their necks identifying them if they had killed someone. There are stories that when Japan invaded Malaysia, the headhunter warriors took their toll on the Japanese.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sister Tehrani and Sister Ballantyne

Here are our other set of sister missionaries, they are great! Upbeat and determined.

They have been a driving force to keep the piano class going. Supporting Sister Nielson and now helping me.

We have not been out with them yet on teaching and meeting the members but we are looking forward to spending time with them.

Sister Pinkston and Sister Rhodes

Sister Rhodes ( red head ) and Sister Pinkston (going home in couple of weeks) are wonderful missionaries. Upbeat, positive and always looking for the good in others.

They called last night needing help with a flat tire. We were in the process of leaving the KDC (Kuching District Center, like a stake center), taking the other set of sisters home since we were heading in the same direction. So we dropped the first set of sisters bikes off and we all headed out to the Batu Kawa area to find the sisters, who were at a Shell gas station.

We found them bubbling with excitement and a great story. Sister Rhodes was riding ahead on a very busy road on some cement panels that covers a ditch that parallels the street. Sister Pinkston was riding behind. Sister Rhodes was concentrating on where she was riding with it being dark and the busy, noisy road next to her that she did not look back and check to see if Sister Pinkston was following. She said that she felt an impression to look back but did not do it for awhile. When she finally took time to look back, there was no sign of Sister Pinkston. Usually she can see a headlight but it was not there. She waited for awhile thinking that the light would show up any minute. It did not. So Sister Rhodes started riding back to find Sister Pinkston. As she rode back, she did not see that one of the 2 foot cement panels was missing until it was too late.

Her front tire went into the hole and stuck. Thoughts went through her mind on how to protect herself from falling into traffic. She tried to propel herself away from the road but found that she fell into the road any way. Quickly she rolled herself to the edge of the road and then off. That road is very busy especially on a Friday night. Small miracle that she was not hit.

She got back on her bike which was not damaged, thankfully, and continued to find Sister Pinkston. Finally she could see a bicycle headlight in the distance. When they met up, Sister Pinkston bike had a flat. They walked back to the Shell gas station. They often stop at the gas station to use the bathroom and had made friends with the manager. He saw them coming and came out to meet them with the key to the bathroom.

The manager is a Muslim, we are friends to the Muslim people but do not teach them the Gospel. It is against the law to teach the muslims the gospel. But he had a friend who had stopped by to visit who was not a Muslim. The sisters had a wonderful visit with him about religion, invited him to church, and made an appointment to meet him again.

It is interesting that earlier that morning the sisters discussed in their study time about if they had a flat tire they could teach the ones who stopped to help.

They were so excited. How can people not be drawn to their enthusiasm and the love of these sisters.

The other day we took these same sisters to dinner as a goodbye to Sister Pinkston. There was an outdoor restaurant that they had not tried yet but had a dish that they liked. It was this baked chicken and bread with different types of hot sauces and gravy for dipping. They roll the bread dough out and then slap it onto the side of an oven to bake. This is a picture of the oven and the bread after it has baked. I enjoyed the food very much. Vegetables and fruit are not served very much in restaurants. I have been feeding Elder Boyter vegetables at home. I don't think he misses them but I do!

The waiter was a young teenager , not a Muslim, that asked a lot of questions about our religion. He did not speak English well but the sisters spoke his language and answered his questions and they all exchanged contact information to meet later. They are amazing.

We had a very nice visit with the owner of the restaurant. They start work at the restaurant at 7 am and close at 11 pm. Long days.

The owner is Muslim and from Afghanistan. The sisters have associated with Afghanistans in West Malaysia and love the culture and the people so they were very excited to meet this Afghanistan family. The sisters faces just sparkled as they visited with owner and his family. The sisters knew that they would not share the Gospel with this Muslim family but they loved them and cared about them. What a beautiful example of pure love.

We went to a member discussion with these sister earlier this week to Brother Peter and Sister Nancy. They have 10 children and 13 grandchildren. Wonderful humble man. He weed eats for a living, 7 days a week. They don't mow the lawn here they weed eat. One of their sons died, leaving at least 2 children to be raised by the grandparents. I don't know how many people live in the home but there were at least 6 grandchildren there at the time and 3 sons. The children are beautiful. He is supporting and feeding them all. The church meeting time is changing to afternoon in May so he will be able to come to church then.

Sister Nancy has beautiful very large pictures hanging in her home of the Savior that she has done the needle work on. She also makes scripture covers with handles and fringe for the elders if they will provide the fabric.

The sisters gave a beautiful lesson on the Plan of Salvation in Malay. Sister Cheryl was there to help with family history. Sister Nancy has been compiling their family genealogy. Sister Nancy is from the Ibon tribe and Brother Peter is Chinese. There has not been records kept in Malaysia so they are having to rely on family records. Sister Cheryl is going to get the records into the church site for them.

Yummy greens

Found this in the market. There is a store that gets fresh produce in once a week on Thursday. I found this vegetable. Don't know the name yet but it appears to be of the cabbage family. Very good. We have used it cooked or in salads. I'm excited to try other vegetables and fruits.

China town

The travel agent we use is on the river front next to China Town. The Chinese came to Malaysia hundreds of years ago and built on the river front where they did trading. Malaysia is a melting pot of people. The seven major ethic groups are Ibans, Chinese, Malay, Bidayuh, Malanau, Orang Ulu. There are some minor groups such as Indians also.

China Town has a collection of shops. They cater a lot to tourist with souvenir shops. There are some beautiful fabrics, furniture, and antique shops.

I was thinking that I might have trouble finding clothes and shoes that would fit me but not so. There are lots of modern shopping malls (that would fit in any American city), shop lots and open air markets.

There are lots of stray dogs that break my heart. They are bony and very sick looking. There are lots of cats but most of them look healthy. Most cats have short tails. I have seen a few with long tails but many of them have crooked tails. Interesting.

Elder Boyter is standing next to a bike that has an area on the front for transporting goods. The bike was chained to the back of a shop in china town.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


This is Victor and Lucia. They are taking their wedding pictures. They had to have the dress made. The wedding dresses here are not modest.

The way we understand it. The bride and groom go to the government and get registered for marriage. They are then considered married. If the tribe or family has traditions they can do that later. Victor and Lucia will have a wedding reception the end of May and then will go to the temple in a year to be sealed.

Purple sweet potatoes and sego worms

Sister Lim shared some purple sweet potatoes with us. Sister Lim is one of longest standing members here. She is a very lovely graceful woman. Very admired. The potatoes were very good. She tells me she usually steams the potatoes and eat them like an apple. We mashed and reheat with butter and salt and pepper. I will look for them in the markets and stores. Elder Boyter was concern about the food here but there are lots of varieties of potatoes. I think we will have to watch our waistlines.

While we were at the church last night with the night watchman, the branch president came by and dropped off these grubs type creatures called sego worms. They are alive in this picture. They fry them in oil and eat them. They are about 2 inches long, fat and juicy looking. I will think about eating them. Right now I am not ready.

Sister Boyter's first haircut by Elder Boyter

Elder Boyter gave me my first haircut today. Erica, my hairdresser, showed him how to do it once. Elder Boyter did not come back for a second lesson.

My hair was starting to look very shaggy so I put on the cover to protect my clothes and sat in a chair in the kitchen. There are many beauty salons here but naturally curly hair is uncommon so I felt Elder Boyter was very qualified with his one lesson on the art of cutting hair.

Elder Boyter always talks about how much he likes my long hair. So with him being in charge of the length I felt confident that he would cut with restraint I also mentioned to him that hair only grows a half to three quarters of an inch a month. I don't think he remembered any of this.

He was not timid at all. The memory of him pruning trees and shrubs came to mind as I sat there while he cut. I sometimes wonder if the plant would survive after he was done.

When Elder Boyter was done cutting my hair I looked at the floor and was amazed at the amount that was on the floor. There were strands of hair 4 inches long. With concern I looked in the mirror and found to my great surprise that I like what he did. It is the shortest it has been in the last 45 years With the hot and humid weather, this hair cut will be perfect.

I think Elder Boyter was also surprised at how good it looks. He is now analyzing it to see how to improve the cut. I don't think he realized that curly hair curls up tighter as it dries what length he had quickly left.

Lizard Steaks

Brother Wilkinson invited us over for lizard steaks but we were already committed. His sister-in-law is holding a lizard that they caught and were going cook for dinner. The missionaries tell us the meat of the lizard is very good. Maybe we will have a chance again to sample lizard. Brother Wilkenson heard Elder Boyter call me sweetheart, so he teasingly calls me Sister sweetheart.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Brother Wilkenson

Brother Wilkenson is one of the first members is Malaysia. We are celebrating his 79th birthday in the picture. He has lived a very interesting life. He is from England. He has 10 sons from his first wife. He moved to Malaysia about 20 years ago and married Lilly. These children our his adopted grandchildren. The older boy, Jonathan, is a gifted pianist. He started in the church's music class less than 2 years ago and is excelling. Brother Wilkenson has been a great blessing to the church and to us senior couples

Hike to a beach

We got back from our hike earlier than the elders. We enjoyed visiting with the monkeys, resting, then decided to go for a hike along the beach. It was great as long as we stayed inland but when we tried to get closer to the water we found some sink holes. Good thing Elder Boyter is washable.

Rock formations

The country felt a lot like the Pirates of the Caribbean

Monday, April 15, 2013


We needed to make a phone call so we sent the missionaries on a head for the hikes. Elder Boyter and I took a different hike. The hike was up and down terrain. Very tropical, hot and humid. But we enjoyed it.


We arrived at the landing by boat at high tide and left at low tide. We had to load the boats from the beach for the return trip. We were greeted at the dock by monkeys and boars for free hand outs.

First Preparation Day- Baku National Park

Today the zone went to Baku National Park for preparation day. I joined the sisters and we went down river into the China Sea to reach the park.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Clean water

Our bodies are not use to the water so we have a water purification in the kitchen for drinking. We bring water into the bathroom for brushing teeth. There are two bathrooms so Elder Boyter took one and I took the other. The showers have an instant water heater on the water. Even then the water is not very hot. There is no other hot water in the apartment. We shower with our mouth close.

We have lots of very tiny ants so we take any food refuge out to the outside garbage can immediately. We do recycle.

We have a gecko ( little green lizard) that lives under the refrigerator. I have not seen it yet but Elder Boyter has. I have seen them on the exterior walls and windows.

I will have to find myself a blanket to cuddle up with when we are in the apartment. Elder Boyter is always hot and freezes me out when he turns the air conditioner on. We have a/c units in both bedrooms and the living room

I have enjoyed this apartment very much. It is in an area of nice homes on a private lot surrounded by vegetation, ponds and small water falls. There is a woman that lives above us but i don't think she lives here full time. The landlord lives below us but is very quiet. Their apartment covers the full 1st level. The caretaker and wife lives on the premises so is a great deterrent to thieves breaking in. Some of the elders have struggle with break ins and having their bikes stolen.

To Market

We went to Matang to help some elders with their apartment. After we were done we went to a large market. Many stores inside. We picked up some pans for cooking and cleaning supplies and the wandered around. In one area they had motorized cars for children to drive. Most stayed in the designated area but a cute little 13 month old was driving on the outside of the area down some of the aisles. Very cute but had to keep your eyes on him or your toes would get run over. There was about everything you could imagine there. There are many modern malls in the area. This seemed to be more like an outside bazaar. I look forward to returning. There are some long tops that are worn over skirts or pants that are very attractive. I wonder if my granddaughters would like some?