Saturday, August 31, 2013

Senior Conference

We have Zone Conference every 90 days in Singapore.  West Malaysia came on Monday, have their meeting with the Elders, Sisters, and Senior Missionaries on Tuesday.  Then all the seniors come and have their meetings on Wednesday.  East Malaysia meetings with their Elders, Sisters and Senior Missionaries are on Thursday.  Then the next conference they switch.  This was the last Zone Conference for two of our senior couples and Sister Huff.  They chose where we ate out on Wednesday Night.  What atmosphere.  The shops were wonderful. The food was fantastic. I bought shawls for myself and my four daughters there.  I am excited to explore the whole street next visit.  You can just barely see my head in the first picture.

The Amazing Beyond Beyond Young Single Adults

These are some of the core group of the Young Single Adults.  They are the backbone of the District.  Kelvin, Paul, Jeffery, Sheryl, Hellen, Jesper and Kanzie.  Picture taken in the lobby of the Kuching District Center (KDC).  Four of this group are returned missionaries, Kelvin, Paul, Hellen, and Kanzie.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Wooden homes

Kuching is a city of extremes.  We see huge beautiful home, the most expensive cars in the world and then we find many of our church members living under the most difficult circumstances.  At the end of the airport is a community of wood structure on stilts.  The waste water from the houses puddle under the homes.  The first picture is Elder Petersen and Elder Crosland visiting Marina (one of our Seminary students) homes,  Second picture is Doris' (another student) home.  The last picture is the home of six.  Very tiny home.  The father works back at the family compound seven days a week.  He is home for one night a week to see his family.  The mother and children live in Kuching to give their children a better education and chance at life.

When we see our church members at church they are alway neat and clean.  We have no idea what their home life is like until we go to visit.  Then they share with us what little they have with honor.  Transportation is such a problem to get them to church.

My heart aches for them.

President Ezra Taft Benson said "We are commanded by God to take this Gospel to all the world. That is the cause that must unite us today.  Only the Gospel will save the world from the calamity of its own self-destruction.  Only the gospel will unite men of all races and nationalities in peace.  Only the gospel will bring joy, happiness, and salvation to the human family."

I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ will be the greatest help for these people.  I know that from my own family background.  It makes us better people and then we can pull ourselves out.  I some times feel helpless for them but I am seeing them take hold of the gospel, their spirits lighten, they see and seize opportunities and children reach for higher education to better themselves.  It seems like such a slow process at times.  I want a better life for them now.  I hurt to see them struggle so hard.  I am their cheerleader as they pull themselves to higher heights.  I love and care so much for them.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

First Edition of Book of Mormon in Malay

The great day of the first edition of The Book Of Mormon in the language of Malay arrived.  We received them at our Zone Conference in Singapore August 2013.  This is half our mission. The mission used the Indonesian translation before which is very difficult for the members to understand.  The member are so happy to get these book in their own language.

Iban Traditional Costumes

Sister Hellen was part of a competition for Sarawak.  The costumes are beautiful. Angelina, Hellen's mother, showed us Hellen's trophy when she took first place.  This was before her mission.

Iban wedding

We went to our first Iban wedding.  To be officially married the couples need to go to the government to register. Then the couple will usually have marriage ceremonies in their tribes or have receptions.  There was lots of symbolism with fruit being plucked etc.  The ceremony was conducted in Iban.  Sister Helen, President Goven' wife, explained and translated but couldn't follow it all.  It is tradition that the oldest child marries first.  If a younger child marries before, the couple will give a ring to the older child so that there will be no hard feelings.  Elder Steven told us of one man that had 4 rings from his sibling that got married before him.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Beyond 5 is a new boy band from the states.  They have high standards in dress, lyrics and dance.  There were tryouts to pick the boys that could sing and dance.  They were great and their first tour of East Asia was a total success.

Our crowd was smaller but we were told we were the best so far.  There was such energy and enthusiasm between the audience and the singing group.  

Four of the five were LDS young men ranging from 15 to 18 years of age.  The group had the blessing of the Area Authority and the senior missionaries throughout East Malaysia played significant roles in putting the concerts together in our countries.

The band member are Ammon (tall dark hair, he remind me of a Sons of Heleman), TJ (15, youngest with brown hair, his smile and sparkly eyes stoled some hearts), Patch (tallest of the blonds, he enjoyed the chicken feet), Tanner and Zach.

Our seminary and young single adults were a driving force for the enthusiasm and fun of the evening.  Many of our youth are very poor.  The concert was free.  Afterward the band met with the fans to meet and sign pictures and t-shirts.

We met the band about 1am on Monday morning.  Ammon is leading the way.  I got my picture taken at the airport with Sister Helen, President Govins wife and the group.  We laughed that we were the middle age groupies for Beyond 5.   Then the Beyond 5 sang for us.  After hearing them sing in the middle of the night at the airport I knew we were in for something special and was very excited that Kuching was chosen for one of the stops.  

I helped plan the dinner meal with Sister Helen (President Govin's wife) for the group and the missionaries that help set up.  Our zone leader, Elder Crosland, adorned himself in this cute apron.  We have the best missionaries.

Hellen and Maureen
Kanzie and Lee Fin
Kanzie, Lee Fen, Jesper, Kelvin, Sister Biby
Crowd made up of most of our Young Single Adukts and Seminary students. They are great!
Ammon leaned in for a shot!
One of my favorite families and their friend. Kanzie, Sheryl and Jesper
Jeffrey so shy. Our District Young Men's President
Ammon with Hellen and Maureen Rinet
This little girl was so thrilled to be chosen to come on stage to be sung to.  She threw her arms around Zach.
Missionaries were a great help. These are about half of them.  Elder Halpin, Elder Berger, Sister Haslett, Elder Crosland, Elder Madsen, Elder Hirsche, Sister Nielson. Sister Black, Sister Lai with Beyond 5 TJ, Tanner, Zach, Patch, and Ammon.
Paul, one of our seminary teachers.  Below TJ and Tanner goofing off at the airport.

Sharing of Food at Hari Raya

There first is a month of fasting for Hari Raya.   Muslims do not eat during the daylight hours for one month.  Then there is a month of celebration.  Homes are opened up to visitors to come and visit and share food.  This is Tan Sri Bujang Noor.  He is the ex State Secretary.  His cars all have 888 on the license plates and all the ones I saw were black.  He was born on 8 August 1935. Thus 8 for date he was born, 8 for the month he was born in and 3+5=8 for the year 1935.  He got married on August 8th and his home is opened for visitors on that date during Hari Raya.

Tan Sri Bujang Noor sons are the men in white and purple.  The man in pink is Andre Suharto.  He is a Rotarian and has worked with the church with obtaining wheel chairs for the needy of his country.  He is a son-in- law and his wife is the daughter to Tah Sri.

Hari Raya with the Governor of Sarawak

Brother Wilkenson and grandson, Jonathan, took us to meet the Governor on August 8, 2013 as part of the Hari Raya celebration.  Brother Wilkenson has know the Governor a long time so we were able to go on the VIP day to the governor's mansion.  

Elder Boyter and I were introduced as VIPs from the US.  Elder Boyter carried a large fruit basket as a gift that we brought.  There were red chairs in the middle aisle where we were directed to sit.  it appeared to be an honor to sit there.  We were treated with kindness and respect.

As we left we were given permission to take a picture of the governor's car, which made Elder Boyter happy.  We could not tell what make the car was.  Brother Wilkerson called it a Maytag, but it looks like the Maytag automobile was stopped being produced a long time ago.  A puzzle for another day.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Surprise 38th Anniversary Party

 The Young Single Adults surprised us with a party for our 38th Anniversary.  We had them over for Home Evening.  Devenlee gave a short lesson on marriage and then we played games.  The first game they divided us into eight groups and blind folded one person from each from.  Elder Boyter and I were each chosen to be blinded folded and actually were the only ones blind folded.  We were taken on a trip down the stairs where we had to listen to different sounds and guess what they were.  While we were taken on our trip the rest of the YSA ran to their cars and brought dinner up.  They then brought us upstair and sat us in chairs while they sang to us.  A few weeks ago they had us introduce who we were and our favorite music artist.  They remembered that I said I liked Josh Groban and Brent liked Bing Crosby.  So they sang "The Wind Beneath my Wings" and "White Christmas".  They gave me a bouquet of red silk flowers and Brent some chocolate candy and mug.  We were very surprised and humble.
 Top Row: Stephanie, Lee Fin, Jennifer, Sitting is Francesca with Paul hamming it up.
 Stephanie, Alanna, Agnes, Sheryl, Francisca, Mareen, Erickson
 They gave us this kite that they had signed.  That we now have hanging on our wall.
 Elder Boyter kept trying to help with the dishes but the girls told him to go away.  Stephanie, Madeline, and Agnes.
 Best friends from grade school.  Sheryl, Francisca, and Jennifer.  They even dressed up for our party in their fancy dresses.

 They brought in a piano so that Jesper could do his magic.  While we played games later, Jesper and Alanna played the piano for some of them to sings.  They enjoy belting it out.

They are a close bunch of YSA.  It is wonderful to be associated with them

 Back Row:Madeline, Stephanie, Lee Fin, Jennifer, Agnes, Mandy, Hellen, Belinda.
Front Row: Maureen, Sheryl and Francisca