Thursday, October 19, 2017

Masai Branch is Growing

The Elders have been working very hard for many months in the Masai Branch, but have not met with much success with new converts.  They have reactivated several people, and continue to do that.  A few months ago, as the Elders were trying to find a less-active member, they were spotted by a sweet woman, who is a member of the church,
from Sarawak, in East Malaysia. 
She is here in Masai taking care of grandchildren while the parents work. 
She was so excited to see them and expressed her desire to come to church,
but she had no way to get there. 
The Elders arranged for one of our members to come by each
Sunday and pick her up for church. 
This went on for a few weeks and then with subsequent visits from the missionaries, the three children in the family expressed a desire to come to church. 
They enjoyed Primary very much. 
Soon the whole family were taking the missionary lessons.

On Saturday, October 14, five members of the family were baptized.  This was the first baptism in our new Masai Chapel.

As you can see, the baptismal font is in the small kitchen. 
It was rather crowded, but it worked and was a wonderful occasion for this branch.  

Alicsia, Tiam (the mom), Febian, Jenis & Cheryl

Elder Gara and Elder Bowler are very happy

Grandma, Sis Enum is so proud of her family.

One of the rewards of serving a mission. 
Such a great day!!

This is a beautiful family! 
They will be a wonderful addition to the branch.

Many members of the branch came to support this family as they were baptized
members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Masai Branch - I Would Call it a Miracle

The Masai Branch Chapel was finally completed
and our very first meeting was held on September 3, 2017. 
We had been averaging 25-30 members attending church the past few months.  In our eyes, this was very good for this struggling branch
because it was twice as many as a year ago.  
This particular Sunday was special because not only was it our first meeting in the new church, but it was a Missionary Farewell for their beloved Sister Taha.  The miracle occurred when the attendance was actually 65. 
These are all members who attend sometimes, but not regularly, 
what a blessing to have all of them together.   

We actually had 18 children in Primary, and we usually have about 6-8.

Sister Norma was so happy to have a new Relief Society room full
of wonderful sisters.

When church was over we had a "Linger Longer" where everyone brought food to share.  Not only was there much delicious food, but the members enjoyed visiting with each other and enjoying being together again. 
It was a wonderful way to end the day.

 We are going to really miss this beautiful young woman. 
She has been our "angel" here in Malaysia  and now we will be sharing her with the Singapore Mission, as she leaves for the Manila MTC next week.

This family is very special to us. 
Not only were we able to accompany them to the Manila Temple
to be sealed together as a family,
but we have grown to love them very much. 
This is what makes it worth it to serve a mission
and spend two years away from your loved ones.

Masai Chapel - From Dream to Reality

We were informed in February that the lease would be up on our Masai Branch Chapel on March 31, 2017.  This presented a problem because after the missionaries had been working so hard for several months on reactivating members, there would be no place to worship.  It was proposed that they meet in the JB chapel which is about 20 kilometers away.  The problem with that idea was that many members do not have transportation to church, and that extra distance would make it very difficult for them.   The decision was made for us to find a hotel meeting room where we could meet for a few months, and if the attendance warranted it, they would consider building a new chapel for the branch.

After exploring several options, with no luck, we were miraculously  led to The Swan Hotel.  We didn't even notice it before, even though it was right in front of our present chapel. 
We met with the manager, who was more than happy to lease the rooms to us for three months.  He was new to that hotel and was anxious to have his meeting rooms rented.  

The large room was used for joint Priesthood & Relief Society, Sunday School,
and Sacrament Meeting. 
The youth had to meet with the adults. 
The small room was used for Primary, and worked out just fine. 
We feel blessed to have found this hotel which was very convenient.

The first day that we met in the Swan Hotel, April 2, 
Elder Lamb was sustained as the Branch President. 
His responsibility will be to train the members to be leaders in their branch.  

First Counselor is Bro. Taha, Second Counselor is Bro. Presly and Branch Clerk is Bro. Tan.

President Simmons was here to set them apart in their new callings.

The former Branch President had been in for many years,
but because of his work schedule, had to be released. 
He has a very strong family, who are certainly an asset to this small, struggling branch.

Our attendance was enough for the leaders to approve a new chapel
to be constructed for this branch.
Here in Malaysia, it isn't possible to build a building,
so they lease a space in a "shoplot" which is made into a chapel. 
We were told to start looking for a place where we could build the new chapel, but because we don't know the areas which are desirable, we didn't know where to start looking.  

We asked for the help of our friend, Ben Tay, who is the JB Branch Mission Leader, and also a realtor.  We looked at several possibilities which would be fairly accessible to the majority of the members and in a favorable location, and which would be safe for the members.  We chose this location right across from a  nice park where we have had some branch activities.  This view is looking at the building from the park. 
This location was approved so construction could soon begin.

It was so exciting when construction was finally begun. We were able to watch the progress closely and see it slowly become a church.  It is interesting to watch the way they do construction here in Malaysia.  There is no wood used in the building, it is all metal and cement with drywall, probably because the climate is so damp here, that wood would rot. 

It is beginning to take shape.

There is a small kitchen, which shares the space with the baptismal font.  

It is really shaping up.  It is almost ready for the members to come help put things away.

The day arrived that the members had been waiting for when they and the missionaries could come and help put things away and clean  so that it would be ready for our first meeting on September 3.

Upstairs things are progressing nicely. 
The library is being put in order and  the classrooms are dusted, floors mopped
and chairs put in place.

Well done everyone!

Pizza is the reward for a hard days work!

The chapel is beautiful and the saints are so happy to have it.
We know that the Lord loves his children here in the Masai Branch.