Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Crocodile Farm

After our outing at the beach, we traveled to Western Malaysia's largest Crocodile Farm.
It was amazing to watch these huge creatures as they rose up out of the water to catch a whole, frozen chicken.  Some of them had hardly any water in their enclosure.   
Thank goodness this guy had his mouth taped shut.

Crocodile skulls with Elder Lamb

Crocodile Egg

P-Day Outing to Beach & Crocodile Farm

It was a very exciting P-Day for us and the Elders.  Brother Ben Tay, who is the JB Branch Mission Leader, took us all on an outing to the beach on the South China Sea.  I had asked him to take us to a beach so I could see what it is like here.  The beach is certainly different from what we are used to but it was so beautiful.

It must have been lunch time at this girls school, because they were all out on the beach.  These girls were so cute and wanted their picture taken.
The Muslim people that we have met are very kind and friendly and helpful to us. 

This cute little family had their baby to the beach for the first time. 
They were in the water in their clothes.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Our First Sunday in the Masai Branch

The Branch President was not there today, so the Elders were  busily trying to prepare for Sacrament meeting.  It became apparent that no-one had brought the bread for the sacrament.  Elder Hanks said a silent prayer and then looked out the window and noticed a Muslim man feeding bread to the birds.  He approached the man and asked if he had an extra slice.  The man asked why and he explained that he needed it  for a religious purpose.  The man said "Oh, sure, take it all."  The Lord truly does provide, sometimes in ways that we do not expect. 
There were only about 12 members in attendance today but hopefully it will increase. 
Elder Hanks and Elder Oldham spoke in Sacrament meeting  and their talks were great (We had to have them interpreted by the other Elder).  You could feel the spirit when they spoke and as they shared personal experiences it was especially strong.

The JB Branch had their monthly "Linger Longer", after Sacrament Meeting.  There were about 30 people there and some of the food was very interesting.   I wouldn't be able to describe or recognize what it was, but everyone enjoyed it and seem to love to be together.  Don had a chicken foot in one of his dishes.  I didn't try it, but I found plenty to eat that was very good.
 Elder Rogers and Elder Tennant spoke in the afternoon Sacrament Meeting.  They weren't given much notice, but they spoke with confidence, conviction and faith.  There were only about 14 members in attendance which includes 6 missionaries, but even with so few people, the Church  program goes on and the message is made available to those who have a desire to come and learn.  The Elders had three investigators to church today, who they are presently teaching the lessons to.   I am continually impressed by the spirit and enthusiasm of these young Elders.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Our First English Lesson

We had the experience of teaching our first English Lesson yesterday.  Every Friday evening the missionaries offer Free English lessons to non-Muslims.  They have from 10-15 students who attend regularly, ranging in age from about 8 to 40.  They are in varying levels of understanding English so it is a challenge to meet all of the needs, but with two sets of Elders and us we can offer three classes.

Elder Lamb & I taught four women from about 20-45 years old.  They were pretty good at English so we felt a bit under-prepared.  We didn't really know what to expect since it was our first time to teach.  The lesson we had prepared was a bit elementary for them, but we adapted it and felt that they enjoyed it and hopefully learned some new words.    It was fun to teach together and realize that we can do things that are asked of us, even though we don't know exactly how. 
I know that the Lord will help us as we try to do what is asked, even though we feel very inadequate.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Our First Service Project

Elder Hanks, the District Leader, organized a service project for the missionaries to clean the chapel in Masai.  This branch formerly had over 100 members attending, but the Sultan changed the Sabbath in this area to Friday because this is a Muslim area.  Now there are only about 2 families who attend church, and no children because they are in school on Sunday.  This is very sad for this branch because there are many members who would love to come to church, but they cannot.  It is hard for us to imagine the hardships that members of our church in other countries have to experience.  We should be so grateful for the blessings that we have and the freedom of religion that we enjoy.

Elder Rogers & Elder Lamb vacuuming

Elder Hanks & Elder Low

Elder Rogers

Elder Oldham

Cleaning the windows of the Cry Room

Sister Lamb polishing the pulpit

Elder Oldham letting his personality show after cleaning was finished

After a job well done, food was in order. 
Happy eating everyone!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Masai Branch

 This is the chapel in Masai.  It is located in a shoplot (strip-mall), with the jungle right across the street. It is really quite large inside, with two levels.  There are many classroom which are not being used.   There used to be over 100 members who attended, but the Sultan changed the Sabbath to Friday in this State so getting to church is impossible for most.  There are no children who attend on Sunday because they are in school.  They can only come on Holidays, and then there are usually traveling somewhere.
  This part of Malaysia is primarily Muslim.  The Elders hear the call to prayer daily, which often awakens them.
The members speak Malay in this branch, so we will have to rely on the Elders to interpret for us and maybe eventually we will learn a few words and phrases.

Our First District Meeting

Elder Hanks, Oldham, Tennant, Hew, Rogers & Low

We had our first District Meeting in our apartment with the Elders from JB and Masai.
This is a great group of young Elders who are so eager, enthusiastic and willing to serve. 
As the opening hymn was sung with gusto by 6 energized Elders, the Spirit was definitely present.
Elder Hanks, the District Leader,conducted the meeting. All of the Elders were well prepared with their assignments and shared experiences and investigator stories. 

We served them lunch of Pineapple Chicken, Fried rice, watermelon, Dragon Fruit and Chocolate cake.  When we finished they jumped right up and cleaned up all of the dishes.  Great job Elders!!

Our adventures with exotic foods

This is Dorian - some people love it, but it smells ghastly
Don tried it, but I couldn't do it.

Dragon Fruit

We have been trying different fruits.  The Dorian was quite disgusting, but the Dragon Fruit is good.

Nothing to say but that I will not be trying these chicken feet.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

We Arrive in Western Malaysia

This was a gift from Sister Davies  We will treasure it

Us with Singapore Stake President and President Simmons

We were greeted by these four amazing Elders.  Three are new to the JB area.  They helped us survive the first couple of days. 

Curry Fish with vegetables.

You would think that all we do is eat,  but we just think it is so interesting that we have to capture it in pictures.  This is one of the Elders favorite places to eat.
They fill a paper cone with rice, beef, beans, sauce, a fried egg and cucumbers.  You open it up on the table and eat.  It was really delicious.  This is truly a unique culture.

Friday night the missionaries teach a Free English class at the church.  Quite a few people attend, mostly children tonight.  There are two classes, one for beginners and  one intermediate.  I was so impressed with the way the Elders handled the evening. The students enjoyed it, and I loved watching the kids learn.
This is truly a wonderful service that the Church provides.

Playing a game sort of like musical chairs.   Such darling kids.

 Saturday was a challenging day for us.  First we got lost trying to find the internet store.  A very kind man "I call him an angel", offered to show us if we would follow him on his motorcycle.  He had to stop three times to ask directions and backtrack to find us when we made a wrong turn, but he finally got us there.  Next we got lost trying to get to the grocery store where the Elders took us on Thursday.  It was quite close to where we live, but the one we eventually found was quite a long way.
We next found ourselves lost trying to find our way home.  The GPS was definitely not our friend today.

The Best way to end an otherwise frustrating day is a baptism. 

Baptism of Kwan Weng Hang (Alvin)
Johor Bahru Branch