Saturday, November 26, 2016

Our First Thanksgiving Away From Family

 Our first Thanksgiving away from our family was difficult for me.  It was very challenging because I knew that they were together and we were so far away, and I missed the fun we have together.  I am so proud of them all, because they planned and prepared everything and kept our family traditions alive, including grandma's pretzel jello. 
Suzi and Jeff were with their in-laws, but everyone else was together, even the kids who live away came home for the holiday. 
Mason and Matthew surprised their family and came as well. 
What a blessing it is to have a family
who love to be together and who are such great friends.

How about the two little munchkins!  Our youngest great-grands

For the pie contest, Heather won the "Ugliest but tastes the best" award.  It was ugly because her 5 year old, Cannon stepped in it.

Our family displaying their "Girl Power"

It seems that the only ones missing are the missionaries

What an amazing family.  I think we started something very wonderful!

I am so thankful to our Heavenly Father for blessing us with such a beautiful family.  Sometimes you don't appreciate what you have until it isn't around anymore. 
I hope they will continue the family traditions while we are away. 
What a blessing it is to know that "Families Can Be Together Forever."

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

President & Sister Simmons Visit JB Branch Conference

We were honored to have the Singapore Mission President and his beautiful wife as our guests for the night.  They have so much energy and enthusiasm and show so much love for the people in this mission.  I am thankful to get to know them and feel of their love and their support for us.
It was the JB Branch Conference and President Simmons was presiding.  We were beautifully taught by branch leaders about being unified and working together to accomplish the Lord's work.    I had suggested to the Branch President that we have  an "instant choir" in Sacrament Meeting.  He loved the idea and chose the song "Behold A Royal Army."  The missionaries, mission president and his wife and several branch members joined in.  It was such a very powerful song, and the Spirit was certainly felt.
  It was truly a  wonderful Sabbath day.

Thanksgiving Malaysia Style

Our JB Branch decided that they wanted to have a Thanksgiving Party, even though it isn't a holiday here.  They wanted the members to understand what it meant in America, and that they should give thanks in all things.  In the beginning they showed some
short videos about "What Are You Thankful For",and 
then they had 8 people come up and tell what they are thankful for.

I think we could take a lesson from them, because we don't always take time to stop and reflect on the things that we are thankful for, which really is the purpose of the holiday.

For the dinner, I was asked to prepare the Mashed Potatoes, Dressing & Gravy and 3 chocolate cakes (which they always request).   I am just thankful they didn't ask me to make pies for all of those people. 

Lots of bread drying out for the dressing.  I made it in crockpots, which worked out really well, because my oven is the size of a microwave.

President and Sister Tee came to help peel and mash the potatoes.  It would have taken me all day, but he peels like a champ and the mashing was a breeze for him.

The branch provided the teriyaki chicken and rolls and coleslaw and spaghetti.
They didn't get the menu quite right, but everyone found something they liked.
They really don't eat potatoes & gravy and dressing here.

Since the Pilgrims didn't have electricity, they thought it would be a good idea to eat without the lights so they opted for flashlights.  It was a little dark, so after a while they turned on the lights.

President & Sister Simmons joined us at the party and then stayed the night with us because it was our branch conference on Sunday.  It was so nice to have them with us if only for a few hours.

 We really had a great turnout.  There were many non-members and also a few members of the Masai Branch.  We had over 60 people, which is amazing for an activity here.  We were all so happy and hope that the enthusiasm continues.

It looks like Elder Davis is overloading on cake.

Sherry and John and Yvonne are students in our English Class.  At class on Friday, they found out it was Elder Lamb's birthday, so they came to the party and brought him a small gift and some KFC because he told them that his favorite food was fried chicken.  These are really special people and we are so happy to be acquainted with them.  They are really improving on their conversational English.
Alan and his son are also students in the beginning English Class.  We invited everyone in class on Friday and five of them came.  We hope they all enjoyed it.

Our special friends Wee Loon and Liu Wei

The Elders from the Masai Branch came and brought this investigator and some other members of their branch.  They loved the potatoes & gravy and dressing.

After everyone was totally full from the dinner and cake, the branch presidency came in with two large chocolate layer cakes from a special bakery here.  So......we sang Happy Birthday and everyone ate more cake.


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Celebrating Elder Lamb's Birthday in Malaysia

This week we had a wonderful surprise, a package from home with special birthday wishes from our children and grandchildren for their Papa.  We were so happy although some of the messages brought a few tears for a minute.  Our shelf is well decorated right now.

I found out that one of our friends from the JB branch has a birthday just two days before Elder Lamb, so we invited their family to dinner so we could celebrate their birthdays.  The Kurup family are a very special family to us and we enjoy their company so much.  We also have in our branch a sweet sister from Utah, who is teaching school here, so we invited here to the party as well.
Brother Kurup said he probably has only celebrated his birthday two or three times in his life.  It was a very special evening.  I am grateful for special people here who help make our life more complete since we are so far away from home.

They brought a delicious White Chocolate Macadamia Nut cake. 
The evening was complete!

Our Little Trip to Japan if Only In Our Dreams

They certainly don't decorate for Christmas here like they do at home.  I haven't seen a Christmas tree yet and  it is almost the end of November.  We went to the Mall and I was secretly hoping to get some sense of Christmas, but this is about as much as we got.  There was a decorated train which takes children on a ride down the mall and back and a Toyland, but you have to pay to go in, so we couldn't see it.  It sounded like It's A Small World in Disneyland.

I am hoping that next week when we go to Singapore, I will see Christmas decorations.  I love Christmas so much with all the sights, sounds, smells and Spirit of Christ.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Special Moments This Week

We are going to miss Elder Lundahl-Wolford.  He has only been here a short while, but we have grown to love him as we do all of the Elders in our District. 
They are truly examples of Christ-like love, obedience and diligence. 
This young woman is Jessie.  She attends our English class each week and speaks English very well.  She is so delightful, we just love her.  She has been meeting with the missionaries, off and on, for a while, but is now taking the lessons again in our home.  She is from China, so she doesn't have much religious background. I keep thinking what it must be like to come from a country where Christianity is not practiced, and then begin learning something that you have never heard of before.  She has a lot of questions and hopefully she will study and pray as the missionaries have asked her to do.   Her husband has to go back to China regularly for work because he isn't allowed to work here, but he says he doesn't care if she learns about the church.  He is the one who invited all of the missionaries to a very nice Chinese Restaurant for dinner, before he went back to China.  He comes to English class when he is here and seems to like all of us. 

Steampot Farewell Dinner for Elder Lundahl-Wolford

For the steampot she served fishballs, meatballs, fish, prawns, scallops, various vegetables, mushrooms , tofu and noodles.  It is very delicious and definitely fresh.

Lily Bun is a member, who was very close to Elder Lundahl-Wolford, when he served in this area two years ago.  Her husband is not a member and works in East Malaysia, so only comes home for a week, every few months.  The saints here have challenges that none of us can even imagine, as they deal with employment, health, transportation, Sabbath on Friday, and so many other issues.  I marvel at their faith and how they love the missionaries.  She invited us, the Branch Mission Leader and the Elders and another family for a Steampot Dinner as a farewell to this wonderful Elder. 
He has touched many lives in the two years that he has served in Malaysia. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Time With Members Is One of My Favorite Things

Raymond and Naomi were baptized about a month ago.  They are so happy and faithful.  He has received the Aaronic Priesthood so he blesses the Sacrament each Sunday. 
They invited the Elders to their home for Family Home Evening, so we tagged along.   The Elders purpose was to teach this family how to conduct weekly FHE and they did such a great job with the lesson from the Book of Mormon about the 10 Commandments and a fun game. They had invited some family members to join and everyone participated in the lesson  and the game.   Even though we didn't understand all they said, you could tell that everyone really enjoyed themselves. 

After FHE was over, Naomi served us a traditional Ebon dinner (Ebon is a tribe from Eastern Malaysia).  I really didn't recognize much except the rice & hard boiled eggs, but I tried several things and it was quite tasty.  Some of their food is a little too spicy for me, so I have to be careful what I pick. 

Elder Hadley gave the boys Pokémon cards
and the little one was showing his cards to Elder Lamb.

                                                       The older brother is studying with the missionaries
                                                       so he can be baptized soon.

Another Day Another Story

On Sunday we got a text from a young man who was baptized in the JB Branch about a month ago.  He wanted to know if he and his girlfriend could take us to lunch and then come back to our apartment to watch a movie.  We were surprised that these young people would want to hang out with us, but we were thrilled. She has had a lot of health problems, but he said she always smiles when she is with us.  That really made our day. We went to lunch at a Chinese buffet and then came back to our apartment to watch a movie.  The problem is, the girl, does not speak English, only Mandarin, and it is hard to find a church movie in Mandarin.  We found one that worked, so we watched a couple of short movies and then had fruit which they had brought, and chocolate chip cookies.  This was new to them, so  Elder Lamb taught them how to dunk the cookies in milk. 
What a special and rewarding afternoon we had and because our mission call is member-leader support, we feel we were fulfilling our purpose.

I am so thankful for the amazing people who have come into our life
in these short three months. 
We feel so blessed to know them and to feel their love.