NEW YEAR'S FIREWORKS IN SINGAPORE
NEW HOTELS FOR THE CASINO
WHAT'S ON TOP?A SHIP??
WE HAVE 8 MONTHS TO FIND OUTHappy New Year. We were able to be in Singapore for New Year's Eve and Day. We were able to stay up until midnight which we have not done for years but we wanted to see the fireworks display they had planned to welcome in the new year. It was pretty fantastic and so many people were out there with us. Kinda fun. We were there to renew our visas which we have to do every 90 days. It is always fun to visit the city and civilization but always nice to return home even if we always have a little culture shock returning to East Malaysia. Last week was also our 'hump' which means our mission is half way over. It is going so fast. We so enjoyed the smell of these trees. We were so lucky to be able to go to SIngapore during the holidays. I am sure the hotel paid big bucks for this tree and about 5 others like it that must have come a long ways to be here in the tropics. I have to say that for me it was the best part of the trip to smell these trees.
ELLEN BY A REAL CHRISTMAS TREE
BOY DID IT SMELL GOOD TO US!!!!
WOMAN SCAVENGINGThis week we have been able to make some visits to member's homes or work places. One is Sister Margaret who we visit at one of her massage businesses. She has a very strong testimony and at one time came to church but does not attend any more for various reasons. We are working with her to try to resolve some of her issues. Another person we visited is Sister Juliet and her family. We visit them with the district president who drives us. She is a strong member and attends meetings regularly but her husband is not a member. His name is Aw Yong and he is Chinese. He is very interested in the church but has a tobacco habit that he wants to overcome but needs help. We gave his name to the elders to work with as they have a 'stop smoking' program that seems to work and they can also teach him in his own language rather than through an interpreter like we do.
IN LITTLE INDIA
IN LITTLE INDIA
We started off this week with a long list of jobs we had to do and most of them are checked off. That is often what we do---make a list and go to work on it. One of the things we needed to do was make a visit to the blind school and we did that yesterday. This time when we visited the children were there.
The school is built in a 'U' shape with offices, classrooms, and dorms and the center is an open area which is covered so they can play protected from sun and rain.
There was one poor little girl, about 9 years old, who was new this term which started this week, and she was crying for her mother. She had never been away from home or without her mom. She is a day student so goes home every afternoon. I just wanted to give her a hug and reassurance but she doesn't know me or English. That would not have helped. She had one-on-one attention from a staff person.
In the open area was a music class of about 12 students in which the students were playing angklung, a native string instrument which is played by shaking it to cause a vibration and produce a tone. It is made of 2 or 3 bamboo tubes of specific pitch set in a bamboo frame. It is used in sets to play music for entertainment similar to playing handbells. The teacher was also sight impaired so was holding the sheet music about 3 inches from his nose to read it. It was very interesting to watch.
STUDENTS AT THE NATIONAL BLIND SCHOOL
IN THEIR MUSIC CLASS
PLAYING TRADITIONAL INSTRUMENTS
In another corner were two students who were using braillers to write answers to the test a teacher was giving them. They were about 8 or 9 years old and they were fast. This school is for primary school age children and they will go to a regular school when they are old enough. We are helping them by providing additional braillers, supplies to teach basket weaving, and lockers for the dorms. This is one of our small projects or what we call a local initiative.
STUDENTS USING BRAILLERS
These students are learning to use braillers and 'read' what they have written to see if it is correct. We are going to purchase about 10 more braillers for the school. They are very expensive, about 2300 ringetts or about 800 usd each. They are so happy. They will not have to wait to use one and waste so much time of their day. This school has produced Doctors, Lawyers and teachers!! The kids really excel in this school so we are glad to help them excel even more.
We head for Miri tomorrow for a mission conference with the area president. The Wednesday we are back over at Lahad Datu for more work on the water project there and we will celebrate Ellen's Bday there. The next week it is to Sandakan to investigate another water project for 2010. Then the next week to Kuching to help the members of the three branches there start the water project for 2 kampongs there.
We miss all of you and cherish your notes.
We got a lot of Christmas mail this week. We loved it!!!
Thanks so much to all of you that went to the extra effort to include us in your mailings.