Another busy week in Sabah. We are coming up on the 53rd anniversary of Malaysia's independence which is the 31st. A national holiday, our branch has a picnic planned at the beach. They start the picnic at 9 AM and finish shortly after noon in order to avoid the heat of the day. Usually we have a potluck but that has not been announced yet. I am still planning to take a large pot of spaghetti.
Young orang'tan at the refuge near Sandakan
Another one at the refuge
Monday we had family home evening at Sister Helen Enobling's home with her 8 children, aged 3 months to 17 years. It is fun to be around so many kids. They dote on the baby girl who is held by someone at all times. She is so cute and fat with Chinese eyes and black hair. First we had dinner---brown noodles and white noodles. Our lesson was on priesthood blessings and at the end of the lesson baby had a blessing as she is having some difficulty with asthma. We played "Don't Eat Pete" which they all loved---all that candy.
Tuesday evening we visited with Brother Francis and his wife Susan who were baptized in July. We taught a new member lesson on temples and family history. I had them filling out pedigree charts in English, Malay, and Chinese. They had dinner for us and as always, we eat too much. They hand us a plate of rice and ask us to dish up from plates of barbecued pork, fried chicken with mayonnaise, tofu with sausage, stir-fried cabbage with sausage, and a salad of chopped apples, cucumbers, tomatoes, and chili. If you eat it all they put more rice on your plate and then the host starts dishing up more food for us to eat. We forget to leave food on our plate to show that we are full. We both were taught to clean up our plates.
Wednesday we visited Brother Francis Simon, a counselor in our branch presidency whose daughter, Carolyn, is preparing to be baptized. Carolyn didn't come. :( Again, dinner was served and this time Pizza Hut and soda. We had a nice visit with Brother Francis and his daughter-in-law, Weda, who speaks only Indonesian. She is a member of the church but not active because she works on Sunday. She has a small vegetable market. We encouraged her to come to church with her 3 children and promised her that she would be blessed if she demonstrated her faith and attended church.
Croc at the farm---so fat and lazy that they don't even move when their food is tossed to them.
Early this morning we flew to Sandakan where we have a wheelchair hand-over in the morning. We came a day early so we could have a day to play. Every time we come here we are in a great big hurry and never have time to see some of the things people come here to see. One of those places is Sepilok, an orangutan refuge/rehabilitation center. We arrived by 10 AM, in time to watch the feeding of the orangutans. There are also babies there. These are orangutans that have been taken as pets or orphaned. They are raised and trained to take care of themselves as they would in the wild and then taken deep into the rain forest and released. It is quite a set-up.
We also visited a crocodile farm. There are many crocodiles here. We have seen a few in the wild and they do attack and kill and eat people occasionally. They are estuary crocs and they are huge. There were so many there---all sizes and colors; black and white (actually the white ones are yellow and black) and the more common, gray crocs. We watched a couple of fellows in a small pond with a 12 food croc armed with bamboo poles and they were manhandling the critter. There was music broadcast over the loudspeakers---"Good, Bad, and the Ugly"---and we both chuckled. We also fed bananas to pig-tailed macaques and gray macaques. I was most impressed with the crocs and how big they are.
|OUR HOTEL IN SANDAKAN---we have such a tough lfe|
Friday we attended the handover for wheelchairs in Sandakan. We were fortunate enough to have the Elders and the Branch Pres there. One of the children that got a wheelchair is 7 years old and has been carried by her mother all of her life. What a huge relief for that mom.
|THE SEVEN YEAR OLD AND HER MOTHER|
|SANDAKAN HANDOVER WITH CHESHIRE HOMES REPRESENTATIVES AND RECIPIENTS|
Friday we flew to Tawau. There was a huge storm Friday night that woke us up and we were without power all that morning because the basement was flooded as were other parts of town. So no air-con, no tv, no computer, no elevators, no workout ...wow we are sure dependent on electricity. That afternoon we attended the handover for Tawau. At both handovers we were pleased to hear stories of the much needed relief for these families that received wheelchairs for their disabled loved ones.
One of the Elders told us that they are teaching an investigator right now who had heard of our church because of the humanitarian work that we have been doing in that area. What a reward for us!
We got a funny call in our room from one of the oragninizers that told us that we would be picked up a different time than originally agreed as we were not to arrive until most of the other guest were there as we are VIP's.That is so strange to us still to be treated that way but it will be missed as we have been assured by our kids that the VIP treatment is over when we hit the airport on September 21.
We have now probably completed the last of our trips. That brings the total trips to 35 in the last 18 months, 82 separate flights. We have spent a large amount of our mission in the air or in the jungle. Many of the stewardesses and immigration people know our faces and names. Kind of weird.
|THE BEAUTIFUL TREES WE WILL MISS|
|THE ELDERS IN TAWAU AND BRANCH PRES LIEW|
We have really gained a new perspective on life and the world we live in. We have a very special appreciation for the poor and needy. We have only helped a few in a place where so many are in need. That sensitivity has changed how we feel about the poor and needy all over the world and yes just across our borders. We have gotten to know these people by sharing meals and good times and celebrations and good fellowship with them. We have been in their homes, taught them and they have taught us. We have learned patience and tolerance, and kindness. We have learned more about humility and not the kind that just comes from being less fortunate. We have witnessed respect daily. We have felt in our hearts the strong spirit of love from their hearts. We have felt a spiritual connection. We stand in awe at their seemingly natural charity which we see evidence of every day in just normal life. They are so willing to give and yet they have so little.
|ELDER LEAVITT EATING AT DEVI'S CURRY HOUSE WITH FINGERS OFF OF BANANA LEAF|
|SUNRISE OVER MT KINABALU FROM OUR APT.|
The members here have such strong conviction and I feel that part of that has to do with the fact they have so little....so little in the form of distractions. Is that it? I am not sure but it has been our privilege and blessing to be with such a happy people. Happy because they truly have Christ-like charity which then gives them their strong faith in Jesus Christ. How is that possible to have such a strong sense of charity and really very little to give? Maybe because of what they are willing to give? Their time and hearts? I don't know the answer but feel so blessed that they shared with us a small part of their lives and happiness.
|game of "DON'T EAT PETE" with Gary's family...new converts|
|BRAND NEW SIS HOWARD FROM SNOQUALIMIE, BRO ADRIAN..BRANCH MISSION LEADER|
|SIS ZAFAR..FROM PAKISTAN|
|left to right...ORIENS..BINTULU, US, ERICKSONS..CES , BUDGES..BINTULU (CAME JUST BEFORE US , LEFT LAST WEEK FOR HOME)|
This blog has been a very nice blessing in our mission life to be able to share with all of our friends and family our experiences as we have had them. Thanks Lauralee for insisting that we do this and helping us get it going.
Till We meet...till we meet..........Bill & Ellen