This post is going to be kind of long since it has been quite long since we posted anything and a lot has happened.
Before I talk about Singapore, I wanted to post a couple more pictures from the MTC.
Thanks, Diane, for taking us to the MTC. It was a rainy day but it was nice to finally get to the MTC after months of anticipation. Thank You, Diane!! And thanks to everyone who let us stay with you while we were in Utah.
Travel to Singapore
We have been in Singapore for one week now and we are settling in and it seems like we have been here longer. President and Sister Simmons, the mission office staff and the missionaries have made us feel right at home. We have been so busy that we have not seen any of the sights around the city other than while driving by as we are going from home to the mission office and to and from the airport (more on this later). We lived out of suitcases for 50 days before being able to put things away here and so that makes it seem more like home.
We left Salt Lake City on November 9th and had a 2 hour flight to LA. We then had a 4 hour layover in LA and then a 15.5 hour flight to Hong Kong. We had a 2 hour layover in Hong Kong before flying 4 hours to Singapore.
We were surprised to find a Popeye’s Chicken in the Hong Kong airport.
This is the first sight of land going from Hong Kong to Singapore. I think it is an island off the coast of West Malaysia
Here are a couple pictures as we were landing in Singapore. Singapore is an island and is very green, clean and very beautiful.
After leaving Salt Lake City at 7:15pm on Monday, November 9th, we arrived in Singapore at 1:30PM on Wednesday, November 11th. Singapore is 13 hours ahead of Utah. One side note: we were told that a few Elders have go on a direct flight on United when they go home and they get home to Salt Lake City 15 minutes before they left Singapore.
This is President and Sister Simmons (the mission president and his wife) who met us at the airport. We enjoyed getting to know them over lunch at the airport.
After we left the Singapore airport, we went to the mission office and met the rest of the staff there.
Elder and Sister Foo finish their service mission in January and we will be taking over their responsibilities plus a few from Elder and Sister Kunz (more on that later). Elder and Sister Kunz are from Idaho near Victor. Elder and Sister Foo are from Singapore. President and Sister Simmons came on their mission from Virginia.
The picture below is of the office where we will be working once the Foo’s finish their mission.
I (Elder Walker) will be taking care of Housing, Vehicles and driving the mission van to transport missionaries to and from the airport plus any other transport required while missionaries are here from Malaysia etc. Sister Walker will be handling the referrals, mission cell phone, baptismal records, correspondence etc. This past week and next we are holding 4 zone conferences here in Singapore so there are a lot of special “projects” for Sister and President Simmons we have been helping with. This has included helping prepare and serve food, creating documents and many other tasks.
One of the other assignments we have is to be the care takers and hosts at Pasir Panjang while living there.. Pasir Panjang is a 6 bedroom, 6 bathroom, 3 living area home with it’s own laundry room, kitchen and dining room. We have one of the bedrooms, one of the living areas and bathrooms that are all connected and private to ourselves. The other bedrooms are used to house the missionaries when they come and leave the mission as well as when they come in for zone conferences or other needs. On the property is also another building used as the chapel for two Singapore wards and a building with classrooms. This past week and this coming week we have had and will have zone conferences. They bring in two zones at a time for three days and two nights, which means we have 20 to 27 Elders staying here at any one time during zone conferences. We are also responsible to have food for breakfast for the missionaries while they stay here. It is usually just cold cereal and snacks but if you know Sister Walker, she has to cook them a little something extra now and then. The other night she made brownies and one morning she made a breakfast casserole that Diane Jolley had made for us when we were staying at her house. Although it is a lot of work, it gives us a chance to get to know the missionaries and to feel of their spirit…it has its up sides.
Here is a picture of the property from the front.
The building on the right is used for church meeting. The small building on the left has classrooms.
The large building on the left are apartments
This is the home (bed and breakfast) where we live and the missionaries stay at when they come and go, complete with Boise State Blue colored badminton / basketball court.. It is located behind the large building in the picture above.
Living Room and Dining Room
One of the bedrooms used by the missionaries (5-6 per room)
Our living room
The wards also hold “Linger Longer” and here on the third Sunday of each month along with other activities.
The Laundry Room
Here is a link to an article from the Church’s News Room site that tells more about Pasir Panjang.
Singapore and Mission
Singapore is very nice. You can’t find everything we have in the states but you can get pretty close. You just need to know where to go and/or look around at the different stores since they are everywhere. Singapore is known for its food and I can say that there are places to eat everywhere you turn and you can find anything from hamburgers to Chinese food, to Indian food to Indonesian BBQ and even American BBQ. We have a small Chinese outdoor restaurant just down the street from us that we have really grown to like. The portions are good size and the price is reasonable. At many other eating places the prices are even better. One thing I have not got used to yet is the milk. It is from Australia and I don’t know what they feed those cows but the milk does not taste like that at home. Sister Walker has even been able to find grapefruit and her cashews just like the ones at Costco.
Because Singapore has so many people on a small island, they try to discourage people from buying cars. If you buy a car, you not only pay for the car but you have to buy a certificate that will cost you 1-2 times the cost of the car. Then, the car can only be 10 years old at which time you have to sell it outside the country or buy the certificate again (just like buying the car all over). There are still plenty of cars and many are BMWs, Audi’s, Lexus’, Mercedes, etc. I have even seen several Maserati's and other high end cars. There are also tons of motorcycles that ride the lines between the lanes of traffic and weave in and out of traffic. It scares Sister Walker to death. Singapore has a fantastic public transportation system made up of Taxis (Iots of them), busses and a subway system called the SMRT/MRT that goes all over the city. Below are a couple pictures that were taken near the center of one of the subway stops looking each way. The doors to get on the train must stretch 100 feet or so.
Sister Walker and I have taken the MRT to several places around town to buy food and other things and to eat. Sister Walker even took the MRT and bus from the house to the office one day all by herself. Another day, we both took the MRT and bus home because another senior couple needed the mission van. It took us about 40 minutes to get home which is about 15 minutes longer than driving.
I mentioned above that I was taking over some of the responsibilities of Elder Kunz, one of which is to drive the mission van. What makes it most interesting is that in Singapore they drive on the left side of the road. If missionaries come in from the MTC or leave to go home, we pick them up and take them to the airport. If there is a Sister Missionary, Sister Walker has to come as well. We have also had some missionaries come to Singapore to see the doctor and they stay at Pasir Panjang with us and we transport them sometimes and sometimes they take the MRT.
Well that is plenty for this week. We will try to do a better job in the future making updates each week (as time allows). Write us a comment on the blog if you have any questions.