So I have a lot of pictures to share with you this time. It is the only way I can track and remember what we have done and where we have been.
A few general things to begin
As a follow-up on the last post where I included some of the different ways they have of saying things in Singapore/Malaysia, here are some signs you might find fun. The first one is in the parking garage at the Singapore airport. The other three are from Malaysia.
Singapore Airport at Christmas
These next pictures are for Hyde, Boston and Cade and any other Pokemon lovers in our family. For Christmas, the Singapore airport decorated in the Pokémon theme. Here are a few pictures. They even had a Christmas tree made from Pokémon stuffed animals.
We make a lot of trips to and from the airport. Here are so pictures of the road to the aiport that gives you an idea of what it looks like around Singapore.
Trip to Malaysia
The mission President and his wife scheduled us to go with them to West and East Malaysia so we could get to know the areas of the mission better, to see the apartments where some of the missionaries lived, and to do some apartment inspections. We also had a chance to help with the Christmas program President and Sister Simmons had put together and presented for each of the zones in the mission. We hit seven different cities and zones in ten days. We had a great trip and enjoyed seeing the different parts of the mission, meeting with the missionaries, seeing where they live, and also getting to know President and Sister Simmons better. We also met some wonderful members in each of the cities who were so nice and do so much for the missionaries and even helped us get around. We also had time to spend with some of the senior couples and it was nice to be able to get to know them better. They were very helpful in showing us around and helping us with the apartment inspections.
Kuala Lumpur-West Malaysia
We first flew to Kuala Lumpur in West Malaysia on a Thursday afternoon. If I recall correctly, it is the largest city in Malaysia and has some similarities to Singapore in that it is the center for much of Malaysia, has decent public transpiration (but not to the same level as Singapore) and is very large and is very diverse. Here are some pictures I took on the way from the airport to the place we stayed.
We stayed with Elder and Sister Patterson, the senior couple in Kuala Lumpur, who are serving a mission for the Public Affairs department of the church. Below are some pictures taken from their apartment on the 15th floor. They live in a suburb of Kuala Lumpur, but you can see how big the city and surrounding area is and see the lay of the land.
The Pattersons and another senior couple, the Colmans (serving a Humanitarian mission in Malaysia) took us downtown on the LRT (train). One thing we saw was the world famous Twin Towers (not the New York version). We then went to a very high end mall connected to the towers and walked around and ate.
The next day Sister Carol took us around to the missionary apartments so we could do some inspections. As expected, some were good and some were not so good. Sister Carol also helps us when we need to look for new apartments in West Malaysia. Since she is a real-estate agent, she knows the area and is great help not only in finding the apartments, but helping the missionaries in other ways. Then that evening, President and Sister Simmons presented their Christmas Program, including a white elephant gift exchange at the end. The program was great and it was fun to see how much fun the missionaries had with the gift exchange.
In Malaysia, one of the main modes of transpiration is the motor cycle, or scooter or Moto. You see all kinds of things that people use them for and do with them. You will see a whole family of 4-6 on one moto. We even saw one guy who had strapped one of the large umbrellas you see over the table at restaurants to his moto and was driving around. Another guy had a couple of propane tanks strapped to each side of the moto going down the road, probably making some kind of delivery. There are many other stories of what people do with the motos. Oh, and if you need bread, there is this guy who will deliver it to you:
One of the members from Ipoh (Brother Christopher) picked us up Saturday morning and drove us to Ipoh. What should have been a 2.5 hour drive, took us 5 hours with 5 of us and our luggage stuffed in his not so large car. It was a four day Muslim holiday and many people head to Ipoh and Penang (the next city on our journey) and so the roads were PACKED! We were suppose to take the train, but due to the holiday, there were no seats available. Lucky for us, one of Bro. Christopher’s businesses is a tour guide so he knows his way around and took some side roads and did what he could to get us there as fast as possible. Otherwise it would have taken even longer. We also had a chance to hear his conversion story which was quite amazing.
The first picture below was on the road to Ipoh and is a hill made of Sulphur that they mine. The second picture shows how they have mined part of the hill.
The next picture is a a “Car Wash” on the side of the road. If you look carefully, to the right of the tents there is a large black tank up in the air which holds the water for the car wash…no running water.
In Ipoh, Sister Chris was the member who not only took us around to inspect the missionary apartments, but also brought us dinner and provided the refreshments for the Christmas program that night. Another one of the great, dedicated members in Malaysia.
Brother Christopher found out that Sister Walker ate grapefruit every morning for breakfast, so he hooked her up with palmello which is suppose to be like a grapefruit but much larger and green. It turned out to not taste much like grapefruit and had a skin that was very Thick! But that was so thoughtful of him considering he gave his whole day and night to get us out of a bind and still remembered to do such a kind act!
After the Christmas program in Ipoh, which was bout 8 or 8:30pm, we loaded back up in Brother Christopher’s car and he drove us to Penang. Again, what should have been a 2 hour drive took us about 4.5 hours due to the holiday week-end traffic. Not only did he take us on some of the back roads but we also took the road shoulder, the other lane going the other direction and a few other adventures. Sister Walker was sitting in the back seat (3rd row) by herself (her choice) and every time we would hit a bump, she would go flying and would hit her head on the roof of the car. We all tried not to pay attention to the driving and prayed the Lord would watch over us as we were in his service.
We got to Penang about 1am Sunday morning. Sister Walker and I spoke that morning at 9am at the Penang branch. Considering the crazy trips that day and getting in late, the talks went pretty well. The members in Penang were very welcoming and we enjoyed meeting them. Below are a few pictures from our hotel room. Penang is an island off the cost of West Malaysia and is a destination for the Malaysian people for vacation
Sister Walker even got a banana split in the hotel restaurant. She even shared it with me after telling me that she really wanted one of her own because I eat them too fast and she does not get her share
Monday morning we left Penang and flew to East Malaysia and the city of Miri. Here are a few pictures from air as we were coming into East Malaysia. The second picture shows the palm tree groves that are all over Malaysia. They harvest palm oil from the fruit of these trees.
We stayed at the Marriot Resort in Miri and this is the view from our room. The resort and room were very nice and only cost about 105 Ringget or about $23.50
In Miri, we had another great member helping us get around to each of the missionary apartments. Sister Tracy was a great host and even took us to a restaurant she had been going to with her family since she was just a little girl. It must have been a family owned business because there were a couple of younger kids working there in the kitchen and waiting tables.
Sister Walker took a liking to this young lady who waited on our table. Sister Walker said something to her in Malay and she went away giggling and then proceeded to tell some women working there who also laughed.
One of the big things in Singapore and Malaysia this time of the year is Durian. It smells terrible and from what everyone said, it tastes terrible. But people still eat it and even have groups get together to eat it. There are signs on the busses and subway saying you can not bring durian on board. This is what it looks like. It has very sharp spikes or barbs on the outside.
Tuesday evening we flew from Miri to Sibu and landed with a full moon shining overhead.
Elder Harrison (senior missionary) picked us up at the airport and we stayed with Elder and Sister Moss for two nights. It was good to see them again and to spend time with them..
We arrived in Sibu in the middle of their Youth Conference. They have some great youth, many of which do not speak much English. President and Sister Simmons talked Wednesday morning at the Youth Conference and Sister Simmons asked Sister Walker to share an experience with the youth about always facing God and not the world. The youth and Sister Walker took a liking to each other (what did you expect?).
This picture was near the hotel where President and Sister Simmons stayed and is especially for my Mom since it is a statue of two swans.
Thursday morning we were suppose to fly from Sibu to Bintulu but I misread the itinerary and so we arrived at the airport about 10 minutes after our flight left. We had to call the Mosses who had dropped us off at the airport and have them come back to get us since there were no other flights to get us to Bintulu in a reasonable time. Elder Moss ended up driving us to Bintulu which is about a 3-3.5 hour drive. In the end it turned out to be a mixed blessing. We got to see the countryside and the Mosses got to visit and spend some good time with President and Sister Simmons. In Malaysia, they have what they call “long houses” where the family has owned the land for a long time and they keep building on rooms as the family grows. Then they will either live there and/or visit as a family and spend time together. This is good and bad…good that they spend time together as a family, but since they are quite far from the main cities, when members go to their long house, they generally do not go to church.
Click below to see a video of a long house up close(don’t worry about what is being said
Along our drive, we had to stop for gas at a Shell station and we got this picture of us by their Christmas tree. We also had our first experience with a “squat toilet”. We had heard about them and had seen them but not used one. There was no other choice, so we had to use it.
The road we were traveling on was quite busy and had a lot of busses and large trucks. I happened to get a picture of this truck hauling logs just before it swerved as we were passing it and we thought it was going to tip over on us or run us off the road.
These are some pictures from our hotel room and show how the old and the new mix together. In the middle of the green trees, you can see a couple wooden shacks that people live in surrounded by businesses, and even modern buildings.
This is the area where the church is (see below). Again, there is modern mixed with the old.
This picture shows a dad driving the moto with the mother in front of him and their two kids behind.
Friday, President and Sister Simmons returned to Singapore to pick up their children who flew in for the holidays and Sister Walker and I flew to Kuching. President and Sister Simmons had already visited Kuching and did the Christmas program and so Elder and Sister Wiser took us around to do apartment inspections. There were some of the better kept apartments and Elder and Sister Wiser do a great job of working with the missionaries to keep them well maintained, etc… One set of Elders even went all out with Christmas decorations.
Another example of the old mixed with the new.
The mall next to the hotel had a display (if you want to call it that). They said it was the largest maze made out of balloons. Not only did they have a maze, but also some Christmas decorations and displays. It was pretty amazing.
This was in the lobby of the hotel. It is pretty amazing how they get into Christmas in a country where there are so many Muslims. West Malaysia has more Muslims than does East Malaysia.
Singapore – Home, Sweet, Home
On Saturday morning we flew from Kuching back home to Singapore. We had a great trip, but it was good to get back to Singapore and familiar things.
More from Malaysia
The Chapels we visited in West and East Malaysia
Here are some of the baptismal fonts in the buildings in Malaysia. You do what you’ve got to do to bring people into the kingdom. Some are indoor, one was outdoors, some are permanent and one was portable.