It has been another busy couple of weeks here in Singapore. That is why it has been a couple weeks since the last post. It may even be longer for the next post since we leave Thursday for a 10 day trip around Malaysia. We will be visiting the missionaries in some of the larger cities in West and East Malaysia and will also be inspecting their apartments (part of my job as housing coordinator). It will also give us a chance to get oriented to the other parts of the mission and where the missionaries live so Elder Walker can better manage the housing. We are excited but not sure what to expect based on what some of the missionaries have told us. Some parts of Malaysia are not as developed as Singapore, so we will let you know how it goes.
Sister Walker has been doing mounds of laundry after finishing the last week of Zone Conferences. She not only washed the sheets but also the blankets from all the beds and aired out the pillows. I’m sure the next group of missionaries coming in will appreciate all she does to keep things clean and fresh…especially since the next group we host will be new sister missionaries coming to the mission. Sister Walker also helped with the food for the last two Zone Conferences. She cooked mashed and scalloped potatoes, a couple different cakes, fixed a green salad and helped with several other items and helped serve the missionaries. This was all in addition to helping with and learning her responsibilities in the mission office. The missionaries loved, loved, loved her scalloped potatoes and cakes!!!! There were four zone conferences in two consecutive weeks and the mission fed them a Thanksgiving Dinner at each conference with turkey (order cooked from a local company), stuffing and all the trimmings. Sister Walker helped the first week but the sisters doing the dinner were out of town the second week, so Sister Walker took over the duties and did a fantastic job. We also had a Thanksgiving dinner at the Senior Missionary Conference this week so we have had our fill of Thanksgiving dinners (5 in 3 weeks).
Elder Walker has been making more trips to the airport and working on projects for Sister Simmons. She has had him working on a mission recipe book that has recipes turned in by many of the missionaries in the mission along with tips for the missionaries for mission tips, health and safety tips and other general items. Most of the recipes had been entered in MS Word, but was not formatted to Elder Walker’s liking, so he reformatted the whole thing plus added many items as they came in from Sister Simmons. He just finished it yesterday and sent it off with one of the senior couples to get printed.
Elder Walker also created a bookmark that will be handed out to members throughout the mission with a challenge to read the Book of Mormon. It is an idea taken from a talk given by Elder Curtis in the last General Conference. Here is the front and back of the bookmark. We also had it translated into Malay.
One night we went to the local Warehouse Club (like Costco) and since it was late, we decided to go to Popeye’s to eat. They did not have Red Beans and Rice so Sister Walker got the “Cajun Rice”. Here is a picture of it….corn and all!!
What is in a Word?
They have different terms for things here in Singapore. For example, an overpass is not an overpass…it is a Flyover. The onramp to the freeway is a “slip road”. On the subway (MRT), they don’t say, “Watch out for the gap” (space between the subway car and the platform)…they say “mind the gap”. The sign below comes from the gas station across the street. I believe it is saying you can not have a lit cigarette there.
Sister Walker’s Washing Buddy
Sister Walker has been doing a lot (and I mean A LOT) of laundry lately after the missionaries left from Zone Conference. She did notice one bright spot about it though. There is a Kingfisher Bird like the one below that sings to her outside the laundry window as she is doing the laundry.
The weekend before last, we went to Little India with Elder and Sister Kunz on our day off. It is an area of Singapore where they have all kinds of shops and places to eat and are centered around India. The two pictures below were taken in the food court / market.
The is the entrance to Little India. You can’t miss the fact that you are entering Little India and they also have decorations above the street going on beyond this road.
Malls, Malls and Bigger Malls
The malls here are crazy! There is one at almost all of the MRT (subway) stops and they are huge. This is one just a few stops from the Mission Office where we go sometimes for lunch. This is the center court but there is much more around this and below this. They have so many stores you know about and many you have never heard of. And every mall has one or more food courts and grocery stores (yes, in the malls).
On the Third Sunday of each month, our ward has a “Linger Longer” after church in our home (just next to the church). All the members bring a dish and they put them out on tables and everyone helps themselves. It was fun getting to know many of the ward members and sampling some of their food. There was not too much that was very different that we did not try, which was good. Sister Walker decided she does not like Jack Fruit (it was hard for her to get pass the smell).
We had a missionary, Elder Asah from Malaysia, who is serving in Malaysia, come stay with us for about a week. He had one eye that was crossed (looking inward, lazy eye) and had to have surgery. Being from Malaysia and a family that does not have much money, he had never been to the doctor before, let alone being sedated and having surgery. The surgery was a success and much to his delight, he was able to return to his area. He and his brother are the only members of the church in their family and his brother is no longer active. Elder Asah joined the church at age 14, after he saw how it changed his cousin’s life. He is a good missionary and very humble. Sister Walker enjoyed spoiling him by fixing him breakfast and we took him out to eat a few times.
Lots of Trees and Shrubs in Singapore
This is a picture taken in front of the Stake Center / Mission Office looking down the street. This is what most of the streets look like with lots of trees and shrubs. Since it rains so much, things are very green.
Last weekend we took the MRT to Harbor Front and Vivo City mall and looked around and did some shopping. Vivo City is the largest mall in Singapore with 1,500,000 square feet of floor space, nearly 200 places to eat and hundreds of stores and other attractions. Sister Walker found this restaurant and couldn’t resist having her picture taken in front of the sign. We need to go back another time to see how “Louisiana” their food really is.
After the Zone Conferences for the younger Elders and Sisters, we had a conference for the Senior Couples in Singapore. Outside of the office staff, all of the senior couples serve in parts of Malaysia. We had dinner and an activity on Tuesday evening and training on Wednesday. Below is a picture of the group and below that are some pictures of the activity.
They really go all out to celebrate Christmas in Singapore. Here are a few pictures of the downtown area we went to Tuesday night with the other senior couples.
One of the malls in the area sets up a Christmas display and at 7pm every night, it SNOWS!! It is actually bubbles that they blow up in the air to make it look like snow. Little kids were having a blast putting the bubbles all over themselves. One family even put bubbles all over one child so he looked like a snowman.
We had fun standing in it for a while but the bubbles got all over you (just like snow).
Here is another picture of the inside of one of the malls we walked through and their Christmas decorations.
Corey and Amber sent us our first package. It cost a fortune to send this little bit even in a flat-rate box, so don’t think you all need to send anything. They did send us a few things we have not been able to find here….German Chocolate cake mix, sweetened shredded coconut and grapefruit spoons. THANKS!!
A Night in Bethlehem
Every year for about the last 10 years, the Singapore Stake has put on a live re-enactment of the birth of the Savior and invites anyone in the area to some to see it. We went Friday night and thought it was very nice. Sister Walker had a young lady she met at the Croc store who was suppose to come but ended up sick and could not make it. We hope she will be able to talk to the missionaries soon. She has already been to the mission home and met everyone there. They do a great job with pass-along cards and signs out front of the Stake Center to get people out. Here are pictures of the 6 rooms they took us through. I was impressed by how many youth from the Stake were in the set-up and preparation, scenes and helping that night.