Sunday, August 18, 2013

Roller Coaster Ride

WOW!  We have had such a final emotional week.  I have spent most of the last seven days in tears.  It is so hard, much harder than I ever imagined to say good-bye to these wonderful people in Kota Kinabalu.  I seem to be in tears almost every minute.  There will be a big hole in my heart when we leave.

On Monday we had a special family home evening with the branches at branch president Ng's house.  They had a great meal and then we had a karaoke.  It was kinda of fun singing the "oldies".  Everyone got involved.  Lots of laughing and singing:
                                                Sis. Ivory doing a great job singing
Front:  Eder, S/E Read, Mao, Sis. Dorcas.  Back Row:  President Ng, Bro. Wong, Sis. Annie and Sis. Susan
Our last district meeting with the great elders serving in KK:  Bro. Tadius (former missionary, just visiting district meeting, mostly for the food I think.  He is so great!  I love him to pieces); Elder Johnson, Elder Jahali, Elder Chan, Elder Loke, Elder Gaultier and Elder LaFontaine.
Sis. Josie had me come to her home Wednesday and showed me how to make her famous 30 egg cake.  She even gave me the secret recipe because I am leaving Sabah and promised not to share it with anyone in Malaysia.  We made a smaller version, only 20 eggs in this cake.  It was delicious.
Elder and Sister Allen arrived in KK on Friday night.  So happy to have them here safely.  They got diverted in Hong Kong because of a large typhoon.  But they finally made it to KK.  YAHOO!  A great couple and we have had to work hard and fast in the short time we have together.

Saturday night the branches had a combined activity to say good bye to us and to say hello to the Allen's.  It was so much fun!  The branches really went to a lot of work for the night. They were all encouraged to wear their native tribal dress. 
                                             Little Brianna in her native Kadasun dress
                                      Sis. Faralina and her brother Andriano in their native dress.
                                                               Sis. Lillian
                                                           Sis. Jannifer
                              Sis. Read with Sis. Wendy, Sis. Lisa, Sis. Helen and Sis. Verronica
 Sis. Ervinna and her son Vincent.  She made her beautiful skirt.  All the artwork is beaded.
One of my most favorite sisters -- Sis. Rusalin.  I love her so much.  She is holding baby Emily and I am holding her daughter Jeanette.  Jeanette just wanted me to hold her and hold her all night.  I loved it.
They dressed Elder Read up in some native costume.  Looks Sharp don't you think.  We each got a T-shirt among many many other gifts.  
                   A large group of party attenders including the elders and other fine young men
This is the great Chua family.  They are such a golden family and so faithful and pioneers of the Malaysia Church.  LtoR:  Ching, Vivi, Maylin, S/E Read, Bro. Chua, Stenley in the back and Alpheus in the front.  They are so great.  Love them all.
                                                    A big group hug and group cry.  
We also had to talk in KK1 sacrament meeting today on the topic of service.  It has seemed like we have spent this whole week running running running.  Tomorrow we have a lot of appointments and places to visit with the Allen's so we can get them all taken care of.  

Our plane arrives in Salt Lake City on August 22 at 2:28 pm.  We are coming on Delta Airlines on flight #2053 from Los Angeles, terminal 2.  It shouldn't be too long a flight as we leave Singapore at 5:15 am and arrive in SLC at 2:28 -- that's only about a 9 hour flight.  Not too bad don't you think.  You are all welcome to come if you want.  

We have loved our 18 months in KK and we are so thankful we have had the opportunity to be here.  We have learned more than we have taught, we have been served more than we have served, and we have been loved more than we have loved.  It has been quite the journey, but we have had much joy in our journey.  We can never be the same people we were when we left.  God has changed our hearts and lives and we have been changed for good.  Thank you all for your support and prayers and love.  We couldn't have done it without you.  A special thank you to our wonderful children and grandchildren who have supported us and been there to take care of everything we left behind.  We haven't had any worries about our home or finances or anything at all thanks to them.  We owe them so much for making it possible for us to serve.  We have been so blessed with the wonderful children, including children-in-law, and grandchildren.  Our terrific sisters and brothers have also been there to support and help in so many ways also.  Also, friends and ward members and so many others we can't name them all have all pitched in to make it possible for us to serve.  A great big Malaysian TERIMA KASIH! to everyone.  We will see you all very very soon now.  We will give our report in the Roy 30th ward at 11 am on Sunday Aug. 25.  Address:  3300 West 6000 So. in Roy. Hope all blog readers can come.  Lunch afterwards at our home.  WE LOVE YOU ALL!
Sampai Jumpa Lagi!  E/S Read

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Trains and YSA

The time really is flying by now and I spend a lot of sleeping time thinking of things that need to be done before we go and sometimes it is just so overwhelming.  I don't know if we'll be able to finish everything on our "Things To Do" list, but we will try.  The Allen's will inherit a lot of work, so they will hit the ground running.

This week we took a trip on the North Borneo Railway.  It was on a very old steam engine train.  There were actually workers whose job it was to keep the furnace filled with the chopped wood to make the steam to make the wheels on the train go round and round.  We went with Elder and Sister Crookston who came over from Sandakan.
                                                                The Steam Engine

                                             The Crookston's and Read's on the train.

The view of our railroad car.  It was very nice inside.  Each couple had their own table and each table was set with wonderful china and glasses.  Kinda like the tiffin style.  We had a continental breakfast of different pastires and juices when we first got on.  The train made a stop at the town of Kinarut where we visited a Chinese Temple.

They had a lot of these statues in different poses.  We thought this one was interesting.  On the way home we were served a four course lunch that was great.  It was a fun way to spend the day.

On the 8th, 9th and 10th we attended the East Malaysia Young Single Adult Convention at the Borneo Paradise Beach Hotel.  There were about 38 YSA's and about 18 adults.  We had a terrificly good time.
 There were workshops on learning to be a teacher, preparing and bearing your testimony, and sacrifice.
We also learned to dance.  Elder and Sister Vaughn were the instructors and taught the YSA to do the Cha Cha Cha and some line dances.  Everyone got involved and learned some new dance steps and some of them even held hands while they danced.  Amazing!  Maybe there is hope for marriage among them yet.
 We also put together some hygiene kits together for a Children's Government Home that takes care of children from the age of newborn to 18 years.
We had an activity where the YSA had to work their way along a rope with many detours and deadends blindfolded.  There were people stationed along the way who were either trying to help them reach the finish line or they were trying to keep them from reaching the finish.  The YSA really loved this activity.  They eventually all found their way, but there were a lot of life lessons they could learn along the way.
 Their closing activity was to paint a banner for the convention and they each put their handprint on it.  They did really well in not getting the paint all over the floor, themselves or each other.
The senior couples at the YSA Conference.  Everyone had such a great time.  All the hard work and preparation really paid off.

Our last full week here is really jam packed all ready!  The Allen's will arrive on Wendesday or Thursday and I have so much to do to get everything ready for them.  We are really starting to get more and more anxious every day now and we are also getting a little sadder every day that we will soon be leaving.  Such bittersweet feelings.

This is about your last chance to drop us a line and let us know if you remember us and if you have liked reading our blog.  We will be reporting on our Mission  Aug. 25 at 11:00 am in the Roy 30th Ward building at 3300 West 6000 So.  We would really like to invite everyone to come.  We have missed you all so much and would really like to see you there.  And of course, there will be a lunch after.   Please Come!  See you soon!   E/S Read

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Project Closing

Hello Again All -- We have had a very busy week.  It seems like things are really starting to speed up now with just a few days left.  On Tuesday we had our weekly district meeting.  It was the last meeting with the same district as it was transfer day again on Wednesday/Thursday.  I think I've mentioned before how much I hate transfer day.  This was our district at our last meeting together:
Back Row:  Elder Kong who was transferred to Singapore (he needs to have knee surgery so he will be in Singapore for a while); Elder Johnson, who gets to stay in KK; Sis. Noorda who is transferring to Miri; Sis. Rhodes who is transferring to Morgan, UT - home; Elder Rodriguez who is transferring to Singapore; and Elder Loke who also gets to stay in KK.  What a neat bunch of missionaries.  We love them all so much.

We have a young single adult in our branch who was studying in KL when she had an automobile accident about 6 months ago.  She was in the hospital in KL for about 6 weeks and then she finally made it back to KK to stay with her mom and family.  She still hasn't learned to walk again.  She desperately needs to go to PT.  In the meantime, LDSCharities provided her with a wheel chair.  It was her birthday last Sunday night so everyone went for her birthday and food.
That is Stellica in the wheel chair holding her birthday cake -- the famous 30 egg chocolate cake.  Around her are her sister Ivory, her sister Ebony, her brother Jacob, her mother Dorcas and her Granmother.

On Saturday morning we woke up to heavy rainfall.  We usually get rainfall in the afternoon and evening, not too often in the morning.  I was disappointed because Saturday was the day of our project and ceremony with the deaf society.  We were supposed to be painting outdoor play equipment.  I just prayed and prayed for the rain to stop by 8:30 so we could still do our project.  The branch members met at the church at 8:00 am so we could car pool to the deaf society.  And, by 8:30 it had stopped raining and the sun came out.  YIPPEE.  We could do our project if things weren't too soggy.  We all piled in cars and off we went.
 These members are working on sanding and painting the slide.
 The elders mostly worked on sanding and painting the swings.  Can you see the big puddles of water around the swings?  The ground was soaked and soggy.
We were all a little muddy besides covered with paint, but everyone really did enjoy themselves.
This is the tire painting crew.  The society had about 20 - 30 tires which the kids would play in and around and on and under.  The smaller children really enjoyed painting the tires -- with some supervision of course.

After the painting, we had a small ceremony. The press was invited, the deaf children and families were invited, and some of the board members of the deaf society came.
Ben made a speech and talked about the work that LDS Charities does throughout the world.  He mentioned how LDSC is the welfare/humanitarian arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Branch President Sebastian also said a few words as did the President of the Deaf Society.  On the stage with Ben are some of the gifts which LDSC presented:  toys, games, books, poster rack, pots and pans, school supplies, hygiene kits, backpacks, etc. etc.

                                         They also needed a new water fountain and a new TV.
After the ceremony everyone had something to eat:
 Sis. Josie was hired to be the caterer.  She did a really great job.  (No chocolate cake though -- just cupcakes)
                  This is Stenley Chua, Kelly, Vivianna Chua, and Faralia.  They were a great help.
                          Left to right:  Sis. A Ling, Sis. Rusaliah, Sis. Alice, Sis. Josie and Sis. Dorcas.
We were so pleased with the turn out.  We had planned on maybe having 60 including the guests of the deaf society, but we ended up with over 80.  I was so worried about the food, but Sis. Josie kept assuring me there would be plenty.  And she was right.  We fed the 5000 and had some left over.  The Lord was really with us for our project.  There were four newspapers represented at the ceremony.  They all interviewed Elder Read and took pictures.  This morning, we were in at least 3 of the newspapers.  One had a three column write up with a black/white picture and one had a 3 column right up with a full color picture.  Ben had prepared a press release in advance so that helped with the write ups.  They were all very favorable to the church and gave the church some great publicty and coverage to the KK area.  It was GREAT.

Afterwards we had two baptisms that night.  Bro. Riz (pronounced Reese) and Bro. Leonior
                                              Bro. Riz with Elder Johnson and Elder Loke.
                                                    Bro. Leonior with Elder Loke
Everything about our project day was wonderful, from beginning to baptism ending.  It's days like these that you can see the Lord's hand in your work and you can feel good that you had a very very small part in it.

Drop us a line.  You are running out of time if you haven't ever done so.  We want to hear from everyone.  We love and miss you all.   E/S Read

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Greetings to everyone -- we were busy this week, but we didn't have many photo ops.  We have been staying around the apartment more trying to wrap up projects and to get the apartment ready for the Allen's when they come in three weeks.  Last week when we looked out our window, we saw this beautiful eagle soaring on the wind stream:
Not a very good picture, but he was very large and so beautiful.  He wasn't as large as an American eagle, but he was right up there.  And since we are on the 14th floor, he was soaring past our window and gave us a real 'eagle's eye' view.  Sorry.

While we were driving to town one day, this motorcycle guy cut in front of us.  Motorcycles are always cutting in front and literally drive anywhere they want.  But we were intrigued by the basket load of rolls he was carrying on the back of his motorcycle.  They looked so good!  I wanted to follow him to see where he was going to take them, but Ben wouldn't do it.

  Right now in Sabah there is a very critical shortage of diesel fuel.  You read all kinds of explanations of why this is happening in the paper.  Apparently, the government contracts with the diesel fuel manufacturers to provide so much diesel fuel for sale each month.  The last few months, the government has guessed wrong on how much diesel will be needed and the diesel gets to be in very very low supply during the last few days of the month.  This month, the shortage started sooner than usual.  As a result
 there are these massive traffic jams of people trying to get into the gas stations to buy the diesel.  This line up was approximately a half a mile long.  And once you got into the station
you faced this chaos of trying to get to a pump to buy the diesel.  Once at the pump you were only allowed to buy Rm50 worth of gas.  That would be about 10 gallons.  We noticed that the only stations that seemed to have the huge back ups were the Shell stations.  A little further down the road, about 1/4 of a mile, is a Petronas station with no lines.  We know Petronas sells diesel because we buy our regular gasoline at a Petronas station and there is a diesel hose next to every regular hose.  We think the Petronas stations must have run out of diesel earlier and put up a 'No Diesel' sign.  The district president was telling us that he got in line early in the morning the other day and still had to wait for an hour in order to get diesel.  And there are still 3 more days to go in July.  It's crazy!

We took a drive to the town of Tuaran where we have a project in the works.  This project seems to be having more problems than Carter has pills.  It was supposed to be done and over with by May 31.  I may have mentioned it before, it is a project with the Blind Society.  We were invited to their fund raising dinner a couple of weeks ago. We are still struggling trying to get this project moving forward.  The only thing they have accomplished so far is to have new shelves built for the baskets they make there:
 The shelves are nice and sturdy and a whole lot bettr than what was there before.  They make beautiful baskets out of this rattan:
They are one of the few basket weavers who still use real rattan.  Rattan is getting harder and harder to find.  We are also working with them trying to help them refurbish an old mushroom house they have on their grounds.  When we submitted the project for approval, we had a bid to repair the mushroom house from a local contractor.  When it came time for him to refurbish the mushroom house he said "Sorry.  I can't do it for that amount of money" and left us stranded.  The blind society has been trying to find another contractor but with no luck.  Everyone wants more money that we had budgeted.  We took one of our members, Garry, to look at the project to see if he could do it.  This is the mushroom house that needs to be refurbished:
 Quite sad isn't it.  It keeps getting in worse and worse condition because it needs help!  This is what the newer mushroom house looks like:
This is what we want to other mushroom house to look like when it is finished.  This is the inside of the mushroom house:
The mushrooms grow out of the black "bottle" like things you can see on the shelves and the blind people can feel when they are big enough to pick.  Right now they aren't growing any mushrooms at all.  They say they are waiting for another shipment of growing bottles to come in.  This project is driving us bonkers.  They just can't seem to get the vision of it (Sorry again.  No pun intended, well maybe just a little intention  Sorry)
We have an appointment to meet with the Blind Society -- again -- and see what is going on.  They are also having trouble getting the braillers and embosser we were going to buy for them.

We will be wrapping up a project with the Deaf Society on Saturday.  The members are going to help paint the children's playground equipment, swings, see-saw, slide, etc.  I hope we get a good turnout.  Will report on the next blog.

Stay well and happy.  The gospel is true and can bring you much joy.  Please drop us a line if you can.  We really miss everyone so much.  Love to All  E/S Read