Sunday, April 29, 2012

Who Am I Really

Before we left I bought an Asian looking jacket in a light lilac with the frog type closures at the DI.  My mom and I thought it was pretty and good for going to an Asian country.  The first time I wore it to church a sister said to me "You look like Imelda Marcos."  Now I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing.  I just said I don't have enough shoes to be Imelda.  Well I wore the same jacket yesterday and a different sister  came up to me and said "You look like Imelda Marcos."  Now I'm thinking that isn't good.  Didn't they string her up or something: Anyway, I like the jacket and I'll still wear it and see how many more people tell me I look like Imelda Marcos.  We went to the hospital to visit a sister who had to have surgery on her legs.  One of the sister's visiting her said to me (wait for it)  "You look like Nancy Reagan".  Again I'm not sure how to take this. Hopefully they were thinking of Nancy in her younger days not as she is now at 90+.  Don't get me wrong, I think Nancy is a nice looking lady but I don't want people thinking I'm quite 90 yet.  Then another sister came into the room and she said to me (wait for it) "You look like Goldie Hawn".  Now really?  Goldie Hawn?  I said "Goldie has blonde hair".  She said "Well your's is kinda gold".  OK.  If you think so.  So I'm not sure who I am, Imelda, Nancy or Goldie.  What's your votes?  Do I look like any of the three?

On Wednesday we sent the Haraun twins off to their missions to London and London South.  They are such tiny little things.  I hope England doesn't chew them up and spit them out.  They have very little materially in this world.  But their testimonies and spirits soar.  They also have a brother serving in the Utah Salt Lake City South mission.  Three missionaries for this one poor little family.  It really makes you humble when you see how little they have but how much they want to share the gospel.

The Haraun twins Elsie (or Laura) their friend Jen and Laura (or Elsie) at the airport just before they left for England.

We had to go out to Palau Gaya Island on Friday to make arrangements for the closing ceremony for the humanitarian/welfare help the church gave the school there.  I thought it would be a small island type school. It's quite LARGE.  They have over 700 students, mostly like jr. high age.  The school is built right in the water and is supported on beams in the water.  We took the Elders with us to act as interpreters.

Ben and Elder Glad (back) and Elder Reid (front) on our speedboat to the island school.
Off we go.  Wish us luck.  It took us awhile to find a boat to take us because we're not familiar with the area.  We finally found this boat that would take all four of us out and back for Rm50 (about $4.25 a piece).
Some of the poor homes that have been built right in the water on stilts.

Just a very small part of the school.  There are several buildings all connected.  The gazebo like building on the right is the boat dock.
With the principal of the school and some of the supplies the church has furnished.

The part of the school that burned, and has now been rebuilt, is about from where the girls are walking and going to the left.

The walkway to the school rooms and other buildings.
The actual closing ceremony is scheduled for May 17.  I will send more pictures when that happens.
Please let us hear from you.  We really enjoy getting mail/emails anything.  You're all great.
E/S Read

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cooking Lessons

On Saturday the branch YW asked me to help them make cookies.  They actually asked about two weeks ago.  I was excited to help them.  They are a good bunch of girls and have a great YW President.  I thought we would be doing it at the church, but I found out the oven at the church doesn't work.  I invited them to come to our apartment and we could make the cookies here.  They all thought that would be great.  But on Friday night the YW Pres called and said that they couldn't come to our apartment because some of the girls had school and it would be hard for them to find our apartment on their own.  She suggested we go back to making them at the church and she could bring her own small, as in wouldn't hold a pie plate, toaster oven.  I told her we would meet at the church and we could make no-bake cookies.  They seemed a little puzzled about no-bake cookies, but I told them it would work out ok.  We were supposed to start at 11:00 but not everyone got there until about 11:30.  The girls had a good time making the cookies.  We made the chocolate oatmeal peanut butter type.  They had never had them before but they really really liked them. They laughed when I told them that my daughter Amber calls them "Gorilla Poops".  They seemed to understand that ok. While the cookies were setting up we also made rice krispie treats.  It is hard to find the right kind of marshmallows here in KK, but I finally found them along with a small box of rice krispies.  They really really liked the rice krispie treats too.  Here are some pictures of the cookie making girls:

 They each took turns adding a different ingredient.
Cooking the Chocolate, sugar, milk and butter on the stove

The finished products:  Rice Krispies and Chocolate no-bake cookies.  YUMMY!  LtoR:  Sis. Read, Sis. Maylin (YW Pres.), Betty, Minna, Vivianna, Ching, Laura and Elsie.  (Laura and Elsie are leaving on missions on Wednesday.  One is going to London and one is going to London South)  We all had a great time and if they ever get the oven fixed we can have more cooking classes.
I had another Kitchen Klutzy moment last week.  I was making some bread.  I think the bread here is too expensive and comes in little loaves, so I decided to make my own.  The first time I made it it turned out ok. Last week I made another batch.  Some of the YSA from the ward wanted to swim so I put the bread into bake and then went down to watch them swim for about 25-30 minutes, about the time the bread was supposed to be done.  When I came in the apartment I thought it kinda smells like baking bread, only a little different.  When I opened the oven, I saw what was wrong.  I had turned the oven to broil instead of bake.  The bread was black on the top.  I let it cook a few more minutes at the right temperature and then took it out.  It tasted great as long as you didn't eat the black top.  But hey, I'm not going to waste bread so we just cut off the top and ate it anyway.  It was still good and I'm still learning.

This is Angel.  She is 10 and cute as a bug.

Here are some pictures of a family we are teaching the follow-up discussions to.  They are a brother and sister, Crystel and Darian.  They live with their auntie Josie who is Philipino (everyone says auntie here).  Crystel is 17 and Darian is 16. They were baptized in December. They also have a little sister Angel who is ten.  I thought you might like to see  a picture of some members we are teaching:

                                                   This is Angel, Crystel and Darian.

Have a great day everyone and Keep Those Cards and Letters Coming In Boys and Girls.  Love ya all!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Another week has come and gone here in KK.  The Meehan's,Welfare specialists from Hong Kong, were with us until Wednesday.  They were so patient and kind with us and we certainly learned a lot from their training.  Now let's just hope we can remember it and get going on why we are here in the first place -- to do humanitarian and welfare service.  Ben is hoping to close on one of the open projects still on our calendar.  The project involved a school on the island of Gaya that burned down.  The church helped them with supplies, equipment, etc.  Now that the school is up and running again, we need to have the closing ceremony with people from the school, dignitaries, members of the branch and the media there.  We want them to know that the church has been there to help them.  It is one of the ways we can help bring the church out of obscurity here.  Hopefully we can set that up for this week or next at the latest.

While the Meehan's were here we took a couple of sight-seeing trips.  We went to a place just out of KK called Mari-Mari, think Polynesian Cultural Center only a LOT smaller.  The Smith's, media specialists, also joined us on this trip.  It was very interesting and we had a great time there.  Here are some pictures:

Ben and I got married in the traditional marriage room, complete with hats and crowns.

Me, looking fierce, with our guide good ol what's his name.

One of the long houses had a floor, see where the natives are standing, that was almost like a trampoline.  They could get that floor really bouncing and then they would take a giant leap and try to reach this:

which would have a "treasure" hanging from it from the village chief.  If they were able to reach it, they were lucky.

Some guests of Mari-Mari who didn't pay.

The next day the Meehan's wanted to see Kinabalu so we headed up the mountain.  It is such an awesome mountain.  Some highlights from our trip:

This is a picture of a rare Raffelsia (sp?).  It only blooms for 5-7 days, it doesn't smell very nice and then it is dead and gone.  We were lucky to see this one.  Some of them will get to be 5' across.  This one was only about 2'.  We saw a couple of more later in the day.  (What do you think Dawn?)

This is Jackie, an orangatan (sp?)  She is wearing her finest plastic shawl.  She is not in a cage.  Sis. Meehan had her picture taken with Jackie.  She kept a respectable distance from Jackie.  Bro. Meehan wanted his picture taken with Jackie too.  He put out his hand and Jackie grabbed it and dug in her nails and was baring her huge teeth.  We all thought Elder Meehan would be toast but Jackie let go and we skeedaddled from Jackie's home.

We had conference here in East Malaysia this weekend.  We get it two weeks later because it needs to be translated into Malay and then sent on DVD's to the branches.  Because it is such a long way for some of the members to come, it is an all day gathering.  The conference starts at 10:00 or it's supposed to start at 10 but there always seems to be problems with getting it set up right.  The first day we couldn't get the Malay translation to come through, so English was the only choice. Luckily, there weren't many there on Saturday and those who were could understand a little English.  After the first session is over we take and hour break and eat a pot luck lunch, then it's back for the second session from 1:00 to 3:00.  Then there is another break for about an hour and then it is time for the priesthood session.  Sunday, we do it all over again, however there are a lot more people there.  Most people have to work on Saturday.  I really enjoyed the conference.  There was a lot of good advice if we'll just listen.

Well, that's probably enough of a blog for today.  I will be adding more later.  Please let us hear from you too.  It's always nice to hear what is going on in your lives.  Love to all
E/S Read

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Meet and Eat

We have had an interesting three days.  We got to MEET Elder and Sister Meehan who came down from Hong Kong to give us training.  They are the Asia Area Welfare specialists.  They really know it all.  We have spent the last three days learning all we can from them.  The only problem is trying now to remember all they have taught us.  They are going to be here for another two days.  This is a picture of Elder and Sister Meehan:

Elder Meehan is a petroleum engineer and works for the third largest company in the world  He has been all over the world.  We went to a restaurant in downtown KK and he helped us order.  It was so nice to EAT with someone who knows what is going on and isn't afraid to order food food.  This is the fish we go to MEET:

He is Mr. Red Snapper and just a few minutes before being served to us he was swimming around in a fish tank and we chose him to be our meal for the night.  Then we got to EAT Mr. Snapper after he was skillfully prepared.  I usually don't like to meet my food before I eat it.  It's best not to have a relationship with your food before eating it.

These are prawns who we also got to Meet before we got to EAT them.  They were delicious.

These are pictures of the dancers who performed native dances for us at the restaurant:

Yes, that is Elder Meehan in with the performers.  He was taking so many pictures that they invited him to come on stage and dance with them.

Here are all the happy Meet and Eat people at the end of our meal and time at the restaurant.  The restaurant was down on the water front and we sat outdoors.  It was very nice and the food was great.  We didn't even get sick after eating it.

Kitchen Klutzes:
We have a small but adequate kitchen.  However, there aren't many power outlets in it.  I am constantly having to unplug this appliance to plug in that appliance and then run and get the right adapter.  Some of their plugs are three pronged and some are only two so I'm never sure what is right.  In addition to getting it plugged in right you have to make sure that the little switch on the outlet is also pushed the right way or you still won't have power.  Today I was making a cake.  The mixer plug was not working so I ran to the bedroom to get the adapter and then I plugged in the mixer but it still wasn't working.  I had forgotten to push the little switch on the outlet the right way.  Well I pushed it and the mixer which was just sitting in the cake bowl with all the ingredients just took off and I had cake batter spraying everywhere.  I sure do miss my bosch!  The funny thing was that earlier in the morning I had made smoothies for breakfast and couldn't seem to get the blender off the base.  (we bought a really cheap blender)  Ben came and tried and he got it off all right but he unscrewed the bottom of the blender base from the blender cup and all the smoothie went all over the counter.  We haven't had much luck today in the kitchen.

Tomorrow is Easter so Happy Easter to you all.  Ben has to give a talk in Sacrament tomorrow about the atonement.  He got a text message on Thursday saying he was going to be the speaker and to prepare to talk on the atonement.  They didn't ask, just told him.  He'll do fine.

We are going to go with the Meehan's to Kinabalu National Park on Monday.  I think that will be fun.  There is so much to see up there, with many different trails to hike.

I have also been pretty sad this week.  My dear uncle Clair passed away on Wednesday.  He died of cancer in his throat.  It hit really sudden and he only was able to live a couple of weeks from the time he got the diagnoses.  He was my mom's younger brother and only sibling.  He was a wonderful man and I'll miss him.

Write us when you get a chance.  We love you all.
Ben and Margaret