Monday, May 28, 2012

And it came to pass. . .

What a week we have had.  The highlight has been Ben's kidney stone.  On Monday the 21st he was in such terrible pain that we decided to head to the hospital.  We got there bright and early, about 5:30 am.  We were able to meet with a doctor, who we think was Indian, who was working the night shift and I think he was anxious to be done.  But he was kind and set us up to have a scan done.  We went and had the scan done by a very nice, speaks English very well technician.  We think he was Indian.  Then we met again with another doctor who said he would have to wait for the scans to come to him before he could read them and decide what to do.  They sent us home and said to come back the next day after they read the scans and they would know what better needs to be done.  Ben was still having pain, but not quite so bad.  He didn't get much rest again Monday night.  On Tuesday when we were back in the hospital they said the scan showed that the kidney function which should have been between 50-150 was over 200 so they would need to do a CT scan.  So they set us up for that.  All this time Ben is experiencing terrible pain.  After the CT scan we had to wait for the doctor to read it.  This doctor was a specialist and wouldn't be back to our hospital for about an hour and then he had to see patients which were in front of us before he could see Ben.  Well Ben could hardly do anything by this time because of the pain.  They ordered a shot for him which really knocked him completely out.  At least he was sleeping and not in pain.  When we met with the doctor he said he thought the best thing to do was to get it blasted.  We told him we would have to wait until the next day to do that as we needed to have it pre-approved by our insurance (or so we thought).  Well they sent us home with pain medication which seemed to really help because Ben was able to sleep all night and be pain free.  When we went back on Wednesday morning we met with the actual doctor who would be doing the blasting.  He is a kidney specialist, again from India.  He looked at the scans and the CT and gave us two options: 1.  Blast it or 2.  He would treat it with some medicine which would hopefully open up the urether and let the stone pass.  We asked which he would recommend and he said #2.  Give it some time and see if it will pass on it's own.  So we chose door #2 and they sent us home with some medicine to dilate the urether and more pain pills.  The doctor said if the pain gets so sever that the pain medication doesn't help, to return to the hospital and they will blast it immediately.  So far Ben has been doing quite well on this regime.  He has only had one small episode of pain which the pain pills quickly zapped.  But, he still hasn't passed the stone.  It's just a waiting game.  You wouldn't believe how many remedies are out there.  Everyone we talk to has some "sure way" to get rid of kidney stones.  we may end up trying them all before this is over.
On May 17 we went to the Island of Gaya for a closing ceremony for some humanitarian aid LDS Charities had given the school after they had a fire.  LDS Charities gave them some books, paper, binders, school supplies, etc.  We had the ceremony so the could thank LDS Charities officially.  Here are some pictures:
Riding the boat to Gaya.  Front left clockwise:  Pres. Francis president of KK1 branch, Rosalina (with the KK school board), Sis. Kate RS Pres. KK2, Sis. Audrey RS Pres. KK1, and Elder O'Driscoll.
Stage with LDS Charities Banner prominently displayed.
Ben speaking.
Student receiving some of the supplies.  LtoR  student, Che Rose Bakar, Principal, Ben, and President Ling, district president.
Some of the girl students.  Boys are on the other side.  I felt bad for them because it was hot and they had to sit there for about 2 hours.  I don't know how the girls stand it all covered up like this.
We had a nice lunch after.  LtoR  Elder O'Driscoll, Elder Howell, Sis. Audrey, Sis. Kate and Pres. Faustos.
It was a nice day and gave the church some good publicity.  There were three newspapers there to cover the ceremony.
I thought you might like to see one of the favorite flavors of ice cream here.  Yes, it is corn ice cream with kernels of corn in it.  They love their corn here.  They have stands that will sell you a "Cup of Corn" like in a sno-cone cup and sometimes they will add berries or something to it.
Everyone have a great day.  Hopefully, this too shall pass and we can give a clean report next time.  Love to all.  E/S Read

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Thank Goodness

We had a really nice trip to Sibu last week for our Senior Conference.  It is always fun to get together with the other "old folk" out here.  We had a nice surprise too.  One of the new senior couples is an old high school classmate of Ben's.  It is Bob Brady and he and his wife Mary are serving in the city of Mukah and arrived here about three weeks ago.  It was so fun for Ben to see an old classmate.  Thank Goodness for old friends and new ones too.
We had a great time at Senior conference and really enjoyed hearing from our Mission President, Pres. Clark.  He and his wife will be leaving June 30.  We will miss them. The new President is President Manes and we will be serving with him for the majority of our time here.

After Sibu we flew over to Kuching to take care of some welfare/humanitarian business.  Here we met with Francis Johen who is with Cheshire Homes from the UK who we partner with to provide wheelchairs.  He took us on a tour of the city.  Kuching in Malay means "cat"  and they have lots of cat statues throughout the city.  The even have a cat museum.  It is a very nice city.

This is a picture of Francis Johen.  When he was a young man of about 15 or 16 he was very athletic.  One day he started to run a high fever.  After a few days he had lost the feeling in both his legs and it left him paralyzed from the waist down.  He had know place to go so he ended up living at the Cheshire home for 4 years.  They took excellent care of him.  Now he uses crutches/wheelchair.  But he kept up his education and went on to become a lawyer and now is a very high ranking lawyer with the government.  It is a very inspirational story of never giving up and over coming what life may throw your way.  He also is now giving back to Cheshire homes by serving on their board.  Thank Goodness for people who continue to serve and give back no matter what life hands them.

Francis Johen is in the front and some of the others who work at the Cheshire home.

Sorry.  Just lie down sideways to look at it.  This is a picture of the new Kuching church house which was just dedicated the first of the month.  It is really a pretty building and they are so happy to have an actual church house to meet in.

We also had some meetings with the person, Patrick Panai, who is helping us with some water projects in the "interior".  It was a very successful trip and we really enjoyed it, but it did put me behind with other things going on.

When we got back from our trip our AC was broken.  We were able to make do by staying in the rooms that also have AC.  Two techs came and fixed it for us on Friday.  Thank Goodness!  Then on Friday afternoon our clothes washer broke.  I really had a lot of laundry because of our trip.  I felt guilty complaining about the washer being broken when 75% of our branch members probably still do all their laundry by hand.  Anyway, a repairman came and was able to make a temporary fix until he orders in the parts to fix it permanently.  Thank Goodness!

Thursday night Ben awoke about midnight in excruciating pain and vomitting.  He had a kidney stone again.  I asked if he wanted me to try and drive him to the hospital.  I think he was more terrified of me having to drive than he was of the kidney stone.  I gave him some Tylenol and after awhile the pain eased up.  On Friday he said he was sore but not in terrible pain anymore.  Again Friday night he awoke in terrible pain and again I gave him some tylenol.  Again it took the edge off so he was able to get a couple of hours sleep. On Saturday we went to a friendly pharmacist we know here and she gave him some pain medication to take and advised him to see a doctor if it didn't clear up.  Whatever she gave him really did the trick, it killed all the pain and he has been doing fine all Saturday night and all day Sunday.  Thank Goodness.  Just pray that it stays away.

We are continuing with our teaching of new converts.  They are all marvelous people and they teach us much more than we teach them.  It is so wonderful to see the light in their eyes because they now know the truth.  Thank Goodness for the gospel.

I wanted to mention a book I just finished reading that was left here by the other missionaries.  Heads up to all you book club people too.  It is a wonderfully written book that I just thoroughly loved.  It is called "Corrag" and is written by Susan Fletcher.  It is based on a true story.  Give it a read and let me know what you think of it.

Also, Kathy made me the most wonderful video for mother's day.  I just sobbed and sobbed it was so touching and so good.  If you get a chance you can pull it up on YouTube.  I guess you'll have to ask Kathy how to do that as I'm tech illiterate.

Thank Goodness for all of you!  I wish we could hear from more of you but I know your lives are busy just like ours.  I do appreciate those of you who have dropped a line or left a message.  It really helps.  Sometimes I still get really really homesick.  I love you all      Sis Read

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Give me the Power

Last Monday the power went off about 3:30 am.  We know because we woke up and it was really really warm.  It didn't come on again until about 11:30 am.  Something big blew up is all I know and it was quite a widespread area that was without power.  It really made it hard to do any work with the computers not working.  And it was still very warm.  The next day while we were working the power went out about 2:00 pm.    About 3:00 a really nice wind came up so I opened all the windows to get the breeze blowing through and at least stir the air.  It helped a lot.  The temperature didn't lower, but it still felt better.  It's funny here.  When a rainstorm blows in, as it does almost every afternoon, you would think it would make it cooker, but it doesn't.  You open the windows hoping to get the cooler air, but the air temperature hasn't changed.  I miss the cool rain.  Anyway, while we were waiting for the power to come back on and all the windows were open and the wind was blowing through, we heard a really big BANG.  The wind had blown the door shut in our bedroom.  I'm sure you have all had the same experience.  I went to open the bedroom door and it was locked.  Not to worry, we had an envelope marked "Keys to bedroom doors".  Got the keys out of the envelope and tried everyone of them.  None worked.  We tried everything we could think of.  We even called the building supervisor but he told us they don't keep keys to the doors in individual apartments.  So we ended up having to calling a locksmith.  He was here within a half hour and had the door open.  He charged us Rm50 (about $15). After he left we found a key which was in the bedroom which would open the door.  That key is now in the envelope marked "Keys to bedroom doors".

Last week we ha a baptismal service.  Six people were baptized.  That was so awesome! There was a mother, Welista, and her two sons Prichard (11) and Eric (9).  There was also an 8 year old boy from the branch, Sylvester; the boyfriend of a girl in the branch, Jeko (18); and another young married lady named Senciea.

Here are some pictures:

This picture shows Jeko and Sylvester.  Jeko is 2nd from left and Sylvester is in front of him.  Jeko's girlfriend is standing by him.  Jeko's girlfriend comes from a family of about 8 children, including a new baby. They live in very humble circumstances that would make the Chicago projects look good.  The baptizer, Bro. Charles,back right, is the brother of the two twin sisters who left on their mission a few days ago.

Another picture of Jeko, Sylvester and Charles.  I thought Ben had taken more pictures, but I guess not.

One day we were picking up the Elders at their apartment and another car pulled up.  There was an older white lady inside.  We noticed because seeing an older white lady is not too common here. (I guess that's why I get lots of stares.)  She got out of the car and was using a cane.  When she almost got to where we were she tripped and fell and went down hard.  Ben and I and the driver of the car rushed to pick her up.  She kept saying she was ok, just embarrassed.  For some reason her glasses were really foggy so she couldn't see all that well.  After we helped her up she looked at me and said, "Well good afternoon Sis. Read.  I'm Sis. Greenwood."  Imagine, another sister falling right at our feet.  She was from Australia and she keeps an apartment in KK.  She loves KK and hopes to spend more time here in the future.  She usually comes and spends all of the month of December.  The branches know her well.  A really delightful lady.  Said she will soon be 80.  She always gives all her left over food to the Elders before she leaves so they were glad to get to know her too.  By the way, Natalie, she told us the Canberra is pronounced Can BRA.  Maybe you already know this.

On Thursday we leave for a Zone conference in Sibu.  We will spend the day and a night in Sibu and then we are flying to Kuching.  We are going to be meeting with some humanitarian partners in Kuching, one is a guy who helps us with the water projects and the other is a guy who helps us with the wheelchair projects.  We thought it would be nice to meet and visit with them since we were flying that way anyway.  We will return Saturday night.

We got our first official mail delivered to our apartment on Tuesday.  It was from Jason, Julie and girls.  Thank you so much.  It was so fun to get some mail.  E and A, thank you so much for the pictures.  I have put them on my refrigerator.

We are still enjoying the work and staying busy with humanitarian and welfare as well as all the teaching the branches have for us.  We hope all is well with you all too.  Love and miss each and everyone!
E/S Read