Sunday, July 29, 2012

Here comes the bride and projects we are working on

Well the reception/wedding day finally arrived.  The bride and groom were actually married in the Manilla Temple on July 17 but they just had their reception here on Friday night.  It turned out to be a really nice evening -- nothing like a Utah reception but still very fun and nice.
Here is a picture of the hall and the centerpieces that we were working on in past pictures:

The guests arrived between 6:30 and 7:00 and were escorted to their seats by the Elders.Then the bride and groom made their appearance at 7:00 pm.  We all stood and clapped when they walked in:
This is Christopher Faustos with his bride Margelina Faustos.  They are both small people and she is a real doll.

Everyone really dressed to the nines for this event.  It was so fun to see everyone dressed so fancy.  The colors were purple and white so everyone was asked to where something along those lines.  This is a picture of Ebony and Ivory, sisters (l to r).  They looked so pretty.  I especially loved Ebony's shoes and had to get a close up of them for you all to see.  They were gorgeous.
This is a picture of us with the bride and groom
In the background is Eder.  He is such a wonderful young man.  He is in the branch presidency and has served a mission in Singapore.  When mom gets her weekly letter, there is a section in there about Eder and his brothers that she can tell you about.  The brothers are all great young men.
The bride told me that she had three different bridal gowns for the event.  She had one for the marriage in the temple in Manila, one for the reception in Manila and the above gown for the reception in KK.  She said it was all part of the wedding package.  The wedding package even includes decorations for your car.  They served several hot Malay type dishes in a buffet.  They invited 100 guests but more showed up and they were out of food by the time the last eaters, us, went through the line but we managed to get some rice.  Always plenty of rice.  They had Ebony and Ivory sing and also their mother Dorcas sang.  Then they just called people out of the audience to come sing and they weren't intimidated or embarrassed about singing at all.  Some were better than others of course but everyone was more than willing to sing.  They played a couple of games with the couple like blindfold the groom and have him guess which of several hands belongs to his wife and questions about how well they know each other.  All in all it was a very nice evening and I'm glad we were asked to help and be a part of it.

On Wednesday we also took a two hour drive almost all the way to Mount Kinabalu to visit with this man:
This is brother Ben and he single handedly runs a catholic orphanage for about 70 children.  He came to Malaysia from Holland in 1956 and started the orphanage in 1966 with three other brothers who have long since left, not sure if they left this world or just left.  LDS Charities had helped them about 2 or 3 years ago by buying them some large commercial size washers so the children would be able to wash their clothes and take care of themselves.  We made the trip up there to see if there was anything else LDSC could do to help.  He told us they were now getting help from lots of people and he couldn't think of anything we could do.  Darn.  Drove two hours to be told don't need anything now.  Oh Well.  It was worth the trip to meet Bro. Ben.  It is just him and about 4 cooks who take care of all the children.  He is a remarkable man.

 Last week we also met with the Sabah Blind Society and a group called "Inner Wheel" which is a women's arm of the Rotary club.  The blind society wanted us to build them a new group home.  Sorry, no can do.  But they might have something else we can help them with.  I hope so.  The Inner Wheel does work with poor and needy children in the outlying areas.  They just put in a new president two weeks ago and they are working now on deciding what projects they want to do during the next year, but I definitely think we will be able to partner with them and help some of the children in a number of different ways.  They will let us know after their meeting with their group to decide what they are going to focus on in the upcoming year.  Sometimes it seems like we have this money and help just waiting to be given out and we can't find anyone who wants it.  But, I AM NOT DISCOURAGED.  I will persevere and we will force our charity on the charitless.  Pray for us to find the people who can use our help.

Someone please give our sympathy to the Shelton family in our ward on the death of their daughter Heidi.

Everyone take care and say your prayers and keep the emails coming.  We love you all.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Elephants and more wedding

This week the Elders asked us to join them on their PDay.  They wanted to go to Lok-Kawi, the local zoo about 30 minutes down the road.  I think they just wanted someone to share the cost of the bus ride out there, but it was nice of them to ask us to go.  They were really stoked to go because they have elephant rides there.  For Rm5 (about $1.75 US) you can ride an elephant.  The elephant rides were at 11:00 and 3:00.  They wanted to ride at 11:00 because they had teaching appointments later that evening and two of the elders were going on splits to Sandakan, about a 6 hr bus ride from KK.  We got out to the zoo about 9:30 just in time for it to open.  But, to the elders dismay, the elephant rides are only on weekends, holidays or school holidays.  Boy were they ever bummed out.  They even told the zoo they would pay extra if they would just let them ride an elephant that day.  It didn't work.  No elephant rides.  It is so very very sad when you look at the elders and they are crying because they can't ride an elephant.  HOWEVER, they did tell them they could get in the paddock with the two baby elephants and pet them.  That seemed to console them some.
Elder O'Driscoll and Elder Jacob Reid petting the elephant.
WOW.  I've never been this close to a real live elephant before.  It's true their hides are very tough and very wrinkly and they have bristly hair poking out all over.  This elephant had been throwing dirt on his back so he was rather dirty too.  But what a neat experience.
The elephants love to play "tug" with you.  They will reach through the fence and grab your leg or arm with their trunk and then pull and tug.  The elders had a ball playing this game with the elephants.  It was so fun to watch them interacting with the elephants.  They were just like little kids.
They are very strong and if there wasn't a fence between you they could easily pull you off your feet.  The keeper said they wouldn't hurt you, they just love to play.
When we got back from the zoo we went to visit one of the recent converts we have been teaching.  He is such a fine young man and is trying so hard to be a good member.  He lives in just a small one room shack.  When we got there, some other people were living there and they told us he had moved.  I couldn't have felt worse.  His name is Jerni (Journey) and he is Indonesian.  Over here the Indonesians and the Philipinos get all the lousy jobs for the lousiest of pay.  It must really be bad in Indonesia and the Philipines to think you have it better working in Malaysia.  Jerni had to move about 1/2 hr out of KK which means he is not near any church.  My heart is broken.  Please pray for Jerni to be able to come back to KK.  Maybe someone could even put his name in the temple for me.
The members we had been teaching the temple prep class to went to the temple this week!  There were about 12 of them.  They are such a wonderful group and they were so so excited to go.  For some of them it may be the only time they get to go in their entire life.  When I told them how many temples we have around us they couldn't believe it.  Everyone please go to the temple because you live so close.  You don't know what a blessing that is in your life.  People here must save and plan for years just to be able to go one time.
For FHE we made the flowers for Pres. Fausto's wedding.
Here are some of the YSA making the baskets which will be the centerpieces for the eating tables.  The girl behind me is Ebony and she is the one in charge of all the decorations and the all the music.
We also put together the hygiene kits for us to deliver to Bukit Harapan on the 30th.  We put together 50 of these kits for the children there.  We now have all the educational toys and we have paid for the special shoes and the hygiene kits are ready to go.  It will be fun to bring our 1st project to a close on the 30th.  This week we have made appointments to visit with three other different organizations to see if we can help them some how.  Keep your fingers crossed.  We really want to come up with a bunch more projects and use all the money that is in our budget this year.  Then we can ask for more money for next year.
We enjoy getting your comments about our blog.  We're glad to know someone is reading it.  If you ever have any questions or any thing you would like to know, just comment or email us and we'll be glad to try and answer.  Love to all   E/S Read

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Last week we had an interesting evening at YSA/FHE.  One of the YSA is getting married.  He is Pres. Fausto and he is a counselor in the district presidency.  He is 31 years old and he is a riot.  He keeps everyone on their toes and makes everyone laugh.  He is marrying a gal (also 31) from the Philipines.  She is also a very good member and comes from a very active family.  They will be getting married this Wednesday while the district is on their temple trip to the Manilla Temple.  For YSA/FHE he asked all of the YSAs to help him plan his reception here in KK.  He put one of the other SA's in charge as the wedding planner.  I called him "Fronk" but they didn't seem to get that.  Another SA he put in charge of doing all the decorations for the tables and the chapel/rec hall.  Another two YAs got the assignment to be in charge of serving and managing the food.  They don't have to prepare it, they just have to make sure everything runs smoothly in the kitchen.  He gave another girl the assignment to take care of all the music.  He even assigned one guy to be in charge of checking the invitations at the door, I guess you would call him the "bouncer",  because he only has room for 100 people.  Ben and I are just supposed to show up and do whatever they need help doing.  I've never really been to a YSA/FHE like that before, in fact I've never been to any church meeting like that before.  But, you know what, it was fun and I think it will be just terrific.  This will be our first Malaysian wedding and we are excited to go.  Apparently this is how it is done most of the time.  The branch YA's don't seem to be in any hurry to get married.  Quite a few of them are in their late 20's and just seem to be involved with work and school.  Once you are enrolled in the University here, you must keep going.  You cannot take time off for a mission so most of the YM wait until they have finished their schooling before going on their missions.  Most of the YM we send out on missions are about 23 - 25 years of age.  

We just got back from Kuala Lumpur on Friday night.  We spent three days there with Elder Subandriyo of the 70 going over welfare and humanitarian training and projects. It was a great three days.  We learned an awful lot.  Elder Subandriyo is an amazing man.  He is native Indonesian so the people here just love him.  He is so humble, personable and funny.  He has a wife who is seriously ill.  She is on dialysis two or three times a week.  She is going to have a kidney transplant in Sept. or October I think. The donor will be her brother and Elder Subandriyo is so hopeful and excited that is wife will get this opportunity.  We all pray that she will stay well until the transplant and that everything will go smoothly for her. 

While in KL we took in some sights.  We went to visit the Petronas Gas Twin Towers.  WOW!  Talk about being w aaa  yyy  up there.  The sight was amazing.  Sometimes I just have to keep pinching myself and saying what is a shy backward hick girl from Ogden Utah doing in an amazing place like Malaysia and seeing the things I am seeing and doing the things I am doing.  Sometimes it seems like it just can't be me doing all these things.  Here are some pictures from our KL trip:
This first one is for Bishop Wayment.  An A&W Drive Inn here in KL.  The root beer is ok but the food isn't.  Someone let Bishop Wayment know please.
A view of the towers at night.  It is so amazing and breathtaking.  They are beautiful.
Sorry.  Just lay on the floor to see it.  We are at the viewing level floor and that is a replica of the twin towers behind us.
Us taking a picture of us in a picture in a display screen.  Follow that?
Our group: Elder and Sis. Meehan, Welfare coordinator missionaries from Hong Kong, us, Sis. and Elder Howell welfare/humanitarian missionaries serving in KL from West Jordan.
The Howell's have this really fun park by their apartment that they walk and exercise in every morning.  It is built around a man made lake and has an exercise pad with all types of equipment that you can use.  It is well maintained and we enjoyed exercising there one morning.
Everyone take care.  It is so nice to get your comments and to hear from you all.  We pray for everyone back home all the time.  God bless you all.  E/S Read

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Water, Tawau and Cupcakes

It is another beautiful day here in KK.   We went for about three weeks with no rain, but now we are having rain again almost every night.  It seems to rain during the evening/night hours so that is good.  We don't have to travel in the rain. Things sure did dry up in a hurry when there was no rain.  All the grass turned brown around the roads and along our driveway.

The YSA came over to our apartment for a swim party.  About ten of them showed up.  Not everyone swam but they all seemed to have a good time.  We have an "Adopt-a-Highway" project coming up the first week of August for both branches and they always come over to our apartment for a swim and ice cream after.  They do like ice cream, although I just can't force myself to buy the corn or yam ice cream yet.

Here are some more pictures of our trip to Tawau and the clean water project there:

Ben enjoying the crystal clear clean water coming from the pipe right into the village.
Ben and the contractor on the project.  The contractor did a great job.  We will use him again.
The reservoir where the crystal clear clean water is collected.  Notice LDS Charities name is first on the sign.  One of the requirements of doing a clean water project is that the villagers must take an ownership in the project.  They were responsible for laying the pipes and doing most of the work from the reservoir/holding tanks to their homes.  They had to form a water committee to oversee the work and to oversee the maintenance of the project after it is finished.  It doesn't do any good to just go in and build something for them without teaching them how to take care of it.  After we leave, the whole project could fall apart if the villagers don't have something in place to maintain it.  We won't do a project unless they can prove they will be responsible for part of its construction and for its maintenance.  This village had a very active water committee and they had worked very hard to get the clean water to their homes.  I think they will be ok in the future.
We took a drive with the Atkinson's above Tawau.  This is the view -- spectacular.  The water in the back the Celebes Sea and the land across the sea is looking at Indonesia.  There are miles and miles of palm oil plantations.  They are everywhere.  They are good and bad, they bring jobs (low paying) to the people but they are also very very hard on the environment.
It's at times like this when we really miss Dawn Gatherum.  Isn't this flower gorgeous?  Too bad we don't know it's name.  I think it's called a "Pinkus tongue Stick It Outis".  Maybe Dawn can leave a comment and we can all know its real name.
Catching, or trying to catch a little cat nap.  That's Pres. Ling.  This is at the Tawau branch.  They meet in this quaint home which has been designed to accommodate the branch with a chapel, kitchen, meeting rooms, etc.  The building sits right down on the beach and they have an amazing view.  They have also bought some land nearby, without the view and away from the beach, to build a chapel on.  They just need to get their branch numbers up.

On Thursday, Pres. Ling's wife, Mary, came over to bake cupcakes for their son Gideon's first birthday.  She asked me about a month ago if I would make her about 100 cupcakes.  I don't want to get in the cupcake business so I told her to come to our apartment and I would teach her how to make them.  She thought that was a good idea.  One complication happened however.  On Wednesday night I was baking in the oven and could smell plastic burning.  I looked all around inside the oven but couldn't see anything.  After I was through baking I was wiping up the counters and noticed that where the oven plug goes into the outlet, it was all black and melted.  We couldn't even get the plug out.  I called Mary and told her the problem but she said they would still come and bring her niece's microwave/convection oven.  They brought it over Thursday morning and we made cupcakes.  I had them bring all the ingredients and then I showed them how to put the batter together.  It was tricky at first trying to get the convection oven set at the right temperature for the right amount of time.  The cupcakes weren't very light but they still tasted ok.  I also made Mary some white cream cheese frosting, some blue frosting and some chocolate frosting that she could take home and frost the cupcakes later with.  They had a party for Gideon's birthday on Saturday night and she had all the cupcakes frosted and decorated.  They looked great, she did a good job.  Like I said, the cupcakes were heavier than usual, but still tasted great.  I think she ended up making only about 60-65 cupcakes instead of the 100 she had originally planned.  I think this comes under the "teach a man to fish" category.
Oh, btw, the electrician came Friday and fixed the plug.  I'm back in the baking business.  Also, Natalie, Mary is David Liew's sister.  David is now home and he does remember you and your family.

On Wednesday we are going to Kuala Lumpur for three days.  We are meeting with other welfare missionaries in Malaysia and also with Elder Subandriyo of the 70.  We are looking forward to it.  I will return and report next blog.

LOVE YA ALL  -- Please write or leave comments.
E/S Read

Monday, July 2, 2012


Greetings to all -- We just returned from Tawau last night.  We had to make the trip to close on a water project which was just outside Tawau in the village of Qoin (Quinn) Hill.  The church teamed up with the Rotary club of Tawau to bring clean drinking water to a village of about 200 homes.  Previously the village didn't have clean drinking water coming to their homes and had to carry the water from a spring which was quite far away.  On Saturday night we went to a dinner the Rotarian club had. The dinner was to install a new president for the year and also to acknowledge the accomplishments they had in the past year, which included the water project.  It was a very nice dinner.  The in-coming president is of Indian descent so the dinner was Indian food.  All the food was great and not too spicy which I greatly appreciated.  Never have been fond of food which burns going down and coming out.  They presented Ben with a very nice plaque and really acknowledged all the help LDS Charities had given them.
                                          Ben receiving the award from the Rotarian President.
The press was also there so we are looking for the article in the local paper.  I hope we can find one.  The senior couple in Tawau, the Atkinson's, are going to keep their eye out for the paper article.
Sis. Atkinson dancing with the honored guest, the head honcho of the Rotary clubs in the whole area.  He didn't ask me, he asked the better looking of us.  The Atkinson's have 11 children, 9 girls and two boys.  There must have been a lot of PMS in that house!
The Rotary Club arranged the closing ceremony and then informed us when it would be.  They should have consulted with us, but they didn't.  They set it up for Sunday morning, not what we wanted, but we were stuck.  We had to go and represent LDS Charities and the church.  Here are some pictures from the site:
This is the sign on the solar panel structure.  The first name listed to the right of the Rotary symbol is "Latter Day Saint Charities Utah USA.  Everyone should be so proud to be represented by the church here.  And the money for these projects does not come from any tithing or fast funds.  It comes entirely from donations to the Humanitarian department.
The two big water tanks which store the water. Ben is in front in the green LDS Charities shirt.  The man in the blue shirt and light pants on the right is the contractor.  The others are Rotarians.
Ben and Chris Chiew, Rotary president, in front of the tanks.
Rotarian Gary, District Pres. Ling, The Atkinson's, The Read's and the Contractor.
I don't want this blog to be too big byte wise so I will send more pictures later.  So many of the people in the village told us how grateful they are to have clean water coming right to their homes.  They told us their children have not been so sick since they started having clean water.  All the credit for this project goes to the Larson's who were here before us.  They helped develop it and get it off the ground.  We just did the follow-up work, but I am so proud we could be a part of this project and represent the Church.  The church is really doing amazing things here in Malaysia.  Everyone who is a member of the church should feel great pride!  What a difference it has made in so many lives.  Can you imagine never having clean water in your home and having to carry every drop you used from a far away spring?  Can you imagine the joy you would feel when you could just turn on a tap and get a drink that wasn't going to make you or your children sick, or you could even just take a shower in privacy?  I know we shouldn't be proud, but be proud of what the church is doing here and in 160 other countries throughout the world.  I am.  Love to All E/S Read