Monday, September 17, 2012

Conference X2

We had another senior conference on Wed., Thurs. and Friday of last week.  We always look forward to them.  We have to go back to Singapore every 3 months to get our visas chopped, and all seniors are on the same schedule, so we always have a conference while we are there.  We always get spiritually uplifted and feel like we can come back to KK and carry on.  We just love the other senior couples and have lots of fun while we are there.
This is the whole group of us.  Pres. and Sis. Mains are the 4th and 5th from the right.  On Thursday afternoon we all took a trip to the Gardens by the Bay.  It is a beautiful place to visit and we were there for about three hours and didn't see all we wanted to see.  If you are a botanist, like Dawn Gatherum, you would fall in love with this place.
First we took a little trolley ride around the entire complex to see what there was to see and then we set off on our own to visit a couple of the areas.  We chose to go to the Cloud Forest, the Flower Dome and the canopy walk.
On the canopy walk.  You can see a tiny little bit of the Singapore skyline in the left background.
By the giant waterfall inside the cloud forest dome.  It was spectacular inside here and it was so cool, and not just as in awesome, but cool as in not too sunny hot.
We got back from Senior conference on Friday night and had to jump right into district conference on Saturday and Sunday.  We had the Lee's who are serving in the Sandakan branch stay with us Friday and Saturday nights.
Elder and Sister Lee are the first native Malay couple to serve as full time missionaries.  He is also serving as the branch president and she is the Relief Society president in the Sandakan branch.  She is a great cook and made us an authentic Chinese supper one night and an authentic Chinese breakfast Sunday morning.  Both interesting, not typical for Americans, but still pretty tasty.
The branch in Tawau and the branch in Sandakan have to take a bus to come to district conference.  It is a 6 hour bus ride one way from Sandakan and, hold on to your hats, an 11 hour bus ride one way from Tawau.  Yet each branch had around 35 people who made the arduous trip.  What dedication and sacrifice for these people, in their time and in their money.  I've heard people complain about having to take a 20 minute drive from Roy in their nice air conditioned car to the tabernacle to attend stake conference.  We are so spoiled.  We had a GA, Elder Watson of the 70, come from Hong Kong.  He really related well to the Malaysian members.  They were so excited to have him come.
These are some members from the Tawau branch.  President and Sis. Mains are sitting on the front row.  There are 5 little children on that row with them starting with the one sitting on Pres. Mains' lap.  They come from a family that has 10 little children, the oldest being just 13 or 14.  They could only afford to send 6 children (1 of the children got sick and was lying down) and the father.  But those 5 little children came into the conference, sat on the front row, and they never made a sound or hardly even moved.  I have never seen such well behaved, polite children.  Their father was on the stand to give a talk so he couldn't sit with them, so they were on their own and they were just little angels.  And then they had them sing.  Their wasn't a dry eye in the whole congregation.  They sang "I'm Trying to be Like Jesus", in English no-less, and they had the most touching hand gestures that went with the song.  They sang out loud and clear and then they went right from that song into "A Child's Prayer".  They were even able to sing the part where the boys sing one set of words and the girls sing the other together.  I was bawling my eyes out.  It was just so touching to see these little children, who really have nothing in the world, singing how much they loved Jesus and the gospel.  It is something I will keep in that special place of my heart for memories you always want to treasure.  I should mention that these children are not allowed to go to school by the Malay government.  Their mother and oldest sister are trying to teach them to read and write.  Oh be so thankful that your children and you can have that opportunity and the privilege and the chance for a good education.  My heart just breaks when I look at this family and think how badly they want it and how it is kept from them.

Please be grateful for all you have.  We all have so much and just take it for granted and don't realize what a treasure we have been given.  But, where much is given much is expected.  I have been given so much so there is certainly a lot I need to do and say to even start to make a small dent in the debt I owe.  We love you all.  Keep them emails coming.


  1. Why does the Maylay government keep them from going to school? Is it because they're Mormon of something? Tonight when my kids are complaining about homework, I will remind them that they are lucky, again. They don't seem to believe me.

  2. I think we will have our next family home evening on how blessed we are to have schools around. I think I needed your story this week to finish off my class I am in. I have been grumbling how boring it is, but I am now ever so grateful for the opportunity I have been given. Thanks.