Sunday, January 27, 2013

HIGHS and low

Selamat Pagi ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls.  Welcome to another week of adventures from our wonderful life in Borneo.  This week the representative from BYU Hawaii came to speak to the youth about the opportunities available to them to attend BYUH.  WOW!  Were we ever impressed.  BYUH is making them a fantastic offer if they will apply and if they are accepted.  BYUH currently has only 19 Malay students and they want to have 50.  They are offering the Malay kids scholarships, work, housing and tuition breaks.  It was such a fantastic offer.  We told all the kids to get on-line and fill out their applications.  Get the ball rolling now so they can attend when they have fulfilled all the requirements and met all the guidelines.  Of course there were some stipulations if they are accepted.  No. 1, they must complete their degree in 3 years. No breaks.  That is due to the type of visa the US will give them.  No. 2 after they finish their degree they must return home to Malaysia and live here for at least another three years.  The rep said that some of the kids, when it comes time to return home, don't want to, but that was made clear to them in the very beginning when they signed the contract.  The Church is making a big investment in these young adults.  I hope they will all apply and go.  It is such a marvelous opportunity and will be a great blessing in their lives.  A wonderful way to get their education for next to nothing.  A HIGH in our week.

We had a low point this week when we learned that Hong Kong had turned down our latest project.  Bummer!  They said the water project located in the BaKalalan area, near Buduk Bui, was too far away from a "center of strength" (a branch).  We felt just terrible because it meant telling our long time partner and NGO the Kuching Rotary Club that we wouldn't be able to help them any more.  Then one day Ben had some inspiration.  There is enough money left over from the previous Buduk Bui project to more than pay for the new one we proposed.  We asked HK if we could use that money and the same NGO for the new project and they seem to think that that will be ok.  We resubmitted the project today and we should know by the end of the week if HK will approve it.  We are hoping and praying they do.  So we ended the week on a HIGH with this project.  Keep your fingers crossed and say your prayers that it will be accepted.

In December a sister in KK1 gave birth to her 6th and 7th children.  Two little twin girls.  She has five other children at home, the oldest of which is 8.  YIKES!  I would be crazy, but she seems to be doing well.  We went to the hospital to visit another sister who is there for cancer radiation and we decided to drop by the NICU and just wanted to let the mother, Senley, know we were there and thinking about her.  We didn't ever expect to see her or the babies.  The babies were born premature and each one only weighed a little over 2 lbs.  For the last two weeks, Senley has had to "room in".  She stays with the babies night and day and they are trying to get the babies to be able to nurse better and to gain weight.
These are the two babies.  Ivy (pronounced Evee) is on the left and Dora is on the right.  They let us in to see them!!!  They are so very tiny still but they are growing and doing fine.  They can come home when they weigh 2 kilos.  That is still a pretty small baby to be around all those other little kids.

Another sister in KK1 branch had a baby on Jan. 5.  Her baby was full term but is still very small.  She weighed in at just barely 5 lbs.
This is baby Emily.  She looks big compared to the two preemies, but she is quite small.  Her mother, Roslin, was one of the first recent converts we taught when we arrived in KK.  I love Roslin.  She is such a good lady and so sweet and kind.
This is her daughter Jeanette, 2, who was the baby until she was replaced.  Isn't she a cutie. There are also two brothers, Hendry who is 10 and Larry who is 7.
This is Roslin holding baby Emily and Jeanette standing in the doorway of their home.  They recently moved to their new home in December.  It is farther away from the church, but the branch president and his wife are related somehow to her and they make sure she has a ride whenever she needs it. Another HIGH in the week.

Monday we had all the YSA over for FHE.  There were about 20 all together.  I decided to feed them Hawaiian Haystacks.  Hey, there's rice involved so it is sure to be a hit.  And they did enjoy them:
 After eating some of the YSA went swimming in our condo pool and some stayed and played my version of Telestrations (sp) which I tried to remember how to play from the original game.  It worked out ok and the kids enjoyed the food and the game.  Another HIGH.

On Saturday, the Primary and Relief Society had a joint activity.  They made key chains.  The Primary made their key chains out of beads:
while the RS sewed their key chains.  They were in the shape of an apple, red or green.  They only had one sewing machine so it took a lot of time for everyone to get their apple sewed.  This is the finished product:
The RS President who was teaching everyone how to make/sew their apples actually had one there to show us but she used her apple as a pin cushion.  I didn't make one as there was only the one machine and I wanted the others to have a chance to finish theirs.  Today at church, the RS president gave me a key chain she had sewn later for me.  So sweet and thoughtful of her.  My apple was red.  Another HIGH!

So you can see it has been a week of HIGHS with really only one low which we hope to turn into a HIGH by the end of the coming week.

You can help us have a HIGH by sending us an email.  We love to hear from you.  We love and miss you all.
E/S Read

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cleaning up Porkers, Chickens and Roads

Greetings everyone -- We certainly hope those of you who are readers in Utah are staying warm.  We have been following the weather and temperatures there.  BRRRRR!  We can't believe how cold it is.  And also how much snow you are getting.  The snow is nice, the cold temperatures, not so nice.  And we have been reading where the flu is going strong also.  We pray that you all will remain strong and healthy.  We have been so lucky so far -- knock on wood -- neither one of us has had any flu or even a cold.  Except, I guess we would have to count the time when Elder Read ended up going to the hospital for 4 or 5 days for his kidney stones.  Those darn stones are spoiling our record.  We want and hope to keep it going.  As any wife will attest, the worst patient to have is a sick husband.

Remember a few posts ago when we went to a new members house for Christmas Eve?  Well, sister Caryn had another party, a birthday party for a friend, and invited us to come.  She is so sweet and always thinks to invite us.  We love her.  Well, again this was on the menu:
Another poor little porker with an apple in his mouth.  And again, by the end of the evening, he was all eaten up.  Little pig, little pig won't you come in and we'll eat you all up, even your chinny chin chin.
Sis. Dorcas was at the party too.  She is the KK1 primary president and a missionary dynamo.  This is baby Jesus, not her baby, just a baby at the party.  Isn't he adorable?

On Thursday the elders needed to visit their landlord's home to get some money from him for some repairs they had made and he was going to pay them back.  He is a sweet Chinese man about 83 years old.  It took us longer that we expected to find his house and we kept calling to get directions.  Finally he said, I'll just stand out on the street and then you can find me.  I'll be wearing a white shirt.  Well, we turned around and went back about 50 feet and there he was, standing on the street.  He invited us in.  I was murmuring about having to go in because we were already late for another appointment we had, but we didn't want to be rude, so we went into his home.  A very nice home I might add.  Since they are Chinese, they are getting into the Chinese New Year celebration that is coming up.  Their home looked very festive.  They gave us a soft drink and we were looking at some of their Chinese figurines and art.  His wife makes vases and animal figures using a deck of playing cards.  Some of the cards she cuts and then intricately folds them, sort of like Japanese oragami.  The things she makes are just fantastic.
Here we are with them.  I didn't even get their names.  But the wife took a liking to me and couldn't have been sweeter.  She doesn't speak English and I definitely do not speak Chinese, but somehow we were able to communicate.  She just reminded me of a sweet little Chinese lady from the book "The Good Earth".  She had such a cute little, high-pitched fast tee hee hee laugh.  If you look to the left on the picture you will see a red, white and black object.  That is a vase she is making out of the playing cards.  It wasn't quite finished so she said I would have to come back next week and pick it up.  But she did give us this Chicken she had made and finished:
Eloise -- aren't you jealous of this chicken?  They also wrap mandarin oranges in red baggies and give out lots of oranges.  I hope we can bring it home in one piece so you can get an idea of the amount of time and work that goes into making these artifacts.

On Saturday we had our quarterly "Adopt a Road" clean up project.  We wanted to have more people involved than just the youth over 14.  We thought it would be a good time for families with younger children to come to the church and while those 14 and older were cleaning the road, the families could clean the church and the church grounds.  We had a good turnout of older youth, not too many families.  But we were able to clean the road and clean the church too.  So I think we did ok, don't you.
We gave them some ice cream to thank them for their support.  In the middle is bro. Chua.  When I brought out the ice cream, he asked me where the roti (bread) was.  I said we were having ice cream not roti.  He said you always eat roti with ice cream.  One of the elders had a peanut butter sandwich he had brought with him, so he gave bro. Chua his sandwich and bro. Chua opened it up and put several scoops of ice cream on the bread and had a peanut butter, jelly and ice cream sandwich.  He said it was really good.  If any of you want to try it and let me know how it tastes, I'll be waiting to hear from you and will just take your word for it.

Elders, sisters and members enjoying their ice cream -- without the roti.
Here's the whole crew with our crazy Ebon faces.  Ebon's are a tribe in Borneo famous for their head hunting skills.

As always -- we miss you so so much and wish we could see you but we are enjoying our work and loving the people.  KEEP SENDING US EMAILS.  We Love Getting Them.  E/S Read

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Back to Bukit Harapan

This week we had the opportunity to go back and visit Bukit Harapan, the first place in KK we did an Humanitarian Project.  The local Catholic Priest who works with Bukit Harapan was celebrating his 47th anniversary as a priest in KK and Bukit Harapan asked him to come to their facility and do a special mass.  Audra, the director of Bukit Harapan, was kind enough to invite us to come for the occasion.  It was so good to see all the children of BH again
They were all sitting so quietly and had on their best clothes.  They looked great.
This is the Catholic Priest, Father Francis.  BH presented him with this cake with candles after he had finished the mass.  The mass was quite nice.  A choir from the local Catholic church had also come over to sing during the mass and they were very good.  And, of course, after the mass they fed us.  One thing about Malaysians, they take good care of you and feed you all the time.
There were probably close to 100 people in attendance and we really enjoyed the evening.  I hope we will be able to do another project for BH in a few more months.  They are certainly doing a wonderful work with the people they help.

It was transfer day on Thursday.  I really really don't like transfer day, as I've probably mentioned before.  I just love all the elders and sisters who come to serve here and then one day they get transferred.  This time we only lost one elder, Elder Gottfredson.
This is Elder Gottfredson at our YSA/FHE on Monday night.  With him is Edre.  And, I just noticed, smiling in the background is David Liew.  Elder Gott is from Las Vegas.  A really fine young man.  He has been transferred to the city of Sandakan.  It is a harder area to work in than KK and only has one set of elders there.  Elder Gott was a little sad and frightened to leave, but he will soon adjust to the transfer and do just fine.  It is lots of fun to work with the YSA.  They are really nice to us old folks and take good care of us.  I think it also helps that we are always in charge of the refreshments.  This week I made a jello poke cake.  I never know how many are going to show up, so I thought a cake could be cut in any number of pieces, depending on how many came.  Well, Monday night there were 25.  Small pieces but they all enjoyed it.  It was also a birthday for one of the YSA and someone else had brought a birthday cake, so it all worked out good.  Talk about feeding with 5 fishes and bread.  Somehow we always seem to make the refreshments stretch.
LtoR:  Sis. Parker, Jen and Elder Parker.  No, the Parkers' aren't related but they are both tremendous missionaries.  Sis. Jen is waiting for mission call.  Just when we think she has everything settled and sent in, Hong Kong writes and asks for one more thing.  Now she is waiting for her TB test and then, hopefully, finally, everything will be done, her papers can be submitted and she can get her call.

We have had quite a few baptisms in the last couple of weeks.
LtoR:  Elder Parker, Sis. Patricia, Sis. Jayne and Elder Glad.  Sis. Patricia is the mother and Jayne is her 16 year old daughter.  They are such a joy to be around.
This is Sherryl.  She is just nine years old.  Her grandmother, aunt and uncle all live in the KK2 branch.  She is such a cutie.  Unfortunately, right after she was baptized her family moved to another city so we will have to let the new branch she moved into know she is there.
This is Elder Gottfredson and Sis. Kelly.  Kelly is just 11 years old but she is a ball of fire.  She is pretty talented too with a beautiful singing voice.  We just need to keep her coming and Watch Out KK Branches -- Kelly can really make a difference.

We are grateful everyday for our opportunity to be here in Malaysia.  It is a beautiful country with beautiful people whom we have grown to love.  As always, we love hearing from you.  Hope you are all staying warm and dry in cold and snowy Utah.  Right now it is a balmy 81 degrees with a light rain.  We love and miss you all tons.  E/S Read

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Selamat Dahun Baru

Selamat Dahun Baru -- Happy New Year Everyone.  We hope the new year 2013 will bring you all much joy and happiness and all your dreams come true.  2013 will bring us Home, so I at least am looking forward to that.  But, I am also looking forward to all the adventures yet to be had here in Borneo.  We weren't too crazy with our New Year's celebration.  All missionaries have to be in their apartments by 10 pm, so we weren't going to be out until midnight.  The KK2 branch did have a New Year's Eve party.  It started at 9 pm and went until 1 am.  I heard everyone had a good time.  Our celebration was a real snorer, literally.  Ben snoring and me listening.  I'm sure I snore too sometimes, but Ben is the real champion.

New Food -- every Tuesday we have district meeting with the elders and sisters in our apartment.  I usually fix them some lunch.  After all, they are missionaries and someone's sons and daughters and they do work extremely hard.  And I love them all tons.  On Tuesday, Elder Tadius, who is a Malay native, brought us a dish to try.  It was lizard.  One of the members had killed this huge lizard, at least 6' long, and given Elder Tadius and Elder Gottfredson half of the lizard.  They cut it into pieces and then boiled it and then fried it in a soy type of sauce.  I can now say that I have also eaten lizard.  It was rather tough and of course it tasted like chicken.  Elders Tadius and Gottfredson also took the lizard skin and are drying it.  Elder Gottfredson wants to make a wallet out of the skin.

The KK1 Branch had a New Year's Day party at the beach.  The branch president, President Ng, told me "You bring cake."  So I made chocolate mint brownies.
LtoR:  Sis. Nielsen, Pres. Ng and his wife Susan.  The brownies are in the blue plan, second from left.  I also made a macaroni salad, third from left.
Here is a picture of some of the items on the grill.  The item in the middle with the arms is indeed a squid and those are his eyes looking at you.  I DID NOT try the squid.  I have had squid and octopus before and do not like it at all.  I'm also not sure what some of the other items on the grill are.  On the left is chicken wings, that's the only other thing I recognize.
This little boy from the branch shimmied up the coconut tree and was able to bring the coconut down.  Some of the older boys and elders tried to climb and get it, but they were unsuccessful.
Some of the branch members at the beach New Year's Day party.

Here is a picture of some of our favorite fruits:
The red hairy like things on the left are ramatan and the purple things on the right are mangosteen.  Both very delicious.
Here is what they look like when you peel off the outer layer.  Both white inside.  The ramatan has a large seed inside while the mangosteen has some small seeds in some of the sections.  I really love the mangosteen the best.  They call it the queen of the fruit.  It is not always mangosteen season, so when it is mangosteen season, we buy a lot.

Again, we want to wish everyone Selamat Dahun Baru/Happy New Year.  We love and miss everyone so much.  Please send us emails and let us know how and what you and your families are up to.  The first thing we do every morning to check our emails to see if anyone remembers us and to see if we made the obit page.  Love to all E/S Read