Sunday, June 30, 2013

Family History I am Doing It

Hello to all you HOT people in the USA.  I know Utah has some HOT people but now it seems that everyone in Utah is HOT.  We have been following the weather forecast there and our sympathies go out to you.  While it is always hot here, and humid, it is nothing like the heat you are having in the West.

This week we had Elder and Sister Moulder come for a visit.  They are serving in Kuching and are specifically called as Family History missionaries.  They are great people and certainly know their way around the FH sites.  For two weeks we had it announced in Sacrament, RS and Priesthood meetings that they were coming for a special FHE on Monday.  We were hoping to get at least 10 people to come.  We had over twenty people.  YAHOO.  The Moulder's said it was the best turn out they had had.  In the two branches there are 6 people who are called to work in FH.  Four of them are only about 18 in age.  But they have caught the vision and are doing a great job.
Some of our Family History reps in the Family History Center.  We have one room dedicated to Family history in our building.  The main problem we have is keeping the internet/wifi up and running.
 This is Elder Moulder working with some YSA who turned out to learn how they could do FH.  LtoR:  Bro. Roy (YM's president), Elder Moulder, Sis. Jaqualine (Primary president) and Bro. David (elder's Quorum president).

Thre next night they had training just for the branch presidencies and auxiliary leaders and for the FH reps.  Also, the next day, Elder Read and I were able to work one-on-one with the Moulder's and they showed us all the wonderful stuff out there to help us with our FH.  I was particulary interested in a site called "Find A Grave".  They have pictures of headstones throughout the world.  You just type in the name of the person you are looking for and the cemetary they are buried in and Viola -- there you are right at the gravesite.  I thought this was pretty amazing, but probably some of you already know about this site.  We also found out some other interesting ways to gather information on our ancestors.  We are looking forward to doing FH when we get home.  Thanks Moulder's.
                                                Elder/Sister Moulder and Elder/Sister Read

On Thursday we needed to take one of the Elders to the hospital.  He has a ganglion cyst on a nerve in his knee and he is having trouble and pain with it if he does a lot of walking or bike riding.  Well, he is a missionary so naturally his knee is bothering him.  When he was in Singapore for a conference, Sis. Mains (the president's wife) had him go see a specialist there to determine what exactly was wrong.  He brought back the XRays with him and also the doctor's report so the doctor's here in KK would know what was wrong and how to treat him.  Since he is native Malay, he can get medical care for Rm1 (about 30 cents US).  We took him to the hospital two weeks ago to have it looked at and waited there about an hour.  Then they said they needed him to take it to a different clinic on the other side of town.  So off we go to the different clinic and wait again.  After waiting for another two hours, they finally decided that he needed to go back to the hospital and see a different doctor there as none of the doctors at the clinic could read the Xray and report.  They gave him an appointment for Thursday, at 9 am at the hospital again.  We got him there right at 9.  He had to wait in a line for about 15 minutes to get a number so that he could wait in line until it was his turn to see the doctor.  After waiting 1 1/2 hours they finally called his number and back he went to see the doctor.  Two hours later he finally came out again and said the doctor wanted another doctor to look at it so we had to wait some more.  Another hour later he came back out and said he had to wait for an appointment to see a physical therapist and another doctor next week.  AAAGH.  Five hours later we finally left and they hadn't done a thing for him.  I asked him, of the five hours we were waiting, how much time did you actually see and speak with a doctor(s).  He said 15 minutes.  AAAGH.  All I could think of was welcome to Obama Care.  Just slit my wrists now.

Yesterday KK2 RS had an activity where they made ties.  It started at 12:00 noon.  KK1 RS had an activity where we visited a sister in her home at 2:00 and all brought pot luck.  I arranged all my Saturday piano lessons so I would be through by noon and able to participate in the tie making.  Then Ben would pick me up at 1:30 so I could make it to the pot luck.  When Ben came at 1:30 they still weren't making ties.  Only 2 people were there.  The RS President came just as I was leaving.  I understand more sisters came by 2.  When we got to the meeting place for the KK1 activity at 2 pm, there were only three of us at the meeting place.  Thirty minutes later, the rest arrived.  There is Mormon time and then there is Malaysian time.  I am sure Malyasia will miss the millenium by about 3 hours. . . . but we love them anyway.
Some of the KK1 sisters at the RS activity/pot luck.  We were at Sis. Norianna's house.  She is on the front far right in the green and white shirt.

If anybody has any news, any news at all, they want to share with us we would love to get an email.  Please drop us a line if you can.  We love and miss you all.  E/S Read

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Hazy and Crazy

Apa Kabar? from beautiful Borneo.  This whole week we have been in terrible hazy air.  The farmers in Indonesia are burning their fields right now to get ready for the next planting season. It is supposed to be against the law to burn like they do, but no one enforces it.  As a result Sinagpore and Malaysia are really in a haze right now.  The air is really smoky and bad and makes it difficult to breath.
 This is a picture from our windows.  Normally you would be able to see clear across this area and see the big mountains that are behind the little hills in front.  It is especially bad in the mornings.
You can see the sun in this picture.  It is about 11 in the morning. It is in so much haze that you can look at the sun, although you shouldn't and we don't.  One good thing though, because there is so much haze, the sun isn't beating down on you.  It is still very hot, of course, but the sun isn't shining.  They say the haze could last for another 2 - 3 weeks.  I remember we had the same thing last year at this time, but it wasn't this bad.  Singapore is really upset and has called in the UN.

We had to have our car, the coke can on wheels, serviced this week.  Just a routine changing of the oil, rotating the tires and checking on the AC which decided to go out.  The place where we take the car is about a 20 minute walk away, so we can just walk there to take it and then walk back when it is finished.  On our way to pick the car back up, we had to walk through this herd (herd?  Is herd the right word?  What is a group of monkeys called?  A monkett?  An abbott of monks?  I don't know) of monkeys.  There were close to two dozen monkeys out.  Big ones, small ones, old ones, young ones.  Thought you might enjoy seeing some of the monkeys that literally live right outside our door.
 They are very naughty monkeys and are always going through the garbage at the next apartment complex below ours.  They will get in the garbage and pull out the whole plastic garbage sack, rip it open, and go through it item by item to see if there is anything there they want.  They just throw what they don't want all over the place.  It is horrible.  However, the cats really love the monkeys.  The cats wait below for the discarded garbage the monkeys don't want.  The cats and the monkeys make quite a symbiotic relationship and make quite a team. Between the two of them, the garbage disposal area is always in chaos.
 AHH.  Isn't that a cute little monkey.  It is amazing how quickly they can run across this wire over the road.
This is an older monkey.  We tried to get a picture of the wounds he has on his right front leg, but he wasn't cooperating.  These monkeys are called Long-Tailed Macaws.  And boy are their tails ever long.  Longer than their bodies. Sometimes they will be sitting beside the road with their long tails lying in the road and they won't move, but we don't want to run over their tail either.  Usually a quick toot of the horn will get them moving.
 A few blogs ago I told you about Simon who was recently baptized after having to wait a year.  If you remember, Simon is deaf and only has vision in one eye.  Last Saturday the Starkey Foundation from the USA came to KK and held a free hearing clinic.  They tested your hearing and would give you a free hearing aid if one was needed.  There were thousands of people who showed up.  For many, this was their only chance to get a free hearing aid and to possibly hear something.  We took Simon to visit with them.  They tested his hearing and he his profoundly deaf in both ears but his right ear is not so profound as his left.
They fitted Simon with a free hearing aid and he was elated.  He could pick up some sounds but the problem is he has no idea what he is hearing.  We need to take him to the deaf society now so they can work with him and teach him to recognize what sound it is he is hearing.  The Starkey Foundation is a wonderful NGO. So many people were helped.  When Elder Read walked in one US worker said, "Oh, You are Mormons.  Let me get your picture and do an interview with you on our cameras.  One of the major sponsors of this hearing clinic is Justin Osmond ( a cousin to Donny) and he would love to see and hear from you."  So Elder Read gave them an interview.  We have know idea where it will ever be shown or if it will be shown or if only Justin Osmond will see it, but they wanted to have an interview with a Mormon.

We had the YSA over to our house on Monday for their FHE.  We had quite a big group.  I asked them if they wanted rice and mee (noodles) or American sloppy Joes.  They all voted for sloppy joes.  They were really confused when I put out fresh brocolli, cauliflower, carrots and celery with ranch dip.  They said "How are you supposed to eat this?  It's raw.  You can't eat raw vegetables."  Those who tried it really enjoyed it and kept coming back for more.  Simon had about four big platefuls and he was one who was quite skeptical  about eating raw veggies.  
We went over to Sis. Sarjet's, a recent convert, home on Friday afternoon.  She has 11 total kids, but some of them are in KL and are older.  I think she adopted some of them.  We took the game "Don't Eat Pete!"  Once they figured out how the game was played, they loved it.  I should have taken more candy but the store I usually buy M&M's at was out of M&M's "Gone already".  This is Sister Rhodes, Sis. Noorda, Brenda, Hans and Esther.  Brenda is Sis. Sarjet's granddaughter.  Brenda's mother is Malin who was recently baptized.  Sis. Malin was the one that was baptized after just getting out of the hospital for dialysis and had the bandage around her neck.
This is Brenda, Sis. Sarjet, me and elder Read.  Making rabbit ears on Sarjet is Esther and making rabbit ears on elder Read is Hans.  We enjoyed being in their home and Sis. Sarjet makes the best mee!  Sedap!
We really enjoy working with the members.  They are all so loving and kind.  Great people.

Please try to remember us every now and then with an email.  We so look forward to hearing from everyone.  We enjoy knowing what is happening in your lives.  Keep us informed.  Love to All  E/S Read

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Singapore and YSA

Selamat Datang -- We hope everyone is doing well and loving life.  It is great for us to be here in KK and loving our mission.  We love the country -- it's so beautiful -- and we especially love the people.  We were just talking and saying the other day how the most boring job in KK must be the local weather forecaster.  He could just keep pulling out the same forecast day after day and never have to change it.  We even have it down by heart now:  Sunny in the morning, clouding up in the afternoon with a strong chance of showers.  Highs around 32 C and lows around 25 C.  Repeat the next day, and the next, and the next . . . .  Sometimes when it rains I think I will open the windows and let in the cool fresh air.  Well, the air may be fresh but it definitely isn't cool.  Just really humid.  But I keep hoping one day when I open those windows, there will be cool air.

We had senior conference again in Singapore on June 3rd - June 7th.  We had a fantastic time and decided to take in the famous Singapore Zoo. What an amazing zoo.  I have never been in one like it.  You don't get the feeling that it is a zoo at all.  Very very few of the animals are in cages.  There are even monkeys swinging around through the trees above your head.  Thank goodness they don't drop anything -- at least they didn't while we were underneath them.  Thanks for small favors.  Not wanting to bore you with the hundreds of zoo pictures we took, I just thought I would share a few with you:
 This is Sis. Atkinson, me and Sis. Crookston taking on this mean croc.  He was vicious, but he was no match for three tough old ladies.  We had him cornered in record time.
 Next these probiscus monkeys asked if they might have their picture taken with me.  One got scared and tried to run away.  What a boob!  I only look scary.
 This is the great hornbill.  It is the national bird of Malaysia.  It if magnificent to look at and so beautiful.  It is also quite large.  Wouldn't want to ask it to dinner.
 I'm sure everyone as seen a back end like this one at one time or another.  Possibly not on an elephant though.  I just wanted to show the agility these great big animals have.  The elephant is walking on a log and he has all four feet on the log and can walk it without falling.  I can't even do that with two feet and a bigger brain.
 I am always amazed at the ability they have in their trunks to pick up large items, like logs, and small items like peanuts.  Here the elephant is taking the hat off the man, but he can put it back on the man's head too.
And what would a trip to the zoo be without seeing the king of beasts.  These two kings looked very majestic and very lazy.  But they are huge animals and demand to be shown lots of respect.
 This is Sis. Jen Simon.  I had a picture of her several blogs ago opening her mission call which was to the Singapore mission.  Jen was in Singapore during senior/district conference to be set apart as a missionary.  She is so excited to go.  She is from the KK1 branch.  She entered the MTC in the Philipines on June 5.  She will report back to Singapore for her first assignment this Wednesday.  All the sister missionaries are hoping they get to be her trainer.  She will make one terrific missionary as she has been helping the missionaries teach for the past year and is already familiar with the way missions work.  Love Jen.
This is everyone in the KK district at our Singapore meeting.  Well, almost everyone.  Elder and Sis. Atkinson aren't here.  They are back in the hotel room.  I must tell you about the hotel we stay in in Singapore.  It is called the V Lavendar.  When you walk in the lobby it always smells like fresh lavendar. The smell is beautifu.  The rooms -- well they are clean and adequate.  If you put your arms straight out from yhour shoulders you can practically touch the walls.  Tiny, tiny rooms.  Once you get in the shower, you shouldn't plan on turning around.  Slide in, lather up and slide out.  You each get one bath towel, no hand towel or face cloth.  And then you must play "Find the soap".  It is not in the bathroom where you think it would naturally hang out.  Last time we looked and looked and finally had to admit we couldn't find it, so we got another one off the housekeeping cart.  Usually the soap is hidden in a drawer somewhere around the bed.  We aren't complaining though, because like I said, they are adequate since all we do there is basically sleep and shower.  We are gone all day for meetings.  The church pays for the rooms unless you want to stay extra days and do things on your own.  Then you pay for your extra days.  Everything in Singapore is so expensive.  This wonderful "adequate" room at the church's discounted price still runs $168 Singapore dollars per night.  Singapore and US dollars are about the same.  Makes Motel 6 look like the Ritz.
This is Tiffiny, her grandmother Kinta and her cousin Melvin.  They have been in the KK1 branch for about 3 years.  Kinta recently finished cancer treatments.  She lost all her hair, but now it is growing back and she is doing better.  They left on Friday to go to Bintulu.  I will sure miss this family.  They have relatives in Bintulu who are active members, so hopefully, they will stay active there.  Melvin wants to go on a mission but he needs to save some money.  It is a hard situation for him because most of the jobs around here require you to work on Sundays, so that is bad for him.  He works a while and then he quits because he wants to go to church.  Then he finds another job and it is the same thing over again.  Hopefully, when he gets to Bintulu they can help him get on his mission.

We are having all the YSA's over to our apartment tomorrow night for FHE.  I think some will go swimming.  So I am busy doing lots of cooking today because we have several appointments tomorrow.  BTW, we had another project approved last week.  It is for the Sabah Deaf Society.  We will be meeting with them again tomorrow to make sure we get everything right.  I have a soft spot in my heart for deaf people/children after having had wonderful deaf neighbors the whole time we were growing up.  I'm glad the church can offer some help.

Take care everyone -- We Love You All and miss everyone and everything.  Hope you are staying cool this summer.  At least you can have a variety of weather forcasts.  Love Ya  E/S Read

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Moving On

My mom's funeral has come and gone.  Thanks to the magic of skyping and our son Mark we were able to attend the funeral.  Everyone did such a wonderful job.  She would have been so pleased.  I'm still sad that I wasn't able to attend the funeral and a part of me still wonders if I made the right decision.  I think I will always have doubts about whether I should have gone home or not.  When I look at all the pictures I get a sadness in my heart that is so hard to define.  I don't even have a picture I can post here that shows what a nice service she had.  I don't even have a picture of her to share with everyone.  She was such a remarkable woman.  She truly was Amazing Grace.  But now it is time to get back to the work we were sent here to do.  The world just keeps on going on but it has lost one terrific lady that will never be replaced.

We had a baptism of three remarkable people a couple of weeks ago.  I wanted to share with you a little bit about Michael Bong.

This is Michael, in the middle, with his mother Lisa and his father Brandon.  Several years ago they were very active in the branch.  Bro. Brandon was in the branch presidency.  Then about 3 years ago Brandon had a stroke which left him impaired on his left side.  He has had to fight back to be able to walk and talk again.  After his stroke, they weren't coming to church.  Lisa was working on Sundays and it was hard for Brandon to come.  We visited them about 8 months ago with the branch president, Pres Chua.  Pres. Chua brought a video of the time two years ago when he went to the temple and had all his family sealed.  Brandon told us then that he wanted to be able to do that with his family next year.  So we challenged him to get his life in order to make that happen.  Brandon had a job at the time that required him to work on Sundays, but he left that job about 3 months ago so he could come to church again.    Brandon wanted to baptize Michael who is 10.  Michael also has a little ADHD.  Brandon wasn't sure he had strength enough in his arms to do the baptism.  Ben told him to practice at home by lying Michael down on a bed and then lefting him up from there.  He practiced and soon felt that he could do the baptism on his own.  But Michael was scared to death of water.  He would actually have tears on his cheeks when he thought about having to go in the water to get baptized.  The day of the baptism came and Michael stood at the top of the font stairs just trembling with tears in his eyes.  His dad put out his hand to him and Michael gripped it with a death grip.  Brandon showed him how to hold his nose.  Then came the baptism.  Brandon said the prayer flawlessly and put Michael under the water and then Brandon reached for Michael's shirt and literally pulled him back out of the water.  When Michael came out of the water he looked at his dad and then raised both his arms straight up in the air and shouted "YES".  What a moment.  Michael was happy, Brandon was beaming and Lisa was smiling ear to ear. Everyone was laughing through their tears.  They have the baptizees bear their testimony at the end of the baptismal service.  Michael was the youngest one baptized that day but what a testimony he gave.  He is an amazing kid with an amazing family.
 This is Elder Tadius with bro. Sacharias and
 this is Elder Tan with Emmy and Elder Tadius.  Emmy is Elder Tadius' sister.  Both Elder Tan and Elder Tadius are native Malaysians.  Elder Tadius' home town is about an hour drive from here and is in the KK district.  Elder Tadius was raised RC.  His whole family is RC.  Elder Tadius had decided that he wanted to become a RC priest.  His family thought that was great but told him he should go to KL and spend some time there for a little while before he joined the priesthood.  So off to KL he went for his final trip before becoming a priest.  Guess who he met in KL?  Missionaries.  After much listening, fasting and prayer he knew he would never be an RC priest.  He joined the church.  His family was very very unhappy with him.  Even more so when he told them he wanted to serve a mission for two years.  When he was transferred to KK he was back in his home area.  He could teach his family.  He first taught his sister Sophianna, but she is having a hard time because of family pressures.  His sister Emmy listened and learned and he was able to baptize her.  He says that his family is softening and can see how happy he is.  He is such a wonderful young man.  I just love him to pieces.  He will be through with his mission in about 2 more weeks.  Boy, we are going to miss him.  I look at him and see a branch president, a district president, maybe even an area authority seventy some day.

It is Harvest Festival time here in KK.  The schools are closed for two weeks and there are lots of different kinds of celebrations going on.  Malaysia is made up of about 7 different tribes.  They each have their own food, dress and dances.  The branches had a combined activity to celebrate the Harvest Festival.  Three models were chosen and each group had to dress their model in a native costume made out of newspaper.
 Our model was a young man, about 9 years old named Uriah, Uri for short.  He made an excellent model.  This is the missionaries and branch members outfitting Uri in his Kudasan costume.  
And this is the finished product.  LtoR:  Elder Tan, Elder Allen, Uri, Elder Kong and Elder Tadius.  And they won the contest for the best costume.
This is our last district meeting with Sis. Parker.  (Sis. Parker is the girl on the back row)  She left to go home on June 5.  She was one dynamo of a missionary.  Sis. Rhodes, her companion, is sitting next to me.  She is from Morgan and knows some relatives of ours.
It was also Elder Allen's birthday.  He turned 19.  He is from Utah and is the only Elder serving here in KK who isn't native Malay.  What a great young man.  He has only been out in Malaysia for about a month.

We finished teaching the Temple Prep class and now they went off to the temple last week for the first time.  I wanted you to see a picture of our "students".  It was a joy to teach them.  With their temple blessings they will be able to help the branches so much.  I didn't realize what a sacrifice it is for them to make this temple trip.  It may be the only time they will have the opportunity to go in their lifetime.  It costs them in time lost from work and monetarily as well.  We should be so grateful that we can have temples so close to us.  Hopefully, one day there will be a temple in Malaysia.

Thank you to those who sent an email expressing your condolences.  I really really needed them.  It is so hard to be so far away.  We pray for you all back home and please, send us an email.  We love to get them. We love you all     E/S Read

Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Sad Week

It has been a hard week for me.  My sisters and brothers have included me in a lot of the funeral plans for my mother, but it just isn't the same as being there.  They are very caring and among my best friends.  I so enjoy being with them.  I thought they planned a very nice funeral service.  Her grandsons Mark Read, Jason Wood and Dan Brady all spoke.  This is what she had asked.  There was a very special musical number by granddaughters and grandaughters-in-law.  A really pretty arrangement of "I Know That My Redeemer Lives".  And then my brother Jim spoke.  We are so lucky that we can live in this day and age.  We were able to go to the viewing and funeral via skype thanks to our son Mark who is a techie.  When Mark was on his mission, we could only talk with him on Mother's Day and Christmas via a long distance telephone call and it would cost us over $150 each time.  My how times have changed.  Thank goodness.  Thanks Mark for all you did to make this possible for us. I want to thank all my children for helping me to get through this.  They have been such a source of comfort from so far away.  It is hard for my flimsy brain to comprehend that she will not be there when I return home.  She has always been there.  It will be hard not to want to jump in the car on Sunday nights and head for granma's house.  All the fun and laughter with everyone that was always there.  We laughed over crazy things and cried over crazy things.  I think we are just crazy.  It must be time to start new traditions and make new and different memories.  I just have this huge hole in my heart and soul right now and can't see beyond it.

We are leaving for Singapore in the morning and will be there for five days.  I will try to get back in the blogging mood upon our return.  As always, would love to hear from you.  Sending our love and prayers for you and your families    Elder/Sister Read