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

1 comment:

  1. If you need a picture of the funeral or of grandma, I posted some in google+. I think all you have to do is right click on the picture you want, hit save as, find the folder you want to save it to and hit save or ok or something like that. Let me know if that doesn't work and I can try to help you a different way.
    Miss you lots! Love you more!