Friday, March 2, 2012

The Rest of February

We had the missionaries over for dinner last Sunday evening. We had just gotten back from Kuching and had been gone all week, but I found enough food in the apartment to fix a meal. I'm glad that I did because the sisters got transferred the next day. Sis. Gopinath in blue dress went to KL in West Malaysia. Sis. Song went to Penang Island in West Malaysia(where our friends, the Johnsons live). Sis Song is a Singaporean. Elder Brodie and Elder Peterson stayed here. Peterson goes home on April 4 and Brodie first of May. KK is getting all new missionaries!!! In this picture, they wanted to dress up in our baskets, hats, and Parang(machete).

Elder Larson and I teach all temple prep classes and missionary prep classes. I call these YSAs "The Fabulous Four"!! They are all going to the temple in preparation for their missions. Theddie Rubin on the left is going to his new kampong on a mission. It's called New York, New York!!! Peter Wong is going to Dallas, Texas Mission. He's hoping that he can find rice to eat!!! Peter is just one of the BEST!!! Laura and Elsie Harun(twins) are both going to London, England--but different missions!! They are all suppose to leave this month, just like us. I love them all and know that they will be wonderful servants of the Lord and great missionaries.

I joined the two branch Relief Societies for a meeting to plan their joint Relief Society Birthday Dinner. It is being held in two weeks from Saturday. These are fabulous women!!! Audrey on the left is KK1 R. S. President and Kate beside her is KK2 R.S. President. I love them both and they show great wisdom, compassion and caring in their callings.

I so look forward in seeing my own R.S. President in the ward and our Jenny in Utah ++everyone back home!!!!



This was our last trip to Kuching
and the closing for a wheelchair project that was started before we ever came on our mission. We took Francis Johen to dinner at Bla bla bla, which has become one of our favorite restaurants in Kuching. The food is really yummy and I love the decor. It has a rusted tin roof, two koi ponds, and lots of artifacts and red Chinese lanterns. Very simple, yet charming. The next day, on Saturday morning, we had our project closing at Cheshire Homes in Kuching. Francis had three of these recipients to come. The man in the yellow shirt had fallen out of a tree, man in the yellow pants was in a car wreck, and the double amputee has diabetes. None of them would had a wheelchair if it were not for LDS Charities. The elderly man sitting behind them is Dr. Foster who had been invited by Ms. Chia who is one of the directors of Cheshire Homes. Dr. Foster is a retired ENT surgeon. He was delightful to talk to.

This is Ms. Chia, expressing her thanks to LDS Charities for their contributions to the people of Kuching. Ms. Chia is a widow. Her husband was a very prominent government official until he died in a helicopter crash four years ago while on official business. They have four daughters and one son. Her son and his wife are doctors, educated in the UK. Her daughters are graduates of US schools--one from Harvard, one from Yale, one from Wharton School of business, and I can't remember where the youngest is in school. Wow!!! She is so gracious and lovely. She took us back to our Hotel after giving us a short tour of Kuching.

Ms Chia presented us with a vase as thanks for our assistance in the wheelchair projects. We have not opened it. We're just shipping it home.

This is Francis, presenting us with the completed list of names of all the wheelchair recipients. We enter this in our records and the project is complete!!

These are just a few of the lovely people whom we have met on this mission--new friends for a lifetime. We will miss them all. BUT....

We are ready to come home in a few weeks. We miss and love our family and friends. See ya soon.

E/S Larson




I really started this blog backwards because I keep forgetting to put the last pictures first and the first pictures last. Soooo start at the last picture and work your way to this one. This is a picture of Dad, myself,and Magdalena for Raleigh, NC!!!! I kid you not!! We are half way around the world in the jungles of Borneo and meet a young lady who lives about two and half hours down I-85 from us!!! She is working on her PhD. at NC State University. Her major is the study of ants. That's what she is doing in Borneo. She was born in Vienna, Austria but came to the US to study. This is the only airport in all of these jungles in this part of the island. A plane only flies in twice a week. Our tickets are hand written!!!

It's time to say goodbye to Beslic and Liaw who were our hostess and host. The other gal in the yellow shirt is one of Patrick Pannai's cousins who brought us some rice to take back with us. I'm bringing it home to the US. It's the best rice I've ever eaten. I have come to love Beslic and Liaw who are so kind, good, and generous. Liaw gave Elder Larson a parang(machette) that was his own. Beslic gave me one of her beautiful hand woven baskets. I will remember them forever.

Before you purchase you ticket they weigh you and your luggage at the same time!!! Elder Larson wanted me to step back so you could see the scales. No Way!!! It's in the metric system and does look better.

This is at the closing ceremonies for the fresh water project. The village people presented Elder Larson and me with hats. His is a Borneo cowboy hat made of tree bark. It's pretty "cool". My hat is a ceremonial native hat. I now own three of them. The balloons are around a spigot that released the new fresh water to the village.

The man standing beside the balloons is one of the four village chiefs in Budok Bui. The man in the blue shirt reading to us in perfect English is a village chief in a neighboring village. We actually had three villages in the project near Bakelalan(larger area where the airport is located)

About 16 or 18 of the village ladies put on their ceremonial outfits and performed a "harvest dance" for us. it was so graceful and beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes.

Before the ceremonies, all of the ladies in the village started coming to the preacher's house with their beautiful baskets full of food for the meal. After all of the meal is served, each person goes around to every person there and distributes all of the food in her basket for every person to take some home with them!!! Most of their foods are rice cooked different ways, usually in a leaf of some kind.

This is picture of the men in the village cooking a pig that they killed that morning.

This is the church gong. It's a huge hallowed log that says "haleluyah". They ring the gong every morning at six o'clock for village prayers. The villagers all go to prayer. They belong to the SIB Church. It's an evangelical Christian church that was brought to them back in the 1920's by Australian missionaries. Until then, they were pagan. This same day, I heard the gong sound twice in the morning. I asked Liaw why it rang twice. He replied that the second gong told everyone that they had just cut the pig's throat!!! I suppose that means that the men were to go and prepare the pig for the feast.

This is our bedroom at Liaw's home. The mosquitoes are terrible at night and I so appreciated the netting. It was so cool at night--we needed blankets. Not many places in Malaysia require blankets!!! This is a very thin mat that we slept on.

We wanted to show you pictures of the bathroom we used upstairs where our bedroom was located. This is what you use to dip water over you to bathe. Notice the dipper in the tub. There is slow drip water coming out of the faucet. It's cold.....

This is the "squatter toilet" There is no sink to wash or run water into. Beslic gave me the pink pitcher of boiled water to brush our teeth with. While brushing, you spit in the drain by the blue bucket and use water from it to wash that down the drain!! At the top of the wall that the pink pitcher is sitting on, there is about a two-foot opening to the ceiling. That's ventilation!!!

In the bathroom downstairs, Beslic has an electric washing machine!!! The village just got electricity in 2011!! Beslic and Liaw now own a refrigerator!! It's in their new bedroom downstairs because that's the only room with an outlet to plug it into!!! They can run it only in the day time because during the evening when people have their lights on, the voltage is too low. The source of their electricity is a hydro generator installed by Patrick's rotary club.

Malaysia is wet and very green. There are plants everywhere, especially in the jungles. There are ferns all over the place. I have learned to love cooked ferns!!! The blue bowl has the green from tapioca plants, the other two bowls have two different kinds of ferns. This was our lunch one day while there. The villagers eat green leaves and vines from cucumbers and pumpkins.

Picture of Liaw and two of the village chiefs at the dam that LDS Charities provided.

This was lunch one day. On the end are banana leaves that have rice cooked in them. There is also soup, chicken and vegetables. I don't know what all of it is, but it's good. The basket in front of me is full of fruits from the jungle that grow wild--bananas, rambutan, pineapples, a citrus like a tangerine, etc. Elder Larson even ate durian on this trip. I refused because it stinks so bad that you almost lose it!!!! This is Patrick and Ann Pannai--our good friends.

This is Beslic in her kitchen getting ready for a meal. Beslic has village feet just like most of the women here.

After we arrived at the airport, this guy is bringing the luggage from the plane. I was so excited to see that they had fixed the flat tire on the wheelbarrow!!!!

This is our good friend, Ann Pannai. She is married to Patrick who was born and reared in Budok Bui. Ann is Chinese and has been married to Patrick for 42 years. It's was difficult for her to marry a native. Her family disapproved. Same for Patrick. It was difficult for him to marry a Chinese and not a native girl. His Grandfather was the village chief of the Lun Bawang tribe and Patrick was suppose to be his heir. His grandfather disinherited him when he left the village to go away to school. Patrick and Ann are retired schoolteachers and Elder Larson and I are so thankful that they call us "friend".

The jungles of Borneo--going to Budok Bui!!!!


Love you



This is Elder Larson goofing around with our center piece at the ball. The YSAs decorated on Friday night. Many of them have to work on Saturdays.

These are the KK kids doing their Cha cha cha that they practiced about four times to perform. They were GREAT!!!! The young gal in the floral dress on the right is Ebony who is Sis. Dorcas' daughter--she has great rhythm. She is dancing with Curdy Money who is our former branch president. In the middle is Flora in the red dress dancing with Peter Wong who will soon be on a mission in Dallas, Texas!! They work together at abx. Flora is a new convert of about a month. Peter baptized her. They are both amazing. On their right is David Choong dancing with Tiffany Teo. Tiffany is a Laurel--but we invited the seventeen years old. She is just so precious. David was the emcee for the evening.

This table has some of the YSAs from Tawau. They rode a bus for about eight to ten hours just to come to the dance!!!! The girls sang a really pretty song. I think that they had lots of fun.

We had cake and ice cream for dessert. I bought this at my favorite bakery in Damai. It was so yummy!! We served about 90 people with this cake and had leftovers!!! We had about 70+ YSAs at the dance, but other branch members were there and we fed them also. We were so excited by the numbers who came. Last year we had about 30.

This is Cecie and Findley who were voted "Best Dressed". All the girls were beautiful and the guys were handsome. We love Cecie who has"blossomed like a rose" since we have been in Malaysia. She rides to and from FHE with us because she lives near us in a apartment with some other girls. Findley has recently moved home from KL. He's a very nice young man, knowledgeable in gospel principles, and so cheerful. The fellow in the red shirt is President Fausto. He is a counselor in the District Presidency and he is a fabulous dancer. He cooked all of the dinner for the dance except the spaghetti sauce, which I made.

This is Mr. and Miss Valentine, selected by popular vote. They are Eder Wong and Laura Harun--two of my favorites. Eder is a return missionary and Laura leaves in a few weeks for her mission to London, England!!! The little guy taking their picture is Findley's little brother and we could not get rid of him all night!!!! I thought that he was cute!

This is our chapel and our cultural hall. Some of the older members there told us later that we were too loud--but we weren't. They were just 70+ people having a fun time. Some of the new converts need to understand that it's okay to have fun at church!!!

I loved doing this and I hope that our precious YSAs continue to grow in the gospel and in their personal lives. I love each one of them and will miss them terribly!! But I'm so excited to be coming home-- just three more weeks.

Love you


Wednesday, February 15, 2012


We have been busy this month so far. February is the month of love and Valentine's. Our YSA group is going to have our Second Annual KK District Valentine's Ball. It's this Saturday evening at 6:30. They are so excited. We have had three dance practices. Here we're learning the cha-cha. Malaysians love to perform!!!!

After our first dance practice, we were invited to Dorcas's home for dinner. Sis. Dorcas wanted Elder Larson to give her son, Jacob, a blessing. Jacob has been floundering for about a year now and he needs direction. He has enrolled in school to be a flight attendant with a Canadian airlines. He wanted a blessing before starting school. This picture is of Sis. Karen, Sis. Liza, Pres. Fausto, and Eder Wong. Eder and Fausto are returned missionaries. Eder is one of my new favorite people now that he has come home to live from KL. Karen, Liza, and Fausto are Philipino. Food was yummy--Dorcas is a great cook!!

This is Cecie, Karen, David Choong, Liza, Dorcas, Me, and Elder Larson. this is about 9:30 at night after we finished FHE. Malaysians just get started eating at about 8:30 or 9 at night!!!! I do look forward to a more normal schedule. Cecie rides with us to FHE and goes wherever we go afterwards. David goes wherever there's food!!!

Dorcas is amazing!!!! She befriends anyone who needs a helping hand and offers them what she has!!!

Our KK2 YW's activity this month was to make purses for themselves. Cute, huh???? In the picture sitting are Betty and Betsy Mojundil on the ends and Findley's little sister in the middle. I can't remember her name. Standing in the back are President Chua's two daughters, Zi Ching and Vivienne, and on the left is Sarah, our neighbor's daughter!! Our neighbor Debbie and her daughters, Sarah and Rebecca, are supposed to be baptized on March 3!!!!!

I'll let you know how the dance turns out on Saturday. I'm busy making a bulletin board for the cultural hall. I'm also baking cakes for the dessert. I love being busy!!

We are also busy getting ready to come home. We have packed one suitcase already. I'm trying hard not to get too "trunky". We love you and so look forward to seeing , hugging, and kissing everyone!!!!



Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wheelchair GiveAway IN Tawau

In the city of Tawau,
we have three LDS Charities projects ongoing. One of these projects is a wheelchair one. LDS Charities has donated almost 1500 wheelchairs to people on the Island of Borneo this year!!! Our main partner in these wheelchair projects if Cheshire Homes. They arrange for the distribution of chairs to cities other than KK . Jennifer Liew(Director of Cheshire Homes in Borneo) and Elder Larson arranged for 73 chairs to be distributed in Tawau. This is a picture of some of the recipients there who received chairs after being assessed. This picture was taken after the closing ceremony. Practically all of the recipients were elderly Chinese. This is Elder Larson speaking at the closing ceremony. He told them of all the projects that LDS Charities has done for peoples all over the world. This is one of the few times that he spoke without a translator, because most of them understood English.

These are two brothers who received wheelchairs. Their parents were so grateful. The young lady in the blue shirt is Ashley who is doing volunteer humanitarian work in Malaysia and is sponsored by the Lutheran Church. She is stationed in Sandakan and rode the bus to Tawau to help us with the wheelchair assessments. Thanks, Ashley!!

This was the night before the assessment/giveaway. We were trying to train volunteers to do the assessments. We thought that we had 20+ volunteers to train, but later found out that they were simply relatives of the recipients!!! Oh, well........ Red Crescent Society of Tawau was in charge of the planning and evidently misunderstood. But it worked out okay--usually does when you work for the Lord!!

This was the Newspaper article in the paper the following day. Really good coverage for LDS Charities and the church.


These are some of the students at Palau Gaya Sekolah. I noticed that many of the classes are segregated into male and female. They are so friendly and shy at the same time.

This a class of boys--lots more outgoing than the girls. I'm not sure if that is a reflection of the Muslim culture or just the difference in boys and girls!!!

This is a picture of homes in a kampung on Gaya Island. Gaya is just off the coast of KK. It is the largest island of several that protect KK from the storms and problems that other island in southeast Asia have. The Philippines are just north of Borneo and are exposed to terrible storms and monsoons. Borneo is called "The Land Below the Wind" because they are free from the terrible winds that affect other nations near them.

Gaya Island(Palau) is a picture of contrasts. On one end of the island are resorts that cater to the wealthy and tourists. On the other side is this kampung that houses mostly illegals from the Phillipines and Indonesia. The government of Malaysia provides a school(sekolah) for the children. This school is built on the water just like these homes. The children either walk on the island or arrive by boat.

About six months ago, one of their buildings burned with the children's supplies in the building. LDS Charities is going to replace the supplies for the children. We are in the process of getting quotes from suppliers to buy these materials. As soon as we purchase these supplies, the members of the branches of the church in KK are going to go to the school to present them to the students.

This is David Choong, and Elder Larson and me going to the island to talk with the principal about places from which to order the children's supplies. David translates for us and his schedule allows him to go with us during the day. Notice the building of downtown KK in the background.