Jordan's Mission Apartments

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Home again, All

Notes from Dad:

My attempts to keep you all informed on our progress was thwarted by the lack of technology. Once we left Kuching we continued our trip to Sibu, Bintulu, Kuala Lumpur, and Hong Kong. Each of the nights spent in these other areas were met with frustration with our laptop and a lack of compatibility with the available internet connections. Our only other alternative was to go to an internet cafe and try to spend time updating the blog. This was not possible as we did not have time to spend in the internet cafe. Now that it is a week after our return home we are sifting through our picture and trying to decide which to post. I hope in the next couple of weeks we will be able to wrap up the blog with some final thoughts from Jordan.

The trip to pick him up was well worth the time and effort. The country and people of Malaysia are delightful and very hospitable. I felt very welcomed and will have fond memories of my time in that part of the world.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Goodbyes in Kuching

Notes From Dad:

I have to apologize for the lack of name of the people we are visiting, but since I type most of this while Jordan is sleeping we will have to do some final editing when we get home. The schedule is very full and the only time I have to add some thoughts is at the beginning of each day while Jordan is sleeping. I am usually up between 5:30-6:00 AM and the mission here does not get up until 7 AM.

Our second and last day in Kuching was a combination of wonderful visits with people that Jordan baptized and something like a split with the Sis Missionaries (split is not the right word) to visits to great cultural sites. In the morning Pres Teo took us to his kampung (village). It is located several miles to the north in pretty thick jungle. We were hoping to go to the orangutan sanctuary but we missed the feeding time. So we continue onto the kampung. The roads are very narrow and winding and Pres Teo is like Mario Andretti.

There are six different distinct tribes or groups in Malaysia and each use a form of long house, but each are very different. We went to a Malaysian cultural village in the afternoon that had examples of each kind of housing. The following pictures are from Pres Teo's kampung.

Long house court yard

Walkways between buildings

Jordan does not quite fit

Not all tribes are head hunters but all keep the heads of their enemies as a warning

After visiting Pres Teo's compone we went to the Malaysian Cultural Center. It is very similar to the Polynesian Center in Hawaii that is put on by the Church. There were different villages to visit and a show with many of the dances of the different tribes. Jordan was selected to participate in the finale. I have videos of all of the dances in their entirety and when I get time I will load a dance or two.

Jordan dancing like a native

We ended the day with a visit to a family that Jordan taught the Beliang's. While we were there the Sis Missionaries brought by a couple of investigators to watch a church video on the restoration, Sis Seve and Sis Wing. It was cool to watch Jordan participate in the discussion with the Sisters. The interesting part was seeing the change of body language as the lesson continued. The one brother was very guarded until Bro Beliang participated by sharing his testimony and I watched as the Brother went from guarded to intently listening. It was a great example of the impact the local church members have on the work.

Lesson at the Beliang Family home.

Today we fly out of Kuching to Sibu.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

On to East Malaysia

Notes from Dad:

We left the Senior couple housing at about 7:30 AM. It was raining bad enough that we needed to find a taxi to get to the subway that would take us to the airport. The subway also known as the MRT was a great ride. It was a little crowded as the morning commuters were out in force. The crowd grew as we headed for the center of town and dwindled as we started out towards the airport. We will do the same when we return on Wednesday from KL.

We flew Asia Air and that is where I started to see the first effects of Malaysia. On the flight the service cart came up the isles and I asked for some ice water. The flight attendant looked at me a little funny and then poured me the water and added several cubes of ice, each piece individually with very small tongs. When the cup was handed to me I realized that the water had been scalding hot. The only cold water from here on out is what we will put in the refrigerator in bottles. Jordan had warned me that the only drinks served from here on out would be scalding hot or sweet corn flavored mixtures. We arrived in Kuching after a one hour and twenty minute flight,

We were met at the airport by the Branch President and taken to our hotel. The weather continued to look very threatening and by the time we arrived at the hotel it had started to rain here as well. We had time to check out the hotel internet connection and soon hooked up with Scott, and later TJ, Kimberly and Whitney. You have to love Google video chat. The cool part was taking the computer to the window and scanning the horizon so they could see what we were seeing.

Jordan had set up appointments to meet with families each day that he had been involved in teaching. So everyday we will have a little time for site seeing and then to visit with the people in their homes. We had a little time to check out the waterfront part of town. The rain was coming down but Jordan hoped that it would abate a little as rain storms tend to be short. The shops across the water front look like something out of Casa Blanca. The walkways in front of the store are brick or concrete or covered by tin roof or tarps. I can see that this is necessary in this part of the world or there would be no way or going from one store to the other without getting soaked.

The rain did not abate and instead grew in intensity, but it was ok as the only time we were exposed were while crossing an alleys or streets. Then it was a mad dash. I can tell Jordan has climatized as he was complaining that with the rain it felt a little cool. I felt like I was in a warm shower and found it quite comfortable. It was a drenching rain and we had to change or iron things to dry out. The shops run along both sides of most streets with the exception of where they front the river. They seem to go on for ever and there was no way to get to them all.

Our first appointment was at 6:00 PM. Jordan warned me that there was a chance that we would be fed at each appointment. He had mentioned this before and so I had only had a Mcgriddle at the airport before flying out (yes in Singapore there are most comforts of home). This was the home of one of the counselors of the branch presidency that he worked with. The food was great, Malaysian chicken curry, rice, cooked veggies and a salad like mixture of cooked shrimp, mushrooms, and beans. It was great to find cold soft drinks, as that seems to be more the exception than the rule.

Jordan taught them in Malay from 2 Nep 32 about enduring to the end. It was interesting to watch him changing from Malay and then to English to explain to me what was being discussed. The Malaysian people read their scriptures in the Indonesian language and are looking forward to having them in Malay soon. I was not sure how well Jordan was acquainted with the language as he had been sent on an English speaking mission. He was sent to East Malaysia after 7 months and had to learn the language while in country. You can see how the Lord blesses his servants. He told me that he is not always aware when he changes from English to Malay. The highlight of the visit was when they sang "God be with you till we meet again" in English as a going away present.

The next family was of much more humble means. The compone or village is upscale by local standards as the roads are paved. The houses were simple, built on stilts, with no interior sheeting on the walls, exposed wiring and a single light bulb for the room. We sat on the floor which was only covered in a material similar to shelving paper/covering. It was plastic in nature but very thin and appeared to be stuck to the plywood underneath. The roof was simple framing with a tin cover. Again no interior sheeting. In this weather it is good for keeping out rain but must be like living in an oven during the day and a speaker box in the rain. The father of the home is quite a singer and guitar player. He played a number and sang for Jordan and then Jordan reciprocated.

The last family was a lady that Jordan baptized and said that she cried when she found out that he was being transferred. They had food prepared and we ate again. A meal of fried chicken and pork with fried rice and a spicy sauce that looked a lot like teriyaki but with a much more potent kick. The drink was something called Milo, and is like hot chocolate, served scalding. At each meeting Jordan taught them the importance of enduring to the end and committed them to continue in the gospel.

My impression are of a humble people who can be just as distracted by the world as any other. It does not matter where you live, or how much money you make, each of us has to decide whether or not we are going to be obedient. We each can be distracted by trivial matters. The people in this part of the world have to guard against complacency just like we do. I also saw a great love of the people for those that serve them and of the love that missionaries have for them. It is hard to describe the feelings that I observed, but can only put them in the category of sacred.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Exit Interview

Notes from Dad:

I was not there so I am not going to tell you what was said, but Tuesday was mostly waiting in the office for Jordan's exit interview. Pres Clark was delayed with other matters so I tried to make myself useful by helping the Elder and Sis Carpenter move luggage and mattresses from one apartment to either the storage area or the senior couple quarters. There are 7 newbies, as they are called here, scheduled to arrive Wednesday at 1:30 PM. So as was quoted by three dead missionaries all day that it is taking 7 to replace the 3 (Oh the glory of the mind). It is an odd feeling to be around as the three missionaries prepare to leave, signing each every ones journals, and giving last hugs and saying goodbyes.

We were then treated to a going away dinner and devotional at Pres and Sis Clark's residence. It is a beautiful condo and the food was prepared by some of the missionaries (some of the best food I have ever eaten). It was a traditional Indian meal that was followed by a devotional and testimony meeting. I could see the emotion of the Clark's as they said their goodbyes and bore their testimonies and allowed the missionaries to do the same. There was talk of doing the same thing the next night for the seven new missionaries only this time it will be a welcome dinner and an opportunity to learn to love seven new young men. It was interesting to be able to be there and witness the cycle of a missionary's lives. Sending them home and then starting all over with someone new.

I was impressed with the love and devotion of the Pres and Sis Clark and it somewhat reminded me of home and serving with BYU students. They come to school, you get to know them and then they move on. I would say the the Clark's experience is a little more intense, but I could empathize with them. Goodbyes and hugs took sometime with just the three of them, I imagine that it takes all night with a group of 6-8. I will leave to Jordan to share his thoughts about going through the cycle, I only offer my observations. I can say "what a group of good men" serve in this part of the world, and it is repeated many times more in other missions. This cycle goes on week after week all over the world, and I have only seen a glimpse of it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Joyous Reunion

Notes from Dad:

The weather in Singapore starts out hot and humid and gets hotter and more humid as the day goes on. The day started with a 2-3 mile walk before sunrise. It was 80 degrees and the moisture is everywhere. Oh, so you are not reading this blog for the weather report. If you need that it is located to the right along with the current time.

At about 9:00 AM, I went with Elder and Sis Carpenter to the Mission Office. I have not seen a picture of this building and I don[t think that Jordan had sent one home. The Carpenters made a call upstairs and told Jordan that they had a package to large for them to handle and requested his help carrying it upstairs. I don't think Jordan was fooled but he came down with many other missionaries who wanted to see a father and sun hug. I think that all missionaries get a little thrill watching a family reunion and think to their time and turn. Non the less there are no pictures of the moment only memories of that first hug. Yes, LuAnn I gave him an extra squeeze for you.

We then went upstairs to meet with the rest of the office help and that is where Pres. Clark took the first pictures. I was introduce to several elders and Sis Clark who also sends her best wishes to the mother of a great missionary. There were more missionaries than usual in the office due to transfers and visa runs.

Jordan and a proud pappy

While Jordan has not been released we did get to go around and visit several places in Singapore. Jordan finished up some travel plans for KL and then we went to little India. There are location in Singapore that are primarily one ethnic group. Jordan wanted to do some shopping. We then met up with the Pres Clark and Sis Clark for lunch. Many of the office Elders came along and the restaurant is one of their favorites. Any guesses why? Of course it is a buffet. In this case a seafood buffet and Jordan was in his element.

Jordan has been concerned in his letters home that he has become fat and weak. While he has lost some of his football upper body he looked to be in pretty good health. I think that he has grown an inch or two. My guess is that he is pretty close to 6'3" in his shoes as you can tell from the above photo, he was not quite that tall when he left.

Welcome lunch

We spent the rest of the day going to places that Jordan had not been able to go to before or wanted to see again. We first went to the Singapore National Museum. It is a beautiful colonial building with many different exhibits. We went to the portion about Singapore's history. I wish there had been more about the pirate history, but from the official record it appears that was pretty short lived, and there was no information about Jack Sparrow.

We then finished our day at the Singapore Zoo. They have a very unique zoo attraction called the Night Safari. It is completely dark with only some minor path lighting. It is a cool way to see the zoo including sugar glider, flying squires, tigers, bats and many other animals, most who are nocturnal anyways.

I did shoot many videos but I may have to wait until I get home to get them loaded. The processor on the laptop is struggling with the HD format. So I will try to shoot stills along with the video from here on. We finished the day at his apartment. It is used for the stay over place for those on transfers, visa runs and dead missionaries. Needless to say there was quite a crowd there last night. My impression of the apartment was that it was quite large and probably was not inspected by Elder Nelson when he was in town (hint hint). I was thirsty and was offered a drink from a clean bowl.

Today is Jordan's exit interview. That will happen around 10:00 AM and then we are off to see some more of Singapore. Singapore is very modern, clean and pretty easy to get around. There is a tube transport called the MRT that makes it very quick to get from one station to another. There is every convenience known to man and most conveyances also. If the weather was a little more moderate it would be a paradise, but that is left to Hawaii.

I am looking towards meeting up with Jordan again and from here on out we will be companions. He will not be going back to his apartment again, unless he forgot to pack something, and that is a pretty big likelihood.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Beginning of the End

Notes from Dad:

Yesterday was a travel day. I know that other family members have travelled great distances before but this was my first trip outside the United States, except for a couple of trips into Canada years ago, and that used to be like traveling to another State. I left Salt Lake City after work on Friday at 7:10 PM to fly to San Fransisco to catch a red eye to Hong Kong. I arrived in Hong Kong at about 4:00 PM Saturday Salt Lake time. I then caught a connecting flight to Singapore and arrive about 4 hours later.

Since it was Elder Troxel's last official day of split and missionary work he was not able to meet with me. He had given me instructions on how to get to the senior missionary quarters and I took a taxi. The building is a combined church and missionary housing. there is a photo of the building already on the blog. It is the one with Jordan sticking out his back side in front of a colonial white building (I mean British colonial). I met Elder and Sis Carpenter and two other senior missionary couples. They shared a meal with me and we chatted about children and families until my eyes started to fall out of my head, which was about 6:00 PM Sunday Singapore time and 3:00 AM Sunday morning Salt Lake time.

All together other than some short cat naps on the plane I had been up for about 46 hours with out a good rest. I have stayed up for marathons like this before with my police work and I am used to switching my sleep around because of working graves. After a good nights rest I feel ready to tackle the day and meet up with Jordan. I talked to him on the phone and he was having to do the hardest thing for a missionary and that is "packing day". Missionaries think about going home, but it is not real to them until they have to pack. The realization was hitting Jordan last evening.

This morning, Monday, at about 9:00 AM, I will get to meet with Jordan and he will still be a missionary, but he will not have any official duties left. We will spend the next two days traveling around Singapore as tourist. On Wednesday we will travel to Kuching, Friday to Sibu, Saturday to Bintulu where we will attend church and Sunday afternoon to Kuala Lumpur. We will stay in KL until Wednesday morning when we fly back to Singapore and then onto Hong Kong. We will stay in Hong Kong until Thursday evening so we can attend the Hong Kong Temple Thursday morning. Due to the international date line we will be back in Salt Lake City on Thursday evening.

Thoughts on the flight: The flight was smooth from San Fransisco to Hong Kong, about 15 hours. Economy class was very cramped. I flew on a 747 and it was the first plane that I had been on where the seat does not recline, but the seat portion slides forward cutting into your leg, especially your knee room. I was not able to get an isle seat which would have been a big help. It was it was a pain to have to ask two people to move so I could get up and walk around, so all I could do was flex in my seat. By the time I went to bed last evening, my ankles were twice their normal size. I had not noticed until I took a shower. After sleeping all night they are back to normal. I am going to try to get an isle seat on the way back.

View from the Hong Kong airport of the Harbor looking Northwest

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Thanks for the Memories

Keluargaku yang kukasihi,

This is it. The next contact I'll have with you is when I see Dad in Singapore. It really hasn't hit me yet. Right now I'm in Bintulu on an exchange. It was a good idea to schedule exchanges this week, because if I was just sitting in Singapore I'd have a lot more time to think about it. I won't get back to Singapore until Saturday afternoon, and by that time I'll need to start packing and getting things together.

I got to go to KK for the last time on Saturday and we stayed for church on Sunday. That was so sad. I had to say goodbye to a lot of people because we're not going to have a chance to go there when I go around with Dad. Angelo (formerly Elder Semana) met me at church on Sunday and then he came out with us teaching that night. It ripped my heart out to have to say goodbye to him. He's been with me pretty much my entire mission. Dad mentioned doing the "interview" with him, but we're unfortunately not going to get a chance to meet him ;(

The whole trip is pretty much planned out. I've made reservations and set up all of our travel in all the areas (except for KL, but I'll do that on Saturday when I get back). It's going to be SO sweet. I'm pumped... but I'm kinda dreading it at the same time because I know how hard it's going to be to leave.

When you get to Singapore, you should probably take a taxi to the Church/Carpenter's abode on 233 Pasir Panjang Road (next to the Redwood Condominium). I'm probably not going to be able to meet you till Monday morning, but that will work out nicely because you'll be able to just come into the office with the Carpenters Monday morning. I'm likely not going to be able to email again before I get back to Singapore, and by that time you'll already be in the air, but you have the office number and here is my cell number in case you get lost in between the airport and the Carpenters: +65 9837 3063.

I think that's pretty much it. It's been an awesome 25 months. I'm super nervous to go home. Will I be an awkward RM? Only time will tell...but probably.

Thank you all so much for the love, support, and prayers. You have made all the difference.

I love you all,
Elder Troxel (for the last time)

Note from Dad: We would like to thank all of you who have been following along. We have had fun posting Jordan's letters and experiences. While this may be Jordan's last official letter home, we are looking forward to having him post some last thoughts once he gets home. We will also use the blog to post some of our comments and thoughts while I am there in Singapore and Malaysia with him. We have loved sharing this experience with all of you. It has been a great blessing for our family to share our Missionaries experiences over the years. We are doubly sad that this part of our lives may be coming to a close for a while.

Over the last ten years we have enjoyed having our sons serve in Salvador Brazil, Guatemala City Guatemala, Washington D. C., and now Singapore/Malaysia. We have all grown through the examples set by our children, and we wouldn't change a minute of their time in the mission field for all of the gold in the earth. We are excited that Jordan is coming home, but we are also sad at the realization that this great opportunity is drawing to a close. My testimony of Jesus Christ has been strengthen by hearing from my sons as they have shared the gospel with the people of the earth. I am a better person for their efforts, and all I can say is "Thank You and I Love You" to each of them.

Mission Field Pictures