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.