Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Thomas has been in Bintulu for a month!

It's hard to believe but Thomas has been in Bintulu for a month.  The highlights of the past week were (1) attending zone conference (where missionaries from Bintulu and Miri got together for training by the Mission President, who came in from Singapore) in Miri, (2) visiting the famous Niah Caves (where the oldest modern human remains in Southeast Asia were found), (3) purchasing a bike for the jungle trails, and (4) seeing one of the people he had been working with get baptized.  Here are the pictures associated with some of these activities. 

Bus to Miri
At the Niah River
Crossing the river
On the boat with other missionaries
Niah Caves
Boardwalk in the caves

Tropical rainstorm
New bike
Bike spray painted over to make it look old (hoping that it will not be stolen)
Biking in the mud
At the baptism
Thomas is getting the hang of the Iban language.  He says that people understand him pretty well now and he can say what he wants to communicate with others.  He still has trouble understanding people when they speak fast.  However, when they repeat what they say and do it slowly, he is able to understand them quite well.
Thomas is working hard and is meeting a lot of great people.  He is teaching quite a few families and is making a lot of friends.
His latest project is to convince a 7-year-old boy to not drop out of school.  The boy would rather play with his friends who are also dropping out of school than to attend classes.  Thomas learned some "awesome magic tricks" and used them to get the boy to go to school (as in asking the kid to pick a card from a deck and telling the kid that he had to go to school if Thomas could tell him what card he picked).  So far, the magic tricks are going great but the boy is still not interested in going to school.
He has been playing Futsal (basically indoor soccer) with other missionaries and some local youths on Wednesdays (his "preparation day", in which he runs errands, reads/writes emails, and does recreational things).  He has been using this morning exercise time to practice ball handling with his soccer ball, hoping that he'll improve his skills over the next 21 months.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bintulu Pictures

Thomas giving a young man a ride on his bike.
Monsoon has not started but there has been some rainy days.

Not sure that this is safe.
Lush jungle path to and from the villages.

Typical house.

Shanty town near the garbage dump where some families Thomas teaches live. 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Latest pictures

Sister Orien sent the following pictures from yesterday's baptismal service in the Bintulu 3rd Branch.  Elder Bench baptized one of the people he and Thomas taught and Thomas led the group in singing at the service.  Afterwards, Thomas played the piano for the young people there.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Settled in Bintulu

Thomas took some pictures of things around him and places he visited in Bintulu.

Arriving at the missionary quarters in Bintulu.  Thomas shares the place with 3 other elders.
Thomas' bed.
Bridge to Muzako
Bridge to Muzako at night
Walking out of the jungle at night
Typical house in the jungle village
Muddy legs after a day's work
Sweat-soaked backpack as evidence of hard work in the heat 
Blister from a hot iron
Big bug
Butterfly in the house of a member
Butterfly and lizard on the ceiling of a member's house
Thomas welcomes emails from friends and family: thomas.kwok@myldsmail.net