Monday, February 7, 2011

Christmas and New Year in Malaysia

Over the last 2 months, Thomas experienced Christmas and New Year in Bintulu.  There were lots of activities at church and at members' houses.  The tradition is to visit people and every family feeds the visitors, whether the visitors are hungry or not.  Thomas enjoyed the food but felt like he was going to explode after visiting a few families.

Santa visited the Christmas party at church.
Another picture of the church Christmas Party.

The missionaries took part in a youth meeting at the Similajau beach.  One of the activities was a sandcastle building contest.  The elders built a pretty elaborate one.

Washing off sand after building sand castles.
Playing with the youth at church.
Thomas was able to work with a number of families.  One family has some really cute children.  The baby boy (they call him Boboy) loves to play the piano.
"Teaching" Boboy how to play the piano.
With a newly baptized family.  Kids' names are Rembula, Patricia and Boboy.
One of the things Thomas craved was cheese.  Abby found a wheel of cheese that's encased in wax and sent it to East Malaysia.  It survived the trip and it was a hit with the expatriates.

Cheese sent from home.  A luxury not found in Borneo.
Thomas rides his bike past this big project everyday.  They hear that fertilizer plants and aluminum factories and such are being built at this site.
A large tract of jungle cleared for industrial development.
Thomas went to Singapore towards the end of January so that he could renew his visa to Malaysia.  While there, he visited two families who took good care of him during his summer internship in Singapore in 2009.  He also made some recordings of children church songs in Malay for use in meetings back in Malaysia.

While in Singapore, Thomas fulfilled his dream of buying cheap ties.  He went wild and bought 11 ties for 22 Singapore Dollars (about $17.30).  When he got back to Malaysia, Sister Orien could not resist to do a "photo shoot" of Thomas with his new blue tie.  It was made artistic by photoshop.

Abby is real proud of Thomas for using all kinds of reflective materials, flashlights, and other bike safety gear while he rides in unlit country paths.
At the baptism of a new member.  Elder Bench, Thomas' companion for almost 6 months, will be leaving Bintulu for Kuching next week.  Thomas will be going to Singapore to pick up his new companion, someone who is fresh from the US.