Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Thomas completed his mission and is now home

After 2 years of a very rewarding and successful mission, Thomas returned home from Malaysia this morning.  After meeting with Pres. Dillender, the stake president, he did the two things he missed the most: eating at In-And-Out Burgers and singing with his brothers.  This is the last posting of the blog.

Singing with brother Ben
Singing with Brothers Ben and Adam

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Final Week

Over the last two months, he and others organized 2 successful church activities.  Here are some of the photos at these events.  Thomas was released as the Group Leader on Sunday.  He is working hard to achieve the goals he set for himself as a missionary, knowing that they are in reach even if he only has 4 more days in Malaysia.  He will go to Singapore on Monday to meet up with the other missionaries who are also returning to the US.  He leaves for San Francisco early Tuesday morning.

During the month of May, he attended a zone meeting in Ipoh and met many good people in Sitiawan.
Zone Meeting in Ipoh
Flats in Sitiawan 
With a family Thomas and his companion are teaching.
With Elder Martin, Thomas' companion at the Provo Missionary Training Center.
[Go to the July 10, 2010 post to see what they looked like 2 years ago.]
Dinner with new friends from the Philippines.
Thomas and others also organized 2 successful church activities. The first event was in early May, when the Chinese Branch members and the Malay Group members got together to have Family Home Evening.  Lots of people attended and had a good time together.
Joint Family Home Evening in Sitiawan
The second was a Gawai party at the church.  Gawai is a big festival for the Ibans from the State of Sarawak on the Island of Borneo.  The celebration includes lots of food and traditional dancing.
Gawai party decorations
Gawai Party at the Sitiawan Church.
Iban dance during Gawai celebration

Poco poco dance

4 missionaries in Sitiawan and a local family.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Return Date Set

Just got word that Thomas will return to the US on Tuesday, June 12, 2012.  He'll be on a Delta flight that goes from Singapore to Tokyo, then on to San Francisco, arriving around 9:30 AM.  We can't wait.

Sitiawan Group

Thomas and his companion, Elder Alexsius from Sabah, are working hard to get a Group going to Malay speaking members. Because there are not too many Malay speaking people in the small city, it is challenging work. However, they are having some success and a good group of people is attending church over the last few weeks.
Sitiawan Group. Elder Alexsius on left.
Teaching Sunday School
Thomas went to Ipoh for a meeting shortly after arriving in Sitiawan.  Ben served in Ipoh in late 2007 to early 2008 so many members in Ipoh still remember him.  Thomas was given royal treatment by the members, who called him "Junior Elder Kwok".
Going to Ipoh for meeting.
With members in Ipoh, many of whom know Ben, Thomas' brother who served in Ipoh 5 years ago. 
Riding tandem bike with Elder Alexsius.
Sister Chris's beautiful cake. The inscription in Malay reads, "Welcome to Ipoh, Junior Elder Kwok".
With Sisters Sarvina and Lydia in Ipoh
With Yee San, who was baptized by Ben.
With Sister Chris, who took care of Ben and all missionaries in Ipoh.
Taking a bike to a church member.
Spaghetti Thomas made.
Ipoh Train Station.
Baseball, Malaysian style.

With members from Ipoh.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Goodbye Mukah, Hello Sitiawan

After working really hard and having quite a bit of success in Mukah, Thomas was transferred to Sitiawan in West Malaysia 2 days ago.  He and his companion, Elder Parker, taught many good people in Mukah and the congregation almost tripled in size.  Including the missionaries and visitors, around 80 people attend Sunday services regularly and the branch is close to fully organized, with Primary (children's group), Young Men and Young Women (youth groups), and Relief Society (women's group) all functioning with local leaders and teachers in place.  Thomas said goodbye to them over the weekend and here are some of the photos he sent home.
Abu's Family
Bara's Family
Betty's Family
Andin's Family
Bro. Empeni and Sis. Long
David and Mary
Relatives of David and Mary
Kamal and Kidang at their baptismal service
Kamal and Kidang
Kinsun's family
With Ibu at the place where Thomas ate lunch regularly
At Empeni's house
Branch President Bossclay's family
Primary children in Mukah
Rantai's family (the first family Thomas taught in Mukah)
Sam's family
Seli and others in the chapel
Seli's family
Alice's family
Magdlines' family
Sister Maliya
Subri and Monica
Sumai and Duah
Takin's family
The Big House
With the youth
Kinsun's family
Kinsun's children
Group of church members saying goodbye to Thomas.
Got up super early the day of departure.
Last turboprop plane ride in Malaysia
Bye-bye Sarawak
Bye-bye Sarawak

Sitiawan is in the Manjung District in the State of Perak in Malaysia, about 50 miles from Ipoh.  It is a coastal town with a population of about 100,000.  Thomas will share an apartment with 3 other missionaries: Elder Alexius (his companion from Sabah) and two from the US who are serving in the Chinese Branch.  Thomas' assignment is to work with the Malay speaking people there.  He will start a congregation there from scratch.  This is a challenging task that he welcomes and will spend the last 2 months of his mission working hard to build up the group.  Go to Thomas' Facebook information page to get his new mailing address.