Tuesday, June 28, 2011

EIGHT MONTHS means a LONG BLOG

From November 1st to June 1st is a blink of the eye... It's like a blink where you have 100,000 images run through your mind and at the same time and you need to go back and make a realistic understanding of what just happened.

It was during this beautiful time that I had prayed for to break down MTS school (BSSB) as well as life to this point. The idea was really nailed home during two of our final graduation talks. Paul went up to Arabia to break down mentally his new choosing as a apostle, what it meant, what he did prior too, and what it meant to go forward. (Galatians 1:17)

What better time to do this on a personal level after 2 months of being separated from this system while filing yourself with spiritual vitamins, vegetables, treats, and nougats! How did 'Arabia' work out for Paul? It prepared him for a whole lot of 'stuff' and 'business.'

My 'stuff' and 'business' starting by getting back to life after 3+ months of being away for the school and 1 month in America.
Arriving in Jakarta it was great to see all the sign people who have been so determined over these years. It's always good when someone in sign, marries someone in sign. Too many marry outside sign and the workload get's heavier.

(It was nice to eat some good ole shrimp, squid, goat and loaded chocolate balls)



Another thing about 'stuff' in Indonesia is being back to the contrast. It was nice to stay in Jakarta with a buddy from BSSB. What wasn't so nice was sleeping 20 feet away from a mosque that woke me up at 4:30 am.

(Contrast of life is always a trip. That's trash in the front)



Back in Batam it was sweet to go swimming. One small reason years ago why picking Batam was it's an island. Island's are surrounded by water. Rice paddies in Java; although beautiful are far from the ocean. It's amazing how much I did miss the water. We'll see if I get assigned to the interior jungles of some place of Indonesia.

(From time to time the water really seems bluer then the sky it's reflecting)



There is something no matter where you travel in the world it can bring a sweet spot to your soul- Sunsets. Sunsets. Sunsets. This is from my cell-phone. Not the best picture, but it was part of the breakdown of life. A whole lot of skype calls helped on that too.

(Something smells sweet)



In the meanwhile waiting for the Bethel's answer I was asked by my neighbor to assist her spa as her manager went out with a last minute surgery. So what do you do to help? Quality Assurance for the employees. Quality not Quantity many times is the way to go. Take care of the office, and help the staff to improve their skill. Kind of like what BSSB trains you to do.

(A facial, a body scrub, and a Balinese Massage is a tough day in the office.)



Somewhere mixed in the stuff of life -meditation, swimming, massages, skype, was a circuit assembly in Medan. It was tough for most of us since the scheduling put the assembly right during Christmas week. Many of the Batak tribe all go back to there village for celebrating Christmas with there family. It was combined 2 days into 1. It was also interesting to me too attend the BSSB meeting as a graduate for the first time, not as a hopeful.

(Assembly in Medan from the outside. Always fun hearing a mosque and some Christmas songs during the program. I wonder if sometimes the churches and mosques think that God is sooo far away they must blast the music?)



Now as time trickled into January things got were busy supporting the congregation, bible studies, and of course meditation, swimming, massages, skype. Somewhere around that time I did have 2 deaf students move in with me. Hendra first and then Rahmad. It takes a lot to help make a disciple. Both were pretty much left homeless for the truth. Both come from non-chris backgrounds. It is interesting to see to completely different approaches to life, viewpoints, and ways to express themselves as both these boys have.

(The boys. Totally different personalities. but loving Jehovah just the same)



After a long absence I needed to make a quick trip to Singapore. It was great to meet up with some 60+ 'friends' from Singapore who were doing their annual 3 day picnicking on an island. They cook, sleep in dorms, WT, everything together. Although it's so close to Indonesia (45 min) it is a different world away. Any-time you come between Batam and Singapore it reminds you in a spiritual way for 2 things. Singapore-orderliness, materialism, stress. Batam- anything goes, corruption, survival. It is interesting how Satan set up this system as a feast or famine for so many. The best with everything and not happy, or the poorest with so little but a smile on their face hoping one day to be one of the best.

(Traditional way to get to Singapore. He's almost looking saying, I hope I can get there one day and be rich)



When we play soccer in Batam with the brothers the field we usually play in has a sink-hole about 35 feet in front of the goal that if your not careful your sink into up-to your thigh in mud. In Singapore you geta giant rabbit made out of mum's. Yes that rabbit is made by real flowers. If you look you'll see people walking. It was about 25 feet high.

(When the air smells like flowers wherever you go it does bring the psyche to a blissful tune)



(Wildflower's in Singapore)



Towards the end of January early February is when guests started to come. It just happened kind of all at once. There were half Japanese in Penang, to half Koreans in Kentucky, to full Japanese in Malaysia to deaf Americans in Borneo, to Hokkien Singaporese to French Guatemalans in Namibia, to Norwegian. All seemed to enjoy the meditation of life by getting some spa treatments. But, you have to show them the other side as well!

(Taking guests to the jungle. Watch out for snakes!)



When we have a public talk by a deaf brother we always get more deaf then normal, which means there will be a picture taken. This picture was something else. My camera was set-up to take a 10sec auto picture. Another sister put her camera on the bag mine was which caused it to go out of balance and as my camera is falling to the ground another sister is taking a picture. The expressions on everyone's face is from the 3rd camera.

(I hate to say it but one of the best pictures ever. The randomness of the emotions is priceless. My face is exactly as it was, I knew what was about to happen- Camera is still broken)



Over these nearly 5 years in Batam has always been such a privilege to give back by having the brothers and sisters over my home for games, meals and experience the brotherhood. That will always be remembered wherever you go is knowing you were able to bring something that others could not have had until Paradise. Our Korean Kentuckian Sara showed that for the friends by cooking for and giving facials to the sisters!

(It was good, really good, Korean food is in a tough battle with Thai food as Asia's best)



Were not that big on cakes here, but there are other desserts. Whatever foreigners come and visit there is a Indonesian treat that must be discovered. Guacamole with milk in a blender? Huh?

(Avacodo, chocolate sauce, milk, ice)



One of the days out in the ministry it was time to visit an old study who lost interest to see if there was anything there. Aming is his name, and his song, well it touched our heart.

(What scriptures would you show Biblically the importance of music? It can lead to a live song...)



One of our deaf students Giok is in an area of Batam that is quite a marvel. When a local sister wears a handkerchief around her face because of the smell, you know it's rough. It's about a 1000 wooden huts built about the water. It's quite amazing the strength of the wood that supports all of it. Don't get me wrong it's dangerous though- not the fall, but the stuff in the water below it.

(Going to Giok's home)



After a long day of service, you need to take care of your health. It's imperative. One of the things is cleaning out the toxin's in the cranium. For $1.80 you can get a head, neck, and upper back massage while getting your hair treated like a queen. Well, the Indonesian workers thought we were from Egypt and so I just went with it that we were part of the royal family.

(Getting cream bathes. Hey, even without hair it's a brain massage that's needed)



There is not many places to go listen and dance to Salsa music, although a few times we heard some Filipina's singing Beyonce, and Batak guitarists singing 'lady in red...' But on a normal evening we can keep occupied by looking at all the t-shirts made in Indonesia that somehow didn't sell well at the GAP.

(The funny rejected t-shirts that didn't make the cut in Western countries becomes a Friday night of laughs)



Over the years you get used to seeing things that well, sudah biasa. {That's the way it is}. If it wasn't for the guests coming, I do believe I would start to forget and oversee it. In one way I do view that as a positive, in other ways not. By everything becoming sudah biasa you become less stressed, less huh, less well; that needs to be fixed. The negative is you can forget how funny somethings really are.

(Positive- Keeps the rain out of his eyes, he will drive safely, bugs won't fly in his eyes. Negative- picking glass out of your face for 8 hours in a hospital room in Indonesia)




BIG NEWS- We had our first ever C.O. visit in Batam Sign Language from a C.O. who can sign. Tumpal is a great friend who goes back to the beginning in 2003/2004 in Jakarta. Him and Aping have been through thick in thin. I'll never forget the phone call he gave me a few years back where he was saddened by the news that he was being appointed as a C.O. He reasoned that it was his ticket out of Sign Language. At that time, many zealous friends in the sign were being pulled out of sign to help in other areas. I told Tumpal that it will come around. Eventually we will need a Sign CO. Don't worry, we'll have you again supporting sign maybe not today, tommorow, but someday.

Sure enough Tumpal and Aping. BI-1 -The whole country of Indo-

(This is what we do during CO visits. Martha rocked it by getting crab, squid, shrimp, veggies, the whole-9. What a meal )



From the C.O.'s visit which consisted of good times, great smiles, a lot of service, points to work on was also a rush rush flight right to Medan for our Special Assembly day. If your going to Sumatra you need to visit some missionaries, eat some local delicious and see the scenery that Batam Island doesn't have.

(Home in Medan with farm)



Our dear sister Medi worked it out where we were able to borrow an old Isuzu Panther and trek it through Lake Toba. It's one thing driving on the other side of the road, it's another when it's a 5-speed using your left hand alternating between a pot-hole, a dump trunk filled with palm oil plants, kids on motorbikes, and goats on the side of the road. Sometimes though you get a break in the action for a picturesque view.

(When you hit clean spots in Indonesia there is nothing like it)



(Some rice paddies on a mountain in a volcanic lake)



Having guests while driving around always allows for good conversation, laughs, and spiritual thoughts. It was my first real road-trip in a long time. I think finding this random BBQ pork hut 4 hours down the road where one of the workers is a son of a witness and a bible study and to eat arguably the best meat I've had, is nice. It was good. It was great. They cut him up that morning.

We left to beat the thunder-storm coming and literally the waterfall pictured below became a flash food where I was scared to drive through as debris was all over the road, I couldn't see anything as we drove through the waterfall and we got soaked through the car!!!

(Rahmad getting his first Toba experience- The Waterfall was later covering the whole picture 4 hours later)



Now back to the Assembly. I'm not sure what to say about this guy. I didn't get too much time to talk to him, for some reason every assembly all the deaf muslim men find me and want to talk about 'deeper' things. It's usually that and some nice deaf women who are single and abit older then me since I look old to them. Sometimes 40, 45, some thought my dad was my younger brother I believe... Anyways, this guy is deaf, with no hands. So he signs stuff with his feet, and can even somehow send text messages with his toes!!!

********************************

(An amazing interested person. We should probably take some more video of him and send it CNN or something)



After the program all those who served as Elders, Servants, Spec Pioneers, or Reg Pioneers were called for a special meeting. The Bethel speaker helping with sign pulled us all in and told us to PLEASE use natural sign and explained the benefits. There was also a question and answer session including the C.O. Somehow I was pulled up and he wanted to show how natural sign (BISINDo) uses a lot of expression. He had me act out the story of the Three Hebrews and the fire furnace only with my eyes and my hands behind my back. No pressure there on the spot...

It is amazing to see how Sign Language here in Indonesia is like riding a horse when you grab the reins how much the horse can really sprint!

(Outside some of the crowd reacts to the news with flowers and dancing)



Now it was back to Batam. Back here after an amazing trip to the top of a volcano and some hot springs post the assembly, and like before {see here for pics-}

Father and Son got to catch up, and we had quite a bit to talk about. It's a shame so many children and parents ruin what can be such a beautiful friendship.

(Father and son doing your together moments watching the sunset and swimming to nowhere)



Soon after this, all the troubles started. VISA lost, problems, money, etc..etc..etc.. It just happened that the zone overseers visit was the exact same weekend. So off to Jakarta. Somehow my father has been to the last 3 zone overseers visits. His timing is impeccable. He get's a zone visit in Indo but has never had one in the U.S.

We have stayed in some pretty dodgy areas before, but this time Simon and Melissa were beautiful hosts letting us stay with them and really enjoying a few days. There building was in the heart of the city and enjoyed a mall inside there apt building. We also went to some museums, listened to some live Jazz with some missionaries who ironically we talked at Patterson when I was there in October.

(I was happy for Dad to get to finally see a nicer side of Jakarta)



I got to see some fellow BSSB classmates who are all over Indonesia now. Some as far away in a city in Papua that you can see the lights of Australia. Old friends met up, and every zone visit it's a theocratic rush of blood to the mind and heart. Not just seeing missionaries, bethelites, it's the deaf, the reminder that it's a big army trying to do what is right for Jehovah here in Indonesia

(Over 11,000 attended)



One thing about Jakarta and any big international city, is the people try to copy the West in their own way. I remember my dad teaching me once that people who try to stick and and be unique, original, and different are really following just part of a group like anyone else.

(Where's Waldo in this picture?)



In the midst of this, I have a nice conversation with brothers on the branch to get, and give an update. As Indonesia can do, things changed fast. I ended up leaving the country going to Singapore and coming back in as a tourist. Strange... Not working, being a 'tourist' after 5 years is something. Due to law that means I can't help out with teaching in the cong, and have to take a back seat going door to door and the like.

At this interesting time, where I need to make some big changes and fast, my sister Jordan arrives. I will say my dad was smart, the first thing we did was get a family 1 hour reflexology treatment with 2 hour massages.

Unfortunately dad had to leave, and Jordan and I did what we had to do... Campaign. Memorial Campaign that is. We hit it, and hit it hard. Jordan was a trooper to hang and go for so far and long service days. We did some serious preaching for a week straight.

(It was supposed to be a nice brother/sister pic- But, Medi wanted to say I'm ugly)



Jordan and Dad both came out to help Batam build the Kingdom Hall where Sign Language is supposed to go, but like so many things in life, patience normally wins over what we expect to happen. I wonder how many times Paul had to say, you know what, I sat on a rock in the hot sun in Arabia for a while, I can wait a little longer with the Corinthinans, decision by the older men and Jerusalem, and these superfine brothers too.

(So- no visa, gotta leave the country, don't know where and when I will end up anywhere, and... hmm...)



Something about life on the ocean. Nothing really to write here. Just amazing. Great times with Jordan and feel good bringing the good news somewhere else.

(Preaching in Bintan)



When we got back to the mainland it was fast and furious trying to get things ready for the memorial. We took my car down a dirt road into the farm lands of Ubie. When we got there it started to rain, and rain, and rain. It's nice as if it rains people understand and just let you hang out around their house.

(HUJUAN DERAS! I mean it was crazy, instant flooding)



Finally on the memorial after making the bread (more like roti cakes) getting the wine this that and other things the memorial started. Some hick-ups of course. One family was not too happy and started talking louldy after they fully understood it was about Jesus. They left, but allowed their deaf daughter to continue. Another deaf guy tried to eat the bread. One deaf/mentally challanged boy, pretty much attacked my sister. 2 deaf girls had a scuffle outside, it was all in a day's work.

(I believe it was 35 deaf and 30 hearing. Jordan and I had 11 people come we invited during those last few days of preaching)



After the memorial was done it was time to enjoy a little bit. We got a whole bunch of people together to go bowling, play pool, ride stuffed animals, and of course, Karaoke. I will say the pillow fight that was launched when Martha, Jordan, and I started singing Whitney Houston's "I wanna Dance with Somebody" was out of control. I think the Indonesians were fed up after No Doubt's "I'm just a Girl" and "What's my age Again." They probably had a right to beat us with pillows.

(Karaoke in Batam with Norwegians, Filipinos, Indo's, Japanese, French, Americans)



I believe this was in the Karaoke place. By the way the rooms have themes, digital touch screens, you have your own personal waiter, can order food, sing in about 6 languages, and you are expected to blast your lungs.

(Just in case it's your first time to a toilet)



It finally happened. After all these years of meeting at someone's house we were moving. We were at someones house because during the ban there were no KH's. Also in typical fashion it takes a long time to get a permit. The home where we had our meetings finally got too out of control for us to meet there. We contacted the CO, bethel, and the like and we finally got to move to another place. The reason why we where so long is it was the best location for the deaf. Safety, and well, you take a look for yourself.

(End of an Era in Batam- Thanks, but seriously, you were )



As suddenly as time passed by flying in light years; life went through a twist. 'Get back to America or anywhere outside of Batam to avoid any possible conflagrations with the immigration authority's.' It is quite something to be within a time-span of 6 months of years worth of training only to be told 'you need to leave.'

Where to go? What to experience? Who to see? What to do? In the mind of a world traveller, this is like a mouse at a cheese tasting. So, many possibilities of places yet to explore, and yet so many old friends in whom you can visit. So the decision is... Kentucky.

Why?

To experience a tornado.

(Litteraly I didn't know they had the color pink to identify severity of storms.)



Within 24 hours of landing in Kentucky it was hanging out in the hallway of a house as the siren's were going off at 11 p.m. because we could have been swept away.

(A Maum family tornado involves playing on a IPhone, eating snickers, and drinking a mint julep)



The decision to go to Kentucky was quick-on-the-spot but a great one nonetheless. The hospitality of those in the congs in Ft. Knox and Louisville Sign was amazing. It was kind of interesting when so many brothers and sisters are all there because of the military. Many of them received the truth while being there. Since my father as well came in the truth while being in the military it helped making me feel right at home. Their hospitality, their meals, their everything, was above and beyond what you normally feel on first impressions.

While being in Kentucky I was reminded that it is the home of Bourbon. Literally Bourbon County KY is where it all started. And while all Bourbons are whisky's not all whisky's are bourbon's. I also learned that in the South before Civil War bourbon was used as part of the currency. In fact teachers, and other professionals were paid in part by alcohol. In fact one of the reasons that led to the Civil War for KY and Tenn was due to the Federal Gov't taxing the distilleries who did not have the liquid cash as many times they received payments in goods, foods, property, etc.

(The best bit was a story of true love without the blinders of bourbon)



When your not drinking bourbon in KY your most likely doing a spiritual activity. It was nice to go preaching in English, although it was hard to get use to going in groups of 4, being in a car, driving in driveway's, and fast food restaurant's. Indonesian 2 by 2 motorbike no break system does a number on you. Of course the beauty in this is getting to know the friends on a personal level. It is amazing the things we chit chat about while in the door-to-door ministry. I especially appreciated the depth and years of so many foot soilders that we have in the country's where the good news has been established for some time now. KY is right up there!

(Thanks to Micheal and Soon Me who somehow have a rotating door at their home for 24 hours 365 days! EGG ROLLS, KIMCHI, DANDELIONS)





In the ministry there were of course were stories involving going into a trailer and a guy saying the 'Jesus people are here.' Also of course breaking out and saying a prayer, or speaking in tongues. How about cats, cats, cats. Or having a person say, ya I need to get back to the KH. Pure 'folk' down in KY.

(At an assembly, it was nice to be in a assembly hall. I will say though, cough, cough, there are 'big' folk in KY too)



So you have preached all day, or gone to an assembly, and you have the bottle of bourbon ready to sip on at night... What's for dinner? MEAT. A whole lotta of it. I have learned the beauty of vegetables and fish, but it's tough not to go for some good meat lover's anything. We went to a buffet in KY that was $9.99 with all you can eat-whatever you can imagine! Even the strawberry's seemed to be injected with some type of hormones. Back in RI if you can find a $9.99 plate of Baby Back Ribs you found a good deal. Never mind all you can eat. Never mind with dessert, steak, mexican, pizza, salad bar, asian bar, soul food bar, all mixed in for the same price!!!

(I'm sorry to devote so much time to food, but the term 'tornado' can be 'vortex of violently rotating winds.' My stomach was like that)



One other tornado experienced in KY was getting back to the work force in the U.S. temporarily. It was a mult-billion dollar time of the year in KY due to 2 minutes of 20 horses running around a circle. So? Back to waiting tables at a restaurant. Yup. Over 10 years ago I worked at a waiter to support my early years as pioneering and now it was now back to where we started. The restaurant industry is a different beast all together. You gotta lift, work and sweat like construction, sell like your a real estate agent, deal with pressure like a stock-market trader, but stay as smiley and positive as a school teacher all while deal with the complaints like your H.R. rep in a big company!

Now looking back; It took a day or two, but getting back in the flow was great! It was interesting to have all these people wear these funny hats, flashy ties, drink the expensive wine, like there is nothing going on in the world. What a contrast to what our eyes see out here in S E Asia. Oh well. The global economic crisis hasn't effect all.

(2 family's two kids. Both have supported their kids pioneering. Serving surf & turf has helped to keep pioneering going)


One of the nicest things that happened while in USA was a gathering for the young in Ft. Knox. There were about 15 or more youths from the ages of 13-24. Sara and I set up a sort of 'back yard theocratic shoots and ladders.' The concept was based of the "Young People What Will You do with Your Life Brochure," which amazingly is already 9 years old! We set up 1 table as the D3 table dealing with decisions, drawing close, dedication. Once you graduated from there you moved on to Baptism Pond. (A bunch of Coy fish live there) Then we moved up to Pioneer Patio, Bethel and BSSB table, Construction Corner. Then we moved up to the Language Level. What's it like to learn a foreign language? We practiced one of the new songs from the ASL DVD. The kids had it down! From there, we moved into the living room and showed pictures and videos from living in another country like Cambodia and Indonesia. The bathroom scenes and fried animals always get's the crowd going! All the while we asked questions, got everyone involved, and since Sara and I have been blessed to experience everyone of those theocratic things that young people can do, we did well feeding off each and could speak from the heart.

(The D3 table where Sara is wearing the hat graduation. I wish more can get this when they are young)



We also played the 'imagine this' game {Take some chopsticks or another object and come up with as many different ideas as you can with it}
We also played Bible charades which I got to say there are some actors out there! One young brother started sticking out his tongue, playing basketball, acting like Michael Jordan then was abel to cross over the room and they were able to guess "The Isrealites crossing the Jordan River." Huh?
We also had a little guitar section, and played some other brief traveling movies.
Then in their hospitality extradardinare the Maum's cooked up a big turkey with the fix-ins. I would have to say, the best part of the day was hearing the youths as they left talking to each other saying how much of a good time they had. It's so encouraging for me to think that if they realize that spiritual things can be fun or even better then going to the movies, or playing video games, that it may in fact help them in the future to make wise choices in their service to Jehovah.

Two of the young brothers at this gathering also took me down to a remodel at a KH in Bowling Green. You know, I never get tired of the brotherhood especially on the construction aspect. There are so many skilled brothers in the trades. One of the masons on the project had lost 4 of his fingers in a accident, but he was the fastest brick-layer around! The KH serves a Bosnian group, and low and behold I bumped into my good ole friends the Russels. Also there was a former missionary couple who served in Papua New Guniea who helped a Indonesian in the truth that was at University in KY. We plan to meet in Jakarta when I'm there next.

It is amazing how in different areas there is a different standard for what is locally 'appropriate.' You can scroll up to the picture above and see what our meetings were like in Batam, and go to this hall which seemed to be a BEAUTIFUL KH, but locally they felt it was already 25+ years and needed to be remolded. It would be one of the nicest KH here in Indo, but there it needed improvement. I bring this out only to mention how amazing the insight is of those in the GB or depts which know of all the needs going on, and use funds wisely. Really something.

(RBC, Construction Teams, IV, IBC, all being trained for a lot of future building work!)



Around the KH, and just in KY in general is green grass. I mean blue grass. I guess they say when you fly in a plane above at a certain reflection it actually does look like a blueish hue. It was pretty, and it was everywhere. I think of the brothers back in Indo where we don't have 1 open green grass field on the whole island in which we can play soccer at. It was nice to breathe in fresh air, see orderliness, and a whole lot of space between homes.

(Everywhere has it's own pretty landscape view)



Now it wouldn't be a trip somewhere if there was not some Sign Language story. Brian a brother supported sign was able to help me find a interpreting job at a school and even introduce me to the friends in the ASL group. They have a large territory, and you drive everywhere like most Sign Language. The friends were sweet as they kept on trying to recruit me to move there and join them. They are oh so close to being a congregation, but need that all important -brothers.- I should have a future story of how a certain donation in this congregation made a huge impact on us here in Batam, but we'll see how it works out first. It was nice to go preaching by using a video phone set-up in the KH to call contacts. That was a nice new experience for me.

(ASL meeting in US is oh so sweet)



Time, pictures, and stories would fail me to tell all about how Ron, Robert, Lee, Don, Norman, Eric, Crystal, Malachi, Tight Cutz, Moonshine, Egg-rolls, Aloha, Knitted Sweaters, NBA, Munsons, Stones, and everyone and everything else touched me and were all part of the wonderful time that was in KY.

Then, somehow it ended. It ended by a road trip through the back roads of KY and Tenn lead me to visit some family members I hadn't seen in over 6 years! They are all married now and doing fine. What an enjoyable time to have some family stories of how Aunty Esther came in the truth, overcame adversities, and her father was a Bible Student back in the early 1900's!

(At the Bass's the crowd rejoices)




Then as fast as it all happened was as fast as I was back to a place that's a little familiar. -Singapore- After arriving at my destination at 2 a.m. the mind was examining 1000 possibilities on life. None of these helped to sleep, so in the morning it just happened there was a deaf American sister and a need-great both here on a visa chop and likewise informed me of the C.O. visiting that a.m!
Sometimes with your mind racing and searching a billion plus connections and your body a little zapped from 3 days worth of travel, it's probably better to just go out in service.

Somehow I ended up being assigned the interpreter, and when asked who wanted to work with the C.O. no-one raised their hand, so I got to work with him. Some long-time paitent sisters were like 'hey,' hit up about the needs of the deaf.' If I can stay awake I'll be doing something. Ironically I know him and his wife as we use to occasionally play badminton together on Sunday's. As it turned out that we would be riding his motorcycle out in service, he doesn't know any sign, and we would be doing 10 story apartment buildings.

Randomly, besides all the deep theocratic talk, and discussing specific needs of sign to help the deaf, we saw some nature while about. About 10 of them.

(You never know what your going to see while looking for deaf)




A few nights later we had one of the largest sign parties they have enjoyed in a long time here in Singapore. Many deaf flowed in for the first-ever C.O. visit and he did his best to communicate with them as well as be a source of encouragement. The rooms were tight, the seats packed, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

(Well, grab a shoehorn, make it fit)




Maybe some of you have met, or even know some people who have a hobby that gets a little, well, overboard; in whatever it is. My friend's house that I stayed with you could say is a bit-overboard with books. Not a bad thing though! Very interesting. There was a lot to learn. I dived into many books and documentaries. He literally has 1000's of books on every topic you can imagine, mixed in with toys, animals, and even tin-tin characters. Out of everything he has in his HDB flat which is packed wall-to-wall there was one tid-bit of information that struck me...

(Every breathe you take, every move you make, i'll be watching you...)





Not soon after this was a bunch of Singapore folk having a get-together in Malaysia. I missed my ride, so low and behold I took a public bus that somehow took me to Malaysia to the exact place where the party was located in Malaysia for $3 USD. It was my first time attending an assembly here although some 4 years earlier I stayed in the assembly hall as a guest. It was quite something to have a party where people are on different floors. It was also encouraging to see some ingenuity. To obey Singapore Law the friends have come up with an idea in which to still have the proper books without causing a stir.

(What would you do to obey the law but still stay fed?)




Here in Singapore there is a big controversy over the 'symbol' of Singapore. Merlon the Lion - which is a statue that shoots out water and is most commonly consumed as chocolate macadamia nuts. The other choice is the new IR {Intergrated Resort} cough cough the Casino. Funny, they charge locals $100.00 to go in where foreigners get in free to discourage the locals from gambling. The Casino seems to be winning. It is quite a buildings with a mall, hotel, and everything built into it.


(This is one of Singapores newest attractions)



Would you like to see the view from the top where it's a boat with bar's restaurants and a pool?

(It seems almost fake from the top, like your in a movie backdrop)



It's always good to get a little lost wherever you travel or wherever you go. Why? You never know what you normally would not have seen. One day going home the cab brought me the wrong way, and I ended up on the other side of the apt building I was staying at. What it turned out to be was a great place to write some of this blog!

(Chinese Gardens, one of Singapore's little unknown gems)



Now while out 'fishing' one day we saw something that made me stop. Singapore is dominated by Apt buildings. In the common areas they put tables, places to play chess, gynamsium type equipment to stretch and do some exercise. Well this particular apt buidling provided the locals with a place to do reflexology! Yup, take off your shoes and socks and walk on rocks. That's what I did.

(I had been stressing abit, so a brief 5 minute reflexology break while out was a good thing)



On the same day we saw new advertising slogan that may come to a country near you!

(Tells you how deep we are in the last days)



Back in my teenage years I thought I had a lot of energy to do sports or activities non-stop. While there was some of that non-stop never-soar energy it sees life catches up with you. I don't ever remembering at any point being able to play basketball for 3 hours straight and at the same time and all the while not wearing flip-flops. That's what these Singaporean friends did. 3 hours straight of basketball with no sign of energy loss.

(I'm impressed)



All the while awaiting a VISA a complete chance fell upon me. Get dirty, sweaty, nasty, smelly, on a tanker ship converted into a oil rig.

(Pioneering helps teach you to accept whatever job comes your way to stay in the full-time service)



Where will the next post be from? What will be the details? Your guess is as good as mine. I want to do this every 1st of the month from now on. 8 months is too many memories and stories to many stories to put together at one time.
Until the VISA comes through it's keep going, and keep smiling. It was a beautiful time to humble myself looking back at points from the training, and see new perspectives in life. It was even more amazing to feel the love of the brothers & sisters like only you can do.