Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Two Chiefs Meet

Ampau Longhouse is 2 hours from Miri. The last 10 Kilometers over a rough road. Then, the long walk over the water and finally UP...climbing 50 feet up crude stairs. Its worth it! It is one of the most authentic and oldest long houses in Borneo.

This is the view down to the River... A boat just pulling out to fish. It is a tranquil, beautiful location in the jungle.

Here "White Chief" and "Iban Chief" meet. Chief Ampau. He is 74 and has lived here since the Japanese occupation ended in Borneo. He was "shirtless"; sitting on a handwoven mat looking so native, and...great! But he insisted on putting on a shirt for the picture.

The longhouse: 80 years old. 60 doors (or individual, but continuously attached rooms for 60 families) 50 feet above the ground on "stilts." A legend in Borneo.

What is a legend? That we too have lived here? Walked into the Jungle, Sat in their homes, Eaten their food, Taught them the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

This yet untested legend: Our time and testimony left here; Not yet polished with the passage of time... We hope in time to be remembered by our grandchildren.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Walk in the Dark

We continue to have remarkable and very humbling experiences. With but 6 weeks left, we are in "sprint mode" as we try to do all the things we hope to before we leave.

Last night we visited two families for FHE. When we first visited them a few weeks ago, before they were baptized, I felt it was the most repulsive and difficult area (environment wise) I had ever been in. It is on, I mean ON, the river. The worst of all conditions. My mind screamed with every step: " I can't do this!" I mentally calculated how many weeks before they would be turned over to us for post baptism teaching. And I hopefully thought, "(perhaps, we will never get to them before we leave)" Quietly, I determined: I cannot return.

But the Spirit worked on me as well as on them; And this week, I found myself ASKING the elders if we could start teaching them earlier than scheduled so that we could get all 6 weeks of lessons in!

Come with me for a visit; I will try to explain ...

It is pitch black, and one stumbles along trying to find footing out of the mud and debris on boards as we cross onto the river.

OCEA has not been here. Ups and downs without warning, boards narrow and widen and have pieces missing, sometimes a fence, mostly not. Along the way, I am startled to suddenly see a person sitting in the dark, or someone cooking, or living quarters off to the side. Now I am passing a group of men, smoking and talking strange words into the night.

This is the part that scares me the most. Remember it is not lit as now (by camera flash.) It is absolutely dark. The river is below, floating with all manner of garbage and trash. From this come ghastly smells of the old, the dead, and the dying... The boards are mostly there, but, look ahead.. there are also unexpected gaps.

We reach the front porch. Just beyond this, tug boats, small boats, and ships churn by in the night spewing out their sounds and smells; their waves swell against the "foundation."

ElderMcKellar knocks. We are at the door of Sumob and Landangs' house.

Inside a small, damp, crooked, lopsided room, swaying with the movement of the ships. Sumob and Landang are absolutely thrilled with the Gospel. They both smile constantly. They are overjoyed to have us visit. They warmly greet us and motion for us to sit. It is Family Home Evening and they are excited.

As I sit there, I am overwhelmed with what I know to be the Love of God for all his people. Not only did he lay down his life; but he "doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world" I know this. I know this so much more deeply than ever before. And I know these people love Him.

As we visit, The Spirit testifies of the value of these people in the eyes of the Lord. He helps me recognize "their true identity" "Doth he cry unto ANY saying: Depart from me?" Nay!

Sumob had a dream the night before the Elders knocked his door. In his dream he saw them and was told to follow them. When they knocked; he recognized them.

"Hath he said to any that they should not partake of his salvation? " Nay!

"Doth he say to any they should not partake of his goodness? Nay! All men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden."

Above, by the Elder Pingel is Demi, a neighbor of Sumob. Missionaries came by her home over two years ago and left her a Book of Mormon. They were transferred and no one returned. She read the book of MOrmon and waited...... When Elder Pingel knocked, she was so happy. She said, "I have been waiting for you for 2 years!

"All are alike unto God." 2 Nephi,26: 24-33

"Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth and hath long patience for it." james 5:7

What I know for certain is that the Spirit changes lives. These people are truly given "a new heart" One cannot see it within; but it radiates without!

What I am surprised to discover is that I too have had my heart changed. And, I also have received a wonderful " new heart" It is in much better condition than the old one I had. And I have been given eyes to see! Really see.

And that's how I find myself here, willingly. And I also find myself here being served "squid on a stick"! (not so)willingly!

The Spirit has greatly blessed me. As we begin to say goodby to these people. We honestly know that we will not see them again until the life hereafter. But, we so look forward to seeing them there. And,we will watch earnestly and anxiously for them.

"And now because of the covenant that ye have made; ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons and his daughters......for your hearts are changed through faith on his name." Mosiah 5:7

There, none will be poor; but they, faithful to their covenants, will be adopted in as "...children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God, qnd joint heirs with Christ!" Romans 8:16-17

They will inherit all the Father hath.

With love, from a new heart...on the South CHina Sea
Mom, Scarlet, Meme...
perhaps, a "tropical Rose"

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sisters in Singapore

Spending a few days in Singapore with Christy and Kerianne was sensational. Traveling with sisters creates great memories! There has been...Hawaii, the Italian Gardens and Villas, Paris, and then, the Classical Architecture of Sweden. Now, Christy and I have added : "the Silk Road" of South East Asia! And don't forget: England and Scotland, and the Yucatan Peninsula with Liza and Christy. Where to next, Sisters? My motto remains: "I've never been on a trip I wished I hadn't gone on."

A Visit to the Great Kinabalu

We've just had a marvelous 3 days in Kota Kinabalu. Four senior couples met to see the great mountain. It was well worth the look! It is the same height as the Tetons.....13,500 Feet. With Jungle foliage for miles surrounding it as we drove almost 2 hours to get near the base. It was a stunning drive. Many terraced hillsides with vegetables and fruit and rice growing on them...and at the top a beautiful botanical garden. (Interesting....the whole area is a botanical garden!) Hope you enjoy the pictures! The South China Sea below....

Sun sets on the South China Sea in Sabah.

Above towers Kinabalu in all its majesty. 13,500 feet.

Two foreign visitors... We still have people ask us if they can take our pictures! Just as we would if a native Iban came into Driggs!

Natural botanical wonders

A Local Market. (on the roadside). Bags are various kinds of rice. I love the rice. It is fragrant and delicious.

The mighty Mountain demands attention. Notice the luxurious foothills!

The jungle growth in the rainforest is so beautiful. We saw the Proboscis Monkeys ( with the huge nose) And the fireflys at night in the jungle (They looked like tiny lights illuminating the jungle growth as we would light a Christmas tree with twinkle lights!)

This is a jungle vine reaching for the sun. It twists and twirls and curls its way to the top. Every jungle plant is a living testimony of the hand of God in its creation. They are incredibly complex in their adaptation to their environment!

The Jungle Trapeze walk! It was on the tops of the trees! The natives use similar ones; only not nearly so well made and safe. They too have adapted and accepted their way life and how to live it. They know and understand the jungle!

These leaves are used for cooking in, eating on, mats, baskets, and all manner of local creativity! The natives have learned so well how to utilize their environment. It is marvelous to see their ingenuity.

Monday, June 7, 2010

MY FAVORITE MOVIES... Starring: My Grandchilren

Scarlet O'Hara and Rhett Butler in "Gone With the Wind" (aka John and Lucie McKellar)

Grace Kelly (with Cary Grant) in "To Catch a Thief" (aka Caroline Bressler)

Gwyneth Paltrow in "Emma" (aka Madeleine Bressler)

Tom Berenger in "Rustler's Rhapsody" (aka Peter Bressler)

James Bond in "Goldfinger" (aka Christopher Bressler)

Sean Connery in "The Hunt For Red October" (aka Alex Bressler)

James Bond 007 in "To Russia With Love" (aka Elder Andrew Bressler, the Siberian Survivor)

"Little Women" (aka The McKellar Girls)
Juliet Binoche in "Chocolat" (aka Kate McKellar)
Kiera Knightley in "Pride and Prejudice" (aka Lauren McKellar)
Nicole Kidman in "Australia" (aka Lily McKellar)
Brad Pitt in "A River Runs Through It" (aka Oliver McKellar)

"Annie" (aka Marian McKellar)

Little Lucy in Whoville in "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (aka Sylvia McKellar)

Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady" (aka Gracie Jane Quinn)

Audrey Hepburn in "Roman Holiday" (aka Ruby Rose Quinn)

Harrison Ford in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (aka Forrest Quinn)
Hugh Jackman as The Drover in "Australia" (aka Tucker Quinn)

John Wayne in "Cowboys" (aka the Coleman boys)

Johnny Depp in "Pirates of the Caribbean" (aka Benjamin Coleman)

"The Rocketeer" (aka Nathan Coleman)

Phillipe in "Lady Hawke" (aka Thomas Coleman)

Michael J. Fox in "Back to the Future" (aka Seth Coleman)

Elvis Presley in "Love Me Tender" and Edward Norton in "The Illusionist" (aka Gabriel Reed)

Nicholas Cage in "National Treasure" (aka Calvin Reed)

George Clooney in "Ocean's Eleven" (aka McKellar Reed)

Barbara Streisand in "Hello Dolly" and Meryl Streep in "The Devil Wears Prada" (aka Vivian Reed)

"The Littlest Angel" (aka Meredith Reed)