Keeping the Church history of Malaysia alive through facebook

From blogs, technology on the internet had progressed to sites like facebook. At the eve of the 2nd decade of the new millennium, I had written a post in our family journal how from snail mail I had used these new technologies to connect to my forever friends. In the past year I had created and maintained a facebook group to gather all returned missionaries of our Church who had served in Malaysia, which would include foreigners, as well as Malaysian born missionaries who were sent to other countries. The objective was to keep alive the history of our Church in Malaysia and maintain a fellowship or connection between these members of the group who share a common love of the gospel and a love of the country of Malaysia and its people.

Toward the end of the year of 2011, I became particularly interested in the development of the Church in Johore Bahru that was primarily supported by the Singapore Stake. Through just the facebook group and communication with its members, I soon discovered the interesting fact that JB had quite a number of returned missionaries from a location that struggled from trying to maintain a group in the mid 90s to becoming a branch on 4 Nov 2001 and divided to another called Masai branch by end of 2011. The names of these returned missionaries are Elders Ben Tay, Tan Hong Ming, Res Tan, Frankie Tee, Jeff Lee Chee Seng and Sisters Jessie Ong and Felicia Moey.

Having spent over 30 years in the country with the Church in Malaysia since I served a mission here, the growth of the Church as been a slow but consistent process. The sudden growth of the Church seems to come from East Malaysia, an area that I had never served either on a mission or with the District. I only had limited contact with missionaries or members in East Malaysia but through facebook, I am now better acquainted with missionaries and members there. Here are some good links to History of East Malaysia :

1. A Beautiful Smile
2. Borneo, Adventure for Senior Missionaries

Sister Clark, the wife of the mission president during their visit to KL in April 2011, met with me and another old time member named Anthony Lim, with Elder and Sister Brown, to gather more info for the Malaysia Church history. Besides having a good background of history work, she was also savvy on the internet and the facebook which was encouraging. Through this internet connection, everyone in the network could contribute more information to build a solid history of the Church in Malaysia especially new areas such as East Malaysia. West Malaysia has been already quite well documented but with more personal stories that can be obtained through the internet. For East Malaysia, history worthy information gathered quickly under the direction of Sis Clark working with couple missionaries there. Elder and Sis Orien who served their entire mission in Bintulu from May 2010 to Feb 2012 played a major role in helping to compile the history of the Church in East Malaysia.

Work in East Malaysia seem to be accelerated in 1995 during the time of President Carl Warren as recorded by his own record found here. It is one of the documents I have collected in the Returned Missionaries group that I had created in the facebook group found here. (Need to log into facebook to view) Others and more to come will be stored there to contribute to the continuing history of the Church in Malaysia.

By 1st quarter of the year 2012, East Malaysia alone has 20 branches on record under 5 districts. The following is a list of cities and branches found there :

Kuching          - 5
Sibu                - 5
Bintulu             - 4
Miri                 - 2
Kota Kinabalu - 2
Sandakan        - 1
Tawau             - 1

West Malaysia in comparison has only 12 branches under 3 districts as follows :
Malacca           - 1
Kuala Lumpur  - 5
Ipoh                 - 1
Setiawan          - 1
Penang             - 1
Butterworth      - 1
Johore Bahru    - 2

The total number of branches in Malaysia in the 1st quarter of 2012 stands at 32 branches under 8 districts.

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