Missionary Work & Events back in my old branch in Kuala Lumpur

After joining the Church in Australia in July 1979, I first came back to Kuala Lumpur in February 1980 to explain to my parents about my membership in the 'Mormon Church' especially about the personal revelation I had received to be a full time missionary while in Australia. I've kept my journals well so the part on my personal revelation is found in this post while my experience to face my family at home is found in this other post.

Everything turned out well and I completed my full time mission to serve in the Singapore Mission, primarily in West Malaysia where I had spent most of my time. I got married soon after my mission to a wonderful Singapore girl and we raised 6 children together living in Kuala Lumpur. I became the family historian due to my regular family journal posts of stories with photos and videos that could eventually be digitized. Somehow, due to my length of stay and activity in the Church in Malaysia, I became a sort of Church historian too, probably due to my professional discipline as an accountant to maintain accurate historical financial records or documents!

Another reason could be that I have two very close and old friends who were pioneers of the Church in Malaysia. One is Anthony LimTeong Keat who was baptized on 3 Dec 1972 in Kuala Lumpur and still living in the same city so I have frequent contact with him who has kept good records for the Church since the early days. The other is Thee See Ba who was baptized on 26 July 1971 up north in Penang and now lives in Hawaii where I would either meet him there when I visit or when he flies home to Malaysia for holidays. With facebook today and emails, connecting with my old friends from the Church is an easy task that makes the work of collecting historical information so much easier. There are many other old friends I maintain throughout the world and those that have provided me old photos or printed information, I would acknowledge them when I use them in my own journals.

Here are a series of old photos of Church members in Kuala Lumpur with approximate dates given :

Family Home Evening in Anthony Lim's home in 29 July 1974  (Photo shown above is a courtesy of Jackie Ho who lives today in the US.)

The signing of the incorporation documents of the Church in 2 September 1977 with Anthony Lim Teong Keat and Rodney How Boon Lok as local Malaysian directors.

This is a photo of the group of members and friends meeting in Kuala Lumpur YWCA Hall for 6 years since 1973. The photo is estimated to be taken before 1975 (Photo shown above is a courtesy of Jackie Ho who lives today in the US.)

1980 PJ meeting house for KL branch

1981 on grounds of PJ meeting house where KL branch met

Christmas 1981 at the PJ meeting house with the entire missionary force of the Church in Malaysia gathered for the celebration.

Missionaries in 1982 serving KL, Penang and Ipoh branches

Single Adults in 1982

Single Adults Convention in 1984 combined with Singaporeans

The photos of the Single Adults convention were obtained from my former missionary companion named Paul Sng who started a closed Facebook group for old Singapore Mission photos found here.  One can apply to join as a member to access the old photos related to the Church in Singapore.

1986 PJ meeting house extended for KL branch

1987 PJ meeting house new extension hall for KL branch

At the rented property in KL from 1990-92

On 30 July 1990,  the Kuala Lumpur branch was divided into Petaling Jaya Branch to remain at the PJ meeting house at 3 Jalan Mentri Utara 7/4, Petaling Jaya while the Kuala Lumpur branch would rent a property in KL city. A single storey detached house was found opposite Ampang Park Shopping Mall and the members in the new KL branch boundary soon moved into the building to hold it's regular church services.

This is the new KL meeting house for KL branch acquired in 1992. My wife actually noticed the 'For Sale' sign for this property while driving past it every day when taking the kids to school. I checked it out to find it suitable and recommended it to the Church Area Office in Hong Kong overseeing properties in the region who approved and proceeded with the purchase process.

Our KL meeting house off Jln Ampang Hilir seen in 1992 (Photo shown above is a courtesy of Paul Oman from the US) Not much renovation was required to use the property for our services and classes.

There was a courtyard in the center of the property so a baptism font was built to facilitate baptisms as shown in the above photo where my 2nd daughter was baptized on 10 Oct 1993.

In 1999 our family adopted the 'Von Trapp' family stage name and did our first large family performance in the same KL branch building. As our family had grown, so did the total number of members too as missionary work had been consistent.

A major renovation was done in 2004 to create a larger hall for the main sacrament meeting usage and more classrooms were created by covering up the open center courtyard where the baptism font  used to be.

Temporarily the branch had to rent space from a hotel building nearby opposite Ampark Park too near the old house we had rented.

I am still in touch with some of the missionaries who served in KL at that time from Utah, Elder Keith Walker and Elder Travis Snow whose names are found on this list of returned missionaries who have served in Malaysia from overseas found in this Facebook group which contains some history of the Church in Malaysia too in the documents section of the group page.

We moved back to the renovated house with new facilities as seen in the video below that I regarded as our Christmas gift in 2004!

In 2007, a strategic decision was made by my wife and me that the best cancer care after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 was to have her be under the care of an Oncologist of the National Cancer Institute of Singapore. He was recommended by my good Malaysian classmate who studied medicine in Singapore and is practicing in KL today. So we had to move the base of the family to the city my wife was born in.

Jan 1, 2007 was our last family photo taken together before the family moved to Singapore. In the previous December month of 2006, a new 'Never Ending Christmas' story began that would be converted to a video, all of which can be read and viewed in this Journal Post.

I was shuttling between KL and Singapore while she fought cancer for 7 years. Times flies and when the two youngest became more independent, I could return to my KL branch to settle more permanently and accept a calling to serve as the Branch Mission Leader.

2016 KL meeting house with a photo after a baptism service on 28 August of the year.

One can see that from the year 2016 onwards, my journals will incorporate more facebook posts like the ones below in my journals. The reason is Facebook is a media where I can easily and quickly share photos and captions to share my thoughts. It came to my mind that this would save me more time in trying to compose a well-written blog every time I start a new blog post. Why the change? First Thing First, through some defining moments of my life earlier in the year, shared here, I began to prioritize how I am spending my time for the rest of the year. In my desire to do more for the community, I started to establish my new social media business and to complete my first book to publish it as early as I can, targeted in 2018. I have to also quicken my journal recording process so I decided on a new strategy to embed my facebook posts into my blogger posts.

So I would from now onwards embed my selected facebook posts that reflect the thoughts of my intended blog post such as this one, so that it will save me time from crafting more words or add photos again to share my thoughts. Doing this also helps me index my facebook posts for easier reference in my better-organized blogs of Familylane, Fastlane and Spiritlane. Searching is slow in facebook as it has daily posts and even by the minute of each day so picking relevant posts from Facebook to include it in a relevant post in my blog post helps me organize or manage my historical records or thoughts better for faster search in the future. The most important thing, of course, any time-saving method will free more time for me to work on priorities I have set to achieve for the year! This is an application of Covey's Seven Habit's principle of  First Thing First' and 'Begin with the End in Mind'.

Timeline from being called as Branch Mission Leader(BML) 

22 May 2016

My calling as Branch Mission Leader(BML) in KL branch

Conducting my first Baptism Service in KL branch for Sharon Davidson on May 22, 2016

30 Jul 2016
A Happy Baptism for Irish Natulla

 28 Aug 2016

The spirit of missionary work rises in KL branch as more members, family of the baptism candidate and friends attend the baptism services :

Attendance in the Gospel Principles class increases :

Family Home Evening video celebrating the Moon Cake festival attracted over 1.4k views

A special visitor, Steven Kok, made a long journey from Phoenix Arizona in the US for a short visit to Kuala Lumpur and joined our Family Home Evening.  He triggered more history of our KL branch than he realized at that time elaborated below and the next blog post too :

25 Aug 2015 Phoenix Arizona, USA

29 Aug 2016 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Young man Steven told me he came back in this very short trip, feeling inspired to visit a few people whom he felt wanted to see personally for being a part of his life growing up in the Church. One of them was Elder Freddie Chan, a dear friend of mine from the pioneer days of the Church in Malaysia where we had served together to build the kingdom of God on Earth in the country we loved and served. 

I started this post very much earlier, inspired by the missionary spirit in Kuala Lumpur where I was called home to serve in 1980. Being my busy usual self, a turn of events made me hurry to complete this post and move on to the next one!  It is very early at dawn in Singapore where I am now of Saturday 22 October 2016 of the Lord. I woke up to shower and quickly finish this post with the spirit of Steven Kok who though felt touched by our spirit in his youth has touched mine more than he realizes in his visit and the recent turn of events that would be covered in the next post.

This was Steven Kok when he was younger....

... pic dated 1992 in PJ church former mission home with other Single Adult members

I first got to know his brother Sebastian Kok earlier who worked with me for many years after serving his mission for the Church in the years 1988-90 under President Houghton in Penang, Ipoh, PJ and Singapore as per the information on this list.

In this pic dated 1995, he is seen with the Singles with his brother on the right of him pointed by the red arrow

This is another pic of him, pointed by the red arrow, in the year 1995 also seen with many full-time missionaries serving in Malaysia, most likely before he himself would be sent to serve 2 years in the Hong Kong mission in 1995-97.

Both brothers had later migrated to live with their families in the US and I had only been visiting his older brother Sebastian living in the West Coast near San Francisco myself and other times with my wife too as per the photo below taken in Aug 2004

I didn't get to see him again for many years as I believe Steven first moved to live with his in-laws in Texas which was more to the center of US, further away from the west coast where I frequent. He later came closer to live in Phoenix Arizona where I could squeeze a time to meet him at the airport in my transit at Phoenix en route on a business trip to Seattle last year in Aug 2015 and was nice of him to come back 'home' in Aug 2016 to find all of us oldies in KL! He wanted to meet Elder Freddie Chan and one morning was planned for us to go together to meet Elder Chan but he was not feeling well for visitors after we had called his son Brian. Steven went later on another day by himself.

I will now move on to start the next post before I do my spiritual morning run around the nearby running tracks, in respect of Elder Freddie Chan for his dedicated service to the Church from beginning to the end as we received news that he passed away on the night of 19 October 2016. I cannot be at his funeral today as I am in Singapore with family until Nov 3, to celebrate 2 birthdays of my sons here and attend other business meetings! The post will include some coincidental communication from Steven to me on the day of my oldest son's birthday and then be receiving the news of Elder Chan's passing on the same day in the evening!

1 Oct 2016

The facebook post below shares announcement of my Community Service First initiative. The reader can read contents of the caption of the photo which will be my summarized thoughts at that time. For more photos and captions sharing more thoughts, one just has to click the comments icon below the facebook post to view more pics and comments I have added to further elaborate on the main theme of my facebook post.

Click on the comments icon above to read my further comments with more photos added.

19 Oct 2016

Elder Freddie Chan Yoke Sang of the Seventy, our first Malaysian General Authority of the Church was called to the Lord on 19 October this year.

A memorial post of his life of service is shared here.

6 Nov 2016
I went back to Kuala Lumpur and from a musical presentation after the District Conference Sunday of 6 Nov 2016, I created this video that attracted over 3.0k views, greater than the last hit from the Mooncake festival home evening night shared above! Click and enjoy!

4 Dec 2016

The KL District Choir performed with other groups in an inter-faith event.

Christmas Dec 2016
The KL District Choir who performed well in public for the inter-faith event on 4 Dec 2016 went caroling at several malls in KL and PJ. This one that I videoed and shared in Facebook seems to be another hit with over 4.0k views in the world of social media

9 Jan 2017
Gathering of senior members of KL branch going back to the years 1986-87

22 Jan 2017
First Baptism of the New Year:

The exceptional year of 2017 :

Anticipation of a busy year in 2017 focused on the bringing forth of exceptional results spiritually but also temporally in my goals of completing my 1st book to be published, I resorted to minimising my journal writings by only embedding my Facebook posts in chronological order in quarterly posts found in my familylane blog starting in the 1st quarter of 2017 with a link to the next quarterly post found at the end of each quarter's post.

Extracts of any spiritual event of significance will be extracted from the quarterly reports to be posted on this post.

19 Mar 2017

An old friend from Orem Utah, Anthony Seow, emailed me a copy of an article in the Church News on the Week of March 19, 2017 that can be read online here.  It doesn't mention my name and the story was first captured in 1985 when I was called to be a branch leader in Kuala Lumpur as per the scanned newsprint shared below :

As they say, there is no 'Rhyme or Reason' or any logical reason why this experience of mine should be mentioned 32 years later except... maybe God is just continuing to give me what I've been recording as miracles in my life, to know that I'm being watched after and indeed I must testify humbly that he has never stopped blessing me with his spirit! Despite all the opposition that has come to my life, from within and without, I have remained steadfast in my faith towards Him even though I know I am not a perfect man. I have carefully been recording my life's experiences, after having embarked on an exercise of faith in the Savior for the first time when I was baptized on 29 July 1979 in Geelong Australia. The spiritual part of my life's story, for anyone interested, begins here. The other chronicles of my life can be found here. It has been an amazing experience and I'm living every day with joy and gratitude for all I have learned and capable of learning so that I can be more helpful to my family, friends, and community. I am grateful to have learned about the power of revelation as shared in this video below:
"We all know that human judgment and logical thinking will not be enough to get answers to the questions that matter most in life."  Henry B. Eyring :

(Click the play icon below & move the cursor to the bottom right to turn on the speaker.)

13 Aug 2017
Linger-Longer Sunday with food to eat after Church

Yes interesting that it is only a week after the Sunday we fasted and on this day there was plenty of food and yet the same verse of 1 Nephi 3:7 rang again in my ears!

Our branch president Todd Woodford gave his last official talk as the President of KL branch as he is being transferred to Oman for his work, leaving in a couple of weeks time. His example has touched many in the branch as I could feel the spirit which brought me to have teardrops and a few others too I noticed! In his closing testimony, he referred to the scripture at 1 Nephi 3:7 and even tried to quote it with the right meaning but not verbatim as I had done the previous Sunday!

I had to capture this photo with him as I recall that we never had the chance to have a photo together. I asked my housemate to join me too as we both really appreciate this humble servant of the Lord!

I noticed that his wife was standing close by and I wanted her to be in the pic as well in remembrance of the day she helped me with booking my airline ticket to the US when her husband and I, at their home sitting on the same table were trying to solve my problem of not able to get my visa card accepted online to book my most important reunion trip ticket to the US in the summer of 2016. She was all quiet as she observed how we both struggled, to try my card first and then her husband's card which also failed, to finally suggest to us to try this other online site and it worked immediately. She then confessed she has been dubbed with the name 'travel agent' by her family members and others who know she does online bookings very often and competently! If you read the link above about this special trip, you would know why I am so appreciative of her and I'm glad I have a photo of both of them with my short narration here in my chronicles that will forever be kept in cyberspace or my Consciousness!

14 Aug 2017
Family Home Evening on Monday Night

It's a spiritual night with a lesson with fun and games every Monday for the Single Adults. Click here for more pics. The arrow is showing Dane who was just baptized on the previous Saturday and is riding high!

Interesting that there was a challenge to see who can turn to find the scriptural verse 1 Nephi 3:7 the fastest and the Elder won! I didn't suggest this scripture but the judge did in dark shirt!

28 Aug 2017
Farewell to Elder Stratton

30 Aug 2017
Eve of 60th Merdeka or Independence Day of Malaysia with Single Adults to see the fireworks

31 Aug 2017
Start of 2 day Self-Reliance Convention for Single Adults

28 Sep 2017
Gathering of senior members of KL branch going back to the years 1982-84
Tony King did return back to KL on 25 Aug 2018 to share with members and non-members his expertise learned in finding his roots. Click here to jump to that event date.
26 Nov 2017
Gathering the new converts of the past 2 years to mingle with the Branch Council members after church in President Boyd's home.

1-3 Dec 2017

Many KL branch members were involved with the District YSA Convention

28 Jan 2018
Introducing our voluntary/unpaid Missionaries and Presidents of the local Church today:

14 Feb 2018
Called back to the Lord, Anthony Lim Teong Keat

8 April 2018
Called back to the Lord, Rodney How Boon Lok

20 April 2018
Was nice to meet up with Jackie Ho again, one of the pioneers of KL branch when it started as a group in YMCA KL in the 70s where photos of her and other pioneer members I have today shared in the beginning of this post are from her. She came back for a short visit with her mother from Washington DC area where they live today. 
1 May 2018

David Hatch, now Bishop of his ward in Lindon Utah, with his wife Marianne and children were once in our KL branch over 10 years ago and was on a business trip back that we could catch up again. Felix Yong in the photo was also a new convert to our KL branch in the early 80s and today resides in Petaling Jaya to be under the PJ branch in our same Kuala Lumpur West Malaysia District of the Church.

20 May 2018
District Conference at the MCA Hall in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur

Was a heart-warming occasion to take a photo with some pioneers of the Church in the Kuala Lumpur West Malaysia District

The Mission President and his wife, the Simmons, being their last conference before going home asked us oldies to take a photo with them and the current  District leaders of the Church today.

In the weekend conference, we learned all about "The Joy of Ministering." What a coincidence that the President of our Church, Russel M. Nelson, appointed recently in our General Conference, is 93 years old while Tun Dr Mahathir, the latest 7th Prime Minister of Malaysia elected in our recent General Elections, is also turning 93 years old in July! We are all indeed grateful for the ministering services of these two senior men who serve as an example for all of us younger folks!

Thumbs up from all of us on that!

21 May 2018

Reunion time with an oldie from KL branch from a long distance, Sebastian Kok, mentioned in the above post  during the visit of his younger brother Steven Kok a couple of years earlier from this day. All of us in the photo were once together in the Kuala Lumpur branch when it was the only branch in Kuala Lumpur in the 80s until the branch divided in 1990 to have a branch in KL and PJ. It kept dividing to add more and more branches that a building is getting ready for the establishment of a Stake in Kuala Lumpur:
25 Aug 2018
A busy Saturday for me:

A baptism for me to conduct in the early afternoon and then to rush to the Family History meetings conducted by Tony King, a former expat member in our KL branch who visited KL earlier as recorded above.

31 Aug 2018
YSA Young Single Adults Convention in Asia Camp in Kuala Kubu Baru

1 comment:

Unknown said...

greeting from bob and wendy grant from geelong .good to see you still keep the faith.i remember your last visit a couple of years ago.