Originally posted Dec. 3, 2012, at Anything But Normal. Republished with permission of the author.
It’s been a while since my last blog entry. The past few weeks have been filled with end of the school year parties, an ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission retreat, Malaysian road trips, and most recently, Christmas preparations! How crazy is that?
So, where to even begin with this blog entry? Well, I guess I will start by telling you that the school year in Malaysia goes from January until mid-November, and their “summer break” as we would call it, is during the end of November and the entire month of December. However, my school holds holiday classes for autistic students during the months of November and December, so have no fear, I still have plenty of work cut out for me during these months!
Halfway through November, the eight Malaysia Global Mission volunteers met up with our fearless leader, Peter, to start a week-and-a-half-long journey to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Before we got started though, we had the opportunity to meet up with an ELCA synod bishop from California as well as Franklin Ishida, who is the ELCA Global Mission representative for this part of the world. They very generously bought us some delicious Italian food and ice cream! So, basically if I didn’t already love the ELCA, they definitely just bought my heart by feeding me good food and speaking English with us for a while.
Now, I could write pages, heck, full chapters on everything we learned in both Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, but to be honest, I’m still processing it all. Trying to figure out how these two cities work, and how what I learned about those places ties into this place I’m in now. I will say — trade, trade, trade; location, location, location; and ports, ports, ports — these things are huge in the history of both Singapore and Malaysia, and I am just now beginning to understand them.
I would also like to express how thankful and blessed I feel that our crew was taken in by some members of a church in Kuala Lumpur who made us a delicious Thanksgiving meal (including mashed potatoes, lasagna, salad, apple pie, and brownies!). Also, we were able to sit in on the church’s worship band practice, which was in English, and reminded me so much of worship services at my college that it brought tears and laughs of joy to me at the same exact time. While Thanksgiving was definitely a time where I missed my family and home, I wouldn’t trade this experience, or getting to meet this incredible family and community that took us in that night, and treated us as close and dear friends, even though we had just met.
I will admit that returning from retreat was difficult. For many reasons, including leaving my Young Adult in Global Mission family, coming back to a place that I am now familiar with, but isn’t quite home yet, and the impending holiday season pushing upon us. I ask that you please keep me in your prayers during the next month or so as I experience the holidays here. I have a wonderful, incredible and downright awesome community that I am in, but it will be difficult to not be spending these holidays with my family and communities back home. I will be spending this time caroling, planning games for children’s parties, planning youth events, working at school, and line dancing up a storm! So know that I am well taken care of, keeping busy, and always well fed, but please pray for me and my family as we learn to celebrate together from afar.
Peace, love and happiness!
Find a link to Jessie Obrecht’s blog Anything But Normal at Lutheran Blogs.