This week I'm recounting my journey to Kuantan. If you missed Part 1, do click this link to read
I finished my formal education at English Martyrs Roman Catholic high school with 1 A, 6 Bs and 3 Cs. I was pleasantly surprised and quite ecstatic with these results since all of my school years were spent in the love of sports. Quite frankly, English aside, I felt no interest sitting in a classroom.
My passion was competing on a tennis court and a football pitch, where I enjoyed huge success with my church team from the years of 1994-2002. We played against other teams from churches in the area, and I can tell you those battles were serious and anything but holy! It fired me up and I developed a love of winning.
All through my teenage years I knew that when I reached 19 years old, I would go and serve as a full-time volunteer for my church. This would last for 2 years. It would mean leaving behind my family and friends (and beloved sports!), to go and do something for somebody else.
The only fuzzy detail was where exactly in the world I would be asked to perform my volunteer work!
On 19 March, 2002, I received a letter from the church headquarters that would change the direction of my life forever.
I had been chosen to serve in Singapore and Malaysia!
I remember excitedly pulling out the atlas and raiding Google to find out where these countries were!
This was my name tag which I wore in some parts of my volunteer service
So for two years, from June 2002 - June 2004, I served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a most fantastic part of the world. I worked in various places around Singapore and Malaysia.
I have filled over 600 pages of my personal record detailing these two years. Suffice it to say they were the best two years of my life.
Now I'll share just a few of the many photos from this period in my life:
During our volunteer service, there were certain standards of appearance, conduct and organization we were expected to show. This is a typical 'blue planner' we used to plan our activities each week:
At Hong Kong airport en route to Singapore to begin my volunteer service (9th July, 2002)
Celebrating Chinese New Year in Petaling Jaya (PJ), West Malaysia, with some good friends from China (2003)
On a crowded bus going to the beach in Kuching (2003)
While I was serving in Kuching, East Malaysia I met this lovely family - Brother Michael, with two of his daughters, Florina (L) and Florianna (R). He had three other daughters; Felicia was studying in Johor, Felicity was at school in Genting, and Fidelia, who would later become my wife, was studying at Labuan. (2003)
Being sent to Kuching and meeting Fidelia's family was a huge part of my journey to Kuantan, even though I didn't know it at the time!
Meeting for dinner with church members in a small wooden house in Kuching, East Malaysia (2003)
Having a meeting with fellow volunteers on the balcony of the church in Kuching, East Malaysia (late 2003/early 2004)
Visiting a fruit farm in Kuching, East Malaysia (2004)
Two of the cutest little girls I met on my mission, Sitiawan, West Malaysia (2004)
Meeting with fellow volunteers in Ipoh, West Malaysia (2004)
Riding the MRT in Singapore one last time before my two-year volunteer contract expired and I'd head back home to England (June 2004)
With Elder Hubbard and Elder Claus at Changi International Airport, Singapore. Awaiting my flight home with a great deal of sadness (23 June, 2004)
My two-year volunteer mission was pivotal in my journey to Kuantan. I got to know and love the country of Malaysia, and I became good friends with Fidelia's family in Kuching!
Please visit this link for all you need to know about my church's volunteer missionary service program and how it works.
Stay tuned for Part 3 tomorrow!