Forgive me, it’s been awhile. Our first week was a riddle of adjusting to the newness of everything from jet lag, to the streets of KK, the heat and humidity (4 degrees north of the equator gets a little sweaty), and finally settling into our own country group. We retreated to the base of Mt. Kinabalu where we spent a few days reading up on Malaysia and also just being.
For instance, Malaysia has oil reserves of 3 billion barrels making it one of the most prosperous (and also tech-savvy) countries in the world. At the same time Malaysia is a very diverse nation. In The 10th Parallel Eliza Griswold identifies that out of a 100 Malaysians, 60 are Muslim, twenty are Buddhist, nine are Christian, six are Hindus, and the remaining four follow either Chinese beliefs or practice their Indigenous, spirit based religion.
It is something that I have never experienced before. What does it mean to be Christian in a diverse religious environment in which belief systems are intersecting one another? We were blessed to attend the recent Lutheran Church of Malaysia's General Assembly where I experienced my first bi-lingual service in English and Mandarin. Hearing my voice within the blend of Mandarin and English as I spoke the words of Confession and the Lord's Prayer struck me as to the greatness of this body that we are a part of.
The whole Malaysian crew from left to right: Sarah, Daniel, Katrina, Peter (our Country coordinator), Colleen, Delia, me, Evan, Jenna B., and Sean hanging in front of the entrance to Mt. Kinabalu National Park, a World Heritage Site with a complex of trails navigating the jungles beneath its ridges. The peak sits at 13,435 feet and exists as the 20th highest peak in the world in topographic prominence.
Sabah Theological Seminary where we spent our first week in Kota Kinabalu (KK)
Hiking through the lush jungle of Mt. Kinabalu National Park
Malaysians also know how to eat well. We have been enjoying delicious food on both the East and West side. Here is some yummy nasi dan terung bawang putih (rice and garlic eggplant)
At present we have been staying at the YMCA in Kuala Lumpur in the Brickfields neighborhood while we take our Bahasa Malaysia course. In the midst of a constantly changing environment the past few weeks, I have found myself not quite knowing what I need, but taking faith that its alright to be in that.