Category: Travel

Fourth of July in Malaysia

Rex Campbell and I  just got up from our second night in Kota Marudu, in Malaysian Borneo. We’ve had a great experience. We arrived Saturday, and it’s now Monday and we are checking out of the hotel to head back to the airport in Kota Kinabalu.

I wish I had done a better job of taking notes.

We flew into KK on Friday after 36 hours of travel from Dallas to San Francisco to Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, which is in Malaysian Borneo.

After spending Friday night in KK, we came to Kota Marudu then to a nearby village of Tagaroh. The church in Tagaroh has been the recipient of Baptist World Aid funds for the building of grain silos. Texas Baptists are about to begin funding of future steps the church is taking to help families in the community move out of poverty.

Saturday night I spoke at the church and then did so again Sunday night. They are such a wonderful people, very warm and friendly. They are from the Dusun ethnic group. Lloyd, an ethnic Chinese man from Melaka who is leading the project, told us the Dusun are a gentle people who share well. They are not competitive.

Yesterday we drove in a four-wheel-drive truck up a gravelly road into the interior in the foothills of Mt. Kinabalu. We visited a village, Marak Parak, where another silo has been constructed at the church there. It was a much more remote location, but they do have electrical service.

We also visited a plot of land that the government is offering to the community for agricultural use. They are considering starting a beef cattle operation. I suggested they start small and see what kind of grasses will grow well in the powdery red soil.

Here are some of the things we’ve eaten: pau (a large white dumpling with meat inside), siumai (very good), a type of fried sardine eaten off the bone, peria (bitter gord), cucumber soup, tembikai (watermelon), Sabah sayur (vegetables), grouper (fish), and clam soup.

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A good start

My international trip is off to a good start, and I haven’t even gotten out of the United States yet. I’m writing from San Francisco’s airport while Rex and I wait for our flight out.

Conversations are what made the first leg of this journey interesting. First, in the D/FW airport, I visited with a Muslim woman who is orginally from Albania. Then there was the Jewish man from Seattle (with roots in Poland) and the Baptist woman pastor from San Francisco (with roots in China) next to him.

This world is full of such interesting, different people. What I loved about all three of these “strangers” was their friendliness and simple basic decency. All are different from me, but I think they would make such good friends if they lived nearby.

Encounters like this remind me that God has indeed created something special in creating men and women–flawed yes, but still in His image.

When my wife reads this she’s likely to remind me of the German fellow I sat behind on a trip to Spain a few years back. After dealing with him for hours, I didn’t have the same view of mankind that I have right now. I thought the Fall was still very evident.

Next stop: Hong Kong. And I hope that German fellow is not on the flight.