Monday, December 16, 2013


So to all that have read my blog, let me start by apologizing for not keeping up with it! So the big question is what has my life been like since I last posted? It has been a time of great change for me.

What have I been up to???

 That simple question has been one that has troubled me for some time. How do I articulate the changes that have taken place in a few months? How can you explain events that have had a profound effect on you as a person and do those events justice? I don’t know if I have an answer, but will do the best that I can and hope that what I write will be a good start.

So let’s start by talking about life in Cow Kit. Since I last posted the home schooling program has come to a close for the “summer holiday.” My role has shifted to more of a caretaker. I spend most of my days simply hanging out with the kids at both centers. This has provided me a chance to get to know my little brothers and sisters on a more personal level. The kids at PAKK, our center for 7-12 year olds, keep me busy as I am the human jungle gym bringing smiles as they climb all over me swinging from my arms like Tarzan. The guys of course like to attack all at once to try and wrestle me to the ground; this is fueled by their love of WWE. I have had some close calls as roughly 7 kids coming at once can be a little hard to handle. My language skills are a work in progress, the kids have started teaching me some new vocabulary which has been a fun process, and slowly I am learning more Malay. My work at the KLKP, our center for the teenagers, differs as the number of kids that come in changes on a daily basis. I was able to attend the 2013 Refugee Talent Show, with some of the kids and teachers from KLKP. The show was put on by UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency here in Malaysia. It was a chance for the children to come to a auditorium and perform in a talent show. They competed in a dance and vocal category with the top three getting some pretty awesome cash prizes. The joy on these kids’ faces will be forever in my mind as they performed on a stage in front of a large audience.

My work at Dignity for Children took a different approach, I decided to work maintenance. I have been doing odd jobs around the complex. One of the bigger projects I have done with Dignity has been to help decide which contractor to use as we move forward with major renovations. They will be moving out of the current building and into a new location. There was a lot of work to be done and I spent a day breaking down the two quotes given to us and determining which gave us the best deal. Now that the renovations have started my work has become pretty busy doing jobs around the complex and also helping the contractors as needed. Part of the renovations has been tearing down some of the doors that won’t be used any more, and I discovered I like demolition work.

Now I will try to describe some to the changes that have occurred in me. This year has placed me in the minority for the first time in my life, and that alone has been extremely eye opening. Working with the refugee population has put names, faces, and personal feelings towards immigration reform that I was ignorant about. I can see how their struggles affect them in and outside the class room. The kids that come for homeschooling face the chance of being detained or moved by the UN to Australia or American. Either way their lives are changed dramatically. The majority of the children in my centers are enrolled in the relocation program with the UN, from what I have been told they can be moved any day without real notice. Being with my brothers and sisters here at Yayasan Chow Kit have showed me how I have taken for grant just how great I have it back home. I never had to face the tough situations that my kids face on a daily basis, I was just a child running, playing, and going to school. As I got older I had to figure out college all with no real pressure or fear. I lived a life that was pretty easy, and at the end of the day I have the utmost respect for all my kids and the challenges that they face on a daily basis. They face all of these challenges, all while working to improve themselves through schooling, and chasing their dreams relentlessly.

So there is a brief update of my life here and what my call to global mission looks like. I am thankful and blessed to be here in Malaysia. Until the next time stay safe and I hope the holidays are treating you all well.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Sports Day

This past weekend Yayasan Cow Kit had their annual sports day.  It was pretty much a big field day and brought up some good memories from my childhood.  It lasted pretty much all morning and into the afternoon.  All of the kids were divided up into four different teams: the red squirrels, blue pandas, orange cats, and green eagles.  So there would be no confusion all of the kids were given team shirts.  The staff and other volunteers also received shirts, and the color chosen for them was pink.  I was a little skeptical of the color but the shirt was way to awesome not to wear.

The games kicked off with a parade for the teams to all assemble in front of the crowd of parents and others that came out to view the day.  The kids were all excited and full of energy as they walked around the field to where the opening would take place.  As the opening ceremony came to a close they walked to the team tents and got ready for the start of the events.  Food and water was brought to the tents so the kids could eat and drink as they needed.  The majority of the events were different relays so there was some running and of course the silly relays that we all love.  A really awesome surprise was when the volunteers were split into four groups of 12 and a tug of war competition happened.  It was a nice break for the kids and a great way to keep the volunteers involved. Sadly my team came in second after fighting hard to gain the win.

As the games came to a close they ended with games for the staff members of YCK, and again I found myself in a tug of war match.  This time my team of staff members beat the others so it was a great victory.  After all of this the closing began.  All of the winning team was announced and the kids that competed came forward to accept their medals.  After all of the medals and other prizes were given out the moment came to announce the overall winning team.  The red squirrels came in first overall and the team erupted with excitement after hearing this news.

With that sports day came to a close and the clean up began. With all of the volunteers helping it didn't take long, and I headed home for a much needed shower and nap from being in the sun from 8am to 2 pm.  It was a great day spent playing in God's creation.  

Sunday, September 22, 2013


One of the hardest parts of this year is leaving friends and family behind, and as that reality started to set in I became a little nervous for the year ahead.   This year has put me further from my friends and family than ever before in my life.  However that sense of family emerges in different ways, as I have learned from working at camps.  YAGM was no exception.
  At Chicago  a group of young adults came together all being sent to different countries, doing different jobs, but with one similar purpose to walk along side the people we would be serving for the next year.  Over the course of a week we grew as a community, and family.  The time we spent together through our small groups, hanging out, and through worshiping together made this community strong.  As we all prepared to depart for our countries my new family began to say “see you later,” and words of encouragement as we headed to the airport at different times headed for different destinations. 
During my in country orientation another family was formed through my country group as we got to know each other on a more personal level.  My group has a great dynamics and over the three weeks we spent together exploring this country we became close helping each other and looking out for one another.  The time we spent together has given us a great support system when we need to reach out for help when we need it. 

Then the time to leave that and move to our placement sites came, and again my family departed for different places.  Now I have a family in Cow Kit in the kids that inspire me to live life to the fullest and enjoy every minute of the day.  So while it is true I have left my family and friends in the states, my family has grown in coming to Malaysia through the YAGM community, the Malaysia country group, and my co workers and children of Yayasan Cow Kit. 

God has called me to go out into the world and serve and has continued to show me in my life that, "Family isn't always blood.  It's the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who your are.  The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what."

I count myself blessed to have my family grow in such a big way.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Orientation so far!

Where to begin? Since landing in Malaysia about a week ago everything has been a whirlwind!  We had a lot of sessions to familiarize ourselves with the city, and the wonderful people of Sabah.  After hanging out in the city for a few days our country group retreated to the mountains to escape the heat of the city.  This was a great time filled with exploring Mt. Kinabalu and seeing the summit that I hope to hike later this year with some of my fellow YAGM’s.  After returning to the city we had a day to explore the islands near the city, and our group settled on Manukan Island for the day.  It was great to spend the day in the waters of the South China Sea.  We met up with Peter, our country coordinator, later that even after a scavenger hunt asking and receiving help from the locals since all of the directions were written in Malay. 

We packed and headed to Kuala Lumpur the day after our Island trip.  I was pumped to get to KL since it will be my home for the next year.  We arrived after a minor delay with the plane needing to be diverted due to a storm and then we had to re fuel on the runway.  So far KL has been awesome the food is amazing all over Malaysia, and you can’t go wrong with the street vendors.

So far one of the experiences that sticks out the most in my mind comes in our first worship service in Malaysia.  We attended a Malay speaking church, talk about a new experience. As I attempted to follow the service I found myself looking around at the people gathered.  It was clear as I looked around the praise taking place  It didn't matter where or not I  or the rest of the group understood the language we had all gathered to worship God and the church we attended received us with open arms helping us by translating parts of the service as they could, and what a beautiful sight and feeling.  I find myself truly blessed to be serving here in Malaysia for the year and look forward to the next worship experience.

Language class starts this coming Monday, and it will be great to finally be able to read the menu at restaurants without playing 20 questions with Peter.

Until the next time….
                                                                       Mt. Kinabalu
                                                       Country Group Ready for Hiking
                                         The volunteers serving in Malaysia from South Carolina
                                         The view the J residence, our mountain retreat housing

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Journey Begins.....

   Hey there, my name is Daniel Crofts and I move to Malaysia today.  As a 22 year old recent college graduate I find myself beyond blessed with this opportunity.  I will be working with the Lutheran Church of Malaysia for the year in a couple different organizations.

   So the question arises, How exactly did I get here?   I grew up in Simpsoville, South Carolina with a great family.  I just graduated from Presbyterian College and the opportunity to be involved with YAGM really spoke to my interest in working with youth and a desire to experience the different cultures of the world.  I was accepted into the program and the discernment process began.  At the close of summer I had to say good bye to an amazing summer staff that helped me prepare for this journey in so many ways, friends, and family.
   I have spent the past week in Chicago participating in orientation to prepare for the coming year of service.  It has been amazing experience filled with a lot of learning and as I sit in the airport writing I find a sense of peace as I prepare to leave.  Orientation was a great way for all 60 of the volunteers to really prepare for what lies in front of us.  We all come from throughout the country but are united in a calling to serve globally.

   My blog title comes from a good friend name Jake Corbit.  In the start of summer he introduced the idea of "the walk is necessary" a statement that stuck with me as I prepared to leave.  We move in life from one experience to the next.  This journey to Malaysia for me is the next "walk" in my life.  It will lead me to foreign lands and away from the comfort of friends and family.  However, I find strength in those that are traveling with me.  My YAGM family will be there for me, and my country group will experience the joys and challenges that come with a year spend away from loved ones.

So now I end the first "blog" with a thank you to all those that have been a part of my life and lead me to taking this next experience.  Cheers to the new experiences I will encounter and the changes that will happen over the next year.  Good bye for now America  I'll see you when I see you....