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....