We had our last delicious breakfast at the Bread of Life Cafe this morning -- the owner is so kind! She introduced us to coconut jam today -- yum!
We headed out to St. Paul's, close by for Eucharist. The Rev. Joshua Ong, Vicar, met us. The Rev. Joseph Vergis was the celebrant. Rev. Joshua preached and played the organ.
The sermon dealt with listening -- and the vicar did a magnificent job of offering one of the best sermon illustrations on listening I've heard in a long time -- which I won't go into here as I plan on using it in a future sermon myself (with proper credit to the Vicar).
After the service we went to the parish hall to have coffee with the visitation group -- they meet every Wednesday after the Eucharist to pray for each other before they go off to visit shut ins. What was wonderful was the the head of this group, a lay person, was the one to open the group in prayer and to lead the group -- not the Vicar!
They asked me how many women priests we have in the diocese of Los Angeles, and if there was any difficulty with the women priests being accepted. One of the lay women shared with me that there are three houses in their system, the Bishops, the clergy and the laity. The last time this came up for a vote it passed the Bishops and the laity but it didn't pass the clergy.
We had a good discussion.
We then went to see the workshop they have for developmentally challenged young people -- it was fascinating to watch them at their work, and to see the fruits of their labor (we each bought something!). More, it was good to see yet again a congregation engaged in the needs of its community. We bought some of the goods -- and here is a picture of Joshua wearing a beaded cross which he bought.
The Rev. Fred David came and picked us up to take us to see the Bishop of West Malaysia. Traffic was extremely heavy, so he opted to have us walk to the train station and take the train (LRT) to the station near the diocesan headquarters. When we got off the train and started to walk, I realized quickly it was slightly farther than Fred alluded to. By the time we climbed the hill (with our heavy backpacks) we were all soaking wet from the high heat and humidity.
The Bishop had been out of town and is in the middle of preparing for an ordination on Friday, so he emerged from a meeting at about 1:15, and we went over to an Indian restaurant for lunch. It was the first time I ate off a banana leaf. We caught up with each other's lives (we are both on Facebook!). We also talked about mission and ministry in his Diocesan Context. His diocese is roughly the size of England. He now has one assisting bishop and will be ordaining a second this Friday, October 3rd. They actually do have suffragan bishops in their constitution -- Suffragans have specific geographic regions they are responsible for, assisting bishops, though they may be sent to live in a specific area, do not necessarily have specific oversight of that area.
We left our friends and headed, via the train, to the Batu Caves. As we were traveling there it began to rain very hard! By the time we got to the caves there were hardly any people there, and the storm turned into thunder and lightening. Not deterred and wanting to see the caves, we walked up the 250+ steps to the top and into the caves -- BEAUTIFUL! In the picture with the statue, you can see Ada and me with our umbrellas -- we were looking at the people climbing the stairs behind the statue and thinking, "is it worth it?" It was so worth the climb up those steps! There is an active temple inside the caves.
We were soaked to the skin when we got on the train to return to where we were staying. They let us keep one of the rooms, put our suitcases in there, and take a shower and change our clothes before we headed to the airport.
Andy, the driver we met in Little India on our first full day here (and who picked us up in Chinatown last night when we called him) came at 7:00 to pick us up and take us to the airport. He is an honest and kind man! Because of the rain traffic was heavy and it took well over an hour to get us there -- we still had plenty of time to make our 11:15 pm flight to Seoul.
We bid goodbye to West Malaysia -- but hopefully not for TOO long! It was a blessing to us to see mission and ministry in this beautiful part of God's creation.
Here are some extra pictures from today.
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