Mt. Kinabalu

Mt. Kinabalu

Thursday, December 26, 2013

First YAGM Retreat to Singapore

YAGM Malaysia had our first retreat mid-November to Singapore.  Before taking off we spent some time together in KK with our former country coordinator, Peter Harrits, who has accepted a position with St. Paul Area Synod to coordinate relationships with churches in East Africa.  We will miss him a lot but are excited to see how his gifts are used in new ways.  As it was the last time we would all be on the same side of the country with Peter we did some celebrating and had an island day!  It was nice to enjoy eachother’s company in the presence of the grand South China Sea where we spotted lots of nemo fish!   

Later on we made tacos and no bake cookies (the recipe my mom sent me has been a hit!).  We also gave Peter his going away present which was certainly a small miracle.  Weeks earlier Sarah and I had stumbled upon some minion fabric (It has been a running joke that we are Peter’s minions and he is Papa minion) and decided to have a shirt made.  Buying the material was one thing and finding a tailor was another.  When it finally happened I stumbled through ordering it in Malay and when they asked us what size I looked the tailor up and down and told him Peter was about his size.  Luckily enough, he was and the shirt was a hit.  Let’s be real, how many people can pull off this print?

We began the next morning sharing readings and discussing what we have learned about Singapore, Malaysia, and their relationship.  

Julia and I used big paper to create some visuals :)

 The next day we had a tearful farewell and were off to Singapore with Reverend Wendolyn Trozzo of the ELCA.  Aside from being the cleanest most organized city I’ve ever set foot in, the country has an interesting and complex history strongly connected to the history of Malaysia (it used to be part of Malaysia!).  During our time in Singapore we were welcomed with open arms by the Lutheran Church of Singapore, its Bishop Terry Kee, and former YAGMs the Dalagers.  In this time of transition, it was particularly comforting to be assured we are in so many good hands.  The fact that even people we have not met yet and may be in other countries have our backs is pretty incredible.  It’s quite the blessing to be part of such a caring church family worldwide. 

Here’s an overview of our Singapore retreat in photos :)

Spending time with YAGM alums Jacob and Hannah Dalager and eating fabulous burgers (something we don't get very often anymore)!

A live seafood lunch with Bishop Kee!  (Literally you could see them catch your food before you ate it!)  With dishes including bamboo clams, eel, ribs with a coffee glaze, and Singapore’s famous chilli crab.  All of it was fabulously delicious!

Bishop Kee (right) and Pastor Nick (left)

Chilli Crab

We got into the holiday spirit on Orchard Road, an incredibly long road full of malls and shopping, as it was already decorated with lights and Christmas displays.

We visited the Harmony Centre, an incredible place, which works towards peaceful interreligious dialogue and education. 

A trip to the National Museum of Singapore and its current art exhibit was of particular interest to me.  The exhibit explored the countries search for identity, both artistically and culturally.  Loving the art connections!

LOVE this quote.  I was in total art nerd mode the entire exhibit.

We had a Turkish dinner with the Dalagers!  Fabulously delish and with a great view of the mosque.


Our free day included a trip to the zoo, Singapore’s is one of the best in the world.  Sarah and I went on a trial run of the River Safari, the only zoo experience of its kind in the world, which was not open to the public yet.  We also got to check out the PANDAS! 

Cutest animal in the world.

Panda Capuccino!

One of our final Singapore experiences included eating at Makansuttra, famous for its superb street food, and heading up to the skypark to see Marina Sands Bay from the rooftops.  We had breathtaking views to end our refreshing and renewing adventures together as a YAGM team.   

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