Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Mission Trip to Malaysia Part 1

Two weeks ago I took a trip to a small village called Balak located in  Banggi island in Sabah Malaysia. Banggi island is located off the northern coast of Sabah Malaysia. I traveled to Balak with seven other members from UPC. The journey was not easy at all. It took us three days to reach Balak from Toronto Canada. 

We first flew from Toronto to Seoul, South Korea for fourteen hours and then changed to the second plane at Incheon airport to fly another five hours to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Malaysia. We arrived at Kota Kinabalu international airport the next day. It took exactly twenty four hours from Toronto to Kota Kinabalu! We stayed at a budget hotel for the night and the next day we drove for three hours to Kudat located at the northern end of Sabah. We were supposed to take a ferry from there to the island the same day but could not find tickets for all of us. We slept another night in the Kudat area. 

On the next day the ferry took an hour to reach Banggi island. At the ferry terminal in Banggi island we loaded our luggage to two trucks and drove over an hour to finally arrive at a roadside entrance to the village. Once we got off the trucks and unloaded our bags a real adventure was waiting for us. The village was about   twenty to thirty minutes walking distance from the road. The only option was to carry all our luggage and walk to the village. It was very hot and humid. We were so tired, exhausted and hungry!!! The path to the village was narrow, wet and muddy. It was a very very difficult trip. Three days just to come to this small and tiny village..

For the entire journey to Balak I thought about the pioneers who came to the village a hundred years ago to meet the indigenous people living there. They did not have trucks or ferries. Once they got off their boat they walked three days to reach this village. What motivated them to take such a long journey? Why did they give up their own comfort and come all the way to the Banggi people in Malaysia?  Was it LOVE?