Tea & Tigers in the Highlands of Malaysia…

Hi, lovely to have you drop by…as you enjoyed my last reflection on the Leprosy community in Thailand… I thought I would share another inspiring adventure from the same time period. An adventure that I still find astonishing in its timing & encouraging in its preparation…

green treesTo set the mood, I thought I would brew some black tea & accompany it with a delicious bowl of sweet & crispy coconut rolls for our theme…

The tea is a mellow blend, smooth on the tongue & the coconut rolls are so delicious that you can’t stop at just one! Mmmm…morish!

While working at Dalat School in Malaysia I had the privilege of meeting many visitors from all over the world, on one particular occasion I met an English family  living & working in the Cameron Highlands at the Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF) school there, he was the principal & she a teacher. I invited them over for dinner that night & we had a lovely time of fellowship together, their children were a little older than ours but all got on famously. On leaving they invited us to visit & share in their work in the Highlands.

So the next school break, we packed the car, took the car ferry from Penang across the Straits of Malacca to the mainland & headed for the Cameron Highlands…it was a picturesque trip through towns, passing Malay Kampongs (villages), Buddhist & Hindu temples, Mosques, farmland with water buffaloes, rice paddies, pigs, ducks & other animals.

We finally reached the foot of the mountains to start the ascent. The area was so interesting…with tea plantations blanketing the steep slopes of the mountainside. Tea pickers in their colorful Saris balancing baskets full of fresh green leaves from their heads scattered throughout the rows of tea bushes. And little roadside stalls beckoning us to stop every so often, selling fresh produce & handmade curios. The air became noticeably crisper & colder the higher we climbed, which was such a welcomed change after living in the humidity of the tropics…

We finally arrived at our destination which was a quaint old School Masters building from colonial days, complete with a wood heater in the living room & surrounded by the most beautiful English garden. That night we enjoyed a lovely home cooked meal with our new friends & made plans to meet up a few days later for afternoon tea. We were given a warning to be very careful & watchful after dark, as Tigers roamed the surrounding forests!

tiger through green leaves during dayThe next morning as we explored the area & its attractions, while driving I was sure I glimpsed a tiger amongst the bushes enjoying the sunshine! Later that day we heard that a tea worker had been attacked by a Tiger the previous night, not far from the compound where we were staying (the worker had survived)! This news was rather sobering & a little unnerving!

It came time for the afternoon tea with our friends…while sitting around their cosy & warm fireplace, enjoying Devonshire tea together, my new friend started sharing their experience of the loss of their eldest child, who had died at birth…& retrieved a photo album from the shelf to share the photos of their child’s funeral. I’m a bit of a softy so I found this incredibly sad & a little overwhelming at the time (this was before I was clinically counseling). I felt incredibly privileged that they were comfortable to share this heart wrenching & deeply personal experience.

When the time came to say our farewells, my friend handed me a book called Angel Unaware by Dale Evans Rogers, saying she thought I would find it comforting. I thought this a very strange statement at the time but pushed it to one side thinking it had obviously been a comfort to them in their grief & that was what she had meant…

“He comes alongside us when we have hard times, & before you know it,  He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. “ Refer

I didn’t get to see these new friends again & sadly we lost contact over time but I can say without a doubt…that this meeting was definitely God ordained! It was a meeting over tea & treats that was a time of preparation for the coming events in my life…ten months later… my daughter Candy was born sleeping (stillborn) & then ten months after that my son Benjamin was also born sleeping (stillborn) shared in Eternity. I did indeed find comfort in my friend’s shared experience & Dale’s story in the book, to know others had been through the death of their child & found strength in God’s comfort was very comforting!

When you look back over your life…can you see definitive moments ordained by God? I would love to hear about them in the comments section below…(or click on the title of this reflection which will take you to its page, where you will find the comment section at the end)…until next time…dear friend…

Jennifer

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14 thoughts on “Tea & Tigers in the Highlands of Malaysia…

  1. Jennifer, what a heart warming post my friend. I know that God is always at work in our lives, even when we are so totally unaware. I read that book by Dale Evans when I was a teen which was a long time ago. I love seeing how God uses His people to minister to each other. Your long ago friend was ministering to a need that you didn’t know you would have. Blessings and thank you for sharing beautiful and thought provoking posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I’ve said before but I’ll say again, I’m so sorry for your loss. I can’t even imagine the journey of grief. It’s interesting how people come in and out of our lives and we don’t see until later why our paths have crossed. Hoping today is kind to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s interesting & quite productive to look back over our lives & see those defining moments & relationships…especially now I have time to do so 😉
      Thank you for your kind words, the journey of grief has been a difficult & long one but one I haven’t traveled alone…I have a deep faith in One who has never left or forsaken me…
      Hope today is kind to you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Jennifer,
    Thank you for sharing so sweetly the ways that God prepared the way ahead for you. I am so sorry for your grief. My daughter has had 2 miscarriages, and it can be so hard. But I can look back and see how the Lord has carried us through each season, and prepared the way ahead of time. When she was in her darkest hour, I went with her every week when she visited her counselor, not knowing that a few years later that same counselor would be such a blessing to me in the beginnings of my journey with chronic illness. God truly does walk with us through each day. Blessings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing your God ordained time Bettie, a good relationship with your Counselor is very important & forging that relationship beforehand around the concern for your daughter is precious…God’s leading is evident when we have hind sight isn’t it.

      The loss of a child, is so devastating no matter what age or stage of development…it’s the loss of a life with all the dreams & potential you had hoped for, for that little life…
      Sending you gentle hugs dear friend…
      Blessings ♥
      Jennifer

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have had so many God ordained moments that I can’t even begin. One that comes to mind was a walk that my husband and I were on when we heard weeping. We found a woman sitting on the steps of an office building sobbing. We just sat down beside her and prayed for her. We had no idea why she was crying and still don’t. But she received our prayer, got up and walked off. I am sure God had directed our steps that evening.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jennifer, this is such a sweet post showing how God was knew the grief which lay ahead and went before you in preparation. I remember reading Angel Unaware many years ago as well. It is always amazing to look back over our lives and see the faithfulness, grace, and mercy of God in every moment. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jennifer, I am so sorry for the loss of two children. What a touching and poignant story. I read Angel Unaware years ago, after a miscarriage, and found it comforting. How amazing that God would find a way to put that book into your hands so it would be there when you needed it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Laurie, I’m sad to hear you lost a little one…sending you a gentle hug.
      We do have an amazing God who goes before us & prepares the way, comforting us in the hard times as well as rejoicing with us in the joyful times. Blessings to you…

      Like

  7. Yes, A God moment for sure. I am so glad you shared it with me. Our perspective at the moment is never what God’s is. I am sorry for your losses. It must be incredibly painful. Thank you for sharing this post with me. Maree

    Liked by 1 person

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