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  • Writer's pictureSean Foley

Navigation - beyond GPS!

I have been thinking about all the navigation Vivian and I do, and thought for this week's post I would break it down into three types.


Singapore

I have been a fan of Google Maps since the beginning of the GPS Age. My children made fun of me back home as I would still fire it up even on a trip I had made a thousand times, just as my "security blanket". Here in Singapore we also use it almost every day, and it does remarkably well with train and bus schedules. However it is absolutely abysmal on walking directions in this city. We have been stopped in our tracks on so many adventures by construction or updated traffic flows not shown in the app, often leading to significant re-routes and re-re-routes. Doing this while it's 90 degrees, 90% humidity, dressed in missionary clothing, and carrying our backpacks is not very enjoyable. However I can say that after finally getting to a place the first time, we have done well at returning more smoothly. It reminded me of this very thought provoking video by President Jeffrey R. Holland on some reasons why God allows us to take some wrong roads.


Daily Life

We are also learning to navigate our daily lives. Tuesday through Fridays are usually "office days". After we get ready (including a swim for me many days) we leave by 9:00 and get home anywhere from 6:30 to 8:00. It is about a 40 minute commute to our office, via train and with short walks on both ends. The train usually ranges from very crowded to extremely crowded, but they are clean, timely, efficient, and reasonably cost effective. People are usually friendly and Vivian will sometimes get a seat part way.


We like our office space. Even though we're the only ones working there, it is a special place with a great spirit. Many days we do have young missionaries dropping by for supplies or appointments with Vivian, and that is always nice.


Many have asked what I do while Vivian is in many hours of counseling. It is a wide variety of things, ever changing and still evolving. By far the biggest is supporting Vivian through paperwork, research, systems creation, and outreach to help her and the missionaries and mission leaders. She will write in a future post more about her work, much of which occurs outside the session. Beyond helping with that, I work with the Young Adults of Singapore, mission supplies, apartment inspections, supporting programs to teach English in various countries, helping young missionaries teach, and much more. It is certainly different than my career, but still extremely engaging. Not a day goes by that I'm not using a combination of work and church skills and tools (including plenty of IT).


We have been splitting our Preparation Days between Monday and Saturday, with a mixture of missionary service and some play/relaxation/errands on both. Sundays are a wonderful respite from the week with church, family calls, and sometimes mission devotionals via Zoom.


Relationships

The most important type of navigation present in missions is that within relationships, both established and new. It takes a lot of work to make sure that we stay connected with our wonderful family at home, and we know it is work for them as well. Between the time zones, technology, long days, and busy lives of all, it takes work. We deeply appreciate our family and all those back home who work so hard to stay connected with us, bringing a lot of joy and richness to our mission.


In addition to nurturing from afar cherished existing relationships, our mission has already introduced us to well over a hundred new and wonderful people: missionaries, young adults, mission leaders, and others. Few things we could have done in life would have expanded our network of wonderful people as much as choosing to serve a mission. In doing so we are learning so much of other cultures and lands.


Of course the most significant human relationship either of us have, in time or eternity, is each other! Senior missions are absolutely epic at taking relationships of many decades and adding great new depth and richness. As is the case in life more generally, they tend to do so by way of wonderful times as well as through challenges and even tense times! Working together all day, every day is definitely a new dimension and it gives us a great chance to discover more about each other and the things we didn't see during decades of careers and separate church callings.


In speaking of his marriage to Wendy Watson as a widow in his 80's, our church president Russell M. Nelson said, "Our transition was not easy at first...We both had expectations for marriage, and those expectations did not entirely match at first. I say this only to suggest that every marriage requires effort, sacrifice, and a steady outpouring of compassion and love. These many years later, I cannot fathom my life without Wendy, and I feel confident she would say the same. We treasure every moment we have together." Vivian and I have had, and will continue to have, wonderful opportunities to align expectations in this wonderful new environment. We can definitely say: it is worth every effort and we treasure this mission together!


We love you all! Jumpa lagi!




1 and 2 - One of thousands of sidewalks under construction. Singapore is in a state of constant building and rebuilding.

3 - Daily commute

4 - The reward at the end of our walk this last P-Day was a beautiful ocean view.

5 and 6 - Singapore really does gardens right!

7 - The same leaders that came from across the world to visit our missionaries in Kuala Lumpur made a stop in Singapore to visit our Young Single Adults. We weren't back in time but they had a wonderful evening.





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5 Comments


kathyduffin
Feb 13

You guys are such a great team! Amazing to have these opportunities to expand your service and experience of the world. I love reading about it!

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Brosie Strada
Brosie Strada
Feb 08

Sean - it has been great to stay updated on your adventures via these blog posts.

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Sean Foley
Sean Foley
Feb 12
Replying to

Thanks Brosie! I hope you, your family, and all at the Fed are doing great. I actually had a couple FedNow conversations with some of our church members that are payments leaders here in Singapore. Small world!

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krzybee
Feb 07

It is awesome how you ae still teaching to us in your blogs! You guys are the best! 💛

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Sean Foley
Sean Foley
Feb 12
Replying to

Thank you - we sure love you guys and appreciate your support!

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