|by Jonathan Lim|
|The Royal Rangers made a trip to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah in May 2003 with a mission – to scale Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in Southeast Asia.|
On 12 May 2003, 7 Rangers, 7 Leaders and 3 other Calvarites gathered at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport and boarded a flight to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. After touching down, we checked into our apartments, then had a sumptuous seafood dinner before getting some sleep after the long journey.
We arose at 6:30 am to prepare to go white water rafting. It was a 2 hour bus ride to Beaufort, than another 2 hour train ride to the start our rafting journey down the Padas River. The train ride was a real eye-opener for many of us for it brought us to the interior of Sabah. We saw for ourselves how remote some parts of East Malaysia were and how the locals carried out their daily activities. Ferrying goods and going to school by the bone-numbing train was a daily routine for many of the locals. Truly we can be thankful for our blessings. Reputed to be the best white water rafting in Malaysia, we all had an enjoyable time braving the rapids before being treated to a BBQ.
|DAY 3We had breakfast near the jetty before taking a boat to Sapi Island, where we were to go snorkelling. After a 20 minutes ride, we arrived and soon enough, were enjoying God’s creation underwater as we ooh-ed and aah-ed at the schools of fish swimming around us. The water was very|
|clear that day and we were able to see the corals and the marine life that depended on it. We enjoyed the snorkelling so much we were rather reluctant to leave. That afternoon we travelled to Kinabalu Park. Pastor Richard joined us at the park around dinnertime and shared Psalms 121 with us. He encouraged us to hold on to it as we climbed up the mountain the next morning. We packed for the trek and hit the sack early so we would be energetic the next morning.|
|DAY 4The trek up Mount Kinabalu was the highlight of the trip. From the Park Headquarters, we would have to trek up 6km to Laban Rata rest house at a height of 3,300m, before climbing to the peak the next morning. We started out at 9.30am. Along the way, it began to rain. Combined with the strong winds and the increasing altitude, it was a tough challenge for us but we were determined to reach our destination. By 3:30 pm, all of us had reached Laban Rata where the temperature was slightly below 10 degrees. Boy, were we glad to know that there were heaters in the dorms. We were all under the covers at 8:00 pm.|
|The Team: Associate Pastor Richard Yun, Councilman Samuel Sham, Senior Commander Jim Guneratnam, Outpost Commanders Chin Yoke Yee and David Peter, Commanders Eddy Law, Leong Yew Loong and Cheah Siew Ying, Trail Rangers Derek Lim, Benjamin Khoo, Jonathan Lim, Samuel Yee, Samuel Soong, Sam Shin Gern and Wee Liang-Shyen, together with Loh Chee Wah, Edwin Marsden, Faith Tan, Amelia and Jamie Guneratnam.|
|DAY 5We woke at 2:00 am and found that it was still drizzling. The rain had not stopped since we arrived at Laban Rata the day earlier. We all knew that were in for a tough climb. After devotion and prayer we left the rest house for the peak at 2:30 am. Along the way, the rough weather conditions and our different levels of ability split us up. Fortunately, 10 of us made it to the peak. Some had to turn back due to the extreme weather conditions and altitude sickness – breathing difficulties, dizziness and nausea. Those who made it to the peak, discovered that the beautiful sunrise we expected was not to appear that morning. After hearing stories of how magnificent the sunrise is at the peak, we only saw grey mist and fog all around us. The peak was shrouded with mist and the wind was blowing in excess of 80km/h. The temperature was just above freezing and we were greeted|
|with small hailstones instead of a sunrise. Most of us who went up did not stay longer that 5 minutes for it was so cold up there our hands had gone numb. There was not much to see except for cold rocks, grey shroud, and a signboard that said ‘Low’s Peak’, the highest peak in Southeast Asia named after the first recorded ascent by Sir Hugh Low. Still, overcoming all the difficulties and the extreme weather conditions made the ascent of Mount Kinabalu even sweeter. The satisfaction of knowing we have conquered the highest peak in the Southeast Asia was too much for words to describe. We then trekked back down to Laban Rata, packed up and trekked all the way back to Kinabalu Park Headquarters. We travelled to Poring Hot Springs to spend the night. We were treated to dinner, along the way and were able to relax in the hot springs afterwards. Before heading off to bed, we gathered together and shared our experiences of the mountain and how God had helped us in many different ways. Encouraged by the testimonies, we listened to Pastor Richard as he shared the second part of Psalms 121 with us. Indeed, some of us said that the verses in Psalms 121 were what kept us going to reach the peak. Soon afterwards, we went into our different rooms and managed to get a good rest.|
|DAY 6The next morning, we arose and some of us walked to the hot springs just to enjoy one last dip, before going to visit a waterfall nearby. Took a bus back to Kota Kinabalu, where we boarded the flight back home. We thank God for journey mercy.This trip has truly been a wonderful experience for all of us and we would like to thank the different ones who made it possible. Lastly, praise be to God for what He has accomplished through us. Quoting from Psalms 121:1,2 – “I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Indeed, He has helped us in many different ways.|