Saturday, August 30, 2008

update: 30th aug 2008

Dear All,

The weather today was better than yesterday but not that good for them to do the aerial search or bring in dogs. The search teams have come back with nothing as yet. It looks like tomorrow will be the only day where the weather conditions would be just right. Beginning Sunday and through the next week, the weather will be against us - more rain will be coming.

So humanly speaking, tomorrow would be the only window of opportunity for rescue where the physical conditions would be optimum. They will be sending in 2 dog teams, there will be an aerial search with helicopter/s and ground teams going out as well. They are going to do their best to cover as much ground as they can and begin early 7 am (your Sat night 9 pm) if weather permits.

I will not list down what to pray for this time. I believe that each of you should ask the Lord how and what to pray and allow Him to lead and guide you. Beyond wanting Yi Jien to be found alive, Siu Yin and my desire is that God's name be ultimately glorified and praised. Pray as the Holy Spirit leads.

We have not given up hope as yet . . and we are being hopeful not because we are simply being presumptuous that God must or should always save. For me it has always been, Lord Your will be done, regardless, whatever glorifies Your name, and here it could either mean death or life. But I am holding onto this hope that Yi Jien is alive because this seems to be what God is saying continually, not just to Siu Yin and myself, but to many, many others, not just a few; and many of those who have shared are people whom I trust and respect . . so that gives me that boldness to stand on this hope, otherwise I would not dare. With God who is the maker of heaven and earth, all things are possible.

The last stretch seems to be stretching but let us continue to hold fast and pray that His name be glorified through all this and that when Yi Jien comes out alive, there can be no doubt that this is a miracle that only God can do. And all praise and glory be to Him.

So thank you all again for bearing through this very difficult time of praying and waiting in faith upon Him . . . but I trust that God knows what He is doing and He is still in charge. Our family cannot find the words to express how deeply grateful we are to each of you, near and far, who have prevailed and travailed for us. Thank you . . .

In His Shalom

kim guat

Friday, August 29, 2008

update: 29 aug 2008
Note: Msian time is 14 hours ahead of Mountain time in USA.

Dear All,

Thank you all for so faithfully and lovingly praying and fasting for us . . . I am not sure how I can ever thank all of you after all this is over and Yi Jien is safe . . . We have been so overwhelmed by His love as shown in all of you, many of you (I know this gets circulated world-wide) do not even know me and my family, and yet you have all pitched in and supported us and are carrying us through this time. Thank you . .

I believe what God seems to be doing through all this extends beyond my family and for that I greatly rejoice. I hear of prayer chains being started, people being stirred to pray, churches coming together to pray and not just in Malaysia . . . we trust that God will continue to use this to fulfil His larger purposes and bring much glory to His name.

The last stretch seems to be stretching but we trust it will not be long now. Weather conditions will only be good starting tomorrow and Saturday and so that window of opportunity weather-wise is only for the next two days or so. Once they reach Tues, they will most likely scale down. Right now, in God's goodness, they have not scaled down as much as they had originally planned. So can we pray for the following:

1. Weather - it will clear fast (Fri) tomorrow ( Malaysia's Fri 8pm onwards) and winds will not be strong so they can begin their aerial search; if not they will only do it on Sat

2. Aerial search - they will use some kind of scope to check out the grounds - pray that they will be able to detect anything that will lead them to Yi Jien

3. Dog teams - the dog handlers have not decided yet to agree though they are open; please pray that this can be done

4. Siu Yin - she will be talking to the chief rangers - Patrick (head) and Kyle - to persuade them to concentrate more in the area that she thinks Yi Jien might have started - Gunsight trail.

5. Finally that God will still be sovereign and direct the searchers to the right spot for there is just too much area to cover in detail.

Thank you all again for journeying with us . . . so many of you have written to share comfort, prayers, assurances from the Lord that Yi Jien is still alive . . . that helps us to hold onto that hope that God is still sovereign and it is to Him that we look for 'our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.'

"Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be shaken but endures forever
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the Lord surrounds his people
both now and forevermore" (Psalm 125:1-2)

I will end on that promise of God for each of us . . God bless each of you dear brothers and sisters in Christ.

In His shalom

kim guat

Thursday, August 28, 2008

update: 28 august 2008

Dear All,

I trust that you are all keeping well in the Lord. Siu Yin and I are doing well. God has encouraged us greatly even though the day ended without Yi Jien being found and we have to continue waiting for another day.

This morning the Lord encouraged me through Pauline as she shared with me about her conviction as she spent time with the Lord that Jesus himself was ministering to Yi Jien in Hi own tenderness and also in my own time with the Lord where I was reading Psalm 124:

"If the Lord had not been on our side - let Israel say . . . when the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, the raging waters would have swept us away . . . Praise be to the Lord who has not let us be torn by their teeth, we have escaped like a bird out of the fowler's snare, the snare has been broken and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth."

The part about the waters was quite comforting because that was what the rangers thought most likely could have happened to him - either swept away or covered in a glacier . . . but generally the gentle assurance from Him again that YJ is kept alive and safe by Him.

For Siu Yin, the Lord was very gentle and loving knowing that this would be a hard day again for her because each night had always ended up in 'disappointment' . . in the afternoon she napped just before outr time of breifing with the rangers. She had a dream which was all filled with light and she saw not Yi Jien's face but his body on a gurney being pushed into an ambulance. She said that gave her peace when she woke up and the quietness of heart which prepared her for the meeting.

So God has been really good to assure us every step of the way, through other friends as well, to keep faith and hope in Him. And I share that to encourage each of us to continue to trust Him and wait in quiet confidence.

Please pray for the following:

1. Weather - to clear fast and not to have strong winds otherwise they cannot do an aerial search; they have agreed with Siu Yin's suggestion to cover more extensively the trial leading from Mary's Falls to Gunsight Pass; she thinks he may have started here instead but there is a lot of densely covered brush area for a few miles.

2. The doghandlers would be open to use dogs again to see if they can pick up human scent - there are some risks of bears around so the handlers must assess the dangers and decide . . . we think that this will help in those areas that are covered by dense brush

3. For the aerial serach to be able to start early (only possible if weather clears quickly) - and just guidance for them as they scope the area

4. What areas to specifically cover - they will somehow home in on the right area. Right now, they are at a loss because of lack of any detail/clue to follow on . . or that some detail may change that will alert them to where he is

They have been really helpful and are trying to accommodate our requests as far as possible - so we can really thank God for that answer to our prayer. So let's continue to pray that God will lead and guide them to make the right plans and search areas tomoorw meeting.

Thank you all so much again . . I know the going has been really trying . . but He has continued to comfort and assure along the way.

God bless, everyone and thank you . . .

kim guat

The Nature of Expertise

by Steve Howe from The Backpacker

A vanished backpacker and two ice tunnel collapses illustrate that most expertise is merely local knowledge

Wow, the days have slipped by. I've had my head buried in 2009 catalogs, selecting stuff to test for next April's Gear Guide, because from now through December, BP staffers and testers will be putting all this outdoor schwag through the wringer. Toss in a couple hard weekend biking sessions, along with my usual moaning, zombie-like recovery, and damn if it's already blogging time again. Conveniently, however, and as usual for late summer, there's been no shortage of painful epics to analyze.

The French Alps continue to stack up casualties. Last week a massive avalanche peeled off the north face of Mount Blanc du Tacul at 11,800 feet and swept across the heavily used lower glacier on the standard route up Mount Blanc (15,780-feet), Europe's highest peak. Eight climbers were killed, seven others were injured, three of them seriously. It happened in an area known for serac-fall threat. Avalanche beacons later showed that the eight missing climbers were all swept into a crevasse and buried under tons of fractured ice. Their bodies will remain there. Aerial helicopter footage shows the serac peeled off about 1,000 feet above a lower-angled snowfield. Ice ran the whole distance, roaring down on several groups of roped climbers. The causation here is similar to the recent avalanche that killed 11 climbers in the Hourglass couloir on K2 at 27,000 feet elevation. Roughly 100 climbers and trekkers have died in the Alps this season, 20 of them in the Mount Blanc area. That's an average year for this steep, gnarly, busy range.

In the U.S., three incidents illustrate what I think are important concepts and cautions in wilderness safety:

First off, Yi-Jien Hwa, a fit 27-year-old hiker from Malaysia and Lexington, Kentucky, remains missing, probably off-trail, in Glacier National Park. Hwa, a six-foot-one-inch, 170-pound seminary student, had become an avid backpacker in the last several years, listing perhaps six major destination backpacks annually. He has not been seen since August 11th when he picked up his permit for a 7-day, 96-mile backpack route that began in the Sperry region, then wandered north across Floral Park, Gunsight Pass, the Highline Trail, and Goat Haunt to end at Kintla Lake near the Canadian border. Hwa was due out on August 18th.

More than 2,500 search hours, including foot searchers, horseback parties, rescue dogs and aerial observation have turned up no clues to Hwa's whereabouts. His car was located in Logan Pass parking lot, probably positioned there for a resupply. No other backcountry parties have reported encountering Hwa. The early portion of Hwa's route includes areas of cross-country travel, but much of the route lies on the popular Highline. Searchers think it's unlikely that Hwa ever made it onto the route's trailed northern portions, since campers never saw him at his first night's campsite.

Currently searchers are concentrating on a high tundra bowl called Floral Park, which lies between Sperry Glacier and Logan Pass. The area includes remnant glacier, loose, cliff-strewn terrain, and endless boulderfields and talus. With so many searchers and so few clues, it's probable that Hwa took a fall early in his journey, and probably well off-route.Thunderstorms and fog hampered searchers throughout last week. While Hwa was clearly an active backpacker who was rapidly gaining experience, he was unfamiliar with northern Rockies environments, and particularly the very loose rock and impressive mountain storms that characterize Glacier.

The same "unfamiliar environment" concept figures into the tale of Richard Felder (58) a hiker from Houston, Texas who fell through a snow bridge in Avalanche Canyon in Wyoming's Tetons and was stranded for over 30 hours, in the open, with serious injuries. Felder was on a backpacking trip with his wife Patty along the Teton Crest Trail when he changed plans and decided to descend via barely trailed Avalanche Canyon, rather than the usual Cascade Canyon trail descent. He had apparently read about the route through Avalanche Canyon in a recent issue of Backpacker Magazine

However, the Backpacker article describes Avalanche Canyon in the opposite direction, citing difficult routefinding. While descending past Snowdrift Lake, Felder lost the user trail in cliff bands and snowfields and ended up getting suckered into the outlet stream gully below Snowdrift Lake, rather than descending gentler talus fields to the north. He had no ice axe, but kept descending on increasingly sketchy terrain until he dropped through a snowbridge into the stream beneath, receiving significant injuries. Felder managed to climb out, but while re-donning his pack at the top of the hole, he took another fall, going over a 10-foot cliff and sustaining broken bones, internal and head injuries. The now seriously injured Felder was unable to get most gear out of his pack, and spent the night shivering in the open. Fortunately, searchers found him just before darkness fell on the second night.

It's easy to disparage these kinds of accidents as flatlanders in the big leagues, but vacation season brings many locally experienced backpackers and hikers into destination environments that are far different from, and often more challenging than, the country they came from. It's not a matter of being a 'newbie.' It's that most outdoor expertise is local experience, and whenever you leave your area of local experience, you automatically take a big step back in expertise. The same principle would apply to an experienced mountaineer in the Arizona deserts.

In fact, I still vividly remember my first-ever slickrock country backpack. I'd been a mountaineer for 12 years. I was a working guide in Colorado, leading clients ski mountaineering, anup technical 14ers like the Maroon Bells. I set out to hike Dark Canyon in the San Juan country of southern Utah, but instead spent four days lost (in Lost Canyon), confused by the negative, incut topography. It took two days of running grid patterns through the pinyon just to find my truck.

The whole concept got further drilled into me while doing Adventure Guide scouts. Up to three times each summer I spend two to three weeks scouting unusual trips in different national parks, leapfrogging between radically different environments like Big Bend, Yosemite, Glacier, Zion, the Canadian Rockies, and Organ Pipe. Each time it's like landing on a new planet. Trailheads to find. Weather to dial in. I make idiot mistakes in gear and route choices all the time. After several rounds of epics, now I usually do my day hike scouting first, just to get oriented, then move on to backpacking trips. So build in some caution, especially on big, bad, once-a-summer trips.

Aside from that, Mr. Felder's epic points out at least five very common mistakes that often get hikers into trouble. They are:

--Don't change plans enroute.
--Never separate. Start together; stay together.
--Never travel on steep snow unless you have an ice axe, gloves and self-arrest skills.
--Don't get sucked into descending gullies unless you want to. Gullies always look like the obvious descent, and it's easy to continue downhill when you should climb back up and look for an alternate route.
--Always avoid snow bridges, whether they're over streams, boulder fields, or glacier crevasses. They're a commonly encountered trap in alpine terrain, and they can be deadly.

That last caution also figures into the recent tale of two Washington teenagers, Allesandro Gelmini, 14, and Alec Corbett, 17, who nearly died when a roadside snow cave they were investigating collapsed on top of them. Rescuers arriving on scene near Washington's Snoqualmie Pass expected both boys would be dead, judging by the huge blocks that buried them, but when they chainsawed down through the rubble they found both victims in surprisingly good condition. They had been buried between "two stories" of ice for over five hours. Both boys were able to walk from the wreckage, but later underwent back surgery for broken spines. And in mid-summer SAR reporting, that counts as good news. Hike safe. -- steve howe

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

it is well with my soul ...,2933,409341,00.html

this post is taking me sometime to write ...

i am not too sure how to start and not too sure how to end. as u can read or have read from the articles about, my fren Yi Jien, has been missing for quiet some time now.

sindy is yi-jien's wife ... please do keep her in prayer.

Siu-Yin Sindy Lau at 3:01am August 27
Thanks for all your love and prayers. Here is the update I just sent out.
Dear all,
Thanks for all your love and care through your faithful prayers. I have received many of your mails and they really comfort my heart and put my hope in God through Jesus Christ. (with thankful tears)
I arrived glacier park on Sat afternoon. Thank God I was able to find a fight once I arrived San Francisco to come here. The rangers showed me Yi-Jien’s car and we found out that he only brought 2-3 days food and 3-Liter water with him and some water tablets. He planned to stay in two camp sites and then came back to the car and refilled for next 5 days trip. Yet from what we found in the car, he never came back to the car and refilled his food and water. Yi-Jien has lost 15 days and over 90% possibility that he was lost the first day of the trip. Thus the search teams have focused most of their time in the first 2 days trial. The search teams have almost cover 85% of their search in the snow area, yet nothing was found, not even his belongings. I feel the search teams are discouraged and the head of the search team Patrick told me that yesterday was the last day of big search. Today they only send one team with 2 people going to the beginning of his first day trail. Please pray that our Father God continuous to strengthen the search team to hope for the best (Yi-Jien always said). I cry to God everyday for His mercy and help, sustain Yi-Jien and bring him back alive soon. I really cannot handle this by myself, and I lost hope at some point and felt guilty not able to come back earlier to be with Yi-Jien. Yet my mother in law encouraged me to keep hope in God and she came yesterday to be with me. She has been calling friends back come who are praying fervently for Yi-Jien and some intercessors got vision that Yi-Jien is still alive. Pray for God’s mercy and love to strengthen our hearts and keep trusting in Him. Please continue to pray unceasingly.
Siu Yin

this is an email from aunty kim guat ,( she is someone i grew to love and respect thru the years. she is one of the most amazing women and the strongest person i've ever met. ) will let the email tell the story ...

Dear All,

We have talked to them again; they said that they had covered quite extensively the area that Siu Yin had thought about also within the first few days of their search; they also had some people there the last 2 days. They have not planned out tomorrow's schedule yet depending on the weather; does not look good, most likely would be like today (tues) where it snowed in the higher parts and rained in the lower areas. So the seachers could not do much. Unless weather clears, they would not be able to do much tomorrow and will concentrate their resources like aerial search on Thur and Fri when the forecast is better; they said they needed to preserve the energies of their people because the terrains are not easy to cover. (Siu Yin said the rain might not be bad cos it might give Yi Jien a source of water)

They said they have not given up yet even though they have scaled down; their other strategy has been to widely inform all rangers, visitors, etc, whoever is in the park to keep a watchout as well. Now it is only as they said 'rolling the dice' - because they don't know where to go unless they have specific clues which they don't have up to this point. All the high probability areas have been covered and the rest of the area is very vast.

So we now need to pray:

1. for clear weather as soon as possible
2. wisdom and clear guidance for the rangers as they plan their schedule for tomorrow and the next few days as to where they should cover; they said if Yi Jien is hiding under rocks, it is really not possible for them to be able to cover all the areas with rocks
3. God will lead the searchers to the exact area or somehow Yi Jien is able to move out to an area where at least some sign will show to them that there is someone there (they do watch out for animal activities, etc., but so far nothing, not even the flying birds - they said the moment they get anything, they will immediately refocus their search but so far they have not got anything
4. God will continue to keep Yi Jien alive till they find him
5. for Patrick (head) and Kyle who is now running the operations (Gary Moses will come back next week) that God will change their hearts and attitude because at this point, I know they are thinking that it is only looking for a dead body; they are frustrated and discouraged and humanly speaking think that it is not possible for Yi Jien to be alive since it'a already 2 weeks; they lack the motivation now I believe

but we have not given up hope yet; so even if less people or efforts are involved, God is still sovereign and can do anything - so we need to continue to ask Him to stretch out His arm and save and deliver. Thank you all for continuing to prevail - let's make this one last effort together - so if you can inform people to pray . .

Keep well . . it is still 'well with our souls'

God bless

kim guat

i am not too sure wat God is trying to do, or why is this happening... so many questions asked, so many questions unanswered.

i started this post wanting to write something ... but i dun seem to be able to do it ...

but i am pretty sure i know how to end the post

God is still God , and He is still in control over all circumstances no matter how dark the situation may be ...
we may have a lot of unanswered questions, i know i do , and there are tons of uncertaintiest but God's promise remains true.

His promise to never leave us nor forsake us

His promise to be there for us no matter what

And His promise to answer our prayers ( no matter what the answer maybe )

so guys... if u are reading this ... i would be a great help if u guys can help prayer for and with the family ...
it would be greatly appreciated ...

thanks guys

i dun think i make any sense here ... clouded mind ...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

a little help needed here ! sigh