Sunday, September 23, 2012

September 17-23, 2012

Notice the window washer on the side of building. Want a job?
Yacht or not. The Chinese junk is a tourist attraction which we will do later.
Notice the passage ways for the dragon. The buiilding next door looks gold in the sun.
Notice the hole at the top of the building of for the dragon.
Construction with bamboo scaffolding

Tallest building in Hong Kong
Church office building for Asia where we go each day. This is the Wan Chai address. We ae on the 10th floor.

Many of the buildings are built with holes for the dragon to go through
2nd Tallest Building in Hong Kong that looks like it has a claw at the top.

Bamboo scaffolding used for construction

Saturday was our monthly Senior Couple Activity. We took a Rickshaw bus which is a double decker open topped bus and we all got a sunburn. We toured the old part of Hong Kong and the urban part of Hong Kong. We thought we would share with you some of the buildings in Hong Kong. It is fascinating to us how the bamboo scaffolding is used to construction buildings. We have seen buildings fifty stories tall encased in the green mesh with the bamboo.

As we ride the bus around Hong Kong, the only vechiles we see are buses, taxis, and luxury cars. The cars here have a tax equal to the purchase price of the car so only the well to do can afford a car.

Each day we pass dealership show rooms with Mercedes-Benz, Maserati, Lotus, BMW, Honda, and Porche for sale.
We like the method of tipping here. When we receive our bill it includes a 10% gratuity.
We rode through the hills of Hong Kong on Wednesday afternoon and went to a shopping area called Stanley market. It was fun to wander around. A person could spend many dollars there buying everything from clothes to chopsticks. Tom bought me a Tiger Eye necklace because I was born in the year of the tiger. He was born in the year of the pig or boar and it is kind of hard to find anything for that year except a little pig statue that looks like Wilbur.
Tuesday, at our weekly devotional, Elder Wilson reported on his recent trip to Mongolia. Over the last 20 years 80% of the young missionaries have been Mogolians serving within their own country. It is difficult for Americans to get a visa into the country. Therefore over 1000 returned missionaries are a great assest to their country.
Tom purchased three custom  made suits which he looks very handsome in. We also purchased two  custom made suits for Garnalee.
Thursday evening we had our first evening of serving in the Hong Kong temple. Tom thinks this will be one of the best parts of our mission.
Friday we wrote a letter that will be used to introduce new Family History missionary couples.  
After it is translated into Thai, Mongolian, Taiwanese (Madarin), Cambodian, and Indonesian, we will be able to send them to all of Asia.
An interesting note about Hong Kong: one of every ten citizens is a millionarie. That's 84,000. In the US the ratio is one in 2500.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Red Letter Week--September 10-16, 2012

Our Family Home Evening activity on Monday was Elder and Sister Kelly sharing their experiences in Pakistan. They had gone there to establish the Perpetual Education Fund program in that country. They met with the heads of three different universities in Pakistan and interviewed a lot of potential PEF recipients. They must be returned missionaries or had joined the church beyond mission age to qualify. They felt the hand of the Lord protecting them as they were there.
On Tuesday thru Friday we spoke in the Sacrament meeting of the Victoria 2 Branch which is referred to as the Everyday Branch. This branch is for the Philippina sisters who do not have Sunday off from work. The Spirit is very strong in these meetings even though they are few in number.
Thursday brought a very special opportunity. Once a month we have the privilege of attending the temple with the Area Presidency. After the session we had a testimony meeting in the temple. As the newest senior missionaries we were invited to share our testimonies. Two other senior couples who are going home in the next few weeks were also asked to share their testimonies. We made an appointment with the temple president, President Aki, for Friday morning.
Friday morning we got lost trying to get to the temple on our own. To save a few bucks we took the MTR (mass transit railroad) instead of a taxi. We came out of the wrong exit and immediately were lost. A college student tried to help us but sent us in the wrong direction. We finally asked someone else for help and were told we were at least 30 minutes from the temple in the direction we had just come from. He recommended we get a TAXI. Which we did. In meeting with President Aki we were assigned to serve in the temple every Thursday evening as temple officiators. Friday afternoon Tom was called to be the Elder's Quorum president. In the evening we attended the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra's performance of Beethoven's Eroica. The astounding part of the concert was the guest pianist, Ingrid Fliter, who played the piano for 4o solid minutes with no music.
Saturday was P-day. After cleaning the apartment (Tom vaccums and Garnalee cleans the bathroom and mops the floors) we went to see The Expendables 2 with three other senior couples. The movie was a morning matinee and only cost us $10 each which is about $1.25 US. We went to lunch and then grocery shopping. Boy did we ever--$638 worth--which is about $80 US.
Garnalee received the calling to teach the Teaching the Gospel class and Tom found out that part of his calling as Elder's Quorum president will be to teach priesthood meeting twice a month.
So we are going to be busier than ever.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

September 3-9, 2012

Shopping at the Jade Market with some of the other senior sister missionaries.
We all found wonderful bargains. L to R: Sister Heiner, Sister Hamilton, Sister Castleton, Sister Rippy, and Garnalee.

Picture we took from the ferry crossing from Hong Kong Island heading to the Kowloon side.
Picture of our apartment building. We are on the 21st floor.
Picture of our kitchen. Small and compact making it easy to find things. Our oven is what looks like a microwave on the counter.
Tom writing in his journal sitting in our living room.
Our washer/dryer combo. It only does small loads (about 6 shirts) and takes about 4 hours. So do laundry daily.
This ship is an area called Whampoa. It is part of the shopping center we go to sometimes. It was built as a shopping center and was never meant to sail.
Shopping day. We are returning home which is about a mile away. Notice the puddles. It rained while we were shopping. We were glad it had stopped as we left our umbrellas in the apartment. We haven't gotten used to taking them with us wherever we go.
The week after we got here we were invited to dinner with the Area Presidency. What a scary and swesome opportunity. We were treated to a wonderful dinner prepared by Sister Gong. After dinner we had a tesimony meeting where we were asked to share our testimony begining with the newest couple which was us. The Area Presidency then shared their testimonies with us. Each sister was given a pillow box by Sister Gong. We will be given items to place in our pillow box during our mission. A pillow box, traditionally, is a box that a Chinese woman would keep her precious possessions in and sleep on the box each night. So if there were an emergency she could grab her most prized possessions and run.
We had a Skype confernece on Thursday with missionary couples from Taiwan, Cambodia, Mongolia, Thailand, and Indonesia. The presenters were in Taiwan and South Korea. Technology is wonderful.
Each Sunday we go to church at 11:15 am and get home around 6 pm. We go so early because we share the cost of a taxi with other couples. We have choir practice, then our block of meetings, and then the Phillipina sisters have fixed a meal to share. Today we had Family Home Evening and then a meal afterwards. The Branch provides the money for the meal as the the Phillipina sisters are basically kicked out of the home where they work on their day off which for our sisters is Sunday. They have nowhere to go but to the church.
I admire the Phillipina sisters who come to Hong Kong to work as domestics because there isn't any work for them in the Phillipines. They leave their family, usually a husband and children, and come here to work for many years going home for a brief visit each year. Some are treated well by their employers while others are not. They come here and find the gospel and are very strong in their testimonies.
Last night Tom attended District Leadership Meeting even though he hasn't yet been given a calling. He reports that it was an excellent training.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Another Week in Hong Kong--August 31-September 2, 2012

We had the opportunity to attend the Hong Kong Temple this week. One of the wonderful parts of our mission will be serving in the Temple each week. The picture shows us at the Hong Kong Temple with Steve Tsai and Hashick Hong.
This has been a busy and eventful week for us. We had two managers/trainers arrive to get us started on our assignment. Both of them are Church employees in the Family History Department. One lives in Taiwan and the other in Korea. We have discovered our assignment is more far reaching than we had imagined. We will be responsible for all the Family History work in all of Asia. It is a daunting task, but we have been promised that we will be equal to the challenge with the Lord's help.
We spent $10,900 on suits for Tom. Oh, by the way that is Hong Kong dollars which is equal to about $1400 US dollars. For that he will have made 3 tailored suits, 6 long sleeve custom shirts, and 6 ties.
As we go shopping and we pay for things the prices are higher than in the US. When we hand over several hundred dollars for the 2 bags of groceries that we can carry back to our apartment, it shocks us until we convert from Hong Kong to US dollars then it isn't quite so bad. The exchange rate is $7.80 HKD to each US dollar.
Saturday evening we had an interesting experience. We attended a Sikh Temple ceremony. The Sikh religion was founded in India by a man who didn't agree with the caste system and believed all are equal. They serve a daily meal to all who walk through their doors at no charge.They have "5 Articles of Faith" and believe in many of the standards we have. Where we part company is in their belief of God. They believe He is a formless gender-less entity. The meal was ladled out of large buckets onto our metal plates. Everyone was seated on the floor so that no one was higher than another. Sikhs are vegetarians so there was no meat at the meal but everything was very tasty and spicy.
Because of our black name tags we have had some wonderful experiences. A mother and her daughter saw us on the street and stopped us so they could talk to us. They were from Palmyra, New York. Another time we were on the bus and a Philippina servant woman visited with us. She had a Book of Mormon and was headed on vacation to the Philippines, and she was going to discuss joining the Church with her husband. I have to admire the Philippina women who leave their families and come here to work because there are no jobs in the Philippines.