Sunday, April 28, 2013

All work no photos--April 21-28, 2013

We have found coconut tarts that we really like here. Garnalee is  going to have to see if she can find a recipe when she gets home. A coconut tart is kind of like a macaroon in a pie crust. They are really yummy.

Each Monday we have a devotional for all of the senior missionaries and employees. We all take turns fulling the assignments. This week is was Garnalee's turn to conduct. Tom redid his map of Asia showing all of the Family History Centers and added the new centers that we have approved since we arrived in Choibalsan, Mongolia and Sibu and Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

We have been designated as trainers for Share Point which is a storage program similar to Drop  Box that is used by the Church. We spent time training Elder Dodson and Sister Aardema hos to use the program and upload documents.

We met with Elder Wilson for our monthly meeting. He shared with us information that he received from the Family History Department prior to General Conference. We have lots of work to do as one of the facts given to him was that 98% of the members outside the United States have not uploaded their four generation information. So we will be encouraging the other family history senior missionaries and the consultants to work with members in accomplishing this task. At that meeting Elder Wilson also approved our trip request for training to Hyderabad, India, and helping with a Family History Open House in Ipoh, Malaysia. We have to apply for a visa to India. Hopefully it will be granted.

One of the things that can make us feel at home is to discover there is a Melaleuca store in Hong Kong. We visited the store with one of the other sisters who is a member and purchased some items with which we are familiar. However, we couldn't purchase multi-vitamins from them as they are not allowed to sell them in Hong Kong.

We had District Conference this weekend so we didn't go site seeing. However, Ironman 3 was released in Hong Kong on April 25 so we decided to go see that Saturday morning. It was a great movie. We then spent Saturday evening and Sunday being instructed by our District leadership. Our District conference started with a Social on Saturday evening. We had taco salad, brownies, and fruit. Saturday evenings messages all centered on obedience. Tom attended Priesthood leadership on Sunday morning. Sunday's messages were on conversion and preparation for various life events. After District conference there was Auxiliary training. We gave a training on using Family Tree to the Family History consultants.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Cheung Chau Island--April 14-21, 2013

Monday evening we attended a meeting where a Hindu spiritual leader spoke on the Five Pillars of Spiritual Living which he said are (1) Turn your life over to God; (2) Everything happens for a reason; (3) Do your duty; (4) Do your duty and a little bit more; (5) Practice silence--meditate. We felt that some of the things he said rang true with what we believe but he didn't have the fullness of the Gospel. We were given a special invitation to this meeting by the tailor that many of the senior couples have used. Eighteen of the senior missionaries attended the meeting and then we had the opportunity to personally greet him.

We were saddened to awake Tuesday morning and hear of the bombing at the Boston marathon. 

We arrived at the ferry Wednesday morning and saw this U.S. destroyer berthed at the pier next to the ferry pier. 

We spent the morning looking at the updates for Family Search and Family Tree. We love the features of adding photos and stories. Tom left work early because he wasn't feeling well. By the time I arrived home he had slept for several hours. We then went to the dinner appointment we had for the new PEF couple that had arrived. The Greporys are from Draper, Utah, and replace the Kellys.

Our Thursday conference call wasn't very productive as only two of the couples were on the line with us. We went to the temple in the evening and had the opportunity to be the witness couple for an endowment session. 

This is what greeted us Friday morning instead of the beautiful Hong Kong skyline. The clouds were sitting on the water and we could see the tops of the buildings. Usually it is the reverse.
Because of the dense fog the ferry was delayed and we crossed slowly with the fog horn blowing.

Our Fridays are filled with Garnalee attending Sisters' Institute with a discussion being held on one the conference talks. We discussed President Monson's talk on "Obedience Brings Blessings." We have a Senior Luncheon on Fridays and each of the senior missionaries takes a turn instructing.  Sister Bertin gave a presentation on the Elder Lorenzo Snow's mission to northern Italy. He converted many members there. After here presentation Elder Gong invited all of the missionaries to help in a project to consolidate all available information about any country in Asia. That information is then used as the Area Presidency meets with leaders of Asian countries striving for Church recognition. We have volunteered to train all of the missionary couples to use Insite along with providing Family History information. 

Saturday we went to Cheung Chau Island, which is a fishing village, as our monthly senior missionary activity. We took the Fast Ferry from Hong Kong Island to Cheung Chau, a 30 minute trip. 

 The little lady in the boat is bailing water from the boat. She had gone from the little cement pier in the lower right corner of the picture onto the raft. She then pulled herself out to the boat on the left, climbed across to the boat she is in, and continued on to the boat on the right. She moved the big green box and adjusted the motors. She then moved to the middle boat and started bailing water. When she completed her tasks she got on the raft and pulled herself back to the pier.

 Lounging among the dried fish. So little time and so much to to choose from.
Cutting up of the fresh fish that was originally four feet long.
 In a fisherman's paradise, Sister Jenna Jackson enjoys her McDonald's hamburger, fires, and coke.
Tom has no trouble eating his seafood fried rice with chopsticks.
 Not even the rain can slow down the hungry eaters. Missionaries quickly learn to carry an umbrella with them wherever they go just for this situation.
The mode of transportation on the island is the bicycle or by foot.
 After reading the sign, Garnalee decided not to go into the water.
 There are many interesting rock formations on Cheung Chau. This one is called Elephant Rock. You can see his back, head, and trunk.
One of the elderly local ladies selling dried fish.

Tom went with one group to explore a pirate cave while Garnalee went on the scavenger hunt and climbed the Mini Great Wall. He arrived back at the ferry pier and thought Garnalee had already left. So he got on the slow ferry back to Hong Kong. While he was waiting in line for the ferry to dock, a man approached him and asked, "Are you Tom Harrington from Rigby?" It turned out to be Jay Schusky, former debate coach from Idaho Falls High School. They meet each when Tom was debate coach at Rigby High School. He recognized Tom even though 28 years had passed.  Small world!  They were  able to catch up on those intervening years during the hour long ride back to Central.  Jay was in Hong Kong for only four days, so it was an absolute miracle that they even saw each other.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Conference Week--April 7-14, 2013

At our Monday devotional Sister Frandsen was the speaker. She titled her talk "It's a Miracle." She told of some of the accidents that her daughters had and it was a miracle that they had survived. She also told of the miracle of the missionaries finding her when she was searching for a church. It was miracle that she and her husband meet because he was from Utah and she from Connecticut. Garnalee was so touched by her talk that that evening she reflected in her journal on some of the miracles that  have happened in her life. Such as Tom and Garnalee meeting just before the Single's Ward was disbanded in Idaho Falls. Scott surviving two very serious illnesses and being struck by lightening. We encourage each of you to take some time and reflect on the miracles that have happened in your lives.

The Aardemas from Odgen, Utah arrived to take the place of the Whiteheads as the Area Auditors. He is a former school administrator and she ran her own preschool. They served as the mission president in Slovenia. We hosted the Aardemas for dinner with Castletons on Wednesday.

Tom approves all of the travel budgets for the family history couples in Asia and updated all of the accounts and sent them out to the missionaries.

We spent the week reading the conference talks so we could extract quotes from them to put together a document that will be used by the Area Presidency and Seventy for talks and training as they travel around Asia. We finished up on Friday just before lunch.

Elder and Sister Kelly at the Farewell Luncheon. Their song was to "If I Only Had a Brain" from the "Wizard of Oz. Sister Woolley completed the editing of that song.
Elder and Sister Whitehead at the Farewell Luncheon. Their song was to the "Flintstones." Tom completed the editing of their song. His talent is really shining when it comes to putting words to a song.
Some of the group at the luncheon.

On Friday Tom bought a 1933 King George V one-cent Hong Kong coin for $10 HK. That is 1000 times the face value of the coin but Tom says it's a nice looking coin. When he asked about the coin at the shop, the clerk pulled out a large bag containing 1000 coins (Tom estimated). So they are not as rare as he thought.

Saturday and Sunday we spent viewing General Conference at the Wan Chai building.

Tom checks his Pro-time every Sunday morning. Today it was 2.7 which is excellent.  His health has been very good while we have been on our mission, considering that just prior to our mission there was some doubt that we would be able to go at all. Our stake president gave Tom a blessing as we entered the mission. In that blessing he promised Tom that his health would not be a concern. It has truly been a miracle that his health has been so good and the promised blessing is being fulfilled.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Birthday, Easter, Kelly Farewell--March 25-April 7, 2013

For Jennifer Chan's birthday we several of the couples took her to lunch at Al Dente, an Italian restaurant close to our building. Jennifer is a paralegal for the law department in Hong Kong for the Church.

Garnalee had a bad cold the week of March 24. She stayed home one day and worked on the trivia questions we were doing for the Family Home Evening we were are in charge of in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, March 28, we had a torrential down pour. We have a short walk from the bus stop to the temple but because of the heavy rain and even with an umbrella we were both soaked by the time we arrived. The street was running a river of water and we both got a shoe full of water when we stepped from the street to the sidewalk.

Heather celebrated her 30th birthday this week.

The office was closed on Friday, March 30,  Good Friday. We went to the Brass Factory in the New Territories. Tom bought a singing brass bowl. He can really make it sing, Garnalee on the other hand can't get it to sing. Tom also bought a beautiful wood bowl carved from the tree trunk of a tree.

We went to see the movie "Oz, the Great and Terrible" on Saturday with several other couples. It has been rainy all day. Next to the movie theater is an indoor skating rink. We could feel the cold air coming up from the floor. There was just a thin layer of ice on the floor but seemed to be enough for the skaters. This would be a fun place on a hot summer day.
Saturday, March 30 we attended a fund raising concert for a school that educates underprivileged children from China and Hong Kong. The founder of the school is an LDS woman from Hong Kong who is fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese, and English. The concept is educate children through the arts: music, dance, and drawing.

Tom prepared the lesson for the combined Priesthood and Relief Society meeting. We downloaded several videos from the Church website on the Savior's Atonement and Resurrection. We had the computer and protector all set up ready to go and it worked fine. However when it came time to present the videos the projector wouldn't project onto the screen so we ended up setting the computer on the pulpit with the microphone to project the sound. It would have been better if everything had worked correctly but it was a good lesson. In the evening we went to the Wan Chai building for an Easter concert by the Hong Kong China Stake and Song of the Heart singers. The music was exceptional. Garnalee bought chocolate covered  Maltser bunnies for an Easter treat.

We had Monday, April 1, off for Easter. Tom went to the office to meet with a non-member who was searching for information on his ancestors. Tom found some information for him from Family Search and then ordered a micro film for him. Hopefully the film will have the information he is looking for. Tom and Garnalee were in  charge of Family Home Evening and they had the couples play a trivia game about Church History. Garnalee had typed up 160 questions for the game but we only used 60 of them. We did play an April Fool's joke on the couples. Our first Trivia question was: What is the newest mission in the Church and is the southern most mission? We saw this on a video of a young man who is waiting for his mission call and  had a joke played on him by a friend. The friend had prepared an official looking envelope and a letter with the mission call to Antarctica and he was to speak Emperor Penguin. It was very funny to watch the young man's reaction. We got all of the couples to laugh about the joke of a mission being in Antarctica.

April 4 is Ching Ming Festival which is like our Memorial Day back home. The Chinese people visit the graves of their deceased ancestors, sweep and clean them up, and leave flowers or other mementos. We had a temple assignment that day since the office was closed and spent 7 hours in the temple. Unfortunately there was a Branch activity also planned for that day that we missed. They went to Cheung Chau Island and they had a wonderful time but we were needed at the temple.

Saturday, April 6, arrived with a Monsoon warning in effect. We took the Cowleys to Stanley Market since they hadn't been there yet. We had an enjoyable time visiting and shopping with them. They are becoming good friends.

Sunday morning, April 7, we watched the first session of General Conference before going to our own Church meetings. We are assigned to select quotes from all of the talks that will be used by the Area Presidency and the Area Seventies as they go to trainings and Stake and District Conferences.

 The Filippina sisters perform a farewell dance for the Kellys. The sisters really love to perform. Many of them sang songs to the Kellys.
 Elder and Sister Kelly look at the scrapbook given to them as a farewell gift.
The sisters perform another dance for the Kellys and get into place to spell out "Farewell." Then they spelled out "We love you."
 And finally "We miss you."
A group photo on the day of the  Kellys' farewell.