Sunday, July 21, 2013

Rain, Rain Go Away--July 15-21, 2013

The rain was heavy Monday morning so everything was moving slowly. It took us longer to get to the office making us a few minutes late for the Monday devotional. It continued to rain throughout the day with some very very heavy showers at times. Two of the senior missionaries were out on the golf course. We just knew they were getting drowned. However, at Family Home Evening they were sunburned and had just gotten sprinkled on a little.

We completed our trip report on our recent trip to India and Malaysia. We felt the trip was very successful since we got to meet with several groups and discuss family history. President Aki, the temple president, discussed the history of the Hong Kong temple and how events came together to accomplish its construction in Family Home Evening.

Tom has been working on calligraphy pictures that say "Families Can Be Together Forever" in Chinese characters. He is going to give one to each of the senior couples. The Chinese employees are impressed that he has been learning to do the calligraphy. We met with Elder Wilson to discuss many family history issues and how the work is going in Asia. We requested another country adviser in India. We were asked to come up with a three year travel plan. The idea is that each of the nine countries where there are Family History Centers will be visited once during the three year cycle. We have visited four countries so we may be done traveling.

We have the opportunity to send the names of families who have been approved from the Temple Assistance Patron Fund on to the senior missionaries so they assist them in preparing family names for their visit to the temple. It is a great opportunity to see the members travel great distances and at great sacrifice to go the temple in Hong Kong or Manila, Philippines.

Tom had his final visit to the eye doctor. Everything was great. He got his prescription and we ordered him new glasses at the one of the many local Lens Crafters. The cost was HK$5000 or US$645.

Garnalee had one of the highlights of the mission on Thursday. All of the sister senior missionaries and the women employees all got together for a lunch. Each women brought a potluck dish. The food was wonderful with salads, Chinese dishes, and desserts. Each of the women was given the name of another woman to interview and introduce at the luncheon. We found out where each person was from, what their job is in the building, something that no one else would know about them, what your favorite hobby or free activity is, and something they want to accomplish in the future. It was fun to get to know each of the sisters we interact with each day. I will post pictures from the lunch next week.

We developed an itinerary for Candace Turpin, the Family History person, who is coming for the Youth Conference next week. We are going to keep her very busy for the six days she is in Hong Kong.

We finally got Elder Gong's building project all completed and printed. We will spiral bind them on Monday.

We went to see the new transformer movie, "Pacific Rim." It was very good with a good lesson to be learned that if you work together you will be successful. The special effects were great. Part of the movie was filmed in Hong Kong so could recognize the skyline. We didn't recognize the neighborhood where one part of the story was filmed.

The English program we worked on for Sister Gong is being piloted now. Tom attended the class on Saturday evening to see how things were going. He felt the class went very well, and the students were engaged and enjoyed the class. He visited with an older, retired lady who asked him to come back next week.

We have been amazed throughout the week at how quickly the rain showers can move in. We got on the ferry on the Hong Kong side and by the time we got to the Kowloon side the rain had started and was to heavy we couldn't see any of the buildings on the island. We were drenched by the time we walked to the shuttle to take us to our apartment.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Hot Weather--July 8-14, 2013

We finished the project for Elder Gong and realized it will be a great memento for all of the senior missionaries. We learned a lot of things about buildings in Hong Kong. It ended up being 33 pages long. We're sure that is a lot longer than Elder Gong had intended but he didn't say anything about the length when we presented the finished copy to him. He was very pleased with our end product.

We had a conference call with Candace Turpin, a Family Search employee, to discuss plans about the upcoming Youth Conference. She will be coming to Hong Kong to help with the conference.

Tom has been working on another farewell song. He has always wanted to be a writer. Maybe this is his opportunity. He has a real talent for rhyming the verses and making a great song. He got carried away with this song and it has 14 verses. "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" only has seven verses!

Tom needed to change belts on a microfilm reader in the Family History Center. However he needed a 9/64 Allen wrench but been unable to find one. One of the security guards tried to sand down a 5/32 wrench but it didn't work. After two weeks he finally found one in a shop we passed after we had eaten dinner on our way to the temple.

Saturday morning Sister Aardema called to say she had an appointment with a Filippina sister for us to get our hair cut. She said will go and have an adventure. Finding the beauty shop was an adventure. When we got to the shop it was a little, dinky, phone booth sized shop that was filled with clothes. Apparently the stylist also sells clothes on the side. After she started cutting Garnalee's hair we decided that she never had any formal training, she just decided to cut hair because she likes to do that sort of thing. I think my hair is too short, but Tom likes it. Sister Aardema had to stop her from cutting any more off the top as she was getting it too short. After the haircut we went to Ikea and then to dinner. We went to Din Tai Fung which we have decided it our favorite Chinese restaurant here.

The weather has been really hot so we try to find things indoor to do. So we don't have any pictures this week. With the humidity it felt like it was 106 degrees.

Tom gave a training session Sunday in Branch Council on the role of council members. Garnalee was invited to do a Family History presentation in the Kwai Fong branch Relief Society Enrichment meeting.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Chinese Wedding--July 1-7, 2013

 Hand Over Day was commemorated on July 1 when Hong Kong  was returned to the People's Republic of China by Great Britain in 1997. We worked in the temple that day even though it was a Monday. The temple was open to accommodate the Filippina sisters who had the day off. Every session was filled to over flowing.

Tuesday we spent a good portion of the morning writing a policy for sharing the family history computers with the full-time missionaries to use for on-line proselyting. The effort is to meet the new directive that was given at the World-wide Broadcast on the Work of Salvation on June 23. It is amazing to see the direction the Church is going and how they are adapting to world changing conditions.

Wednesday we had an early morning conference call with the Family History Department in Salt Lake City to discuss ideas for the upcoming youth conference on July 25.  At 9 am we had a meeting with Elder Gong to give him, Sister Gong, and Jay and Toni Crandall  (the new Director of Temporal Affairs) an overview of Family History work in Asia. We will make the same presentation to Elder Wilson and Elder Funk in a few weeks. At 10 am most of the missionary couples had a meeting with Elder Gong to review the Country Briefs Project we have all been working on. The brief will be used by the Area Presidency to review what has been happening in the countries of Asia. After lunch we worked on the buildings of Hong Kong project we are doing for Elder Gong.

 For dinner we went to Din Tai Fung a world renowned dim sum restaurant.

Here the workers are making dim sum.
 The baskets of dim sum ready to be steamed and in the background the dim sum is being steamed.
After dinner we wandered through 1881 Heritage area. This is the Signal Tower that was used to provide time signals to ships in the harbor.
Former stables at 1881 Heritage that now houses high end shops.
This building at 1881 Heritage was the former Marine Police Headquarters Compound of Hong Kong that was constructed in 1884.
Spiral staircase to the Signal Tower.

We had a 4th of July party at the atrium that is provided for the Area Presidency. We had a wonderful dinner of pulled pork sandwiches along with salads, vegetable tray, fresh fruit, chips, a variety of desserts, and root beer floats. We ended the evening reading historical facts written by school children. They were very entertaining facts.

We mailed two boxes home filled with presents. The cost was $108 USD.

It has been raining. It will be sunny and clear and then it will rain. It happened three times on Saturday.

We attended a Chinese wedding on Saturday. The groom was is an employee for the Church in the auditing department. The bride wore a traditional red dress decorated with gold brocade. The bride and groom both wore jewelry given to them by their grandmothers. After the civil wedding ceremony the bride and groom sat a table with their mothers and all four signed the wedding certificate. The certificate was then given to the bride. The couple then went across the street to the temple to be sealed for time and all eternity.

After the wedding we went to Festival Walk for lunch. In the evening we went to dinner at a very authentic Chinese restaurant.

The chicken we ordered came with the chicken head on the platter. Notice the head next to the purple flower.
 After dinner we attended a performance of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra entitled "The Planets."

Every Sunday is always busy with choir practice for Garnalee,  Branch Presidency meeting for Tom, teaching of lessons, and meals after the block with the sisters. It is common for us to have visitors from various countries. Today we had two visitors from Australia.