Sunday, August 25, 2013

Week 53--August 19-25, 2013

We have new Country Advisers in Mongolia and Northern India. We will need to give them training for their calling. Their responsibility will be to work with the leaders in recognizing the resource family history can be in strengthening the members.

Tuesday Beyond 5 arrived in Hong Kong after months of preparation by Sisters Frandsen and Castleton. The tour is visiting various countries in Asia. Their goal is to provide clean, uplifting modern music for the youth.  Of course all the girls went crazy for the boys. The concerts were free and is a launch for what appears to be a bright future for this boy band.
 Beyond 5 visited the Asia Area Office. They sang the last verse of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing." The a Capella, close harmony rendition was very well received by the office staff. The boys range in age from 15-18.  After they are famous we will be able to say, "We knew them when ...."
From left to right are: Patch, Tanner, T.J., Zach,and Ammon.

After the show we went to Crystal Jade, a Chinese restaurant, for a variety of wonderful food. We then stopped at Hagen Daz for cones.

We are working on re-imaging new computers with family history software. It is not going as smoothly as we had expected and hoped.  It is frustrating to have to do technical things on the computers and not being technical savvy.

It was so humid on Wednesday that there was a mist in the air that occasionally caused droplets of water to form and fall. It had to close to 100% humidity. We were told about this when we arrived last year but hadn't experienced it yet.

We had a wonderful opportunity on Thursday and Friday to do some training with three wonderful family history consultants from Bangkok, Thailand.
Seated left to right are: Sister Petchfa, Sister June, and Sister Wanee, Sister Harrington, and Elder Harrington. Sister June served a mission in her home country and Sister Wanee served atAfter  the Family History Library in  Salt Lake City. We treated them to lunch at Divnos.

Tom accompanied the Victoria 2 Branch to the temple to do baptisms and confirmations. After the Filippina sisters went home we did our regular Thursday night shift at the temple.

Garnalee presented at Sisters' Institute on Friday. The discussion was President Eyring's talk from the Priesthood session. Tom made bookmarks in Chinese calligraphy for the sisters that said, "We Are All Enlisted."

Saturday was our P-Day so we decided to go see "White House Down." It is a good action movie that we enjoyed. After the movie we came home to do our weekly chores. Tom does the vacuuming and washes the dishes. Garnalee does the cooking, baking, laundering, dusting, cleaning the bathroom, baking bread, and preparing for her weekly Sunday School lesson. He has decided that he has the better end of the marriage.

After church on Sunday Tom went to the Island 1 Branch. Elder Heaps called and said there was a visitor from Ecuador and he needed a translator. HoManTin is about an hour away from Wan Chai but he made the trip anyway. Through the use of a translator (Tom) it was discovered that the couple is LDS. They are just visiting Hong Kong for a few days and then are off to South Korea.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Week 52--August 12-18, 2013

We past our one year mark this week. The time has flown and by we are already starting to feel sad for the day we will leave Hong Kong. Twelve months ago we never thought we would be saying that. However we are forward looking to seeing family and friends.

Tom has started another knitting project, it is a woman's vest. Sister Dodson gave him the pattern.

We spent three hours on a conference call Tuesday with Steve Tsai setting the 2014 budgets for each of the countries that we are in the Asia Area. Tom has been overseeing and approving the travel for each of the missionary couples in the other countries. His insight was very valuable.

In the evening we did a Family History presentation for the Institute  Young Single Adult group. They were to have August off but didn't want to stop coming so mini workshops are being held this month. They had been to the temple last month and performed baptisms for the dead. They decided it would mean more if they were doing their own ancestors so they requested some training on Family Tree.

We got up Wednesday morning and there was a T8 storm warning which means we didn't go to the office. Typoon Utor passed about 250 kilometers west of Homg Kong. We had lots of rain and high winds. The wind was blowing the curtains of wind sideways.

Thursday morning we were still under a T3 but we were able to go to work. We visited with the Moulders about our trip to East Malaysia that we will do in December. We were encouraged to travel there by President Wilson and Steve Tsai. We will attend the Youth Conference that is being held in Kuching, Malaysia, and then visit each of the cities where we have a family history computer. The Moulders requested that we some training on how a family history center should be run. We will need to prepare some materials. We will also try to do some firesides.

At the temple that evening Tom met a couple from from Wyoming who are on an around- the-world tour. They had spent a month in Russia and will be leaving tomorrow for Beijing.

We were asked to speak in the Victoria 2 Branch, often referred to as the Everyday Branch, again this week. We didn't speak on Wednesday because of the typoon, but we did speak on Thursday and Friday.

We spent all of Friday morning trying to get the new computer in the Wan Chai Family History Center up and going. It was working but something happened and Windows wouldn't load. We decided we needed a new imaging disc that we will have to download. We discovered that that process takes about four days.

We had Elders Castleton and Frandsen over for dinner since their wives are touring Beyond 5 and won't be home until Monday. They are a new boy band who have just launched their career. Flu r of the boys are LDS. The Area Presidency wanted a band who performs uplifting positive music for the youth of Asia to be exposed to. All of their performances have been free but tickets have been issued to control the size of the crowds. Their performances have been well received by the youth of Asia.

Saturday was a day to relax at home. We cleaned the apartment, did the ironing, and made bread. In the evening Garnalee had a family history presentation to give to the Victoria 2 Relief Society. After the presentation we went to dinner with the Bertins at a Vietnamese restaurant. We had a beef curry dish; beef, chicken, and shrimp kebabs; a rice paper wrap; a rice dish with a pork chop; shrimp crackers; and Vietnamese tomato soup. It was all very good. After dinner we ended up at the Bertins for homemade lemon meringue pie and Garnalee answered a few Family Tree questions.

The favorite dish was the kebabs.
 Vietnamese tomato soup
Rice (this not regular rice) with pork chop and fritata.
Beef curry dish

Tom discovered that the Vietnamese dinner and pie weighs four pounds. The Sunday School lesson was on "The Prisoners Shall Go Free" and doing baptisms for the dead. I had Tom come to my class and he shared how spiritual it was to do the work for his parents. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Week 51--August 5-11, 1013

It was Garnalee's turn to give the thought for the Monday devotional. She gave 15 Ways to Be Happy From the First Presidency and the the Quorum of the Twelve. We had a very special experience today. A young sister, Dan Wang,a who is a family history consultant in her area of Zhengzhou in the center part of mainland China. She came with another sister who was going to the temple to receive her endowments. Sister Wang served a mission in Salt Lake City and spoke very good English. We had the opportunity to give her some training on Family Tree and to help her print off the temple ordinance request for her grandmother. She was so excited to take it to the temple to perform the work while she here in Hong Kong. What a special experience for us. Our Family Home Evening was a night of games after Elder Aardema reminded us that is was in 1915 when the First Presidency instituted Family Home Evening. In 1969 the First Presidency reemphasized Family Home Evening to be held on Monday evenings. In September of 1970 Monday Night Football began. Coincidence? I don't think so!

Tom finished the second vest he has been knitting for Cody and Mason. Garnalee sewed on the buttons and then Tom blocked it. We will get them in the mail this week. Tom has been working on the July expense reports for the other FH missionaries in the various countries. We also developed our agenda for our monthly Family History meeting with Elder Wilson.

Garnalee spent Wednesday morning helping Filippina sisters in the Family History Center. She has decided that if the sisters have a desire to work on their family history that the library needs to open. So the library will be open at their request on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 11 AM-noon. Tom is working on the next farewell song which will be to California Girls from the Beach Boys.

Tom has been doing some family history work on his line by adding sources to individual ancestors. That is one of the great new features of Family Tree.

On Thursday we had a welcome luncheon hosted by Elder and Sister Wilson for Elder and Sister Funk, the new member of the Area Presidency.

We all gathered for a group photo before the luncheon.

We had our meeting with Elder Wilson and Steve Tsai, our area manger. In the course of the meeting both of them encouraged us to go the East Malaysia for a Youth Conference in December and to visit each of the Family History Centers. We thought we were done traveling but I guess not.

We had a 20 minute presentation Friday morning to Elder and Sister Wilson and Elder and Sister Funk about what we are doing in Family History. We had originally developed an hour presentation that we had to whittle down to 20 minutes.

 Construction sign by the YMCA building.
Close up of the lashing that secures the bamboo scaffolding. Each tie only takes the workman a couple of seconds. It is amazing to see the delicate structures going as many as 70 stories high.
 There is an open walkway through this building that we go along each morning. This is the closest we have been to the bamboo scaffolding. It is amazing to see it go higher each day.
 The building encased in the scaffolding.
If you look closely you can see men (spiders) climbing on the scaffolding. See the upper left corner of the building.

We spent part of Friday afternoon trying to get a couple of new Family History computers up and running. We need more technical training, so will turn it over to the District IT guy when he returns from the States. For a change in pace we went to an Indian and Thai restaurant for dinner. We had Tandoori chicken, Pomelo Salad, Indian Naan, and Mango Sticky Rice for dessert.

We had a baptism for Sister Jill Pormelda. She never has the same day off so she has been attending the Everyday Branch and our Branch. We attended so Tom could welcome her to the Peninsula 2 Branch that she will attend when she has Sundays off. It was a wonderful baptism, and she shared a very sweet testimony after her baptism.

After the baptism we went to the Peak with Elder and Sister Lasson. Garnalee stood at the back of the tram and took pictures as we headed down the mountain. While we were at the Peak Garnalee bought Tom a "chop," which is a seal he can use to sign his calligraphy paintings. The chop has our Chinese name "Ha." Harrington is too long. Chinese commonly have only one syllable surnames. Ha in Chinese means spring.

 The tram coming up the mountain.
People exit on one side of the tram and then load from the other side.  It cost Tom HK$11 to ride the tram and Garnalee HK$28. Tom gets the geezer discount.

The tram as it comes into the station at the top of the mountain.
 Looking down the tracks. It's about a 45 degree angle.
 Passing the other tram heading up the hill.
The crowd waiting at the bottom for the tram. The line extended out of the building and there was a sign that said, "Two hour wait."

 We rode an open topped bus to the ferry pier.
Garnalee with Elder and Sister Lasson.

One of our dear sisters, Sharon Salinas, is returning home to the Philippines. She always has a smile and a hug for all the sisters. She has been the chorister for Sacrament meeting and a Relief Society teacher. She has a beautiful voice and often sings solos with the choir. She is going to be missed. She is one of the first sisters we met on our first Sunday at Pen 2.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Week 50--July 22-Aug 4, 2013

At our Sisters' Lunch each place was set with this card and flowers. The card says, "NEW FRIENDS! Make new friends, but keep the old. The one is silver and the other is gold."
 Garnalee with Sister Bertin, Sister Frandsen, and Sister Watkins.
 One of the favorite desserts at the lunch made by Sister Castleton.
We are all ready to try the wonderful variety of food that was provided by each of the sisters.
All smiles!
Front Row: Catherine, sister Aardema, Sister Lasson, Polly, Garnalee, Janet, Carmen, Sister Watkins, Jamyee
Back Row: Sister Heaps, Sister Jackson, Flora, Danise, Sister Castleton, Sister Wilson, LeeAnna, Sister Bertin, Annie, Sister Gregory, Vanessa, Vivien, Sally, Sister Frandsen

A few had to return to work and weren't in the picture.

Each Monday morning we have a devotional with all the senior missionaries and employees. Catherine Kong gave the thought and told us about her personal slip from a high spiritual plain after her mission because she stopped doing the things that brings spirituality like daily scripture reading and daily personal prayers. She encouraged us to keep our spirituality high. For Family Home Evening we watched "Chariots of Fire."

We have reached an agreement with the Hong Kong Mission to allow the full-time missionaries to use Family History Center computers for proselyting. The missionaries came to check the speed of the computers to make sure it will accommodate what they what want to do.

Steve Tsai mailed us 400 copies of the new "My Family: Stories That Bring Us Together" booklets in Chinese to pass out at Youth Conference. We had special permission from the Family History Department to have it printed and distributed here. It won't be released to the membership of the Church until Fall. Hong Kong was the first area to get them.

Tom got his new glasses after his recent cataract surgery. We had a late night because we had to pick up our visitor from the Family History Department in Salt Lake City. She is coming to do Family History presentations at the Youth Conferences and to gather information for how the department can do a better job of assisting the members in Asia with family history.

 Some of the youth gather before the conference at Ho Man Tin Thursday morning. The stakes in attendance were New Territories and China Hong Kong.
Some of the youth with their new T-shirts at Kowloon Tong. The stakes in attendance were Kowloon Tong, Tolo Harbour, and Macau.

We attended to our usual Thursday evening responsibilities at the temple after a very long and busy day.

Tom presented at the Senior Lunch on Friday. He made framed Chinese calligraphy pictures for all the couples. The pictures said "Families Can Be Together Forever."

We had a very busy schedule for Candace Turpin, from the Family History Department, while she was here in Hong Kong. She participated in our weekly Conference Call, met with Danny Chin, Asia Area Records Acquisition manager twice, met with a few Filippina sisters, attended a Family History Sunday School class, and had a Focus Group meeting with representatives from the four stakes and the district of Hong Kong, along with attending church and speaking in Sacrament meeting. To show how small the world is, Sister Turpin was born and raised in Snake River, Idaho, which is only six miles from Blackfoot.

Besides all the meetings we also worked in some sight seeing. We took her shopping at Stanley, to watch the Symphony of Lights, to the Big Buddha, and the Peak.

Enjoying noodles at Dumpling Pro. She was quite a pro with her chopsticks.
 With all the rain we have been having there was a falls at the Peak that wasn't there last December when we visited. Just past the falls is the inscription carved into the rock wall by Matthew Cowley and his party when they dedicated Hong Kong for missionary work. The carving was done with a pocket knife and reads 7/14/49. It was cloudy and cool making our visit to the Peak very enjoyable.
At Big Buddha.

Elder and Sister Woolley are going home. Tom has been busy writing their farewell song over the last couple of weeks. It is to the tune of "How Firm a Foundation" (one of Sister Woolley's favorites).

The boy band, Beyond 5, is touring Asia. They arrived in Mongolia. Sister Castleton, whose son organized the group brand new group, and Sister Frandsen, who is a media missionary, flew to Mongolia to escort the band throughout Asia. The Area Presidency wanted to expose the youth of Asia to positive, up lifting music that they would also like. Their songs are available on ITunes.

It has been really rainy the last several days. It was raining so hard on Saturday that we decided to stay home. We read books and just relaxed.