Sunday, September 22, 2013

Week 57--September 16-22, 2013

Elder and Sister Farmer accompanied a group of ten Mongolian members to the Hong Kong temple. We had an enjoyable dinner with them after assisting the members to exchange money. We met the Farmers when we went to Mongolia last October. They have become good friends.

We had a conference call on Tuesday with Elder Dennis Brimhall, Steve Rockwood, Steve Tsai, Joe Crandall, and us. It was 7:30 AM in Hong Kong and 5:30 PM Monday in Salt Lake City.We sense that the brethren are very aware of the challenges and problems that family history is having in Asia. We had our monthly Area Presidency devotional this morning. The thrust of the message from Elder Gong was the growth of the Church in the Asia area over the next five years. He anticipates there will be 41 new stakes. It is exciting to be involved in the hastening of the work.

We have had several new couples arrive over the past few weeks. We had dinner on Wednesday evening with Elder and Sister Clark who will be serving in the Victoria 2 Everyday Branch. Then we had dinner Wednesday with Elder and Sister Cope who are the new missionaries for the legal department.

We checked on the computers that were moved at the temple to see if they are operational. We found some bugs that need to be resolved.

Elder and Sister Walker, missionaries in Taiwan, had to go home early for Sister Walker to have surgery on her knee from an accident when a car hit her.

Thursday was Mid-Autumn Festival. We had a staff and missionary party.  Mid-Autumn Festival is like Thanksgiving in the United States. Families gather together, eat Moon Cakes, and look at the harvest moon. Moon cakes are a sweet bean pastry with an egg yolk in the center. We did not care for them. However, there was an orange flavored one without an egg yolk that was very good.

 Moon Cakes are cut into sections equal to the number of persons in the family. The ones above are traditional moon cakes with an egg yolk in the center. They look beautiful but not everyone likes them. Even some of the Chinese don't care for them.

 Fresh fruit and ice cream go along with the Mid-Autumn Festival. So there is always something that everyone will like.

Sisters Bertin and Heaps are debating which moon cake to try.

The Senior Missionaries were invited to have dinner with the Area Presidency. Since we are all far from home we are now each others family. We gathered on the Area Presidency patio for BBQ chicken and a variety of other pot luck dishes. We looked at the moon and played a game with Asian proverbs.

Friday we had another conference call with Elder and Sister Hollenzer who will be serving in Battambang, Cambodia. It was 8 AM in Hong Kong and 6 PM Thursday in Salt Lake City. The Knorpps, Moulders, and Davises shared how the Hollenzers can make their mission fruitful . The two hours went by rapidly. The Hollenzers are excited to begin. We were complemented on the book we had developed for the training of the new family history missionaries.

We had a big Branch activity on Friday for Mid-Autumn Festival with our Filippina sisters. Garnalee was in charge of the food. She found a recipe on-line for Copycat Arby's Chicken Salad Sandwiches. They were a big hit. We also had potato chips, moon cakes, homemade cookies, and ice cream. There were 48 Chinese lanterns scattered around the gym and each had a riddle inside. Tom's riddle was "What kind of soda is not good to drink?" Garnalee's riddle was " What starts with T, ends with T, and has T in the middle." Tom thinks no soda is good to drink.

Elder and Sister Farmer at Big Buddha.

Tom at Big Buddha.

We spent Saturday with Elder and Sister Farmer seeing some the sights of Hong Kong. We took them to Big Buddha and walked along the Wisdom Path. We took them to our favorite Chinese restaurant, Tin Tai Fung. We ended the day at the Symphony of Lights.

Tom saw this nativity scene when we visited the Farmers in Mongolia last October. When he found out they were coming to Hong Kong, he asked  them to bring him a set. They are hand carved and are very Mongolian.
This makes the third nativity set we have purchased in Asia. We were trying to down size but that doesn't seem to be happening.

We visited with Alene, Vernon, Leila, and Paul on Sunday morning. Leila and Paul are visiting Idaho for a few days. It was good to hear their voices. They are all doing fine.

We have a typhoon heading right for Hong Kong. It is predicted to be the worst typhoon in 34 years. We are at a T3 but is expected to go a T8. Typhoon Usagi was first rated as a super typhoon but down graded some to a severe typhoon. They have closed the airport and cancelled all flights this evening.

In Sacrament meeting today Tom confirmed Sister Mauricia Sab-it Abad whom he baptized last week. We had a very spiritual Sacrament meeting and then the rest of the meetings were cancelled because of the impending severe weather. 

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