Sunday, October 27, 2013

Week 62--October 21-27, 2013

Our Family Home Evening was a review of General Conference. Each missionary was asked to pick a special quote from one of the conference talks and explain why it impressed them. We got to recall each of the talks that we had read and analyzed for our assignment for the Area Presidency. We realized that the Spirit touches each person's heart in different ways that will be most meaningful to that person. 

On Tuesday we organized the conference talks into the four area invitations which are members renewing their baptismal covenants, young men receiving the priesthood and preparing for missions, members holding temple recommends, and couples married in the temple and families sealed as requested by the Area Presidency. We were then left with twelve pages and by changing the margins and the font size it was brought down to seven pages. So we are done. Elder Jackson reported to us the Area Presidency was very pleased with the job we had done. 

We spent some time on Wednesday creating a one page lesson for the bishop/branch president to use to introduce the "My Family: Stories That Bring Us Together" booklet. 

Tom finished up the Frandsens' farewell song on Friday. He found out on Friday that he needs to have a song ready for next week for the Bertins. The Bertins have been called as a mission president and wife to start their assignment on July 1. They are going home to spend time with their children before they begin their new assignment. 

Saturday we went to Stanley Market with the Copes. We had an enjoyable time wandering and making a few purchases and then lunch. We always enjoy going to Stanley as it is on the west side of Hong Kong island. It is very quiet and serene there. 

An outcropping of rocks with the high rises in the background. 
After our excursion to Stanley we helped serve a dinner for the Area Seventy and to honor the out going Hong Kong Temple presidency. We served the food and washed the dishes. The Seventy come from various countries of Asia and they were treated to an American meal of BBQ ribs, baked potato with toppings, and Skor cake. Even in Hong Kong you can find BBQ ribs. 

 The crowds on the platform across from us waiting to catch the train to mainland China on Sunday afternoon.

This one is looking to the left and below is the right. Thousands of shoppers come to Hong Kong from mainland China every week.

We met with the four Hong Kong stakes for their quarterly Family History meeting. President Chun reminded everyone that 2014 marks the 65th anniversary of the dedication of Hong Kong for missionary work.  He proposed that 65,000 names be submitted to the during the year. He broke it down that each ward or branch would be challenged to submit 2000 names. A worthy goal to strive to achieve. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Week 61--October 14-20, 2013

October 14 was a holiday in Hong Kong similar to Memorial Day in the United States. The temple was open to allow the Filipino sisters the opportunity to attend and us the opportunity to serve. We attended our branch activity. We had just studied about the Martin and Willie Handcart Companies in Sunday School so we showed the movie Ephraim's Rescue and had popcorn, pop,  and Hershey's Kisses. The sisters loved the movie. It made all of us thankful for our individual trials rather than those of others.

Tuesday began with the Area Presidency devotional that is simulcast to all the service centers in Asia. The presenter was Elder Funk. He shared some of the things they had been instructed on in Salt Lake City during their meetings.  He also shared two stories of missionaries from India where he had been mission president. One was of a young man who was a top student in his high school and received a full scholarship to a school in Coimbatore. Because there are units of the Church in Coimbatore there were missionaries there. This young man was introduced to the Gospel and joined the Church. After graduating from college he decided he wanted to serve a mission. He went to Bangalore to work for a year to save money to pay for his mission and to give money to his family for their support while he was on his mission.

The YSA committee made the first presentation of the document we have working on to the Area Presidency. While they discuss it we will continue to polish what we have done.

The weather has cooled off so that we can start to walk the Promenade again.

Tom has been working on getting the printers and computers to talk to each other in the Wan Chai and Homantin buildings. We appreciate the help of the district councilman who has been assigned to help with the computers.

We are excited for the arrival of the new product from the Family History Department--"My Family: Stories That Bring Us Together" booklet. We feel it will be a real benefit to the members in Asia who have limited or no access to computers for the recording of their family stories. In anticipation of the roll out of this booklet Elder Wilson asked us to compose a letter that will instruct Asia area Church leaders on to present the booklet. It will be a fifth Sunday combined meeting for all members 12 and up. Tom spent Friday morning working on the letter. After Sisters' Institute we critiqued it together and then sent it to our Area Manager for his input before we give it to Elder Wilson.

Saturday we had a Senior couple activity, the first one in several months. We went to the Wong Tai Sin temple. It is one of the most beautiful and well maintained that we have seen in Hong Kong.

 The entrance to the temple.
 In one area of the temple grounds are Chinese zodiac statutes for the year of your birth. Tom is with his statute which is the Pig which is also this year.
 Garnalee is year of the tiger.
 Very colorful Chinese lanterns.
One of the things that many of  the people come to the temple for is to practice kau cim which  is shake a bamboo container full of sticks that have a number on each one. The container is shaken until one of the sticks falls out. The stick is then taken to a window where the person is given a piece of paper with the same number on it.  The paper is then taken to fortune teller who will interpret the fortune for the person.
 The Moon Gate at the entrance to the garden behind the temple.

Below is a beautiful waterfall contained within the garden. Notice the skyscrapers that completely surround the temple grounds.

 In the garden area is a pool of coy fish.

And in another area is a pool of turtles. The turtles enjoy the morning sun as they sun themselves on the rock.

We had a special conference from Salt Lake City that was broadcast to all 18 countries in Asia where there are units of the Church. Elder Hales, Elder Holland, Elder Evans, and Sister Stevens addressed us. Elder Holland has been given the assignment to oversee the work in Asia replacing Elder Oaks. The messages all focused on missionary work.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Week 60--October 7-13, 2013

It has been a pretty quiet week. We have worked on various projects. We have been keeping very busy. Tom likes to say, "It seems like we've been in Hong Kong three or four months now." In actuality it's been 14 months with only four months left.

Tom has begun working on learning to play the piano. We have a keyboard from our branch at the apartment. He is working on recognizing the notes and getting the timing down. Sister Lasson purchased a piano program from the Distribution Center that Tom is using as a guide.

The Frandsens go home in five weeks so Tom has begun composing a farewell song for them.

We helped with a two-hour presentation on Sharepoint to the secretaries of the various departments.  Family History is the biggest user of Sharepoint in Asia. Because we use it so extensively Sister Frandsen has noted that we are experts and can help train.

This is our General Conference weekend. We went to the Wan Chai building to watch the broadcast. The talks were very inspiring. We receive conference a week after it happens in Salt Lake City to allow time for translation to occur. It was nice to be able to print out the talks and listen with printout in hand to be able to highlight the thoughts we plan to extract for the Area Presidency. This makes us pay close attention as the talks are delivered as we strive to be in tune with the Spirit.

When we arrived last August this area was open harbor.  We understand that the fill has come from excavation of the MTR as they extend the lines. This fill is next to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center.

Originally the harbor was 1.7 miles wide. Today it is just over 0.7 miles. So over the years they have filled in nearly 1 mile of the harbor.

It would be a shame if they fill in the entire harbor because it is such a scenic landscape. This harbor is one of the deepest and most beautiful in the world.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Week 59--September 30-October 6, 2013

October 1 was National Day in China which is similar to 4th of July in America. Since it is a holiday the Filippina sisters have the day as a holiday so they come to the Temple. It was an extremely busy day with some of the sisters not being able to attend an ordinance session because they were so full. We wondered if this might be what it will be like at the temples during the millennium. We officiated at the 9 AM session in which there was a group from Thailand. It was a very rewarding day.

Tom has started walking the Promenade as the weather is cooling off. Garnalee isn't walking as she has a foot that is bothering her. Tom encountered about 10 young Americans on the ferry who were headed to the Immigration Building and wondered if they were going in the right direction. He had the opportunity to assure them that they were.

Sister Jackson wanted to go to Stanley to exchange an item. She invited anyone who wanted to go to accompany  her. Garnalee decided to go thinking it was going to be a quick trip out and back. It turned out to be an all day shopping trip. She bought a couple of cute tops and necklaces. Tom stayed at the office and worked away.

Friday was a busy hectic day. We have a new missionary couple in Cambodia. We are trying to help them learn how to use Meeting Place. We weren't successful and decided to just visit with them on Skype. Garnalee visited with them until she had to go Sisters' Institute and then turned them over to Tom to continue answering their questions. Garnalee then went to the Family History Center to help a Filippina sister create an account on Family Search and start to put her information into Family Tree. It was then off to senior luncheon in which Sister Frandsen gave the presentation. She asked us to give our input on the value of SharePoint. Family History is the biggest user of SharePoint. After lunch we helped introduce Annie Wong to SharePoint who will be the program manager when the Frandsens go home in a few weeks.

Tom called his brother Skip on Saturday to wish him a Happy Birthday.

We then went to see "Gravity" with some of the other senior missionaries. The movie theater is housed in the ICC building which is the tallest building in Hong Kong. It wasn't a clear day or we would have gone up to the 100th floor to see the view of Hong Kong and the surrounding islands. Close to the movie theater was an ice rink. We saw young Hong Kong hockey players practicing. Who knew they had hockey in Hong Kong?

Located on one of the levels of the mall was this huge floral decorated chair. I felt like Alice in Wonderland. Where is the rabbit hole?