Sunday, November 17, 2013

Week 65--November 11-17, 2013

 One of the workers who cleans the streets and sidewalks with a palm tree frond broom. Tom has decided he needs one of these umbrella hats for when he works in the garden.
 A beautiful clear morning that gave a great view of The Peak from the Kowloon side of Victoria Harbour. The Peak is on Hong Kong island.

Tom has been working out every morning before breakfast by climbing 648+ stairs in preparation for his climb from the harbour to the top of Big Buddha mountain which is an elevation of 4000 ft.

We had a great Family Home Evening in which the theme was an "Attitude of Gratitude." To conclude the evening we each had a piece of paper attached to our back and the other attendees were encouraged to write a positive message on the paper to that person.

Tom and Elder Aardema decided to go find the trail head for Big Buddha on Wednesday. Tom had printed off directions from the internet that someone who had walked the trail had posted. The directions were difficult to follow. It took them a couple of hours to find the trail head. It will be helpful for they actually do the hike as it will cut down on the time to get to the trail head. Elder Frandsen wants to do the Big Buddha hike but he goes home on November 22. Everyone was agreeable to moving the hike up to this Saturday. So it will be a couple of weeks earlier than planned.

Garnalee had a Skype call with Steve Tsai to work on the itinerary for our Salt Lake Family History visitors. We are on revision four or five of the itinerary.

We had a group of Mongolian members at the temple this week. One of the escorts was Debbie Armstrong's (she is in our ward in Blackfoot) aunt who is serving in Mongolia. It is a small world. I used to have monthly contact with her when I would email her requesting the monthly family history center report from Choibalson. They are somewhere else in Mongolia now where there isn't a family history computer so I don't get to have that contact any more. It was fun to visit with her for a few minutes.

Elder Phil and Sister Brenda Frandsen had their farewell lunch on Friday. Tom did a great job on their song. He used the tunes "The Day Dawn is Breaking," "Sherry Baby," and "The BYU Cougar Fight Song."

We had a meeting with Elder Wilson, Steve Tsai, and Hashick Hong to go over the itinerary for our Salt Lake visitors, and then a follow up Skype call to add the changes we discussed in the meeting. We have spent major amounts of time this week working on the itinerary.

Dinner with other senior missionaries before we go to the Cossack Russian dance program on Friday evening.

A beautiful Christmas tree in the mall where we ate dinner.
The hikers Saturday morning.
 Back row: Elder Watkins, Elder Sullivan, Elder Cowley, Elder Gregory, and Tom.
Front row: Elder Jackson, Sister Cowley, and Elder Aardema.

 This first set of stairs is about a 70 degree climb. In total to reach the first of five gondola towers we climbed 1330 stairs. Even though it was only about a fourth of the distance the effort to reach the first tower was probably about half of the hike.
This warning sign across the trail was wooden stairs going sharply down into a deep ravine and then up again. Tom was glad there was a hand rail to help pull himself up.
 End of the trail after three hours and 20 minutes. Elder Frandsen, Elder Sullivan, and the Cowleys did the hike in two hours. They are very competitive. Tom was just happy to finish the climb. The trail was built as a rescue trail in case of emergency on the gondola. Therefore the trail is almost always directly below the gondolas. There are no switchbacks. There are three helicopter pads along the trail in case someone had to be air lifted out. Those white flaggy things between the signs are fire beaters.
The shot of the Big Buddha through the town a little past the end of the trail. The group rode the bus back to the MTR station. Many hikers hike both directions on the trail.

Garnalee and several of the sisters went shopping while the others were on the hike. She bought a vest and jacket.

The branches in District are doing clothing and money donations for the Philippines. Fortunately the families of most of the sisters in our branch were not affected by the typhoon. However one our sisters did have family members who lost their home and had family members killed in the storm. The sisters were very generous in donating of their resources for the relief effort.

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