Monday, February 24, 2014

Week 78-79 - February 10-23

The cold weather in Idaho has not been kind to our rental units. The pipes froze in one of the vacant units and caused a lot of damage. The restoration company is working to get things back to normal.

Elder Heaps gave the devotional thought on Monday, Feb. 10. He talked about the three word sermon. Both the first and second great commandments begin with the words "Thou shalt love..." There doesn't need to anything more. If everyone believed that and tried to live it what a wonderful world we would have.

Our Family Home Evening was with Elder and Sister Gong. They shared with us how they met and the calling as a General Authority. It was a very spiritual evening.

We had our final meeting with Elder Wilson on Thursday, Feb. 13. It has been wonderful to meet with him each month to discuss the progress of family history in the Asia Area. He was very gracious in his praise of the work we have done over the last 18 months.

We have started using a new social network called Yammer. There is a group for International Family History missionaries where they post a question or give a  response. It will be very useful for the sharing of ideas.

On Saturday, Feb. 15, we mailed our last two boxes of things home. It is amazing how much we accumulated in 18 months that we felt we needed at home. However many of the items in the boxes have been presents for family members.

Tom and President Chia team taught and introduced the "My Family: Stories That Bring Us Together" booklet in a combined Relief Society and Priesthood meeting. This booklet is going to be a great resource for members where computers aren't readily available. We were privileged to be involved in the introduction of them in the Asia Area.

The Walkers and Clarks invited us to a farewell dinner after our church meetings. We had a wonderful evening with them.

On Monday we had dinner at the Chias' home with the Pollards. They have a beautiful view of the city from their apartment on the 71st floor. It was a very pleasant evening.

We had good news and sad news when we arrived at the office on Tuesday. Danise Mok, one of the administrative assistants to the Area Presidency, received notice that she had been accepted into the doctoral program at BYU. She will begin this fall. Elder Aardema was in the hospital. His defibrillator had fired  twice in the last week. They are trying to figure out why. He is undergoing some tests. Later in the day we learned that they will be going home to be cared for by his doctor in Utah. Tom quickly wrote a farewell song for them with the idea that we could both have our farewells together on Thursday. As it turned out the Aardemas left Thursday morning and so weren't present for our rendition. Elder Heaps video taped the performance and sent it to the Aardemas.

Our farewell lunch was on Thursday. Our farewell song was to "Choose the Right." Sister Lasson did a very nice job and we appreciated her efforts. Elder Lyon gave some parting remarks that were very complimentary.

 L to R--Elder Sullivan, Elder Watkins, Elder Walker, Sister Walker,  Sister Watkins, Elder and Sister Gregory, Elder and Sister Lyon, Elder Carlos Watkins.
 Sister and Elder Clark on the far left who weren't visible in the picture above.
 Lunch with the Watkins (Alane and Carlos) at Dumpling Pro.

Saturday we went to the ICC building, the tallest building in Hong Kong and the 5th tallest in the world. We took the elevator to the 100th floor in 55 seconds. The 360 degree observation deck is 393 meters above sea level. It allows visitors to get a bird's eye view of Hong Kong.

 This illustration shows the ranking of the ten tallest buildings in the world.

Looking down at the Macau ferry port in the lower part of the photo and one of the Star Ferry ports in the upper portion. There is cruise ship docked between the ports.
Garnalee sitting in a rickshaw.

Looking from the 100th story across the harbor at Hong Kong island.

We attended our last Sacrament meeting in the Pen 2 branch with the Filippina sisters. We were asked to share our testimonies and final thoughts with the branch members. It was a sad day for us.

We attended a fireside to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the dedication of the land of Hong Kong for the teaching of the gospel. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland was the speaker. He and several other authorities are doing a tour of Asia. His message was that God's children throughout history have had to flee. Elder Holland said we are done with that. We are going to stiffen our backs, square our shoulders, and confront evil influences rather than flee. Elder Holland also counseled us to walk the walk and not be as the Pharisees who "Draw near to me with their lips but their hearts are far from me." He asked, "Will Jesus recognize us as members of His church?"

We travel into China on Friday for six days and then home to Idaho. We will fly out of Hong Kong on Friday, March 7, and arrive in Idaho Falls on March 7 at 5 PM.

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