Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving before going to Hong Kong

It's hard to believe we'll be leaving in two days.  The last few days have been so much fun.  Thank goodness for family.  Sister Alice from LA came Monday, 11/22, daughter Elaine, her husband and their 5 children came on 11/23, so did sister Ling (from Spokane) and her husband, Stan, their daughter CayeLing and Paul (Provo) and their two children.  Nelson and Hilary with their 3 kids came on Thanksgiving morning, braving the sub-zero temperature, but no snow.  We had a blast.  Since I-Shuan and her family couldn't come, we skyped each other.  What a fun day!

 Hiking at Snow Canyon Mountains, the Gap Trail
Thanksgiving with family

Because we'll miss Christmas here in the US, we decided to opening Christmas presents on Thanksgiving night.  No one objected.  The children had a great time and I'm so glad it's done so I don't have to worry about it.  Thanks for all the sweet gifts from our children.  Cami spent days, weeks to make a beautiful hand-made quilt with oriental theme.  It's exquisite!  Megumi, with the help of her aunt I-Shuan made us a beautiful Christmas chain with faces of each grandchild on each link.  Beautiful!  What a great send-off from everyone!

Everyone will be gone by mid-day Saturday, except for Ling.  She offered to stay to help me finish packing, clean up the house and tie up the loose ends.  What a sister!  I'm so lucky to have super sisters, great husband, great children and grandchildren.  What more can I ask for?  I'm so grateful.

Our minds go back to preparing for our mission in Hong Kong.  Will keep you posted.

Hope y'all have a great Christmas Season!

E/S Davis

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Cliparts and Graphics




Also, try this recipe that I got from my friend, Doris.  She invited the Posse (the hiking ladies) to come to her house for breakfast and as a farewell.  We all had a great time.  Doris served Creme Brulee French Toas).  The best ever.  Here is the recipe.  (my modification:  use a cookie sheet with rim instead of the 13x9.)


½ CUP UNSALTED BUTTER                                             5 LARGE EGGS
1 CUP PACKED BROWN SUGAR                         1 ½ CUP HALF-AND-HALF
2 TBSP. CORN SYRUP                                                       1 TSP. VANILLA



Friday, November 19, 2010

MTC Training - Day 9, Nov. 18

Can hardly believe this is the last day of training for us.  We appreciate the Hammonds for taking time to be with us this week.  They truly are good examples for all of us, and the epitomy of how Christians should behave.  They admonished us to remember 3 things:  love, humility, and patience.  My order should be patience, love and humility.  What a learning experience this has been.  

We had a delicious lunch with our colleagues.  The chicken with lobster filling was delicious.  Since we packed this morning before leaving Nelson's, we were able to just hop in the car and head back to St. George. 

We met Cami and the boys at Costco in St. George since we were all going there.  (I think Elwin and I were having a Costco withdrawl).  It was quite a reunion.  Max kept calling Baba and put his head on Grandpa's shoulder and wouldn't let go of him.  It's going to be hard leaving these sweet grandchildren.

MTC Training - Day 8, Tue. Nov 17

We just have 1 1/2 days of temple training left.  Time sure flies.  We've learned a lot and people have been so kind.  We'll treasure the memories of these 2 weeks of training.

Today we had our last Cantonese tutor session with Brian.  He went over the verbs, question formats and reviewed a few important rules that he taught us.  Then we went on a field trip.  We looked at the pictures hanging on the walls of the main MTC building and had to create a conversation using Cantonese.  It was fun.  Hope we remember how to do it in real life.  :-)

We were done by 6 PM today.  So we went to visit Elaine and her family.  We had a delicious meatball with teriyaki sauce and rice dinner.  Delicious!  Homemade meatballs beat cafeteria food anytime.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

MTC Training - Day 7, Tue. Nov 16

A view from Nelson's house in the morning

Becoming a Disciple of Jesus Christ

     Tuesday is a special day at MTC because at 7 PM, there is a weekly devotional as we mentioned in last week's blog.  My friend Hazel would be proud of us...most people were in their seats by 6:40.  The choir director started the music for us to sing.  Then, at 6:50 everyone was there.  It was amazing.  They did say to be in your seat by 6:50.  Senior missionaries had reserved seatings, so we were told to be in our seat by saving seats.  After 6:40 the seats would be given away.  Honestly, most everyone was there by 6:30.  What a show of respect for the people in charge and the speaker.

    The speaker was Kevin Pearson, a former mission president in Seattle/Tacoma, Washington.  He's in the first quorum of the Seventy (for my non-LDS friends, this is a relatively high position in the Church) and has held many other leadership positions.  A graduate of University of Utah, and having received his Ph.D. from Harvard, he was a great speaker. He told us to rely on the Holy Ghost to teach us, to make moral choices.  He said that we are free to act as we want, but are also accountable for our actions, or lack thereof.  The Holy Ghost is here to help us develop our divine identity.  We should ask ourselves if we are committed to become a disciple of Christ.  When we realize that we are a disciple of Jesus Christ, then we will know who we truly are.  Those are great words of wisdom.

    Various people came to talk to us about the significance of the temple today.  We also had some people talk to us about the day-to-day operations of the temple.  We toured the laundry facility.  Wow, it was more like a science lab.  It was amazing.

    The food at the Provo Temple was super.  All in all, we had another great day.   

Monday, November 15, 2010

MTC training - day 6, Nov. 15

This week is temple training week...we are very excited!

    The rain and snow this morning didn't dampen our spirits.  In fact, the snow-capped mountains were beautiful!   The picture below is a summertime picture of the Provo temple.  We'll post a picture later of the snow on the mountains.
    People ware so friendly at the temples, especially Provo Temple.  We had a wonderful morning with the Hammonds.  They gave us words of encouragement.  Nice people.  In our group, there are people going to Germany, Paraguay, Chile, Nova Scotia, Hawaii and Hong Kong.  It's fun meeting these very interesting people.  They are very dedicated people.

    At lunch we met several young Asian missionaries.  One of them almost cried when I asked him how the food was.  He missed his mom's cooking.  One of the young men came from far northern China, just south of Siberia.  It was so fun to listen to him talk.  He wanted to know why he couldn't serve more than one mission.  What enthusiasm!  Great kids!

   The Hammonds came to be with us again in the afternoon.  Then, we had dinner with Brian, our Cantonese tutor.  We talked about Hong Kong and the Cantonese language.  We all agreed that it might be one of the hardest language to learn with 7 tones.  Have no fear, we'll get it..... someday.  :-)

   Good news!  Our colleagues in Hong Kong may have found us an apartment to live in.  Hooray!  The apartment is less than 500 square feet but more than $1000 a month.  That's pretty expensive square footage, but it is nearly penthouse level - second floor from the top.  I think that it was the 27th story.  We wonder what a typhoon or earthquake will be like.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

MTC Training - Day 5, Nov. 12

This is the last day of our week 1 general training.  The focus was on how we can help the local wards and branches.  The message is we are servants of God and should offer our support to the local leadership and membership without telling them what to do.  One of the main assignments may be to reactivate members.  We role-played various scenarios and it was quite interesting.  Two returned senior couples came to share their experiences as they labored in the Philippines, New Zealand, Ghana, and other places.  It was a very beneficial opportunity for us to learn from these people who served unselfishly.  One couple came from Brigham City and was there at 8 AM for our workshop; they get early every Friday morning to travel 1 1/2 hours to come and instruct us.  We are meeting a lot of amazing people.  We learned a lot from them.

For the language session tonight, a young couple came to visit.  We were able to relate to them quite well.  The girl is from Hong Kong and her husband is a returned missionary from Hong Kong.  They both spoke Cantonese and Mandarin.  We had a great time practicing with them.  We also practiced what we would say at the testimony meeting later on.  Our tutor told us to forget that we were speaking Cantonese and just let the spirit guide us.  It did.  We were so grateful for that.  At the testimony meeting, one couple spoke Russian, one French, one Spanish and we did Cantonese.  The spirit was there with us, so we didn't feel that we stumbled.  We came out of the meeting feeling very happy that we are learning Cantonese. 

2 Ne. 32: 2  Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had areceived the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the btongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost?

MTC Training - Day 4, 11/11

7:30 AM - 8:30 PM
 The Baines who taught in China with us in 2008-2009. 

Quite a long day...we are so tired, but happy.  We sat through many workshops, conducted by the young return missionaries.

The cafeteria food is, what should we say?  Interesting!  Yes, lots of choices.  But we are focusing on people, not food today.  We met several young Asian missionaries.  Most of them stay for 3 months for language training.  Several of them will be serving at Temple Square.  I have met some Asian missionaries at the Temple Square and thought they were excellent missionaries.  One of the girls came from Taiwan.  I found out she majored in Elementary Ed at BYU Hawaii.  We talked about the courses she has taken and her prospects for work.  We'll stay in touch with each other.

Tonight at dinner, we sat with the Asian missionaries.  We were so surprised to meet 2 sisters from Pakistan; people who convert from Islam to Christianity are sometimes killed for apostasy.  There are only senior missionaries in Pakistan, and all of their investigators are brought by members to be taught.  We suspect that those who come to be taught are not Muslin as that would put their lives in danger.  We met several sister missionaries from Taiwan, Japan, and Hong Kong.  We also met 1 Elder and 1 sister from SiChuan Province.  It touches us greatly to see these young people devoting the next 2 years preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ when I suspect some of their home town people might despise them for doing it.  When you see them in the streets, or at the Temple Square in Salt Lake, please give them a hug and talk to them.  Most of them are not English speakers and are spending 3 months at MTC, eating foods they are not used to, and following customs they are not familiar with.  I know none will waiver because they are committed.

At our language class tonight, our tutor invited a native Cantonese speaker to practice with us.  He is a teacher at the local high school and we appreciate him coming as a volunteer.  This state should be called a volunteer state as many people here at MTC are volunteers.  It's amazing.     

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

MTC training - Day 3, 11/10

Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo

     We are staying with Nelson and Hilary during our MTC training.  They live about 1 mile from the MTC making it very convenient.  On a good day, we'll walk to MTC, but not today.  It's snowing a little and cold.

     Today's schedule was packed with workshops.  Our young return missionaries came to teach us and we did some micro-teaching.  The topic was on "restoration" with 8 subtopics.  Volunteers were brought in to act as investigators.  They follow the same teaching  methodology we do as educators, 1.  what do they know (prior knowledge), 2. what do they want to know?  3.  teach them what they need to know to answer the questions they have on what they want to know.  It was very interesting!

     Mealtime was a fun time.  The cafeteria is huge with various stations of smorgasbord.  There were so many choices.  We heard some young missionaries gained as much as 20 pounds while at MTC.  We could see why.  Wednesday is a special day as new young missionaries come in.  So, one of the stations is an ice-cream bar.  They dished out at least 10 different flavors of ice-cream.  You pick the flavor you want and move down the bar to add toppings, fruits, whip cream and hot fudge sauce or others (in giant pans).  They sure know what young people like.  Today's lunch choices were:  Texas Chili, bratwurst, deli sandwiches, wraps, fish and chips, pizzas, salad bars, fruit bars, and more.  Everyone is dressed in their suits to come to the cafeteria.  It's quite a sight.

     We had small groups with the young return missionaries to teach us again this afternoon.  We finished our classes at 4:30 which gave us a little time to start our assignments for tomorrow.  For dinner, we had cordon bleu and spinach salad.  We skipped desserts.  It's so easy to gain weight.  There is a gym, but who has time for the gym?  The auditorium converts into a gym, much like a transformer turns into tens of other possibilities.  It was interesting!

     After dinner, we had language tutoring from 6-8.  We were happy to meet Brian, our tutor, in person.  He has been teaching us using skype.  We were asked to bear our testimonies in Cantonese on Friday night during the fireside.  We worked on that tonight.  We first wrote it out in English and I translated mine late last night (pulled another late nighter).  This certainly is one of the hardest thing I have to do for this mission - learning a different language.  It's been rewarding as BYU probably has one of the most advanced language programs in the world.  As an educator, I'm impressed with how they are teaching foreign languages here.

    We got home in time to say good-night to our 3 grandchildren.  It's been a long day!

MTC Training - Day two 11/9

    Many of you who served an LDS mission would remember this big map at the Wilford Woodruff Building.  It's still there.  We are standing by Hong Kong.  Wow, it's been wonderful to experience what our children have gone through at the MTC, or part of it anyway.  
    We arrived at the MTC at 7:30 this morning in light snow.  How we miss St. George already.  Several meetings were scheduled for us to learn how to represent the church as missionaries.  All the leaders conducting and teaching were young returned missionaries.  They have developed great teaching and leadership skills from serving in various missions around the world.  It was incredible to see how much these young people were able to teach us old folks.  They were fun, serious, knowledgeable and all that.  I can't help thinking what roles our children played when they were here.  I talked to Elaine after we came home and she told me she was a Japanese language instructor, plus being a supervisor for the instructors.  Wow, Elaine, great!  I-Shuan was also hired on as a Korean instructor and taught the missionaries.  It was there that she met her future husband, Ryan, who was also teaching Korean at the MTC at that time.  What a stellar group of young people they are!  I know Nelson and I-Kang came shortly after Elaine and I-Shuan and did similar things.  We are so proud of them.

     Every Tuesday is a special day with a 7 PM Devotional.  We were told to be seated by 6:40 as senior missionaries have reserved seating.  When we went to the auditorium at 6:30 there were already long lines formed by the young missionaries.  They were lined up on the outside of the building, in the cold, so they started singing.  We were told to go in from the south side entrance.  It was quite a sight to behold.  We sat right in front of the podium.  My dear friend Hazel would appreciate what I'm about to tell you.  By 6:40 most were seated.  The chorister came on and led us in some singing.  At 6:45, the speakers came in and everyone stood up.  It was Elder David Bednar and his wife Susan.  The feeling of respect was evident.  The opening song was "Called to Serve" (my grandchildren sang this at our farewell).  Wow, can you picture this!  About 100 senior missionaries in the middle front part of the auditorium, with 2500 plus young missionaries sitting on the risers.  All started singing.  It was so powerful, so touching!  I wish I could take a picture.  It was like the 2000 warriors from the Book of Helaman.  I was very moved.  

     Elder Bednar talked about the doctrines, principles, and application.  He told us to understand the doctrines and principles and focus on these, not the application.  The application will come.  It was one of the best talks I've heard.  

     It was past 8:30 when we drove home.  Another wonderful day! 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

MTC training - Day one 11/8

     The long awaited MTC (Missionary Training Center) training started.  The rain and the sleet didn't dampen our spirit.  The orientation was well organized.  We were first introduced to the MTC presidencies after which most spoke to us.  We were informed that our days will be full from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM, but we have time at lunch and dinner times for naps if we get too tired.  It's good to know that our leaders understand the stress that can be created by the long days.  Indeed, they told us to watchful of our health, not only while in training, but also while we are in our assigned fields of labor.

     There were about 100 senior missionaries attending the training this week.  We were divided into 2 groups, then into 6 or 7 districts for special instructions.  The young missionaries were everywhere.  It was a sight to hold at the cafeteria.  They are looked so happy and YOUNG.  Several came to our meeting and sang for us.  In all, there were around 2700 missionaries at the MTC this time.  We met some young missionaries from Eagle Pass, San Antonio, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Utah; and several other places.  The senior missionaries from our group came from Montana, Utah, Washington, Kansas, Canada, and other places.  We were happily surprised to meet the Baines from Canada who were China Teachers while we were there 2008-2009.

    We met the Foreign Language Director, Maria Johnson in the afternoon.  She is a linguist, and met with 8 of us (among 50+) who will be serving in the foreign speaking countries.  She was very encouraging and told us that the age didn't make much difference in learning a foreign language.  From her research with the missionaries, young and old, she found those who were willing to learn and put forth time to study, progressed and advanced quicker.  We will have tutoring sessions on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, 6 - 8 PM.  We are looking forward to meet our Cantonese tutor, Brian, who has been teaching us through Skype the last few weeks.

    After the meetings, Ling, our dear sister, took us to Four Season's Hot Pot Restaurant to have dinner.  It was so wonderful that she came down from Spokane and met us here this past weekend.  She was also here to be with her daughter, her 2 small children, and also Dennis.  It was perfect timing as we love to be together.  the hot pot was delicious.  We met 2 young ladies from Shanghai who are attending BYU.

    It was a great day.  It was especially wonderful for us to see and to experience what our four children went through at MTC when they served their missions.  Our children set great examples for us.  We love them and will miss them a lot.   

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Voice of Warning from Elder L. Tom Perry

Stake Conference at Grove Creek on Nov 7

We attended church with Elaine and her family today. It was special to hear an Apostle of the Church speak in person. A summary of the talk is below:

Matt. 13: 25 - But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed atares among the wheat, and went his way.

Be watchful and do the following:

1. be self sufficient, take good care of your homes
2. avoid debt
3. become educated and continue to learn (Grandparents, you may need to sell your camper to help support your grandchildren)
4. prepare for the future
5. Plan through prayers and the Lord will open the way for you to accomplish the things which the Lord has commented you to do.
6. Spirituality: need a newness of heart, simplify our lives. Callings should be split with your families but not negatively impact ones family.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fall in love with Utah Lake

Elwin, Elaine and I took 6 grandchildren to Utah Lake State Park in Provo to take a stroll.  We walked along Provo River and enjoyed the breathtaking views of Fall in Utah.  Enjoy the slides below:

Saying good-bye to the Posse

D&C 121: 9 - Thy afriends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands. 
My hiking friends and I (Tobe called us the Posse) have been hiking for years at the Tortoise Preserve.  We met at around 7:30 AM, depending on when the sun rises, and enjoyed the beautiful sunrise, fresh air, beautiful scenery and friendship.  These pictures were taken on Nov. 4.

Serving a Volunteer Mission

Shirley's Farewell Address on Oct. 31, 2010
(Elwin and Shirley have been called to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Hong Kong from Nov. 8, 2010 to May 7, 2012.)
I was like a child thinking this day was so far away and would never come.  But time sure has caught up with us.  Here we are, ready to go into MTC in 8 days.  We are very excited to have this special opportunity to serve.  It makes me think about what happened through out the years that brought me to this point.  
It all started when I was 19 years old.  I was introduced to the gospel of Jesus Christ when 2 young missionaries knocked on our door in Taiwan.  The Spirit impressed me that it was the right thing to do to join the church, but I was afraid.  In our family my mom’s sister was the first person to embrace Christianity.  The LDS church had just been introduced to Taiwan a few years earlier.  I asked my mom what I should do.  She told me to find out all about the church.  If I could abide by their rules and guidelines, then, I should go ahead.  With my parents’ support, my sister Alice and I were the first ones in Sung family to join the LDS church.  My younger sister, Ling, joined the church a couple of years later.  Throughout the years, I have tried to follow my mom’s words of wisdom and I know I’ve been greatly blessed because of it. 
Elwin served a mission in Taiwan.  We met at BYU and raised 4 children.  Our 4 children served in Japan, Korea, Italy and Hawaii.  I remember Nelson’s farewell address well as he said:  I know y’all think I am going on a mission because of my parents, but I want y’all to know that I want to go, myself.   That was my thinking.  Since we had great influence on our children, I wanted our children to go out and found out for themselves if this was what they believed in and to conduct their lives in the manner that was pleasant unto God.  They set a good example for me.  I knew I wanted to serve a mission in my later years then.
About 2 years ago, Elwin and I went to China to teach as part of my sabbatical.  This was the first time living in China for both of us.  Little did we know that that experience changed our lives.  My friend, Hazel, said it right on the button:  I knew we lost you when you went to China.  It was like a rude awakening.  I saw the thirst in their eyes that they were looking for something.  We knew we would go back to share the gospel with them.
My talk is based on Nephi 1:7:  “…7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I awill go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no bcommandments unto the children of men, save he shall cprepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.
Many of you know that we have anticipated this mission call since January this year.  This scripture rang true in my ear as I contemplated the telephone call from Elder Kikuchi of the Seventy of the Church, to Elwin that the Hong Kong Temple is in need of a Mandarin Chinese speaking couple.  I rationalized in my mind that he didn’t say when to go.  Going on a mission has always been in our plan, but I wanted to work one more year at Dixie.  After many prayers and fasting, I told our department head, about the possible calling and that I might be leaving.  It was hard to leave a career I’ve working on for many years.  But, I knew in my heart the Lord has a plan for us.  Elwin also knew that the Lord had a plan for us.  My love for the Lord, for my husband won me over.  We decided that the Lord would provide a way for us to accomplish the thing he commanded us.  By obeying the promptings, miracles started to unfold. 
In preparing for this mission, we went through all the motions that all the missionaries in the Church had to do.  We filled out applications, were interviewed by the Bishop, and resolved lots of other details.  Then, an unexpected thing happened; Elwin failed the physical, which we never even thought was an issue.  We pride ourselves to be healthy people.  Neither one of us has had any physical ailments.  Elwin ended up with a triple bypass 2 days after the stress test in early May.  He was told that if one of the blockages in his heart triggered a heart attack, he would not even hit the ground before he was gone.  I marveled at the mercy the Lord has for us.  I had no doubt in my mind that following the Lord’s timetable was the right thing to do.
Do you remember back when you were on your mission, the joy you felt when you taught the Law of the Lord to someone who has never been taught about the gospel of Jesus Christ?  Do you remember the joy of being baptized, becoming a Deacon, or entering the Young Women’s program? For the Dixie College students, while you are doing your practicum, your student teaching, or teaching in your own classroom,  remember how happy you were when you saw the light bulb came on in your students’ eyes?  The scriptures tell us that “Men are that they might have joy” in 2 Nephi 2:25.  This is the joy that we felt when we received the mission call from President Monson on the 20th of July.  I know we’ll feel joy as we work in the Hong Kong Temple and feel the joy of the Chinese people when they come to the temple to be sealed as eternal families. 
We know there are a lot of unknowns and challenges waiting for us.  We lived in China for a year just two years ago.  And I remember the inconveniences there. Elwin seems to deal with those daily things well.  I need to remember Lot’s wife and not to look back and ask for things that I take for granted here or I may turn into a pillar of salt. And I know Elwin won’t bring back salt in his suitcase.  Perhaps he could ship me back in a box like we did with my electric bicycle. 
Another challenge is feeling inadequate with new and radically different callings.  Hong Kong is a former English colony where they speak Cantonese.  The Missionary Training Center has assigned a Hong Kong returned missionary to teach us Cantonese using Skype on the computer.  It’s funny to have a white man teaching a Chinese how to speak Cantonese.  The tutor is doing an excellent job.  Elwin is doing quite well as he learned Chinese through English, and he understands tones.  My Chinese tones came naturally.  I never had to learn it.  But Cantonese has 7 tones and I have to learn the tones because they are not the same as Mandarin.  I have to put things in perspective.  I could barely speak English when I went to BYU in my younger years.  I’ve learned so much from my family, my friends and my students.  I know my brothers and sisters in Hong Kong will help me with the language as you have helped me. 

I’m sad to think about leaving our family and friends for 18 months.  But I hope it’ll be like Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon, Alma 17:2 - that we’ll find each other still strong in the gospel when we meet again.  I hope and pray that my children and grandchildren will be well taken care of.  I hope my hiking and walking buddies will continue to hike and walk and stay healthy.  I hope my Dixie friends will continue to work hard to prepare their students to be the best teachers they can be.
I testify to you that God lives and loves us.  I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.