The LDS Church puts on a Christmas Devotional each year. Watching the devotional helped Elwin and me catch the spirit of Christmas. If you haven't watched it yet, it's worth the time as the Spirit is strong there. The Bishops, fellow temple missionaries from Utah, invited us to watch it with them a week ago. We were glad we did. If the link above doesn't work for you, you can go straight to lds.org and click on the Christmas devotional and watch it there.
Other than the 4 temple missionary couples, there are also at least a dozen senior office missionaries at the Asian Church Office. We see them once a month at the monthly activity night. We also see some of them as they volunteer to work at the Temple. One of the couples from Idaho, the Taylors, hosted 3 Christmas parties to accommodate all the senior missionaries (three parties because the apartments are so small that even 5 or 6 couples make it a tight squeeze). We were invited to the 1st of the 3 on Wednesday, Dec. 22. At the Taylor's Christmas gathering, we sang a song that goes with the tune of Jingle Bells and reminded me of my life in December back home:
"Dashing through the house, a million things to do.
Got to get the shopping done, and make the fruitcake, too.
Christmas Carols ring, making spirits bright.
It's time for peace and joy on earth, so why am I up-tight?"
There are 9 more verses that describe the holidays that should not have been. So, I'm especially grateful that we did our Christmas over Thanksgiving and now am really enjoying the holidays with friends.
On Christmas Eve, we attended a concert at the Tsuen Wan City Concert Hall. It was an LDS singing group and very well attended by mostly church members. The missionaries were able to bring their investigators to the concert, so it was a good effort for missionary work. We had dinner at the mall by the concert hall and it was very nice. The bus ride was about an hour each way, so we didn't get home until after 11 that night.
On Christmas day, we, the 4 senior couple temple missionaries, gathered at the Bishop's apartment and had brunch together. Elder Bishop made a ham and egg casserole, the Wilson's and the Arnell's brought fruits, rolls and breads. We made wassail, carrot cake and even found some small mince meat pies at a local store for the occasion. (Elwin was especially delighted to have the mince meat pie because he says "What's a Christmas dinner without mince meat pie?") After eating, we watched the video of our children that our daughter I-Shuan put together for us for Christmas. Then we played a couple games, and exchanged white elephant gifts. But there were more things to do...
We then headed to Kowloon Tong to watch a movie. Since it's a holiday in Hong Kong, it was crowded everywhere. We couldn't get the tickets for Narnia, but were able to get in to see "Gulliver's Travels". After the movie we had dinner at EXP, a pasta restaurant. Elwin had Thai prawn fried rice and I had baked sea bass on a bed of rice. Others had pasta dishes. :-) It was very festive, but I missed being with our children and grandchildren so much.
We are so grateful that I-Shuan called after we got home on Christmas night when it was Christmas morning in Oregon. Nelson and his family called us using Skype on Christmas Eve in Hong Kong, or Christmas "Adam" in Utah. It was so good to see them. Thanks for getting a webcam for the occasion. We talked to Kong and Cami before that, too, and were so happy to see them and the boys. Max kept on trying to crawl up to the screen. He missed his Baba so much, and we missed them all too. Kong and Cami drove up to Sandy, and Cami's dad picked them up and drove them up to Wyoming for Christmas. There was so much snow that they would have had a hard time driving up there. Thanks, Wilson's. We haven't had a chance to talk to Elaine and her family as they were traveling to Virginia to be with David' siblings. We finally heard from them this morning that they were snowed in and had very limited internet connectivity. They are safe and sound. We are grateful for that as most of you know traveling during Christmas can be very stressful.
Monday is a half day at the Temple, so Elwin and I are supposed to be at the Temple by 6:30 AM, meaning catching the train at 5:40. But we finish at 1 PM affording us to see the Nut Cracker's Suite at 2:30. We are looking forward to it. As I said, life is busy here. But then, you could put us anywhere and we'll find ourselves busy digging holes. :-)
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our friends and relatives!