Eleven weeks have gone by since we landed in Hong Kong. What a change it has been for us! Our lives will never be the same again. Our time has been mostly spent in the temple assisting members with their temple work. We have met many members from Taiwan, China, Mongolia, Thailand, the Philippines, India, Pakistan, Singapore, Malaysia, and the US.
Because we attend the Mandarin Speaking Sunday Services, we have met many new members from China. Since the Church is not allowed to preach in China, and the rules are strictly enforced by the Church, we are surprised to see people coming from China to be baptized. As far as we know, all of them met or heard of the Church from their Chinese family members. Since they are not allowed to be taught or baptized by missionaries (because there aren't any) in China, they come to Hong Kong, be it flying, or taking a train for many days. There are amazing stories.
Today, a middle-aged man from the middle of China was baptized. How does a man like that come to learn about the Gospel without missionaries allowed in China? It began with his sister-in law. Apparently, a few years ago, his sister-in-law was living in Hong Kong and having a pretty rough life. She met some missionaries, was taught, baptized and got her life straightened out. Her sister (the wife) noticed the big change and decided to check into it herself. She could not believe what her sister was telling her because she was a hard-core atheist. The more she checked, the more convinced she became that God really does exist and that He loves each of His children regardless of whether they believe in Him , or not. She came to Hong Kong a little over a year ago and was formally taught and baptized. She returned home to a skeptical husband, but seeing how his wife had changed, he then developed an interest. He was a smoker and drinker since he was young, and he felt that the alcohol could go, but not the cigarettes. He struggled with that for a while, but through prayer and the desire to change, he was able to give up the cigarettes too. He came to Hong Kong with his wife, was formally taught by missionaries and baptized. A marvelous work and a wonder, indeed!
A family from Mongolia (mother, father, sister and brother) came through and attended the temple for the first time together. The sister just graduated from LDS Business College in Salt Lake and will help her father in his business. The son was just released from his mission (Mongolia and Japan), and everyone met in Hong Kong to attend the temple. If everyone in Mongolia were as sweet as that family, the country would be problem-free.
Things are going as well as they should be. There are some tough moments though, as I start to miss the kids, the grandkids and friends. Learning Cantonese has been tough as most people try to speak to me in English or in Mandarin Chinese. But, each time I went into a meeting conducted by Cantonese speaking people without an interpreter I knew I needed to learn Cantonese. We miss our Cantonese tutor from BYU. He was great and probably expected us to be speaking fluent Cantonese by now, but how disappointed he would be to know that we haven't progressed much (meaning we are digressing).
For our P-day on Feb. 7, we went to visit Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Museum, formerly owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was quite interesting and I'll post some stories about it in a separate post. For Saturday, 2/12, we went to visit the Nan Lian Garden at Diamond Hill. The place is so beautiful that I'll also do a separate post.
We have plans to visit at least a place or two each week so we are not waiting until the last part of our mission and not have enough time to do anything. Besides, with Elaine and her family coming for a visit in November, we want to check out as many places as possible so we could show them around. We are excited about that.