We worked the morning shift this week and had some very interesting experiences. A group of around 30 Cambodian saints came to visit the Hong Kong Temple, March 8-11. The language barrier was great. Luckily they brought with them a male and a female translator and also a couple of senior missionaries. We had a chance to visit with the senior missionaries, and it was amazing to know that some of these missionaries have been in Cambodia for 2-5 years. They love the people and decided to stay. That's incredible to me as they must live in very humble circumstances and they are fine with it. Below is a little description of the country.
According to Wikipedia, Cambodia (i //; derived from Sanskrit: कम्बोजदेश Kambujadesa), is a country in Southeast Asia that borders Thailand to the west and northwest, Laos to the northeast, Vietnam to the east, and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest. The geography of Cambodia is dominated by the Mekong River and Tonlé Sap lake. Estimates as to how many people were killed by the Khmer Rouge regime range from approximately one to three million; the most commonly cited figure is two million (about one-third of the population). The country remains to be very impoverished.
Many of these Cambodian women are illiterate. Because of the Khmer Rouge purge, most people didn't even go to school. The ones who wore glasses during this horrible period of the history were executed because they were considered to be intellectuals. The people who survived the atrocity are happy people. The senior missionaries told us that most of them live in mud huts and live from day to day, but keep a smile on their faces as we witnessed this week. We can't find more humble of people as this group is.
By Thursday morning, we had a lot of Westerners coming to the Asia Women's Conference attending Temple sessions. It was such a busy and happy place at the temple this week. After working at the temple Thursday, I was able to go to Wan Chai to attend the conference.
We met a few members at the temple and decided to take them on the bus to the Wan Chai Church Building for a women's conference. Elwin was very kind to go with us to make sure we didn't get lost (I'm getting very good at getting lost here). A couple of them were craving a steak at the "Outback Steak House". It took us a little time and effort to find the restaurant, and even though we didn't get our "blooming onions", we had a great time.
The conference started at 7 PM, but there were some service projects going on from 5-7. We got there at 6 and was surprised to see our friend, Robin Burgeous from Tai An there. The Conference was very well orchestrated. Carrie Chiles was the chair and did a fantastic job. The two keynote speakers that night were President Simon Chan, the Hong Kong Mission President, and Elder Sam Wan of the Quorum of the Seventies. Elder Wan was a fantastic speaker. He gave the Brother of Jared story and told us that we each had a stone in our hand. We are to make it shine brightly like the Brother of Jared did. Because of his faithfulness, he saw the Lord's fingers. Subsequently, he saw the Lord. Wow, the faith...the blessings that we could be like the Brother of Jared was almost overwhelming to me. It was so touching. I hope I get a copy of his talk.
I also attended the Saturday morning sessions and listened to some wonderful presentations. Brother and Sister Sackley talked about the LDS welfare program in Asia, and it made us proud that the Church was so involved in helping the countries here. Then, I attended Sarah Campbell's presentation on "Fake It Until You Makt it: Live Like the Person You Want to Become". It was very interesting.
Then the sister, Debbie Spencer, who is living in Thailand (but from the US) spoke on "De-cluttering Our Lives: Make Room for What's Important" and was very motivating. She talked about emotional cluttering, physical cluttering and spiritual cluttering. I was very impressed as I saw myself carrying emotional clutter, such as comparing with others, getting feelings hurt b/c of silly comments, etc. I needed to get rid of negative clutter.
It was a wonderful conference with 135 attendees from 10 countries. I would strongly suggest that the temple missionaries have the opportunity to attend.
Sunday was another special day. Three young women spoke at the Sacrament meeting on "temptation" and each did a superb job. After Church, a young man was baptized. He's a college student and brought some of his friends with him, too. The missionaries are doing a good job; the people being baptized seem to be very well prepared. The young man spoke after his baptism and was so humble and happy to be in the Church. We all welcomed him and wished him well.
Before the baptismal service, Doris L. and I visit-taught Sister Chan. It was quite a humbling experience as we listened to this young lady talk about her life. It was an unbelievably difficult and tragic life she had already experienced as a young woman. I'm going to need to write a different blog to introduce y'all to this young lady.