Saturday, April 30, 2011

Victoria III Branch

    We belong to the Victoria III Branch, the Mandarin-speaking branch of the Church in HK.  It's an awesome branch.  We were asked by the branch president to teach a temple preparation class.  There were 5 people in our class.  Our goals were to teach them about the importance of the temples in the world today and to develop a desire in our students to go to the temple. 

    Today, Saturday, April 30, 2011, it happened.  Five people came to the HK Temple for the first time.  They are humble, faithful, sweet saints, who understand the importance of temple blessings and made the decision to enter the House of the Lord.  The missionaries brought them into the gospel and now, they have made a giant step and are receiving bounteous temple blessings.  We are so pleased, thrilled and grateful for their devotion.

   One of the ladies had a special escort.  The missionary who baptized her a year and half ago in Hong Kong could not come for the occasion, but sent his mom.  His mother is from Hong Kong, but they all live in Canada.  So, she came.  It was very special.  We had 23 people from the Branch attending, supporting these new temple participants. 

   This is to be one of our happiest days since we came to Hong Kong. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

locked out

    So it happened...arrived home at 10 PM and to our dismay, no keys.  Elwin left his keys in the locker at the temple, and I didn't carry my keys.  We asked the front desk of the apartment complex what he could do for us and was told that he would call for a lock smith that would cost the equivalent of US$30.  Not a good choice!  So we thought about our options...didn't bring a phone either, so no phone numbers.  But I had a temple schedule card in the backpack, and it had the temple phone numbers.  Unfortunately, the temple was closed and, therefore, no answers.  Hmmm...

    Next option, take the light rail back to the temple...but then, no way to get anyone to open the door.  By the time we found someone, or got someone's attention, it would be too late for light rail.  What's next?

   Yes, the Wilson's live not far away, but which building, and which apartment?  We've been there a time or two, certainly we could remember, even though all those apartments look alike.  But I do remember seeing them walking out of the apartment across from Park and Shop Grocery Store.  So, we went...with Elwin being an American, and not any American would walk into an apartment complex in the middle of the night, the doorman opened the front door to let us in.  I remembered their apartment being on the 10th floor, so I asked the doorman for the apartment number and was told that I wasn't allowed to go up if I didn't know the number.  After describing which one I thought it was, we were allowed to go up.

   It was like the vision being opened, we walked right to the door.  But, the security was impeccable and the door bell was weak because of a low battery.  We tapped using a pen to reach through the iron gate enclosing the front door.  We were consistent and coupled with the prayers, after 15 or seemingly forever minutes, the Wilson came to the door and, of course, were surprised to see us.  We were invited in and treated with cookies and lemonade as we tried to come up with solutions.  Bob was ready to take Elwin back to the temple to fetch the keys, but then Helga had a better idea.  Let's call President Aki.  After all, he lives at the temple.  So we did.  President Aki went to the locker and found Elwin's keys and drove them to Fanling to rescue us.   Isn't it ironic that President Aki brought us a key!  He's a man with many keys.  We love and appreciate him.

    Lesson learned:  take your keys wherever you go, pray, pray and pray often.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hong Kong History Museum

The Hong Kong Museum of History was established in July 1975 when the City Museum and Art Gallery was split into the Hong Kong Museum of History and Hong Kong Museum of Art. But some of the Museum's collections date back to the City Museum and Art Gallery founded in 1962 at the City Hall. In 1983, the Museum was moved to the temporary accommodation in Kowloon Park. It was moved to its present premises on Chatham Road South, Tsim Sha Tsui in 1998.

How To Get There - Hong Kong Museum of History
1. MTR Tsim Sha Tsui Station Exit B2 and walk along Cameron Road towards East Tsim Sha Tsui for 20mins.
2. MTR Jordan Station Exit D and walk along Austin Road towards Tsim Sha Tsui East for 20 mins.
3. MTR East Tsim Sha Tsui Station Exit P2 and walk for 10 mins along the Chatham Road South. 
Elwin and I had the chance to visit the museum on one p-day.  Great efforts have been made in collecting, conserving, processing, studying and displaying cultural objects which are related to the archaeology, history, ethnography and natural history of Hong Kong and South China.   

Centenary of China’s 1911 Revolution:  we found it very interesting as we toured the museum.  Below are some pictures posted on the Museum's website,  Please feel free to browse.  I also posted a slideshow of what we saw. 

Woodblock print of the revolution produced in Japan: Opposing forces in fierce battle at Jiang’an Railway Station

Original kept at The Wellcome Library, London

Woodblock print of the revolution produced in mainland China: The Revolutionary Army captures Nanjing

Original kept at The Library of Congress, US


week of April 17th

     This is going to be an interesting week.  With the Easter holidays, the temple is open for half a day on Friday, Saturday and also the Monday after Easter.  You see, most people here get those 3 days off, but the schools are closed from Thursday, 4/14 until May 3.  It's spring break too.  Wow, we see people everywhere.  Lots of people are traveling from Hong Kong to Mainland China to visit their families.  We can tell because the East Line which goes to Luohu on the border of Hong Kong and China, has been packed with travelers.  It's a happy time of the year as people renew their familial relationships.  There are a lot more holidays in Hong Kong than in the US as we observed, and the temple is open on public holidays to give church members an opportunity to attend the temple. 

    Elwin and I just finished teaching a temple prep class at the Victoria III Branch and we have a special day set up for the members of our class to attend the temple for the first time.  The excitement is in the air.  We continue to work with these wonderful members and feel their spirit.  We brought in some family pedigree charts to get them started on their family history.  One of the members brought in a genealogy book from her hometown in SiChuan.  It was amazingly clear with pictures and dates.  Even though a lot of records were destroyed during the reign of Mao, some families were able to preserve their genealogies.

    During the holidays (Friday and Saturday), we saw many Fillipina members attending the temple.  This is a group of very humble and faithful saints in Hong Kong.  They work all day and all night as maids and, when there is a day off, they come to the temple.  One can't help, but feel their special spirit.  On the streets of Hong Kong, people are very busy buzzing in and out of train stations, bus terminals, but the only people that I usually see smiling are usually the Fillipinas.  They care for the children, shop for groceries, walk the dogs, and accompany the elderly to the malls.  When we go home in the afternoon, we see these young women line up outside of private schools waiting for the children to get out of school.  They carry the students' school bags and bring them treats.  It's quite a sight to see.  Many of these Fillipinas have their own families back home in the Phillipines.  But because of the poverty in their country, they come to Hong Kong to work and send home money to support their children, husband, and parents.  It has to be hard, but they do it because that's how they know they can help their families.  I know the Lord has a special place for them when they finish their work on the earth.

    It has been a fulfilling week.  We hope Elwin continues to feel better.  His blood pressure has been low, and we have to watch that.  Other than that, he's doing well.  We miss our children, grandchildren, and friends back home.  It's especially hard for me during the holidays.  Hope everyone has a happy Easter. 

back to work on 4/15

    It's just been a week after Elwin's angioplasty, but he was ready to go back to work.  With the weekend, and p-day, he actually only missed Wednesday and Thursday, and was back to work on Friday, April 15.  We went in the morning as I have been going in the morning while he was convalescing at home.  I think he got bored at home.  After working two days, Elwin feels fine and we have the weekend for him to rest up too.  He has been greatly blessed.  We are grateful for all of you who have been praying for us.  Thank you, thank you!

    This has been a special week at the temple too as we welcomed the members from Mongolia.  They came in a big group and mostly of them took the train for over 70 hours to come to be at the temple.  We are very touched by their faithfulness.  They are humble people, young and old.  Three young couples came to be married in the temple because they have set their goals to be married for time and for eternity.  We enjoyed getting to know them and work with them.  Here is a picture of the group.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A stroll @Fanling Park

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Fanling Park is only a 5-minute walk from our apartment.  Elwin and I took a stroll this evening.  Spring is here!


Monday, April 18, 2011

April 17, 2011

April 11 - 17

     This has been a quiet week as Elwin stayed home to recuperate from his angiogram.  We did go to the doctor's office to make sure his shingles weren't' coming back as he experienced some tingling in his fingers.  He checked out fine, but the doctor gave him a prescription to fill if the shingles ever come back.  The best treatment would be to take the anti viral medication as soon as possible. 

     All week long, we had Mongolian members of the church visiting the temple.  It was such a great group of humble saints.  Even with the language differences, things went well.  I worked in the morning shift so I didn't have to walk through some bad areas by myself to catch the train in the middle of the night to go home if I were working night shift.   

     On Sunday, our temple preparation class worked on genealogy.  Also, several had interviews with the District president for a recommend.  We were also invited to attend the "branch council" meeting.  We didn't get home until almost 4 pm.  It was a good day!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April 10 - General Conference in Asia

    Traditionally, General Conference of the Church is held the first weekend in April.  So, naturally, people expect to have the conference on April 3 and 4.  But, not in Asia.  Because of the time difference (we are 14 hours ahead), and language translations, Hong Kong has Conference the week after Salt Lake to give them time to have the translations done.  So, on April 9 and 10, members of the Church attend General Conference in Asia with Mandarin and Cantonese dubbed already.

    Elwin and I couldn't wait until this week to watch the Conference, because it's ready online, in English only.  So we already watched most of it.  We did save one to watch today, Sunday.  Since Elwin was in the hospital on Wednesday and Thursday, we spent some time watching the Conference sessions.  It was pretty cool.

    To watch, listen, read or download the whole Conference, go to:



Something about Elwin

    Since we came to Hong Kong for our mission, I have found Elwin out of breath when he exerts himself, walking uphill or climbing steps.  Here in HK, anywhere you go, you have to do both, especially when we go to Wan Chai for Church services.  Just outside of the church, one has to climb 2 flight of stairs to cross the street to catch bus #104; then, after crossing the bay through the tunnel, one has to go up another 2 flights of stairs to go into the MTR to catch the East Rail to go home.  Each time, after the steps, Elwin had to stop to catch his breath, and he would turn pale and struggle for air.  It's not normal after going through triple bypass.

    The Mission doctor, Dr. Linford suggested that he should go in to see Dr. Gloria Pei, an internist who was educated in the US.  Below is an account of what happened:

   Monday, March 28, 2011:  Had an appointment to see Dr. Pei.  Her office is at the Prince's Building at Central MTR station, exit K.  It was easy to find.  Dr. Pei is a very outgoing person.  Within minutes after we walked into her office, she came out to greet us and lead us into her office.  She received her training at Stanford and UCLA Medical Schools.  She was very thorough asking for details of what happened.  Elwin is a detailed person, so this fits him perfectly and he provided lots of information.  Finally, she said:  "This is not normal".  She turned to me and asked if I agreed with her.  Interesting, since no doctor ever did that in the States.  Anyhow, she said that she took the liberty of setting up an appointment with Dr. Fung, the heart specialist.

    Dr. Fung took Elwin in a few minutes, after we finished with Dr. Pei, to do the stress test.  Elwin never passes stress tests as demonstrated in the last 15-20 years when he first was diagnosed with some heart defect in Knoxville, around 1992.  In any case, Dr. Fung noticed that Elwin's blood pressure initially went up but then dropped after he was a few minutes walking on the treadmill.  So he sent us to the Adventist Hospital for an electrocardiogram on Friday, April 1.  We went back to the doctor's office at 2:30 for an appointment with Dr. Pei and Dr. Fung that same day.

     Friday, April 1, 9:30 AM:  Electrocardiogram at the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital.  It's a nice western hospital where they speak both Cantonese and English.  The service was good and the results were sent to Dr. Fung immediately.

     Friday, April 1, 2:30 appointment:  Dr. Fung looked at the results and decided that an angiogram was necessary.  He scheduled it for next the Wednesday, April 6.  They are such proactive people.  The odds were that the open heart surgery in St. George last May, with the triple bypass, may have developed a blockage.  As much as Elwin has reduced his cholesterol, I found it hard to believe.  I tried to probe into this, but Dr. Fung was very careful to not be specific without checking further.  Elwin said that the doctors in St. George were among the best, and it had to be his body doing weird things.

    I called our family doctor in St. George for records to be sent to Hong Kong.  He sent the information to Dr. Fung, as requested.  His administrators took out Elwin's personal information (name and birth date) and sent the file via e-mail.  Dr. Fung gave us his cell phone number to call if we have additional questions.  He also gave me his personal e-mail. They take good card of their patients here.

    In any case, Dr. Fung told us on Friday that the appointment for surgery was tentatively set for next Wednesday, but we could cancel if Elwin changed his mind by calling him Monday.  He needed to do another pre-op blood test.  Elwin wasn't sure that was what he wanted, so we went home.

    After many prayers, Elwin decided to have it done as planned.  So, we went to the doctor's again on Monday, 4/3 to have the pre-op tests done, plus getting some medication to prepare for the surgery.

    Elwin received a blessing from President Aki on Tuesday, 4/4.  Elwin said that he felt even more confident about the upcoming operation after the blessing.

    We arrived at the hospital at 7:15 AM on Wednesday, April 6.  Many preparations were done and they took him down to surgery on a gurney at 9:10.  The surgery started at 9:20 AM, Wednesday, April 6, 2011.  Dr. Fung sent for me to go down at around 10 AM to the surgery room.

    Dr. Fung showed me on the monitor that one of the grafts wasn't large enough to pass the blood required, causing his light-headedness.  So, a stent was put into the original blocked artery with our permission and understanding.  God is with us.  We so afraid that if it weren't the case, he would have to go home for another open heart.  It would not be the same as the first one, as the success rate goes down dramatically.

    At 11 AM, the good doctor called me to let me know the procedure was done and successful.  Elwin is doing great!  A stent about 3.3 cm long was put in to open up one of the arteries.  My understanding was that Dr. Fung was able to put the stent into the native artery which was the better scenario for the long term.  I trusted he would do the best for Elwin.

   We know Heavenly Father was watching over him, and the blessing from President Aki was powerful.  I knew, and Elwin knew, he was going to be fine.  We found out too that our two daughters went to the temple to pray for him.  All the grandchildren were praying for him too.  This is a powerful example of prayers.   

    Dr. Fung just came in to do a final check before leaving.  He said that everything looks good as they monitor his heart, blood pressure, kidney function, pulse, and many other functions.  We are very grateful that this will be all behind us soon.

    Again, Elwin has a new lease on life.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Thai Members Visiting Hong Kong Temple

 Young Thai Members and Me

Thai Youth Group and Leaders
Thai Members Visiting the Temple
See story posted on March 27. 


Friday, April 8, 2011

April 3, 2011

Monday, March 28 - Sunday, April 3

     Monday was a sad day as we said good-bye to the Arnell's.  We all went to the YMCA, Salisbury Restaurant for a buffet lunch.  It's our favorite spot as it serves International foods, so everyone finds something they like.  The Arnell's are going home for medical reasons.  They have served valiantly, and we will miss them a lot.  The Elia's were there too.  They'll finish their mission and go home this Thursday, March 31.  They served as the Public Affairs missionaries and are regular helpers at the temple.  The Elia's are from Hawaii.

    Monday was also a busy day for us as Elwin went to his doctor's appointment with Dr. Pei, then Dr. Fung.  A separate blog covers that part of the event.  This week has been very busy visiting doctors.  We worked the afternoon shift since the Arnell's have gone.  The temple has stayed busy even though we don't have foreign visitors this week.

    Sunday, April 3:  It's our fast and testimony meeting.  We've had a super meeting as we enjoyed listening to the testimonies.  Naomi from Japan bore her testimony about the kindness she found since the big earthquake and tsunami in Japan on March 11.  She thanked those who helped with the fundraiser and for their outpouring of love.  Then she told of a story about a boy at Miyagi where a town was almost wiped out.

     The boy was on the 3rd floor at school when the disaster hit.  He looked out the window and saw his father driving to the school to pick him up, but he saw his father and the car swept away by the tsunami.  Then he went home and his mother and sister were gone, so was the house.  So, he walked to the shelter and stayed there with the people.  A police officer saw him shivering, standing in line for food.  He asked him where his parents were and was saddened to hear the story.  The policeman took off his jacket and put it on the boy and told the boy there was food in the pockets.  The boy took the food out and started walking up to the table where the rations of food were.  He took the food out of the pockets and put it on the table, then walked back to the line where he was standing.  The police officer was puzzled and asked him why he did that.  The boy said everyone here had been waiting for food and he wanted to share his with others.  What a remarkable story.  I know there are many such stories unfolding.  We hope they continue to overcome all the challenges that are ahead of them.

    Another young lady also bore her testimony.  She is a recent return missionary from Oakland, California.  She's from Canada, but her parents' roots are Hong Kong, so she came back to Hong Kong to live.  She said she was a trainer on her mission in charge of many duties.  She was so busy that she felt her mission went very fast.  She told of her experience after the mission as being boring, not much to do, even though she has been looking for a job.  She finally got a job and is happy to be busy again.  She looks like a very happy, positive person.  I hope she enjoys her work and has a social life in Hong Kong.  

     We are enjoying our Victoria III Mandarin Speaking Branch.  The Spirit is strong there.  We had the Leonard's and the 4 Fanling missionaries over for dinner after church.  We had oven fried chicken, mashed potatoes, Elwin's milk gravy, salad, broccoli, rolls...We had a good time eating and visiting.  As usual, the topics covered Chinese history, etc.  Someone asked about the terra cotta soldiers, and, of course, that topic brought in the stories of  Emperor Qin Shi Huang.  It was very interesting and informing.  I hope the Elders are learning some Chinese history. The 4 missionaries are from Spokane, Springville, Hong Kong, and Salt Lake.

     This being the Conference weekend, the schedules are a different.  Because of the time difference (14 hours ahead for us), Hong Kong stake holds regular meetings on April 3.  A week later, we have our Conference on Saturday, April 9, at 10 and at 2, also, at 5 for the priesthood meeting.  On Sunday, April 10, we'll have meetings at 9 and 1.  All the Conference proceedings will be dubbed in Mandarin and Cantonese.  But, we couldn't wait and have already seen all but one of the Conference sessions, in English.  Please feel free to share your thoughts about the Conference through e-mail or comments.