This has been a very special month. We celebrated Max's 2nd birthday on May 1, then dear brother-in-law, Stan's b/day was on May 2. Our sweet Megu turned 12 on May 4. Elwin had a b/day on May 7, Mother's Day on the 8th, then the finale goes to Shuaner on the 12th for her special day. We received a gift subscription from the Warr's for the skype premium for multiple video calls. How fun it was to have all the children on the screen. The children were so excited to see one another on the computer screen. Kong had it on the big screen and we even saw Max coming in to the room and started a little temper tantrum session. It was so cute as we all tried to call him and calm him. Then he realized we were all talking to him and smiled. It was so fun!
The week of May 3-6 brought some members from Thailand. One sister spoke a little Chinese. Came to find out that she's of Chinese ancestry and her father made sure she learned Chinese. She says she has forgotten a lot, but we were able to communicate with her. Another couple came from India who speak English well enough for us to communicate with them. They brought with them such sweet spirit and we felt very fortunate to be there with them. It was a short week for us at the temple as we were invited to participate in the senior missionaries' conference on Saturday, May 7.
The Senior Missionaries Conference started in Wan Chai chapel with the Asia Area Presidency speaking to us. They gave us a Q/A at the end and I asked about Church in India. It was so amazing to know that even though India has suspended visas to the North American missionaries for the past 2 years, the Church is strong and doing well under the leadership of the local members. As of late, 10 visas have been issued to North American missionaries as educational support staff. We do see members from India coming to visit Hong Kong regularly. Then, Elder Wan spoke to us about Kom Tong Hall, the original Church Headquarter in Hong Kong.
Elder Wan grew up in Kom Tong Hall when his parents were hired to be custodians of the building. One blog in February was devoted to this when we visited the place. He told us many interesting tidbits of the place. Since Kom Tong Hall used to belong to a wealthy family, the Ho family, it was a magnificent mansion. At one time, his parents applied for him to receive free tuition and fees at the primary school, it was rejected because he lived on 7 Castle Rd, the Kom Tong Hall. His father had to go to school to prove that he was a custodian to receive the special benefits. We toured the building with Elder Wan and it was so interesting to hear the background of the architecture, the stain glass, wood work stories. It is now the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Museum which the Church sold to Hong Kong Government for 53 million dollars, and traded for the property on Wan Chai, a great trade for both the Government and the Church, even though we don't know the details of the transaction.
Kom Tong Hall as the LDS Church HQ from 1960-2004
the intricate woodwork of Kom Tong Hall
in front of Kom Tong Hall w/Elder Wan
After Kom Tong Hall, we headed for Victoria Peak. It was like a different world from when we took a tram up about 20 years ago. A beautiful galleria was developed with shopping mall and great restaurants. We even saw a shop with Hard Rock Cafe t-shirts, but no restaurant yet. Under the guidance of several missionaries, we were able to find the place where Elder Matthew Cowley dedicated Hong Kong for the preaching of the gospel in 1949, after World War II. It was a beautiful, tree-lined trail, overlooking Hong Kong Harbor. This is a must see spot of Hong Kong. One can catch bus #15 or mini bus #1 at Central or catch the tram to go up there.
The site where Hong Kong was dedicated for the preaching of the gospel on July 14, 1949
@the Victoria Peak near dedication site
Taking the tram down from Victoria Peak
It was a delightful conference. The best part was to be together and socialize with fellow senior missionaries. Now, we are ready to go back to work.
This Sunday brought new experiences. We listened to talks from the Peterson's and found that Sister Peterson joined the church a few years ago and her husband is from California. They have a little boy. We had great Sunday School and Relief Society classes. Then, we had the choir practice.
By default, I was asked to be the choir director. Before we came, I had a nightmare that they asked me to play piano and direct music. When I saw that a couple of sisters played piano, I was very relieved. I've waved my arms a few times, but never directed any choir. But, for this choir, everyone has been so helpful, they picked the music, sent me youtube of what they were supposed to sound like, took care of what we were supposed to wear, to stand, except for directing music themselves. If I were a real choir director, I might have resented that, but since I'm not, I feel so fortunate that they took care of all those things for me. So, with a few practices, we are supposed to be singing at the District Conference next Sunday. God help us!
Before we close, we wanted you to know that we didn't forget Cinco de Mayo. After all, we've lived in 5 different places in Texas and have grown to love the culture and the food. So, for Sunday dinner on the 8th, we had Mexican food. The Leonards and 6 missionaries joined us after choir practice and we had a great time.
To prepare for the Mexican dinner, I found homemade recipe for 'refried bean w/o the fry' which was excellent. I went to the grocery store and found tortillas, salsa, and also tortilla chips, which cost us an arm and a leg. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find olives and avocados. May be better luck next time. The menu is below:
chicken enchiladas - http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Chicken-Enchiladas/Detail.aspx
refried beans - http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Refried-Beans-Without-the-Refry/Detail.aspx
Spanish rice - http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Spanish-Rice/Detail.aspx?prop31=2
layered bean dip - http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Spicy-Layered-Bean-Dip/Detail.aspx?prop31=4 (no olives)
Pork roast - pork tenderloin, baked (would be better to make it into carnitas)
Try it! It's fun and delicious!