Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas 2011 and a Happy New Year 2012 from Hong Kong!!

Dear Friends and Family,

We've been in Hong Kong for over a year now, and we will be heading home in early May.  However, we have somewhat mixed emotions about that eventuality.  We're are very grateful for the opportunity that we've had to serve the Asian Saints in the HK temple; we've met people here from all over south Asia,  China and Mongolia.  By observing the Saints from the various places, we recognize the blessing of the Church in their lives; they are a very humble and sincere people who have embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the implementation of the Gospel into their lives has helped lift them both physically and spiritually to a higher plane.
Last year started out well enough, but Elwin began having dizziness problems climbing long fights of stairs when going back to our apartment from church on Sundays.  A local cardiologist recommended a stent (remember that he had a triple by-pass before leaving St. George, delaying our original departure to HK).  He got the stent, but it did not solve the problem.  After much research on the internet about different drugs/supplements and consultation with our son, Kong, he cut out his Omega 3 capsules.  The majority of the problem disappeared as Omega 3 supplements helps to reduce blood pressure, and Elwin already has low blood pressure.  He can now sometimes climb steep hills when we hike.
We have been attending the Mandarin-speaking branch of the Church in Wan Chai and taught the Temple preparation class.  We've had nearly a dozen of our students attend the Temple since we started  last spring.  We have also set up a regular attendance schedule for branch members and initiated baptisms for the youth to do in the Temple.  It has been a great spiritual experience for everyone.
We went to Taiwan in June and visited many of Shirley's relatives; one of two living aunts has dementia so we could not get any family history from her.  One cousin had had some family history but it was destroyed in a flood last year; he is also suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.  We did learn, however, that her family is from Zhangzhou in Fujian province, directly west of Taiwan near the Chinese city of Xiamen.  Her Sung ancestors migrated to Taiwan three to four hundred years ago.  We hope to visit there before returning home but presently have no contacts with anyone there.

Speaking of genealogy, we've seen Chinese names of men dating back to 2300 B.C. This is all very interesting, but genealogies generally only follow a patriarchal lineage, so there seldom are records giving the names of wives or daughters. In fact, this was obvious at the time when some of our students at Shandong University three years ago did not know that their grandmothers have names. We told them to go home and learn of their families.

A highlight here has been the recent visit of our oldest daughter and her family to Hong Kong.  They came during the two week Temple closing for cleaning earlier this month, so we were free to show them Hong Kong.  It was a whirlwind holiday; Shirley had plans for every day of ten days of places to go and activities to do.  It was also interesting having nine people sleep in our small apartment; the bed and floors were covered by people with little space for moving around.  Everyone seemed thrilled about the experience.

What a great year we've had!  We've met many kind and wonderful people.  We've seen many people grow in the Gospel.  And guess what, we have too.  We are grateful for this time of year when we celebrate the birth of our Savior.  It reminds us of the peace and joy we experience when we rely on Him to soothe our hurts and mend our souls.  There are no words that can express the appreciation and love we have for Him.  May y'all have a very joyous Christmas and a wonderful new year.

With much love, Elder Elwin and Sister Shirley Davis 

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