Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy New Year!


The year of the Dragon!
2012 seems to be going even faster.  We celebrated the New Year with the temple opening half a day for the holidays, Dec. 26 and Dec. 31.  Since most of the Filipino sisters are domestic helpers, they were busy working and didn't have much of a chance to come to the temple.  But we did see some members from Thailand and also from China.  It was good to see them all.

While at the Mandarin Speaking Branch where we attend church, the chapel has been full.  Well, for Jan. 22, the Chinese New Year's Eve, many of our members went home to be with their families, mostly in China.  Elwin and I both spoke at church that day.  Elwin spoke of "what Latter Day Saints believe", reporting the Pew report surveying members of the church instead of people outside of the church.  It was very revealing.  Following is the article published by Pew:

Pew Mormon Study Highlights Christianity, Religiosity of Latter-day Saints

SALT LAKE CITY — Mormons’ faith, beliefs and practices translate to satisfaction with their lives according to a report studying members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the United States released today by the Pew Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life.

The study
, a nationwide survey of 1,019 Latter-day Saints, sought to determine the levels of religiosity among Church members and found that 77% of members say they attend religious services at least once a week, 83% say they pray every day, 98% say they believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and 97% describe their faith as a Christian religion. The study confirms that Mormons exhibit higher levels of religious commitment than many other religious groups and believe firmly in the distinctive tenets of their faith.
"The nationwide survey ... finds that Mormons share many of the religious practices and beliefs of traditional Christianity," the study says.
The survey also found, as one might expect, that Mormons place an unusually high priority on family life. Being a good parent and having a successful marriage are high priorities.
"The results of this study regarding satisfaction for life, religiosity and faith are not surprising. Latter-day Saints have a deep faith centered in Jesus Christ, which brings contentment in life," said Church spokesman Michael Purdy.
Satisfaction "with the way things are going in their life" was particularly high among younger Mormons. Of those under age 50, 92% say they are satisfied with their lives (compared with 79% of the general population).

Public events including two Mormon candidates running for president of the United States, commercial productions depicting Mormons and their faith, and other Mormon-related stories in the press have created a period of noted interest in the Church, which some have called the "Mormon moment." The preface to the Pew report explains that the study intended to better understand what Mormons believe, how they practice their faith and how they see themselves and their place in American life.

As one might expect, the study found that many Mormons (54%) feel that the way their faith is portrayed in television and movies hurts society's image of them. Recent television programs have confused the public with misrepresentations of what Mormons actually believe and practice. But more than half of Mormons (52%) said the treatment of their faith in the news media is fair, while 38% said the treatment is unfair.
"As we have spoken with hundreds of reporters from throughout this country and met with their editorial boards, we sense a real desire on their part to provide accurate information about our faith," Purdy said. "Television and other commercial productions, however, have tended to skew and misrepresent Mormonism, to the detriment of the general public and members of the faith."
Six in ten Mormons (62%) surveyed feel that America, as a whole, is uninformed about their faith, but a majority of Mormons (63%) feel acceptance of their faith is rising.
"While the study asks about acceptance, what we really hope for is accurate understanding. On the whole, information and understanding about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is increasing," Purdy said. "The more people learn about our faith, the better they will come to understand who we are and the values and beliefs we cherish."
My talk focused on President Monson message to the members of the church, "Living the Abundant Life":
  • Have a Positive Attitude
  • Believe in Yourself
  • Face Challenges with Courage 
My assertion is that when we do the above, we'll have "abundant blessings".

On Saturday, Jan. 21, we took a hike up Butterfly Mountain.  It was a cool and beautiful day.  The best thing was that Elwin was able to reach the top, again.  His health has improved a lot.  Elder & Sister Chan, her sister and brother-in-law hiked with us.  After hiking for a couple of hours, we came down to Wah-ming Estate where we had some delicious hot soy milk, and some won tons.  It was a good day for all of us.
 On New Year's Eve, we were invited by the Liu Family's to have dinner with them.  What a special family the Liu's are.  They took care of us like we were their parents.  Dr. Liu just finished his residency in Nan-ning and will be working at the Shenzhen Hospital.  His family is from Shandong where we taught in 2008-2009.  He made some traditional jiao-zis for us, plus the traditional Cantonese fish, shrimp, and several other dishes.  It was a memorable New Year's Eve in Hong Kong for us.  Many thanks for the Liu's for their love and care for us.
On Monday, New Year's day, we had the senior missionaries over for some chili and homemade potato rolls.  The Chan's brought oranges and bananas, and a friend and her baby whom they met at church; the Dean's brought a beautiful Chinese bakery cake.  We also served Chinese turnip cake and rice cake (traditional sweets for the New Year).  We had a good time talking and enjoying the food together. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Holidays for the Senior Missionaries in Hong Kong

What a special month it was as we welcomed Elaine and her family to Hong Kong during the temple closing, Dec. 1 - 10.  A separate post can be seen at   

The rest of the month was filled with visitors from afar.  We had a couple of groups of members from Thailand, from Singapore, and from Shanghai.  Each group brought such a special spirit to the Temple.  It was especially nice to see these people during the Christmas season.  We count these as our choiced blessings as we work with these people who come from afar.

On Dec. 17, a special temple devotional took place at 4 PM for the temple workers, staff and their families.  We enjoyed our special speakers, Elder and Sister Gong.  We were then treated with a special buffet by President and Sister Aki.  Two roasted pigs were prepared for the special occasion.  What a delight to have the Hawaiian flavor at this Christmas Social.

That night, we also participated in the Victoria III Branch Christmas Party.  There were 4 roasted turkeys for the occasion.  The Branch members had a great time as we visited and enjoyed the Christmas dinner together.  Wow!  2 Christmas dinners in one day!  Better be hitting the hiking trails! 

The Barretts and us at the Vic III Social
Elders Singing at Vic III Branch Christmas Social
Monday, Dec. 19:  For our P-day, we went to Victoria Park to see the "Food Expo".  It was fun to see the food trends of Hong Kong.  People here are sophisticated connoisseurs of food and spend a lot of money on it.  So, we had a glimpse of what it was like.  In fact, the saying goes that one is sure to enjoy good food if they follow the Cantonese people.  It is true as we have been recipients of wonderful cuisines in Hong Kong and in Guangdong.

Christmas day fell on Sunday.  We only had Sacrament meeting that day.  We were invited by the Watson's to have lunch with them, along with the Brown's and the Warmoth's.  Afterwards, we took a leisurely hike at the TAI TAM WATERWORKS HERITAGE TRAIL.  It was a delightful afternoon and what a beautiful trail that was.  

 For future reference, here is the url for the trail:

Tuesday, 12/27 was a holiday, so the Temple was open for half a day.  We were invited by the Cheung's to their home in Sai Kung to have seafood dinner.  Brother Cheung, our chiropractor was the cook that night.  What a delicious meal he made for us.  Elwin thought that it was probably the best seafood dinner he had ever had.  It was that GOOD!  For entertainment, he sang a couple of Taiwanese love songs for us.  It was a beautiful evening.  We are grateful for these gracious people who treated us so well.

Dec. 31:  The Temple was open for half a day since it was again a holiday.  We met with the other senior missionaries after the last temple session to enjoy the "hot pot" dinner at East Tsim Sha Tsui.  It was a new experience for most, but for Elwin and myself, we've had that many times.  It was a tradition for my family to have "hot pot" dinner for New Year's eve.  So, it was perfect timing.  Afterwards, we went to Chinachem Theaters and watched a movie.  It was fun.  I don't know if anyone stayed up for the midnight fireworks, but we were exhausted after working, eating and watching a movie.  So, we came home and crashed by 9:00 pm! 

So long, 2011!  It's been a good year!

Monday, January 9, 2012

25 Ways to Wear a Scarf in 4.5 Minutes!

It has been cold in Hong Kong.  So here I found a link to the many ways of wearing a scarf!