Elder Kyle M. Allen in Hong Kong

Read all about Elder Allen's adventures as a full time missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Saints in Hong Kong

“I Ate Sponge Bob’s “Shell” Phone”

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September 5, 2013

Well the work keeps on moving forward in a very, very, wet Hong Kong.  This past week has been nothing but wet, wet, and wet.  I need to send a picture of my shoes.  Last year I had trouble asking for anything for Christmas but this year it’s just one thing.  Shoes.  Every time I step in a puddle my shoes are just like instantly soaked.  I don’t even get the logic behind how fast they get wet.  The bottoms of these bad boys have many a mile on them.  Too many.  This week it got to the point where I can touch my sock through like the side/bottom angle.  It’s awesome.  I love them.  Just keep walking and teaching!  So this week I decided to take my P-Day on Thursday just to celebrate the game against the all and powerful Sacramento State.  I haven’t got a (Sun Devil Football) calendar this year… I don’t know whom they play week to week!  But I think it’s Sacramento State.  (He was right; the Sun Devils played Sacramento State on Thursday, September 5.)   Where to tailgate though!?!   (Kyle is referring to the fact that ASU sold the parking lot where we have always had our tailgate parties to a developer so we were wondering at the time where we would have our tailgate parties before the game.)  That’s the question I hear.  Good luck with that one!

This week you can mark two more things that I have eaten, Conch and Dried Fish Maw. To be honest I’m not sure what either of these are.   I’ve only heard of Conch because Sponge Bob uses a conch as his cell phone!!!  Ha-ha!  And the maw of a fish???  I don’t know… but whatever it is, it’s supposed to make my skin go bubbly.  The Chinese were super excited about it.  Neither one was very bad actually.  (Well I looked them up and conch is just what you think it is.  The insides of one of these conch shells.

Large shell with flared lip, viewed facing the opening, which is glossy and tinted with shades of pink and apricot

Kyle doesn’t say how his conch was served but apparently the Chinese like to prepare it stir-fried with a variety of vegetables. Looking for new dinner ideas? A recipe for this particular dish called “Conch with Pepper and Yamaimo Stir-fry” can be found here.

Fish Maw is an internal gas-filled organ found in most fish.  It is an air bladder which regulates water and oxygen flow so that the fish can ascend and descend in the water.   It is an excellent source of collagen, the main component of your connective tissue.  This means it is in your skin, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, bones and blood vessels. When you buy it dried (and you can buy it dried at Amazon.com – 100g for $19.84) you wash it and soak it for at least 4 hours (overnight is best) until it regains its soft, slippery texture.  When it is cooked it takes on the flavor of the surrounding ingredients within just a few minutes.  As a result it is considered a “texture” ingredient instead of a “flavor” ingredient. It is relatively expensive and thought of as a “luxury” item in Chinese cooking.   I knew you would want one so here is a recipe for Dried Fish Maw. (See picture below). Are you hungry yet?

This week was mission leadership council meeting and so Sister Hawks made homemade food.  For the first time in these 13 months or so I had a homemade green salad.  It was manna to the taste.  Kidding.  It was like mom’s dinner.  Oh that was so good.  Everything this week went okay.  Oh the real reason is obviously I went to the temple.  It’s good and all.  No new movie though.  I hear there is a new movie.

So I don’t know what I was thinking about last week when I was emailing but as soon as I got off I totally remembered about this crazy event that happened here last week.  I went to a pop concert!  It’s only my second one ever – and it was on my mission!  President Hawks said that us missionaries could go because the group (they are named Beyond 5 check them out) stands for good music and righteous living.  They make their own good music to inspire people in a good way. They were going around all of Asia performing at youth conferences  (4 out of the 5 band members are LDS) and such.  Well we got asked to do security for them.  Our missionary goal was to get as many contacts as possible to teach these people what the performers believe.  I just couldn’t believe we were allowed to go!  I think it was a success.  Only certain missionaries were allowed to go so it was a big privilege.

This week some funny things happened, along with being busy and wet.  For instance we picked up a new companion on Monday just for a day.  I’ll send a picture of him next week, but I didn’t bring my camera because we didn’t have an umbrella and so we were just getting soaked!  But anyway he was here from Monday to Wednesday because he needed to go the temple for his endowments!  He’s an Indian fellow that has already been serving a mission for about 3 months over there!  He says they average like 23 member presents and 5 baptisms a month over there every month!  Remarkable.  Anyway.  I thought it was going to be a big blessing to see how others worked and we were going out to lunch with a member after we helped give his Dad a blessing.  Well it turned out to be quite the experience… I have narrowed it to some quotes (to be done in an Indian voice)

1.  “How can I eat these noodles with these two pencils?”

2. “Where is the chicken that I can just grab and tear to pieces?”

3.  “I will NOT drink this water.”  (They serve hot water here – It’s supposed to be healthier…anyway there is no cold water anywhere here.)

4.  “Where is a Coke or a Mountain Dew man?  I will only drink something like that.”

4.  “How can you eat this crap?” (after 5 minutes)

Oh boy…. good thing the members weren’t good at English…. that was rough…

Anyway the business continues. I don’t feel like I’ve had a day off in 17 days!!!!  Today maybe.  We have to do a STAKE coordination meeting.  So like missionaries talk about their investigators, less actives, and recent converts in their wards right?  Well along with our own that we have to do like everyone else’s at a stake meeting!!!!!!!!!!! Its crazy! It’s tonight.  The problem is (and I shall welcome this problem any day) that we’ve been too busy teaching to have enough time to prepare!!!!  Let me tell you about my week…

This week was just another big blessing for us. For starters, A-Hung passed his baptismal interview yesterday!  We are very excited and if no problems come up everything will happen on Sunday.  He is very dependable and solid.  We had a lesson with him last week that really opened his heart to want to repent and talk more with us about repentance.  Ever since he told us some of the things that have happened to him in the past like having to spend just a couple months in jail 15 years ago, he has been more open and willing to just work with us.  He is a great man that wants to change and I have seen the Spirit change him. He went from never attending any church to coming to church every week for these past 8 weeks in a row. He was very sick on Sunday but stayed for the first two hours and then half of Sacrament Meeting.

The Ng Family came to church again!  We were so excited to see that.  The members that are helping them out are doing such an amazing job.  They even went out for ice cream last Saturday night just to talk and make sure they came to church on Sunday.  I think though for their dad to have more interest in the gospel his friend Rex has to sacrifice work time and go to church.  That’s how they were introduced to the church, through Rex and his wife.  We went and visited Rex and Erica (his wife) this past week at their request. They are a wonderful family.  Solid.  Cindy, Ben, and A-Po Ng love them both so things are off to a slow but good start with them.

Steven is doing well and looking well to be baptized on the 29th of this month.  The only problem is that he doesn’t have a strong fellowshipper in the ward since it is very hard to schedule him the night before or anything like that.  That is our top priority besides A-Hung’s baptism.  This past two weeks have been such a miracle with all these people and more that only time prevents me from speaking about them.

Another great miracle is Or Lan and Emily.  We went over to visit her on Friday and when we got there we met her previous church’s representatives.  We just sat down on the couch while they were at the table because the two representatives said they were talking to her.  Well they left without like acknowledging us or anything.  I heard them tell her “you should just come this week to our church.  It’s much closer for you which is important since your leg is bad and all.”  Well we had the best lesson with Or Lan and she is doing wonderfully in her calling as the Relief Society Secretary.  Apparently, they’ve already had some meetings besides those on Sunday and she attends them all.  She is great and the ward just loves them two.  Her testimony of the Book of Mormon and living prophets is one of power.

That is all for this week.  I have more stories but I thought I might share them with you this next week.  I love you all!  It’s game day!!!!!  The Atonement is real and it shows us the example of true forgiveness from all people.  Repentance.  That is the whole purpose of Christ’s mission right?  I love you all.  Keep your spirits up. Thanks for the support.  My back is okay… but the pain has moved to my butt.  If I stretch it wrong it feels like a piece of lightning is up there.  Well I’ll talk to you on Monday.  You bet I’m sporting my Maroon tie today!

Elder Allen

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