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


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The Asians are Eternal – Almost

If you will remember in one of Kyle’s first emails from the MTC he told us about a saying they have in the MTC that goes something like this, “Spanish Elders come and go but Asians are eternal.”  The saying refers to the length of time the Elders who have to learn Asian languages (including Kyle’s Cantonese) spend in Provo as opposed to the spanish-speaking Elders whose districts come and go several times during an Asian Elder’s stay.  Well the twelve long weeks are almost over and Kyle will finally be moving on as well.  He received his travels plans last week and you can just hear the excitement in his voice as he writes about it in this week’s email.

What’s up everybody!!!

 How is everyone doing today? Oh great? That’s just great. Haha! I was thinking about this fact and get this. This is the 69th day of my mission and my birthday (March 10th) is on the 69th day of they year! So if you take the beginning of the year and go to my birthday, that’s how many days I have been in this place. That’s crazy to think about! It seems like forever and then I think about it and it really is!! Haha – kidding of course. When we were doing our weekly planning and I realized that this week is actually my last week here FOREVER I got a little sad, but oh well! Everyone always talks about how they’re sick of it (the MTC) by week 4 and just want to go – but I can’t lie and say that. Do I want to leave? Of course I want to leave.  But do I want to leave?  Not really. The Spirit is like it’s never been before and you just learn so much here. As for the food, I say who cares. If it won’t kill you then why not partake? Haha!  Maybe I can think of a few reasons not to eat the food but that’s beside the point. In 10 days I’ll be eating weird stuff like packaged chicken feet (yes there is such a thing) and something called Durian eggs. Don’t know how you spell it exactly but look it up. (As Kyle suggested I looked up Durian eggs and the results weren’t too promising – especially if you are about to eat the things.  To quote a website that features recipes using Durian eggs “Durians stink like disgusting body odor and taste like rotten eggs.”  I’l stick with chicken eggs myself – fresh ones to be exact but some of the recipes using them actually looked pretty good. Here is a recipe for Durian Egg Tarts in case you are feeling adventurous.) And you tell me that you’d take that over roast beef every other Sunday for lunch?  Yes we have got the cafeteria schedule down to a science.

 Speaking of leaving this place did I mention I am?!!!! We leave Provo in just 7 days at 6:00 am for the Salt Lake City Airport! And then we fly on American Airlines flight 3039 to LAX at 10:05 am so definitely some talking room then! (Kyle gets to call home from the airport so “talking room” means time to talk to us on the phone.) And then I think I’ll have time to call again after we get to LAX. We are on Cathay Pacific Airlines flight 885 at 12:55 pm.  Keep in mind we aren’t on the same time schedule.  Isn’t Utah like an hour ahead? And then we have like 17 hours to convert the whole plane before we get to Hong Kong at 6:50 am the next day! Haha! I’m super excited to just go and talk to real people. I was thinking, that maybe they keep you in here for this long just so you’ll be excited to talk with real people! And the language of course is the bonus. But seriously here’s how the conversations are right now when meeting new people (usually in the cafeteria.) “Oh what’s your name?” someone says.  And the person responds, “Oh cool, where are you from?”  Then get this.  They have the audacity to ask, “Where are you going?”  They are so bold. By that time you’ve got your food and you wait until the process starts over again at gym time.  Haha!

 Very cool stories this week from the people at home.  Haha! Speaking of the blog thanks for updating it! I thought you did that every week but my dearelderdearleaderdeargenerallismo from grandma said that she just barely read about L. Tom Perry speaking to us. That was 5 weeks ago!!  Haha! (Apparently I haven’t told Kyle about all of the things that have happened to me these past few week that may have kept me from my regular posts.) Maybe she just hasn’t looked at it in awhile but I always do love her dearelderdearleaderdeargenerallisno. Speaking of which, I am very sad we don’t have a layover in The Peoples Republic of Korea (since I’m going to China next week I and they are our neighbors I feel like I should start referring to them properly) to congratulate the Great Successor! I saw their wedding pic on lds.org! I never knew that the Seoul Temple was so beautiful! Haha! Oh boy…they don’t even know who she is? Classic. That is classic.

 ASU actually got 3 votes?! That’s hilarious. (ASU’s football team managed to round up three votes in a poll to predict who will win the PAC-12 Championship.)  It’s obvious who went to temple before they cast their votes. A nation, I mean conference of unbelievers. If Jake is reading this, UofA isn’t going anywhere and we will always accept transfers. Did they get Great Successor’s vote? I’m guessing he probably had a big part in how the results turned out. I think I saw him in a vision wearing a Barkley jersey, but nope it was a Lane Kiffin jersey. Weird I know but Kiffin is kinda like the Great Successor just better. Haha!  And Utah – poor Utah, their day will come. Tell My Eubank to come on a business trip to HK. Haha!  Is he more spiritual than Tim Tebow?  No that’s impossible. Oh and how are the Olympics going? I heard US was supposed to take 1st overall but China will probably come in second. (So much of this sports stuff goes right over my head!  Sorry I can’t help you if you are as lost as I am.)  That’s cool!

 We had our baptism this week! I gave one of the talks – in Cantonese of course. Haha!  It was about the Holy Ghost. Everyone that could speak Cantonese showed up for it. Haha! That’s only about ten people but still. Last week I found out I’m giving the prayer tomorrow for our devotional! So I’m going to be saying a prayer in front of 2600 missionaries and a general authority! And we get to sit on the stand so that’s cool!! 

I’m out of time so bye-bye emails from the MTC!  The next email you’ll get is next Thursday (August 9), P-Day in the field! So I’ll get there and the next day will be P-Day! I love you all and always remember the Lord has a plan, just follow his commandments, give everything you got and he’ll provide the rest.  It’s like the boy in the scriptures who only had 5 loaves and 2 fish.  He gave it his all and the Lord provided the rest to feed 5000. The Lord can do that and with him all things are possible! I can’t wait till Monday!

 Au Yeuhng Jeung Louh


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The Grandpa Stages

Kyle has been in the MTC for so long he now thinks of himself as a grandpa to all of the younger, newly arriving missionaries.  He may not be old enough to be a real grandpa (although some of us grandmas are still pretty young) he does seem to have gained some of the wisdom I have always associated with my grandpas.  Here are some pictures of him saying goodbye to his own grandparents just before he left.  Image

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If you want to write to the elderly Elder Allen while he is still in Provo, you’d better get going.  Time is running out!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JULIE!!!! I LOVE…EHHH…YOU

Week 10. Double digits. And what’s even cooler about today is that I’ve been gone for exactly two months!! Two months down and 22 to go before my mission is over.  I don’t even want to think about that! Yesterday was the 22nd. Only TWO more weeks until I get to China! I can’t wait! There are a lot of 2s in my life right now.  It’s hard to keep track of them all….not really but ehhh you get the picture right? Oh and this is my second to last email from the MTC. They just keep piling on! Well maybe we have to knock on wood because I haven’t got my travel plans yet (hopefully this week!!!!) so I could be leaving later than Monday but you never know with this place they call the “M.T.C.” they like to throw curveballs at you. Who knows maybe they say I “get” to spend another couple weeks here. I would just love that!  Haha!   Speaking of which, Phyl was telling me (and complaining) that his visa hasn’t come in yet so he can’t go to Colombia. He’s been here for a week and a half. That Elder…..I pray for his safety every night…even here in Provo. He needs it. Haha! Double digits I just can’t believe it!

Week 9 actually went really fast! We have P day on Monday so that goes way too fast. Tuesday we only have one class because of the devotional we have in the night. Then Wednesday this week we got to host new missionaries, which is a little bit sad! I’m so glad I don’t have to do that ever again. (I’m not sure whether Kyle means he is glad he doesn’t ever have to “host” new Elders again or he never has to “be” a new Elder again!) Haha!  But at the same time it’s pretty funny. Both of the Elders I hosted were from Provo so its not like they had clueless faces like most of them do but we talked to the Mandarin Elders who leave the same time we do pretty much the whole time..  They are really cool and there are lots of them! But get this, I was talking to an Elder while his new missionary was getting his name tag and stuff and he told me that this new elder was actually a new brother!! He hadn’t been set apart yet!!! How does that happen?!!! Haha!  I wonder what happened with him. Anyway, Thursday I walk the new missionaries around and stuff like that so it seems like a short day. Friday  is normal and Saturday we have TRC which has gotten way better! So it’s a short week! Sunday (yesterday) was really long but oh well!

The move sounds like it went really well and the Lord is really blessing you! He is always in control just remember that! The ward sounds huge holy cow!!! I cant wait to meet them all!  In 22 months or maybe more because I probably won’t want to leave that place!  PAC media day is coming up!!! I can’t wait for that! I think CTG is going to impress people there I really do! I hope he has a little Frank Kush in him and totally disses on the Northern Mexico team! That story is priceless. I will always remember that!  ( I know that CTG is Sun Devil coach Todd Graham but I do not know what story he is talking about.)  Haha! Make sure whenever to send the SD card back so I can get it before I leave for China so I’ll have it with me!!!

I’ve been learning a lot lately! Elder Bednar is the man! Look him up cause he is just a crazy teacher! I wish you could see the videos he has here! They are amazing! I watched one that he gave at a devotional here about following the Spirit and it just makes you want to get up and go start walking somewhere and let the Spirit guide you. Remind me to tell you the stories he told about his own mission. They are cool!!! And he has one called “The Character of Christ” that plays like literally every week here because its so good. Every Sunday night you have the option of watching one of 4 things either talks or movies and it’s always up there. It’s not enough to know about Christ, you have to strive to become like him. Look outward this week, not inward. That’s what the Savior did. The final miracle He performed was when the guards were coming in Gethsemane to take him away and Peter cut off the guard’s ear He healed it right away.  It’s truly amazing what He does. So that’s the challenge this week. Look outward, not inward. In everything that you do and see how your days are. Once you do it you’ll want to do it more! I love you all thank you for everything you do for me! I can’t wait to talk to you! And always remember, CTG has a solution.

Au Yeuhng Jeung Louh


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Stay Positive!

I actually thought about deleting the first paragraph of this letter because in it Kyle sounds so discouraged.  I didn’t do it because as you read on  you understand that he loves what he is doing and is just anxious to get out into the field.  My guess is that once he gets to Hong Kong and experiences some of the “local ambiance” (including the food and the cockroaches) there are things he will miss at the Provo Missionary Training Center!  Our family also decided to move this week (really very suddenly) and since he probably left thinking he would return to the same home he left, this added to his feelings of discouragement.  By the end of his letter his admonition to “stay positive” is excellent advice for us all.

Well hello world! This week was very long and hard for me. I just feel like its time to get out of here.  I don’t like it here anymore. It’s just dull and boring.  It’s sad when you say the most exciting part of your day (for 55 days straight now) is going outside and sitting on a picnic bench to read for an hour….but I guess only 21 more days left exactly.  A little weird but we literally have seen thousands and thousands of missionaries leave this place. I’m past the 50 day mark, I’m officially an old fogey.

Scripture study is going really good for me! I’m really learning a lot. It makes me wonder why I didn’t ever do it before now! Anyway so I started reading the Book of Mormon on day 7 and today I’ll be starting Mormon so if you want to keep track. Hopefully I might finish it but if not, there’s always next week!

I finally got some responses to the questions in my letter from last week.  Very impressive!  Go ahead and send the watch link here if you find it.  I’m sure I can find a place in China that will put it in. I was just going to send it home really quick but either way works! (Kyle has either gained some weight eating the MTC cafeteria food or is just getting bigger and stronger from all of that volleyball because he needs another link for his watch.) And oh wow!  You answered my question about the piano too! But I don’t like the answer! Please save it! Do whatever you can to! I want you to! (About the only piece of furniture we owned in our old house was a beautiful baby grand piano.  From the moment he heard that we were moving he has been telling us that we needed to make sure we brought the piano to the new house.  I think he was joking because there is no way I would have left that piano and it is far too big to forget but the rest of the family thinks he was serious.  I jokingly told him we couldn’t bring it!) I haven’t had a chance to check out the house yet on Google maps (because we actually have access to it) but I definitely will sometime in the week! Thanks for giving me the address without me asking! I’ll definitely be sending my letters there now! And if I were you Staci I’d go to Highland, but that’s just me. (Staci was trying to decide if she would continue high school at Highland or transfer to Higley High which is just a few minutes from our new house.)  Just remember this in D&C 101:36 it says something basically along the lines of (look this up so I’m not speaking blasphemy) but that in the normal things you can’t find real joy and happiness but it is only through Christ that your joy is full. What a thing to remember!  Who cares about where you live, all that matters is who is with you, and that you help each other the best you can, with whatever they need help on. Do not ever dwell on the past but only look forward to the future and how you can become better.  Remember the lessons learned, but the details of those things don’t really matter in the end. Heck in a couple weeks I’ll be moving to places where even after you deep clean your place the entire P-Day, you still have cockroaches by the family moving in with you! I really can’t wait for that!  Or I may get to live under the temple…but that’s beside the point.

Speaking of which, sorry I am writing late! We had the sweet opportunity of cleaning the temple this morning! I cleaned 12 sealing rooms and chairs that are in there and then I dismantled old boilers so it was actually really fun! Did you know the Provo temple is the only temple that has a workshop in it? Well now you know! Throw down that fact on all da fools who think they know temples better than you.

Teaching is going really well and one of our investigators is getting baptized next week – Haha! It’s funny, since we are here for so long we get to teach the investigators all the lessons so we can actually have a “baptism service”.  Haha!  The older district had one and it was hilarious! It’s just like the real thing! Just without the water… so that will be something to look forward to.

I just can’t wait to get out of here! I’ve been keeping track since day 1 of how many times we have sung “Called To Serve.” Any guesses? 10. This is our ninth week.  You only have two meetings a week that include singing hymns! And only two chances in each of those meetings to sing that particular song so…you do the math.  I’ve started memorizing it in Chinese because I’ve got nothing better to do!

Keep reading the scriptures everyday, its so cliché to say but oh well I’m going to say it! Jihkjyuh Moyihmunging, Sahn waih ngohdeih kaisih keuihge jiyi. Figure that one out! (I have no idea!)  Yes, there are no tones and whatever but give me a break! Tell me what I can do to help out. I feel so hopeless here with you all. Stay positive!

Oh and to answer your question dad (Staci can help you find them) can you send Phyl’s, Caleb’s and Alex’s letters to me?? Those are the ones I know have a blog so you can get them! But Staci, you know my friends so you can forward any of them you want. Stay positive and the Lord wants to bless all of us everyday! And we don’t know the answers until the answers have already come sometimes!

Love,

Au Yeuhng


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Keep Moving Forward!

It sounds to me like my son has grown up a lot since I dropped him off at the Missionary Training Center on May 23rd – just a few weeks ago in my mind.  Having been in the same small place and keeping the same routine over and over again for such a long time has taught him that no matter what your circumstance the best you can do is to “keep moving forward.”  It is great advice for all of us and I hope you enjoy reading about it in his letter.  I have also included the picture he talks about taking with his friends Phyl, Alex and Zach.  Priceless!

Well this week went by fast!! Its crazy to think about all the time I’ve spent here already! I cant remember half of it but it just seems like forever and yet so short! Only 28 days from today and Ill be on a plane to…well Los Angeles but then to Hong Kong! The Spirit is a funny thing, especially on your mission because you can only remember half the stuff that you’ve done (at least that’s the case for me) but that stuff is really important.  Pretty weird.  I’m sad I missed Fourth of July! That was the funniest story that I’ve ever heard about Thatcher! I really do miss that place! I was laughing very hard! (I sent Kyle a play by play description of the Fourth of July celebration in Thatcher.  I would include it here but unless you’ve seen it in person you may not appreciate it like he did.) A good sustained laugh like that is hard to come by here! We got the new Cantonese elders here! Safe and sound! They’re alright I guess…I’m just thinking that we got super lucky with the old district because all of them were really cool and wanted to do everything with us!  These people are a different story! But oh well its only been like 4 days! I’m glad you got the SD card I was really worried something had happened to it! Oh and how could I forget?! Jenna you’re home?! That’s crazy!! How is it being home?!

This week has been fun and inspirational! We actually had three devotionals this week! The Sunday and Tuesday regulars but also a special Wednesday night one! It was actually really fun and a good way to spend the holiday! It was mostly people performing and singing and such but they called it a devotional and it really touched me! And it was really fun! Then we got to go outside and watch the fireworks! They lasted till like 10:45! So we got to stay out till like 11 p.m. on Wednesday! It was actually cool! That’s what its going be like everyday though for two years! Did you know that? I hope you did! I wake up at 7 and go to bed at 11 every night!

Speaking of Hong Kong thanks for the news articles about them dad…that’s pretty crazy! But maybe you haven’t heard this yet, or maybe you had, but Hong Kong swore in their new President last week and it was in Mandarin!!! He is the first president that publicly supports communism and stuff like that! 400,000 protestors lined up in the streets this week! Exciting stuff going on! But not everyone likes him already because he degraded the citizens by doing the whole ceremony in Mandarin! Check out the news reports!! I think it was on CNN maybe??

What other news to talk about? Steve Nash?! How is everybody at home taking that?! Like do they respect his decision or is it classless? I don’t know what to think about it honestly….I knew he wouldn’t be a Sun but of all teams to choose….the Lakers….really? Why? I can just hear him say, “It’s a smart business move”. And Darren Sutton is sticking up to the man! I like it! I can see him not liking that! Any update on that?

The fires here seem like they are going down…or maybe the smoke has gone another way cause I haven’t been able to see it or smell it (which I’m very thankful for). We had a rainy day this week!  It was only the second time since I’ve been here that there has been rain!

I saw Phyl this week! The four of us took a picture on Alex’s camera so if you get an email from a McBride she is emailing the picture! It was lucky that we did because Zach leaves tomorrow for Maryland! But anyways, I’m so blessed to have all my friends serve a mission and see the example they have set for me in my life!

The Lord wants to bless all of us! The only way we can’t receive those blessings is if we choose not to accept them! Find time to read the Book of Mormon everyday! And not just for 5 minutes but actually read it! Apply it to your lives and see how the Lord is and will bless you through the prophet’s words of 1900 years ago! That’s really helped me! I started over the second week I was here and I’m in Helaman 8 or something so follow along if you want!

I’m out of time! I’ll try to do better next week! I love you and keep you in my prayers everyday! Just keep persevering and know that everything doesn’t come in the moment!

Kyle


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Over the Hump and A Transfer

For me Kyle’s time in the MTC is flying by but I get the sense that he feels like he is ready to get going.  Lots of exciting things are still happening to him there and it sounds like he is taking them all in. Check out the pictures! ImageImage

Well hello everyone! It was my hump day at the MTC this week! Friday/Saturday midnight to be exact was the exact halfway mark of my time here in Provo.  We were planning on waking up at midnight and celebrating with a bottle of sparkling cider but as our luck would have it, the alarm didn’t go off! Geez cant I catch a break here! And another funny thing that happened this week was that I got transferred! Haha!  The Cantonese elders (aka the three of us) can’t seem to catch a break! So the residence hall that we have been staying at is super close to everything which is really nice but now guess what?? We had to move! So we had to pack up the whole room and move to the back corner of the MTC! Haha! It’s been under remodeling for like 8 months now so its actually not that bad, like I get a new mattress and everything but now we have to walk like three times as far to everything.  Oh and dad I have seen Elder Evans here! I talked to him one day! We were getting drinks at the same time and he recognized me first! But that’s the only time I’ve seen him! Is he still here? Cause that was a long time ago!

I hope you got my letter by now! I sent it with and SD card and descriptions off the pictures! If you don’t get it I will be so sad – but not as sad as U of gay winning the championship. The wicked will always get their reward in the end.  Remember that Lan.  And I got your saweet package!  IT’S SO COOL!  The jersey is so cool I had no idea! (Staci and I sent Kyle a Manchester United soccer jersey with his Chinese name printed on the back that we bought in London while we were there.)  And the balloon idea was really clever mom! Hard to clean up but nothing that a vacuum won’t fix!  (To announce to everyone whether her baby was a girl or a boy, Julie and Chris filled balloon with confetti – in this case it turned out to be blue confetti – and everyone popped a balloon at the same time.  We sent Kyle one of the balloons to pop for himself.) The ties are sweet thanks Corbin (I think??) They go well, I like the choices!! The pens are perfect! I am worried my one right now won’t last much longer so it’s a good thing I got them while I did! And I like the 4th of July stuff! I’m jealous we don’t get to watch the world’s famous puppet show. Although I hear she is going on tour and making a surprise visit here?  (Here Kyle is referring to the fun 4th of July celebration in his dad’s hometown Thatcher, Arizona.)  I don’t know that’s just the rumor around town! We’re lucky to be in this amazing country with all the freedoms we have! God truly prepared this country for us!

I hear that we might get to go and watch Stadium of Fire but that’s unlikely. And its not like Utah needs anymore smoke. The fire is very bad here! You can barely see the mountains in front of you and you can’t see the mountains across the lake.   I have been awake 3 times this week in the middle of the night because the campfire smell is literally that strong! I have to wash some clothes that I haven’t even worn yet because they smell like campfire! Every time you walk outside it smells like campfire and you can’t see very far away. Today’s not a bad day though! Yesterday was terrible though! Your eyes like stung after awhile if you were outside! Oh and also we have ash falling on us! Not like big pieces or anything but enough for us to notice.

The letters this week were really good! I like that interview between Kush/Graham! And I finally get some feedback! Dad watched the I’m a Mormon Cantonese videos! That made me happy too!

It was a cool week here though the Tuesday devotional was awesome! L. Tom Perry spoke but lots of General Authorities were there: Elders Nelson, Oaks, Ballard, Scott, Holland, Bednar, Cook, Christofferson, and Andersen! So in one day my count went from seeing zero to 10!  Haha! His talk was not missionary-based though it was very different. He just gave a bunch of statistics into what benefits there are of being a Mormon. Like did you know (and this was done by non-LDS people) that Mormons have an average life span of 10 more years than normal? He also said that statistics show that your arteries are 44% less likely to get clogged if you’re a Mormon, and that we spend on average 428 hours of service in a year compared to just 42?!  Those are crazy numbers. But a lot of missionaries were questioning why he spoke just about statistics but I figured it out, all the things he talked about, and there was like 12 things, are all the foundations of a missionary. Well in a way it’s hard to explain but the devotional was super cool. We also ran into President Hawks a bunch this week before he left on Thursday!   I think he likes me just cause I joke with him and stuff! Oh and did I tell you we had a testimony meeting with him on that Saturday? Talk about pressure! You’ve been learning the language for not even a month and then you have to bear your testimony in front of your mission president! Haha! I did go though!

We had the best fireside since I’ve been here though yesterday. A guy named Ted Gibbons (who went to ASU!) He portrayed the journal of Willard Richards and how he saw Joseph Smith! I guess he saw Joseph Smith bear testimony more times than any other person! But he just recounted all the events of Kirtland and Nauvoo and Carthage and it was excellent! The spirit was the strongest I’ve felt here and everyone was saying it was the best one yet! I wish you could have been there for it! My testimony doubled because of it!

Well new Cantonese elders come this week! We double our size!  Haha! So that’s going to be exciting! I look forward to hearing from you this week! I wish I could talk more!

Love,

Au Yeuhng