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 Chinese “Hot Pot”

Wow, it’s amazing!  This week I passed both 10 months and 300 days of being a missionary?!!!! That’s crazy!! I can’t believe it! I sometimes wonder about how I’ve changed in the past 10 months.  I mean I can’t really notice any difference…so I hope there is one!  I’m even the same weight.  Ha-ha!  The mission hasn’t affected me totally yet, I guess. But it still has another 14 months to take its toll. It’s just crazy! And this week Carson Schaub got home?!!  What the?!!  My friends are starting to come home!!!  Ah.  Oh well…time just keeps moving on I guess.

Thanks for the birthday packages! I got them this week finally! Ha-ha, big joke sending me all the first aid stuff, right?  (I sent him an Ace bandage and a little ice pack with the rest of his birthday gifts.  If you haven’t read his last few letters, Kyle sprained-we hope- his ankle playing basketball a few weeks ago.) I’m not sure if my ankle is doing better yet…there isn’t any pain so I guess that’s all that matters right?  But thanks for everything!  Anytime a missionary gets American things it’s a good day. It’s too bad that Phyl is home now…. really sad!  I now how much he wants to be out here serving the Lord.  ONE thing that is good about him being home is that he knows what news the missionaries do and don’t get and he can keep me informed (get the hint Phyl?)

And by the way, THERE ARE SO MANY MISSION CALLS!  Holy cow!  What happened?  That’s insane!  What are the numbers looking like for every mission? I know that here we usually have 100 missionaries but I guess like in the next few months there is going to be around 130 missionaries?? That’s not that big but its still like a 30% increase!! So many mission calls…the world is going to be different…

The only bad news I’m hearing from home right now is that U of A is still in the tournament.  (This was written before they lost to Ohio State!  Go Buckeyes!) Well…that’s a pretty big bad but still…you have to have faith and hope for some things. Let’s just take this as a trial of our faith…I heard the Miami Heat has won like 25 straight?! That’s pretty crazy too! It’s just a different world than over here in the missionary world! But I like the missionary world right now.

This week wasn’t too bad! Hong Kong is starting to show its true summer colors though…the first half of the week it was just raining non-stop and it comes in like bursts so you can’t prepare for it! Needless to say the suits this week have become more like scuba gear because I just got soaked the first half of the week, and then the second half of the week it was hot and humid so everything just stayed wet and felt hot. Doesn’t it sound like your kind of adventure!  But hey… you get over it! I don’t know if I’ve told you this before but Chinese people seriously think the rain is like an evil demon or something. Whenever it rains the crowded streets turn desolate! Honestly!!! And everyone just wants to go home and hot pot. If you don’t know what hot potting is well look it up…its like their favorite type of food here!  (I took the challenge and looked it up.  The “Hot Pot” appears to be something like a fondue pot.  It is a big pot filled with broth placed in the center of the table.  While the “hot pot” simmers ingredients like thinly sliced meat, leafy vegetables, mushrooms, wontons, seafood and egg dumplings are placed in the pot to cook.  After a short time they are removed and often eaten with a dipping sauce.  Here is a picture of a traditional Chinese “hot pot.”)

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Compared to some of the things Kyle has eaten and lived to tell about, this stuff looks pretty good!

 Ha-ha! I was thinking…maybe that’s why Disneyland is such an empty place when it’s raining… kidding… everyone is guilty of that too!  But seriously…. ponder that fact.  So long story of rambling turned short, missionaries don’t like the rain here! And then the heat/humidity is a killer in suits…but you know what. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

This week wasn’t a bad week at all for us in the end!  We had good people show up to church this week, which is always crucial.  Sundays literally are game day!  Ha-ha!  We try to just have faith and try our hardest and everything will work out.  It’s so simple and yet it takes a really long time to figure out.  So the good news is this week Sandra came to church!  She is doing really well right now!  At Sacrament meeting however one of the speakers just went off and started talking about the Word of Wisdom and Sandra hadn’t heard it yet.  Needless to say she was pretty dazzled about everything and the poor member who was sitting with her was trying to help her but it was just a weird situation. Luckily though, God knows what His children need and after Sacrament meeting we talked about it with her and she thought it made total sense. So the crisis was diverted and it turned out good in the end.  It became a really faith increasing experience not just for her but for me as well.  It’s funny. The Lord doesn’t lie and when he says you’ll be blessed for coming to church… he means it! It was no different with Sandra this week. I saw a mighty change with her and even though she is like addicted to tea she is putting her faith and trust in the Lord. What a great example!

I love you all! Sorry for a pretty short letter. We got to the computer place late today so we don’t have the whole time…only about half.  If there are open computers I will try and write more because Patrick is doing good as well! Happy Easter! Today we are showing the world that missionaries can be classy as well and we are going to check out some Russian emperor’s Easter Egg collection. I know right? That’s the in thing now…LOVE YOU ALL! Keep me updated!

Elder Au Yeung 


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The Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery

March 18, 2013

Well first off everyone, thanks for even reminding me about it! (St. Patrick’s Day)  It is pretty much as eventful as any other holiday.  A bunch of people walking the streets of Hong Kong all going somewhere and in a hurry!  Ha-ha!  But it was a good day at church this week. I don’t know if any of you remember this but I was baptized on a St. Patrick’s Day!  I think it would have been 12 years ago yesterday!  That’s not a long time at all if you think about it!!! Spring Football is already starting?  (ASU is starting their spring football practices.)   I still remember the email where you guys announced we beat the Baja Mexicans!  (The University of Arizona.)  That was like last week! Wow time is flying by! And now Katie is having another baby!!! (Katie and Dallin have announced that baby #3 is on the way and expected to arrive around September 10.)  That will make 3 people that I won’t know! (Sarah’s baby Hadley, born November 8, Julie’s baby Zachary, born on November 10 and this one.)  And well…. something tells me that’s not going to be the final number. (What???)  Anyway, the time is just flying by here.

This week was a pretty interesting week! Last week on P-Day we went and got lunch at IKEA.  That’s the first time I’ve ever been in an IKEA – I know you are interested in that fact! That is such a Hong Kong store by the way.  Those things are seriously just made to fit in a Hong Kong flat. Anyway after that we walked about the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery. Man that thing is cool! Supposedly there are exactly 10,000 Buddhas throughout all the different rooms and walkways and they are all different! It was really a very cool thing to see! You have to like check it out of something! (The Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery is a Buddhist Temple in Hong Kong.  It is not an actual monastery as there are no resident monks and it is managed by laypersons.  It took eight years to build all of the buildings and another 12 years to complete all of the Buddhas.  There are actually 12,800 Buddhas in the monastery all together.  It was finished in 1957 and the preserved body of the man most responsible for its construction is on display in a glass case in the main hall of the monastery.)  I took a lot of pictures there too but for some of the places you can’t take pictures.  So for like the main room and some of the giant Buddhas look it up online or something because it really is worth checking out. It’s so cool to see Buddhism first hand. I mean that’s not the first time I’ve seen it here…I see it plain as day everyday but this is like their high up temple. I’ll tell you what though….it’s just some strange feelings you get when you’re in those rooms and the Buddhist music is playing.  So unfortunate that they have been blinded by the craftiness of men.  It was really interesting to see the little kids worship.  Very different there than in America. The whole time you’re just looking around for the weirdest statues (because they are have different positions and faces and such) and well I awarded my Gold Prize to the one that looks EXACTLY LIKE SPARKY!!! No joke! He has like flaming hair that looks like something Sparky would do and a pitchfork! I definitely got a picture of that one. Definitely an interesting day there! I wish you could all experience it!

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The ankle is well…okay! It’s just right now I have a left ankle and a right “kankle.”  I think it’s going to be like that for a while because the swelling is not getting any better but… oh well! And you remember the story about the person who we found while I was walking with a huge limp?! Well her name is Sandra! And this week she accepted a baptismal date!!!!  Elder Goodrich and I are very excited for her! She really progressed this week.  We taught her the Plan of Salvation and at the beginning of the lesson it was rough. She didn’t seem much into it and it seemed like that wasn’t really the lesson for her.  So we changed our topic to the Atonement and read with her Alma 7.  At that point something just changed in her. I still don’t know what it was but it was just indescribable. And that’s the power of the Atonement.  It is indescribable. I may not ever know what she felt during that lesson, but if there is one thing I do know, it is that Sandra felt the power and the love of God during that lesson. By the end of the lesson when we talked about coming to church this Sunday she came up with a way she could come herself.  She is a tutor and always has lessons around that time but without even asking her she said she’d call her students and change the time. The Atonement is so powerful and so changing. It was really disappointing to see her not come to church however. So we’re taking this as a start of the change. She did change her schedule to come but then she just didn’t get there herself. We have the faith that it will all turn out okay.
Patrick is our other solid baptismal date. We taught him the 10 commandments this week. We aren’t really sure what Patrick needs yet. He is almost there but something just isn’t quite clicking. He accepts everything we teach him, and he reads the Book of Mormon almost every night but we just feel like something is just not there yet. We’re going to focus on the Atonement with him and about faith. In every lesson he brings up the Atonement. So for now he is good but he just needs that extra step in order to really help him progress. He needs help recognizing how much his faith is growing and so that’s what we are trying to do. I love Patrick though! He is so cool!!!

We had a good week with finding 7 new investigators as well. We found them through member referrals, investigator referrals, on the street, and through former investigators.   Actually, we ran into an old former on the street who Elder Li and I were trying to contact but never could. He was very willing to meet with us again! And then Sunday after church two people walked up to us and asked if they could see the church. It turns out we contacted him last week but didn’t get his phone number. He got an email from us though and he was interested! He brought his friend too! They had a lot of questions and we were able to answer every one and they were even more interested. I’m really excited to see what happens with them. Their names are Jay and Eric. I don’t think it was by accident that we ran into that old former investigator or these other people. The Lord is preparing his children to hear our message. It is such an amazing time here to be in Tai Po. I love doing the work! The Chinese people are so great! Want evidence? Just go on the front page of lds.org! And especially watch the video of Elder Oaks! I recognize so many missionaries in there! Ha-ha including Elder Goodrich who looks straight at the camera! But that’s beside the point. The point is I love it here!!!!!

Have a good week!!! Go Devils

Elder Au Yeung (yes this is the right British spelling)

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A Birthday and a Baptism

March 11, 2013

 Hello Everyone!!!! Thank you to all the birthday wishes! They really made my day today! (Kyle’s birthday is March 10.  We wrote to him on the 10th but because of the time difference he received most of our gifts and greetings on the 11th.   He turned 20 – not even a teenager anymore!)  I would say something about me feeling different but it doesn’t really…not at all…ha-ha just another day in Tai Po! The ward is really great right now. If only all wards could be doing missionary work like this ward does!  I’m sure all missionaries say the same thing but this time…it’s actually true! They even bought me a birthday cake for after correlation meeting! The only problem is, well… the cake label wasn’t in Chinese or even English. It turns out the people who bought the cake didn’t know what Tiramisu cake is made out of. (I’m sure most of you know but Tiramisu cake is often made with coffee and coffee flavored liqueur.)  Oh well… it’s the thought that counts right?  I’m not even sure all of them have coffee in them but well… we learn something new everyday! My ankle… well is a little bit better.  My foot isn’t completely bruised anymore but it’s still swollen.  We’ll just have to wait and see how it turns out! (If you read his letter from last week, Kyle described how he twisted his ankle pretty badly playing basketball with his companion.)  But nevertheless, all in all it was a really good day! Patrick (one of their investigators) even remembered my birthday and gave me a card that was really nice!!! President Hawks called me so that was nice too! I hear there is a package coming this way – I haven’t got it yet but no worries at all about that!

 So this round of transfers has ended! And this will be the last 6-week transfer period ever here in China!!! This week starts a 4-week transfer schedule and then from there on out we’re starting 9-week transfers! So that’s something different! I mean if you have no clue what that means – oh well (I have no clue what that means.)  That’s the change going on around here.  I’m not sure exactly why they are doing it.  I heard it was like an experiment or something like that but I don’t have a lot of details.  Elder Li’s amazing missionary career ended this week and here is a cool story about what happened.

On Wednesday we went down to the Wan Chai chapel because Elder Li had to go to a “career workshop” thing… a.k.a. “how to adjust back to the real world from being a missionary” training.  Ha-ha! Well anyway, while he was doing that I got to be companions with the International Elders for the whole day.  I don’t know if you know this but the International Elders are the ones that have church everyday (except Monday) and teach the Philippine people who work in Hong Kong.  While I was with them they told me they were having a baptism that day and well… I was the one who was going to baptize her!  Surprise!  I got to baptize this week!  It’s a pretty interesting story I guess! But people from the Philippines speak like half English and half Tagalog so try listening to a baptism meeting in half English and half Tagalog.  That’s crazy stuff.  That was my adventure for the week! And then on Thursday I got a new companion! Elder Goodrich is from Pleasantview, Utah! I lived with him for 2 moves already while I was in TKO and I really like him! He actually knows the Holleys (oh boy I hope that’s how you spell their names) but yes – Dad’s old mission companion.  I live with two other people that are from that area too so it’s a small world I guess! We are both really excited about the area! Even though it must be absolutely one of the smallest areas in Asia and maybe in the world, we both are just ready to go out and do the work! Honestly it’s because of the ward! So now it’s Elder Goodrich and I! I’ll probably be his last companion too! He goes home pretty soon as well.

 I heard an absolutely cool story about the guy I helped baptize in TKO named Ken Leui.  If you remember me talking about him…well it turns out he went to America a couple of weeks ago to be with his family for a short time. (He lives in Hong Kong to work and his mom, dad, wife and his daughter all live in Arcadia, CA.) While he was there he introduced the Book of Mormon to his wife and kids and they were amazed by it all! So cool! And so they are starting to read the Book of Mormon too! But that’s not the really crazy part.  When he went to introduce his mom to the Book of Mormon and the Restoration it turns out she already knew it! They both found missionaries and started meeting with missionaries at the EXACT SAME TIME without even knowing it!!! If that just isn’t a testimony to the divinity of the Lord’s work then I don’t know what is. That is so cool! Well, he came back and went to the mainland for work for the weekend. While there he lost his wallet at a restaurant with all his money, his passport, and all the forms of identification he needed. He freaked out and looked for it at the restaurant and everywhere but couldn’t find it at all.  That’s when he decided to pray!  When he did he just got the inspiration that he just needed to go home and go to bed and everything would be okay…so he did! And the next day he got a telephone call from a co-worker saying somebody found his wallet and wanted to give it back to him and this was their number. The crazy thing is was that the people who found his wallet called a number they found which turned out to be another co-worker who lives in Hong Kong who couldn’t call him since he was in Hong Kong so that guy had to call his boss and then his boss calls his (the boss’s) brother in America to have him call Ken because he had a phone that could communicate with the phone that Ken uses in mainland but then he couldn’t get him so the boss went to another co-worker who also knew how to reach Ken and that’s how it finally worked. I’m confused myself…but that’s the story! Sorry if parts don’t make sense. It’s hard to type! But just get the picture! It’s crazy what happened to him!

 The work is still going here in Tai Po! I miss you and love you all! Thanks for the birthday wishes! You are all the best! I can’t wait to talk to you next week!!! Go Devils! 

 Elder Au Yeung

 

 

 


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Reunited with Octopus Pizza

March 4, 2013

 Dear Family and Friends,

 Why is it that that all my letters start out with what I’ve been eating this week?!  Lately it’s been some pretty weird things…and this letter is no exception.  Although nothing new appears on the list this week (there would have been a new one but I avoided a few of the items at the member’s house… they were THAT weird) I was reunited with an old friend this week.  A friend that will make you want to throw up almost as much as the new Sparky does… but not quite… (ASU changed the look of their Sparky mascot this week and none of us in the family are very pleased to say the least.)  OCTOPUS PIZZA! I was beginning to miss it.  That 1000 Island dressing and the octopus and then the Chinese vegetables are really a great combination.  Oh gosh – I think my nose just grew from lying! So here’s the story. Elder Li is going home on Thursday ( I’m getting a new companion this week.) and so a bunch of the members wanted to cheng us out… I mean have us over for dinner..$$$.  Member food is always so good; it really is I’m not joking! So we went to the Leung’s house and we walk in and there is a carton from Pizza Box! That’s like the second biggest pizza place here next to Pi$$a Hut (so expensive). Score, right?!  Well after we started drooling, they opened the pizza box and boom! There was octopus all over the thing!  Ha-ha, whatever doesn’t kill makes you stronger right?

 Well then the next night another member invited us over for dinner…$$. And we walk in to the house. Boom. There’s something from Pizza Box again! It’s like they’ve had American missionaries over there before.  But we open up the pizza box and once again 1000 island dressing with many a deep sea creature lurking in it. I must admit the only thing that I’ve had a really hard time putting down was oysters and I think there were oysters on that pizza or something.  I’ve been so blessed here! 7 months in Hong Kong and I haven’t thrown up once. Knock on wood!  Oh wait, so if I think about it the main thing on the pizza might have been squid…oh well…you get the pallet. 

 So this week was a really good week for us! Except for one thing…. Elder O’Gara my other companion for 10 days got a new companion this week! That’s all cool right? Well anyway, background info…Hong Kong is a pretty holy place. There isn’t one person here that likes U of A so far. I mean there are only 3 missionaries from Arizona here; someone from Sedona, someone who went to Mt. View and me… so it’s been a pretty safe place. Well Elder O’Gara gets a native Hong Kong person as his new companion and everything is all good until he walks in that night getting ready for bed with U of A shorts on!!! Out of all the people here a Hong Kong person is the one wearing something like that.  I don’t think he gets it though… everyday he comes up to me and says “oh you an Arizona fan too? Oh good.  Not cool.  But besides that the work moves forward.

 I am so happy to report this week that the ward here is doing excellent.  I can just feel the urgency to do missionary work and the importance and re-dedication to it here in the ward. Every week they are calling new people to help us have the resources we need whether it is to be a ward missionary or calling people and telling them to be focused on working with less actives and such. I’m really excited for what Tai Po is doing right now and I just hope we can keep on pace with them.  I trust in the Lord to help us with that.

 This week at one point the ward had nine investigators at church! Eight of the nine attended sacrament as well. It was such a rewarding sight to see all these people sitting with members at church. We have made that a goal of ours this move and its going really good right now. We had 4 people who attended Sacrament meeting and another person who came, but couldn’t stay for sacrament meeting. We started to teach the New Territories Stake President’s niece after church. We hear she comes off and on to church but hasn’t really been taught so we were very happy to see her at church yesterday. We also had two more new people come to church as well. Their names are Sandra and Wilson. Not too much to report on them besides that they said they really enjoyed being at church and that they felt happy feelings while there. We didn’t have a long time to talk to them afterwards but we helped them understand that those feelings come from the Holy Ghost. Although they are both new investigators this week I’m excited for their progression.

 We also had a less active come to church that we’ve been working with. Her husband is not a member and while he didn’t come to church she did this week so we are happy to see her there. I’ll be sure to keep working with her.

 Our two people with baptismal dates were the ones who didn’t come to church so we’re disappointed about that.  Both of them had previously told us they wouldn’t be coming this week however. We taught Patrick about the Word of Wisdom and followed up with him this week. His faith is slowing growing and will need some time but his prayers are sincere. He doesn’t have a strong testimony of Jesus Christ as Our Savior yet so we are really focusing Book of Mormon reading and the lessons on Jesus Christ. He’ll need some time but we are still progressing towards April 28th as his goal.

 One other person has accepted the invitation to be baptized. His name is Jyu Jung Him. Although he hasn’t agreed to a particular date yet he recognizes the importance of going to church, so that’s good. He’s read up to 1 Nephi 17 in the Book of Mormon and remembers some things about it but doesn’t really see the benefits of reading the entire book. We focused our lesson with him on ‘likening the scriptures to our lives’ and challenged him to pray before he reads and think about how the scriptures apply to him. We were very happy to see him at sacrament meeting yesterday. 

 I’ve really been focusing and praying for charity lately. Slowly but surely I have seen a change in my heart not only for other missionaries but also for the wonderful Hong Kong people. The members have sacrificed so much to not deny the faith.  Hearing their testimonies just makes my testimony of this work’s truthfulness grow. I find joy every single time I see a member and I think at the start of my mission I never had the eyes or the understanding to see that.  But now even with the brand-new contacts we make I immediately feel a genuine love for them. Like this one woman we met on the street the other day. She was just telling us how she started to believe in Buddhism and why.  My heart dropped a little for her and I didn’t even know her really. I wanted so much to help her, and while I may never see her again, that contact will be one I will never forget. I thank Heavenly Father for answering my prayers and opening my eyes and my heart to these people. I still have a long way to go but I know that the Lord will answer prayers in different ways. We just have to keep our hearts and minds open.

 Let me talk about persevering through trials before I go because a pretty cool miracle happened this week. Saturday morning was rainy but not too bad so we decided to play basketball. And well…I think I sprained my ankle – pretty bad actually.  I took pictures. (He hasn’t sent them yet.)  And well…I couldn’t really walk home on my own power.  Basically until lunch I couldn’t put any pressure on it.  Anyways, we had some lessons scheduled so the work had to go forward!  We had to find new people to teach the gospel to. Well I got the power to walk on it…except with a pretty big limp…and we went and taught those lessons. After that we had 4 hours to go finding. Keep in mind this was in the rain and close to dinnertime.  Not a good combination right there.  I limped the whole day (I seriously looked like one of those 90-year-olds who refuse to get a cane even though they need one) and we just had no success at all. My leg was killing I could feel a brick sitting on my ankle basically and no one would talk to us. It was the longest 3 hours and 45 minutes ever. But Heavenly Father blessed us, I am sure of it. We stopped this one woman who was heading home with groceries. What was her name? Sandra. The one who came to church! We sat down, taught her a 20 minute lesson and she actually came to church with us! I’ll introduce her more as the weeks go by but she is so nice! So moral of the story is “it isn’t always stupid to walk all day on a – I’m pretty sure it’s sprained – ankle.” In fact it’s bruised so bad right now both on the bottom of the foot and above the ankle, which is like, double the size it normally is.  Is it getting better? LETS HOPE! (I’ve toughened it out.  I don’t walk with a limp anymore)  The Lord blesses you if you just do whatever has to be done…despite your challenges. Mine is a small one comparatively but oh well. Just keep going!

 Have a good week! Talk to you next week!! I love you!

 Elder Allen 

 

 


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The Benefits of Being in Hong Kong

February 24, 2013

 Hello Everybody! It’s a good day to talk to you all!

 This week was a pretty eventful one. You might be wondering why the subject line is what it is but let me tell you. And first let’s get one thing straight…. the benefits do not include eating and drinking the things I ate this week. One thing I ate this week that I haven’t had in a long time, probably since my first month here, is shark fin soup!  My motto is becoming “if you can’t get over your fear just eat it”…. so that’s what I’ve been doing! We went over to a member’s house for dinner the other day and that’s the soup we had! So delicious… Ha-ha!  It really wasn’t that bad!  (His taste buds must be adapting.  If you re-read his early letter about shark fin soup he isn’t quite as complementary.)  I didn’t even know what it was until I asked half way through dinner but whatever works – works! Next I drank a thing called Bird’s Nest. I think it’s really popular here. I’m not exactly sure what it is too be honest…. but I think it’s made from a certain special/native to China bird’s saliva?? (Edible bird’s nests are among the most expensive animal products consumed by humans.  A bowl of Bird’s Nest soup would typically cost $30 – $100 USD in Hong Kong and a kilogram of the main ingredient can cost up to $10,000 USD. They are most often used to make Bird’s Nest Soup but they are also used in drinks and other culinary “delights” like egg tarts and jellies. The most heavily harvested nests are from the Edible-nest Swiftlet or White-nest Swiftlet birds.  The nests are made by the male birds and consist of interwoven strands of salivary cement. When the nests are dissolved in water the have a gelatinous texture – much like the saliva that holds them together.) 

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BIrd’s Nest Soup

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Bird’s Nest Drink

 

It’s supposed to be really healthy I think…you’ll have to look it up to tell me if I’m right or what it actually is but I’m pretty sure that’s the general idea…. well to get to the point…it’s not bad but I mean it’s like a slimy texture-y feeling that doesn’t taste like much really.  (Bird’s nest is supposed to be healthy and rich in nutrients including calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium.  Eating or drinking it can help alleviate your asthma, aid your digestion, improve your voice and your focus and improve your overall immune system.) I’ll just stick to Dr. Pepper for right now.  That’s healthy too right?  (It sure keeps me going!)

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This picture requires no explanation but was taken in Hong Kong.

Well, back to why its actually good to be here in China right now.  For one thing, it’s not snowing!!! I can’t believe it actually snowed a little bit there!? (This was the week we actually got a little bit of snow here in Arizona) And I missed it!? Oh well…it probably lasted for like two hours. It’s starting to heat up here so I imagine it will be about the same over there right? Next thing, the Church’s Asia Area headquarters are in Hong Kong!!! So this means that like once or twice a year all the mission presidents come and get trained by different general authorities for a couple of days! And one day this week all the missionaries got to listen to Elder Richard L. Evans talk to the 10 mission presidents!  Altogether in the room there were 6 General Authorities and 10 mission presidents! I even saw Caleb Ripley’s mission president! After the Conference I got to talk to Robby Bowler’s mission president!  It’s really weird hearing a mission president talk about one of my friends!  That was really cool to get to talk with him and hear Elder Evans talk. He talked mostly on the Book of Mormon and how to help people gain a testimony of it. It was one of the most dignified and powerful talks I’ve ever heard! It was just all so practical for this mission! He talked a lot about how to get answers to prayers and recognizing the spirit through reading the Book of Mormon. A lot about how crucial it is to start from the beginning. I guess that makes sense in all things. If you want to learn something you have to start at the beginning, you can’t just jump right into the middle, right? And just trust that God will help you. I don’t know…. it’s a pretty simple concept, probably something that a U of A fan could eventually think of too (with time.)  We all just have to take a step back and think about the simple things in life. Simplicity is where the true wisdom is.

 What else is new for the week? Oh…I’ve been in a tri-panionship this week.  So since everything is changing in the missionary world (like how long you stay at the MTC etc.) things out here are being affected. People finishing their missions and coming to their missions are on different time schedules now.  I’m not exactly sure why this is but it just is. Anyway, an Elder finished his mission last week and so another Elder had to replace him in his area.  That meant that the replacement Elder’s companion joined us for the week and will be with us until like Wednesday when 2 more people randomly come into the mission.  Then more people will move around and my companion will get another companion. Oh boy if that explanation didn’t confuse you then you are pretty amazing.   It’s been different having two companions; it’s actually pretty weird. Contacting people on the street has been a challenge. I mean I wouldn’t want 3 foreigners in dark suits coming up to me and speaking Chinese. So we are, more than ever, relying on the Lord to put those people who are prepared to hear the gospel in our path. It’s working too! And in the strangest ways!  Like yesterday we contacted a person who has pink hair and has never, ever learned about who Jesus Christ is and he was so interested he set up a time to meet with us this week! It’s things like that that make you realize, the Lord does not want you to fail. Three of us working together though reminds me of the old MTC days…that seems like forever ago!

 We have our first baptismal date as a companionship this week. His name is Brother Yim. We met him, for the first time on Monday night. When we met him we only thought we would be seeing him, but it turns out he brought one of his two sons and that son’s friend with him to meet us! It’s too bad because his wife is in a hospital in Mainland China right now and he can’t go see her. When we first met him on Monday he didn’t have a job either but by Wednesday night he had found one so that is a big blessing in his life. We were a little nervous when he called us Sunday morning and told us he got called to fill in at work so he couldn’t make it to church.  Then we were elated to have him call us back 10 minutes later and tell us they told him right when he got to work that he actually wasn’t needed that day and that he was on his way to church right then. He stayed for all 3 hours of church and had a lesson with us after and accepted a baptismal date of April 28th. It is a little ways out but we think it’s appropriate. His memory isn’t the greatest and he has a long ways to go but with this date the process can at least start. We’ll try and help him in any way we can. It will be especially important for him to read the Book of Mormon since he doesn’t know how to read very well. We hope his wife will recover soon so we can meet her as well! It’s going to take awhile but I have full confidence that if he uses his agency wisely the Lord will bless him with a testimony.

 We also had another investigator come to church, Patrick Au Yeung. After church we were planning on giving him a baptismal date but for whatever reason it just didn’t seem like the right time. When we see him again this Wednesday we’ll be sure to extend the invitation. We taught the Plan of Salvation to him. He seemed a little hesitant about the whole thing but said he understood it all and didn’t have any questions. He just had questions about the commandments so we shared with him the Word of Wisdom as well. I’m sure it wasn’t the easiest thing for him but he didn’t seem angry or anything like that. It just strengthened my testimony that if they are prepared to hear the gospel, anything that this gospel teaches can help them. So yesterday’s lesson wasn’t the smoothest lesson, but he still fully committed to live the Word of Wisdom and keep on reading the Book of Mormon. Another concern with him, he is a very extreme vegan and doesn’t eat anything with eggs in it so he doesn’t want to take the Sacrament for that reason and we’re not sure what to do.  Weird I know, but he’s super cool and really has a strong desire to learn.

 Those are our two main investigators right now. We have a lot of solid potential investigators we just need to show them the importance of coming to church. I’m grateful for this opportunity to serve with Elder Li. He always reminds me of all the possibilities and things we could do with our time, the area, and strengthening the ward. The ward is doing great and is very friendly to missionary work. Every week they call new ward missionaries and they are really, really supportive of the work. A picture that we sent out to the members was even the program picture for Sacrament Meeting yesterday. We are growing in faith together everyday and I’m grateful to be in Tai Po. Elder Li only has one week left so this week he told me I would be doing mostly everything for the area so I’m excited for the challenge ahead.

 I love you all keep going!!! Go Devils!

 Elder Allen


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My Love for the Chinese People

February 18, 2013

 Hello again everybody!

It’s a pretty short, uneventful week from my last letter and sadly…no new random Chinese Holidays to talk about. I mean you figure if Sunday through Thursday is a holiday why don’t you just declare the whole week to be a holiday?  Well, they basically did that here. The streets have been pretty dead here lately but the work keeps moving on! Every time someone stops and talks to us it is a blessing  – it really is! Some of the people here are so humble it’s really just amazing. Let me tell you about the members/investigators we talked to since I last emailed.

First off, we went over to a member’s house for dinner last weekend. She has been a member for a couple years and helped her mom get baptized as well.  Since they have both been members of the church they have been going through some pretty rough times with family situations and stuff. Well the girl decided to go on a mission and try and set an example for her family. So she did that and when we went over to visit her (she was a missionary here in Hong Kong) it was her first weekend back with her family. And the whole time during dinner her dad was just clueless about what she had been doing for the past 18 months. I don’t know it’s hard to explain and put it in words but it was obvious he had no clue why she was gone for 18 months. I guess they’ve tried to tell him over and over again but he either rejects the idea or just doesn’t get it. But it was so cool to have her bear her testimony on what she was doing and how going to church has helped her and her mom. It was such a cool experience for my companion and me. I guess it’s harder to put in words than I thought but someone standing up and saying that what she just did wasn’t a waste of time is a really humbling experience. My love for the members here really grew after that experience. The way they persevere through all their family and work problems is just amazing!

Next is the story of Sister Manprom. We visited Sister Manprom on Saturday night. She too has family issues she has to deal with. She was baptized and I think her husband was as well and they had kids and they were all going to church and everything was good. But then her husband died and as a result her kids stopped going to church. Well Sister Manprom has overcome this challenge and has the strongest testimony of families being unified and strengthened in the gospel.  Every single Saturday night without fail she takes an hour or more bus ride to where two of her kids live and picks up her 6 and 4 year old grandchildren to spend the night with her in her small apartment.  It is so small the living room is also her bedroom.  We went and visited her while the grandchildren were there and were amazed by her situation and the love she has for her family.  I think she sleeps on the couch during that night but I’m not sure.  Keeping the faith through trials and sacrificing for others is an great example to me.  I think those are two points in the gospel that a lot of people have a rough time understanding and living.  Not Sister Manprom.  It is also weird…. why is there a Chinese person named Manprom??? I have yet to come up with an answer. There are tons of Philippinos here but she definitely is not included in that group.  Oh well…as the Chinese would say mhganyiu. Ha-ha try sounding that out.

Next we had a lesson with one of our investigators this week! His name is Brother Jau. He lives alone because his wife and his daughter live in Canada.  So it’s just him and his three dogs.  We actually met him because of his dogs.  He was walking his dogs and the first time we met him he didn’t want to talk with us.  The very next day we saw him and talked to him again and still no interest. And then on the third day in a row of finding him while walking his dogs he finally agreed to meet us!   His apartment is probably smaller than a college dorm room. It is so small that there isn’t a true bathroom. There is just a built in water heater and a shower hose. No curtain or anything to separate the main room from the sink, the toilet, or anything else that is in a bathroom. It’s so crazy, I’m not sure two people could stand in the room at the same time.  But then again it is a bathroom and maybe two people shouldn’t be in there.  Anyway, we talked to him. He is just really lonely and doesn’t believe in God, but was willing to listen and he even set up a time to meet with us again. I don’t know what will come out of our meeting with Brother Jau but I’ve certainly gained an appreciation for things that are luxuries…like shower curtains! These people are just so humble and happy…. well at least the ones that talk to you are!  Ha-ha. I guess everyone has their personality flaws.

We had our first investigator as a companionship come to church on Sunday, Patrick Au Yeung. It definitely put smiles on our faces seeing him come and stay for all three hours. We have been working hard with trying to get people to attend church and feel the Spirit and it is starting to pay off.   Nevertheless, it is still a priority of ours. Patrick had a good time at church but I think he’ll take some time to progress and understand it all. He has very little knowledge of Christianity and has questions about whether or not God really does exist so we’re focusing on the Holy Ghost testifying of God and Jesus. It was perfect because that’s what the Elders Quorum lesson was all about this week, The Holy Ghost. I think he is starting to understand and get a grasp of it but doesn’t fully understand all the concepts, so we are just taking it a little step at a time.  He is a smart,  good man and willing to listen. We have to build his faith fast because he told us his sister is a little anti towards our church so we’ll have to help him prepare for the challenges he will face when she confronts him. I am confident if he keeps his commitments his faith will grow and he will successfully fight these battles.

Well family and friends that’s all for this week! I love you and will talk to you next week. I just looked down at the calendar…this week makes 9 months out for me!!!! 9 months of learning Chinese… little step by little step mixed in with diligence…Once again I love you!!

Elder Allen