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

The Benefits of Being in Hong Kong

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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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