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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Halfway Through and Some “Mighty” Good Advice!

May 20, 2013

 Wowwww…one year already!  Is this the 52nd email I’ve sent you guys?  Or did it get messed up somewhere?  Just think about all the differences one year makes!!!  How different everything is around us…I mean there is even going to be a new season of 24!?!!  (Kyle’s absolute favorite television show “24” which went off the air a few years ago, had just announced they were going to do another season instead of trying to make a full-length feature, movie with the same premise.)  I feel like a new man after hearing that welcomed news!  Ha-ha! But seriously it’s pretty crazy to think about all the events that have happened in the year and to realize (and no this is not me being trunky or anything) that I am over the hump now?!  (Since Kyle left Julie and Chris added another son to their family, Katie and Dallin are expecting in September, Chase graduated from ASU and he and Sarah had a baby girl, Jenna and Corbin got engaged, married and are expecting a baby, Staci found out she will be traveling to China and we moved!  And those are just the major events!)  That’s pretty crazy and I don’t know how it has gone so fast to be honest. I don’t think there is any real way to rate this time right now.  It’s just different from everything else it really is.  So that saying “oh the time has gone so fast” doesn’t really give this time justice…does that make sense? It just doesn’t feel like fast is the appropriate word!! But maybe I’m just confusing everyone right now…. that’s what the humidity does to you.

 It’s so freaking hot here!!!  It’s not that it’s not miserable where it’s just hot but I guess I’ve never really been in humidity to know the difference. I always figured humidity would be bad and expected it here but now that I’m living in it its a whole different ball game. There is just no way to escape it.!  Like honestly you’re outside all day and the sun is beating down on you and then the night time hits and yet still no relief.  So eventually it’s time to go home and you’re expecting it to be nice because the fan is on and everything but nope! You’re still trapped in the sauna!  Air conditioning… why don’t we value it more?  That goes right up there as one of the best inventions ever made. Next to 24 of course (Back to “24”?)  But it’s all worth it right? This man can testify that if you go out there and work hard and have faith that good things can come good things will come. Its sounds pretty simple but you’d be surprised at how quickly we forget the simple things am I right?! 

 So to answer some of the questions mom sent this week… let’s see…(Question:  Can you read Chinese characters at all?) I can I read the characters well enough on signs to get around to places even though I don’t really have to be able to.  English is everywhere here because so many white people live here.  So you have the Chinese characters and then the British translation for it so it’s pretty convenient – you might say it is cheating but whatever!  You go with what you got.  But if the English wasn’t there then I think I could still get around just fine.  In fact, I would like to try that now.  Next, (Question:  Do the Chinese people buy groceries everyday or do they keep stuff in refrigerators and pantries?)  yep, people buy groceries here everyday!  Sometimes twice a day!  They buy everything fresh and like it that way!  So street markets are everywhere and all of them are always busy so it makes for an interesting smell… Next question for this week, (Question: Do people really come all the way from Mainland China just to hear the gospel and get baptized in Hong Kong?) yep, people do come down here from Mainland China just to get taught and baptized.  So here’s basically a rundown of how the church works in Mainland.  They have church there it’s just that the Chinese nationalists and the passport holders can’t communicate with each other at all!  That applies even if they are both members of the same church.  They don’t even know how many members there are because the church can’t publish that stuff otherwise the government will get super angry.  So the way that mainlanders do it is if someone in their family is LDS or something like that then they can go to church with them but that’s like the only exception (I think).  So they go to church… sometimes for YEARS and then finally they come down to Hong Kong.  When they get here they spend basically all day here with a couple of Mandarin speaking missionaries and they get “taught” all the lessons… even though they know everything already!  So they do that and then are baptized that night and then taught the after-baptism lessons and then they are off!  Back to Mainland!  It’s pretty cool!  It happens most every week here. Last week I think there was even like a mom and her two sons that came… so that’s much needed!!!  Pretty cool stuff! They organize it with like their branch president so its like all planned out when they are coming and stuff!  And then they can come here whenever they want!  Like this week we had to help a member buy bus tickets for a group of like 40 people coming down from Shanghai to go to the temple!  Pretty crazy stuff! By the way those tickets are so cheap for how far you travel!!!  Only like 50 American dollars! So that’s about all the time I have for questions this week I guess.

 This week was really great for us! It was a little scary when A-Keung didn’t show up for his baptismal interview. It turns out he didn’t have school that day and if he’s not at home there is no way to get ahold of him and he forgot about it.  I think there really has been a big change in his heart, even though he is only 12 years old.  He has a strong desire to do the right things and at church he knows that he is safe and always has a friend.  I hope this will be a good example for his mom.  She wanted to come to this but she had work so she couldn’t.  She came with him to the MTR though when we came and got him to go with us to church. She is a very sweet lady and I hope that in the coming weeks A-Keung will keep reading the scriptures every night so that his mom will recognize the difference it makes in him. He was a little nervous about the whole thing in general but everything went well in the end.  But anyway, everything was on the right page with A-Keung’s baptism.  I’m just thinking about how good A-Keung is at reading the scriptures and then how bad I was.  Honestly!!  We all know it – there is no denying it, but its just amazing that he can do these things!  It blows my mind!  I gave him a couple of ties as a present.  You wouldn’t believe how many people here don’t have white shirts and ties! (I think I need to send Kyle some more clothes… he seems to like to give them away.  Thanks okay with me – I wouldn’t have it any other way!)  Everything went well on Sunday and it was just a fun day! Really could feel the Spirit of the God!

 So if everything goes well we will have another baptism on Sunday with Hazel. I hope so because this ward (like every ward) needs a spark to do more missionary work!  I’m not sure if I already told you this since our p-day last week was on Thursday, but she understands tithing more and seems firmer in her to commitment to it.  I feel like she was nervous about the whole thing so when we explained that it is a very confidential thing she seemed more secure.  She was in Mainland this week and comes back today so we’ll see her on Wednesday.  I can’t wait for her to get back though!  She really does know the Book of Mormon is true and bases her testimony around that.  We were going over the baptismal questions with her and when the Joseph Smith question was asked all she said was “Well I know the Book of Mormon is true and if he brought this forth then he must be a prophet of God” and said it like that was a simple question to answer.  I got a laugh and a smile from it, but it is so true.  A testimony of the Book of Mormon really is the foundation for everything else the missionaries teach.  Hopefully everything goes well this week! Sometimes little answers really do make the best answers!

 The rest of the week was not bad at all.  We were able to see many investigators and this week it’s looking like it will be good as well.  We have had investigators come from pretty random places so it is really relieving and exciting to see what ways we are being blessed.  Everyday there is a new adventure and a new miracle to be had.  I’m doing pretty well right now!!!  I definitely have learned the Lord’s time is way better than my time.  We want things when we want them (no duh right) but Heavenly Father gives us these things when we need them!

 Today I was pondering about how from small and simple things are mighty changes brought about.  I like the word mighty.  It has so much more meaning to it than just big.  I want to help people see a mighty change, a different way, so I need to start doing more and more small and simple things.  Things like complimenting people.  That’s just not my personality to compliment people but I have realized that it truly makes a big difference!!!  So ya… everyone go out and do it more this week??  Ha-ha!  Just a suggestion…LOVE YOU ALL!  Elder Andersen comes on Friday so it’s going to be an exciting week here! Thanks for all the letters and encouragement!

 Elder Au Yeung




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The Mysterious Elder Allen from Gilbert

Hello Everybody!

I can’t believe what a blessing it was to talk to you all this week!  You just sound all so similar from when I left!! I guess a year shouldn’t really change that fact. Oh well…. But it was good talking to everybody nonetheless!  You made this 11-day span with a P-day pretty easy!!!

So since I wrote last Roy got baptized! Like I promised (maybe) I have pictures!  I just need to send them!! And then if all goes well and smoothly we will have a baptism this Sunday as well!  They do baptisms on Sunday after church here by the way.  They do it that way just so members will you know…. come and support… but they are always good time so I hope all goes well this week!!!

On Sunday we were able to teach Hazel again.  We had a hard time getting her to come back to the church after she heard about tithing but then in the lesson the spirit was so strong.  We were on splits with some members and both the member that was with me and the other girl member were just the right people in there to help her understand the blessings of tithing!  It was such a powerful and experience and a rock could have felt the Spirit that was in there!!  Ha-ha but it’s really true!  The stories that they shared really turned her outlook on tithing and she committed to pay tithing and things after she is baptized!  Which is hopefully on the 26th!

Sunday was also a really good day for us because we got to hear from President Aki who is the temple president here.  Very cool stories about mothers and how at 6 we say I love you mom, 10 we say whatever mom, 16 we say I can’t wait to leave here mom, 25 we say lets go to moms house, 50 we say I never want to lose my mom and 70 we say I wish more than anything to have my mom here right now!  How true it is! Well…I guess its different for missionaries because we all want to see our moms but you get the picture… How much nicer would we be to our moms if we just looked at the big picture – past, present, and future!  Basically moms just like own everyone!

Okay so crazy story this week.  At church this week I go up and shake the hands of these two white people… turns out they are my friend Isaac Turley’s grandparents!!!!!!!  Okay so that’s all cool and we talk but then on Tuesday we come out of the church and two huge buses full of Mormons are right outside.  They come up to us and ask the standard where you from things and then one lady says, “My grandson Isaac Turley lives in Gilbert, Arizona!” What the freak?!  Turns out that the grandpa on Sunday and the grandma on Tuesday were divorced and then each remarried!!!  They were in Hong Kong for totally different reasons too!  Crazy stuff!!  But then one person came up and asked me, “Do you know an Elder Allen here?” and since our name tags don’t have English names on them anymore I told her it was I!!  And she said my grandparents were going to come on the trip to Hong Kong but they got sick at the last second.  And that didn’t sound right so I asked her where they live and she said, “In the Pioneer Ward on Greenfield and Guadalupe.  They said they had a grandson serving a mission here.”   (So Kyle has grandparents that live in Arizona but they live in the Red Mountain area – not near Greenfield and Guadalupe.)  Does anyone know what these people are talking about?!  Help a brother out!  I’m still confused!  How did she know us?!  She also said my grandma had a pacemaker put in last week… that came as a shock to me! (Neither one of Kyle’s grandmothers had a pacemaker put in last week or at anytime to my knowledge!)  Ha-ha but like I said… some additional info would be helpful.  It turns out the group was being led by that church historian who did the Joseph Smith Papers!  That’s pretty interesting!

I also had this cool experience where I met this couple that got sealed on Wednesday!  The girl was the first one to be baptized in Mongolia from her like whole region in Mongolia…, which I can imagine is a pretty big area! And the guy… well he’s white… but it was so cool just meeting them and hearing their story about everything that happened and the trials they went through!  And then later we met this whole family from India who are getting sealed together this week!  They have some crazy wicked stories as well!  In the past 3 weeks or so I’ve really seen so many people from all over Asia flock here and sacrifice just to get the blessings of the temple!  I’m so lucky to be here seeing it all!!!

I love you all!  Sorry this letter is so random… but I’ll write to you again on Monday!  I’ve decided you should ask more questions if you want!  Just ask away and I’ll answer as best I can!!!  I love you all!!!!

Elder Allen

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Mother’s Day Just Keeps on Getting Better

Some of you will remember that last Mother’s Day  Elder Allen gave his farewell talk in Sacrament Meeting as he prepared to leave on his mission.  While I was very anxious and shed quite a few tears on that particular day, I came to know that his message was one of the best Mother’s Day gifts I had ever received.  I even thought that it might make 2012 the best Mother’s Day of my life.  These feelings changed as Staci’s phone rang just as we were about to say a blessing on this year’s Mother’s Day meal.  Staci answered the phone and yes, it was Elder Kyle.  Calling from halfway around the world but sounding as though he were next door.  Struggling at first to come up with the correct words in English and unsure about being the center of attention on the speakerphone, it was , unmistakeably, my little boy.  The son who used to accompany me everywhere I went so that I wouldn’t be alone and so that I would be protected but to whom I hadn’t spoken since Christmas.  The baby boy I had wanted so badly and was so grateful for.  The elementary school kid who played with, put up with and worried about his sisters all of the time.  The teenager who came close but never really cared for getting into trouble.  There he was (his voice at least) still the same yet very different.  More grown up, definitely wiser and now 20 years old.  His timing was such that we asked him to say the blessing on our food, over the speaker on our phone and in Chinese.  Despite my feeble attempt at learning some Mandarin Chinese this last semester at school, I can’t say I understood any of the words really.  But I can tell you that I recognized and felt the Spirit.  I was humbled by the knowledge that God recognized and understood what he was saying and that he had most likely not only blessed our food but had asked a blessing on our family as well.  I will forever remember and be grateful for that experience.  We each took a turn and talked to him individually – yes I think that was very magnanimous of me since it was Mother’s Day and all – laughing, discussing and expressing our love and gratitude for each other.  Just when I was sure Mother’s Day couldn’t get any better – it did.  I can’t wait to see what next year has in store…