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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Thanksgiving Celebrations Chinese Style

November 24, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving this week everyone!  I’m grateful for the Rose Bowl!!  (ASU beat UCLA this week 38-33 at the Rose Bowl to clinch a place in the PAC-12 Championship game.)  Which is where we shall go back!!  Not being prideful but…faithful is a better word.  I mean that’s a full of hope attitude not a definite attitude.  Well things are going good there as well as here!  We had our ward Thanksgiving party yesterday and it was definitely well attended.  Well over half the people there had never eaten turkey before!  It’s amazing!  And then they watched “The Testaments” and Stephen Lau (the recent convert) was asked to bear his testimony about the Book of Mormon at the of it.  It was awesome!  He is doing so well! We also had a Thanksgiving dinner at the Yim’s, a member in our ward.  She cooked the best Turkey that I’ve had in Hong Kong.  And it was the most American food I’ll ever eat.  The ward party was still Chinese food (besides the turkey) and I could’ve seen that one coming from a mile away.  Although I must say I wasn’t expecting the rice instead of the stuffing.  Where the stuffing is supposed to be, there was the rice. Some things will never change.  Anyway, Sister Yim’s dinner was awesome and she invited her neighbor over to hear the gospel!  That’s like the first time ever that we have gone to a “cheng-out” at a member’s house and met their friends like that!  It was so awesome and so much easier!  The dinner was just like a normal Sunday dinner…but I haven’t had one of those for 18 months.  It was still Chinese portions though.  It was like tempting me to eat more, but I know that I shouldn’t.  That’s okay.  We have the zone’s Thanksgiving this Thursday.  90% of us are Americans. We’re good.  I just hope they don’t expect much out of these mashed potatoes…. (Kyle and his companion are in charge of the mashed potatoes for their zone’s Thanksgiving dinner.  He has NO IDEA how to make mashed potatoes.  I tried to explain it the best that I could in my email to him this week but I didn’t have precise measurements to give him so I can’t be sure how they will turn out.  You can read a little bit about his adventure trying to buy enough and get them cooked and mashed in his next letter.)

This week was a good one.  Interesting with the reporters following us around.  (If you have been reading Elder Allen’s letters you know that he and his companion have had some reporters following them around to learn exactly what it is that they do all day.)  I warned them that the Chinese and Americans have different meaning for the word “hike.”  Their meaning is a walk.  We mean…climbing to the highest mountain in the New Territories and not wasting any time to do it because we are missionaries and don’t have any time to waste.  They were wasted…and then we got to the base of the hike.  (We learned a little about this when we had a Chinese girl come and stay with us for a while this summer.  She didn’t have a lot of stamina either.  We wore her out after about an hour at Disneyland and 15 minutes at the Grand Canyon.)  But they did pretty well!  I was expecting them to turn around but they stuck with it!  Besides that, we did a lot of planning.  We are holding a big District Leader Training meeting tomorrow that President Hawks wants to go to so we’ve been working with him and the assistants for that.   Then our meeting with the Stake President and President Hawks was this week. Between those things we had a very, very awesome week and you want to know why?

Brother Tong, our Melchizedek Priesthood holder that has been less active for 10 years came to church with his wife and his daughter!  It was awesome!  I think they were a little scared to come for the first time, so they only came for half of church, but that’s better than none!  It made the whole week just seeing their daughter come up to tap me and let us know they were there.  We were shocked and it was great.  We thought they were coming, but since they didn’t show up for a really long time we weren’t sure but then there they were!  It could’ve been better with meeting members, especially since the noise level was pretty loud yesterday and his friend had to miss church for the first time since I have been here.  They seem to have liked it though.  They left pretty quick but said “Hi” to people and shook people’s hands.  They’ll come back.  You could just see it in Brother Tong’s eyes that it was all coming back to him.  That’s a big step.  To come back for the first time in 10 years is an amazing thing.

We also met another family this week!  They are a member referral from another ward, and mostly have English class interest, but they liked English class so much they were willing to sit down with us at the end and listen to us and schedule to come back.  Another ward member introduced us to her friend too this week at a dinner appointment so things are always good when things like that happen.  Miracles.

Besides those two stories, there are many more that time does not permit me to tell.  I need to learn how to type faster.  A Wing, our baptismal date for the 8th is doing great.  Ever since he heard the Word of Wisdom, he hasn’t touched tea or coffee.  He couldn’t come to church this week, because it was his week at work, but he still is doing great.   I hope in the future he will be able to get all 4 weeks of Sundays off, although this is a big step.  Patrick, our new investigator from last week called us after our lesson with him on Tuesday and asked if he could be baptized earlier, as in the end of this year.  I was amazed!  I had to ask him to repeat it two or three times and then tell it to him to see if I was right because I didn’t think those things happened.  He originally couldn’t come to church this week because of work but then texted us on Friday saying that he switched with a co-worker so he could come!  He wanted to come so bad, but then he woke up with a sore throat on Sunday.  That was a bummer, but just a very small setback. I’m excited to work with Patrick.

The ward’s effort for recent converts and less actives is great.  A-Hung has received a calling, Stephen was sustained to receive the Priesthood next week and received a calling as the Sunday School First Counselor yesterday.  At the ward party he bore a powerful testimony about the purpose of the Book of Mormon.  We visited Or Lan this week.  I think she taught us instead of vice versa.  She shared an experience about how before baptism, she was just concerned about herself, but luckily has noticed that “when she is only in the service of fellow beings” she is much happier.  She in fact went out, sold her wedding jewels to buy her soon-to-be daughter-in-law a gift for her wedding.  She said that it wasn’t even hard to part with the $21,000 that she traded in. She said that it would be worth even more than that to see her face.  It truly will be!  The rest of the recent converts are doing well.  On the less-active “front” it is one giant miracle.  They just seem to come back to church on their own.  Every week someone just comes in, sits down and turns out they haven’t been to church in years.  This is the case for 4 out of the 6 that were there yesterday.  Over this past month they have just come back at some point. It is an amazing time to be here.

I love you all! I’m most grateful for the Atonement.  Teaching it makes me realize how crucial it is not to just our Sunday/religious aspects of life, but literally everything.  How we are, how we act, and what our attitudes are.  It’s been a fun experience teaching it simply (well trying to) and then seeing how much more I’ve learned.  Teaching and learning.  I know of no better combination.  I love you all!  One win away.  (The Sun Devils still had to play the U of A)  But that’s a scary game.  I love you all!  Go Devils. ASU!

Elder Allen


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November 17, 2013

Well I can’t ever remember what I talk about week in and week out but that’s okay.  This week is a little different!  I am being watched while writing…literally.  The two college reporters wanted to follow us on our preparation day so as a result all of this is like being recorded from a side angle.  They looked shocked as I gave a fist and a high five in the air to Elder Arrington as I saw news of the ASU victory.  What an awesome day!  That was a big game… but its nothing compared to Saturday!  Is it a little ironic how they play and and will clinch the PAC-12 South Championship on my 18th anniversary of being a missionary?!   I think not.  It’s going to be an awesome day.  Like always I won’t even think about it until the bus ride to the library… but boy is it a long five minute bus ride… GO DEVILS!  (This is the week that the Sun Devils beat Oregon State 30-17.  Their game the following week is against UCLA for the PAC-12 Championship.  Kyle predicts a victory!)

The Christmas season is in full swing here… instead of saying Happy Holidays everywhere, they have Merry Christmas everywhere!  The Festival Walk (the mall in Kowloon Tong that we go by everyday) Christmas tree (singdaansyuh) is up and it actually rivals that of Disneyland.  I’m going to be honest… it might be bigger… but then again I’ve been away from Disneyland for too long and if my brain can’t even remember my nieces and nephews how can it remember a Christmas tree?

Elder Kyle sent a picture of the Christmas Tree in Hong Kong (It is red!?!) and you can compare it here to the big Christmas tree on Main Street in Disneyland.  Well, you can almost compare them because he took the picture from Hong Kong at a pretty funny angle.

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 Oh well.  We are also celebrate Thanksgiving here to some extent but it is more of a church holiday here.  Seriously!  All the wards have a feast, families and even the missionaries!  Elder Arrington and I are in charge of our zone’s thanksgiving feast.  Don’t they know that is a disaster in the making?  “Dad burnt the turkey” “oh, one of those” (both of these are references to one of Elder Allen’s favorite Christmas movies, “The Santa Clause.”)  Too bad they don’t have Denny’s here and those people are from Japan in the movie.  I think that just means we’ll stick to McDonald’s…

Well this week was a great week for us…a lot of things happened this week that were memorable and I would write about them… but I just now realize I forgot my planner and of course can’t remember any single thing that I wrote down.  We’ve had a lot of meetings lately that have been taking a big chunk of our time.  We had zone conference this week and we had to lead a discussion and give a training for, a meeting with the stake this week about the ward’s new mission plans, and a zone wide maybe turned mission wide in the future training meeting on how to make District Meetings more effective that we have to think about and plan for next week.  It’s a lot of planning but the miracles keep on coming. Having an attitude of gratitude really makes a difference!  The new investigators are popping up out of nowhere!  Whether they be from friend’s introductions or other missionaries that find people in our area and then turn them over, it is a great time to be in Cheung Sha Wan…and the Kowloon Zone!  I just wish I had more stories to share.  I can’t believe I forgot my planner!

The weather is good!!  Nice and breezy like home…but that’s not in my planner.  I brought the sweatshirt out for the first time this week…but that’s also not in the planner….oh well…

A-Wing, one of our progressing investigators, is really doing well.  I’m not sure if I reported this news last week but after teaching the Sabbath Day, we challenged him to ask his boss for Sundays off.  Heavenly Father has truly blessed him and his boss said, “yes.”  I think ever since then his understanding and the desire to really learn about God has increased and subsequently he is learning things and accepting things easier and easier as opposed to the very slow pace of acceptance before.  We were talking about the Word of Wisdom and he understood why it takes an act of faith and why God commands us to follow him.  This is a man who needed about 4 lessons to understand what a prophet does and now he accepted the challenge to quit tea and coffee after 10 minutes of explaining everything and checking for understanding.  It truly is because of the Book of Mormon.  He reads everyday and as a result is more familiar to gospel terms and wording etc.  We had to extend a new baptismal date this week (because his job is not allowing him to come to church) and this time he said “yes no problem. I can do it.”  We will see him get baptized.  He is a great guy and has a good relationship with some ward members as well.

We also had a great week in finding new investigators, but the greatest one didn’t come from us it came from a member of institute (direct correlation).  She thought her friend Patrick was ready to hear the gospel so she wrote down his number at institute and then contacted us with it. Patrick works at a library in Hong Kong University and is a great people person.  We were able to schedule and meet him, which we did on Saturday.  We shared a message about the Restoration and he said a really great prayer at the end, even asking for things in his prayer as well as thanking our Heavenly Father, which I don’t know why but it’s not that common for people praying for the first time.  He came to church for the first time as well.  Elder Arrington and I were worried because we had 3 investigators there that we knew hadn’t heard the Law of Chastity yet which was the Sunday School lesson.  However, looking back on it I’m not sure why we were worried. It’s the Lord’s work and he’ll put into the hearts of His children truth.  After church Chris was said he was a little shocked to hear about this topic his first time coming to church, but understood it and committed to it!  And then right after we read 2nd Nephi 31:7-12 together and committed him to be baptized!  I couldn’t believe it.  In weekly planning we planned for it (even though we knew literally nothing about him, not even how old he was) but I am still amazed that everything worked out to the dot and he is awesome.  All within a span of 24 hours we met him, developed a friendship, and extended the baptismal invitation to him.  It is awesome!

Have a great week all of you!  It’s amazing to see the Lord’s miracles.  Its crazy to see how in our ward, every Sunday at 9:00 am., what miracles happen.  It’s like we are expecting miracles, especially with less actives!  The less active work is going great right now!  I love you all!  And I am so grateful for all of you!  Have and excellent week!  I’ll remember what I need to say in about 5 minutes!  Love you all!

Elder Allen


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Elder Allen – TV Star?

November 10, 2013

 Who knew so much could happen in one short weekend?  On both sides of the globe!  Here was pretty good and exciting but it sounds like a lot happened over there!  The biggest thing…not that there is a new nephew/niece that I can’t meet for a while or will recognize when I show pictures to investigators but that the Devils won!!!!  Just kidding.  I’m seriously just surprised Jenna, this whole time, was pregnant!!  Who knew!!!  (Jenna and Corbin’s son, Payson Nicks Robinson was born on November 9, 2013 and he weighed 7 lbs 6 oz.  Kyle kept insisting the whole time she was pregnant that we were joking with him and she wasn’t really expecting.  We kept sending him pictures but he thought they were fakes.  That just shows you what kind of relationship they have. Here is the picture of Payson that we sent to Elder Kyle.)

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I’m not exactly sure how many nieces and nephews I have anymore… is anyone pregnant?  I’m serious this time!  (No one is pregnant Elder.  You had three nieces and one nephew when you left.  Now you have four of each.  Your four older, married sisters have all had one baby since you have been gone.  Julie -Zachary, Katie – Parker, Sarah – Hadley, and Jenna – Payson.  I don’t know how many times I have told him this but he just can’t seem to remember.  I guess he has other things on his mind.)  I think we’re done but you never know.  That sounds like an exciting time that November 7,8,9 or 8,9,10 I can’t remember but its awesome! (Here he is referring to their birthdays.  Last fall, Sarah had her baby on November 8th and Julie had hers on November 10.  Payson was born this year on November 9, giving us birthdays on November 8, 9, and 10.)  Zach looks a lot like Bennett I think…or maybe I’ve just been looking at Zach… I’m not sure!  Anyway…I’m glad everyone had a good weekend.

We had a good weekend over here in Cheung Sha Wan.  We ran a zone training meeting on Friday, had a full day of lessons on Saturday, and then had just an awesome Sunday!  We had a pretty good day at church with investigators coming to church, but a lot just didn’t show up which was a bummer.  We were sitting there and this guy walks in, obviously from mainland who just sits down and listens to all of sacrament meeting!  We talk with him after and he had an awesome story.  So he is originally from a place up by Beijing but lives in Shenzhen with his wife.  He has his wife’s religion but felt that it wasn’t complete.  He did some searching but since he was in Mainland couldn’t really find any solid information.  But then something told him to come down to Hong Kong on Sunday, just for Sunday and try looking around.  He said it was funny he actually followed through with it because now with his Visa he has to like go through a long application process to renew it so he can have more chances to leave mainland and he wasn’t expecting to use his last trip for a while (I hope that makes sense).  (It doesn’t.)  Anyway, he got off the train in Kowloon Tong and just started walking!  Not knowing where to go or what he was doing!  But he just went! And then as soon as he saw the church he knew that’s where he had to go.  So he went in, listened to the whole meeting but only speaks Mandarin so didn’t understand anything, and then was able to meet with us through a translator… it’s actually kinda weird how much Mandarin and Cantonese sound alike.  I could understand the general idea of what he was saying the entire time!  Anyway, he was very interested!

Next came from that night of finding on the streets in Cheung Sha Wan. We didn’t originally to go finding yesterday because our schedule was pretty packed, but these two students at the Chinese University of Hong Kong have been researching about missionaries for a while. They have had some interviews with some other missionaries and have talked to us before, sat in on our English class and stuff like that.  Well they wanted to go finding with us and asked if they could follow us so we said yes!  So we did about an hour of finding yesterday and the camera was on us the whole time!  It was pretty awesome what happened!  Everyone thought we were some TV stars or something (ha-ha) so everyone was more willing to stop and listen.  We actually taught a full lesson to someone I met with Elder Kwan but he didn’t have any time then but this time he was really interested and said he wanted to come to church.  It was pretty interesting doing missionary work with like little microphones and people following you.  It worked though!!!!  So after the great success the hour brought they were interviewing us and asked questions like why do we go finding, what do we say, what’s the motivation behind it and stuff.  And then I asked them how they felt and they both said how tired they were only after one hour!  Both of them were amazed that some people do that everyday for 7 hours a day!  I think the whole thing went well.  They are coming to English class again on Wednesday.  Elder Allen – TV star.  It doesn’t have a good ring.  I think I’ll stick to being just a regular missionary.  That suits me better.  But it’s good for the church!!

The weekend was a good one.  We had the chance to meet with our investigator family again, which changes a good week into an excellent week.  We were a little late to call and confirm them and so I was a little nervous about calling them, but when Brother Tong answered the phone I knew good things happened this week.  He answered the phone very excited and when I asked if we could still come visit he got very excited and answered like it wasn’t even a question.  I was very excited to see what happened even though I had no clue as to what it could be.  Well, they did a lot of gospel related activities this week.  They even went by the temple/church on a bus and Brother Tong told his daughter about the story of the Angel Moroni.  It shows what a good dad he is because he was joking around calling Moroni pineapple, because of their similarity in Chinese.  The daughter knew his name was Moroni because she saw his picture in the Book of Mormon.  They were laughing about that together during the visit in which we talked about how the Book of Mormon came forth.  We originally planned to read I Nephi chapter 1 with them since the chance was slim that they would read alone.  How little was our faith though.  The daughter, Katie, and Brother Tong read all the introductory pages and all the way up to I Nephi 5!  Amazing!  And this time Brother Tong shared his testimony on how the Book of Mormon has helped his life. They were close to committing to come to church this past week but weren’t up for it yet.  That’s okay.  I have full faith they will come.  The circumstances are just too good!  They have ward connections, his ward co-worker friend says he has a big possibility of coming back and the wife is fully supportive of it and has to be blind not to see the difference in her family.  I really like the mom, Alice.  She is a very good mother and is willing to talk about it, just isn’t too open right now.  That’s okay.  It will come.  We will bring a Melchizedek Priesthood holder back with his family!  It will just need some time.

 Our ward is doing very well with less-active fellowshipping.  We have 4 or 5 less-actives that we have been working with that are on the path back to full activity.  They help us out so much.  We had 6 come to church this past week and they seem to have like it, even though our Sacrament meeting which is always loud and noisy finished a good 20 minutes late, everyone seemed to have a good time!  Obedience is awesome!  We’re trying to be obedient to fight all these people! Nephi had so much faith that people had to believe his words and our obedience is an act of our faith.  I have full faith it will be an excellent week!  I love you!!  I can’t wait to hear from you again!  Go Devils!

 Elder Allen


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Surrounded by General Authorities

November 6, 2013

In China it’s Halloween everyday I would just like to point out.  Where do you think this tradition started?  I’ll tell you all.  All you have to do is go outside and within a half of an hour out on the streets you will see at least one brave, daring, and crazy soul that is celebrating the holiday.  It doesn’t really matter what time of the year it is.  So happy Halloween everyone!  It sounded like the party was a hit and all the costumes seemed to go well!  Seemed like every family had a theme.  Unity.  And then you have Staci with the “hashtag selfie” costume… seems about normal!  (Staci’s Halloween costume this year was a foam board decorated to look like an Instagram post with a big opening in the center for her face to show through.  When you asked what she was she told you, “A selfie!”  Here is a picture because the description doesn’t do it justice.) 

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What’s not normal are those stats that ASU is posting!  And that’s not at the start of PAC play after playing only NAU…that’s the middle of PAC play!  But we all know…there is still another half to go…oh how joyful.  But now that there is no such November holiday for being thankful (they do not celebrate Thanksgiving in Hong Kong) it’s Christmas time here!  No joke!  The malls are already putting up their Christmas trees!  The roads already have lights that say “Merry Christmas” decorating them.  Happy November everyone!

This week was a pretty good week!  Just long since we didn’t have preparation day on Monday! We took care of some zone things this week.  I actually spent a night in Tsing Yi and Kwai Fong this past week doing companion exchanges!  It’s just so amazing.  Hong Kong is just so close and yet all the different areas are just so different and characteristic!  It was good!  And then the temple was just very good today.  As we were in the dressing room getting changed and stuff I look up and right next to me is Elder Randy Funk!!   He just gave a talk at Conference!  And then right across from me I saw Elder Larry Wilson!  I was surrounded by General Authorities… in the temple!  I almost got enough guts to say something to Elder Funk like “I enjoyed your talk” or something like that… but it just didn’t happen.  I was too scared.  Some things just will never change!  We did shake hands in the elevator though and talked about the Gilbert Temple.  Good small talk.  Mission accomplished.  They are very awesome men.  That’s like the only way to describe them.

We had our monthly Mission Leadership Council meeting just yesterday and all went well.  The zone is doing pretty well!  And we had homemade BBQ sandwiches!  Awesome!  And then the Halloween package from home got here as well which was just even more awesome!  Then today, at the temple, this couple from Cedar City who I talked to just before everything started invited us out to lunch with them!  They just were stopping by in Hong Kong coming back from Tibet and Nepal and wanted to take us out!  For the first time 16.5 months I went to an actual American-Style restaurant!  It was just so awesome!  It reminded me of Oregano’s actually. (Oregano’s is Kyle’s favorite pizza/pasta place here in Arizona)  Everything was super good but WAY TOO expensive for missionaries to afford.  The generosity of members is just so awesome!  In fact, I have never had to pay for 3 meals straight!

So this week the weather turned a different way and it was the way it should stay.  Ha-ha!  Besides that, everything was good!  We had some rainy days but that’s okay.  That wasn’t anything compared to July.  (Hong Kong had a lot of rain in July!)  I’m glad everyone in the family seems to be doing well.

As far as the area is concerned, we keep slowly climbing up.  It was another excellent week and a lot of miracles happened this week, we even met two families in the process of seeing Heavenly Father’s mercy.  The first one came from a less active family.  Brother Tong has been less active ever since he got home from his mission many years ago.  He was in contact with some members recently and was willing to meet with missionaries again.  After calling to schedule us, we went over and Friday and taught him, his wife, and their 7 year old daughter.  I didn’t know this before, but he actually works for a member in our ward and they are good friends!  We didn’t want the lesson to go too long because, of course, we had the intentions of getting invited back. Their daughter, Katie, is fascinated by it all!  From the white men speaking Chinese to the Book of Mormon story about a family.  She was asking questions and I think that sparked the mom’s interest in learning as well.  We were able to focus on the daughter and teach the whole family in a way that nobody would be offended.  I’m surprised about how little Brother Tong can remember, but that is all right with us.  Hopefully it will rekindle his feelings for the gospel.  It’s only the beginning, but along with a return appointment, Brother Tong helped his daughter pray at the end.

The Cheung Sha Wan sister companionship also tuned a father and son family over to us.  The Dad, Kenzie, is a big believer in himself, but the 12-year-old son, Paul, really likes it so far. They came to Family Home Evening and I think had a good time with everyone and it was a good start. They rescheduled to come to church on Sunday and Paul was the main factor in that.  It was a good lesson as well and I can’t wait to see them again.  The Lord is giving us some great opportunities to teach families in the form of focusing on children.  I don’t think it is ironic or at all a coincidence to remind myself that Christ often focused on the little children.  I am so grateful for this opportunity to teach in the paths of the Savior.  Although I will never be the perfect teacher as he was, it is really rewarding to follow in his footsteps and do what he did.  It is a goal of mine to have these moments become more frequent.

The rest of the area is doing pretty well. Herman came for the second week in a row and when we met with him he told us he started reading the Book of Mormon and as far as I am concerned, that is the best thing that could’ve happened!  He accepted a “soft” baptismal date during yesterday’s lesson but wants to pray about it first.  We know he knows the what and the why he just needs to pray on the when.  After him, we had a good lesson with Wing and Jason this week, but both of them didn’t come to church again. We are going to really have to focus on church attendance for them.  I was very inspired by the spirit I felt in both of their lessons.  They had a different attitude and both of them know what they need to do, they just need to take their first step of faith.

That is all time allows me to write.  I’m grateful for you all! I’ll write again soon!  And have a good week!  The best thing we can do is to strive for the companionship of the Holy Ghost and follow it. I love you all!  Always remember that!!  Go Devils!

Elder Allen

Once again Elder Allen remembered to describe the pictures he sent along with his email and here they are:

Missionaries at the American restaurant…you can tell because its dimly lit.

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In Family Home Evening we had a “how many grapes can you fit in your mouth competition” and here is how we looked.

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Following the Small Promptings

October 27, 2013

Hello everyone!

The weather this past week has just been so awesome I’m telling you!  I think we are on the same temperature schedule because right now and I love it.  President Hawks told us to turn off all our air conditioners for the rest of the year!  I was super excited about that. I think everyone in the apartment likes to sleep in a icebox at night, but this week I finally came out of my mummified sleeping position that I’ve been sporting for a good 7 or so weeks now! (Kyle must have inherited his cold tolerance from his mother!  I have been known to take a blanket with me to church.)  The weather is good and so all the missionaries in the zone are happy and we’re hitting the streets and coming up with some of the best numbers in a long time!  Things are returning to normal again which is always welcomed… except it’s been a hard month to get people liking to come to church.  First it was conference, then stake conference, and just yesterday was our Primary program.  I mean the Primary program is the best week ever, I don’t think anyone doesn’t have a smile on, but it’s just weird for investigators.  Their first time at church… and they just see 10 kids on the stage the entire time and reenacting a thing called 家人家庭晚會 (which means Family Home Evening.)  I must admit I would be way wacked out too!  Seeing them run around everywhere and seeing the American’s faces have like the biggest smile ever… ha-ha… but I always remember it is the Lord’s work right?  So because it is, it won’t ever fail. Turns out they all are all okay with it!  More on that later.

Speaking of not getting things back to normal we ran into some weird things on the street this week.  Not saying bad, in fact is was a great week on the streets but every time you got out on the streets of Hong Kong you are bound to run into something funny.  We just finished teaching a lesson this week and were walking down the street to the MTR station when all the sudden the TV store right in front of us turns on “The Walking Dead” a famous TV series about a zombie apocalypse.  It must have been like a 8 second amount of time where we could see the TV and the whole time it shows this guy taking and killing this zombie by stabbing it in the head over and over and over again.  Needless to say the zombie died…I think…the only part we were exposed to was when he was doing the actual killing.  THIS IS ON A MAIN STREET IN HONG KONG!   Ha-ha, it’s crazy!  There was blood like everywhere!  And then we walk down the street a little further and instead of having a normal back up tone of doot, doot, doot, this one “tricked out” moving van backed up to the tone of the Pink Panther song!  What in the world?!  And then later on we see this whole street full of super nice cars.  Like even a McLaren was there!  That happened in the space of one day!  Just some crazy things!

This week one of the districts in the zone, my companion and I got to do a little 15 minute devotional on missionary work in Hong Kong for all the Seminary and Institute directors and their wives in all of Asia and Salt Lake and Elder Wilson from the Seventy.  It turned out pretty well.  Elder Arrington and I had to plan everything on a moment’s notice and so were glad everything worked out!  It was a hit I’d say.  It’s not your Lion King at Gammage but…its pretty close! Speaking of which it sounds like the family is doing well!  I hear everybody is busy!  By the way, is Jenna really pregnant?  (Jenna was at this point 38-weeks pregnant and Kyle still couldn’t believe she was going to have a baby.  I think even up to the point that we sent him the pictures of her in the hospital with Payson he thought we were just teasing him about that!)

This week was an excellent week for us as far as finding new investigators goes.  We have noticed that we have been bringing the same people to church for the past while now and no one new.  As a result, during this last week of finding, we focused our finding on getting people to come to church and inviting every single person we talk to attend.  We usually do this but I feel like this week we had an added resolve to do something about it and go find these prepared people and invite them to church.  While doing reports with the district leaders a couple of weeks ago a missionary (I can’t remember who) was telling me that a companionship in his district was doing excellent at following the smallest of promptings and seeing where it took him.  That has stuck in my mind ever since and this week I tried to put it into action.  It took us to a lot of odd streets. Streets that in my six months serving here I haven’t ever walked.  Well some had success, but others didn’t.  I learned that as long as we followed the Spirit it didn’t really matter what the results were, because it’s where the Spirit wanted us to go.  I have come out this week of finding happier and feeling more accomplished than ever before.  For instance on Saturday while finding, we had a good amount of time to be on the streets.  Most of that time was unsuccessful but we kept encouraging ourselves to keep focused.  We only had about 20 minutes left before leaving to go to an appointment when we found ourselves walking on this road away from the MTR station and with very few people.  We talked to the one person that was on the road and turns out he just finished teaching guitar as a volunteer at his church!   He was really interested in our message and took a Book of Mormon.  He lives in Chai Wan so we’ll see if anything happens.  After that contact I was extremely satisfied.  You could easily say, “My joy was full.”   Even though nothing much happened, we stuck to our smallest of promptings and had success in the end.

The success we had in finding went well past that one small contact.  This week we had three new investigators come to church through finding this past week.  One of them, Herman, is actually a recent convert’s friend!  We were walking, stopped him and when we introduced the Book of Mormon he said his friend was a member of this church!  It was so awesome.  We got down his information and when we saw the member the next day at a stake activity he told us his friend already told him about our contact and scheduled him for church!  It was very awesome to see. He found church a little weird, since the Priesthood lesson was about Nephi having to retrieve the golden plates.  That and then it was the ward’s Primary program.

Speaking of the Primary program again we had some good success with it, and so did Sister Aldana and Sister Wilcox.  We had a father, Brother Wu come to church this week that we met on the street.  He was worried about bringing his kids this week to church because they study at a Catholic school and he didn’t want to offend us.  Well he planned on leaving early and not going to Sacrament because he had to go home and watch his kids while the mom went out to work. Well, after the Gospel Principles class on how families can be together forever, he called his wife and asked if she could wait for a while while he stayed for the rest of church.  I was shocked when he said that he actually could stay!  And then he noticed all the little kids singing and he thought it was so awesome to have them involved and wanted them to come next week.  It was awesome to see the Lord’s timing in these things.  It’s his work and his timing is always right.

The other one man that came to church was also a miracle.  When going back to the MTR for dinner, we stopped Chris and didn’t talk to him for a long time.  However he said these words, “Oh its funny I met you.  I’ve actually been thinking how I need to go back to church again.”  We wrote down his number and left, confirmed him on Saturday night and then called him while waiting for him Sunday morning.  We were at the station and he called us saying he was already at the church!  He ended up taking a taxi all the way to church!  I can’t wait to see what happens with Chris.

Along with these things the rest of the area is doing well.  Or Lan, a recent convert, has had two friends introduced to the gospel these past two weeks and Sister Lam, a less active that is returning to activity, had her referral baptized yesterday in another ward.  Great things are happening here.  We have two investigators who read the entire 1st Book of Nephi this week, but they couldn’t come to church this week.  The experiences here are awesome.  We went to a meeting with the stake President, the stake mission coordinator, and all the ward coordinators so we know what the stake expects from us now.  They all want to do the work and now we have to come through!

Elder Allen attached some pictures to this email and actually described their contents so here they are along with his brief, but informative, explanations.

These pictures are of my old shoes at my year mark.  (It makes me happy to see that he has done enough walking to wear his shoes out like that in just over a year in the mission field.  We did send him a new pair of shoes!)

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The Cheung Sha Wan Ward BBQ.

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The sunset yesterday from my window.

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And a less active member who has come to church for 4 weeks in a row, Allen Lui!

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I love you all and can’t wait to hear from you again!  It will be next Thursday, since we are going to the temple this next week!  Go Devils!!!  I remember last time at Washington State… we ran the opening kickoff back… then lost….oh well! I love you all!

Elder Allen


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A Twenty-Five Month Missionary

October 21, 2013

 Well I have decided everybody!  I’m going to be coming home on June 20, 2013!  So I’ll be a 25-month missionary!  I think it’s pretty awesome to serve 25 months… It wasn’t really a hard decision. (You’ll notice that Elder Allen didn’t ask me for my opinion about the whole thing!)  I heard that you have a date when you have to end your mission by. That date for me was June 11th, and if you want to pass that date the mission president has to get permission from somebody… like the head of the missionary department I think?  Or even the First Presidency??  I’m not sure but either way it will be kinda cool to say I served for 25 months. The work is just awesome!  It will make up for some of that lost MTC time!  (Kyle was one of the last missionaries that had to spend twelve weeks in the MTC in order to learn Chinese.)  Ha-ha!

 This week is just an exhausting week for some reason.  And I love it!  Lately there has just been so much to do with the zone with investigators, members and things like that so Elder Arrington and I got back up to working 24/7 non-stop this week.  It must have had a pretty big affect on me because at stake conference yesterday about 4 people said I looked like a Panda Bear!  What is this world coming to?  Ha-ha!  But get this…I ate a Reese’s (his spelling on this was way off – something like “recess” and since it is his absolute favorite kind of candy he has obviously been gone for quite a while!) candy for the first time… so we are all good good.  Elder Arrington’s mom felt like we should celebrate Halloween with some U.S. candy so she sent us some!  Amazing!  But the work is going really great.  I have found that even showering is a burden.  It is such a waste of time.  Don’t get me wrong… I shower every night… but there is just so much to do at night and showering is just boring!  That was my thought this week… while in the shower… ironic how that works.

 This was a pretty awesome and eventful week.  We had the Asia Area conference and so we listened to Elder Hales and Elder Holland speak.  Pretty great and everything.  I don’t know if you remember, but during the “Work of Salvation” broadcast, they had like a melody of hymns with video of this family bringing other people into the gospel.  Well they did the exact same thing here!  Seriously – like frame for frame!  But it was this Korean family instead of an English one, ha-ha.  It was just as inspiring though… except they weren’t Chinese… oh well.  Yesterday was a very good time. 

We did have a pretty funny experience this week.  We are working with this man who came back to the church who had stopped coming about 40 years ago.  About two months ago we started teaching him again after the sisters and us went knocking on less active’s doors in this one estate here.  Anyway, he suffers from problem with his mind and so he has forgotten literally everything about the gospel.  He didn’t even know what prayer was.  In fact the only thing he remembers about the Church is his baptism.  It is so strange, he remembers little to nothing, but still remembers getting baptized!  Anyway… we were at his house teaching about prayer and coming to church this week. We had a demonstration using a string and two cups to communicate as if the string was the Holy Ghost.  Our point was that if we didn’t come to church we didn’t have the string, and it would be harder to understand answers to prayers than if we came to church.  Well, we are talking and I’m holding one cup as the Holy Ghost telling him a part of the lesson and all the sudden he just starts ripping them… just over and over again just the loudest… farts….I have ever heard….and disgusting too.  I am almost positive he had to change his pants…but after all the rolling thunder he was just completely normal…like nothing happened!  I was shocked.  My mouth dropped.  Let’s just say the Holy Ghost even let out some laughs.  It was something like I will never hear/see again.  To him it was just completely normal to let off what he let off while talking to people.  I always heard that is a rumor among Chinese people but I have seldom witnessed it.  But hey, he understands why we have to pray and come to church every week now!  I call it a success.  A big win for everyone.  Except maybe our noses….

 We are already seeing some great blessings from focusing on the gospel 24/7 and not letting anything stop us. We even found some new investigators this week to reload the teaching pool. What happened this week was that we went to go see a recent convert at his house.  We finished teaching him, but realized we had about 20 minutes before we had to leave to teach another lesson.  Instead of wasting that time, we decided to go finding in an area that I have never really tried finding in because of the density of people there.  We start walking around but nothing happened.  We knew we had planned for new investigators this week, but still hadn’t found any.  That just motivated us more to meet our goals and find until we absolutely had to leave for our next appointment.  Well our determination paid off and we were able to meet a very nice man named Tim.  We were able to teach him most of the lesson on the restoration and we scheduled an appointment to see him again.  It was just a small blessing but it was a week changer.  Just seeing first-hand that going the extra mile and not wasting any of the limited amount of time we had brings so many blessings (both seen and unseen) was such a confidence builder.  We both know that if we continue to do these things, we will succeed.  We were very grateful to recognize that blessing as well.  After we got out of that first lesson we had been debating what to do and if it would be effective to go finding then and there.  Well my answer from now on will be – it doesn’t hurt at all!

We also are having great success with our recent converts.  Or Lan, a recent convert of 2 months has caught the spirit of missionary work and is inviting her neighbors to hear about the gospel. We met with her on Friday, and she told us that her friend was going to come with her to the Relief Society activity the next day.  The only thing was that he was the one man making curry when we went to go meet him the next day.  It actually was a great way to make the situation less awkward because he was very happy to see other males there.  We talked and introduced ourselves in the hallway while the Relief Society finished up.  We gave him a tour of the chapel and shared a message.  We planned to share the Restoration but time was short and he had to leave, but we were able to talk for a good 20 minutes and set up a time to meet him again, in Or Lan’s home.  He has had a rough month.  His spouse ran away with their 6-year-old son and no one has heard from them since.  The gospel can help all people in all situations.  It was great and I think he really appreciated the invitation to go to the activity.

That’s all the major news for the week.  It was an awesome week and I can’t wait to keep going with the momentum we have.  The ward has really caught the missionary spirit especially with less-actives.  Lately we have been averaging about 5 less actives at church and it is because of people the members are bringing back, nothing that we are doing.  It is so awesome to see it.  It is a great blessing and a great miracle every weekend.  Things are just getting better and better here. The Lord is watching over and guiding us. Sorry if this letter doesn’t make sense.  It’s a bit scrambled!  Go Devils!  A-S-U!  I love you all!  The little things in life are the best things in life!  We are a family of little things but I love it.  We are the best family in the world and I love you all!

Elder Au Yeung


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Still in Cheung Sha Wan!

October 14, 2013

I can’t believe it.  This week was transfers.  Now I don’t know about other missions, but in the China Hong Kong mission, we usually stick around in an area for about 2 companions or 6 months.  Well the 6-month mark passed already and I was on my third companion in the area!  It was crazy enough that I had three companions in one area.  It really was!  But I still had no clue what would happen.  Well what happened is that I’M STILL IN CHEUNG SHA WAN!!  AND I have a different companion!  I’m with an Elder Arrington who started his mission 6 weeks after me.  I can’t believe what happened!  Elder Liu got called to go to Macau so I’m sill here as a zone leader.  It’s awesome.  I still can learn so much here.  Also here is some big news!  I got my release date!!!!!  Well sort of.  I can choose.  I don’t know what to do actually.  I think I need to think about it a little this week.  Since transfers are a little weird now being 9 weeks, my two years ends in the middle of a transfer.  So President Hawks is letting me choose between May 23rd (two years to the day that he went into the mission field) or June 20th (the end of the transfer) which would make me a 25-month missionary.  Like I said I don’t know what to do!  But it’s getting closer and closer!  So I don’t know… that’s that….

Sorry if this letter is short.  Let me tell you the story of what happened.  Today is some weird Chinese holiday, which is reason to celebrate of course!  So today the ward went on a ward barbecue Chinese style!  Exactly the same as the Tai Po ward activity actually.  We went and were expecting to be back home around 3 to 3:30.  Well, when we got back into the buses to go home, there were so many cars on the small highway road that the bus couldn’t maneuver around them!  After being stuck for a really long time they called the police to come and help us!  It was pretty funny because everyone was taking pictures of us.  We were blocking the road for a very, very long time!  The police even closed the road so no cars could enter the passage!  Ha-ha!  Our bus driver had some serious skill and guts to do some of the things that he did, avoiding all the parked cars!  And then when we got through it I realized that we had to do it again!  We had traveled back to the campsite and had to flip around since where we got off the bus and got back on the bus were in different places.  We got home very late today!  But it was all worth it!  There were about 15 non-members there!

Conference was great!  I just always miss English meetings!  They are so awesome! This one had some really good talks!  I especially liked Elder Oaks’ talk.  (Elder Oak’s talk from the last General Conference was entitled “No Other Gods.”  In it he spoke about some of the priorities we may place ahead of God in our lives and concluded his talk by saying “We must never dilute our first priority – to have no other gods and to serve no other priorities ahead of God the Father and His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.”)  That seems to be the one lingering in my mind the most.  Anyways, enough about that.  Thanks for the heads up on the exclamation points (Elder Gifford Nielsen’s talk) and the ldsconffly! (See Kyle’s letter from last week!)  Ha-ha!

The area is doing great and we can’t wait for the time where we can go out finding this week and find the elect of our Heavenly Father.  However, those that we already have are doing better than before, John especially.  He has a baptismal date for the end of the month, keeps all the commandments, but before this week he was never set on Christ being before all other things. This week we had a member who is coming back into activity himself help us teach that principle.  The spirit was strong and we were able to answer a lot of the small questions/concerns he had.  With John we weren’t being bold enough but after telling him things as they really are, and then promising specific blessings, he understood and is getting very close to accepting in very firmly. I’m very excited for him.  He just needs to read every night and see where it takes him.  He came to our ward barbecue activity today and had a great time with the members.

Wing came to conference in a white shirt!  He said it was the first time ever that he has worn a white, button up shirt.  It was great to see him there and hear President Monson speak.  He is reading the Book of Mormon everyday and his prayers are getting better and better, which is a testament that he is praying outside of our meetings.  We don’t get to see Wing a lot but since he does things on his own outside of our meetings he is really progressing well.  He is in the middle of I Nephi right now, which is great.  I love explaining the scriptures to him, since he has a hard time understanding anything in it.  I feel like every time we do that I learn more than him and we always feel the Spirit.  Whenever we read the scriptures and talk about them, our meetings are different.

That is a small report, but time permits me to write no more.  At the ward barbecue today there must have been 15-20 non-members there as well as most of the recent converts!  It was a great turnout and our small little band of Cheung Sha Wan ward members and to have two chartered buses take us to and from the place we went was fantastic!  It was a great event talking with everyone.  I got to meet a lot of the members families, and even though their interest level was not too high right now, it will be later and its because the members are catching the Spirit of missionary work!  It’s awesome!  Thank you so much for all you do for us missionaries everyone!  I know I mentioned this before but it’s really awesome!  Everyone in the ward is surprised I’m still here and I’m excited!  It sounds like a good back-on-track win for the CTG’s!  (ASU beat Colorado that week 54-13)  This week is going to be a very big game!  I can’t wait to hear about it!  I remember when the last time Washington came to the stadium.  It was when what’s his face threw the last second Hail Mary pass to Aaron Pflugrad in the end zone for the win!  So awesome!  Wasn’t that the last time?  If it isn’t…well…it’s a missionary mind.  We only remember the big and important events.  I love you all have a great week

Love,

Elder Allen