What of the
Elder & Sister Linford in Hong Kong
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
From the Linfords in Hong Kong!
We have been here for four weeks now, serving on our fifth mission as Area Medical Advisor, and are still a little overwhelmed at being transplanted to Hong Kong. It is an amazing city! We live and work right in the middle of downtown Hong Kong. The Asia Area offices are in a beautiful twelve story building which houses three chapels as well as branch and area offices. On Sunday and during the week there are ten different branches meeting in the building. Meetings are held throughout the week because most of the members are Filipino sisters working as domestic helpers for families here in Hong Kong and they cannot get off on Sundays.
We have been assigned to work in a branch consisting of about 90 active Filipino sisters. They are wonderful, and we are learning much from them. We had testimony meeting on the first Sunday of the month, and they have strong testimonies and are so faithful, even though they are away from home and family. Joanne is in the choir and we are in charge of a “Family Home Evening” and “Home Teaching” group. We cannot visit them in the homes where they work, so we see them in groups after church on Sunday. Our 500 square-foot apartment is on the 11th floor of an eighteen-story building, just a ten minute walk from our office, through streets crowded with people on their way to work. The traffic is amazing, moving in and out around people and cars, with hundreds of double-decker buses; and trolley cars called “ding dings” continuously ringing their bell as they move along their track.
Twelve senior couples serve here in the Area office and live in our same apartment building. They have been a great help in showing us where and how to shop. They all have such varying backgrounds and abilities and have brought many talents to their callings. We have been able to connect with most of them in knowing someone that they know or are related to, which is always fun!
We buy our fruits and vegetables from a “Wet Market,” just a short walk from the apartment. There are many open stalls and lots of people and noise. We carry our produce home in bags and then wash it in water and Clorox. There is also the Wan Chai market near our office, which is a maze of tiny streets with venders selling everything you could possibly want and many things we don’t. In fact, Joanne just bought a little artificial Christmas tree with bows, apples, and pine cones. By the way, our Email is still [email protected]
The Hong Kong Temple is across the harbor on the mainland in Kowloon, about a thirty minute bus ride from the apartment and office, The bus travels through a tunnel under the harbor. We have about a ten-minute walk on each end of the bus ride. We have been assigned to be ordinance workers there on Tuesday evenings—what a blessing.
From our apartment and office windows we have a view of the Victoria Harbor and watch ships and small boats coming and going. The East Asia Games opening ceremony was a couple of weeks ago. We walked down to the harbor and watched the program on a huge screen. The finale was the most amazing display of fireworks we have ever seen! Thirty minutes of beautiful lights exploding in the sky and reflected from the windows of the skyscrapers. It was unbelievable.
We miss our friends and family, but we love this new experience among wonderful people. It was especially nice to arrive as the Thanksgiving-Christmas Season was getting under way. It made us even more aware of our many blessings. Indeed the greatest of those blessings is to know that God is our Father and that Jesus is the Son of God and is our Savior and Redeemer. We are blessed to know that through the great Atoning Sacrifice of Jesus Christ we can return to our Heavenly Father. Ever amazing is that God so loved the World that He gave His only Begotten Son—whereby we can have Eternal Life, that greatest of all gifts.
May each of you enjoy with your families a blessed Christmas—rich with the Spirit of the Season that makes us all a little kinder, a little gentler, a little more generous, a little more forgiving and loving, a little more willing to lift and serve our fellowmen. And may your New Year be prosperous and full of wondrous surprises. All our love: heaped up, pressed down, and running over.
Joanne and Ray Linford