Friday, December 18, 2015

Hong Kong Missionary Experience--December 2015

Scott and Joy Holbrook's Missionary Expereince
Hong Kong 2015

We came from Macau to Hong Kong for a 5 weeks just before the American Thanksgiving.  It is exciting to seem Hong Kong at Christmas time.  The stores are all decorated and the holiday spirit is in the air.  They are commercialized just like the USA.  Each store has their Christmas sales items displayed but most stores have only a small section (10X10) dedicated to Christmas.

Kowloon Downtown 2015

In coming to Hong Kong, we had an opportunity to work at the Hong Kong Temple on Sunday the 22nd of November.  It is the only temple in the world opened one Sunday each quarter.  It is to allow domestic workers who work 6 days a week and 12 hours a day a chance to attend the temple.  It was fun to be involved as over 120, mostly Filipino's, came to the temple.  We were just made Temple Workers and it was wonderful to help.

Elder and Sister Holbrook at the Hong Kong Temple 11-22-15

We work with 2 groups of missionaries predominately.  One is the group from Macau and the other is the International Group in Hong Kong.  We get to know these young men and young women very well.  They are full of energy and excitment--they work tirelessly each and every day helping people and sharing a message of  our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Macau Zone Dec 2015

Hong Kong International District Dec 2015
Joy loves working with the 150 missionaries on their medical issures.  For the most part, it is colds, allergies, feet problems from walking 6-8 miles a day, digestive issues (strange food and the Chinese quick step; same as the Mexician) and other minor ailments.  She is excited to help them each day as the phone begins to ring.

Elder James Dim Sum Birthday Meal--he pays!  Dec 2015
We went to a fantastic Dim Sum Restuarnt to celebrate the birthday of Elder Jerry James.  It was a treat and the food was amazing.  It did not cause digestive problems.

The tradition in the far east is on a birthday the people get together and the person celebrating the birthday buys everyone a meal.  How did we get this backwards in the USA?

The LDS Church for a service project has made 1300 throw blankets for the elderly.  We had about 900 people involved in making these blankets.  It was a fun time with many hands assiting in making the gifts for the Elderly.  We are some of the "elderly" but did not get one!!

Making Throw blanket for the Elderly Dec 2015
We are having a very special experience.  It is exciting to be able to help others.  Merry Christmas to each of you.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Special Macau Experiences in October 2015

It is amazing the cravings that we sometimes get.  I saw some cottage cheese in the grocery store.  In Macau it seldom happens.  The price was not marked.  Many things western things are a little more here in Macau.  I said it is probably about 30 MOP ($3.00-4.25 US for a quart).  I thought we deserve a special treat, I am going to buy it!!  I got the rest of the items on the list and went to check out.  It was 91 MOP or about $11.50 US.  I debated putting it back and then said "what the heck"?  We have been using it like caviar. 

The $11.50 a quart Cottage Cheese

Francis, President Lam and Ryan
We have a dear friend we have made in Macau.  He is an outstanding young man (yellow tie).  He is from and served a mission in the Philippines.  While on his mission, he met a family whose daughter was in British Columbia, Canada working. He contacted her after his mission and they have had an internet romance for a year.  They have never met personally.  They have decided to get married in the Manilla Temple the end of November.  She is a cute girl and he a dynamic young man.  They both have more faith than me...we are excited for them.

Farmington in Macau at Open House
At our small chapel in Macau we had an open house this past weekend.  Many members put in lots of time in building displays about the church.  One of the displays showed the painting of the first primary in the church.  The Primary was started in Farmington, Utah.  This is the chapel that Joy grew up in and where she attended church until we were married.  It was nostalgic for Joy and she excitedly explained it to a number of people.  Farmington in Macau...what a surprise!!

Each week we attend and many times teach institute at the international branch of the church on Thursday night.  It is a great group of people to have an in-depth gospel discussion.  Taking a picture is a new way of taking role....but what if you loose the picture or get the wrong one?

Face Painting on Halloween--they said my face was already scary

We have a member from Las Vegas, Steve Anderson, who comes to Macau almost very month for a few days on business.  We asked him to help us and he brought us some refried beans (4 big cans), salsa (large bottle) and (100) tortillas.  We had 12 missionaries over for dinner last week.  They were excited about the Mexican Feast.  We added hamburger, onions, tomatoes, avocados, lime and real cheese.  It was amazing!!  Some of the missionaries thought they had died and gone to heaven.

Mexican Dinner at Apt
During the past month we went to the temple with 35 members of our international branch (mostly Filipinos).  We only have 80-90 come to church.  It is a long day journey and costs about $50 US.  This is significant when many of these people only make $400 US a month.  It was like being in heaven to see these beautiful people in the temple all dressed in white.  It was one of the great days in our life.

October 2015 Temple Group
 We continue to be blessed with this wonderful experience.  We see people trying hard to follow in the footsteps of the Savior.  Each week we see their faith grow and their commitment deepen.  We see small miracles happen in their lives.  God does love us!!  He cares about each of us!!  He knows our hearts and answers our prayers. Each day we are more grateful to be among this loving group of people who have accepted us as part of their extended family.  We have truly been blessed being here.  
 Jing our Special Temple Friend

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Hong Kong/Macau Update

Our mission is not all work "sometimes" we get to play.  The international branch in Macau had a beach party on a recent Chinese national holiday.  We were able to go to the beach with 80 members and enjoy the day in the sun with a BBQ, games and good company.  They put us on the games committee.  We played a number of games that our family played at a family reunion plus a few others.  Everyone loved them and had a great time!
October 2015 Beach Hoiday Party

Nylon Sock Game

We have a great public bus system in Macau but on a holiday you can wait a long time for a ride.  We got on a bus and it was so full it just by-passed 2-3 stops since nobody wanted to get off.  In going to the breach in May we waited over an hour to get an indirect ride.  The key is go early.  On weekends and holidays, people in Macau do not like to get up early.

Banana Ball Game

Shank Your Booty Game

Plastic Sack Race

One of the great blessings of being in Hong Kong is attending the temple.  The Church has only 2 temples in the Southeast Asia Area.  We attend with the missionaries about every 2 months and on special ocasion with members.

Sister Missonaries and the Holbrook's
Jean Dimingo's Temple Group

When in Hong Kong we get to stay at a very nice apartment complex.  It has a fabulous swimming pool and Sister Holbrook loves to swim.  You can find her there several days a week for exercise if time permits (and she works to find time).
Joy's Favoite View from the Pool (on here back)
Hong Kong Apt Swimming Pool

We had some Monsoons this past 2 weeks.  It can rain an 1"-2" a day.  We have had some members tell us the water can be upto your knees in the lower part of the city.  It is bad enough having it over the soles of your shoes.

The last week I was able to give someone the priesthood.  It is amazing to look at my line of authority.  I was ordained by my father...but in the line are Spencer W Kimble; Heber J Grant; George Q Cannon; Brigham Young; Joesph Smith; Peter James, and John; was a wonderful to share this priesthood with my Philipino brother--

Rick Nelson Dela Cruz and his wife
We are loving our experience.  It is hard but rewarding work.  We feel blessed to be here!!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Hong Kong Experiences of September 2015

We had to leave Macua at the end of August due to visa issues.  We were moved to Hong Kong.  We will be back in Macau at the end of September.  We are experiencing wonderful people every place we is a blessing to be a missionary.

Before we left Macau, the Missionaries all wrote Joy a short note.  She was thrilled they would be so considerate.  The Filipino members put on a surprise party the night of her birthday.  Many of the ward had come together since we had a baptism of a fine young man.  She was blown away.

Joy's Birthday Party 2015

Near our Apartment in Hung Hom 2015
We moved to a place the LDS Church houses missionaries that work in the Hong Kong Temple and other expat's that work in the Church Area Office or as serving missions in the Area.  It is a lovely apartment building close to the bay.

After the Fall and Repairs 9-2015
As we gathered things for our apartment and tried to carry them home, I took a bad fall.  I tripped on uneven pavement.  I was sprawled out on the pavement bleeding and a major dislocated finger.  We got an ambulance ride (my first) and 3 hours of repair in the ER.  It slowed us down for a few hours but we we out doing missionary work the next day--which was a Sunday.

Mission Home and Kowloon Stake Center 9-2015

They do construction and repair with bamboo scaffolding. It is amazing to watch them lash it together particularly on larger buildings.  This is cleaning and painting of the Kong Hong Mission Home and Kowloon Stake Center.

Victoria Park 9-2105

This is Victoria Park on Hong Kong island.  It is like Central Park in NYC.  It is a place of beauty, activity and overall enjoyment.  They are making large bubbles that bounce over the water.  It was fun to watch.

Kelsey/Scott, David/Sunnee, Tait and Joy in Kowloon 
We had our son Tait and his wife come to Hong Kong.  we got the better part of two days to enjoy there company.  It was fun and exciting.  We did some tourist things, but most important we just spend some time visiting..and sharing!!  What a blessing to be with 3 of our children as we seve a mission.
HK Temple 9-2015

We love the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We know it is true.  We are grateful for Atonement and the road map to get us back to Our Heavenly Father.  We appreciate the opportunity to serve enriches our life.

Scott and Joy Holbrook

Saturday, August 15, 2015

44th Wedding Anniversary of Scott and Joy Holbrook

On August 16, 1971, Joy Chamberlain and I, were married in the Salt Lake City Temple.  It was certainly the most important day of my life.  We were not nervous--we arrived at the Temple at the same time--I had a swollen lip and she had a swollen knee. It was a beautiful day.  It was bright and sunny.  We were surrounded by our loving families.  The Temple was glorious and majestic!  In the evening we had a beautiful reception in Centerville.  Joy looked marvelous!!

Joy 1971

Wedding 1971

We started our family.  Each child has blessed our life.  We begin to see a glimpse of beauty of eternal families.
Joy and Scott 1974

We have moved several times.  Each time Joy has made home a special place to be including: Portland, Oregon; North Salt Lake, Utah; Bountiful, Utah; Tucson, Arizona; Heber City, Utah

Family (Colby and Kelsey to come) 1984
Family (Kelsey to come) 1987

Family 2010

Family Picture July 2014
Our children, their wonderful spouses and grandchildren have brought great joy into our lifes. We are truly blessed and love them all!! We look forward to spending eternity with each of them.

Now, we are serving Our Heavenly Father in Macau and Hong Kong as missionaries.  We love these wonderful people.  We have also been involved with some wonder young missionaries that have become our children and extended family.

Joy and Scott 1995
On our mission we have learned to love each other even more. We work hand-in-hand teaching people about Our Heavenly Father and the Savior.  We testify of Jesus Christ who provides an atoneing sacrifice and an example of how to live our lifes. What a glorious expericence!!  I felt blessed 44 years ago, but over each year I love Joy more.  She has blessed my life beyond measure and discription.

Joy and Scott 2014

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Macau August 4, 2015

Our mission will be a mix of Macau and Hong Kong for the time remaining.  With a change in the way Macau issues work visas, we have to exit the country periodically.  So, part of our assignment with be in Hong Kong and the other in Macau.  It certainly offers a variety...we will enjoy both!!

During the past month we had an old mission president (President and Sister Hawks) return home and a new one (President and Sister Lam) come.  We do not know where Our Heavely Father and the Church find these wonderful couples to come and direct 150 missionariies for 3 years.  It is hard work 7 days a week form 6:30AM to 11:00PM at night. (And sometimes they spend the night in the ER with a sick missionary, as the Lam's did the first few days they were here.) These men and their wives are a great blessing to these wonderful young people--the missionaries mature right before your eyes. The mission president's job goes far beyond the missionaries but they are his prime focus.

Holbrook's, Pack's, Lam's and Hawks

President Lam is a 20 year covert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Prior to coming on his mission he was a physcian in southern California.  He has had 2 of his sons serve in this same mission.  Both he and Sister Lam lived in Hong Kong before they went off to university in the USA and stayed.

First Day with President and Sister Lam
We have great young men and young women in Macau as missionaries.  We are the furtherest distance from the Mission Office.  Macau is a different part of China and acts as independent country Our zone has Mandarin speaking missionaries (mainly for the mainlander investigators), Cantonese speaking missionaries (for the Chinese in Macau), and Tagalog speaking missionaries (for the Philippino people). All speak or are learning English. Zone meetings are in English. Many of our missionaries are from Great Britain, New Zealand, Ireland, Canada since their visas let them stay longer in Macau. We also have a good share of American Born Chinese who also can stay longer. We love to see the missionaries learning a new language, and wish that our language skills were growing as fast as theirs. These young men and women are mature far beyond their years.  It is a pleasure working with them. We get quite attached to them and miss them when they are transferred. So we celebrate with ice cream at Dairy Queen. Yes, there is a Dairy Queen in Macau, complete with upside-down Blizzards, banana splits and Dilly Bars.

Macau Zone August 2015
This beautiful lady in the center (Sister Mui) is the person who has been a member the longest in Macau.  She was baptized in 1978.  The church seriously opened Macau in the 1976 timeframe for missionary work. She's a stalwart for the branch.
Sister Mui --a Church member longer than anyone in Macau--1978,
We have been blessed to have this mission experience.  It is hard to believe that we have been married for 44 years this month.  Nevertheless, Joy and I have learned new things about each other as we spend 24X7 together.  I love her more each day.  It is heart-warming to serve others and share our love for Our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ.  We have met some truly amazing people.

Each day we recognize the great bounties we have been blessed with.  May I testify to you that I know God lives and He loves us.  I am so grateful for the Atonement and the sacrifice of Jesus Chirst on my behalf.  I feel unworthy of his the blessings I have recieved.

Hong Kong Temple at Night

Monday, June 22, 2015

Hong Kong / June 2015

We have been in Hong Kong for a month, while we work to get new visas to return to Macau.  The visas has not been granted yet and may continue to take some time.  Nevertheless, we are having a very special experience in Hong Kong.

We have been assigned to work in Discovery Bay.  It is a beautiful part of Hong Kong.  It is a community of mostly expatriates or wealthy Chinese.  We just moved here on the weekend. The other day a Chinese man was explaining why Chinese people are generally well off financially.  He said, "If a Chinese man earns $5, then he tries to live on $1.5-2.  If an American earns $5, then he spends $7."  If a Chinese man gets a raise, he still tries to live on $2, but if an American gets a raise they spend $10.  It was interesting to begin to understand how Chinese accumulate wealth.

View from our apartment in Discovery Bay
We have had the great opportunity to mingle with the Filipino Sisters in the area.  They are sweet and wonderful people.

DB Filipino Sisters 2015
Two weeks ago there was a rally at Victoria Park.  It gathered 100,000 people from all over Hong Kong.  Our apartment was close to the park.  We could hear the people chanting.  It was the commemoration of the instant in Tienanmen Quarter in 1989, when students cried out for their human rights and it was put down with much violence.  Around the boarder of the Park, there was a Police Officer about every 5 feet.  Roads we blocked and the Police carefully directed was so orderly.  The chanting went on for about 2 hours.  When the people left the park they picked up there trash and cleaned up around them.  They orderly went home on foot, bus or subway.  We were able to go observe part of it and people were going home.

We had a chance to see a good friend, Brent and Cathy Dover, and the little girl they adopted from China.  It was a special experience.  They have a beautiful little girl and she has a wonderful set of parents.  This was a blessing to both.

Brent and Cathy Dover Family in China for Adoption of Mia 2015

We pleased to be representatives of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  It is a blessing in our life.

DB Investigators and Missionaries 2015

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Macau Update 5/7/2015

It is a beautiful time of year in the Far East.  The day time temperature is in the 80's.  The night time temperature is hot too.  We are already using the air conditioning.  We have moved to short sleeved white shirts, except for Sunday when we still wear suits.

Tap Sac Park Near our Apartment

St Paul's Church Ruins; first Christian Church
in China.  It was build between 1602-1640.  

I did not showed you our official missionary badges.  We have them on everywhere we go.  It is another reminder we are representatives of Jesus Christ.  We see people braking their neck to read the name badges as we pass by.

Elder and Sister Holbrook Missionary Badges

9 year old who plays for Church Services
 and Branch Choir

In the humility note, this 9 year old plays the piano for all the of the church services at one of the branches.  He is fantastic!  I can hardly play the radio.

Sometime we revert back to being a Nerd

In life we tell ourselves we will never do certain things.  For me me it was never wear, tennis shoes with your suit or dress pants.  Well, I sprained my ankle and got Planters Factitious.  You got it!  Below is the result!  Soon I will probably be wearing plastic pocket protectors!

We continue to work with these marvelous Chinese and Filipino people.  They are amazing!!  The Chinese government published that their are 18 million members.  It is expected to grow by upto 5% a year for the next 15 years.  Some project by 2050 China could be the largest Christian nation.  It is amazing.

When I was a missionary in the Southern Far East mission in 1966-1967, we had missionaries in the Philippines we had only a few thousand members and not 48 years later there are 680,000 members in the Philippines.  Christianity is growing in the Far East!!

On May 17th Macau will become a District and hopefully grow to a Stake in a few years!!  We are all excited.  It is wonderful to see the church growing.

 Elder and Sister Holbrook (from Macau)

Sending off a couple as they return to the USA to live