Friday, March 11, 2016

Greetings from Hong Kong and Macau...a real cultural experience

Hong Kong

Our adventure continues!  Our visas expired in Macau about 2 weeks ago.  We came back to Hong Kong to wait the 31 days until we can go back.

It has been exciting and go through Chinese New Year again.  It is an amazing family holiday time.  Think of a two to two and one-half week Thanksgiving holiday.  It is time for family and food.  Some of the factories just closed down for 14-20 days.  The workers just do not come back to work.  We see some smaller businesses just close up for the entire time.  I love their focus on family!!

Macau 2016 Chinese New Floats

We see lots of fun traditions.  They cover their doors with signs and posters wishing everyone a happy and prosperous new year.  There are many greetings to wish others happiness, health and prosperity.

Some of the traditions many be a hoax but they are unusual.
1. They love the color RED.  It is said that all the gamblers wear RED underwear as they gamble to bring them luck.
2. They travel back to their roots for Chinese New Year.  If they come from the interior then them all travel back to be with the extended family.
3. People give lycee, red packets (envelopes) with money, to children, missionaries, and people they would like to say "thank you" to, like bus drivers, doormen, hairdressers etc.
4. They have a prade which made-up mostly of floats from large business and casinos.
5. The cities and government plan activities for over 10 days.  Including fireworks every night; many people light off their own firecrackers randomly.

Macau New Year Floats 2016

Last year I brought an overcoat and hardly used in the winter months, this year it has been colder and I have needed by coat many times.  The humidity and cool breeze off the ocean makes it cold.  It is still cool and damp and as we get to mid-March.  Like home, many of the expat's like to take a warm vacation in the winter months--they have pretty reasonable airfares to many places (people say; we do not travel except between Hong Kong and Macau).

Joy 2016 Chinese New Year
Tree covered in red hearts with wishes for New Year
Joy has been working hard writing the mission's Children's English Program.  We got an approval to move forward in mid-January.  The Macau program was new and slow at the start, but last week 15 kids showed up with their parents to the program.  We just kept having faith and working on the program.  It is a real blessing and the Macau missionaries are very excited.

Turkish Fast Food 2016
We have all kinds of food in Macau and Hong Kong.  There are people from all over the world. We love the Thai food, Vietnamese food, Portugese egg tarts, Turkish kabobs, Japanese tempura, Portugese sauces, Chinese fruits (berries, dragon fruit, star fruit, many apples, pineapple and mangos) stir fry, pork with potatoes and Filipino adobo.

On the 28th of February, we had an apostle from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints come to Macau to meet with the people.  It was Elder Stevenson.  He radiated as he spoke to the people and mingled with them.  He bore testimony of the Divine mission of Jesus Christ.  His is the Savior and Redeemer of the world.  He gave a short blessing to a member we have been working with since we came and it touched her heart.  It will change her life.

Elder Stevenson in Macau-2016

We have even been blessed to see our family who in Hong Kong.  It is truly a blessing to see them when we return to Hong Kong.  We have been blessed with wonderful children and grandchildren.  It is a thrill to be with them.

Hazel's Birthday #9-2016
Sunnee and David's Family 2016
Chinese New Year in Macau
Each day our lives are shaped a little more by this experience.  We learn how to love others better and find ways to share our talents (I have fewer to share than Joy).  We see some of the things we do help others shape their lives.  When we allow the Savior to enter our lives, we all benefit greatly.  Surely, we are the greatest beneficiaries of this experience.  Our Heavenly Father has given us an experience to help us overcome our weaknesses and imperfections.

We love you all and look forward to the time we can share more of our experience with you

Joy and Sanny, good Filipino Friends at their Home


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Super Fanastic New Year--2016--Hong Kong and Macau

MACAU at the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016

Macau was beautiful between Christmas and New Years.  They city and some of the churches had beautiful decorations.  Many people would wander the high volume areas and see the sites.  It was Santa and Christmas cheer. 

Nativity at Macau Church
Christmas Decorations at Centra Macau
Not as frequently, but there were some wonderful Navity sets too.  One church used the facade of the building and had a tremendous light show for 15-20 minutes every hour.  It was timed with some wonderful pleasant music. Some studies show that mainland China is converting to Christianity at the rate of about 1% a year.  There are 1.4 B people in mainland China.  In 20 years, there will be as many Christians in China as the population of the USA.  It is amazing!!

Tap Sac Public Exhibition Park near our Apartment
We live near this park below.  It is about 2 blocks.  It is a place for many displays and promotional events.  We pass by it every day as we go toward our church.  Several of these big block chacters were there.  It reminded us of our grandkids.  

We do not do many selfies...this was almost a first at New Years Eve.  It was a sea of lights over head and on the sides.  It was a canopy of ligths you could walk though.  It was fun!!  We enjoyed a nice walk for a couple hours and seeing the people and the sites...we finished our 2016 News Celebration about 9:30PM.

Joy and Scott Selfie--2016 New Years Eve

Joy Holbrook on the Streets of old Taipa

As our missionary expereince gets shorter, we finally decided we better do more exploring. We take a few hours every week to go and see the sites.  We went to old Taipa.  It was a small island across from Macau.  The casino developers came to Macau and started to land fill the area and reclaim the land about 20 years ago.  It is the place where all the casinos are today.  This is the village that was here and some of the beautiful streets.  It is full of old buildings, art and Chinese and Portuguese culture.

Scott Holbrook in old Taipa by some old artistry 2016

Oldest Buddhist Temple in Old Taipa 

The Newest Buddhist Temple in Macau.  It is beautiful.

Home Teaching in Macau 12-31-15
One of the things we love to do is meet with the members.  It is always exciting.  We went to see these families we teach every month and they push off our visit to the very last day.  After our lesson they threw a very nice New Year Party.  We love these wonderful people.  Our lives have been blessed by getting to know them.

Of all the wonderful things we can see on our mission, nothing is more beautiful and fun that to be with these people.  They give me courage and great faith as I see the sacrifices they make for their families.  Our Heavenly Father has some beautiful children and Joy and I have had the privilege to get to know a few more.  What a rich experience.

Best wishes for a Super Fantastic 2016!!!