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


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