03 June 2008 – Tuesday
We both slept well and after a decent breakfast we left for the temple. We were once again lucky about our taxi driver because he knew the address and that it was a church. The Hong Kong temple is small but beautiful. The rich brown granite, the small but beautiful entry garden, and the simple but elegant main areas make it easy to feel the spirit. I felt right at home in the temple after not having the opportunity for 17 months. The temple workers all were very friendly and most spoke excellent English. Elder Pierce is serving a temple mission here from Utah – I did not meet Sister Pierce – and was our officiator. Sister Hallstrom – the Area PresidentÃ¢Â€Â™s wife – was serving today. I did not see her but Mary did.
They have five sessions on Tuesday. We went to the first one that started at 9:00. There were about a dozen women and seven men. We were invited to be the witness couple – something we have not done for many years. The session was in Cantonese but we had excellent translation units that were exactly in sync with the tape. The session went smoothly and I remembered most of the ceremony so that when we get back I can should be able to get back into serving in the temple without much reviewing.
After the session I introduced myself to a young man who was in the session. Chris Mounteer had served in Hong Kong 5 years ago and had returned with his wife Mandy for a kind of second honeymoon. He told me what they had planned to do the rest of the day and I asked if he would mind showing us how to get to the Area offices on his way. When he said sure, he did not realize that they would end up being stuck with us all day.
To keep it short, after going to both of our hotel to drop off my coat – where they had a chance to look at their e-mail for only the second time in a week – we went to theirs so they could change. Then a quick meal at McDonalds before going to the Area Offices. This took some walking and a long escalator ride only to arrive at what was the offices when Chris was here 5 years ago. Unfortunately it is now a museum. The offices move 4 years ago but a nice lady there knew where they had moved to. So we went there and met the Gibbons, Jaymi and renew our acquaintances with the Baldwins. The office building is nice and the offices bright and friendly.
After visiting with them for a while and making some plans for tomorrow we went up to the 46the floor of a near by building and looked out at almost the whole island. Unfortunately it was still over-cast but what we could see was amazing. Then we caught a bus to the other side of the island where we went shopping in the Stanley area. The prices in Hong Kong are about 50% higher than Indonesia – at least in Jogya and Bali. We looked a lot but did not buy anything.
After dark and in the rain we caught a bus back to the underground station and were soon back near their hotel. We said goodbye and thanks before they headed off for more shopping and we caught a taxi to our hotel. I had a short nap on the bus and so was not sleepy. Mary was exhausted – we had walked a lot – and went almost straight to bed.
Mary had remarked earlier that while she had not missed the temple while we were serving, when she went in today she was struck by the spirit and how wonderful it was to be back in the LordÃ¢Â€Â™s house. I did not feel that way as much as I felt like I was at home. The special brotherhood of those who serve in the temple spans the continents and oceans. It is a feeling that you have to be part of to appreciate. So as I spoke to Elder Pierce and saw him serve it was special. The comfortable feeling of the ceremony and the knowledge that it is true was there for me. It will be good to go to the Provo temple for a session but the same feeling was there this morning.
The Lord blessed us through out the day. The taxi driver, meeting the Mounteers, having a woman at the museum knowing how to find the Church offices, and the rain not coming until we were through sight seeing. All these were tender mercies that made our day special.