My parents wanted so badly to come and pick me up from my mission. I was against the idea as I knew that I personally needed the closure of getting on that plane by myself and going home first to properly close my mission experience. Two weeks after returning home, my parents and I were able to return to Hong Kong for a week and go into Mainland China for a few days as well. I honestly think that going back after made such a huge difference. This trip back was exactly what I needed in my life at the time and I am so very grateful it all worked out.
Returning back to the people that I love was the best thing after returning home. I love the people so much. My parents and I were able to see the city and places that I had wanted to visit but never got around to it while as a missionary. The best was that I was able to introduce my family to the amazing people I had meet and worked with in Hong Kong. It was such a blessing because I was able to re-establish relationships with people I had previously served. It was all that I could have imagined.
Here is a short itinerary of what we did each day;
- Thursday, May 12 – Flew from SLC to HK airport
- Saturday, May 14 – Tai O, Big Buddha (Ngong Ping), Harbor walk in Tsim Sha Tsui
- Sunday, May 15 – church at Ho Man Tin Chapel that ended up being a regional broadcast for HK & Taiwan for the expansion of Hong Kong’s 4 stakes into 6 stakes. Evening dinner at Sister Yeung Hoi Ping’s home in Mei Foo
- Monday, May 16 – Stanley Market, Wan Chai Chapel, Mong Kok and dinner with A-Pui in Yau Ma Tei
- Tuesday, May 17 – Hong Kong temple, meet President and Sister Lam, Lion’s Rock hike and dinner/visit Perry Chu in Sheung Wan
- Wednesday, May 18 – Causeway Bay, Monkey Mountain and Korean BBQ with the Lau and Chun Family from West Point ward
- Thursday, May 19 – Fly to Beijing
I absolutely loved it! I am so lucky that my parents took me back to the place I love. It is basically my second home. I was so excited to go back and be in Hong Kong but I also knew it would be a bit weird because I wouldn’t be a missionary anymore. I decided to prepare myself for a “different” Hong Kong. I would be a tourist and no longer a resident active missionary. It is a sad reality but so grateful I could go back.
On the first day we were able to go to Lantau Island and see Tai O and Big Buddha. I love it over there because it is a breath of fresh air from the crazy city life just 30 min away. That day there was a celebration of Buddha’s birthday so there were SO many people. It was crazy yet so fun! We were also able to go to the Avenue of Stars at night and watch the laser show which I had previously not been able to do. It was so pretty to see Hong Kong from that point of view. It is such a unique and beautiful city.
Sunday was by far my favorite day back in Hong Kong mainly because I got to visit with some of the amazing people that I was able to serve with. It was so fun. We went to the Ho Man Tin chapel for church. It so happened to be a giant meeting and the entire Kowloon Stake was there. It was the announcement of 4 stakes to be made into 6 stakes in Hong Kong. It was so cool to see the fruits of my labor as we had been told of this goal a year before. The Kowloon Stake now has different wards in the stake but when we visited I had two wards that I served in there; Kowloon City and Cheung Sha Wan. The Kowloon Stake consists of Cheung Sha Wan, Kowloon City, Sham Shui Po, Tsim Sha Tsui, Tseun Wan, Tsing Yi, Kwai Chung, and Tung Chung wards. It was so fun to see all the people.
I made sure we got there early so that I could greet all those I wanted to see. I talked with the missionaries who were there. Most of them were surprised to see me as I had only told like 4 people that I was coming back. A great way to surprise them and boy were their faces awesome! I greeted the members with the sister missionaries. It was funny to see the members come in and shake all of our hands saying Jousahn (good morning). It was almost routinely done. Then they would look up at our faces. Some of my great friends had to take a double look at me. They knew I had left but were surprised to see me here. Hahahah! It was hilarious. The first people I saw were Tsan Chin Lam and Sister Tam (Sham Shui Po ward). I hadn’t seen them in like a year! I loved Sister Lee Leung Pui King’s reaction. (KLC) She was so happy and her hug was the best! Also, Jessica Pang’s was great too.(KLC) I got to see some great people that I loved!
Talk about seeing the fruit of my labors in Kowloon City. Wow! I served there with my entire soul and then some for 6 hard months. We didn’t have a single baptism and the finding was different than most of Hong Kong. We had worked a lot with members and less-actives as we saw that they had the most potential. One in particular I prayed for and worked hard to help her come back to the church. When I left Kowloon City, Elaine was slowly progressing and it felt like my companion and I couldn’t do much more. After moving areas I just continued to pray for her and check up on her every once in a while. Upon returning to church this Sunday, I saw her there!! I was so surprised and so happy! The Lord had helped her go back to church. Sister Mendoza pulled me aside and said that it was her 3rd week back to church. It made me so happy I wanted to cry! She is amazing and I am so happy for that small miracle of seeing her at church. That was by far my favorite part of the trip. I am so blessed to have worked with such amazing people. 🙂
(Above: Pictured left – Jack, Don and Rose Pang from KLC. I finally got to hug them! Pictured right – Sister Yip & 3 of her children Randee, Mason, & the baby. Randee brought a friend to church and she wants to be baptized.)
Dinner with A-Pui on Monday was so awesome and I loved talking with her again. She is the cutest person ever and she just makes me so happy when I am around her. She taught me so much on my mission I don’t know if I will ever be able to describe it. She is such a happy person and I am so happy that I could introduce my parents to her:) She is definitely an example to live by. I sure love her! Dad kept saying that she is the cutest little convert ever. It is true:)
Hong Kong was so….amazing. I love that place so much. I think the best part about going back was that I was able to reinstate the relationships that I had with members from my previous wards. Most missionaries do not go back and they lose the relationships they had with the members and investigators. I loved being around the people that I love so much. I have made it my goal to try and go back to Hong Kong every other year. One can hope right? Well, the Lord can do miracles. This trip was a miracle in itself and I firmly believe that we needed to go back at this specific time. The reason for I may never know but I am grateful that this trip was able to happen and I loved it. His tender mercies are indescribably amazing.
- Thursday, May 19 – Fly from Hong Kong and the Pearl Market
- Friday, May 20 – Temple of Heaven, Tienanmen Square, dinner at food market and amazing Beijing restaurant (Awanji)
- Saturday, May 21 – Winter Palace, Lama Temple, the Hutong tour, Summer Palace
- Sunday, May 22 – Church in Beijing and Olympic Park
- Monday, May 23 – the Great Wall of China at Mutianyu section, dinner at fancy expensive restaurant and a trip to a Chinese Walmart
- Tuesday, May 24 – Fly home to Utah
Mainland China was more than I thought it would be. As a missionary we would always dream of “opening up China”. It was a dream that helped us know that our work in Hong Kong would have much more impact that we realized. I always wanted to go to Mainland China throughout my mission just so I could see what it was like. My companions and I would talk to and teach people from Mainland with out second guessing ourselves.
In returning to Hong Kong we planned a week or so to spend up in Beijing. I felt so foreign in Mainland mainly because they were all Chinese people but I couldn’t really talk to them because 1) they didn’t speak Cantonese and 2) my Mandarin was the level of a primary school student. I loved it there though. The culture felt more rich as there were palaces and museums to see everyday. Beijing is a big city and there are lots of people. Hong Kong feels about the same just the Hong Kong MTR is a 1,000 times nicer than Beijing’s.
Shopping in Beijing was much different than Hong Kong. I loved it because it was much cheaper than what I was accustomed to in HK. So many great deals but I am not quite sure about the quality but it was fun anyways:) The day at the Temple of Heaven and Tienanmen Square was a blast. I was able to see some famous buildings in Chinese history. It was so cool. Our guide, Glen, was a spectacular guide and gave us so much information on the history of where ever we went. The Temple of Heaven’s gardens were great to attend in the morning because all of the old people doing Tai Chi, playing games and stretching. It made me laugh and I learned a little bit as well.
My favorite part of Beijing was in fact the Great Wall of China. I loved it and I would hike it all over again. It is so long and old. When I was there I just felt so comfortable and loved the feeling that it had. You could tell that it was a major feat for the Chinese people and that thousands sacrificed many of what they had and even their lives to build the wall. I enjoyed hiking the wall and it was so much steeper than you would think. That is what made it fun yet tough. We met some interesting people from all over the world too. It was great fun and Glen taught us so much about it. I would go back to the wall any day. The history there just made it such a rich place to visit.
This trip was so amazing. I was able to explore China more and I fell even more in love with the people there. The Chinese people will always have a place in my heart. They are such hard working and trustworthy people. I may not look Chinese but I sure feel like an adopted Chinese girl. The culture and the people are the richest part of this country.
I love it!
I hope one day to return to Hong Kong and to China. But like I said, these people have a special place in my heart. I have learned to love them and embrace their whole culture, even when I don’t want to eat the chicken feet that are put on my plate. These people are special and I know that in the Lord’s due time the gospel will be brought into Mainland China.