"A man filled with the love of God is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race." Joseph Smith

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Spider Fruit and other Surprises

When I was little, I lived in Vietnam.  One of my favorite memories was of a fruit I absolutely loved – “spider fruit”.  At least that was what I called it.  Juicy, mellow, and fun to eat, these little oval shaped fruits reminded me of spiders with all the little “legs”.  Moving away from Vietnam, and years before the advent of Google, I always wondered what that fruit was really called, and could never find it.  Eventually I found it on Google, but it wasn't until today that I found the actual fruit again.  Rambutan – native to Indonesia and Malaysia – and available here in the outdoor Hong Kong markets!

I think the memory was better than the actual taste of the fruit, but we had fun peeling them and eating the sweet mellow fruit tonight after our dinner! And it brought back wonderful memories....

The outdoor market held all kinds of fun surprises - including live fish just waiting for a dinner partner. We picked up two of them - not sure what kind of fish they were but they were great at dinner.

Me checking out the dried fruit.

                                      One of the many streets                                          of the open air market.

What a variety - and farm fresh!

We won't be buying our meat here, but it looks tempting!

Always a big assortment of baked yummies!

Elder Coffey checking out the packages of dried beans.  Much cheaper than in the grocery stores!

Next post we'll share with you some tender stories of the wonderful humanitarian work going on throughout Asia. It is such a blessing to be able to be here and help out with this amazing work that mostly goes on unheralded and largely unnoticed, unless, of course, you are one of the recipients of the services. Grateful to be in His service. Until next time - 再見!

Elder and Sister Coffey

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Just Monkey-ing Around in Hong Kong

Missionaries are typically allowed one "P" day a week, a "preparation" day - or in other words - a day off.  Today was our first P day since last Saturday we were busy with a project and had to get it done.  But today we had free time, so we got brave, rode the subway and then the public bus into unknown territory, and successfully made our way to the Kam Shan County Park, home of thousands of free-roaming Rhesus and Long-tailed Macaque - also known as "Monkey Hill"!

They say that most of these monkeys probably descended from several released pets in the 1920's.   Many people love to come and feed them, even while ignoring the prominently displayed "Do not feed the monkeys" signs all over the place.  It is said they can become very aggressive if they think you have food. We went empty handed, and thus were largely ignored.

Dozens of monkeys came to check us out as we walked along the road.  Inside the 3.37 km2 park there are also beautiful trails, waterfalls, and wildlife. But besides monkeys, all we saw were butterflies and teeny frogs.


On the way home, we stopped by a noodle shop and enjoyed a delicious lunch - Hong Kong style!

Just monkeying around - here in Hong Kong!

Elder and  Sister Coffey

Sunday, May 11, 2014

First Sunday in Hong Kong - Philippine Branch

What an experience!  Today was our first day to church.  We've been assigned to the Philippine Peninsula 3rd Branch, or "Penn 3" as they call it.  Filled with mostly domestic workers whose families are still back in the Philippines, these sisters have incredible faith even while often amid tragic stories of survival. 

There are several chapels throughout Hong Kong.  Here we are standing at the entrance to the Church building where Penn 3 meets. 

Today we celebrated Mother’s Day and all the sisters wanted a group photo!

The Primary came in to Relief Society to sing – all 5 of them!  Two of these little ones come from non-member parents – they just send them to Church with their domestic worker, also not a member of the church – because it is a good place to go.

Then the Relief Society handed out candy for Mother’s Day – everyone wanted some!

Afterwards, we enjoyed a delicious meal with everyone in the branch – rice, eggplant, won ton thingy’s, chicken wings, fruit and cake.  They have group meals after church twice a month – a “linger longer” event. The below photo is Japanese-style eggplant in a slightly spicy sauce - it was delicious!

The Philippine sisters are extremely, extremely friendly, loving, social, bubbly, huggy, talkative –  you wouldn't know they suffer from often tragic backgrounds.  Our role in the branch is to offer support, love, and strength.  This has been a wonderful day.  Happy Mother's Day to all my daughters and daughters-in-law, friends and loved ones!  Life is good here in Hong Kong serving the Lord's daughters in the Penn 3 Branch.

Elder and Sister Coffey

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Humanitarian Project in India

Here is an example of one of the humanitarian projects done in India. This was one of our church's vision projects done over a 4 year period:
12,000 people  fitted and received eyeglasses
 6,000 diabetes patients screened
75,000 individuals in villages received a general eye screening
36 technicians trained
60,000 children in schools received an eye screening
Eye Clinic in India

Inside eye clinic with patient receiving care

People waiting to be assessed for eye care
 This was a four-year project, resulting in helping 153,036 people receive better eye care and vision health.

Fun Fact:  Did you know we have about 3900 members of the Church in Pakistan?  

Elder and Sister Coffey

Arriving in Hong Kong

We have arrived in Hong Kong!  It has been non-stop busy every second!  We have a small furnished apartment on the 21st floor of the HarbourFront Hotel, right on the harbor. 

 Our apartment faces the other way, however, so our view is a little more like this:

View from our apartment 

View from our apartment at night

A missionary couple has been assigned to escort us to and from the office, temple, stores, etc, until we can learn it on our own.  It is a little daunting.  A typical day includes walking, taking the shuttle, riding the ferry, taking the public bus under the harbor tunnel, and riding the train. We live on one side of the harbor and take transportation to the Hong Kong Island where the Asia Area offices are.  It takes 30-45 minutes depending on the time of day and the type of transportation chosen.  Ferries are cheapest and slowest, taxis are fastest and more expensive.

Several missionary couples have been assigned to feed us dinners at their apartments for a couple of nights until we can get time to get to the store.  We are being well cared for.

We met with Asia Area Presidency yesterday and got acquainted with all the office staff and missionaries.  There are about 15 Asia Area missionary couples living in several apartment buildings nearby.  They each have different assignments – Family History, Perpetual Education Fund, Member Leadership Support, Communication, etc.  Ours is Humanitarian.  We work in a beautiful building on the 8th floor:
Asia Area Office Building, 118 Gloucester Rd., Wan Chai, Honk Kong

We are still getting over jet lag, but should be up to speed in a day or two.  There is SO much to do with our assignments!  More later!
Elder and Sister Coffey