"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

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Tree Still Stands

On the western side of the bustling and internationally visited tourist site of the Forbidden City is a marvelous garden, called Zhongshan Park. Set aside from the busyness of the tourist attractions surrounding it, this park welcomes families and individuals to a peaceful, relaxing scene that breathes a spirit of calm and contemplation. There is a feeling here that sets it apart from the rest of the world. 

On January 9th, 1921, David O. McKay and Elder Hugh J. Cannon visited this very spot for a very specific purpose.  

David O. McKay beside
 the Cypress Tree
"Accordingly, we strolled almost aimlessly, wondering where it would be possible to find a secluded spot for worship and prayer. On we walked, until we came to a small grove of cypress trees on the edge of what appeared to have been an old moat running parallel with one of the walls. As we proceeded from east to west, we passed a tree with a large branch shooting out on the north side, and I distinctly received the prompting to choose that as the spot. 

"Under the century old limbs and green leaves of this, one of God's own temples, with uncovered heads, we supplicated our Father in heaven and by the authority of the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood, and in the name of the Only Begotten of the Father, turned the key that unlocked the door for the entrance into this..... famine-stricken land (by) the authorized servants of God...."

The tree where David O. McKay stood years ago to utter these sacred words still stands.  The large limb that jutted off to the side has since been cut off, but one can see where the limb used to be.

What a sacred experience it was for us to stand on holy ground, an Asian "Church History Spot", still well preserved, open to all, and visited by many members of the Church on their visits through Beijing.

The history continues, "Never was the power of his calling more apparent in his utterances. He blessed the land and its... people and supplicated the Almighty to acknowledge this blessing. It was such a prayer and blessing as must be recognized in heaven, and though the effects may not be suddenly apparent, they will be nonetheless real."

It may be a long time before the entire content of his prayer is fulfilled, but we are grateful to see the blessings that are occurring throughout all of Asia, and are grateful to be a part of the unfolding of this great work.

Elder and Sister Coffey

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Recovery Center in Beijing

We have two humanitarian volunteer couples living in China – one in Beijing and another in Shanghai.  Elder Coffey and I spent a week visiting them and the NGO’s that Latter-day Saint Charities partners with in those cities.  

Earlier this year the President of China, Xi Jinping, visited a nursing home in Beijing and expressed his wishes that nursing homes throughout China develop “recovery centers” – a place where residents can use specialized equipment to strengthen muscles, develop flexibility, and otherwise enjoy a greater quality of senior life.  One of our NGO partners, CCIEC, jumped at the opportunity and partnered with LDSC to establish the first “recovery center”.  The Four Seasons Nursing Home, the same one President Xi Jinping visited, was the recipient of $21,000 worth of physical therapy equipment donated by LDSC.  

Some of the more able-bodied residents were chosen to come try out the equipment on opening day.
                                                                                          Elder Coffey helping a resident while another resident looks on.

This woman is in her 80's!  She is using a traction type machine -
it must have felt good because she is still smiling!
Laughter is universal - a language of it's own.

This Nursing Home Recovery Center was just the first of many throughout China. We will be partnering with CCIEC to develop these centers in the rural, poorer parts of China where good senior citizen care is not available.

At a later meeting with CCIEC, we were presented with a gift. 

This gentleman is Mr. Zhang Daocheng, CCIEC President, and also President of the Beijing Shiji Mingren Guoji Painting and Calligraphy Center.  He painted this for us while the meeting went on. The painting says - "Pure water has no fragrance." The meaning - Those who are pure seek no reward for themselves, but only to bless the lives of others.


Elder and Sister Coffey

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Peak Service

Nearly one thousand people crowded into the Wan Chai LDS church building today – a Saturday.  The building has chapels on 4 floors, and each floor was filled to capacity.  A social on each floor was followed by a special service that was spoken in Cantonese, translated into English and Mandarin and broadcast to the appropriate floor hosting that language.  

The occasion? 

The anniversary of 65 years of missionary work and church growth in Hong Kong. 

On July 14th, 1949, Elder Matthew Cowley, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, along with a handful of church members living in Hong Kong, offered a prayer on Victoria Peak, Hong Kong Island. Elder Cowley wrote, “We went up on what is known as the “Peak”, the highest eminence overlooking the beautiful city of Hong Kong, and onto the mainland of China, and there we officially opened the mission by a brief service, each of us praying in turn.” (The Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints; History in Hong Kong, Ng, Shee-Nan and Chin, Ching-Man, Printforce Printing Co., 1997, p.63)

The date was scratched into the stone on the Peak, and it remains there today. To find the spot, after taking the tram to the Peak, walk to the Peak Circle Walk.  You will eventually pass a waterfall (it may be dry, but it is easy to identify), then walk about 70 steps and look on the rock wall, about eye level, for the inscription.  There are other markings and carvings made by visitors over the years, so look closely for the right inscription. 

This Peak Service used to be held at the Peak itself, but the membership of the Church has grown too big to meet there now. The work is hastening on.

Elder Holland visited the Asia Area in February of this year.  He said, “The Spirit of the Lord is moving over this vast area. It would be undeniable, it would be impossible not to grasp, not to feel that there is a great work unfolding here.” 

He concluded by saying, “We will live to see miracles there—as we see them now. Our children and our children’s children will be as comfortable talking about the Church in Asia as they have historically been talking about it in Utah and Idaho and Arizona.”

When Elder Holland heard that Hong Kong was having this special service today, he arranged to have a video made for the service, in which he sent a message of love to the Hong Kong saints, reminding us of the history of the work in this area and throughout all of Asia.  Like a stone cut out of a mountain, from that commemorative prayer on the Peak in 1949 till now, the work rolls on with ever increasing speed.  

Grateful to be on a mission! 

Next blog - our trip to Beijing and Shanghai to view humanitarian projects.  

- Elder and Sister Coffey