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Sunday, March 17, 2013

About That Hong Kong Trip: Another Surprise Encounter

As I mentioned in my last post, even getting to Hong Kong yesterday was a huge blessing. After the small but gratefully received blessing during a moment of prayer that resulted in averting disaster in our trip to Shenzhen and Hong Kong, we were able to cross the border together into Hong Kong and take a train toward the temple before I spent some time visiting some special people at one of Hong Kong's great universities (and my journey would eventually include a new connection with one of the coolest professors in Hong Kong--such a privilege to have met him). We left before breakfast was available at the hotel to ensure we had plenty of time to get to our early session (sometimes border crossings can have long lines and surprising delays). We just missed one train but caught another after a short wait. Had it been just me, I would have simply stepped into the train and stood in the first cabin I encountered, but with my wife along, I wanted to find a place for her to sit, so we walked down the length of the train looking for a seat. It looked hopeless with no sign of vacant seats, but I kept walking and just as I was about to give up, I saw a space on the left where my wife could sit, and as she sat down, I saw someone across from her with some space next to him. The man looked up at me and smiled as if her knew me and invited me to sit. Wait a second--we did know each other. "Hello, Brother Lindsay," the Asian man said in his perfect English. In a city of 7 million people, the one space for me on that very long train puts me next to someone I know? And no, it wasn't someone else also going to the Temple--he was going somewhere else. This surprise encounter reminds me of the last time I came to Hong Kong and accidentally ran into a lost single adult we knew who really needed our help (see the story "Finding Selina" at the Nauvoo Times and also here at Mormanity).

This friend was probably the first Latter-day Saint I met in when I came to Shanghai in 2011, and one of the nicest. I had lost contact with him when he suddenly moved to Australia about a year ago, and I was delighted to see him again. He had just been in southern China, having crossed the border I think from a different location, and was soon returning to Australia, but we were able to meet while he was on my train. Now I've got his contact information. I also learned some important things about Australia, where I'll be for a while in May, and learned about the Shenzhen Branch where he attended recently. In fact, he gave me the Branch President's contact info which spared me from the disappointment of showing up for meetings in Shenzhen today, only to find out that there were no meetings today since it was District Conference in Guangzhou, over an hour away by train plus taxi, etc.

I had planned on going to Shenzhen but, thanks to meeting him and texting the Branch President, learned of the change in time to alter my plans and go to the Victoria First Branch in Hong Kong, where I teamed up with some good friends and made some other friends. And then had a beautiful walk along the harbor for some photography and enjoying the rich heritage of that marvelous nation--or Special Administrative Region, to be more technically and politically correct.  My wife, though, caught an early plane from Shenzhen so she could be in Shanghai to begin her work as the newly called Relief Society President in the newly organized Shanghai International Branch, now one of three branches in Shanghai (there were two until last week). She's got a lot of work ahead of her and a lot she's been doing already. 

Visits to Hong Kong have resulted in such interesting and valuable encounters, sometimes against all odds. We're so grateful that we got there on a wing and prayer, and were blessed in several more ways during our brief journey there. I don't know what to make of it all, but I learned a lot, experienced a lot, was blessed a lot, took a lot of photos, and didn't eat a lot. Not bad.

By the way, those interested in the Church and China should know about the Church's newly released website, MormonsandChina.org. This site is designed for people from the People's Republic of China who joined the Church while overseas and want to understand how they can worship and be Latter-day Saints and good law-abiding citizens, whether in China or elsewhere. It clarifies the rules we have in China and provides other helpful information and resources.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

No coincidence you met the Asian man who lives in Australia. Very important to listen to that "voice".
I had been praying for several weeks for help in many areas of my life. I walked outside to leave for town and the Missionaries were just getting off their bikes and asked where so and so lived (it is a big, rural area and they biked 12 miles one way to my house, in hot weather). I said I am so and so and how could I help them. They said both of them had just transferred in and looked at the Ward list and felt prompted to visit me. After thinking about what happened, their visit was one aspect of my prayers that was answered.

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