ASIA Women's Conference in Hong Kong
This past weekend I had the most amazing experience attending the Associated Sisters in Asia (ASIA) Conference for Women in Hong Kong. Last year after some of my Singapore friends got back I remember thinking that I really wanted to go, so this year I made it a priority. I am SO glad that I decided to go. I seriously had the best and most rewarding time ever.
A few months before the conference they started sending out emails to those who had registered. They were asking for volunteers to help with different tasks. I emailed back saying that I could help with photography. Next thing I knew, I was THE photographer and a committee member! What?! Oops! But.. I decided it was too late to back out, and that I could probably handle the responsibilities so... I did it. I was a little bit nervous about it, but I think it will all turn out okay, so long as I can get all of the photos uploaded to the website. :)
|That's me bossing everyone around at the group photo session.|
I left Singapore Thursday morning and arrived in Hong Kong around noon. We didn't really GET to HK until about 2:00 though and we were pretty hungry by the time we made our way to a restaurant. I walked in and who was there but my Sister-In-Law Brooke and my cute niece Summer. That was a fun treat.
|I stole that baby as soon as I saw her!|
After lunch we went back to our hotel and got ready to go to the opening of the Conference. We did a little service project until it was time for the general session where Sister and Elder Gong spoke to us. It was a great meeting and I remember how strong the spirit was inside the room. It was amazing to be here in Asia, with all of these women with whom I have so much in common. LDS, Women, Expats in Asia; what a powerful experience that was.
|Yonghui and Constance|
|Robin, Missi, Natasha, Teena|
|Kristie, Jennifer, Sarah|
That night we went to dinner with a big group from Singapore and a couple of sisters from Japan. We had Thai food at Chili Club and it was amazing, yummy food! We got in pretty late that night and pretty much crashed.
|Table for 20???|
The next morning we were up early and got ready for a full day of conference. We had an opening session followed by two break-outs and then lunch. After lunch we had two more sessions and then the group photos followed by more service. Our group broke away after the photos and went shopping at the Jade Market. Then we attended the temple and went out for dinner.
|My roommates in Hong Kong. |
We are wearing sweaters!!!
Hong Kong was a beautiful 60 degrees!
|Most fun I've ever had on public transport!|
The temple was an amazing experience for me. I noticed that my temple recommend was expired on Wednesday night and I was pretty bummed that I wouldn't have enough time to get two recommend interviews before the next morning. I had plans to meet up with Brooke while my friends attended their session. After our little shopping trip we jumped on the MTR and rode the train to the temple. As they all filed in for their session, I was sitting down inside the atrium area and my friend Missi came outside to get me. She asked me to come inside and sit with her. I was just sitting down to get my bearings and think about how I was going to meet up with Brooke before I left- I was eating my snack. So, I packed up my snack and went inside with Missi. As we were sitting there waiting to see if Missi could get in, the temple worker came up to me and asked me to put my name on the list with Missi's. So, I did and a few minutes later he was giving us the last two numbers for the session.
The temple sealing room at the Hong Kong temple holds 38 patrons and I got the number 44, the absolute maximum they can allow inside the room. I told Missi that Heavenly Father must have known I needed to be in the temple that day. As we exited the elevator, the temple worker told us we had 3 minutes to change and get into the chapel. We did so and joined 40 other women and 4 men in the session. I had the very last seat in the room, on a folding chair inside the door jam.
It was really a neat experience to be inside the temple with 17 of my greatest friends. All but one of our Singapore ward was with us that night in the temple. It was truly amazing.
|Hong Kong Temple|
|Michele, Margie, Constance, Sarah, Kristie, Yonghui|
Afterward we had a pretty crazy dinner experience but I can laugh about it now.
We got in late again that night and pretty much crashed at around 1 am.
We were up early for the Saturday 8 am start and had conference until about noon. Afterward we checked out of our hotel and met up with Brooke and Katie for lunch. Then we rode the Star Ferry across the harbor, bought some souvenirs and then headed for the airport.
|Riding the escalators up to lunch in SoHo|
It was definitely a whirlwind trip. I wish we had had more time to do some sight-seeing but filling up my spiritual bucket was definitely something that I NEEDED. The sessions were so inspiring, the spirit was so strong and I am just so blessed to be a part of this amazing family. I feel so honored to be a Dean woman. A Mormon expat living in Asia, following in the path that Bruce and Karen set before us. It really is quite incredible. I met so many women who know or were acquainted with the Deans while they lived here, or who knew Colin while he was serving in Taiwan. I'm so glad that our family was able to have this time here in Singapore, to be a part of it, and to maybe lay out the future for our kids to return.
|Suzanne Grannis Calton (served in Taiwan with Colin) and Me|