While visiting Hong Kong recently, I learned about a remarkable example of flexibility in the LDS Church to better meet local needs. While attending church services in the beautiful multistory red-brick building on Hong Kong island where several wards meet, I learned that there are actually church services every day of the week to meet the needs of the large population of foreign housekeepers, mostly from the Philippines, who have only one day a week off, usually a day other than Sunday. Many of these hard-working Latter-day Saints would almost never be able to attend church were it not for this “every day church” approach in which one unusual ward arranges for sacrament meetings every day of the week to meet the various schedules of the members. I don’t know if this is an unusual pilot program or if it has been done in other cities where the demographics justify it, but knowing a little about the strenuous demands on housekeepers in China (“a-yi” is the Mandarin term), I’m very grateful for this flexible approach.
Do any of you have more information about the program?
By the way, I was so happy to attend church in Hong Kong at the beginning of this month, even though I was late after crossing the border from China and missed sacrament meeting. When I introduced myself in priesthood meeting while sitting in the back of the room, someone toward the front jumped up and said, “That’s my old high school friend!” It was one of my closest friends from high school who had just moved to Hong Kong, to my surprise. The audience chuckled in approval (I hope) as we ran toward each other, and my wife and I ended up spending much of the day with his wonderful family. How glad I am that we went the extra mile to attend church when we had to make a visit to the Hong Kong area.
Some of my best business travel and tourist travel experiences have been from attending church when possible, including making valuable new friendships, learning important things about an area, or having life-changing encounters with new heroes or unforgettable lessons and sermons. Plus I guess it’s a good thing to worship the Lord, now that I think about it. I strongly recommending building that into your itinerary.
Today was an unfortunate exception. I traveled from South Korea to Indonesia. Making it a little more international in flavor were the Chinese and English Ensign magazines I brought along to study (though most of my reading time was dedicated to the English translation of the Chinese classic, The Romance of the Three Kingdoms), and while reading, I was listening to a stunningly beautiful performance of The Quran, sung in Arabic of course, that just fascinated me with the rhythms and inflections of the beautiful language (no, I don’t know any of it–was just listening because it was available on the audio track of my Indonesian flight and I was curious). But wasn’t able to make church services, and don’t have an everyday LDS church to attend here in Indonesia where I am tonight (it’s evening as I write).