Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July 31, 2013 Arriving Missionaries!

Our first set of new missionaries landed at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Wednesday, July 31, 2013. First the native missionaries arrived from the Philippines MTC:

Joined two hours later by the Provo MTC missionaries:

A 90-minute bus ride home during which the missionaries introduced themselves and heard from Pres. and Sis. Blickenstaff:

It was after midnight before they reached the mission home! The next morning, they were up at 6:00am for a morning run at the track. The fastest mile was run clocked in at 5:18. He lapped me too! After a traditional Chinese breakfast at the mission home and a morning of presentations, orientations, pictures, and interviews with Pres. Blickenstaff, we all took a break for lunch at the local Hot Pot restaurant. We were joined by our office and family history couples,  as well as the office elders and APs:

Before we left, one of our new sister missionaries invited the waitress to church this Sunday. How awesome is that?!

An afternoon of more interviews with Pres. Blickenstaff, a Health & Safety presentation by Sis. Blickenstaff, and training by our APs on obedience, planning, contacting, etc. Then off to a banquet dinner, including Peking Duck and Sweet & Sour Deep Fried Fish:

Our afore mentioned fastest elder was also one of the bravest to take on Sis. Blickenstaff's fish eyeball challenge:

Next they learned about Dan Jones, who fulfilled the prophet Joseph Smith's final prophecy pronounced in Carthage Jail. The night before Joseph and Hyrum were killed, the prophet asked Br. Jones (who was keeping company with the incarcerated brethren) if he was afraid to die. Br. Jones replied, "Has that time come, think you? Engaged in such a cause, I do not think that death would have many terrors.” The Prophet Joseph replied, "You will yet see Wales and fulfill the mission appointed you before you die." The following morning, June 27, 1844, Joseph asked Br. Jones to deliver a letter to Quincy, Illinois. As he departed the jail on horseback, bullets were fired at him, but none struck him. In his haste and panic, Br. Jones took the wrong road to Quincy and became lost. It was later learned that an anti-Mormon mob had been waiting to intercept him on the correct road to Quincy. When he finally reached Quincy later in the afternoon, he learned that Joseph and Hyrum Smith had been killed by a mob at the jail in Carthage, Illinois. Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley has stated that Br. Jones "must certainly be included in the half dozen or so most productive missionaries in the history of the Church." On page one of Preach My Gospel, there is an artist's rendition of Dan Jones, the caption reading, “Dan Jones, one of the greatest missionaries in this dispensation, preaches the gospel in Wales.”

Off they went to the night market for their own Dan Jones experience! 

A longer night's rest was had and up again at 6:00am. This time, back to the track for stairs and calisthenics:

After a morning of training on The First 12 Weeks program for new missionaries, the long awaited time finally came. Each missionary was called up one by one by Pres. Blickenstaff and handed a Hong Bao (red envelope). The drum roll began as they opened the envelope and announced their new trainer and area. Outside the Wuchuan chapel, next to their trainer:

Then off to lunch at the Hawaii 51 for an old-fashioned American burger and fries:

The new companionships were finally off to their area for the next 12 weeks. We are so grateful for each of our missionaries, for the 18 months/two years wherein they have consecrated their lives unto the Lord, and for their families who love and support them! We love them so much!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

July 2013 Baptisms

Wuquan 1, July 5
 Wuquan 1, July 26
Fengyuan, July 27
Yuanlin, July 2
Yuanshan, July 26 & 27

Xiaogang, July 27
Jinmen, July 20
Fengyuan, July 20

Zhuanghua 1st, July 19
Wuquan, July 19
Nantou, July 14

Saturday, July 27, 2013

7-27-13 Preparation Day

A little preparation day action to the mountains above Taiping:

Cooling down with a chocolate banana shaved ice (bing):

The mango bing went so fast we couldn't get a picture soon enough!

Although the mountain was only about 5 km away, it took us probably an hour to get there. Why? Because our missionaries are so awesome at contacting! They stopped at every intersection and talked with the people: sharing the gospel, handing out tracts, collecting contact information. It was amazing to watch them!

Here's an idea of what it's like to ride your bike on the streets of Taiwan:

Monday, July 22, 2013

7-20-13 Jinmen Baptism

Jinmen is a small Taiwanese island closest to mainland China. A dozen or so members, holding meetings together on Sundays, have formed the first Church group on the island. They held their first baptism in the newly rented Church meeting place on Saturday, July 20, 2013 and held their first sacrament meeting the following day!

These were our hosts for the weekend. They were so kind to drive us (in two cars) to dinner, to our meetings, and around the island for a scenic tour. Three years ago, this sister was the first and only member on the island. Earlier this month, her family (in blue) went to the Taipei Taiwan Temple to be sealed together for time and all eternity!

This wonderful sister is also a great missionary, taking us to the homes of two of her non-member friends. The elders were able to teach both of their families on Sunday, as well as the brother of the young man who was baptized. It was such a fruitful weekend!

One of my favorite dishes growing up was chicken feet. 
I commend these elders for taking on Sis. Blickenstaff's Chicken Feet Challenge:


Clean to the bone!