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: