Friday, February 28, 2014

February 25-28, 2014 Asia Area Interim Mission Presidents' Seminar, Hong Kong

Every six months, we have the opportunity to attend a Mission Presidents' Seminar at the Church Adminstration Building in Wanchai, Hong Kong, together with the nine other mission presidents in the Asia Area and their wives. We receive training from the Asia Area Presidency: Elder Gerritt W. Gong, 1st Quorum of the Seventy, President; Elder Larry Y. Wilson, 2nd Quorum of the Seventy, 1st Counselor; Elder Randy D. Funk, 2nd Quorum of the Seventy, 2nd Counselor. At this seminar, we were honored to have the participation of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, Presidency of the Seventy, and Br. David T. Warner, Managing Director of the Priesthood Department. All their wives participated as well. 
A few topics included:
The Asia Area Vision
Hastening the Work of Salvation Presentations by Mission
Deepening Lifelong Conversion: Doctrine of High Priests
Establishing the Church: Preparing Districts to Become Strong Stakes
Helping Missionaries Increase Faith to Reach Expectations

Dinner with Elder and Sister Holland:

We always attend a session together at the Hong Kong temple:
We had dinner with the Hong Kong Temple President and Matron. One night, Sister Wong had a dream that President Hinckley (then deceased) asked her how her husband was. She said he was enjoying his retirement in Brisbane, Australia. President Hinckley responded that he wouldn't be for long! A week later, they received a call from the Brisbane temple president asking them to serve in the temple. After serving three years, they were called to serve in the Hong Kong temple as president and matron:)
 We had the wonderful opportunity to meet the parents of some of our missionaries from Hong Kong!
Father of a soon to be released elder:
Mother of a missionary still in training:

Sunday, February 23, 2014

2-23-13 Arrivals

After our mission-wide conference with Bishop and Sister Stevenson, we hurried off to the airport to send the Stevensons off to Hong Kong as well as pick up our new arriving missionaries! We had arrivals at two different terminals, so by the time everyone was gathered together, it was late!
 Bus ride back to Taichung:
We broke tradition and skipped the morning run, as it was 1:00am before anyone was able to hit the sack!
After a traditional Chinese breakfast in the mission home, while President started interviewing missionaries, Sister Blickenstaff gave them an introduction to her family. Orientation followed by the Financial Secretary, mission Office Secretary, Mission Recorder and Operations Manager, until their heads were filled to overflowing! Lunch break helped clear the fog:

 Our new local service missionaries joined us on their first day in the mission office:

Afternoon training included a health and safety presentation by Sister Blickenstaff, and an introduction to Taiwanese culture by the APs. The APs also instructed on contacting to prepare our new missionaries to hit the streets. But before that, dinner: 

 Brave souls taking on the duck brain challenge:

But not as brave as those willing to suck on a fish eyeball! 

After the feast, they were finally ready for their Dan Jones experience. Our missionaries gathered over 60 contacts in one evening! They were pumped to review the success of their evening:

 After a good night's rest, up early for calisthenics:
 Yoga stretches:
 Mountain climbers:
 Feels so great after a good workout!
In the last session of orientation, our new missionaries were joined by their trainers, who shared their testimony of PMG principles. Then President and Sister Blickenstaff introduced the 12-Week Training Program, along with stress management resources. Finally, red envelopes were presented to each new missionary to announce their trainer and first area! 
Immediately after this picture was taken, President and Sister Blickenstaff had to leave to catch a flight to Hong Kong for the semi-annual Mission Presidents' Seminar. Notwithstanding, the new missionaries and their trainers still made it to Hawaii 51 for a departing lunch and we have our trustworthy Operations Manager to thank for the photos:)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

February 2014 Visit from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and Presiding Bishop Stevenson

Saturday, February 22
All Taiwan Priesthood Leadership Meeting in Taipei:
While the brethren were being instructed and edified, several of the wives had a cultural afternoon:
Outside the National Palace Museum:

Creation of your own personal vase:
According to your personal style...
After the priesthood leadership meeting, Elder Holland attended a Taipei Mission conference.
His grandniece, serving in our Taichung mission, was able to join them:
Sunday dinner at the mission home with the Stevensons and their non-member friends from Taichung:
The Stevensons with their missionary family members:
Special Taiwan Mission conference at the Wuquan Chapel, Sunday February 23:

Thursday, February 20, 2014

2-20-14 Trainer Meetings - Chiayi

Our newest missionaries, five weeks on island, with their trainers:
New trainers preparing to receive new missionaries on February 23: