Monday, August 31, 2015

8-31-15 Training Follow Up Meeting - Wuquan Chapel

Can you believe they've finished their first transfer?!
What a great group of missionaries!

8-31-15 President's Weekly Letter

Dear Elders and Sisters,

We are a bit scattered this week with some of you emailing me last Friday and others today. As you know, we were blessed to receive 33 new missionaries last week. They are full of excitement and fire for the work. They are prepared and ready to go forth. I feel blessed and humbled to serve with so many outstanding young men and women, including you.

The beginning of each new transfer period is an opportunity to start anew. It is an opportunity to progress and improve, which, I might add, is best accomplished through personal change and repentance. Many of you have received new assignments. Some of you stayed in the same assignment even though you thought you would move. Some of you are excited for new opportunities. Some may be disappointed, assuming you were passed over for a new area, companion or position of leadership.

I wish to assure each of you that, as I prepared this move call, I carefully considered your assignment. As I consider each missionary, I start with his or her companion. I ask myself, who can bless this missionary by being his or her companion? More important to me than where you serve or what is your assignment, is who will be your companion. I plead with Heavenly Father to help me assign the right companion for each missionary. I am grateful for the sacred calling to serve as your mission president. I know I can rely on the Lord to sustain me as I do my best to prepare each move call. I also know that He will sustain you as you serve in each assignment. I do not make perfect decisions, but the Lord, in sustaining both you and I, will enable each move call to be the right one for you. I urge you to find out how this is so and to love, serve and listen to your companion. Can you imagine how unified our mission would be if every missionary continually focused on these three simple things?

As with each transfer day, I remind you of an important mission rule: When moving from an area, please do not give members or investigators your new phone number or address. They can keep in touch with you by email. If you are approached by one of your RCs, or other beloved friends, and asked for your new contact information, please give them only your email address. Tell them it is against mission rules to give out any other information. If you are being called and/or visited by members from areas in which you have previously served politely tell them that this is contrary to mission policy and ask them to stop. If they do not, please notify me so I can help.

Please do not call or text missionaries outside your area without permission. All use of mission phones should be directly related to missionary work. Please do not call or text other missionaries to chat. Please limit all phone calls to 10 minutes or less unless talking with myself or Sister Blickenstaff. We audit the phones each month to insure that these rules are being kept. Disobeying these rules will result in losing phone and Internet privileges, let alone sacred blessings and miracles.
Thank you for your faith and diligence. Through our faith we are compelled to act. Through our actions we demonstrate our love for the Lord. When we are diligent, we have less time to dwell on our own troubles and inconveniences, thus we are happier. Diligent missionaries are more likely to find those whom the Lord has prepared. Our faith and diligence will allow us to witness, and participate in, miracles.

President Blickenstaff
Mentor of Obedient, Faithful and Diligent Champions

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

8-26-15 Arriving Missionaries!

Our longest visa waiter is finally here! Arriving from New Zealand this morning:
President on the way to training the trainers, got to FaceTime with our new elder:
Visiting the Taipei Temple while waiting for remaining arrivals:
Joined by our native Taiwanese missionaries arriving from the Philippines that evening:
Saying goodbye to their beloved MTC translator:
Here they are, all 32 missionaries! And one more arriving tomorrow morning direct to the mission home.
On the bus ride home, missionaries share about their families, something interesting about themselves, and what their expectations are for their missions:
 After a short night's rest, up early at the mission home for some traditional Taiwanese breakfast and seasonal fruit:
Dragon fruit, milk pineapple, mango, and watermelon!
 Oil sticks (Chinese doughnut) and soy bean milk:

 This sister discovered her ward member works in the mission home!
 Morning orientation:
 Learning from President about the mission vision, goals and plans:

After a presentation on the Blickenstaff family, 
new missionaries get an introduction to the Taiwan Taichung Mission:
Orientation on office procedures:
 And finances:
 Lunch at the chapel:

 Afternoon training included an introduction to Taiwanese culture by the APs:
 As well as training on street contacting:
 And a chance to practice!

 A banquet dinner before their Dan Jones Experience:

 Daring elders taking on the duck brain challenge:

 And some going for fish eyes:

 More duck brain takers:

 One brave sister...I think she swallowed it whole!
 President reviews with the missionaries their Dan Jones Experience:
 How many did not understand what was said, or were not understood tonight? But you survived!
 President sharing a miracle story (see Gaoxiong West Zone Conference post)
 Up bright and early for the mile run. This morning's fastest time clocked in at 5:15!
 Buddha claps:)
 They finally meet their trainers!
Lunch with the first companion in the mission field:

 Singing the mission song before departing to their first area!
 We love them all already!