We left very early in the van (Big Bertha) to get up to Sun Moon Lake ahead of the buses.
It was looking foggy on the way up...reminiscent of our Christmas activity two years ago. This year, at the last minute, we postponed our activity one day in hopes the rain would dry up the night before.
As we climbed higher in elevation, the fog burned off and the lake was pristine!
The Xuanzang temple is dedicated to Buddhist monk Xuanzang and his 16-year pilgrimage to India wherein he translated the sacred scriptures of Buddhism from Sanskrit into Chinese.
We arrived early to set up for the group photo at Ci En Pagoda.
Chiang Kai Shek erected this pagoda in honor of his mother.
Climbing to the top:
Can you spot all four elders?
Hey, who's taking pictures of who?
A beating of the drums to welcome our missionaries:
Here they come!
Elders to the sides, sisters in front!
Over 200 missionaries!
Aren't they all so beautiful?
Photo session successful! On our way to Sun Moon Lake:
A huge thank you to the tourist who climbed our 10 foot ladder to take our group photo!
Senior sister missionaries are the BEST!
Sun Moon Lake's Itashao aborigine village:
Lots of handmade aborigine souvenirs:
Converting our missionaries to our favorite stand selling,,,
sticky rice stuffed chicken wings and...
shrimp tempura lettuce wraps!
Ice cream cones and chocolate for a sweet tooth:)
Finishing off an order of stinky tofu:
Cool wooden swords!
Even cooler Santa ties...
and Santa hat!
This elder celebrated his birthday at Sun Moon Lake:
A round of "Happy Birthday" is in order!
Our ABC elders:
Heading to an All-You-Can-Eat buffet for dinner!
Stopping at this unusual outlook where the architecture not only provides an scenic backdrop but produces an echo chamber:
Brink on the steaks!
Longest sashimi chopsticks ever!
Everyone's getting plenty to eat:)
Both colors of watermelon!
These candied yams were delightfully crunchy on the outside!
Ice cream line:
Missionaries love to take pictures too!
Then off to the devotional portion of our activity, this year held at the Chung Hsing Stake Center in Yuanlin. The Taichung South Zone and Taichung East Wufeng & Taiping Districts practiced their opening number on the bus. Their spirited performance of Jingle Bells warmed everyone's hearts.
Next, the mission office presented a nativity to be remembered:
Afterwards, we enjoyed departing reflections from these elders and sisters:
Between the reflections, we also enjoyed a beautiful violin and piano rendition of Silent Night by the two elders on the right. The two elders on the left performed an amazing piano duet, a medley of "Carol of the Bells" and "O Come All Ye Faithful." It powerfully moved me to ponder about the Atonement of Christ, as I could feel the music testify of the great eternal sacrifice that the Savior made in our behalf.
Two brothers got to see each other today!
Love the spirit of Christmas our sisters, along with all of our missionaries, bring to Taiwan!