Monday, February 29, 2016

2-29-16 President's Weekly Letter

Dear Elders and Sisters,

I often hear missionaries and members use the term “li4 hai4” to describe certain missionaries. It is interesting to note that my online Chinese dictionary has nine definitions for “li hai”:  difficult to deal with, difficult to endure, ferocious, radical, serious, terrible, violent, tremendous, and awesome. Only the last two would normally be thought of as desirous qualities for missionaries. Since we hear this expression so often, perhaps we should try to understand what it means and how it might apply to us as missionaries.

One of our recently returned missionaries wrote this poem for her reflection:

Lihai Missionary by Sister Courtney Johnston
A lihai missionary is one who doesn't always know just exactly where to go,
They turn to the lord in earnest prayer and pray the spirit will lead them there.
A lihai missionary wants to do the Lord's will
They testify of him without thought of skill,
A lihai missionary has the desire to change as they help others to do the same
A lihai missionary loves, serves, listens, and laughs with their companions
According to President that's what makes us champions.
A lihai missionary goes out no matter what the weather,
Typhoon or sunshine with Christ on our side we can do this together.
A lihai missionary doesn't ever give up on themselves or others,
Because we are all sons and daughters of God we are sisters and brothers.
A lihai missionary is converted every day,
Through Christ's Gospel it's the only way.
A lihai missionary may not always give their best,
But they do what they can and trust that God will make up the rest.
A lihai missionary is one who can look back when all is said and done,
And say man that was hard, but I've learned a lot and changed; look how far I've come.

Here are some thoughts about being a “li hai missionary” taken from two recent missionary emails:



I think a 厲害的傳教士 has five qualities: 1) they are obedient, 2) they work diligently every day all day, 3) they are bold, 4) they follow the Spirit, 5) they are motivated by love for the Savior and fellowman in everything they do.

In what way can you improve in order to be a 厲害的傳教士?

President Blickenstaff
Mentor of 厲害的傳教士

Sunday, February 28, 2016

2-28-16 Pingtung Stake Conference

The Pingtung Stake Conference was held on February 27-28 for the recently created stake. Elder Zeno Chow, Asia Area Seventy presided over both meetings. The Saturday evening session focused on the topic of self-reliance, with the scriptures 1 Kings 17:9-16 (widow of Zarephath) and D&C 42:42. Sister Blickenstaff delivered a message on the widow of Zarephath's son being raised from the dead, and the freedom to be with families together forever made possible through the restored gospel and temple ordinances. President's talk focused on the prophet Nephi and the ability he had to accomplish all the Lord's purposes through prayer and diligence (1 Nephi 7, 17, 18). Elder Chow's remarks expounded on the parable of the marriage of the king's son found in Matthew 22. He likened our missionaries to the king's servants in verse 10, as they invite all to come unto Christ. 
 Members and missionaries of the Hengchun Branch:
I first met this sister on our trip to Hengchun in 2014 to attend the Hengchun Branch Conference (see We were graciously invited to dinner at her parent's family-owned restaurant. At the time, she was awaiting her mission call. Several months later, I saw her at the Taipei Temple receiving her endowment in preparation to serve a mission in the Taipei Mission. Since then, we have been blessed to see her several times when we have brought missionaries there. Now she has faithfully served for 18 months and has returned home! My how time flies!!!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

2-25-16 Mission Leadership Council

President welcomes mission leaders to MLC...
 ...especially those attending for the first time!
 Assistants conduct the morning session of zone reporting by zone leaders, miracle stories by sister training leaders, a review of Power Week, and training on conducting inspiring and uplifting exchanges:
 Lunch at the mission home:

 The Ultimate Magic Cookie Bars were a hit:)
 The afternoon started with a presentation by the Nantun ward mission leader on their ward mission plan: 
 The plan includes: 1) using the Taichung Mission PMG Planner to identify friends and family members that might have interest in the gospel, and 2) a 21-day prayer plan to help those identified to come unto Christ!
 Assistants present principles on accountability...
 and a new Accountability Card to help missionaries improve on their teaching and planning skills:
 President concludes with instruction from the Church's Missionary Executive Council on our missionary purpose: Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts.
 Our February mission leaders:

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

2-2016 Taipei Temple Trips

February 17
Taichung West and Chung Hsing zones (left) joined the Taipei missionaries (right) for their temple day!
 This Taiwanese elder from our mission got to see the Taipei missionaries that served in his local ward!
 Such a joy to see our returned missionaries at the temple!

 Bus ride back to Taichung:
 February 24, Taichung South and East zones:
Our local senior volunteer sister accompanied me on this trip:
Wonderful for this sister missionary to see her relative at the temple!
 Mission update: this sister will start her mission visa waiting in the Taipei Mission!
 Members serving in the temple see their missionaries:
 Bus ride back to Taichung:

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

2-23-16 Training Follow Up Meeting

After a discussion from the scriptures and PMG on the importance of the work we are engaged in, having a little fun by using one word to describe the past six weeks' experience:
 As well as one word to describe your companion:
 No longer our newest missionaries in the mission!
 Always a pleasure to treat them with homemade cinnamon rolls!

Monday, February 22, 2016

2-22-16 President's Weekly Letter

Dear Elders and Sisters,

It was such fun to receive so many excited phone calls this week passionately announcing, “Mission accomplished!” Power week is designed to help the work to get going again after the Chinese New Year celebrations made it so challenging to teach lessons and set up with people. I hope that you and your companion diligently tried to meet the challenges of each day. I hope that you experienced the power that comes from setting a goal, working hard, and exercising faith in order to achieve it. I hope that if you did your best and still fell short of your goal that you found satisfaction in your work and in being able to account to the Lord for what you did. Most of all, I hope that you had some fun this week and extended yourself. Thanks to each of you who put your shoulders to the wheel and enthusiastically did your best. I am always amazed at what we can accomplish when the Lord is on our side. This is His work, and in His strength we can bring more souls unto Christ!

One of my greatest desires as a mission president is to know each of you individually, to understand your needs, help you with any problems you may be experiencing and assist you as you accomplish your goals and achieve your potential. Your weekly emails are a critical component of realizing these desires and an important means by which you account to me as your mission president. I feel especially thankful when you share insights that allow me to gauge your personal growth, love for the Lord, and commitment to this sacred work to which you have been called. I learn much about you and from you as I read your emails each week. I recently received a letter from a missionary who expressed that it was difficult for her to really communicate with me in the standard 3-paragraph format that I have asked for in the Taiwan Taichung Mission Rules and Clarification Handbook. Many missionaries are able to use this format to effectively let me know how they are doing and allow me a glimpse into their heart and soul. If you would feel more comfortable and better able to communicate your needs and desires in some other way, please do so. Most of all, I would appreciate an honest weekly accounting of your personal well-being, of the status of your companionship and what I may do to assist you as you grow and learn. Please do not tell me that everything is going great when it is not. I cannot help you if I do not know your circumstances.

Lastly, the Asia Area Presidency has asked that you discuss with me each potential investigator from Mainland China prior to teaching them a lesson. Please call me if you should encounter someone from China who expresses interest in our message. It would help if you could provide me with details such as what they are doing in Taiwan, how long they will be here, whether they have family members here, etc. Also if you have taught or baptized someone from China within the past 3 months, please email me today their name(s) and when you were involved with them. The Area Presidency is trying to evaluate the approximate frequency that our missionaries have opportunities to engage with people from China.

Thank you again for a great Power Week. You were an inspiration to me. I look forward to seeing you all next week during zone conferences, that we may learn and grow together as we serve the Lord in His work of salvation.

President Blickenstaff
Mentor of Powerful Champions

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

2-17-16 Departing Missionaries

Missionaries prepare to transition home by attending the Career Workshop. Without any of our wonderful senior couples to give the presentation, our new Mission Secretary did his best to help me out!
He did a great job, we're so thankful for his talents in the office and the wonderful support he's been.
 Missionaries present their elevator pitch, "Me in 30 Seconds!"
 After the workshop, missionaries gather in the mission home for their Last Supper:

 Evening fireside to discuss what they've learned on their mission and how it applies to their future...
 ...and to share a departing testimony.
 We love them so much!
 On the bus in the morning to the temple, President asks the missionaries three questions: 
1) What will you miss the most about your mission/Taiwan (aside from the people)? 
2) What was your favorite area and why? 
3) What will you do first when you get home?
 One last temple session together at the Taipei Temple:

 What an awesome welcome home banner for this Taiwanese sister missionary!
This sister is waiting her visa to the Oakland Mission, so wonderful to always see her serving at the temple!
 Former Taichung Mission President Kim and his wife:
 Love most to see our returned missionaries at the temple!
 Lunch together at temple patron housing:

 Touring Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall:

 Taking the MRT to the Taipei 101:
 Great missionaries make great selfies!

 My prince charming!
 Silly copycats!
 Love is what missionary service is all about!
 MRT to Shilin Night Market:
 A warm welcome for a Taiwanese returned missionary:
 So great to see him before leaving Taiwan:
 The Taipei experience:
 To die for spiral potato with Japanese salad dressing (top half) and chili pepper seasoning (bottom half):
 Now those are some colorful stilts!
 Parents of another Taiwanese sister coming to pick her up:)
 Returned missionaries attending Institute, love it!
 This sister's "grandmother" coming to say farewell:
 Departure bus to Taoyuan International Airport:
We love you all!!!