Saturday, May 31, 2014

May 2014 Visitors to the Taichung Mission

Parents coming to visit their family in Taiwan stop by the mission home for dinner:
 It's a special honor to be able to meet their Taiwanese relatives:
 We love it when missionaries come back from the states to visit us! One of our beloved APs:
 It's a little easier when they return from local areas like Hsinchu, we love seeing them more often:
Being treated to dinner by our current AP's family in Taoyuan: 
What a treat to be able to meet our missionary's brother and girlfriend!
We received a very special visit from our MTC tutor, Mitch Petters, on President's right. Mitch tutored us in Mandarin and Preach My Gospel for eight months prior to our departure to Taiwan.   He prepared us thoroughly and gave us the confidence we needed upon arrival. He and his friend are in China for an internship in manufacturing engineering. Both have served missions in Taichung and are currently studying at BYU. Welcome back friends!

5-31-14 Dakeng Scenic Area P-day

Overlooking Taichung…a hot and humid day makes for the haze:
 This creature was hard to spot:
Guan Shi Yin Pusa:
 You Ban Fa Missionaries:
4" Banana spider:
 The only one in our group who could perform this feat:

 He demonstrated a least a half dozen times to show the others how, but to no avail:
 After four hours, we were all dripping with sweat:
Overdue for a heavenly treat…mango bing!!!
Too much fun not to post:)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

5-14-28 Training Follow Up Meeting in Jiayi

President has some fun with trainers and new missionaries: 
use one word to describe these past six weeks, then use one word to describe your companion!
One transfer old missionaries and their companions:
 Cinnamon rolls warm out of the oven to celebrate their survival!

 Sisters looking happy:)
 Elders being gentlemen and letting sisters go first:
 Do you even recognize this handsome elder? He can afford to eat two since losing 80+ pounds while serving in Taiwan! I'm afraid the next time I see him he will have disappeared!

A trip to Jiayi is not complete without a stop to Thefreen Burger, seriously the best hamburger in the world!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

5-28-14 Departing Missionaries

Together for a last dinner in the mission home:)
 Farewell fireside:

 On our way to the Taipei temple:
Taipei Temple Trip:
 Coming to pick up their daughters:

And sisters:
The assistants sacrificed their seats on the bus to the temple the past two weeks so more missionaries could attend. We appreciated their willingness to drive our returning missionaries to Taipei, and welcomed their joining us:

Farewell at the airport...
...accompanied by two more returning home for medical reasons that we hope will come back soon!
We love them all SO much!

Monday, May 26, 2014

5-26-14 President's Weekly Letter

Dear Elders and Sisters,

Lately I have been pondering the subject of companionship unity. There is a bullet-point on page one in the booklet for training companionships, The First Twelve Weeks, that reads, “Love, serve, and listen to your companion.” Although this is a short and simple statement it contains great wisdom and power. Can you imagine what would happen if every missionary in our mission actually did this? There would be a lot of mental and emotional synergy that could elevate our ability to accomplish our missionary purpose. The most important companion you could have in this lifetime is the companionship of the Holy Ghost. If we could increase harmony and eliminate contention between companions, there would be much more sensitivity to the Holy Ghost. We would find greater success, individually and collectively, in doing this great and sacred work. Please, please, please love, serve, and listen to your companion.

I know that I have mentioned this before, but each new move call is a chance to start fresh, whether or not you moved or received a new companion. I suggest that sometime before today is over, you sit down with your companion and establish some expectations and goals for this move call.  Working together, you can decide what you want to accomplish and how you will do it. Ask each other how you can help with any personal needs your companion may have. Establish priorities and then write them down. Keep them in a place where you will see them every day. Pray together daily with your companion about the goals that you have set. Express appreciation for your companion in your prayers and ask Heavenly Father to bless him or her in specific ways that he or she may need help.

I also suggest that sometime before today is over, you evaluate your own ability to be a Christlike companion. Approach your Heavenly Father in humility and ask him how you might be more long-suffering, gentle, meek, kind, and demonstrate love unfeigned by asking Him to reveal to you your weaknesses and shortcomings that He might greatly enlarge your soul without hypocrisy and without guile, and enable you to turn your weaknesses into strengths (D&C 121:41, Ether 12:6).

Let’s work together to make the Taiwan Taichung Mission a place where each missionary can be loved, served and listened to by their companion. A mission should be an emotionally safe and rewarding experience for every missionary. Although we cannot control everything that happens when we are on the streets or in other people’s homes, we can and should create an atmosphere of love and learning in each of our apartments. “See that ye love one another…learn to impart to one another as the gospel requires. Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated. And above all things, clothe yourselves with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is a bond of perfectness and peace” (D&C 88: 123-125).

President Blickenstaff
Mentor of Champions 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

5-25-14 Gaoxiong Sunday

We were invited by the new bishop of the Sanmin Ward to come down to Gaoxiong and speak in sacrament meeting. He offered to pick us up from the HSR, arranged for us to speak in the Yuanshan and Fengshan wards as well, invited us to his home for lunch, and put us back on the HSR homeward bound. He couldn't have made it easier, so off we went! 
We were able see our recent converts in the Yuanshan ward. As well, it was the last Sunday in the area for the elder who taught them. He had seen so many miracles in that ward, that it was difficult for him to adequately express the love he had for the members in Yuanshan.
As well, it was the last Sunday for a sister training leader serving in Sanmin, not only in the area, but of her mission. She too expressed her love for missionary work, and for the miraculous way in which the gospel changes lives. She was so grateful for Elder Nielson's invitations to hasten the work of salvation, for she had seen the power of prayer help people progress in the gospel and give them a new life.

Entrance to the bishop's home:
 Feeding all the missionaries is not an easy task!
 Wow, I found a new favorite: yummy handmade wintermelon pies!
 Meimei demonstrated her hair styling techniques:
 She had lots of volunteers:

 This sister training leader's last Sunday as a missionary:(

Thursday, May 22, 2014

5-21-14 Arriving Missionaries

With all the rain, and the majority of flights delayed 3-4 hours, we were grateful our missionaries landed safely only one hour late:) They're here!!!
Bus ride home to Taichung:
 The next morning after breakfast at the mission home, President starts orientation and interviews:
 After Sis. Blickenstaff introduces the missionaries to her family and they are oriented by the office missionaries, lunch is at hand:

Since their flight was delayed and the elders didn't get bedded down until 2:00am, I wouldn't let the APs take them out for morning exercises. The APs were, however, bound and determined to get their blood pumping, so took opportunity to draw the whip and get 50 pushups out of them after afternoon orientation:
They were then ready for some instruction on contacting skills. Practicing first in English, 
then afterwards in Chinese, and lastly out on the streets for some hands on experience:
 After their first hour of contacting in Taiwan, on to a banquet dinner:
 Taking on Sis. Blickenstaff's duck brain challenge:
 Anxious for a photo opp:
 Fish eyes?
 No problem!
Wrapping up the evening with a review of the Dan Jones Experience:
Early to bed, then early to rise! Starting off the morning with a mile run:

Buddah claps x 70:
Meet the Trainers meeting:
President handed out the red envelopes, their trainers and new assignments were announced, 
then off to lunch at Hawaii 51:

 Concluding with the mission song, then out to their new areas!
 New missionaries and their trainers: