Saturday, January 30, 2016

1-30-16 Blessings of Serving a Mission

Well do I remember the testimony of this elder on the far left, his last night in the mission field, talking about how difficult it had been for his mother, who was not a member of the Church, to have her son leave her while he was away serving the Lord. I was deeply moved as he talked about how he faithfully wrote her letters every week, to encourage her and love her, despite her not being pleased with his absence. Throughout the two years, he never gave up and through his faith in her and in the Lord, he witnessed her heart soften with time.
We met his mother at the temple, where she came to pick up her son and welcome him home. That very day, a miracle happened. There on the temple grounds, he bore a strong testimony to his mother of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. The Spirit pierced her soul, and she felt the truth of his testimony. At that very moment, she committed to be baptized!
After two months of continual progression in the gospel, the happy day came for her baptism!
Our missionary's most beloved convert: his mother! 
We were honored to attend her baptism in the Xizhi Ward. New Taipei City. Not only one but two mothers were baptized that evening: another young sister's mother also entered the waters of baptism!
What a great example these young people are to their beloved parents!
We were surprised to meet so many great members that had a connection to the Taichung Mission!
This young man on the left served as a short term missionary to one of our Taichung missionaries.
Now he is serving full-time in the Taipei Mission!
We were so happy to meet the mother of one our awesome Sister Training Leaders!
And so tickled to see young returned Taiwan missionaries, the elder from New Taipei who served in our Taichung Mission and the sister from Taichung who served in the Taipei Mission,
now married and expecting their first baby! What could be happier news?!
Wonderful to meet the older sister of one of our released Taichung missionaries:
And always happy to get return missionary visits to the mission home!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

1-28-16 Mission Leadership Council

Reciting the mission leadership scripture together: D&C 121:34-46
President discusses the Worldwide Missionary Broadcast earlier in the month, 
relative to mission leaders:
Lunch in the mission home:
Our missionaries love Mexican!

Opening the afternoon session:
So grateful for the musical talents of our missionaries!
APs train on How to Begin Teaching points in PMG:
Demonstrating using these points to establish a foundation 
upon which to build an appropriate relationships and expectations with investigators:
Mission leaders practice:

Assistant wrapping up the meeting:
Closing with the mission song:

Our February mission leaders:

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

1-25-16 President's Weekly Letter

Dear Elders and Sisters,

How blessed we are to live in a time in which we can be taught by prophets, apostles and other inspired leaders! I was profoundly impressed by the missionary broadcast we were privileged to view this past week. I came away with a deeper understanding of the Doctrine of Christ and some of our most fundamental responsibilities as outlined in Preach My Gospel. What a remarkable opportunity is ours, for a brief period, to share a sacred charge with the Quorum of the Twelve to testify of the Savior and invite all to come unto Him. I want to follow the admonition given by Elder Anderson to always “have His name on [my] lips.” If I am ever unsure of what to say, I want to speak of Him, of His doctrine, of His teachings and His Atonement. Elder Anderson went on to say that our “greatest responsibility is to extol and defend the divine mission and doctrine of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.” He then shared one of his “favorite promises” from the scriptures, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 10:32). Wouldn’t you want the Savior to confess you to your Father in Heaven?

Ours is the challenge and blessing to labor in an area where the name of Christ is barely known. We must prayerfully plan and adapt our message to the needs of those whom we teach. In doing so, we must always remember our responsibility to teach and testify of Him. “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

“As your understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ grows, your desire to share the gospel will increase” (PMG, p. 2). I urge you to do as Elder Anderson urged, “Ask yourself: what do I really believe about the Atonement? Am I personally experiencing the Atonement every day?” By increasing your own understanding of the Atonement, your effectiveness as a missionary will increase! In order to accomplish this, Elder Anderson encouraged us to personally “learn to love [the] powerful spiritual nourishment from the Book of Mormon so that [we] can share it upon the silver platter of [our] own faith.” He then promised that, as we do this, we will “see the faith of those [we] teach grow.”

Wow! I have only shared half of my notes just from Elder Anderson’s talk, not to mention all of the other great teachings in the broadcast. I am excited to hear of your personal thoughts and insights. I invite you to share them in your email to me today and in the coming weeks. Most significantly, I invite you to ponder carefully and set goals as to what you will do differently as a result of the inspiration received as you viewed this broadcast. I hope that each of us may, with real intent, have “total sincerity to act on the answers to our prayers.” I know that as we have real intent, we will be able to more fully accomplish our missionary purpose.

President Blickenstaff

Mentor of Champions with Real Intent

Saturday, January 23, 2016

1-23-16 Our Daughter's Wedding (featuring Taichung Mission Sons and Daughters)

Although President was not able to attend, it is a wonderful blessing for your children to find their eternal companion while you are serving your mission and know that their marriage is sealed for time and all eternity!

 Draper Utah Temple
 Though a cold and snowy day, our hearts were warm!
Our family:
 Our children:
Many of President's family members were able to attend the sealing, 
after which they joined us for lunch at a nearby chapel:
 I met this lovely sister who told me a story of one of our missionaries:
Her friend's son had been in a language immersion program and by high school was quite fluent in French. However, the night before signing up for his junior year classes in high school, he dreamt he was teaching people in the Chinese language. He felt prompted to take Chinese instead that year, and invited his friend to do so as well. They both received calls to serve in the Taichung Mission and entered the mission field together. We are so grateful for missionaries who follow promptings of the Lord and do hard things!

The evening's open house:

 Our grandchildren! President still hasn't held the two youngest grandsons yet:(
 My brother's family:
I had the delightful opportunity to meet this couple from Elder Teh's home ward! 
Here come all our Taichung Mission Sons and Daughters!

 We used to see this young man working in the MTC dining room when we participated in language immersion prior to coming to Taiwan:
 How exciting it was to meet these two young men who have recently received their calls to the Taiwan Taichung Mission! We can't wait for them to come!
 My all time favorite returned Taichung Missionary:
So much fun to meet another returned missionary and his wife at church on Sunday:
 And then to have several visitors that evening!
 So fun to meet their spouses too!
What could be better on the long flight back to Taiwan, than to be able to visit and catch up with one of our returned missionary's parents? They are such a blessing to us, preparing their sons and daughter to serve faithfully and diligently!