Sunday, December 28, 2008

Nov - Dec doings

Mary and Joseph - the Brimley's - best friends of Nicole and Brian Heplar, Nancy's daughter and son in law. It is a small world!!
Even the costumes were elaborate, and the set was refinished again so beautifully by Elder Bouvai, who originally built it eight years ago.

The Pageant Choir. I am on the second row in the middle, with a pink scarf and blue robe. The pageant was really a miracle this year as we didn't know until the day of the first performance whether the city would let us use this place as a venue again. The Lord's hand was pretty evident in the way all things worked out so that it could happen --even the weather mellowed for it. The last day, it was balmy and nice! In the eight years they have performed the pageant, they have never gotten rained out, although it is the rainy season!!

On to the annual Christmas Pageant put on by our Ward. This is the part the Primary children played in it. They sang "Away in a Manger"

We visited a night market where this group of high school girls "interviewed" us for their school project. They were so darned cute! How my heart ached to tell them more about our reason for being in Taiwan! I felt so much love for them!

Wow, I cannot believe it has been so long since I've entered pictures here. So here we go --

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Some of the latest pictures

Here we are after the Children's Sacrament Meeting presentation. Leonora and her two charges, whom she brings to church each Sunday. They took part today and did so well. It made me homesick, realizing that the grandchildren were taking part in their Sacrament Meeting presentations as well! This is one of the best Sundays of the year. The Spirit is always present and you can just feel the love of the Savior and Father for these little ones! It was such a choice, spiritual experience! Leornora is giving them such a gift by bringing them to church, where they can learn and experience first hand, the love and peace and happiness the gospel brings into the lives of those who live it!!

With the 101 Tower in the background we are looking at a road construction area down one of the main streets of Taipei, where they put flowering plants to make the area "pretty". They must have spent a lot of money here because there were hundreds along the street! In this case, they are building an undergound MRT railway system, with malls, shops, restaurants, and we have even seen a bowling alleyin one that we visited! There are usually three levels of these - all under the main street that Elias is standing on!

The group pose before having a wonderful Filippino dinner to celebrate the birthdays of two of the sisters! Left to right: Erlinda, (I can't remember he name), me, Leonora, Daisy and Sodad!

This is the area between the Temple and the Service Center. Many people from all walks of life like to come here because it is beautiful and peaceful. Sometimes, we will sit on one of the benches here and eat a sandwich or fried rice before we begin our work in the Temple.

The Chinese use very unique wording to advertize and promote what they are selling.

This is a huge park about a twenty minute walk from our apartment that we go to when we want to get some more walking time in away from the noise of city traffic!

We walked home a different way one evening and found this beautiful, "garden" alley. This picture does not do the scene justice.

Some of the latest pictures.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Spiders, Danshui & Argentinians!

Now to our favorite part of Taiwan -- the Temple and the people we meet there! This Saturday we are privileged to work nearly eight hours in the Baptistry and had a glorious experience with some people from Argentina. (Take note, BJ!) Brother Moise's is the Branch President in Hsinchu, which is an hour or two south of Taipei. He has been here for three years, is married to an English girl and has two adorable girls! The couple met at BYU Hawaii. He hopes to go to BYU Utah next March and pursue a career in Law or Business. The girl on my right is his sister, Heva Marie Moise's and has been a member of the Church for two months! Brother Moise's wanted his sister to experience the feelings of happiness that are found as we serve in the temple, so they came and did baptisms for the dead. All of the other baptismal patrons had left, so there was just Dad and I and them and two of the Baptistry workers there. Brother Moise's decided it would be more meaningful for his sister if he could baptise her and pronounce at least one of the baptisms in her native tongue of Spanish. He had to think hard for a minute to be sure he could remember the right words. Then he began, and all of a sudden I could hardly hold back the tears of joy! Here they were, from Argentina, doing work for Chinese sisters and brothers that would bless them for Eternity! and doing it in the English and Argentine language!! Where else but the Temple could something like this happen? Nowhere else in the world!! I looked at Dad and he was feeling the same, for there were tears in his eyes as well. The Spirit was sooo strong and feelings were sooo sweet. It felt as if we were experiencing a little of what heaven might feel like! Needless to say, we all bonded, and exchanged email addresses so we can invite them to dinner when we get home from our mission here! I am so grateful for these beautiful experiences. We have many like this each week! I cannot keep up with writing about them all! The Lord has been so good to us. We feel so very blessed. I pray that we can carry this sweet Spirit with us always, as we reach out to help others, no matter where we are!! The work of the Lord is beyond description and beyond any other "highs" or happinesses we could ever feel. We LOVE it!!
This is the scene of a mountain across the Danshui River. We have ridden on a ferry boat to the other side and shopped in the small shops over there. The Taiwan Straights are where this river empties into the East China Sea, on the right side of the picture.

Fishing boats docked inland off the Danshui River. Note how bow and aft are curved upward.

Just a sample of the gorgeous flowers that lined the walkway by the Danshui River.

We took a day trip to Danshui (pronounced Dawn shuaye). It was great to walk around and just relax and take in the beauty of this quaint town on the Danshui River. This is one of the huge Banyan trees that line the river walkway.

Dear Blog, here is just a few of the things we have experienced lately. We'll begin with this picture taken on the second floor of our apartment building. I'm glad we live on the third floor. After Elias saw this, he began spraying around our door and windows! I'm glad I didn't see it!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Chaing Kai-Shek Memorial pictures

This picture does not do the gorgeous sunset justice. But it was amazing! The colors were brilliant. We were so glad we spent some time visiting this beautiful place.
As it began to turn evening, we sat down on the rocks at the side of a pond. All of a sudden, a large bird came flying very close behind where Elias was sitting! It was like it was "looking us over"! If have no idea what kind of bird it is. Anyone take a guess.

I hope you can see that this sign says, "Take kind care of flowers & trees. Please don't tread on or pick up." I love the way the Chinese people word things! How quaint is this? "Kind care"

Aren't these flowers beautiful? We are just missing Elder Miller, who was sitting on the bench, but then decided he did not like the picture with him in it, so this is the second one we took.

One of the pine tree paths we walked down at the grounds around the Chaing Kai-Shek Memorial. It felt good to be in the shade of these big trees. They are a different pine tree than at home.

They had a Mammoth elephant display inside the Chaing Kai-Shek Memorial. It was too expensive, so we didn't see only but this part! This is the Visitors Center where we bought Joyce a jade necklace for her birthday.
There are hundreds of these guards who do fancy footwork and marching at the Chaing Kai Shek Memorial. They are really impressive to watch - especially when it is time for the "changing of the guards."

The Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial. It doesn't look big, but it is huge! The Memorial property takes up many square blocks of the city.

We cannot believe how loving these Filippino sisters are to us. For our birthdays, they gave us flowers, an expensive, long-sleeved white shirt and silk tie, a beautiful blouse and beautiful picture frame! How do you like the vase? We don't know where to buy one, so Elias made one out of our plastic, milk bottle.

"Typhoon day" scene from our dining room window. The rain came down as if poured from a huge bucket! We were so comfy in our cozy apartment!

Monday, September 15, 2008

A beautiful Taiwan rainbow. This picture was taken when Elias and I were walking home from the temple one Tuesday or Wednesday evening!
Us and the Hendrys, at their last FHE at the Walkers. They are really a great couple who have been married only a few years. Both of their spouses passed away. He was home teacher to them when her husband died. His wife told him to marry Valerie after she knew she was going to pass away!
The fireworks that nearly cost us getting smothered and trampled to death! They WERE good, though!
"The group" - Daisy and myself, Sister Durrant and the sweet Filippino sisters, who have "loved" Daisy into the church!
Daisy, just before her baptism on September 6th! Sister Durrant and I (mostly Sister Durrant), taught her. She was so prepared to accept the Gospel. Her husband passed away just months before and you can imagine her joy to hear about life after deat, Eternal marriage and families!
Christine, Natalie and (I can't remember her name!), at her farewell party before leaving for Utah. Natalie is so special. I hope Brock gets to meet her! She has become dear to us.

One of the senior couples, the Dodges, who were the first couple to go home since we have been here, took us to this pita bar, close to the temple. When we get tired of rice, it is nice to have a place close that we can get something different.
This is how Elder Miller does dishes. The sink is definitely made for those who are about 4 foot high! He is so sweet to do them anyway!
Our "formal" temple presidency and one of their skits - singing their hearts out!
The "choir", singing at the temple pot luck dinner. I couldn't believe that our conductor, Sister Tan, had us do voice lessons and breathing practice before each practice. We were only singing a church hymn that everyone knew. The Chinese are very exacting in all they do. That is why they are so good at all they do, I guess.

Maribeth and I at the piano just before her lesson on Sunday. What a sweetheart! She is learning so quickly and doing so well. It is a real joy to teach these Filippino sisters piano! They are more than appreciative and try with all their hearts, because their dream is to be able to go back to the Philippines and teach their family and friends, who are too poor to take the lessons there!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Trip with Brother Lin - Tues July 15th, 2008

Here is the best part of the whole trip. We miraculously met Jerry and Minnete Chen, who wanted to have us tell them how they could receive the blessings of being together forever! Jerry had been baptized a little over a year ago, but had not been active in church and had a lot of questions. His wife is Catholic. We did not have time to talk to them while we were with Brother Lin and the Seows, but went back down to FengYuan on the train two days later and had dinner with them and talked for a couple of hours with them. Now they know about the Temple and the committment they will have to make to be a forever family. Now it is up to them to chose how much they want this great blessing from the Lord. We pray for them to make the right choice and go to church and have the missionaries give the discussions to them, so that they may have the desire they expressed to us!! They are really a great little couple. Their first baby is due in October! I need to tell you of the great, many miracles that had to happen to have us meet them. First of all, we would not have stopped in their town at all if it hadn't been that Brother Lin and Dad were talking about what kind of food Dad liked and he told him he liked pie. When Dad said this, Brother Lin asked him what kind of pie and Dad responded with - "hot or cold". So, to please Dad, Brother Lin stopped in FengYuan, the town he grew up in as a boy, and bought us something "hot" (wonton soup), something "cold" ( an ice slush drink), and he was leading us to a pie shop for a piece of pie when we had to stop for Jerry, who was parking his motorcycle on the curb and he noticed our missionary badges. Had he come a second later, we would have been past him and he never would have seen our badges! Also - when we came back down two days later, we did not know exactly what train to catch or how to do it, but there was a very sweet man we sat by as we waited for the train, who not only told us which track it would come on, but went and bought us two bottles of water to drink and just happened to be going the same way and stayed right by us on the train until he had to get off one stop ahead of ours! Then as we got off and began looking for Jerry's optical shop, we could not remember which way to go! As we stood on the corner, wondering, a motorcycle drove up beside us with a young man and his mother on it. He recognized us because he had been to the temple doing baptisms for the the dead and had seen us there! Then they proceeded on their motor bike to lead us to Jerry's shop! Another amazing "perfect timing" incident occured when Minette and Elias and I were waiting for Jerry to bring his car around and pick us up to go to dinner, two missionaries just "happened" to be going down the street across from us and came over and made themselves acquainted with us and Minette! So now they are aware of the situation and can take over where we left off with them! How the Lord must love these two! The many "coincidences" that He orchestrated to have this all happen in such perfect timing was almost unbelievable! Oh, another miraculous thing that happened was that we were three hours earlier getting to Jerry's than we said we would be. We actually had bought tickets on a faster, much more expensive train that brought us to FengYuan in one and a half hours rather than three to four hours, yet Jerry and Minette were able to leave his shop at that time and spend those two hours with us. And had we been later we would not have had the help of the kind man at the RR station, nor the guidance of our friends on their motorcycle, or the Elders coming by at that particular time to meet Minette and us! I know the Lord loves His children and I know more now than ever before, to what extent He will go to to see that they have every opportunity to hear what He wants them to hear - WHEN He wants them to hear it!! We feel very humble to have been a part of His plan for them! The Buddhist Monastary we stopped at on our way home.
Further on down the road, we stopped at this huge Buddhist Monastary. It was massive. Across the valley, there was a golden Buddah that was so big that you could see it for many miles! We did not go over there, however.
Brother Lin and the Seows - patiently waited for us to hike down and back up those 366 steps to the water below! I can't imagine why they didn't want to come.Dad and I would have liked to have stayed longer at Sun-Moon Lake, but our driver and the Seows did not want to take the time to find the Aborigini Village we were hoping to see, so the next best thing we could do was hike down to the water. They had 366 steps with each one having the date carved in it. You could pay money and buy a "prayer" to hang on the wrought iron fence on either side of your step. Hiking down and back up these steps took a lot more effort than I anticipated! We really had a work-out!After a couple of hours driving, we came to Sun-Moon Lake - still high in the mountains - a gorgeous place which now is quite a tourist spot. This lake received its name because the major part of it is round like the sun, but one part of it is crescent-shaped like the moon.After the "sunrise" tour, having taken our pictures, we packed up our things, had breakfast, and headed down the mountain. Right along the side of the road were some aboriginal "sales persons" selling their wares - All in tribal dress! There you have it - complete sunrise!! It was worth getting up at 3 am for this event! I forgot to tell you that we stopped on our way up here, while it was still pitch-dark, and looked at the stars, and our guide pointed out some of the constellations to us!The first shaft of light breaking over the mountains even though we could not see the sun yet.A little brighter picture - a little more daylight - the pinkness of the clouds now gone.The beginnings of the sun hitting the cloud in back of the mountains and making it a pink color.Here we are - (it was cold just before sun-up) - waiting to catch those first rays of the sun over the mountain. Brother Lin is in the forefront in the white jacket. I was surprized at how light it was even though the sun was not up yet!
As I mentioned yesterday, we did not have to sleep in our hard beds very long, for we had to get up at 3 am to catch our tour bus to the top of Ali Shan so we could take pictures of the sunrise. Here are some of those pictures: