Monday, June 23, 2008

Dear Blog

Elias is not going to like the fact that I am putting this picture on the blog. He hates it! But I think we should never forget the fact that what grosses one person out, is another person's favorite dinner -- I guess it is really large chicken feet or goose feet! We walk past the restaurant that serves these every day! I guess the other part of the bird is inside the pail!
"There was a young woman who lived in a shoe" .... I'm not ready to be called "an old woman, yet! This gigantic woman's shoe sits on one side of the street called, of all things, "shoe street", and another gigantic man's shoe sits on the other side of the street. President and Sister Walker took us here to do a little shopping. My real comfortable shoes are wearing out and I hoped to find some new ones here, but to no avail! We had dinner together at TGI Friday's. It was fun!

Can you believe that this little dog doesn't fall off while riding on this motorcycle with his owner? These people love their dogs and take them, just like they do their children, on their motorcycles! Just yesterday we saw a man with his huge dog, (it looked like a golden Lab), standing in that same spot on the motorcycle, his tail dragging because he could hardly fit! AS they would say, ("No problem!")

Graduation day for some of our piano students! This was taken just before Brother and Sister Dodge and Sister Calvert, our main piano teacher, left to go home. We four who are in front on the left, teach piano to about twelve students. Next to the Dodges is Sister Venables, then Sister CAlvert, myself and Sister Durrant! How we love to teach them! They tell us they practice hard to make us happy!
First of all, I need to relate the inspirational true story of Meli, our Philippino RS President's conversion. She was 17 years old and the oldest of 7 children living with their mother in a small village in the Philippines when she met the Elders of the Church. The villagers were very against them and when they found out she was meeting with them, they forbade her to ever see them again. So she had to sneak out when no one was around, so they wouldn't see her. She went at night or early in the morning to meet with them, so no one would know. About that same time, her mother passed away, leaving she and her six brothers and sisters to provide for themselves! I don't know what had happened to her father, but it didn't sound like he was there. A beloved Aunt, in another country, offered to send them enough money each month to support them, but when she found out that Meli was meeting with the missionaries, she told her that she would not give any support to help the family if Meli continued to have anything to do with the Church, and that Meli would have to support them herself! Meli fasted and prayed for help to know what to do. Could she really support herself and her family? The Spirit told her to get baptized! Just how everything else would work out, she didn't know, but she had the faith to go ahead with her baptism. Can you imagine how strong her faith would have to be to do this? About two weeks after her baptism, her Aunt showed up and decided to go ahead with helping them financially! Everything was hard, but they were able to survive. Meli works in here in Taiwan as a nanny and housemaid, to continue to support those of her siblings who still need it! What faith these sweet Philippinos have! And each one of them has a simiar story of their conversion and the challenges they have had to fact and are still facing as first generation members, and most of them are the only members in their families! They are a real inspiration to us.

Here are some pictures of things we've seen and done lately: This first one is of our dear Single Sister missionary from England, Sister Venables, and our friend, Sister Xia, who took us shopping to find some cooler blouses to wear, now that it has become a lot hotter! They are really enjoying this watermelon they bought from a fruit stand on the corner!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

We are Back

I must be getting sleepy. This is a picture of the flowers at Da'an Park! They are pretty though!

When you entered another room of the house, the doorway would be different. I wish I knew all the symbolisms behind each one. There were bottle shaped doors, round doorways, oval doorways and irregular shaped rectangular ones. Rock archways adorned the paths on the outside of the houses.

This room size bird cage held two beautiful peacocks in it, which you cannot see, but they are there.
From this terrace in the forefront of the picture, the members of the family could sit and be entertained by dancers and singers and musicians who performed on the covered stage across the pond!

Now you may think that this is not a very good picture, but it has real meaning behind it. This is the doorstep to enter the main Lin Family mansion and it can be raised or lowered according to who was to enter. Regular people had to step over it. If the guests were considered important, the lower the doorstep became. Real royalty entering, usually were being carried in some kind of a carrier between two poles, and so they didn't have to step over anything - the doorway was flattened for them!

We had to get a picture of Dad on the children's wooden horse, just outside the schoolhouse they built to teach their children. This family's residence took 40 years to build. It was beyond anything we will ever see as a place for a family to live.

Elias and I trying to figure out how to work the self-guided tour microphones for the Lin Family Mansion tour that Lena took us on. These microphones did not work properly, but with Lena as our guide, we didn't need them anyway!

These are Chineses God costumes they put over their heads and shoulders (they look out the holes in the middle so they can tell where they are walking). These processions happen every few months down the middle of the streets!

Our Philippino friends just before one of their delicious dinners we share with them each Sunday before teaching them piano lessons. This Sunday, the Bishop handed out piano certificates to eight of them for finishing the Church's basic piano course. Next Sunday, they will give Dad a certificate for waiting each Sunday while we give these lessons.

Sister Xia and friend and myself on the temple grounds. Sister Xia is the one who takes us on many day trips. She works with us in the temple and is soo sweet. How old do you think she is? You would never guess that she is in her 50's would you?

Leonora's Endowment day! She is in the black blouse. On my other side is Virginia, who received her Endowments a few weeks after Chris Allen, and Linda, who was Leonora's escort, along with me! Leonora's husband received his Endowments in the Philippines temple just a week later. As I showed her the mirror in the sealing room, we wept for joy to think of the blessings that await this precious family when they can be together again.

These guys walked around 'drumming' for everyone. They took about 4 laps around where we were sitting and then went on to another part of the park. Is this the way you drum, Ty and Spencer?
On Mother's Day, Elias and I took a walk in Da'an Park. We ran into some rather strange companions. This park is 3/4 a mile long and 1/4 mile wide - and right in the middle of the big city. They have trails for jogging, walking or just lumbering along. There are organized groups who do exercising much different than we do. It is yoga-like -- very slow and with definite poses. I tried to imitate some of it and it is much harder to do than it looks! They also have people there who entertain you and expect you to pay them if you stop to listen. The flowers are beautiful, the ponds, refreshing and statues very interesting! They also have a rollar skating rink, where they teach young children to skate. Many families bring picnics and just relax and play together on Sunday.
Back to blogging again. We lost all our other pictures, with the laptop. This is our dear friend Chris - the first one to finish the Temple Preparation class and receive his Endowments. He has gone back home to Santa Rosa. He will be a great asset to any Ward he lives in. It is really hard to see people go home.