Monday, July 25, 2011

Biking in Taiwan

We thought you might like to see a few biking pictures.  Notice how beautiful the view of Taichung is from the mountain road we bike on.  Mom and I are going to try and find a good bike for me to buy today. 

When we got to the top of the road today this Chinese man about my age came over to me and asked if my bike was hard to pedal.  President Bishop stepped in and explained this was a two year old missionary bike I borrowed.  Finding a bike frame my size in Taiwan is near to impossible.  All Giant bikes are made in Taiwan, but it takes six weeks to order a bike bigger than 53 cm.  I ride a 58 cm bike at home.

We hope to find a bike that will be a good fit for me.

Confucius Temple & Buddha

Taichung is a city of about two million people.  As part of our mission office responsibilities we have been able to drive around much of the city, and the expanse of large office and apartment buildings seems to go on and on.  However, right close to our apartment are two cultural sites worth sharing with you.  The first is the Confucius Temple on a large multi-acre parcel of land.  It appears ancient, but was actually build in the last century to celebrate the contribution of Confucius to society.  We first went there on a Sunday afternoon and found the grounds to quiet and peaceful (something the city of Taichung is not).  His birthday is celebrated on September 28th, with a celebration on the temple grounds.  We plan to attend.
Confucius Temple located two blocks from our apartment

We lived here over a month before we discovered one of the largest "smiling Buddha's" in the world within a block of our apartment.  We went for an early morning walk in a direction we had yet to walk.  All of a sudden, as we turned a corner, across the street is this huge, 90 feet tall statue of the Buddha.  Truly an imposing sight.  I have provided several photos to give better perspective of how big this is.
When President Bishop was in Taichung as a young missionary he remembers the statue being in an open area, where now it is on the grounds of a temple. 

Taiwan is truly a beautiful country with cultural experiences hard to fully comprehend.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tai Chi

Six mornings a week, at 6:00 a.m., Sister Liston and I participate in an informal, but very well organized Tai Chi exercise group. The group just had their ten year anniversary.  Several weeks ago, during our morning walk we ran onto this group and asked if we could join them.  They readily accepted their new American friends and have been so very cordial to have us involved with them.  They are a Christian group of friends who start with prayer each morning exercise, turn on the CD player with beautiful Chinese and Polynesian music.  Of course, there are no words we understand, but the music is very memorable.  Learning all the hand, arm, feet, leg, and body moves is not easy for me.  These people are so graceful, and all of them not what move comes with each part of the music.  But, we are both learning and getting better. 

The photo below shows the small "strip park which extends about six blocks centered between two streets.  People walk, exercise, sell their wares, and generally congregate in this green space set aside in a very busy, noisy city.  We certainly enjoy their friendship and the chance to stretch our ability to communicate with them.

This is one more example of how kind and accepting the Chinese people are to us as strangers and Americans.  We want to set a good example as Americans, but especially as representatives of Jesus Christ, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Rain or Shine...

We feel honored to serve as full time missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It is a goal that we have shared since we were married 42 years ago.  Who would have ever dreamed our mission experience would be in Taiwan with the wonderful Chinese people?  One of the greatest experiences we are enjoying is the time we spend with the 150 missionaries serving with us in Taiwan.  Their faith, love of the gospel, willingness to teach and preach in all conditions is exemplary.  They are truly great ambassadors of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

When Ron served as a young Elder in Western Canada he spent a great deal of time going from house to house to find those to teach.  From the picture posted here of Sister Weinheimer, you can see our missionaries go” vehicle to vehicle” striving to find those who will listen to a short message, and schedule another time to teach the gospel.  Look at the intensity and commitment to what she is doing.  She is a wonderful missionary, and there are many just like her. 

Sister Weinheimer
Can you picture yourself at age 22, on a bicycle in all kinds of weather?  Yesterday (July 9, 2011) the ambient temperature in Taichung was 95 degrees s with 70% humidity.  That creates a heat index of 100 degrees and our Elders and Sisters are on the pavement talking to anyone who will give them time.  Does it ever rain in Taiwan?  June, July and August are the monsoon months and five inches of rain is expected each month.  You can see from the two photos that being soaked is just part of being a Taichung missionary.   Our missionaries are wet all the time---either rain or sweat.  We are proud of them

Here are some pictures of some of the other incredible missionaries that we have the opportunity to work with, that are so dedicated to this great work, rain or shine.

Sister Chen

Elder Kossman and Elder Wheeler