Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sun Moon Lake

Missy keeps a blog current for us as we send her photos and text relating to our experience in Taiwan.  We do not share personal thoughts and feelings on the blog.  Our goal is to keep our family and friends posted on some of the interesting experiences we have.  We also hope it will be a motivating experience for some lone “internet surfer” to get serious about serving a senior couple mission. 

I am including some posts from our blog for my journal:

Sun Moon Lake
It was Friday, August 12th, and I had seen enough concrete, heard enough cars and scooters, and inhaled enough exhaust to suit me.  Besides, it had been nearly four months since I saw a real tree.  I called President Bishop and he agreed. It was either get Sister Liston and me out of town, or increase our anti depression medications.  The Bishops picked us up at 7:30 Saturday morning and in less than 90 minutes, we were at a beautiful lake with real trees, real air, much cooler air, and the only exhaust came from re-told stories being repeated by President Bishop and me.  We had a great day at Sun Moon Lake high in the mountains of Central Taiwan. 
The lake is beautiful and we took a boat tour to three different locations on the lake.  The first was a small village on the opposite side of the lake where we hiked, visited a butterfly garden, and sampled food at three of the local venders. This is always a treat, but you never quite know what the food will be like.  The Provo health department surely wouldn’t give them a food handles permit, but we gave them four stars for great food.  “If you don’t like the dirty chair, don’t sit in it.”  The cabbage/mushroom roll was great, and so was the chicken/pork rolled in a tortilla type thing.  The mango ice cream was perfect on a hot mountain afternoon.
Taiwan is beautiful and the people are great to us.  This is the area where the LDS stakes have their youth outings and it is easy to see why.  It is a very relaxing location.  We spent about four hours on our tour of the lake and hiking. President Bishop had a wonderful time entertaining some children while we waited for our boat to return and pick us up.  It is always good to see him relax.  He works very hard as mission president, and we dearly love and respect he and Sister Bishop.
We would have enjoyed staying there all day, but duty called us back Taichung.  The road to and from the lake is lined with rice paddies, a novelty for us, but as common as orchards used to be in Utah County.  When the President dropped us off in front of our apartment we were immediately struck by the heat, the exhaust, and the incessant vehicle noise.  But, we were refreshed, and energized for another week.  So energized, we took the elevator to our apartment, and took a nap.  Something we never do.  It was great.  We loved our “time out” in the mountains, and do feel ready for another four months of serving in our concrete city.

Us with President and Sister Bishop at Sun Moon Rock

A lunch vendor making a cabbage mushroom roll.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Stake Center Ground Breaking

Taichung City has two LDS stakes, but only one new dedicated Stake Center.  The north Taichung Stake meets in a chapel built in a large office building on one of the upper floors.  The church in Taichung is growing rapidly.  On Saturday, July 30th, the Stake celebrated a ground breaking for the construction a new stake center.  The photos attached to this email give you some idea of how beautiful this morning event was.  Here is a little background information:

The property is a large open asphalt lot which has been used as a “night market” several evenings a week.  Immediately adjacent to the site are large apartment buildings.  There are also some retail businesses on the street. 

The stake and area leadership did an outstanding job in preparing the event which came across very professional and highly organized.  It was all in Chinese, so we picked up many of the words, but not all the detail.  However, the audience was very much into the brief talks and music.  We have been overwhelmed with the outstanding priesthood and auxiliary leadership in the church here in Taiwan.  Equal to what we experience in the States.

There were seven to ten city dignitaries who attended and spoke briefly to the audience.   A female city leader spoke very positively about the LDS population in her city. She commented how all the LDS people she knows are happy and smile all the time.  (We hear this comment regularly from people we talk with about how we are happy people.)  What a nice testimony of what the Gospel of Jesus Christ can do for people.

I am sure you will enjoy the photo of Sister Liston talking to a little boy who was there with his family.  Somehow she always manages to find a child to share the love she has for all children---especially our grandchildren.  Chinese children are absolutely beautiful.  And this little boy is no exception.  As I look at the photo, I can see this boy speaking to his ward in 17 years as he leaves to serve a mission.  I think it was thoughts like this that made our Saturday so special.  We felt very much a part of the growth of the Church in this beautiful country with loving, good people.

Ground breaking audience

Stake choir

The ground breaking

A picture with Pres. and Sis. Bishop

Sis. Liston talking to a  little boy who came

Pres. and Sis. Bishop

Taichung Dignitaries