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Stories: President Nielson's Journal - 10 Jul 2003

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President Nielson's Journal - 10 Jul 2003 10 Jul 2003
We just received some distressing news. President George Allen Young of the Kaohsiung Mission has pancreatic cancer and is returning to America this Saturday. The Missionary Department is calling a replacement, but I’m not certain what they will do during the interim. President Young has been dealing with stomach pain since his arrival one year ago, but thought it was the reoccurrence of an ulcer and tried to treat it with diet, without seeing a doctor. Recently, the pain became severe so he consulted with Dr. Burton, the church service missionary doctor stationed in Hong Kong. Dr. Burton had him fly immediately to Hong Kong for diagnosis. The cancer had spread, so they are flying him directly to the cancer clinic at the University of Utah. The doctors there are experimenting with a new treatment that they will try on him. It is such a tragedy in their lives. It reminds us of our fragility and that we should not take our health for granted. We are more serious about reducing our weight and are about to begin an exercise program. Wish us luck!

When temples have been used for approximately twenty years, they are often closed for six months for major overhaul. The Tahiti Temple, for example, is the same age as the Taipei Temple and will soon be closed for one of these six-month overhauls. Because there is only one temple on the island, the First Presidency asked that we do this overhaul during regularly scheduled two-week maintenance closings which occur twice per year. We started this challenging process when we arrived two years ago. Because the member base here is not large enough to provide the technical supervision and labor needed, we mostly use member crews flown in from the Salt Lake City area.

The temple is now closed for the summer maintenance shutdown. This time we are involved in major demolition and reconstruction, so we extended this shutdown to three weeks. Because foreign crews are not able to interpret local zoning codes and readily obtain materials and equipment, we are using non-member crews. We are now half way through this shutdown and have completely gutted the restrooms and are building them back with all new material and equipment. We are also building a vestibule at the front of the temple, and replacing all interior doors and hardware.

In addition to being involved in planning and approval, we are attempting to maintain the sacredness of the temple during this construction by non-member crews. To help in this regard, we built a corridor, much like a cocoon, that leads from one of the front doors and branches out into several corridors, one corridor to each of the five restrooms. This not only keeps the workers from wandering unsupervised into the other areas of the temple, but also protects walls and carpet from being damaged. In the contract with the construction company, we stipulated that the workers not be allowed to smoke, drink, chew beetle nut, play music or use rude language on-site. We have temple staff and ordinance workers taking shifts to monitor the activity of the construction workers. So far, we’ve only had to remove one worker from the site due to contractual violation.

We once thought about slipping away to do some traveling on the China mainland during this break, but that isn’t working out since we feel we must be available at a minute’s notice. So we have a lot of free time to do our personal projects.

Being the temple president and matron at the Taipei Temple during this particular juncture of time is very interesting, and very challenging. But we enjoy this calling and often wonder why we are so blessed.
Vic Walker 葛志浩 Send Email
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