President Nielson asked us to post this note to the web site. As he put it, "I hope that my contributions through you will cause additional traffic on the web site and result in more missionaries attending the reunion in April."
So now you know, President and Sister Nielson want YOU to come to the big Missionary Reunion in April, 2004. More details to come, I'm sure.
Here is President Nielson's message:
We are ready to leave, but the Vawdreys visa is being delayed. So our actual departure will probably be sometime during the first or second week of November. We still plan to travel on the mainland for a month, visit family and friends in Utah until after New Year, then drive back to Ann Arbor.
Thomas P. Nielson
October 27, 2003
Saturday evening we invited the temple presidency and matrons to our home for dinner. We had a fun visit at the dinner table, during which the Yehs and the Yus told us of their childhood experiences. Among the many experiences shared, it was interesting to hear them tell how the Yus were betrothed before Sister Yu was born, and how President Yeh and his playmates were fired upon by Japanese soldiers bivouacked where the CKS Memorial now stands. While we were visiting, the Leu Ming-De family, who have adopted us as grandparents, stopped by to give us a farewell gift of Cochin Ceramic (Chiao-Chih Tao), the ceramic that is seen in decorative motifs on the roof spines of Buddhist temples throughout Taiwan. Ming-De is the bishop of the Neihu Ward where Dalton was baptized last year.
Yesterday we attended Taichung stake conference. Because these days our schedule is so full, instead of driving down to the middle of the island the night before and staying at a hotel as we have often done in the past, we drove down early Sunday morning and returned late Sunday evening. On the way home we were caught in the traffic jam of weekenders returning to the city, so we didnt arrive home until midnight. It was a long stop-and-go return trip.
There were 1,000 members attending Taichung Stake Conference. They are building a larger stake center, but until it is completed, conferences are held in two separate sessions in their smaller building. In the evening we had a pleasant dinner with the Larkins at the mission home. Elder and Sister Dickson, the area president, and Elder Ling, a newly called area authority from Hong Kong, were also invited. After dinner, President Larkin and Elder Dickson went to an evening CCM meeting. We stayed a while longer so Bonnie could help Pat with the dishes, then we started the drive back to Taipei. We have become very close to Kent and Pat Larkin and try to spend time together whenever possible.
Taichung, one of our favorite places, holds many memories. It is there that as a missionary I experienced the gift of tongues after four months of frustration in Tainan trying to learn the Taiwanese dialect. It was very difficult saying farewell. We enjoy the members of the stake presidency, and their wives adore Bonnie. So these are very emotional days for us. In the temple as well as at this stake conference, members sometimes cling to us and some cry--I feel so helpless.
Bonnie arranged for Sister Li Tu to tie red decorative knot arrangements on which she attached a crystal from the old chandeliers taken from the celestial room and the sealing rooms. During these days of farewell, she gives them one by one to her ordinance workers and some of the other sisters with whom she works, which is a wonderful experience for herglistening eyes and warm embraces.
Here in Taipei we are visiting a few of the old members in their homes to say goodbye and give them a crystal from the temple. These are the members who were with me when I was a young naïve missionary and have stood by Bonnie and me through all these years. Now in their 80s and early 90s, their hair is white and they are stooped with age and we will probably not see them again, unless we return for their funerals. And even then we wont see them; theyll be gone.
In a few days we too will be gone from this beautiful island on which stands, like a beacon, this House of the Lord that binds us and gives us meaning. We can hardly comprehend what our life will be like upon returning to America.