Familes are like fudge, mostly sweet with a few nuts

Photos from Taiwan

Our first baptism in Taiwan. Sister Wu is in a wheelchair so these three elders figured out a safe and ingenious way to baptize her. It took all three of them using a chair placed in the water, but she is now baptized and happy. Her returned missionary daughter is thrilled.

This is the parking and entrance to our church house. It is very nice, but very small.

Here is David waiting at the bus stop. You can see the potted plants that are often in front of businesses and along the sidewalks.

The bus arrives. I almost missed it taking this photo!

Sister Mancilla had a birthday and the elders found this big cream puff for a cake. It was quite good. Sister Mancilla is called our "secret weapon". She is a very positive influence for good. She is always happy, funny and positive. Sometimes investigators seek her out instead of the other way around. 

Our apartment in Sanmin, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

This is a long post, but I want to show everyone my Taiwan apartment. 

This is our apartment complex. We are in the closest tower with the Chinese characters on it. If you look above the yellow sign at the bottom left and below the double wires going across the photo, that is our apartment. You can see an open window at the left. That is on the enclosed balcony off the master bedroom. If you come forward around the building and to the far right of that tower, you will see our laundry balcony. This balcony is not enclosed but has a high wall so it is safe. Our clothes washer and dryer and clothes rack are out there. I like doing my laundry up that high and outside. It feels safe and secluded in a very big un-secluded city.  Sister Ji, a neighbor and friend lives in the tower just visible at the far right of the photo.  

Again you can see our open bedroom balcony window just above the roof of the low building in the lower left corner of the photo. This balcony wraps all the way around the bedroom. If you could follow that balcony to the left you would come to our music room balcony, but it is not visible in the photo. When I say we are the entire 12th floor, I mean we are the entire 12th floor of this particular tower. We have our own elevator just for this tower.

This is the view from the laundry balcony. 

This is the view from the bedroom balcony
Here is Dad studying in the bedroom we have turned into a study. We each have a desk.

Here is the dining room looking from the kitchen door toward the living room. The door of the apartment is on the far right at the back of the photo. We have lots of shelf space but it is all glass and I don't have anything nice to display there. Notice the refrigerator is on the far right. Our microwave is here also. There is not room in the kitchen for either.

Here is the kitchen looking from the doorway toward the laundry balcony door. We have a double gas cook top and we bought the rice maker. The kitchen in just a corridor with a counter on one side.

Here is looking at the kitchen from the laundry balcony door toward the kitchen door. You can see the sink and the toaster oven we bought. Dad is going to broil some pork chops in it tonight. We will see how that works. You can also see the Nutella we bought. Things are okay if we have Nutella.

The laundry room from the balcony doorway. We put the dryer up on a stand so I can get things out of it without kneeling down. It is very small. Our gas water heater is also out here. This is why we do not have to worry about what happened to the two Elders in Taipei last weekend. Their water heater was inside their apartment. That is a terrible tragedy and is already having repercussions in housing throughout the mission. 

This is our living room. The dinning room is right behind the wall and these are the same shelves you can see from the dining room picture. On the right is a partition that closes off the the music room, but since the air conditioner is in the music room, we never close it off. There is a balcony outside the music room. The sofa, love seat and chair had no cushions when we arrived. I bought the red ones you can see here and had to order the rest of them which we pick up later tonight. They don't quite fit but they are the best I could find and they are much more comfortable then hard wood. I'm going to try to make ties to hold the back cushions up where they belong. In this photo you can kind of see the ceiling. This apartment has very high ceilings and they have some very fun architectural moldings - different in each room.

Here is looking into the music room. The piano is draped with a big black cloth that is lined with thick flannel. This is to protect the piano from the humidity. The cloth splits in the center and I just move it to both sides to play. There is also an electric powered dehumidifier inside the piano which must be left on at all times. Without these the humidity would make the keys stick and warp the hammers. Even the piano in the primary room of the church has one. I'm sure all the church pianos have them.

There are 4 bedrooms in the apartment. We use the largest one for our bedroom, and it is huge. It is also the coolest room in the house (I'm talking temperature here). One bedroom is our study and the other two are just storage rooms. We have 3 bathrooms but we only use 2 of them, one for showers and the other for everything else. We have not seen any insects so that is Great!!! I'm not sure how long we will be here. Originally they said our entire mission, but I'm sure the utilities here have to be way high so we will see what happens.  

Flowers in Taiwan

On our way back from the night market last night we noticed this flower blooming in our courtyard. A woman was taking photos and explained to us that this flower blooms only at night for about 2 hours, and only for about 4 nights of the year. We were lucky to see it.  So of course I had to go get the camera.

Here we are in the SLC airport already to leave - fresh and excited

Here we are arriving in the Taipei airport - tired and excited.
President Blickenstaff is on the right with his wife. The left side elder and 2 sisters are new native missionaries. 16 other missionaries were supposed to arrive 2 hours before us but they never got there - mechanical problems. Instead they arrived the next evening.
I'm glad we were on our flights. We had no problems at all.

After the MTC

We finished at the MTC on Friday. Saturday morning we spent with the VanDykes in Provo. Tammie took this picture of us with our name tags. I didn't want a full body shot because I had on pants and felt almost naked. It is strange how quickly you get used to a certain way of doing things. I don't really like wearing skirts all the time, but I didn't feel quite right without one. Strange.
Spencer was fascinated with Dad's nametag

I can fly!
A wonderful but hard goodbye
After we got home on Saturday, we got to go to Elden's family birthday celebration. Happy birthday Elden!
 The week we were gone Elden got glasses. Here are with and without photos.

 Doesn't he look older with glasses?
Daisy isn't sure about Clark's outpouring
of love and affection.

The grandparents came to celebrate also, and Kyle's family. Katelyn was home from Logan and joined us. She mowed our lawn while we were gone and did a good job. She is going to do this for us while we are gone.  Thank you Katelyn (and Kyle)

Whitney was all smiles
I made sure to hold the babies and hug all other kids. I'm going to miss you all!

Before the MTC

Before we went to the MTC Kyle's family came to visit. What wonderful kids! I'm going to miss them all.

 We also got to attend Elden's last soccer game. He did awesome! It was so fun to watch.
Elden has good dribbling skills

 For every game, Clark insisted on wearing last years soccer uniform so he was ready for soccer too. He posed just for me to take this photo.

I'm not sure how much Daisy enjoyed the soccer game,
but she sure liked playing with grandpa.

We went to the MTC by way of . . .

 . . . Mississippi. Sabrina's sudden surgery gave me a good excuse to visit the Flamms. It wasn't good that she needed it, but it was a good excuse to visit. Zachary, Eric, Wendy, Hyrum, Grandpa and I had a great time. I'm afraid little Sabrina did not.

Thumbs are very comforting in hard situations
I'm glad Sabrina had hers.

 When we actually left for the MTC we went the long way around, heading to Wyoming first. It was great to see Brett's family.

The Play grounds in Mississippi and Wyoming had such fun activities. 
Idaho playgrounds are just boring in comparison.
This is the most ingenious swing I've seen in a long time.