Friday, December 25, 2009


We began our Christmas celebration with the missionaries in a local shopping plaza. They shared the spirit of Christmas with their carols and with many tracts and copies of the Book of Mormon given to interested passers by. It's amazing how many people, even on the streets, wish us a Merry Christmas, but so few celebrate the real reason for the season. Even the immigration office had a decorated tree and chocolates to pass out!
Strolling the modern plaza with President and Sister Hoer in the lead. This is where JoAnn had the special experience with the woman selling plants. She was prompted to buy a certain one for Jim for Christmas when the woman refused to accept any payment but gave it to her as a gift, accompanied by a hug! It was a beautiful expression of love and kindness.

Jim with an old missionary friend from his Hong Kong missionary days, Jim Phillips. Elder and Sister Phillips are public affairs missionaries in much of Asia but they live in Taipei. We enjoyed a lovely dinner with them.

         President and Sister Hoer with Elder and Sister Phillips.

Christmas 2009 at "Sun-Moon" Lake in Taiwan

Sun Moon lake is a beautiful alpine lake divided by a tiny island so that the eastern portion is round like the sun and the western portion shaped like a crescent moon. Its beauty is created by the combination of mountains and water with a 760 meter elevation giving the impression of a Chinese landscape painting of mist-laden water and clearly defined mountains.
Looking towards the Wunwu Temple. The area was originally discovered by ancestors of the Dao people during the Ching Dynasty and was later occupied by the Japanese during the war. The Han Chinese also invested in construction and today the area is a popular tourist spot with festivals of the Dao (Thao)-Taiwan's smallest indigenous tribe.

In front of the Wunwu Temple originally built in 1938 in the Northern Dynasties style.
Beautiful ornate "gods" and an intricately designed golden dome ceiling in the temple.
Long rows of ornate golden bells in front of us line the entrance of the temple.

The sister missionaries with the president's wife, Sister Hoer in the middle front.

Sister Tung, a missionary from Taoyuan and the only member in her family.

Overlooking the largest lake in Taiwan, Sun Moon Lake, a huge beautiful crystal clear lake a couple hours drive southeast of Taichung in the mountains. The tranquil lake has become a popular retreat for locals and tourists alike away from the bustle and pollution of the big cities.
                     A floating fishing dock.
 Some of our friendly sister missionaries, Sisters Stebar, Clark, Chen, Infanger, Bretzke, King, Sollis and Tung.

At the Cihen pagoda built by Chaing Kai -shek in memory of his wife. It rises 1000 meters above sea level on a mountain overlooking the lake.

               Entrance to a Daoist Temple at Sun Moon Lake.

                 Elder Greene getting ready to gong the huge bell!

Grandma Greene loves turtles - a good luck symbol in the Chinese world!

Some favorite sister missionaries returning on the bus from Sun Moon Lake to go to a wonderful steakhouse in Taichung for a Christmas dinner before the evening devotional.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


The owner of our apartment complex is showing a little of the spirit of Christmas by displaying this full-size Christmas tree in the foyer of our apartment where we can see and enjoy it every day. We have three guards who takes turns sitting at a desk in the entrance to our apartment and they very joyfully greet us, usually in English, with "good morning" or some other friendly and appropriate greeting. Their English isn't very good but their hearts are in the right place.

Monday, December 14, 2009

We are preparing for Christmas and enjoying our small, two-foot tall Christmas tree that the last senior missionaries left for us. Here in the mission field we are ever aware of the real meaning of Christmas and are so impressed with the sweet spirit found in the hearts and actions of the Chinese members. Although we are often exhausted when we come home to our apartment after a long day working in the mission office, we have the knowledge that we are helping further the Lord's work here in this part of His vineyard. The mission office, with the missionary apartment on the top floor, is like a beacon in the neighborhood with the star above and the beautiful lights surrounding the entire compound. In the evenings people come to sit on the benches and enjoy the beautiful lights.

This beautiful old building is one of the government buildings in Taichung. It is now also a cultural center with a fountain in front and a special Christmas tree ride for the children. We park here about three or four times a week as we bring all the mail received at the mission office to forward on to the missionaries. The postal service is great here and most of the postal workers already know us by name and treat us with great respect. The post office, with the green signs, is across the street behind the tree, with little kiddie airplanes that go up and down as it turns around. Decorations are going up all over the city.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


We have a king size mosquito net hanging from our ceiling and it assures us of a good night's sleep during mosquito season! It sure is a life saver for us. We were up at 5:00 this morning and on the bus at 6:00 with about 40 of our missionaries leaving for the three hour trip to the Taipei Temple. While there we participated in endowment sessions in the temple and afterward Jim was able to visit with a missionary  friend, Jim Phillips, that he hadn't seen since leaving Hong Kong and his Southern Far East Mission in 1964.  Elder Phillips and his wife are finishing a Public Relations Mission in Taipei. We arrived back in Taichung at about 4:30, worked in the office until almost 7:00 and then helped with an English class of 15 students. We finally got home about 9:00 pm exhausted but very happy with our days activities.

The Taipei Temple is right in the down town city center with a large stake center right next door and a  mission home office and apartment complex across the street.


                   The beautiful back yard of our Mission Home!

  We loved watching this Heron and his bobbing throat when he made sounds.  He doesn't appear to be afraid of us and seems to have a mate nearby.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas is just around the corner

The front yard of our mission office. There are beautiful trees and colorful foliage and a friendly Malayan Night-Heron lives among the bushes and comes out often to watch us. In the back yard, which is actually the mission home back yard, there are banana trees with large clumps of yellow bananas growing on them. The front of the mission office is now decorated with many colorful Christmas lights, including a large star suspended about fifteen feet above the roof with lights streaming down and it can be seen from blocks away. We will go with the missionaries, on a large bus, to the Taipei Temple for an endowment session this Wednesday. It is a beautiful temple. For a Christmas Holiday the president will take all 180 of us to the Sun Moon Lake in the mountains about thirty miles from Taichung. There will be many sights to see, Buddhist temples, etc. and things to do and will conclude with a big steak dinner and a special Christmas testimony meeting at the stake center.

JoAnn and I take in a little shopping at the morning market just across the street from our apartment. There are about a hundred stalls with people selling all kinds of vegetables, fruits, raw meats, clothing, a shoe cobbler and just about anything else that you might need. The people are very friendly and love to try their limited English on us.
With Christmas and the Chinese New Year coming there are florist shops all over. These are ornate bamboo plants that they cut and then train to grow in many different designs and multi-plant groupings. We saw many of these bamboo plants while living in mainland China almost ten years ago and they never cease to amaze us.