Sunday, November 30, 2014

Dear Brother and Sister Wawro:
Sister Blickenstaff and I would like to inform you that Sister Wawro arrived safely in Taiwan on 19 November 2014. We are excited and grateful to have her in the mission. Please find enclosed a picture of her on her first day at the Mission Home.
Sister Wawro stayed near the Taichung Mission Office a couple of nights for orientation before receiving her initial assignment to the city of BeitunHer companion is Sister Basko. I have carefully and prayerfully selected an outstanding missionary to serve as her first companion to ensure that her initial assignment will be a successful experience. My objective is to help each missionary reach his or her full potential and accomplish all that the Lord has sent each of them here to do. In this regard, your weekly letters of encouragement will be invaluable. I have also instructed Sister Wawro to write or email you each week so that you may share her progress and spiritual experiences.
Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or if I can assist in any way. We thank you for the solid foundation you have provided for your daughter and look forward to serving with her.
post signature

Monday, November 24, 2014

Ashley is in Taiwan! 

Okay so right after I emailed you I got news that I WAS GOING TO TAIWAN!   So I'm sitting in an internet cafe drinking fresh grapefruit juice and enjoying myself on this sweaty day.   ain't too bad.  So ya! I am super stocked to be here.  Slightly worried because I don't speak Chinese, but, I've been able to answer questions in lessons correctly and that was a straight gift from the spirit, so I'm making it. 

I'm serving in Taichung in the Beitun area and life is fabulous.

My new trainer (I'm on trainer #5 mind you) is plenty nice and very caring.  She's from Maine and goes home three weeks before my training is done. But we should be together until February.  President asked us to start all 12 weeks of training over, even though we are week 9 because we don't speak Chinese (makes sense). Also, this means I will officially have six trainers. If I am not adequately trained by the end of this, it is my own fault.

My four month mark was yesterday [what in the world], and I'm already on companion #6.  And I the companion killer or something?  What's going on here. 

The Ten Adjustments of Taiwan, surprise surprise. 
  1. It's still 90 degrees here. And they keep calling it "winter". 
  2. That's not a hazy sunset, or fog outlining the buildings. That, that is smog my friend. Breathe in deep. 
  3. There is a hose for the shower. It has a shower head of the end but you have to hold it up to shower. 
  4. The toilet paper must go in the trashcan and not in the toilet. Their plumping can't handle the paper. I know what your next question is, but don't ask. 
  5. You can't drink the water. 
  6. I repeat, you can't drink the water. Not even the natives drink the water. All our water goes through three filters before we can drink the water. No water for you. 
  7. There is also no heat. But it looks like I'm not gunna need it anyways. 
  8. There are drums and street music everyday. Completely random, very loud street music. People keep telling me the music is for the election, for ads, from temples. I've taken this to mean no one really knows. I think I'm going to try proselyting this way. Quick, some one get me a float and a megaphone. 
  9. There is no such things as carpet here? I dont know. 
  10. It's a one hour bike ride to church #nobigdeal #thighpresser #walkitoff
It really is great though. Here are some fabulous parts of my week. 
  • Food. Food as far as the eye can see. 
  • 50 cent dinners. Hurrah for Israel. 
  • Bike Contacting. You pull up next to someone by the stop light and try to convince them to get baptized. I actually love it and don't speak Chinese yet.
  • Chinese. What a crazy fun language
  • Awesome pens
  • You can buy raccoons for pets!
  • I got a D&C with Chinese and English side by side
  • My president and his wife are the most fabulous things since hashtags #fab
My mission president is awesome

Like seriously, everything you could want in a president. Every week he wants us to write him and tell him about things we've learned specifically, and he has manageable but stretchable goals, and he explains where he is coming from, and he is caring and he is just a ball full of fabulous. They also have a second handbook for this mission, but after SEallte the rules seem lax and I'm glad someone wrote them down. So thoughtful. Also, His wife is also one of the most impressive women I've ever met. I am a lucky fortune cookie. 

It was funny because when Sister Blickenstaff was giving training she said, "Ya so expect food poisoning. Okay now this is what you do when you get it." What the. Also, we go to the hospital everytime we are sick here. Did you know it costs $15 to get an ambulance ride and an MRI and a cat scan? What are we doing wrong...? 

Story of our Visas

Turns out all of our visa stuff was about them not liking us giving them material instead of digital forms... goodness gracious.  Then we sent in too many visas (because we were behind) so they freaked out for a bit.  Also, I found out Monday afternoon that I was going to Taiwan, but everyone else in other missions knew for five days before lol. Ohhh it's an adventure. 


Ya so I was able to ask/answer questions and sorta-kinda-a little follow what were were talking about!  And hey, I'm gunna count that as a great success.  I had to get up and introduce myself in sacrament and share a story.  The members said they could understand me so... win?  Who knows if they were being nice.  I can understand more than I can say, but I think I at least know what is happening around me most of the time. It's hard. 

Funny story: This week I had to tell my trainer that she has to say Ba1 not Ba4 for the number eight. She asked why and I was like well... When you just said that last phone number... you sorta just cussed at that person. She freaked out and was like, "Why did no one ever tell me that???" haha so ya.  Adventure in Chinese. 

Anyways, that's my week in a nutshell!  I love you all!  Thanks so much for supporting and writing me! :) 

We are only allowed picture on P-day and special occasions, so I'll send you more next time! I forgot my cord today. post signature

     Ashley and new missionaries arriving and at the misson home.

Taiwan Taichung Mission, 2013-16

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

11-19-14 New Arriving Missionaries!

Our long awaited missionaries have finally arrived!
APs lead the missionaries in the mission song:
President asks each missionaries to introduce themselves, where they were temporarily assigned to labor, what they learned, and what they hope to accomplish on their mission:
We love them so much already!
Breakfast at the mission home, after a short night's rest:

Morning orientation by Sis. Blickenstaff, Mission Recorder, Operations Manager (below):
Mission Secretary:
Financial Secretary:
Lunch at Wu Hua Ma:

After Sis. Blickenstaff's Health and Safety training,
a group of students came in from the street with the zone leader companionship!
AP's presented training on being Preach My Gospel missionaries...
...and contacting skills. Time to practice!

Peking Duck banquet:

Duck brain challenge takers:

Fish eye challenge takers:

After a longer night's rest, up and early for the mile run:

Sis. Blickenstaff leads the group in Buddha claps:
President leads in a few minutes of yoga:
After meeting their trainers, lunch at Hawaii 51:

Our newest Taiwan Taichung missionaries:

11-19-14 Trainer Meeting in Jiayi

President training the newly selected trainers for our 21 oncoming missionaries:

 They'll meet their new companions in two days!
 Getting some drinks...
 …and lunch before returning to their areas.

Monday, November 17, 2014

From Our Home Ward in Camarillo, California to Taiwan!

On September 25, instead of arriving in Taiwan, 21 of our missionaries awaiting visas arrived in missions across the United States in California, Georgia, Idaho, Michigan, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Washington. This elder ended up in the Camarillo California Sixth Ward, our home ward!!! Here he is in front of our house:
At most every dinner appointment he is invited to, when the ward members find out he is waiting his visa to serve in the Taiwan Taichung Mission, they invariably ask if he knows that President and Sister Blickenstaff were members of the Camarillo Sixth Ward!
Sitting by the statue that reminds us of our three-year-old daughter Courtney, who awaits us in heaven!
We have patience and faith that we'll see her again. 
These 21 elders and sisters had to exercise patience and faith as well, that they'd one day see Taiwan... and they're finally coming to this beautiful island on Wednesday, November 19! We can hardly wait!

It's finally time for this Taiwan bound missionary to say goodbye to Bishop Charles Parry's family. They are truly an example to the ward of being missionary-minded members! In the plaid shirt is a young man we had opportunity to teach with the missionaries several years ago. Just last month, he was baptized into the ward after faithful members and missionaries continued to help him come unto Christ! We are so happy for him:)

Three Generations of Sister Missionaries Serving Concurrently: My Mother Has Entered The Mission Field!

At age 84, my mother was called to serve in the Taichung Taiwan Mission!!!

On November 10, Sister Madeline Jin Chao (far right), entered the mission field as a Senior missionary. She was the first one in my immediate family to accept baptism thirty eight years ago, in 1976. Our entire family was sealed in the Los Angeles temple in 1978, leading the way for all of her four children and three of her grandchildren thus far (soon to be four) to establish their own eternal families:) Sister Chao has had two sons, one daughter, two grandsons, and two granddaughters serve full-time missions.

What a legacy she has established for the Chao family!
It is so wonderful to serve with your spouse in the work of salvation, and lead the people you love, prepared sons and daughters of God, into the waters of baptism!
There is nothing quite like seeing your daughter grow to love and serve others as much as you love her:
Sister Caitlin Blickenstaff currently serves in the Seoul Korea South Mission.
Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)

Pres. and Sis. Blickenstaff

Pres. and Sis. Blickenstaff 
post signature