Wednesday, August 19, 2015

#missionmiracle #taiwantaichung #heng-chun #sweetreunion #veryblessed~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Emily wanted her Dad to share this amazing missionary story!

大家好 (Big Family Good?) 

Dear Family,
You may have heard that we had quite a weekend.  Long story Short – we did manage to meet up with Rola Lin from Taiwan. 
It was a great reunion and something that we will remember forever.  Not knowing how to write this experience down, I decided to write it in a letter to Emily.
Love ya all Richard

Dear Emily,                                                                                                                      
Sunday, August 09, 2015
How do I start?  This has been the most amazing week.  It ranks up there with all the normal amazing things that happen in one’s life.  Going on a mission, getting married, having kids and sending those kids on missions, etc…..  The past few days you have been so close to my heart.  Your favorite scripture Alma 29: 9-10 has constantly popped in and out of my thoughts too.
Alma Chapter 29
I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.
  10 And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me.
So let’s start at the beginning.  November 14th 1987 Heng Chun township, Taiwan, the name Heng Chun means Eternal Spring.  We always thought it meant Eternal Wind, but I digress.  Looking through an old referral book, Elder Goldsberry and Elder Hoth decide to visit or try to contact a 6 month old referral we had never met.  We end up contacting this amazing family of three.  Mr. Lin works at the Nuclear Power Plant in Nan Wan, just a bit south of Heng Chun.  Mrs. Lin is a stay at home mom (I think) and they have a little baby girl – 11 months old with cute dimples.  We proceed to have a great discussion and set up another.  Over the next 3 ½ months me and my companions meet with the Lin Family.  I get a new comp a few weeks after our first meeting – Elder Goldsberry is transferred up to Chang Hua (Central Taiwan) to be a new Sr. Companion and trainer to a new missionary.  Elder Todd Harris from Idaho Falls – takes his place in Heng Chun.  Elder Harris and I hit it off immediately.  We had so much fun together.  Elder Harris and I continue to teach this “Golden Family” the Lin’s.  According to my old mission planners, we see them about once a week or so.  Sometimes we miss a week if they are out of town or something like that.  To jump ahead – sometime in late January 1988 a mission transfer brings Elder Harris and me an additional companion.  Elder Matt Wardle from North Ogden, Utah comes to Heng Chun to make our companionship a Trio.  At first I am not too happy (previous experience – long story) but almost immediately my fears are brought to not.  Elder Wardle is a perfect addition to our companionship.  Once again, we had so much fun together.  The perfect Trio companionship to end my mission in Taiwan. 
Back to the Lin Family, we continue to meet with them.  My journal entries continue to say how great it was meeting with them.  How, Mr. Lin was very smart and asked such great questions.  Mrs. Lin was my favorite.  She is not Chinese.  She is a Shan Di Ren (Taiwanese Aborigine) the people that inhabited Taiwan before the Chinese people began to colonize Taiwan.  Shan Di Ren means mountain people – like Native Americans or First Nation people in Canada.  Mrs. Lin was a fire ball.  I remember her as being different from most Chinese women, she was right there during our discussions – asking questions, laughing, joking around.  She had a light in her eyes, the joy of life you can easily see.  Elder Harris recently reminded me of a return trip home from teaching the Lin family.  He said that on the bike ride home, we had stopped to rest – the wind in Heng Chun always blows right in your face – while resting at the top of a hill Elder Harris says that I turned to him and said “She (Mrs. Lin) is going to get Baptized!  It is going to happen.”  Mr. and Mrs. Lin’s daughter has always stood out in my memories.  She was so cute, with dimples that almost touched when she smiled.  I can remember holding her during discussions and playing with her.  A Golden Family, the family that every missionary is searching for.  So we continued to teach them.  Mrs. Lin asked us one time “Why can’t women have the Priesthood?”  I don’t know how we answered – we probably said something like “Yin Wei – because”.  Our Mandarin Chinese probably wasn’t good enough to explain it very well. 
At this point, my mission was coming to an end.  My companions did a good job of keeping my “Shoulder to the Wheel” and we were working pretty hard and having a lot of fun doing it.  My Mom and Dad were going to travel to Taiwan and tour with me around the mission.  This was a great experience and a perfect end to my mission service in Taiwan.  I really can’t remember after all these years saying “Goodbye” to the Lin family.  I know we did, but time is rough on memories.  But I knew they were being left in good hands.  Elder Harris was transferred from Heng Chun to Gao Xiong at the same time I went back home to Mei Guo (America).  Elder Wardle was left to continue the work in Heng Chun.  In the following weeks the Lin family did not show the progress Elder Wardle’s Sr. companion wanted.  So they were dropped as investigators.  I have since found out that Mrs. Lin didn’t understand why the missionaries stopped visiting.  So there you have it – that is how my mission in Taiwan ended.  Elders Harris, Wardle and Goldsberry continued to serve and had great missions and success in Taiwan.  I came home with awesome memories and lifelong friends.
As return missionaries do, I got on with life.  But Taiwan and my mission experience continued to bless my life.  You know how I always say, everything good in my life is an extension of my mission service in Taiwan.  Blessings for my family who provided for a full time missionary.  “Thanks Mom and Dad!”  For being able to find your Mom – the greatest woman on earth (also thanks to Sister Shurley and Elder Olsen).  For your Mom’s missionary service in Iowa.  For my three wonderful kids.  All of these blessings being an extension of my mission service in Taiwan. 

Then on Thursday night (Aug 6th) Harrison tells me that Doug Olsen texted and wants me to call him and also look at Facebook (Mom’s Facebook – you know that I don’t Facebook).  So I grab the phone and it is dead.  I then move on to Facebook (with Mom’s help).  This is what I find. 

Rola Lin Ules’ Facebook Post August 6, 2015 at 11:04am

Greetings to whoever read this, I have a big favor to ask. I'm Sister Lin, a convert from Taiwan.
These are the pictures I found after i was baptized in 2007 to the Church of Jesus Christ of latter day Saints.
Those Elders came to our home in Nan-wan(
南灣,in area Heng-chun恆春) and taught my parents when I was je small.
I don't know those Elders names, nor can I read them from the pictures, I only can guess that they were on their mission around 1984-1989 in Taiwan and served in area Heng-chun.
My parents didn't join the church, but I remember growing up having an Old Book of Mormon at home, which I never knew what it was about until 2007 I joined the church.
I served the mission in 2012-2013 in Alpine German Speaking Mission, and have tried to do temple work for my ancestors.
I always have those pictures with me on my mission, to encourage me even if those I taught didn't accept the gospel, but the seeds are planted, and I've worked hard and done my part.
These Elders planted the seeds in my family and never get to see it grows to a tree.
I Really hope and want to find them, thank them for sharing the gospel in Taiwan and planting the seeds of the fullness of the gospel in me even when I was that small, let them know that their hard works were not in vain, and they have brought soo many wonderful Blessings upon me and my family.
So Please, help me find them or their families!! 

Thank you so very much for
Sincerely, Rola Lin Ules

You can imagine my reaction.  First I see the pictures – I wonder “How did someone get my mission pictures?”  Then I begin to read and understand what is happening.  Names from the past start to bring back memories.  Lin – that family we taught in Heng Chun – with the cutest little girl.  Doug Olsen, Joe Seiley, Kim Ashby, Korey Smitheram, Todd Parrish and Chuck Smith, all missionaries during my time in Taiwan.  Then the realization that that cute little Chinese girl is the one posting these pictures and trying to find out who these missionaries are.  That she has joined the Church and served a mission in German speaking Europe.  That she has kept those two pictures with her for encouragement when missionary work is tough.  To have her talk about the seeds of the gospel being planted without knowing the outcome.  Just what you talked about in your mission farewell talks.  Remember?  A sowing (planting) mission and a harvesting (reaping) mission.
By this time – I am having trouble reading the computer page through my teary eyes.  This doesn’t happen.  This happens in “Ensign” articles not in “real” life, certainly not in my life.  So I bolt down to the basement, to begin looking through my mission trunk.  I find pictures (3), journal entries and parts of letters written to my family at home containing descriptions of gospel discussions with the Lin family.    Wow! This is for real, this is really happening. Unbelievable!
The miracles are just beginning.  Rola (the cute, little, dimpled Chinese baby) is currently in Salt Lake City visiting friends.  I typed a response to everyone saying that “Yes, this is Elders Hoth and Goldsberry and Elders Hoth, Harris and Wardle.”  And from there the most amazing things have happened. 

1987-88 Elder Goldsberry, Rola, Elder Hoth
2015 Bart Goldsberry, Rola, Richard Hoth
Yesterday Rola and her four elders (along with some of the wives and one family) met again after 27 years! It was amazing! It was a miracle to get everyone together.  Elder Harris discovered what was going on at 9 am and he and his wife travelled from Twin Falls Idaho to meet everyone in SLC. Elder Wardle was on vacation in Yellowstone with his family and travelled 400 miles to get to Salt Lake. It was also his wife, Teal’s, birthday. Elder Goldsberry and us had it a bit easier. Goldsberry lives in the area and we are used to zipping down to Salt Lake.

1988 Rola's Dad, Rola's Mom, Rola, Elder Hoth, Elder Harris, Elder Wardle

2015 Rola, Richard Hoth, Todd Harris Matt Wardle

 Our reunion was awesome! We met at a little Chinese restaurant and had dinner Chinese style with plates of food being passed around. We didn’t eat a whole lot because we spent the whole time talking and laughing and crying. Rola is just amazing! She has the light of the gospel and the JOY that comes from the gospel. She also told us that her Mom joined the church in 2008 a year after her. This news just put the icing on the cake for everyone! After 27 years of wondering what happened to that “golden” family in Hung Chun, we finally know. The blessings of a mission never seem to stop. Elder Harris said that he remembered hearing that “once you commit to serving a mission and you leave your home to  teach the gospel, for  the rest of your life as long as you’re living the gospel you continue to pick up blessings all along the way.” 

Emily, you are blessing our lives so much.  I know that this “Miracle” happened at this time partly because you are serving your Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ in Vancouver Canada.  Wow! What a week, we love you so much and are so proud of you.  Go get’em kid-O 
Love you, Dad (Hwo you yu)

L to R Casey Wardle, Jared Wardle, Maddie Wardle, Teal Wardle, Matt (Elder) Wardle, Todd (Elder) Harris, Veronica Harris, Rola Lin (Lin rong an) Jill Hoth, Richard (Elder) Hoth, Bart (Elder) Goldsberry August 8th, 2015 (SLC Utah)


1 comment:

  1. Amazing story, and it brought the Spirit to me today!