I appreciated seeing this friend. No matter how much time has passed, fond memories are just a second away. We both had a time in our lives where we put aside everything else to serve the Lord. No matter where our lives have taken us all these years later, looking back on that service especially with a friend who served at the same time is a sweet blessing.
Here is part of an entry from my journal from February 4, 1982, 30 years ago:
"Well, I'm here, it's hard to believe but I am here in Taiwan. I have so many feelings I'm not sure what they are. Our plane was an hour late but our luggage made it OK. We went through customs in about a minute without any problem. President Baker was waiting for us with his two assistants and welcomed us. Then we came to Kaohsiung where there are about ten other sisters because there is a sisters conference. The apartment has the bare necessities. The humidity just hit us in the face and there's a funny smell in the air like "soot." I just kind of looked around but wasn't sure what to think, I was too tired to think. ...We were woken up by what sounded like 15 roosters that crowed for what seemed to be a half an hour." The next day I wrote, "I still can't put my finger on the smell in the air. It is a cross between grease, soot, and popcorn. I have a feeling I'm going to get used to it and that's scary." Well, I did get very used to it very quickly after that.
I wrote so much more than that, in great detail. One last thing I wrote the second day I was there is noteworthy: "I know I'm going to come to love this, I told myself I would love this, it will just take some time."
I grew to love it very, very much, not because of the smell in the air or the food that took me forever to get used to but because of the people. I grew to love the Chinese people and I grew to love the other missionaries I served with. That's what makes a mission. That's why today, 30 years later, I delighted to see an old friend. He was concerned about his gray hair. I told him I was a grandmother. We both laughed. A little later as I was walking along I saw him sitting at his computer with a big smile on his face. How could we both help but smile...
At a baptism with one of my companions.
In front of the chapel in Taichung.
With another companion at the
groundbreaking ceremony for the Taiwan Temple.
And last but not least,
my favorite friend and companion of all...