Thousands of Latter-day Saints from Taiwan joined together in 2016 to celebrate the Church’s 60th anniversary of missionary work in the country.
Since 1956 when the first four missionaries arrived in Taiwan, the Church has grown from one branch into its present state of 17 stakes. Members in Taiwan have launched a series of events throughout the year in a show of gratitude to the Lord for His blessings upon the land. The 60th Anniversary Cultural Performance, which attracted 6,000 participants, marked the highlight of this year’s celebrations.
A Night of Art, Music and Theatre
During a cultural performance, held in Taichung’s Fulfillment Amphitheatre on Oct. 15, Latter-day Saints presented the Church’s history in Taiwan. In addition to displays of dance and theatre were orchestral and choral performances.
“It is a magnificent night,” said Elder Sam Wong, a General Authority Seventy. Together with Area Seventy Elder Ming-Shun Kuan, they led several hundred returned missionaries to the celebration. “Because of the Taiwan members’ strong faith and hard work to spread and live the gospel for 60 years, they are reaping the rewards of their labor today.”
Members from various regions presented their talents that night: Hua-Lien, the eastern region of Taiwan, started the opening ceremony with a dazzling display of aboriginal costumes, dance and singing. A particular highlight was the alternating male-female vocals of the song “Taiwan Hao” (Taiwan is wonderful), with lyrics touching many hearts.
Mission Reunion, a “Nostalgic” Cycling Session and the Mayor’s Remarks
Other celebratory activities also took place during the day. Returned missionaries had a massive reunion and participated in a “nostalgic” cycling session. For years, missionaries in Taiwan have been involved in community services, providing shelters for orphans, care for prisoners and clinics for the sick, as well as teaching the locals how to do their family history. Their service is widely admired by the Taiwanese public, including Mayor of Taichung, Chia-Lung Lin, who was also in attendance of the celebratory activity.
Mayor Lin expressed his appreciation to the Church for its dedicated voluntary work, as witnessed by the number of missionaries who volunteer their time and energy without pay. As a side note, he stated that he was born, coincidentally, the year that the Book of Mormon was first translated into traditional Chinese in Taiwan.
He said that he hopes Taichung grows not only as a city with the finest dining establishments or the most luxury apartments, but also into a city filled with the most volunteers — a city that champions the rights of the disadvantaged, as well as the development of the arts.