Friday, October 23, 2009

Chinese funerals...‏


I see in all my notes from our trip that I never explained to you about Chinese funerals! We saw 3 of them on the trip and the guide explained - in detail.
At a Chinese funeral, all the family members and those attending the funeral, wear white. And they all wear a wide, white head band on their heads too.
They usually hold the funeral at a public place - at a local restaurant where a "funeral feast" is held. But, wherever they have the funeral, there are large white
banners hung to signify there is a funeral. There is also alot of paper money for the dead person to take on his or her "journey" to spend. The
Chinese worry that their loved ones will need money in the next life and on their journey there and that is the reason for the play, paper,money. At one of the
funerals we saw, there was a large, white, life sized paper horse for the departed one to ride on his journey to the next world. Sometimes there
is a paper rabbit to take on the journey also. There are also some of the dead persons favorite clothes or even some new clothes for the departed
to wear on the journey.

All these symbols are gathered and placed beside the casket for everyone to see. As soon as the short viewing is over, EVERYTHING is burned.....
The horse, the play money, the rabbit, the clothes - even the persons body is burned.....
Then the ashes are put in a jar and buried.
A stone tablet is placed over the grave with the persons name carved on it, as well as his family members names.

Every year, on the anniversary of the death, the family visits the grave. They take the dead persons favorite foods and leave the dead person a generous
serving of his favorite food. There are many dishes prepared for the dead person and the family meets after the food is delivered to the grave,and has a

These customs are the way the older generation of China celebrate death. The younger generation doesn't feel it is necessary to continue the ancient
customs. How sad that this custom is only still practiced in the small ethnic villages. I think the Chinese way of death and burial is interesting and I
was fascinated with the ritual.
The Chinese, interestingly, believe in life after death. This really fascinated me. They believe that the departed one can influence family members and
that he could possibly be "re-born" as something or someone else. They are very superstitious.

This all was so interesting to me and I just wanted to share it with you as well.

Much Love,

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Korean Family‏

Dear Family,

More thoughts on the past weekend.... We attended a Korean wedding reception and dinner which was fabulous. The bride is a member of our little Qingdao Branch and she wore a traditional Korean wedding gown. She looked stunning and we had a great evening. Not all the members of the Branch were invited, just us and we felt honored.
We took a 45 minute bus ride, in the pouring rain, to Brother Harrison Kong's home, to ride to the reception with him. He and his mother-in-law, sister Yeom, went with us. It was another hour and a half to the reception. It was a memorable evening because we shared it with our dear Korean brothers and sisters. I will send pictures.
Oh - and the bride and groom had a special gift for all the guests - 2 hand towels each, with their names and the date stamped on them!

We were married AGAIN the following morning on the Beach - here in Qingdao. It was a fun day,with the Chinese treating us like monkeys in the zoo....We are the "token" Americans. They don't understand a word we say and we don't understand a word they say. The wedding "ceremony" was so funny and there were photographers all over and there was a feeling of celebration. We went to dinner after the "ceremony" and the meal consisted of both kidney, as well as liver - fixed Chinese style ..YUCK..YUCK..YUCK
Oh - and there were gifts too. Another plate, with Chinese writing on. Two t-shirts that will probably fit Marin and "1", very small - single bed sheet!!!!!!!!! So funny........

Sunday we had another baptism in our Branch. It was Brother Yoon's middle son, who just turned 8 years old. The baptismal font was filled as we had Sacrament meeting and the children kept going back and sticking their hands in the water. As soon as the block of meetings ended, the baptism took place, with your Father officiating. Brother Yoon ask Dad to confirm his son and it was a beautiful confirmation prayer - I wish you could have all been there to hear it!
Then, the Koreans fed all of us! Peking duck! It was really pretty good and it was a wonderful afternoon.

There is something I wanted to add here because I don't want to ever forget it....
There is a very reverent, loving, caring, kind, feeling among the Korean members... They are so generous to everyone. Generous with their time. Generous with their money. Generous with their affections. Generous with all they have. As I sat there at the baptism, I watched them and the way they treated each other and each others children. They treat all the children as the Savior treated the little ones. They all had a small one on their laps and they all were hugging, either their own child,or anothers child. And, the children were perfectly content with whoever was holding them - even if they weren't their own parent.
Are we as Christlike to other peoples children? Do we truly love and care for all of God's children? It really caused me to think and look at myself and how I act or re-act to the situations in my life. Am I as Christlike?
Please think about this.... I know I have!
Much Love,

Information learned from our trip October 1-7, 2009‏

Dear Family:
As you know, we have just returned from a trip to the poorest Province in China this past week - Guizhou!
What an experience.... It has been a week with a variety of emotions and I feel so very thankful for
all the Lord has blessed me with. I feel so grateful to Him for the privilege of being born in this dispensation,
in the USA, with all the blessings and advantages life has to offer.
I don't remember ever seeing such poverty and lowly circumstances. It was a very humbling experience for me - one
that I won't soon forget! I feel very emotional when I think of the look on the peoples faces and the hopelessness in
their eyes. Even the children....

We left Qingdao on October 1, 2009 for the celebration of National Autumn Festival and Moon Festival for a week.
We arrived in Guiyang in the late afternoon and as we rode the bus to the hotel, we noticed the poor living conditions
and poverty. We were fortunate to have a great guide by the name of Howard. His knowledge of the area was
remarkable. He took us places we otherwise would never have seen, because he is a native to the area.

Howard explained that the Miao minority worships the water buffalo. The water buffalo does much for these people and
they would be unable to accomplish their farming without the buffalo.
The Chinese people all think of the dragon as something very special. The rest of the world thinks of the dragon as something
awful or frightening. The Chinese say that the dragon has horns just like the water buffalo, which they worship. They say that
the dragon has the body of a snake, the face of a cat, the tail of a fish and of course the horns, like the water buffalo. Virtually EVERYTHING in China has a significance, such as the Dragon Boat which has 50 oars - 25 on each side,- representing the 50 ethnic minority groups.

Each minority group dresses differently. We saw several minority groups on this trip, but predominately the Miao's (pronounced meow) and the Han's (pronounced han, as in hand).
The Chinese dress of the Han women is called a "chee pow" (my spelling as it was pronounced!) The Han women dress daily in the Han native dress. The women wear head bands about 3-4 inches wide. The married women all wear a white head band and the older women or grandmothers wear a black head band. Eligible young women wear nothing on their heads. The Han women wear a 12 in long embroidered belt that has colorful embroidery on it. There are 12 different florals or scenes on the belt, signifying the 12 months of the year. There are also representations, through color, for the different seasons. Their blouses are sky blue and button on the left shoulder and a skirt is always worn. Very interesting and so symbolic.
One tribe of Maio people that had "broken off" from the main body of Miao's, wears a special hat or headpiece that looks like a large hat or hair which comes to a point on either side of the woman's head. It is made of black yarn and also of the hair of Miao women - woven with the yarn!
The Miao women dress very festive. The Miao's love silver and they adorn themselves with silver. All the women, in the native dress, had eleborate silver headpieces, huge necklaces and gorgeous waist adornments. However, they do not wear the silver everyday. The Miao's, especially, worship the water buffalo and for some occasions, the women wear a hat resembling the horns of the water buffalo.

The Miao houses were all made of wood with the traditional Chinese tile roof. However, the Han houses were made of slate or bricks - they even had a slate or a cement roof ! In ancient times the Hans made their homes of slate, with the slate roofs so their emenies could not burn the homes. Today, both Han and some Maio homes have a cement, flat roof and on the roof is water about 3-5 inches thick! The reason being: the water cools the home in the summer months and warms the home in the winter months!

In the small village of Tian Tai, which is a Han village, we saw an ocean of corn drying. It was so amazing..... they cut the ripe corn, saving the husks for food for the water buffalo. Then they dry the corn and put it in sacks for winter. All the houses had clusters of corn drying on the porches. There were also big piles of dried corn cobs, which was saved for fuel for the winter. The Chinese waste NOTHING.....

We were on some of the most frightening, winding, dangerous, roads I have ever travelled on. Disney, with it's frightening rides, couldn't compare with some of the life threatening rides we were on! I felt the Lord's hand in keeping us from harm on this trip, more than ever before in my life. We nearly had a frightening accident one night - one we will all remember for a long time. Remind us to tell you about it someday...

One night when we stopped, the guide told us to be careful where we ate supper because the city was known to eat dog meat...... He said that the local people raised dogs to eat and dog meat was served at every restaurant. Made us a little worried to eat. That was in the city of Kaili. It is hard when you cannot read a menu and the only way to choose something on a restaurant menu is to look at the pictures on the menu and point at what "looks" like it is something you can recognize to eat!!! What an experience.

The rice growing along the road is a wonder to behold. It is hard to imagine the rice paddies and how they grow. I hope the pictures I sent can somehow show you how it is done.
The rice grows as tall as a Chinese man and the harvest is around October 1-10. To harvest the rice, the women cut it in bundles about 3-4 feet long. The bundle is laid on the ground, beside the rice plant - to allow it to dry out. As soon as it is dry, the bundles are "thrashed" with a bamboo stick or "slapped" hard against the ground to dislodge the rice kernals. As we drove by the rice fields, we could see the farmers harvesting the rice.
As soon as the kernals are taken from the rice "reeds" the farmer spreads the rice kernals, single file, on the ground to dry out.
These kernals are spread and repositioned several times per day. They dry for several days BUT they must be swept up every night and put somewhere safe for the night and re-spread the next day!
As soon as the rice is dry, it is stored for the winter. The rice "reeds" or the stalk where the rice grew, is then laid in bundles and tied near one end. These bundles are stacked "teepee" like. Some farmers "teepee" stack the rice stalks in a large circular fashion - even around a tree trunk - higher and higher and higher...
Rice irrigation is most fascinating! The rice must be kept constantly wet or damp - without allowing to mildew. Rice paddies are planted on different levels with a drainage system allowing the water to constanlty flow downward without becoming stagnant. As we drove from village to village among the rice fields, we noticed all the terracing for the rice growth and it was beautiful.
Every available inch of soil is used to some advantage or another, and it is a sight to behold. EVERY part of the harvested fruit or vegetable is used for one purpose or another - nothing is wasted.
Tomatoes are not "bush" grown as we grow them in Utah. I saw a great idea on tomato planting here in China! They take two 6-7 foot long bamboo poles and make them in a big "X", on either side of the tomato plant. Then they run a longer bamboo pole down the center of the X's to connect all the X's (at the top) and the tomatoes are tied to grow up the two sides of the poles - NO tomatoes on the ground for the bugs to eat....
The Chinese are genius' in the art of growing anything. They have been doing it for centuries! I don't know why I marvel at their skill - but I do..

How blessed we are! We live such good lives and we take so much for granted. We waste so much in our country and we expect there will always be more . These people live life each day, hoping for food the next day - never really knowing ... I know that I will think twice about the food I waste and the things I throw away. I see people every day, "dumpster diving" for any scrap of food they can find and I live so abundantly! The thought has crossed my mind, more than once, that I am so blessed to be an American and have such a good life. I thank my Heavenly Father every day for all I have in my life.
I love each of you and you are always in our thoughts and prayers. Tonight, when you lay your head on your pillow, try to think of all the people in the world that have so much less than you have. You will have to count your blessings... You must!
All our Love,

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


This last day of the tour we were on our own. Our flight didn't leaveuntil 3:45 p.m., so we decided to go to QianLing Park - which isfamous in Guiyang for it monkeys and scenic views.

Poor Village

This is without a doubt - the poorest village people I have everseen... We had to drive 3 hours to reach them, on a winding,frightening road and then 3 more hours, after dark, on the same roadto get back to the hotel. It was a frightening day and I felt aspirit of unrest while here...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Huangguoshu waterfall,etc. near Anshun‏

Today we visited Hauangguoshu waterfall where we climbed to thewaterfall. The waterfall plunges down 74 meters to Rhinoceros Pool.This is the largest waterfall in Asia. Below the falls is the StarBridge scenic area, which is known for its "potted landscape". We sawStone Forest on the water and visited the Buyi minority Stove Village.We walked across the Sky Star Bridge and rode the longest escalator Ihave ever seen. Long day...

Temple, Dragon boat cave - great day!‏

Today we visited a famous temple - the Temple of Mercy, which was noton our itinerary. It was beautiful and so peaceful. We also went toLiuzhi, hometown of the Changjiao Maio's. We also took a boat trip tothe Dragon Palace cave or the Karst cave. Great day...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Han minority village

Today we visited the Tianmountain Dragon Temple. We visited a Hanminority village. In that village, all the houses were built out ofbricks or stone and so were the roofs! The reason being that inancient times, enemies could not burn the villagers out because thehouses and roofs were stone.. We saw a "ground" opera with gorgeouswooden masks. It was a great day. Note all the corn. The harvesttime is here and they were either drying the corn or getting it readyto take off the cobs.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Kaili and Xijiang Maio village‏

Today we visited Kaili and went on a scenic ride to the Xijiang Miaovillage - th elargest Maio village which is well known for itsembroidery and silver ornaments. It is very picturesque, set in anatural basin and bordered by rice paddy fields, with wooden houses onthe hillside. Only a few of our group went to the Datang Maiovillage, which was very unique. We saw things there we will treasurefor the rest of our lives...

Friday, October 2, 2009


Visited Qingyan ancient town and Zhuangyuan mansion. Also a Miaominority village. Also Kaili - the center of the Miao sliver culture-the gateway to other minority villages. Also visited the Langde Miaominority village - seeing traditional Maio architecture.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Arrival in Guizhou Province in Guiyang‏

Pictures of our arrival in Guiyang - Guizhou Province on October 1, 2009.