"A man filled with the love of God is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race." Joseph Smith

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hôi An

The tile roofs and yellow painted walls revive 
the ancient charm of the village

The ancient Vietnamese trading port of Hội An (meaning "peaceful meeting place")  greeted our senior missionary group as we made our way through its quaint streets, historic homes and colorful buildings.

Dating back to the 15th through 19th centuries, this town blends the influences of settlers from China, Portugal, Japan, Holland and India. 

The senior missionaries throughout Vietnam were in Đà Nẵng for several days of training and rejuvenation. After training, our group toured the homes and shops of Hôi An, just 29 kilometers south of Đà Nẵng

Yellow walls and tiled roofs led to a sense of warm echoes from the past.

Homes as old as 300 years still house multi-generational families, while local shops and artisans swell the ground floors, luring the successful tourist industry that brings a modern twist to its streets. Today the town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The inner courtyard brings light and a touch of nature to this 300 year old home


Checking out a sculpted courtyard wall
The elderly are an integral part of family life,
 part of the vibrant heartbeat of the home.

One could feel the echos of the past meeting with the vitality of the present. As we walked through the old homes, I could almost see the images of hundreds of years ago - children playing on the floor, chickens and pigs in the courtyard, and families working together in this tight-knit community on the edge of the sea.

In some ways, things haven't changed that much.

Inner courtyard

Incense blesses a crumbling wall

Selling miniature Buddha statues along the street in Hôi An

This wooden, covered Japanese bridge, constructed in the 1590's, has become the symbol of the ancient stability of Hôi An.

In some ways, however, the town HAS changed, as tourists world-wide come to stay and buy and eat and enjoy its warmth and iconic charm.

Even the incense coils in the temple are for sale
Just as the homes and families of Hôi An have seen changes over the centuries, so have all other modern homes and families.  The quiet echoes of the past are replaced by the frenzied pace of the present. The "peaceful meeting places" of home and family that graced our past are fast disappearing.

One of the opportunities we have on our mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to lead family relations classes for the public. We teach in English and a wonderful church member translates for us. The Family: A Proclamation to the World  provides the foundation for successful marriages and families in any generation. 

  So many are searching for that peace again.

Sunset in Hôi An

Celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary
while serving in Vietnam.
We're here in Vietnam to share that peace can be found, and is being found by millions of people all over the world as they turn to Jesus Christ for answers, for strength, and for family support. Even in our busy, fast paced lives, our families can retain the strength of unity and purpose as evidenced by the graceful town of Hôi An.

Here is a link that gives practical, hands-on suggestions for how to improve our family relationships - Quotes on marriage, parenting and family.

May our homes become "peaceful meeting places" even amidst the challenges of mortality and modern society. 

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