Temple Tenders

These Taiwanese teens have found a great way to help with temple work.

Temple Tenders

There can be certain perils whenever anyone provides a service. The occupational hazard for Jennifer Wang and Chen En Ger was changing diapers. “That wasn’t very much fun,” Jennifer said. Other than diaper duty, though, there were no other complaints from Jennifer, 17, and Chen, 18, who organized a small nursery inside their wardhouse where children could be dropped off while their parents went to the temple. “I felt really happy that I could learn more about service and also about little children,” said Chen (below). For Jennifer and Chen, both members of the Tao Yuan Second Branch of the Tao Yuan District in Taipei, Taiwan, the baby-sitting was a new experience—one they’re glad they had and that they hope becomes a tradition.

Church members in Taiwan have had a temple in their country since 1984. However, with work and family commitments in this island country, it’s not always easy for the members to attend. That’s where Jennifer and Chen came in. After getting other Church members to volunteer to baby-sit, the project was a go.

“As youth, we decided we would do baptisms for the dead in the morning, and then go next door to the ward and baby-sit members’ children while their parents went to the temple,” explained Jennifer, a Laurel and seminary class president.

Since children all the way to ten-year-olds were dropped off at the nursery, Jennifer and Chen decided to divide the children into groups by age. Instead of just letting them play with toys and goof off for the four-hour period, they decided to make their nursery a little more educational. Besides showing Church videos and having playtime, Jennifer, Chen, and the rest of the baby-sitters also told Book of Mormon stories and talked about the importance of the temple. Afterward, they had the older children draw pictures of the temple. In the process, they also gained an appreciation for the temple themselves.

“We wanted it to be a learning experience. We could have watched them for four hours and let them do what they wanted, but we wanted to do something more,” said Chen, who has been a member for about two-and-a-half years. “I knew a lot of the kids by face already, but when we baby-sat them it was the first time I had the chance to interact with them.

“I was impressed with the children,” he continued. “So many of the older children were such good examples toward the younger ones. They would take care of them and help us as we watched them. Two brothers really stood out to me. One was three and the other was two. They really had unique personalities, and it helped me realize that all these kids are special children from Heavenly Father.”

The chance to serve is what Jennifer remembered most about her experience. She realized that in a lot of cases, without their baby-sitting service, only one parent could go to the temple while the other would stay home with the children. “I saw a lot of parents who were very happy they didn’t have to be concerned about their children. They could go to the temple without worrying, and I think that was important to them,” she said. “Maybe when I get married and I want to go to the temple with my husband, young men and young women from my ward can baby-sit my kids.”

Could happen. Both Jennifer and Chen have proved it can work.

[photos] Photography by Chen Chen Er

[photos] “I saw a lot of parents who were very happy they didn’t have to be concerned about their children. They could go to the temple without worrying,” says Jennifer Wang (below), who, with the other baby-sitters, was kept plenty busy.