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.
|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.
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.