Taichung-based Mormon missionaries on bicycles traveled throughout the city yesterday, distributing some 2,000 zongzi (粽子) to the needy on the eve of the Dragon Boat Festival.
Michael Hoer, who serves as mission president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Taiwan Taichung Mission, said in Mandarin that about 150 missionaries from the church had planned to prepare some 1,000 zongzi the day before for distribution yesterday, but it turned out that 2,000 zongzi were made, thanks to the donations of rice, pork and other ingredients by local residents and Taichung-based companies.
“Our cups were running over with love,” Hoer said. “I hope that the missionaries’ services to God and to the people will spread wider and farther via the traditional Chinese delicacy of zongzi.”
Zongzi , a pyramid-shaped glutinous rice dumpling with various savory fillings, is usually cooked in bamboo leaves and is especially popular around the time of the Dragon Boat Festival.
Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) joined Hoer, the Mormon missionaries and representatives of other organizations at a zongzi-donation ceremony at the Taichung City Assembly.
“The zongzi represents a token of compassion for the needy, particularly at a time of soaring inflation,” Hu said.
Hu said he often sees the Mormon missionaries riding throughout the city on their bicycles, spreading the gospel and doing volunteer work.
“They were even kind enough to offer their advice to the city government when they found that some English road signs were incorrect,” he said.
With Hu’s encouragement, dozens of missionaries serving in Taichung now take note of any unusual English translations on signs, as they go about their routine work.
Meanwhile, Hu said King Liu (劉金標), owner of the internationally renowned bike maker Giant, has agreed to donate some bicycles to the missionaries as a token of appreciation to the Mormons for the compassion they have shown the people of Taichung.