Friday, December 24, 2010

It's always about the people....

Pres. Shaw is obviously rooting for the Blue - Elder Taylor is a Ute fan and Elder Pritchard is a BYU football player.  The rivalry made me feel right at home, except that there was no serious attention paid to who won and who lost.  I like it on a mission when in the Lord's game plan everybody can win.

December 1, 2010 - Zone Conference!  They only happen once a quarter now instead of every 6 weeks, so they are a great occasion to meet together and to be instructed and to find the strength that comes from just being together and united in our purpose as missionaries - to bring others to
Christ, and often that is ourselves.
Sister Ve'e, Sister Sahm, (Elder Moimoi), Sister Shaw, Sister Tuimoala, Sister Hansen

Elder Blacker, Elder Waqatairewa, Elder Rix, Elder Stoker, Elder Edwards, Elder Christensen
Elder Cherrington, Elder Fa'alogo, Elder Moimoi, Elder Pritchard, Elder Taylor, Elder Kalua'u, Elder Rigby

Elder Abakite, Elder Amram, Elder Dinteru, Elder Kimbar, Elder Sanchez, Elder Teriba

Not enough tables - Elder Nawahine, Elder Bulloch, Elder Steele
Elder Moimoi insisted that the photographer/historian get in the children and grandchildren thank you and so do I...sometimes I still have to pinch myself to make sure it is me that gets to be with all these great missionaries.
Right after Zone Conference ended at 3:00 I ran home to Skype my daughter and her husband to find out how the delivery of their new baby went, and it was good for both Mom and baby - little Karen Diane, born on Nov. 30th in Las Vegas and on Dec. 1st in the Marshall Islands.  Beautiful Mom Corinne, beautiful 'KD', proud Dad Jeremy.  KD is #7 for Corinne and Jeremy.  My gratitude to Heavenly Father that Mom and baby are well is off the charts.  I can't measure it.

December 4th we had a Primary party behind the Marshall Island Resort (MIR).  Acronyms are big here in Majuro.  The little coral "rock" wall looking out over the lagoon surrounds a barbeque pit.

Wija and her daughter, Bertine the cook, and two other Primary sisters looking out after the coals before roasting all the meat. The children were all at the pool.
Rena, the counselor, and Sister Enos, the Primary president.

Arlita and two other Primary girls enjoying the pool that MIR has available for anyone to use.
Laurie taught the kids a fun game - she had the kids hold hands facing each other in two rows.  At first the swimmers swam under their hands, until she was able to get them to go on top of the arms that propelled them forward.
Later there was a great lunch for everyone...check out this fish (kwi, or lined surgeonfish)
 It was delicious!  It has little bitty lips and really cool orange fins on its belly.
This is the Kajidrik family - Jinen, the grandma, and Wiltinia and Nani.  They are from Aelonlaplap and are trying to get back to that island after coming here to Majuro to be baptized.  My goodness - I am so Ri-belle.  I keep thinking I am bronzed and brown like my precious Marshallese friends, and pictures like this are a surprise to me.  Look at this precious little brown-eyed boy...
Here's a primary boy in an old pandanus (or walking) tree by the lagoon behind MIR - the roots make it look like it is walking. The branches are really good for perching, sleeping, or resting while people talk.  Around the island I've seen pandanus trees used for all three.

At the end of Stake Conference, Mary Swain (the Stake Primary President) and I pose for a picture.
Elder Christensen and Elder Pritchard, both back on Majuro after serving together on the outer island of Aelonlaplap, pose with Nani and Wiltinia and a family from that island,  Stake Conference is a wonderful place to be instructed and to find joy in seeing beloved friends. Here are more beloved friends...there's that Ri-belle again. :)
Julien, Karen, Sister Domnick, Rosa, Jojo, Marie, me, and a Domnick relative with children.  The boy in the white shirt is Pres and Sister Tibon's son.
Sister missionaries at Stake Conference - December 5th - Sister Hansen, Sister Sahm, Sister Tuimoala. Sister Teichert, Sister Ve'e.
Later that day there was a Stake Youth Fireside - our Long Island Young Women sang "A Virtuous Mind".  Abrn was there - I hadn't seen him in 9 months.  Even later in the evening there was the second Sunday of Advent at the Pattersons.
                                                            Me, Abrn, Jojo, Sister Ve'e
Johnny Latrik leaving for the MTC in Provo prior to his mission in Oklahoma - nice smile!  Family and friends came to see him off...
Sister Ve'e left the same day for home - ouch.  But we will carry on, even with the strength that leaves with her.
This is how we carry on - Elder Fa'alogo and Elder Edwards with a wonderful family and Brother Livai with his nephew.  This work brings light and truth to families here, and the gospel becomes an anchor in a shifting world.
Elder Edwards lighting the third candle of Advent at the Patterson's December 12th.
The Kajidrik family - with Elder Fa'alogo's and my planning, they will be going home to Aelonlaplap Tuesday, December 14th, on the next Air Marshall flight.
The whole third week Advent group.

Another joyous event...Chris's baptism December 18th.  He and Otintaii were married in September.
Otintaii came home from a mission a little after I arrived here.
Elder Rix and Elder Nawahine, Assistants extraordinaire, found Chris and brought the light of the Gospel to a believing heart, and great strength to a marriage. 

This is the joy of missionary work, to see the change and love and light in already remarkable people.
Ij monono bwe im juon mijinede.  Ij kamol gospel eo an Jesus Kraist ej mol.

Friday, November 26, 2010

November racing by

November 6th, 2010
Migel Latrick's baptism in the Marshall Islands - 18 hours later my Indy was baptized in Texas on her birthday, November 6th.
Migel was baptized by his brother, Johnny, who is leaving on a mission in December.  Behind Migel is his mom and then his sister Corina and brother Ali.  I teach Corina and Ali piano.  Elder Corry completes the picture - he and Elder Dew taught Migel to prepare him for baptism - a blessing to the whole family.

Two pictures before the power went out:
Elder Fa'alogo and Elder Gulbransen, Zone Leaders
                                                                               Corina and I - she is one of my dedicated students.

November 11th - JoJo's birthday.  Karen and I went to visit her at her home in Rita - she was at school, but I met JoJo's older sister and her nieces and nephews.
                    We met up with her and went for ice cream at Payless - Happy Birthday, JoJo!

November 12th was the Hewstones 50th wedding anniversary - they invited all of us senior missionaries to lunch at Special Restaurant to celebrate. The next day we all went for a picnic at Laura Beach to continue honoring them.

The day before Elder Gulbransen leaves for Ebon - his companion, Elder Fa'alogo, opened up Ebon with Elder Gilbert

Parting shot with Elder Gulbransen - from office Elder to Zone Leader to outer island Elder - this Elder runs with whatever assignment he has and gives it his best.  Ebon is in for something great.

November 19th - Departure Day for three strong Elders - Elder Dew, Elder Corry, Elder Isom.

Sister Christensen getting last minute instructions from Elder Dew.

From the confidence in the air-conditioned office, wearing those long-sleeved shirts and suitcoats that haven't been donned for 2 years.... the overwhelming heat of the airport - all good Marshall Islands' Elders and Sisters own fans.

Bar lo komijil...
  ...see you three Utah Elders in not too many months when I make a departure day of my own.

November 20th-21st
Laura District Ward Activity and Fireside
The eight Elders and Sisters in the Laura District (which covers Laura, Arrok, Woje, and Ajeltake) designed a two day event for the Laura Ward and Ajeltake Branch,  They invited the Senior couples to join them.   Boy, are we glad we did.
First we gathered in teams around a flag according to a colored wrist string.
Let the games begin.
Elder Swain getting a little help from his friend Elder Pritchard for his game.

When we began switching chairs in Elder Moimoi's game, this little girl didn't like it when this big Ri-belle sat next to her.  Elder Davidson, the Grandpa he is, took it in stride.
Our green wristband team "Ether", named after the last Book of Mormon Jaredite prophet.

A coconut leaf basket-making class for us Ri-belles - amazing skills!
Then it was time to eat, Marshallese style, in coconut leaf plates.

Birds flew above us all day long.

The sky was overcast and threatened rain all day, but some worried Elders had their morning prayers.  It rained all around us, but not on us, for the entire day.   Here's some of the grateful Elders:

Elder Moimoi, Elder Sanchez, Elder Swain - serving the ward members and guests after the games...
and Elder Pritchard, District Leader responsible for the idea, and along with his remarkable District, the actualization of it.

But WAIT, that was only Saturday.   For the culminating Fireside Sunday evening, the Elders and sisters made anywhere from four to nine cakes per companionship...

and they had all the Senior missionaries bring two each...

The Fireside itself was a remarkable meeting - Pres. Tibon spoke, there were three musical numbers, testimonies of recent converts telling their conversion stories, a video of Mark Mabry's "Reflections of Christ" pictures, and a slide show of the fun the day before.  How these Elders and Sisters put all this together and still went to church and taught people after church is a wonder of organization.  Elder Swain said that he was so grateful that so many enjoyed it - he was so busy that he missed most of it. :)
Sister Tuimoala, Sister Ve'e, Sister Christensen, Elder Pritchard, Elder Swain, Elder Christensen.
Elder Pritchard, Sister Ve'e, Elder Swain, Sister Teichert, Elder Moimoi
The Marshallese have a tradition of honoring their guests with wut (wreaths of fresh island flowers)  Mine was so fragrant - my favorite:  meria!

Thanksgiving - November 25, 2010 - in the Mission Home
Pres. and Sister Shaw are on island!
Elder Fa'alogo, Elder Swain, Elder Steele
The three in front:  Elder Taylor, Elder Moimoi, Elder Cherrington

                                              Elder Fa'alogo - he's a Samoan - what is some of this?
Some of these Elders can put it away.
                                                     Elder Nawahine and Sister Christensen
Elder Pritchard and Elder Fa'alogo - ready to begin.  While I was still working on my first (and only) plate, they managed two easily.
After the meal, Pres. Shaw showed us "Joseph Smith: the Prophet of the Restoration".  'Shall we not go on in so great a cause?'
Two new Elders arrived that morning - Elder Kalua'u and Elder Rigby, on the ends of Elder Fa'alogo and Elder Bulloch.  We received great strength when they came today.  Move forward.