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.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Random October Events

Moving from the old Mission Home... the new.
OK, it was Sept 30th, but close enough to be included in October moments - the move dragged on into October for the Shaws  and the assistants.
                            Sister Bleak's backyard plants have found a new backyard home.

How would you like to pay $4.50 for a gallon of gas?  We are all cheering - there are gas wars going on with the building of this new station - $4.50 Special!

It was recess and hundreds of children were everywhere when we senior missionaries showed up to Rairok Elementary School with hundreds of books sent by the Steed's friends and family back home.  Brooke is the 6th grade teacher and the man is the principal.
Posing for an official snapshot - the children were all respectful and excited.  Brooke invited Sister Davidson and I to read to her sixth graders. 
Our next stop was Ajeltake Elementary, where the Steeds had taught for a few months.
After presenting the books to the Principal there, he invited us to read to some classes, and they happened to give me the Steed's old third grade classroom.

When the principal showed them the picture of the Steeds he said, he said, "Who was taught by these people?"  I expected them to answer "We were!"  But each child jumped to his feet and said, "Na!"  "Me!"  I was moved - the Steeds had reached each one.  A memorable day - Thursday, October 7th.

Another memorable day - Saturday October 9th - Agneti's (Agnes) baptism.  Elder Nawahine and Elder Rix and Agneti's family surrounding her - she is a focal point of love in her family.  Her son Gordan was baptized the week before.

I finally was able to catch three frigate birds on my camera - they are hard to see with the wires. I was in Laura waiting for the Sisters to come so that I could give Sister Ve'e her medication.

I played volleyball with some Primary children while I was waiting...
The kids all over the island are so ahtletic!

                                                             Finally, the Sisters!!
Pictures of all the mission watching General Conference at the new mission home have already been posted, but here is one that didn't make it there.  At the top of the stairs leading up to the second floor is a picture of Minerva Teichert's "Esther."  I want to remember years from now that I was there...October 16th, 2010.
Some pretty darling Rita Ward Primary girls...
watching me teach Darrus his piano lesson - needless to say it was not one of our more productive lessons with those girls and others staring at him - but he handled it pretty well.
Darrus's Mom, Meetu, led the children in the Primary program rehearsal... they asked me to accompany. Boy, can they sing!  October 28th
October 26th - Family Home Evening with Jorau and Netti's family...
Me holding BJ - named after two special missionaries to their family - Elder Brian Gilbert and Elder Jason Woodland.  I used to think my eyes were brown, but after being here, I don't anymore.
Halloween in the Marshall Islands (Saturday October 30th)  Elder Corry and Elder Dew sent all the kids to my house.
This year the kids were more under control, I think because they knew me and I was firm and kind about everyone getting only 1 piece of candy, then they leave...the kids were under control, but I'm not so sure about the adults...
Halloween weekend, Sister Vuikadavu and I were companions!  She had hurt her ankle and the doctor ordered her off of it for a few days.  We only went out once for a baptism in Delap Saturday night and came home to all the Trick or Treaters.  Sunday we stayed home and watched Conference together and found out alot about the many connections we have, one of them being rugby of all things!  Her good friends from Fiji played with Danny in the championship game this year where they beat Highland!  The father of the twins stayed with Yvonne and Wayne...amazing.  Her foot is healing, so our long vigil and her obedience to the doctor's orders is paying off.  And our paths will cross again in the States - we're already planning...(I'm sure wearing that outfit alot - I must be getting to the end of this mission because I must be kind of sick of my clothes.)
This is what I woke up to one October morning as I stepped outside to go for a walk - my knee and foot are healing, and my spirit soared at the beauty of the morning.
But this is why I am here - to keep Elders (and Sisters) like these healthy and ready to go out teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that people can change and come to the Savior for healing and help, to make it back home.  I am so blessed.   (Elder Ralpho and Elder Swain - lunch before Elder Ralpho goes off to the Provo MTC for his training to be a missionary in Papua New Guinea.)