Wednesday, September 1, 2010

August 23-29 2010

Aug 23-29, 2010

Well, this has been a much slower week due to us returning from our “Meet the President” Mission Tour. We are still waiting to move into the new mission home, they have promised it for the last two weeks, but there are still too many things not completed. We received word that our household goods that we shipped may (?) arrive on 9 Sep-that is the same day that Elder & Sister Hamula arrive for the Area Presidency Mission Tour. That could be lots of fun, we have been told that the packers from the Philippines must unpack and place the items as part of the customs requirements. Hopefully, we will be in the new home so we don’t have to move the things again?

We arrived home on Monday, 23 August at 1:40 am, got to bed about 3:00 am then had a conversation with Elder & Sister Hamula at 9:00 am to finalize the mission tour. I’m not sure how awake we were, but it was fun to see how things were going to change. Now instead of having the Hamula’s for two weeks we will be together 9-13 Aug, then they need to return to New Zealand, Sharon and I will head immediately to Tarawa in order to arrive before they do on the 21st of August. This is the fun of traveling around the islands; there are only so many planes that fly the routes and they only fly on certain days of the week. Consequently, you have to be at the connection point in time to catch the once a week flight. That obviously creates a few opportunities to spend a couple of days in Honolulu or Fiji, but it sure goofs up a lot of days where you could be doing some work within the mission. We will be gone for 18 days on this trip, so it will be another pretty long ordeal. It will be good to go back to Tarawa and get to know some of the members a little bit better and to attend church there. During the zone conferences that Elder Hamula is holding we will be bringing in all of the elders from the outlying islands, it will be really good to meet and interview them. Some of them have been out there for 4-7 months and it will be good for them to get some of their packages and to talk or email their families. These elders are in remote areas and many do not have the opportunity of communicating with their families.

Also, on Monday we were able to accomplish some of the things that were emailed to us while we were away, but unable to print off, sign and email or fax back to senders. We also started the process of preparing documents to send to the Area Office to gain approval for Mission Counselors. We also, worked on new direction/guidance for the missionary leaders weekly letters to the President, Preparation Day guidelines and of course, the ever present upcoming transfers. Tom met with the Majuro Stake President on Thursday night and worked out a few concerns that both of them had with certain rules. It has been a challenge to have the stake (which used to be a district up until a year ago where the mission was responsible for almost everything) step up and begin to assume it’s leadership role in many of the aspects/programs of the church. They are young and enthusiastic, but lack the experience and, of course, they are the boss and we can only offer to assist them if they want us to. Presidents Tibon, Enos and Betty are great leaders, they just need some experience and training! There are six wards and one branch in the stake and with the limited communication and transportation there are several challenges in getting everyone of the same page let alone at the same meeting for this training. They all have wonderful hearts and really want to do what is correct, but they must first see how it should be accomplished.

On Saturday afternoon, following a busy day, Sharon and I jumped in the truck and headed for Laura, the furthest ward to the west side of the island/atoll. While traveling there we passed by a couple of the elders talking with a man (he is a member of stake high council) so we threw their bikes in the back of the truck and took them to their apartment. We had the opportunity of sharing some thoughts and feeling of their spirits. We then continued on to Aljetake (branch) and visited the elders, and ran smack dab into the middle of a Primary activity. Of course, there was food, and lots of kids with most of the teachers. It was a fun activity and the kids have a blast on the church grounds. Elders Swain and Humrich with primary children.The church sits right on the bank of the lagoon side of the atoll; it really is a beautiful setting. This is the "Church owned" missionary apartment (on church property)-it is about fifteen foot square, combined bedroom/kitchen and a separate bathroom/shower (cold water only) but it has air conditioning. We had some fun with the kids and then headed to Laura. We had some mail, a check for the rent of the sisters to give to the landlord. We never found the sisters but left a note in their door and returned to the mission office. We did take a picture of a couple of pigs crossing the road (looked like they had just been in a mud bath). We also passed this Missionary Adventure complex, this is for Christian missionaries, but not our church. As we drove both ways to Laura we passed through the "Palm Tree Tunnel" it is beautiful.In Laura passed by a typical grave yard, for the most part they are very luxurious and well kept. More well to do people often have a small canopy over the grave, so the peron doesn't get wet?Today is Sunday and we attended church meetings in our home ward, Long Island Ward. It was good to be back and to feel of the spirit there. They have system (home station and headsets) for translating the spoken word to the non-Marshallese missionaries. Meetings were good and we made some comments in Sunday School and the combined Priesthood/Relief Society meeting and I think most understood, but it was translated into Marshallese. They announced that between the missionaries and children of record that there will be eight baptisms next Saturday. It is exciting to see those investigators that have caught the spirit of the Lord, the entire countenances have changed. I interviewed one sister this week for baptism that had been involved in a transgression 20 years ago and what a spirit she has. At the end of the interview I was honored to tell her that she could be baptized at her earliest convenience. I am humbled as I have opportunity to interview some of the special cases and to feel of the wonderful, humble, broken heart and contrite spirit of these people. I continue to be amazed at how much they love the Lord and how excited they are to come unto Christ and to partake of the full entitlements of the atonement. I sometimes wonder if I would have the courage to do all that they have done to prepare for this sacred ordinance.

We had the Office Elders (Gulbransen-Finance and Dew-Secretary) over for dinner tonight and to chat with them in an informal setting. They are great young men and provide a great service for the mission. They will be transferred in the next 4-5 weeks as a new senior couple is coming to fill that role. We will miss them, but know that they will be very successful as they can dedicate themselves to full-time proselyting work.

We were also able to Skype with all of our kids and their families today. What a joy it was to see them and to tell them of our love for them. They are the light and life of our lives. They bring so much joy to us it is beyond comprehension. We are blessed to have their total support, love and prayers and they know they have the same from us. Our call was totally unexpected, we were just getting used to sharing special times with them, but they were so excited for our call and it has been a great strength to us knowing that they are 150% behind us. We are kind of missing some special time with them and our grandchildren, but the Lord has blessed us greatly and we know that they know we love them and that we will be there in spirit for their special occasions.

We know the gospel of Jesus Christ is TRUE! God lives and Jesus is our Savior and Redeemer! We know that Thomas S. Monson is a living prophet and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. We have been blessed with the greatest missionaries in the world and we are edified by them each and every day. Many come from broken homes, or where they are the only members of the church in their families, or have given up wonderful scholarships, or lucrative athletic contracts and many other things that they have given up to serve the Lord. We are humbled to be in their presence and pray that we may be worthy to lead them. May the Lord bless each of us in our efforts to be obedient and to endure to the end.
Love Mom & Dad / Nana & Papa / President & Sister Shaw

1 comment:

juslina said...

wow is this marshall island at majuro huh man i always wonna go there but any way is good to see all of the marshallese people but also i'm marshallese too but i speak only little bit of marshallese......!!!!!!