Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dec 31 2010 - 13 Jan 2011

Well, we are a week away from Elder Bednar’s visit and things will get crazy from here on out! Everyday Tom receives an email changing something. Everyone is trying to make everything look better for when Elder Bednar comes. There are so many little details that have to be done, and it all adds up. On Saturday they had a ward party, which was New Year’s Day. They always have a ward party on that day because they are celebrating the Stake center being built. It was a pot luck and it was to start at 6:00. It actually started at 7:45 that’s Marshallese time and Mormon time combined! After the dinner the Elders assigned to Long Island Ward were in charge of the games. They had different people come out to the middle of the floor and dance until the music went off and then they were to freeze. If they moved they would be out. We sat by a guy named Sam, and investigator who the missionaries brought. They had found him two days before. He had his leg amputated from below the knee about a month ago and so he was on crutches. He is diabetic and had stepped on a nail and didn’t feel it and his leg filled up with infection. He had been a pharmacist before this happened. He was delightful to talk to and seemed so up even though he had just been through a lot. He came to church the next day and he seems very interested in the church. He had mentioned how sharp he thought that the missionaries and all the men looked in their white shirt and tie, so we got one for the missionaries to give to him along with a tie. He was so proud to where it to church the next week.We now have a new Assistant, Elder Afioga. He had been serving in Ebeye. Elder Nawahine went to Ebeye to finish his time in the mission field. We will miss him, but at least we will see him again before he leaves. Elder Afioga will be a great addition and we look forward to serving closely with him.

On Monday we went to the Christensen’s for home evening. We had a wonderful white bean soup and we all brought something. We talked about having a study group, with the all of the seniors. We are going to study the New Testament together. We will be doing this every Monday night.On Tuesday we had Eric (deputy Ambassador of the USA), his wife (Cathy) and little boy over for dinner. They are a cute little family and his wife is expecting another child in May. Their little boy, Edward, is two and he made me very homesick for our grandkids.

On Thursday we had two new missionaries arrive, Sister Howard and Elder Randall. We took them for a little tour of the island and then we took them for Pizza at Chit Chat. After that they were at the office for a little bit and they emailed their parents to tell them that they had arrived safe and sound. They are always so tired when they get here because of the early flight and because of the time change. So they came back to our house and took a nap. We fed them dinner and got to know them a little better. Then they slept here in the mission home overnight.

On Friday we had their orientation at the mission office. They came back to the mission home for some lunch and then they were picked up by their companions and started their mission life! They were both excited to be here and they will be a great assets here. We also received two new missionaries on the Kiribati side; Elder Packer and Elder Norman. Elder Packer is from Kiribati and was adopted from there when he was 3 months old. His assignment to Kiribati was made before any of us knew that he was a native, which I’m sure was no coincidence. He had contacted one of the senior couples, the Steed’s, who are serving there and asked them if they could find out if his family was still there. His Mother had passed away but he had some brothers and sisters and an uncle who are there. When he arrived at the airport they were there to greet him, and he said it was a tearful reunion. There wasn’t a lot of communication because he does not speak the language yet. We Skyped with these two Elders and felt of their spirit and happiness; we will meet them when we go to Kiribati the next time.

On Saturday we had a fun activity with the senior couples. We went to an outer island called Eneko. We had a great time. We went on a boat and it took about 45 minutes to get there. We brought a lunch and we had a very relaxing time. They had kayaks that you could use. We looked for some shells without much success and we enjoyed wading in the water and taking in a few rays! The beach was really nice and the water clean where we were. Elder Hewstone actually went snorkeling. We spent the day there and it ended too soon! That evening we had two girls who are sisters come to the mission home. The one girl, Susie had served a mission here two and a half years ago. She is showing her sister the places she served, and going to some of the people that she taught. The sister, Teresa, had served a mission in the Philippines. They had gone there together before to see the Philippines and the church there. They will be here in the Marshalls for another full week and are excited that they will be here when Elder Bednar comes.

On Monday we had our first study group on the New Testament. It was very enjoyable and good to share our interpretations with each other. This is going to be a good thing for all of us.On Tuesday we had an office meeting. There is always plenty to discuss. We also found out that for now we will be keeping Christmas Island in our mission. They were debating whether to put it under the Hawaii mission because it is closer to them. We are happy to keep them and we will be going there the end of this month.

On Wednesday we went to the Laura district for their district meeting. This was the first district meeting for them with quite a few transfers that had taken place a couple days before. Theyreally all seem to click and work well together. We took them doughnuts which they wolfed down in a couple of seconds! That evening I decided to wash our truck because it desperately needed it! I started to wash it and got one side done before and had a lot of helpers show up! Their favorite part was spraying the hose and I tried to let everyone have a turn. They also dried it off and also vacuumed the inside. There were all about 10 or 11 and so cute. Of course, today it rained so it is already a little dirty. No matter where you are if you wash a car it is bound to rain soon after!

Well we are going to try to stay calm and collected as we make final preparations for the Bednars. The people here have never had an Apostle come before. They all hope to shake his hand and I so hope that there will be a little time for him to do so. The work is going forward in the Marshall Island mission. It is exciting to see that growth. We are learning with the missionaries how to be better teachers and to teach with the spirit. We love this work and are happy to be a part of it. We love our family and we think about you all constantly. It is hard to imagine that you are all freezing while we are roasting! I just couldn’t bring myself to have some hot chocolate here. But I might turn on all the air conditioners and make it colder and I just might have some! We pray for you we love you and we are so grateful for Skype. Please feel our arms round about you all tightly. Love Mom & Dad / Nana & Papa / President & Sister Shaw

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