Thursday, March 24, 2011

MIMM 2-23 March 2011

Almost a month has gone by since I last wrote. While we were in Hawaii we were able to go to the Laie Temple. It was so good to go again and to see all of the remodeling that has been done. It was beautiful. We were able to talk to President and Sister Gollaher, a counselor in the temple presidency, to thank them for the gracious way they treated the saints from Ebeye. They said there was a wonderful spirit about those members and it was great to see them so happy. They also told us that while the temple was closed for remodeling that everyone was released and many new workers were called. They said that seventy percent of the workers when it reopened were brand new. So when the temple opened they really had not been able to train them, and they had a ton of patrons coming! Somehow the Lord provides and the work still goes on. Also, on that day as we returned back to the hotel where we were staying we saw one of our former missionaries, Sister Toki! She was in the hot tub with many of her family members as they had come from California for a family reunion. We were able to meet her mom, cousins and some Aunts and uncles! It was a pleasant surprise and we were grateful that we were able to see her again.

On Saturday March the 4th we flew back to Majuro. It was great to be back again. We arrived on a day that some of the students from BYU Hawaii and their leaders had come to hold a workshop for the people about school, and how to start a businesses. One of the ladies who came was the mother of a former missionary, Sister Vanessa Cummings. Sister Lei Cummings left the day that we arrived, but we did get to meet her and talk a little. Her mom said that she sent her love and had hoped to come but she was in charge of a big cultural advent at school. I think the group gave great insight to those who attended, and helped them to know that they could achieve if they have the desire.

We also went to the baptism of three younger boys. Two of the boys were brothers, and their parents have made many beautiful crafts that a lot of the senior couples have bought. They live on one of the small outer islands, but when the tide is out they can walk over to Majuro. The parents Tiki and Sue are members as well but had not been as active until the missionaries came and gave their boys the discussions. We always love to see them and talk to them as they can speak English. It was a wonderful baptism.

On thursday, the senior and younger sisters got together for a special "sisters luncheon" at the mission home. The power went out at 9:00am so the plan to teach the young sisters how to make cinammon rolls went out the window, so after lunch they made a greeting card and everyone had a great afternoon. This will become a quarterly event. Elder Wakolo and Tom got to share in the good food (enchiladas) which were made by Sister Ruiz.

Later that day, Elder Wakolo and three other brethren (Doug Martin, Deric Dimaya and Albert Niuelua) from New Zealand came evening with the other seniors. They provided training to the office staff, completed the office audit and made sure that they were providing adequate support to the mission. Elder Wakolo and brethren provided training to the new Stake Presidency and clerks. He also held a Youth/YSA fireside which was excellent. We had them for dinner on Sunday and they all seemed to enjoy the event. On Monday, they took us all to the Tide Table Restaurant for a farewell dinner; we then took them to the airport to catch their plane.

This was also the week that Sister Teichert, our nurse, and Elder Rix, one of our Assistants, were going home. They came to dinner on Friday and then we took them to the airport. We got them all checked in and then we were just waiting until the time for them to leave. Around 8:00pm Tom received a phone call from our infield representative (Elder Rowe) who is in New Zealand saying that Japan had just had a huge earthquake and tsunami and that we were now under a tsunami alert. He went back to the Mission office to get further instructions. Shortly after that they announced at the airport that the flight had been cancelled because of the alert (the plane had gone directly to Hawaii). We left the airport and at that point we were told to gather all of the missionaries together. We had them all come in and we went to the second floor above the mission office. The missionaries were very good at coming as quickly as possible, and we had them all together within an hour. The Kiribati side also gathered the missionaries together as they had the same alert. We had taken first aid supplies and some food, not knowing how long we would be there. We had a prayer asking the Lord to temper the elements and asking for safety and protection for all of our missionaries. Most of the missionaries were hungry so we let them eat some of the food. The natives were not very concerned as they have had warnings before. We stayed together until 1:00am. We then had a prayer of thanksgiving given by Elder Wakolo and everyone went back to their apartments. It was a good drill for all of us to see what we do in an emergency situation. All of our missionaries were safe and we felt very blessed.

Sister Teichert and Elder Rix spent the night at the mission home. We were able to take them to the airport again Saturday afternoon, as they had rescheduled everyone from the flight the night before to the afternoon one on Saturday. It was hard to see them go but we were also excited for their families and their reunion with them. Sister Teichert took such good care of the missionaries in Majuro and had a great influence on them. Elder Rix was a great leader and example to the other missionaries they will both be remembered here in the Marshall mission. The nurse who is coming to take her place will not be here until the first part of April. So, Elder Christensen who works in the office who is an Oral surgeon is filling that position until the nurse and her husband arrive. We are so grateful that he is willing to do so. Saturday evening we went to a wonderful baptism. I can’t remember if I shared the experience that I had with this lady? She works at a hardware store called “Do It Best” in Majuro. I went there in December looking for some things and a lady named Cathelina waited on me. She noticed my badge and said, you must be a missionary, and I said yes. I asked her if she was a member and she said “almost!” So I asked if the missionaries had been teaching her, and she said no. She said I see them around in this area but I don’t think there is any where I live. I quickly assured her that we did and I asked her if she would give me her name and phone number and I would have the missionaries contact her. She also mentioned that she had become good friends with the Elder & Sister Hewstone, our physical facilities couple, who came to that store quite often. She knew that they were missionaries and they had laid the ground work for her interest to know more. Her husband is also studying and some of her children. There is also a coworker of hers who is now taking discussions.

On Tuesday, 15 March, the Badger’s arrived. They are a wonderful couple from South Jordan who are going to also work in the office with the Christensen’s. They will be a great asset to our mission. We had a luncheon for them which the senior couples provided for us. They came to our office meeting and then we took them to one side of the island to show them around. They were pleasantly surprised with their apartment and everything in general. They had been told many scary stories about this mission as we all had that aren’t true!

Later that night, we had President Tibon and his wife Angela and his little boy Sylvester. He is the former stake president who is going to Hawaii to continue his education. They are a wonderful family and will be greatly missed here. We hope to see them a time or two as we travel through Hawaii. When he is finished they are coming back and he hopes to get involved with the government.

On Thursday, a momentous thing happened! I made homemade cinnamon rolls, and they were even eatable! The recipe made about 20 of them, way too many for us. Later that afternoon Elder Dein came from the Kiribati side of the mission. He has been experiencing a lot of dental problems and they had already pulled one tooth and he had two other teeth that were bothering him that they couldn’t fix. We didn’t want them to keep pulling his teeth so we decided that he should go to Guam where he is from to have his teeth taken care of. They also decided to have him finish his mission there in case he has more trouble in the future. He felt really bad about leaving but he also knew that it was the best thing to do. He was able to go out with the missionaries for that day and the next, and then he came back to the mission home to spend the night and eat with us.

On Friday, we had a meeting with all of the Majuro missionaries. The Assistants and the Zone Leaders shared a thought and their testimony. Then Tom gave some counsel and reminders of some of the rules that he had heard had not been being followed. It was a good meeting. Afterwards a lot of them came in to the mission office so I took the cinnamon rolls over and they were gone in seconds! I was pleased that they liked them, but I have also been told that the missionaries will eat anything! That afternoon we had a Sister Ruiz come and stay with us whose back was hurting her. Elder Christensen wanted her to rest and keep heat on it for the weekend and take ibuprofen, to see if that would work. It was fun having her here and being able to spend time with her but it drove her nuts as she just wanted to be out working.

On Saturday, we took Elder Dein to the airport. He is such a friendly young man and very appreciative of any service given to him. He sent us an email telling us he arrived there safely. That is where his family live also. He gave us a couple of the shell necklaces that he had been given by the people in Kiribati as he departed. He will be missed.

On Sunday (21 March), Sister Ruiz and Sister Howard were going to speak in sacrament meeting. So even though her back wasn’t feeling better she still wanted to give her talk. Well we got there and they were sitting on the stand, when the counselor in the bishopric came over and said they had changed the program and that they would be next week. So we stayed for the sacrament and then I took her back to our home. We had the Assistants over for dinner that day. We had a roast and potatoes and gravy and they definitely put it away! So much so that they were pretty uncomfortable afterwards! They told us that they had been asked to give Sister Hansen a blessing, because she was sick. So I called her that evening to see how she was. She had a flu bug that had hit her really hard. I asked her if she wanted to come to the mission home so we could take care of her and she said that she wanted to see how she was in the morning. I told her to call if she changed her mind any time through the night. Sister Terabewna her companion called us at 10:30 pm. telling us that she was worse so we went to get them both to bring to our home. I think she had every symptom from two different flu bugs and she was very sick. So we then had three Sister’s staying here.

On Monday, Elder Christensen took Sister Ruiz to have an x-ray as she was not getting better. They determined that she had a muscle spasm and gave her some muscle relaxers and she is having therapy all week. The pills helped a lot but make her very sleepy. I took her to therapy on Tuesday and she said it felt a little better. So she decided to go home that afternoon and says that things are getting better. Sister Hansen had some rough days but she started to feel a little better on Tuesday. She was still quite weak but she could eat a little bit. Wednesday she felt quite a bit better but she started coughing more. Elder Christensen said that she could go home that evening if she would drink a lot of water and not hit it hard the next day. So we took her home last night and she was excited to go. She said that all the missionaries call the mission home the trunky home! Because it is more like being home and so it’s not good to stay here very long! I’m not sure how to take that!

We have such special missionaries in our mission. They love the people here and they love being able to share the gospel with them. We are so grateful for their dedication and their willingness and worthiness to serve. We love all of you and we are so happy that we can stay in touch. Your support means the world to us. Love Mom & Dad / Nana & Papa / Pres & Sister Shaw.

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