Tuesday, June 21, 2011

May 10-23, 2011

We are finished with our mission tour. It was very busy but wonderful. We got to know the Nielson’s quite well as we traveled and taught with them. Their schedules are always jam packed as they tour the Pacific Islands. We are so happy they got to come to our mission before they leave to go to the Philippines to serve in an area Presidency there. The first part of our mission tour was in Tarawa. We went to Hawaii first, and then to Fiji. The Nielson’s came to Fiji from New Zealand and we went together to Tarawa. We arrived there at 3:00 in the afternoon. We had dinner with the senior couples that evening. Later, we had a stake and ward auxiliary meeting that evening, where Elder and Sister Nielson spoke. Sister Nielson talked about climbing the gospel tree and partaking of the best fruit that is at the top. That fruit looks like prayer, home evening, accepting callings, and reading the scriptures. Elder Nielson talked about supporting and following our prophet, Stake Presidents, and Bishops. He used the scripture “When thou art converted strengthen thy brethren.” He made an analogy about when the Lamanites dug a hole and buried all their weapons, and then covered them with dirt. They promised that they would never take them up again. We all have weapons of rebellion that we need to bury and not use again. Some of these weapons could be pride, laziness, don’t care, and they drag us down. He said if you want to know some of your weapons of rebellion to just ask your husband, wife, or children. We need to help the Stake Presidents and Bishop’s by fulfilling our callings. The question was asked “How we can help the Bishop bring the less-actives back?” Elder Nielson then talked about rescue visits. He said you could ask them; “Tell me about the day you were baptized. Who baptized you? Why aren’t you with us?” A lot of the time people will have been offended by something or someone. We may then follow that up with our solemn apology; we are sad that happened to them. Please come back. We may not feel that it was a very good reason for them to stop coming, but if we apologize that may be all they need to come back.

The next day we had a meeting with the four zone leaders, Elders Nye, Morton, Lowrey,andVandyken Elder Nye is in the picture that Sister Steed is in.Elder Nielsen taught them that we all teach each other. He told them that we all have eyes to see and ears to hear. He challenged them to sit on the stand and really look in the eyes of the Missionaries. They were to listen to the spirit throughout our zone conference. Then after the zone conference we would meet again and share those things that we learned through the spirit. He asked them what was going well in the mission and what were some of the challenges that needed some attention. He told them that the first thing they pray for in the General Authority meetings is the missionaries, because they are the most valuable resource in spreading the gospel throughout the world.

We then had our zone conference. Tom talked about humility, and how important that attribute is to be good disciples of Christ. He talked about looking in the mirror and the things that you see. You look to fix your hair, put on make-up, brush your teeth, shave and put your tie on. Those are all outward things. How many of us look for the deeper things of the soul? We each need to give ourselves a PPI and see where you are in the things that really matter. He used the words to the song “Have you received his image in your countenance.” Pride can interfere with your teaching. We need to acknowledge the Lord, in all things.

Sister Nielson spoke about companionships. She talked about what the Nielson’s liked to do, before they got married. For instance, they like boating, playing in the water, and eating Mexican food. They love to sit in a room and entertain each other, and laugh. Then their children got married and those that they married were not Nielson’s and they didn’t like all the things that the Nielson’s liked. So they had to adjust some of the activities so that their spouses would be happy. They concluded that you didn’t have to be a Nielson to be loved by the Nielson family. She compared that to companionships. She talked about some of the things her boys learned as they served. They learned that they were both on the same team. Both of you had sacrificed to go on a mission and everyone left their family and came to serve the Lord. You are all unique and you need to respect that fact. The thing that annoys you might be something you need to learn. You need to be one in purpose. Differences need to be celebrated. Uniqueness and your lifestyle bring something to the companionship.

I spoke on improving our teaching skills. I used an object lesson of having someone come up and handing them a pen and ask them to try to drop the pen. The person always dropped it first, and then I would say no, I said “Try to drop the pen.” Then they would hold the pen and I would repeat what I had asked them to do. We concluded that you cannot try to drop the pen you either do it or you don’t. So you either do something or you don’t. You are either obedient or you’re not. You commit to do something you don’t just say I’ll try. I talked about some teaching skills that can make them better teachers. Using analogies, using pictures and resources available. Tell the Joseph Smith story with feeling. Bearing your testimony and telling the investigator’s the promised blessings that can come when we keep our commitments. We discussed other methods and then at the end we use the five finger rule, we make a return appointment, we ask them to read the scriptures, we ask them to come to church, we ask them to invite a friend or family member to join them or ask for the name of someone they think might be interested. The palm of the hand is the baptismal covenant. So I asked them to not just try to be a better teacher but to be a better teacher.

Elder Nielson spoke about the scriptures 2 Nephi: 31 and 3 Nephi 11:25-27-31-32. Every time Jesus Christ appears on the earth he teaches the Doctrine of Christ; 1) Faith in Jesus Christ 2) repentance 3) Baptism 4) Gift of the Holy Ghost 5) Endure to the end. He Said faith is an action word. He said that if we want inspiration we have to pray read the scriptures and fast. This is the same process that the General Authorities get their inspiration and revelation. We invite, they commit and we follow up. He also opened the meeting up to questions at the end. The senior sister's prepared a luncheon which was really good. The missionaries aways enjoy the eating part of conference!

We had a new member investigator fireside. He talked about the plan of our Father in Heaven. Jesus Christ would be the center of that plan and he would take on the sins of the world. God placed us here, some to Kiribati and some in Fiji, some in the United States and all over the world. He sent his son who was crucified and rose again in three days. He was baptized by John the Baptist to show us the way. We then receive the Holy Ghost and then we have been born of the water and the spirit. God set up laws from the very beginning of time. In D&C 82:10 He says, “When you do what I say you will be blessed but if ye do not what I say you have no promise.”

We went to New Zealand at that time and got back in Majuro on the 17 May. On 19 May the Nielson’s arrived at 8:30 in the morning. We took them on a tour of the Island and fed them lunch. They met all the senior couples at the mission office in the afternoon. At 5:00pm we had dinner at the mission home with all of the Stake Presidency members and wives.At 7:00pm we had a stake and ward council training. The training there was the same as the council meeting we had in Kiribati.

The next morning we had training for the Assistants and the Zone Leaders in Majuro. He taught them much the same as he did before. One thing he mentioned was that if they don’t correct the missionaries when they are doing something wrong, then you take the sin on you head. If you don’t say something then you become part of the problem. Your silence becomes affirmation of what happened. He told them that they should act on promptings received. Always write down the revelations you receive and ask if there is more.

In zone conference he talked about the revelatory process as he had before. He gave an example of when President Kimball was President in 1975 the Twelve could not take care of everything because the church had grown so big. Elder McConkie had been reading the scriptures and found that we had not been following the doctrine on the Seventies. At that time we had seventies on a stake level. He had read in D&C 93 where it said that there should be quorum of the Seventies on the church level. So, in the General Conference held October 1975 President Kimball called three members to the first Quorum of Seventy (one of which was Sister Nielson’s father). At that point all Seventies on the stake level were released. I never remember hearing why it was changed. He allowed questions again which the missionaries love.

Tom and Elder Nielson interviewed some of the missionaries and then went on apartment checks. I took sister Nielson to some shops so that she could buy some souvenirs.

We had a follow up meeting with the Assistants and the zone leaders again. After that they came to the mission home and we fed them and the Nielson’s dinner.

We had a new member investigator fireside as well. Elder Nielson, Tom and I spoke again. He opened it up for questions at the end.

Saturday May 21st we left for Ebeye. We had quite the interesting lady sit next to us on that flight. She started talking to us right from the start. She asked what we were doing and why we were going to Kwajalein. We told her some things about the church and she acted interested. So we gave her a Mormon.org card and a card with the Thirteen Articles of Faith. Then she began to tell us about herself. She said that she was going to the base to meet her high school sweetheart who had never married. She kept referring to me as Mama! She asked us how old we thought she was and so we said middle forties, and she said no “I’m 53.” So I said well I’m only four years older than you, so there is no way that I could be yo Mama! She was all nervous about if she should kiss him, or hug him, or what she should say. She also told us that she was married and had three children. She said you don’t think I should be doing this do you? Tom told her that there is never a right way to do the wrong thing. So we parted as we went in to the airport telling her to look on the Mormon Website. We were welcomed at the airport by some sisters in the branch who had lei’s and head lei’s for us. They are always so sweet to us. We then went to Subway for lunch which was enjoyable.

We took the Ferry (20 minute ride) to Ebeye and we were met at the dock by Elder and Sister Mills and the other missionaries serving there. They took us to our hotel rooms and dropped our luggage off. This was the place where we had the room that was not top notch, but now they have remodeled and things are much nicer. We then went to the church where the members were all lined up and singing to welcome the Neilson’s and us. They are wonderful saints and we always love to go there. Elder Neilson and Tom went with the Elder’s to some appointments and Sister Neilson and I went with the Sisters. We had great visits and we loved being with the Missionaries and their investigators. I had the camera and so I got to take pictures of the place that we went. It was a family who were part members and they were teaching the rest of them. We had a Saturday night meeting before our District Conference. Elder Neilson spoke about getting answers from the Holy Ghost. Ask, seek, and knock. The Lord’s commandments give us ears to hear and eyes to see. Heavenly Father wants us to move forth in faith. If we have fear, faith disappears. How to retain remission of our sins, Moroni 4:26. Who is your neighbor, teach each other.

On Sunday, we had two sessions of the General Session of District Conference because all of the people could not fit in the building. The large Community Center had been reserved by the Jehovah’s Witnesses so we could not use that building this time. We all talked at both meetings. Some of the people came to both meetings, Wow! They were well attended; the people there in Ebeye are so faithful.

On Monday, we had a zone conference with the missionaries. There are four Elders and two Sisters, and the Senior Couple, Elder & Sister Mills. We taught the same thing there as we had in our other zone conferences. The Mills are wonderful and keep the ball rolling in Ebeye. They are so loved there.

We headed back to Kwajalein, the American base, to come back to Majuro. We ate at the base again and then flew back. Elder and Sister Neilson continued on to Hawaii, where they spoke at BYU Hawaii the next day before departing to go back to New Zealand .

We were quite busy all the time but we also learned some valuable lessons from the Neilson’s. They are very special, and we were so glad that they could come to our Mission before being transferred to the Philippines.

We had opportunities to share some of the gospel as we traveled and as we rode in taxis. We were always happy to give them a Mormon.org card and they seemed happy to take it. Hopefully we planted a few seeds along the way. We have been so blessed with experiences that will stay with us. We have had the spirit witness to us many times of the truthfulness of what we teach. We love you all. Mom & Dad / Nana & Papa / President & Sister Shaw.

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