Monday, July 11, 2011

May 24 - June 21, 2011

I have a lot to catch up on in this blog. On Saturday, May 27, we left for Hawaii, then to Christmas Island. While we were in Hawaii we went to church on Sunday and we ran in to the Jim & Teresa Kougulious and their daughter. He was Drew’s partner in business before and had been the Mission President in Chile, four years ago. It was so great to talk to them and to share some experiences. They now work with many Spanish wards and branches in the Salt Lake Valley.

On Monday, we went to the Hawaii Mission Office. We had hoped to see President Dalton but he was not in. We did see the four Assistants and the office couples which was good. When our missionaries come through Hawaii as they come and as they go home, two of the Assistants in Hawaii pick them up at the airport and take them to their apartment. If they are on their way here they set them up with other missionaries to go on some appointments with them. They also get them back to the airport for their flight. When the missionaries are coming home they do the same thing, unless someone else is going to meet them. They not only do this for our missionaries, but other missionaries in the Pacific area. They get calls all hours to pick up and take care of missionaries traveling through Hawaii. We so appreciate them for helping our missionaries out, they are great young men.

We left for Christmas Island on Tuesday and of course lost a day as we did. We were excited to meet the new couple Elder and Sister Fifield. They are a great couple and are already adjusting to things there. They are from South Ogden, Utah. In talking we found out that Elder Fifield knows our brother-in-law Kurt quite well, as they both worked at MacKay Dee Hospital. Also my good friend Kristen was his secretary for a time. What a small world it becomes! They had not had internet at their home for two weeks and the computer that was there had crashed. So they had been going to an internet cafĂ©, which was soooo slow. You could open up about three emails an hour, obviously not adequate. So we were able to get them hooked up with a better internet and a magic jack for calling. They can now skype now also, something that Moser’s who were there before couldn’t do.

We stayed in a stick house as all of the other hotels were full. They had a lot of fishermen there who had booked the hotels. We had a thatched roof and we had a mosquito net around our bed. The air conditioning was the air that came through the sticks! We were able to get a fan from the Sister’s which helped move the air around. We had a bathroom which had a shower that after about ten minutes you could get all wet! We had a little fridge to. We were right across the street from the church which was great.

The missionaries there right now are Elder Flint, Elder Flynn, Sister Gardner and Sister Tamuera. They are super missionaries and are happy to be serving there. We did training with them for a couple of days. The first night we were there we had a dinner with the Christmas branch Presidency. The second night we had a dinner provided by the Christmas branch auxiliary leaders. The Fifield’s provided lunches for us, and a few dinners. The Elders have been a big help in getting all the computer things to work.
Both Tom and I were able to go to some of the missionaries appointments with them. I went with the sisters and Tom went with the elders. We love to have this opportunity because we see what it is like and meet the investigators. The people are always very friendly and they giggle a lot! It is customary there that we all introduce ourselves. We tell our name our parents name and where we live. We tell how many are in our family, how many children and grandchildren. After everyone introduces themselves then they start the discussion. The missionaries let us bear our testimony about what was taught and they interpret for us. Our missionaries are amazing how they learn the language after they have come and how the Lord helps them in that process.

On Saturday, the Branches had a bush/beach party. They had a lot of fish that they cook on a grill and some other dishes to eat. They also had a program where the primary children did some dances. They are so adorable and they love to dance. They gave all the missionaries a head lei when they were finished and then they allowed the children to get the missionaries to make a fool of themselves and dance with them! We also had this little guy who sang some songs with his grandson. We didn’t understand the words, but the people were roaring with laughter. These people are always so happy and easy going I think we could all learn a thing or to from them. They had a few games for the children and they also had volleyball going, they love to play volleyball here.

On Sunday, we went to three sacrament meetings. We went to the Christmas Branch the Banana Branch, and the Poland unit. It was fast Sunday. There are usually always many who bear their testimonies and the spirit is always strong. That evening we had a youth fireside that Tom and I spoke at. The youth are great and they love to sing so they usually have a choir sing in their firesides. We also had a special musical number from the Banana Branch that was so beautiful. Tom also did some training with the branch auxiliary meetings. They are eager to learn how things are supposed to run, and what their responsibilities are. We had a wonderful visit in Christmas and the missionaries are doing well there.

We arrived home on Saturday, June 11th. The following Tuesday we had a Zone Conference. Tom decided to split the zones up so we had meetings on Tuesday and the others on Thursday. It seemed to go okay and the missionaries said they liked it but we will see what we decide next time. The goal was to be a little more personalized and participation. It is always great to get together and share some time with all the missionaries. Tom interviewed all of them afterwards, which made for a long day, but a good one.

On Saturday, Elder Hamula came for Stake conference. He is going to take as the new Area President in August. This is the second time he has come since we have been here. It was great to be with him again, but we missed seeing his wife. We fed him and the Stake President lunch that day. They then left to go over to the church to have a Priesthood Leadership Session at 3:00pm, where Tom also spoke. Then at 5:00pm we had a dinner with the stake leaders and Elder Hamula that the stake had catered. At 6:00pm we had the Saturday Adult Meeting, both Tom and I both spoke along with Elder Hamula and the Stake President.

Sunday morning there was an Investigator and Recent Convert Meeting at 8:30am. There were about 500 people there, so that was a good turnout. The General Session was at 10:00am. At 1:00pm we had a luncheon which our senior couples prepared for us. Then at 3:00pm we had a fireside for the young single adults. Elder Hamula is such a wonderful speaker and we learned so much from him. He was fighting a cold while he was here also with all of the meetings he spoke at. So when we got back to the house he laid down until dinner time. Then at about 7:30pm he went back to bed as his flight was scheduled for 2:30am! We don’t know how they do it and I’m sure they sometimes wonder how they do it too! We are happy that he will still be in our Pacific Area Presidency and that we will get to see him and his wife at the Mission President Seminars.

On Monday night, the Perkins, our senior couple who were assigned to Majuro to be the nurse, graciously left for Tarawa as we have not received another nurse there, and the Steeds are going home in a week. So, the Perkins said they would go there for a couple of months, until someone comes. Also, on Monday we had a Sister’s Activity. All of the senior sisters and the sister missionaries went to Laura beach. The sisters never get to see that side of the mission because they haven’t been serving in that part. We had a great time; we ate lunch and enjoyed the scenery and each other’s company. Some looked for shells, some played games, some sang, and some just talked. We had thirteen of us there.

We had several Birthdays in our family since we last wrote. On May 27th Porter turned 7, on June 2nd Hallie turned 5. Jeff turned 34 and Fischer turned 5. We hope your Birthdays were special and we were glad to sing and talk to all of you on the phone. We have now almost been here a year, sometimes time has gone very fast and other times it seems longer. One thing we know is that when we were called we didn’t even know where the Marshall Islands were. Now we know exactly where they are and we will never forget how special they are. The people have a lot of faith here and they are accepting the gospel and are changing their lifestyle in many ways. We love to see that change and also the change that takes place in the missionaries as they serve here. We love you all and hope that your summer will bring good times and memories made in your families. We love you all. Mom & Dad / Nana & Papa /President & Sister Shaw.

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