Monday, August 1, 2011

July 11-27, 2011

We had a couple of weeks here in Majuro to refresh and get ready for Ebeye. On Sunday, we attended the Uliga ward. We like to go to the different wards so that we can see how things are going. The missionaries are always so great to interpret for us. Tom has been doing some training with the Bishoprics and Stake leaders. Things seem to be going a little better because of the training. He asked them all to have a ward mission leader, and to have ward councils where they can pick fifteen people who need an ordinance. For instance, there may be a young man who needs to be a deacon, or a member of a part member family they would like to teach and baptize, or a family they would like to help prepare to go to the Temple. Then have the various organizations help in that process. Once they catch the vision of how it can work they will be so much more effective in their wards.

We had home evening with the senior couples; we are studying the New Testament. We have such wonderful senior couples who are willing to help in any way they can. Because we travel so much we have to rely on them even more than the norm. On Tuesday’s we always have an office meeting where we touch base on the things we are working on and various things we need to discuss.

On Wednesday, we went to the Laura district meeting. The focus was on companionship unity. They talked about the importance of good relationships when they are not teaching. There is a need to learn about your companion; what he/she likes, how he/she feels, helping each other to be obedient. Elder Bulloch is the district leader in Laura. He talked about the scripture in D&C 42: 6 which reads “And ye shall go forth in the power of my spirit, preaching my gospel, two by two in my name, lifting up your voices as with the sound of a trump, declaring my word like unto angels of God.” They mentioned that some of the reasons for there being two of you such as, you have a second testifier, you help each other, and you are there to help stay away from temptation.

On Saturday, the Ajeltake branch had a branch activity. One of the activities was to weave a basket as quick as we could and the first one finished won. Lets just say it wasn't me!. They had games and lunch and they also made a flag for the Branch with everyone’s hand print and name on the flag. In the center of the flag it said “We are His hands, Ajeltake Branch 2011.” They all seemed to have a great time. The Christensen’s attend that ward and helped plan the activity along with Elders Edwards and Kalua’u and the branch. They are really working towards becoming a ward. That evening we had a baptism of eleven people from two different wards, Uliga and Rita. It was well attended. Some of them were an entire family which is so great because they can be a support system for each other. Elder Seru, who has been out a month, who has been a member for a little over a year had his first baptisms. He is such a great influence in our mission.

Sunday, I went to the Jenrock ward to see a man who was going to go back to the Philippines. He was a hairdresser and worked in a salon that Sister Christensen, Sister Davidson and I had gone to. He had done a pedicure on Sister Davidson and she had discussed the church with him. She asked if he would like to study with the Elders and he said yes. When I went in he talked to me about what the Elder’s were teaching him, and how impressed he was with the message.

His sister Ruth also works in the salon and is also studying with the missionaries. It has become necessary for him to go back to the Philippines to open a shop there. He knows the church is true and we hope and pray that he will seek out the missionaries in the Philippines and be baptized. His sister also has been touched by the message, but it is hard for her to study because she does not speak English very well. She is staying in Majuro and we will continue our friendship with her. He had told the Elders that he wanted to see Sister Davidson and me before he left.

On Monday, we met at the Davidson’s home for dinner and home evening. We are really going to miss them, they are the CES couple here and their replacement will not be here until January. We ate and then we watched a video that was made to help encourage couples in the South Pacific to serve a mission. Before we watched it we had a special visit from the Long Island district that came and sang a hymn and gave us a card, and told us they just wanted us to know how much they appreciated us. They also brought a cake for all of us; it was so sweet of them. The video we watched has two of our former senior couples in it, Elders and Sisters Hewstone and Steed’s. They are both such super couples and they represented us well. They had other senior couples and one single sister who were also in the video. It was so wonderful and everyone was so touched by it. They want all the Stakes in the South Pacific to have a fireside and invite all couples fifty-five years old and older to attend. There have been some changes as to the length of time they serve and also to the cost of a mission. You can serve six to twenty four month missions now. They also have said that no couple will pay more than $1,400.00 for housing, utilities and furnishings. If some couples do not have enough funds to serve then the church will help out. This is so exciting and we hope that it will inspire and make it possible for more couples to serve.

On Wednesday, we went to Long Island District Meeting. Their focus and teaching was on how they could have more success in their ward council meetings. They talked about how important it is to have members present as they teach. They talked about knowing and building a relationship of trust with the members. To find out about their conversions and what they could help others with who might be struggling who are investigators. They talked about how members can be anchors for investigators. Elder Gardner is the district leader and he is doing a great job. The scripture Moses 7:18 was given which reads “And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.” They recognize how important a member present is. Tom has given the statistic that 80% of those who are baptized without a member involved in the lessons are inactive within three months. But those who have member presence have 80% who stay active after one year.

On Thursday, I was able to go with Sisters Terabwena and Tuimoala to one of their appointments. They taught Sister Tsustina who had been inactive. They taught her about the family proclamation. She has started to come back to church and it was so neat to meet her and share in her teaching. We also went to the home of a man, who had been baptized for about four months. Tom had been able to be at a couple of his lessons where he and his wife were being taught. He had had part of his leg amputated because of diabetes. We had seen him at church Sunday and that following week he died. We went to express our love to his wife. She was happy that they had joined the church and said she was still going to be a strong member. These people are incredible and they have such faith. Also that evening we went to a birthday party for a little boy of the Zverdigen’s. He is the deputy ambassador for the USA here and they are good members of the church. We met other people who work with him and they had invited some ward members and the senior couples.

On Saturday, we left to go to Ebeye. Elder & Sister Christensen from the office went with us. We stayed at the famous Ebeye hotel. This is also the place where Elder and Sister Mill’s live who are serving there. This was a busy trip, especially for Tom. He had about sixty first time temple recommends to do! Most of them were for the people from an island called Lae, which is out by Ebeye. These people will be going in two groups back to back to the Hawaii Temple. This will be the fourth and fifth group that the Mill’s will have helped get to the Temple. They are all so excited! On Sunday morning there were two baptism's. They still baptize in the ocean there because they do not have a font. I love to watch the ones in the ocean, it is always such a beautiful setting. Elder Blacker and Elder Rigby taught the older guy and the Sister's Hansen and Howard taught the younger boy. Tom and I spoke at the two branch’s Sacrament Meetings. Then that evening there was a fireside for all of the people who will be going to the temple in August, which Tom spoke at. He taught them what to expect at the temple, it was wonderful.

On Monday, we had a zone conference with the Elders and Sisters who are serving in Ebeye. Elder Blacker is the District leader and has been doing a great job. Also serving there are Elders Rigby, Steele, and Jensen. Sisters Hansen and Howard are also there. The training was on planning and how important that is in a missionary’s life. They do most of the planning at night when they come back from teaching. He also had some of the missionaries teach certain principles and others bear their testimonies. We had lunch and enjoyed being together. After zone conference Tom interviewed each missionary. Sister Mills fed us and the Christensen’s; she always takes such good care of us when we are there. As we have mentioned before the Mill’s are so loved by the people and the missionaries. Also, Monday evening we had dinner at the Hotel’s restaurant with the District Presidency and wives’. It was good and we all enjoyed each other’s company.

On Tuesday, Tom interviewed all day. Then that evening there was District/Branch Ward Council training that Tom also taught, he did a great job. We had breaks but Tom was busy the entire time, he had to be like the energizer bunny and we don’t know how he does it.

Wednesday, we went back over to Kwajalein Army base. Branch President Amon Mioba had rented a golf cart to pick us up. He took us and the Christensen’s around the base for a tour. We then ate at Subway, Burger King, or pizza - whatever we chose. Sometimes you see people buying like fifteen Subway’s to take back to Ebeye, and big bags of Burger King Hamburgers and fries. They like it as much as we do! It was so good to have the Christensen’s with us; I think they really enjoyed seeing Ebeye and the wonderful people. Elder Christensen also went to the hospital and helped them with some dental work.

We love the Lord, He has been so good to us, and helped us as we serve. The heaviest load is on Tom and because he has been set apart for this special calling, it is amazing to see how the blessings flow so that he can accomplish all he does. We love all of you and hope that your summer is going well and that life is treating you good. Thanks for your love and prayers, we feel of them. Love Mom & Dad / Nana & Papa / President and Sister Shaw.


Elder and Sister Bonnemort said...

Sister Shaw, thanks for the update. We can't wait to join you

Elder and Sister Bonnemort

Elder and Sister Bonnemort said...

Thanks for the update. We are exited to join the mission