Friday, October 14, 2011

Sep 26 -Oct 5, 2011

We were in Majuro for two weeks and then it was time to go to Christmas Island. I was reading in a book about Christmas Island that said Captain Cook discovered this Island on Christmas Eve and that is why he named it Christmas. We flew to Hawaii on the 26th and left the next day for Christmas. We have four Elders there right now they are Elders Van Dyken, Tuihalangingie, Turner, and Falke. Elders Turner and Falke had arrived earlier the same day after spending five days in Fiji. The Missionaries there picked them up and they stayed and worked with them until they left. They all came in the van to pick us up including the Branch President and his counselor. It was great to see them all. That evening we had a pot luck dinner with the Branch Presidencies and all of the missionaries. We stayed in the Senior Couples home which is right by the church. Before we arrived, the Elder’s had been staying there and when we leave they will stay there until we receive another senior couple. The other two are staying in the other home where the sisters normally stay.

On Thursday, Tom took care of some loose ends for the Fifields. The people there miss them and they did not really have the chance to tell them goodbye. They wanted us to be sure to send their love to them and hope that Elder Fifield will get on the mend as quick as possible. Tom also had a Branch Presidency meeting that evening.

On Friday, we held a zone conference. We had the same subject as we did in all of the other areas on Obedience. The electrical power was out quite a bit but it came on when we wanted to show a video of Elder Holland’s talk given at the MTC in January. He always has such powerful messages and they all enjoyed watching it. Elder Falke and Elder Turner were in Tarawa when we had zone conference so they had a double dose! It is always so great to spend a week with the missionaries serving in Christmas; we get a lot of one on one time with them and get to know them so well. I wish we could do this with every missionary but unfortunately we can’t. That evening we had a fireside for the youth that was supposed to start at six o’clock which started around 7:30 - Island time! They asked us to talk about how we can all build the kingdom. They also had some of the youth speak and bear their testimonies. The young men sang “Ye Elders of Israel.” They almost always sing A’capella and they all blend so well, we could listen to them all evening they sound so good. The island people all seem to have musical talent and can pick parts out and harmonize no matter what they sing.

Saturday was incredible. They had a primary party for both branches in the cultural hall. They had four different groups pick a country to share some singing and dancing of that culture. The countries they represented were Tahiti, Samoa, Talova, and Kiribati. They were all so adorable. They had costumes that had been made for all of the children and beautiful flowers that were made by the women before it started. Everything they use comes from their trees and bushes. I watched some of them making a garland and they hook one end onto their toe and then bread everything together until it is finished. It’s amazing to see all of the talent these wonderful people have. They practice their performances quite a bit beforehand. They had some judges to assess each group. After they finished their dancing and singing they ate lunch. When lunch was over they had a second part to the program which was a question and answer part with each group participating. The questions were all about things they had learned in primary during the year. They called one child from each group up according to their ages. They started with the three year olds on up to the eleven year olds. Some of the questions were about articles of faith, some were about the Presidents of the church, and others were about primary themes each month. If they answered correctly, their group received credit or points. They also had awards for four kids who they felt were extra good. They allowed me to present them the awards at the end. The Banana branch won first place they were the Kiribati group. Each group received a cake and some nacho chips. The first place group also received ice cream. What a treat it was to be there and enjoy such a fantastic program. The pictures just don’t do it justice! The children are amazing.

On Sunday, we went to sacrament meetings, the Christmas branch and the Banana branch. In the Banana branch they sustained a new counselor in the Presidency and an Elders Quorum President. Tom set them both apart right after the meeting. We had the Elders over for dinner at 4:00pm. It was great to be able to try to fill them up and feed them because we don’t know how long it will be that they will have extra responsibilities until the senior couple comes. Sunday evening we had a fireside for the adults. We showed a DVD about senior couples and single sisters serving a mission. I think I mentioned this DVD before in a blog. It is a DVD that the South Pacific Area Presidency put together to encourage seniors to serve. There is more flexibility with the time of service and the costs. This was new to a lot of these people and some of them were excited. We have outer islands in our mission which could use senior couples to help units and branches run more smoothly. The DVD is especially exciting because two of our former senior couples are in it.

On Monday, we cleaned a little and had the elders over for lunch. At 5:00pm Tom held a meeting for those interested in going to BYU Hawaii. They really have some excellent benefits for islanders and especially for returned missionaries. Speaking of returned missionaries, we were able to see Sister Anterea who came home just recently from Majuro. She is such a sweetheart and it was great to spend time with her. Also on Monday, the President suggested that the Elders get haircuts so they got out the clippers and everyone of them got a buzz, by the President! Turnabout is fair play so Elder Tui trimmed Tom’s hair but thankfully no buzz! This was the first time for us to meet Elder Tui and it was great getting to know him. He is from California, and he was able to attend school for a couple of years in Tonga where his parents were born. He loved it there so he was excited to receive his call to serve in Kiribati. Tom went with them Elder Turner and Elder Falke, to a teaching appointment and a Family Home Evening with a member family.

On Tuesday, Tom interviewed the Elders and I was able to also be in on the interview with Elder Van Dyken because he will leave before we see him again, and Elder Tui because he is new. Elder Van Dyken will finish out his mission in Christmas Island. He is the district leader there and is doing a great job. In the afternoon we went with Elders Van Dyken and Tui to an appointment. We went to see a lady who had just come back to the church who had been inactive for quite some time. It was inspiring to hear about her experience. She was not happy when the missionaries found her and wanted to meet with her. In fact she thought they should be put in jail because they kept coming back when she told them not to. After about the fourth or fifth time she decided to listen. She had had a dream which had made her realize that she needed to return to the church. She had started going to another church and has received a lot of ridicule from her family and friends for going back to her Mormon Church. She is trying to be strong and she is doing well. They had another appointment but the man was not home. We took the Elders to eat at The Village that evening. We had steak, lobster, chicken and octopus and a few other things. They loved it and I’m pretty sure they were full when we left!

The next day Wednesday we had a district meeting. We had a lesson taught by Elder Van Dyken about finding people to teach. It was good to be able to be there for that training. We then had some breakfast food; eggs, bacon, pancakes, and hash browns. They said they were really going to miss us but I’m pretty sure they’re going to miss the food more! We had such a busy but enjoyable time with them. They took us to the airport in the afternoon and dropped us off. We told them we did not want to hear them saying yes, they’re finally gone! We are on the plane now almost to Fiji. Tomorrow we will be going to Tarawa for a week. We love you all and pray that you are recognizing the blessings that are coming your way. In particular, our children and grandchildren, Grandpa and Jeanne, and those who read this who have missionaries in our mission. Sometimes when it comes time for your missionaries to come home you aren’t sure if you want them to because you have been so blessed. We love you and pray for you and feel of your prayers for us. Love Mom & Dad / Nana & Papa / President & Sister Shaw.

1 comment:

Kent and Kathy Moser said...

Loved this post!!! Sounds like quite an adventure