Sunday, November 13, 2011

Oct 19 - Nov 11, 2011

I need to write this blog because I am so far behind! We arrived in Majuro on Tuesday November 8th. We have been flying a lot more lately and time goes by so fast when we do. This blog is about the last half of October and goes up till now so I hope I can remember everything! When we came back from Tarawa we had five days in Majuro and then we went to Ebeye.

While in Majuro we had Elders Waqatairewa, Randall, Pearson, and Christensen (all past, current or future Assistants) to dinner- Elder Waqatairewa, because he went back out to the field to train, and Elder Pearson because he is the new Assistant who came over from Kiribati. The other two Elders are their companions. We love these young men they are such good leaders and they do so much for the mission.

On Saturday, we left for a short trip to Ebeye. The Elder & Sister Badger came with us to see another part of the mission. The Mill’s and the other missionaries met us at the dock. We had taken orders for Subway sandwiches for all of them that we got in Kwajalein which is the American Army base that we fly into. They were delighted to get them. Unfortunately Elder Kalua’u was sick. When he came over from Majuro he had just finished antibiotics for pneumonia. Dr. Skinner from Kwajalein came to see him and determined that he had the Dengue fever-it is an epidemic right now in the Marshall Islands which is caused by a daytime mosquito bite. Thankfully when we left he was feeling better. We were invited, by the Mills, to eat dinner with them. They are always so wonderful and treat us so well.

On Sunday morning there was a baptismal service. It was two people and it was great to be there. Tom and I then got on the Ferry to go back to Kwajalein to talk in their sacrament meeting. They have a little branch there that is even going to be much smaller after December because three of the main families who have been there are going back home to the states. One of the families that are leaving, the father (Jon), has been the Branch President so he will have to be replaced, the next time we go there. Doctor Kevin Skinner and his family is one of the other families leaving and we will really miss them. He has been kind enough to see our missionaries in Ebeye when they have needed medical help. After church they invited us over to the Skinners home for dinner with them and the branch President Neilson and his wife. The Badgers stayed on Ebeye and attended the meetings there with the Mills. That evening Sister Badger and I went to a teaching appointment with the full time Sisters. The appointment was to the home of the man and his wife who had been baptized that morning. It was great to be there and to feel of their spirit. Tom also went with both sets of Elders to teach and had a good time. I have to mention that on the weekend there is a bar in the hotel we stay in that plays loud music from about 9:00 P.M. until the wee hours of morning! The Mills said it is always Thursday thru Saturday like clockwork. Elder Mills says he is fortunate because he can just take out his hearing aids and he sleeps like a baby!

Monday, we had Zone Conference. We trained on Obedience and they seemed to enjoy the messages. The Mills will be leaving in December. The people in Ebeye adore them and we know it will be very hard for them when they leave. We have become great friends. They are both avid BYU fans and so we have that in common too! We will get to see them one more time before they leave. We are very grateful that we now have a couple to replace them, who will be there in January, the Morgan’s. Tom interviewed the missionaries and we gave the final interview to Sister Hansen. She is so special and we will miss having her in our mission.

We arrived back in Majuro on Monday evening. The Badgers enjoyed seeing Ebeye and meeting the people there. We were here again for a few days, to get recharged and get ready for our next trip!

On Wednesday and Thursday we had all of the missionaries on the Majuro side come to the mission home to watch general conference. They were all so excited to be able to watch conference again. It always makes me chuckle a little bit about their enthusiasm to see conference, because I’m pretty sure that when they were home and when they were younger they were not quite as happy about watching it! We are glad that they recognize the importance of listening to the Prophet and the other General Authorities who speak. The Elders stayed longer on Thursday so that they could see the Priesthood Session. The sisters came over on the following Monday to see the General Relief Society Conference, and to share time together. We gave a final interview to Sister Tuimoalo who was leaving the following Monday with Sister Hansen. These interviews get harder and harder because we grow so close to all of them. We wish you both the very best in your future. We also picked up one missionary Elder Foust on Thursday. He is going to serve in Kiribati but his work permit had not come yet so they sent him to Majuro to wait for his permit. He was excited to be here and ready to serve the Lord. In between conference sessions we had those missionaries who would be leaving before our next Zone Conference bear their testimonies, Elders Steele, Rareba, Christensen, Swain, Gardener, Aisake, and Sister Fanga. Also, Elder Foust bore his testimony.

On Friday evening we left for Hawaii. Sister Hansen was coming in on that plane from Ebeye. So we got to give her one last hug before we left. We were unable to see her and Sister Tuimoala off as they left on November 7th as we were gone. Big thanks to Elder and Sister Badger for giving them their final dinner and seeing them both off.

We flew on Air New Zealand from Hawaii to Auckland. We had heard that it was a great airline and they were right. In New Zealand we were able to meet Sister Hilbourne’s daughter (Lisa) who works for Air New Zealand. We were there overnight and then we continued on to Sidney, then to the Gold Coast and then a taxi ride to the Marriott Hotel where we went to our Mission Presidents Seminar for the South Pacific. We have a new Area Presidency and wives this year. Elder Hamula who was a counselor before is now the President and his counselors are Elder Pearson and Elder Watson. We also have four new Mission Presidents and wives since our last seminar. They are President and Sister Klingler in the Fiji mission, President and Sister Lekias in the New Zealand Auckland Mission, President and Sister Leota in the Samoa Apia Mission, and President and Sister Sinjoux in the Tahiti Papeete Mission. They all started this past July, so we are no longer the youngest ones! They taught us wonderful lessons and ideas to emulate in our mission. For three days we were spiritually fed. We were also physically fed morning, noon, and evening and in between at breaks! One evening they took us to an Australian Stampede. The show was about the history of Australia and the Outback up to today. There was an arena where the show took place. When we first arrived they gave us a cowboy hat and took our group picture-we were the ones in suits/ties and dresses. They had a gift shop and an\area that we waited until the show started. They had beautiful horses that were part of the program and very talented riders. They also fed us dinner during the show. Both the show and food were very entertaining and good.

On Thursday, afternoon we traveled to the Brisbane Temple. What a beautiful Temple it was, it was a perfect ending to the seminar. We always come away recharged and buoyed up when we attend these seminars. They happen twice a year. We were told that the next one will be in Samoa. It is always great to share ideas with the other missions in the Pacific and to hear how everyone is doing. We also have a women’s class where we share ideas and the Area Presidency wives speak to us. They always treat us so royally and we learn so much from them.

So we have been in Majuro for five days and we are trying to catch our breath! It was so great to Skype with all of you from Hawaii. We love to be able to catch up with all the activities and things you are all doing. Thank you for the pictures and videos you have shared with us. We love you all so dearly and we are so grateful to the Lord for putting his loving arms around you while we are away. We feel his love daily and know He is blessing us as we try to make this mission all that it can be, and to help the missionaries reach their potential as they serve as Disciples of Christ. The Lord blesses them in so many ways. They are touching so many lives as they teach the gospel.

Miles Happy Birthday 11/11/11! Hope it’s a good one and that you enjoy your day. Love to all of you, and thanks for all of your love, support, and prayers. Love Mom & Dad / Nana & Papa / President & Sister Shaw.

1 comment:

Bill said...

Thank you for sharing your mission experiences. We are serving in Florida and it is very interesting and uplifting to read how others missionaries are doing as they serve the Lord.