Monday, November 7, 2011

Oct 6 - 18, 2011

We arrived in Tarawa Tuesday morning at 8:00 A.M. Elders Lowry and Picky were leaving to go home on that same day. We didn’t think we would see them but we did. We were able to take a few pictures and tell them goodbye. We were so grateful for that opportunity, we will miss them greatly. Also Elder Pearson who is the new Assistant to the President was getting on a flight to go to Majuro. We weren’t sure until the last minute if he would be able to go, but he did. We are looking forward to working closely with him and are so grateful for his willingness to come from Kiribati to Majuro. That evening we ate with the Christensen’s. They are enjoying their time in Kiribati and they are helping the missionaries as they are there until our permanent nurse gets there. On Wednesday, we met with the Zone Leaders. They are Elders Green, Anderson, Cole, and Eneri. Elder Eneri just returned from an outer island and he was called to be a zone leader the day that he arrived. They are all great young men. We ate with them that evening at the Pacific Restaurant.On Oct 9th we held a training session with Zone Leaders, District Leaders and Trainers with their companions. We had already done a zone conference two weeks earlier. We visited again because of a Stake Conference, where Elder Watson, one of the new counselors from the Area Presidency, was going to preside. We found out a week or two before that they had changed the date of the Stake Conference because of General Conference. We felt bad but we had already purchased our tickets a head of time so we still came to spend time with the Missionaries. The training went well and they all seemed to enjoy it. That evening we ate with the senior couples, and afterwards watched the show Facing the Giants, Tom had shown a clip from it in training that morning, it is a wonderful movie.

Saturday, we were blessed to watch the Saturday sessions of General Conference. As we arrived we sat behind Elders Eneri and Green. Just before the rest hymn Elder Eneri’s parents walked in and sat down in the row ahead of him . Sister Eneri looked over and with great love in her eyes shook his hand. Then his Dad noticed him he blew him a kiss, it was such a tender moment to witness. Tom leaned over and told Elder Eneri that he needed to give them both a hug. So when they sang the rest hymn, Elder Eneri walked over and put his arm around his Dad and his Dad put his arm around him. His Mom had gone over to the room where conference was being shown in Gilbertese. At the end of the second session she came back in and he gave her a hug. We have some Kiribati missionaries serving in their own country and also some Marshallese missionaries serving in Majuro. They are bound to run into their parents one or more times and Tom has told them that they shouldn’t ignore them, and that they can give them a hug. The Eneri's will soon have three sons serving at the same time, what a faithful family they are.

On Sunday, we went to the other Stake center to watch the two Sunday sessions. As all of you know there were such great messages in all of the talks. After the sessions we went back to our apartment where we were to meet with Sister Tamuera for her final interview. She is from Kiribati also. We got to spend some time in Christmas with her. She has served very well and we will miss her. She will finish before we go there again.

On Monday, we met with the Zone Leaders and then we ate spaghetti and garlic bread; they seemed happy to gulp it down! We did some last minute planning with them. We were supposed to leave on Tuesday but our flight was canceled, till the next day. That prevented us from making the connection to Honolulu and we had to stay in Fiji for two and a half days instead of leaving the evening that we arrived. Because of the problems they paid for our hotel and for all three meals each day we were there. The first night we went to dinner at the restaurant we saw Elder and Sister Watson and another missionary couple (Erickson’s) there eating dinner. Tom recognized him and we went over to talk with them. The other couple is a public relations couple, serving in New Zealand. We wish we could have stayed in Kiribati and been at the conference with them. They left the next morning for Kiribati and next Tuesday they will be meeting with our missionaries.

We left Fiji on Friday evening to go to Hawaii. It was beautiful there; we immediately went to BYU-Hawaii to get some additional information for a few of the Kiritimati members that had applied for school , that had not heard back on some of their questions. We met President Wheelwright and staff and we were able to accomplish many things before leaving. We then went shopping for some needs of our missionaries. We attended Church at the Honolulu Tabernacle on Sunday and it was a primary program. It was a very small primary of about fifteen children. They were adorable and the songs they sang were all special. We know that all of our grand kids have been singing the same songs. We tried to envision all of you as we watched these children perform. We are now on the plane headed to Majuro. We got up at 2:00am to get to the airport for our flight. So if none of this makes sense you’ll know why! We have been gone almost a month because of the canceled flight. Tom has challenged all of the missionaries to read the Book of Mormon looking for one specific thing such as the spirit, faith or whatever topic they want to choose. We gave them all a new copy of the Book of Mormon so that they could mark all of the scriptures that pertain to their subject. We are to be finished by Thanksgiving, and many will have opportunity to share their testimonies at our next Zone Conferences. I would challenge all of you to do the same as it is a great experience to do so. Elder Bednar had told us that he had forty eight books where he looked for something specific and underlined anything pertaining to that subject. We love you all and are so happy that things are going well with all of you. Love Mom & Dad / Nana & Papa / President & Sister Shaw.

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