Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Nov 11 - 21, 2011

We are on the plane travelling to Fiji. A good time to catch up on the blog, since it is a seven hour flight! We had a stake conference in Majuro November 11-12. Tom was asked to speak at Priesthood Leadership session, the Adult session, and the New Convert session. Then the Stake President asked him to speak in General Session on Sunday, and the Youth session, just before they started! He did very well at all of them, he amazes me. I was asked to speak at the Saturday Adult session and no surprises for me! We did not have a visiting authority this time. They told us that they counted 1,364 people at the General Session! I decided, because we will not be back until Dec. 8th, to put all of the Christmas stuff up. I have never done it this early before, but I am happy that it is done. We put up a tree in the mission office, and I put all of the Missionaries pictures on it.
We had a combined Preparation Day on Monday. They all met at a field and played rugby and soccer. As we arrived there it was raining and they were all soaked! Then the rain really started pouring and they still played on! Finally there were many who were slipping and sliding so they stopped. We then went to the Delap Chapel because Sister Perkins had made cupcakes for everyone. They love to get together once a month with everyone. We had home evening with the senior missionaries and we read from the New Testament together. We found out that we will be receiving a new Church Education System couple in January; Elder & Sister Woods. We look forward to meeting them, they will serve in Majuro.
Tuesday, we had a mini zone conference with all the missionaries in Majuro. We talked about the new First Twelve Week program that is being implemented. It is designed to help trainers train the new missionaries, so that when the 12 weeks have passed the trainee would be able to train a new missionary themselves. When we went to our mission seminar other mission Presidents talked about how effective the training is and how they had seen a great improvement in those who had been through it. We had only had a few start because in this mission they don’t start studying the language until they arrive. Tom felt that we needed to let the missionaries have a little language exposure before starting the Twelve Week program. They advised us not to wait and so as the missionaries come they will be learning and studying the program. We had a few of the missionaries who have been on it tell us what they thought. They all said that they really liked it and felt that the extra hour of companionship study time really helped. We have been losing so many missionaries and we were not receiving replacements. We found out there was a gliche in the process/computer and they thought we had all the missionaries we needed and so none were being assigned here. We now will be receiving about 50 from December to the first of May. So we will need many missionaries who can train and the Twelve Week program should help them to be ready.
On Wednesday, we had leadership training where Tom taught a lot of the things we learned in our Mission President’s Seminar to them. I was unable to attend but they all said they liked it a lot.
On Thursday, we had six missionaries who were leaving come to the mission home to eat and sleep over. They had all extended a month at Tom’s request. They all gladly said yes but they did have to get permission from their parents first. I bet there are some parents who weren’t too fond of the idea but yet graciously said “Yes.” This group of missionaries all came out together and served on the Marshall side. They are Elders Rareba, Christensen, Swain, Gardner, Bulloch, and Steele. What an outstanding group of missionaries these Elders have been. They had become close in the MTC and throughout their mission. We spent the evening with them, shared our appreciation and love and enjoyed being together. This is the biggest group we have had come or go. They slept in the family room on the floor altogether. We had breakfast together and then they had their personal interviews at the office. They gathered back together to get dressed in their suits. They all looked so sharp but were extremely hot with the jacket on! We gather their suits when they first arrive and keep them until they leave. This parting was different for us because we also left with them to go to Hawaii. None of us sat together but when we arrived (3:30am) we all gathered. Elder Swain’s younger sister is attending BYU Hawaii and she was there waiting for him with a couple of his cousins. He lives in Kauai so he only had a short flight. We hugged and all said our goodbyes. Elder Wright, who served in our mission, was there to pick up Elders Rareba and Gardner as they had a long lay over. Elders Bulloch, Steele, and Christensen, waited for their connections at the airport. I know there were some anxious families waiting for these wonderful missionaries and know that their reunions must have been sweet.
We will get to go to Suva this time, and go to the Temple. We will be flying a smaller plane when we get to Nadi to go to Suva. The Fiji Mission President and wife, President & Sister Klingler have invited us to stay with them for the two days we are there. It seems like we have been flying for at least twenty hours already, but there is more ahead! This is the longest flight we have; Tom tells me that we have another hour left so that’s not too bad. We will then go on to Tarawa, and arrive there on Thanksgiving Day. We want to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving. We will miss being with you but pray that you will feel us close as we will be thinking about you. We have had so many blessings in our family, the Lord is truly watching over us. There has been a little boy on the plane about Bryant’s age with his parents and grandparents. It has been fun to watch him run back and forth to them; he has a ton of energy! I’m pretty sure that they are all worn out and anxious for the plane to land!
We count our many blessings daily and thank the Lord for all of you. We love you Mom & Dad / Nana & Papa / President & Sister Shaw

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