Tuesday, October 23, 2012

30 Sep - 20 Oct, 2012

Blog time!  On Monday, we had a combined Preparation Day.  We went to the Delap chapel and played volleyball and a little bit of basketball.  I don’t know how the missionaries can play in this heat!  They seem to have endless energy.

October 2nd we had our latest grandchild.  Paul and Kellie had a little girl they named Kenzie.  What a miracle birth is and how grateful we are that she is here.  Kenzie and Kellie are doing well; at least Kellie is as much as one can be with 4 children 6 and under!  Paul took the web cam to the hospital and we were able to see her right after she was born.  She is so beautiful.  We send kisses and hugs via web cam to her.
On Saturday, the sixth we had a baptism in Delap.  There were two young ladies baptized.  Delap, Uliga, Jenrock, and Rita have all been having their baptisms there because the Rita/Jenrock chapel has been under construction.  They just finished it so they will now be able to go to church there.  They have a baptismal font also.  It has been about nine months since they have met there.  They are so excited to be in their new building, they want to have an open house.  We are so grateful that the Lord is blessing our mission with baptisms.

On Sunday, we had President Seremia and his Uncle over for dinner.  He is the branch President in Ebeye 3rd branch.  He came to Majuro for some training.  He is a nurse and his Uncle is a Doctor who has just moved to Majuro for two years to work at the hospital.  It was great to get better acquainted and to meet his Uncle. 

We left for Hawaii on Monday the 8th of October.  As we went to the airport to leave to go to Christmas Island we saw a Sister missionary who was headed back home to Christmas Island.  She had served in the Hawaii mission and we had met her once when her Mother had asked us to take something to her a few months back.  So we were on the same flight together.  When we landed her Mom was waiting for her and it was a great reunion.  The Mabeys,  senior couple in Christmas, picked us up and they also took Sister Utimawa and her Mom back to their home.  They talked nonstop from the time they got in the car till we got to their home!  We have her brother in Kiribati serving in our mission and he will be released in November.

That evening we had some training, Tom with President Mabey who is his counselor, and the Christmas Branch Presidency.  Sister Mabey and I met with the women auxiliary Presidencies .  We didn’t have everyone there but hopefully they learned a little bit.  They had a pot luck dinner afterwards.  It is really hard to help them because many of the manuals and teaching materials do not come in their language.  So we tell them if they can’t read or speak English that they can use a manual that is in Kiribati, even though it is an older one.
The next day we had zone conference.  Tom and I both gave some training, and President and Sister Mabey spoke.  We had lunch and then Elder Eneri, and Sister Barlow trained us.  They are both going home in November.  We love them both and will miss them.  We will get to see Elder Eneri as he is from Kiribati.  We had our final interviews with them.  Tom also interviewed Sister Kimmons and Elder Veikau.  When the meeting was over we gave them some mail and packages we brought from Majuro.  We noticed that Elder Veikau went outside to read his letter.  As Tom went out to talk to him he was sobbing.  We were so worried that he had received bad news from home.  He asked him if he was alright and when he could talk he said yes.  He then told him that his Mother had been baptized.  When he first came to our mission he told us that he was a recent convert and that he was the only member in his family.  He told us that he had a goal that when he returned he would be teaching his family.  So far his Grandmother and now his Mom have already been baptized.  He is such a great missionary and the Lord is certainly blessing him and his family, for his service in the mission field.  That evening we went to the Banana Branch.  Tom and President Mabey met with their Branch Presidecny, and Sister Mabey and I with the auxiliary Leaders.  We had our meeting in the van (down by the ocean in a van) as there was not another place to meet.  They are learning how to be leaders; many are first generation for their families.

The next day we had a Baptism and a party in Banana.  They baptized three candidates, one child of record and the other two were older young women.  They performed the baptism in the Ocean side and the tide and current were very strong.  Elder Eneri went out and helped the Elder that performed the baptisms.  It was a beautiful sight and the spirit was strong.  Banana is a smaller Branch who is working to get a chapel to meet in.  They meet in a school right now.  They are getting close to the attendance needed, so hopefully it will be soon.  We then had a branch party afterwards.  We played some fun games and Sister Mabey and I taught them the Hokey Pokey!  Some of the children got in the water and played.  Tom showed the boys how to skip rocks and some other children helped Sister Mabey and I find some shells.  It was a beautiful setting and each brought their own picnic.  I passed out some pictures that we took from our visit in June. They love pictures and many posed for pictures at the party.  We love these people they are so wonderful.
On Sunday, we went to the Banana Branch first and Tom and I spoke at their sacrament meeting.  We then headed back to the Christmas branch where Sister Utimawa gave her homecoming.  That evening Tom and I spoke at a fireside for both branches and then had food afterwards.  Tom had many interviews while we were there.  Some for future missionaries, and others for Temple recommends as there will be two groups going to the Fiji Temple, one in November and one in December!  The Mabeys have gathered all the paperwork and are making all arrangement s for them to go.  It is no small task to do this and we are so grateful for them and their dedicated service. 

On Tuesday, Tom and I were able to go teaching with the missionaries.  I went with the Sisters to three appointments.  The first one was a recent convert .  After teaching her they then taught her sister who wanted to take the lessons.  Then we went to the next appointment.  As they were describing where we were going I thought I recognized the home they were talking about.  Tom and I had gone with Elders Turner and Faulk to teach there back in February.  We were teaching the husband who at the time was struggling with smoking.  His wife was outside with her little boy but was not interested in joining with us.  There was a special feeling that day.  Apparently the Father had been making some wonderful changes in his life.  His wife was so impressed that she too decided to have the lessons.  The sisters and I went there to talk with her as she and her husband were to be baptized that Saturday.  What a tender mercy that was for me to meet with her and to feel of her testimony.  Her husband was out fishing that day but I was able to go over later and talk with him.  What a great family they will be such an asset to Christmas branch.  We have been stressing family baptisms first and foremost .  Our missionaries are being blessed by finding and converting families.  There is such a support system when the family joins and if you can get the Father generally the rest of his family will follow. 
We have had two groups of missionaries who have come out now having received the language training in the MTC.  It has made a big difference and we are so glad that they are teaching both of our languages.  Some of the teachers are former missionaries that we have served with.  We have not been able to watch General Conference yet, but of course, we have heard about the new age limit for missionaries.  It will be exciting to see the difference that will make and how many more missionaries will be serving.  The Lord is definitely in charge of this work and we know that this directive was inspired.  The Lord continues to bless our Mission with wonderful missionaries and new converts.

When we returned to Hawaii my brother Drew and his wife Cathie met us there.  It was so great to see them.  We talked nonstop for two days!  We went to the Temple with them.  What a blessing it is to go when we don’t often get that opportunity.  The spirit was strong and we also got to participate in some sealings as well.  We then drove them around the BYU Hawaii campus.  We wondered if we might see some of our former missionaries who are going to school there.  Just as we were driving off the campus we did see one of our former missionaries on a bike, Elder Jacob Gardner.  It was great to see him and we told him to say hi to the others.
Phoebe had a Birthday since I last wrote on October the 7th.  She turned four.  Time is passing by far too quickly and all of you are changing so much.  We love you Phoebe and we can’t believe how big you are getting! 

We love the people in our Mission and many are being prepared to receive the gospel.  The Lord is placing them in the way of our missionaries and our missionaries are being led to them.  We love this work and we love all of you.  We pray the Lord’s choicest blessing to be in your families and homes.  Love Mom & Dad / Nana & Papa / President &Sister Shaw

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