Sunday, November 18, 2012

Oct 21-Nov 13, 2012

This is an incredibly busy month.  I think we will be in Majuro a total of five days!  We returned from Christmas Island in time to watch General Conference with the Missionaries and senior couples.  We are always so excited to watch conference.  We had heard of course about the change in age for missionaries to serve, which is big!  There is definitely an urgency to missionary work.  We watched conference on Wednesday and Thursday.  We fed them lunch both days.  The talks were powerful and so good.

We headed to Ebeye on Saturday.  They had a baptism that evening with a couple.  The spirit was so strong and they were so happy to be baptized.  I have a feeling they will be very strong and a great asset to their branch. 

On Sunday, we went over to Kwajalein to attend their meetings.  This is on the base where there are only about eleven people in the branch, five of them being children.  They were having their primary program so three of the boys participated and one of the daughters.  One son is actually 12 and he helped some of them with their parts.  It was sweet and when I closed my eyes I could picture all of our grandchildren singing in their wards.  We rarely see American children so it made me homesick for all of you.  We were invited to dinner at President Peter & Florence Parker’s home after church which was so nice.  The Morgan’s, our senior couple in Ebeye, also came with us.  That evening we had a fireside.  Tom talked about temple recommends and I talked about forgiveness and repentance.  Apparently because the people very seldom are able to go back to the Temple they didn’t see the necessity to keep a current recommend.  After the fireside many were making appointments with their Branch Presidents to get a current recommend, they now understand the importance.

On Monday, we had a zone conference.  Tom and I spoke and Elder Duford gave a wonderful training.  There were three who had Birthdays since our last meeting, Sister Hogg and Elders Roberts and Peck.  Those two Elders have developed a close relationship.  Elder Roberts is a local from Ebeye who could not read so he was unable to fulfill a normal mission.  He wanted to serve so much so we called him on a local mission.  He has been going out with the Elders and has given many referrals.  He has grown a lot from this experience.  We were walking with him to the fireside and a man came up to him who had been drinking too much.  He gave him a hug and as we continued on he told us that he was his Father and that he had had too much to drink.  Then he said I will keep praying for him to be stronger.  What a tender mercy that was for us to witness.

We flew back to Majuro on Monday night.  Halloween was that week and we had bought candy that we gave out to the missionaries in the mission office.  So we tried to buy some more for trick or treaters and they were all out.  Instead of ringing the doorbell and saying trick or treat, they sing a little song to the tune of London Bridge!  We had to keep our lights out because we had no candy!   We are anxious to see pictures of all of you on Halloween, we have talked to you all since then and we know that none of you have any shortage of candy!

We went to lunch with all the senior sisters for Sister Wayas’s Birthday.  She turned 29!  She and her husband went to Kiribati the same week we left for New Zealand.  We will be anxious to talk with them about their trip. 

We left on Friday evening to Hawaii.  I was upgraded to first class but Dad didn’t!  I sat by a lady who had been in Majuro doing work for UNICEF.  She was so friendly and we talked a lot.  She was from Fiji and was headed there.  She had been to New York just before the big storm hit and then over to Majuro so she had been gone almost a month.  She said she knew of our church and that she didn’t have a religion, but that she had a lot of faith.  I was able to give her a couple of pass along cards and she gave me her business card.  I am going to email her when we get back to Majuro.  Sometimes sharing the gospel just falls in our lap! 

Our time in Hawaii was not so rushed as we were headed to New Zealand for our Mission Presidents Seminar.  We left at night for New Zealand; we lost Sunday and arrived in Auckland on Monday early morning.  We had about a four hour layover before we went on to Queenstown which is in the far south of New Zealand.  We were on the same flight as some of the others attending the conference.  We arrived in time for dinner.  It was great and the new couples introduced themselves to us.  We have five new Mission Presidents and a new area Doctor (Anderson) and a new In-Field Representative (Bertasso) and their wives. 

Tuesday morning we started at 8:30 with our training. There was a general theme throughout the seminar.  We need to move forward with urgency.  President Hamula said he could see the Lord speaking to the Prophet President Monson and the need to hasten the work.  In conference of 2010 President Monson opened with comments about missionary work.  Now in the past Conference of course we all know of the announcement of Missionaries who can serve at an earlier age.  Since November 3rd the number of missionary applications has increased from 700 to 4,000 a week.  The Lord sees fields already to harvest.  President Hamula said that we must be prepared for the new ones who will be coming.  He showed each mission about how many more they project coming to our missions.  Our mission can expect 20 more in the coming months.  Elder Hamula said that it is thrilling time to be a part of the work and that we need to convey that to our missionaries.

Elder Pearson said that the Lord will get His work done.  He was told 3 years ago by Elder Nelson, when he was a Mission President that people would flock to the church.  He told him that it would happen in his life time.  We must involve our wards and stakes if this is going to happen.  We need to save the rising generation.  We need to accelerate the rescue (gathering less-actives).  Establish the church and real growth.  We need to be preparing to enter in new nations.  There is a quote from President Kimball, which says “If you could see the vision I see and if I had your bodies I would run from house to house, when no longer have that strength I would walk then crawl once I could not crawl because of bloody knees I would use my arms to pull me, and when all gives out I would yell in a loud voice to declare the message of truth.

He also said that Elder Cook stated “because Mitt Romney ran for President it has moved the church ahead 30 years.  This is a historic time to be a Missionary.  He said that average doesn’t get it done we need valiant Missionaries.  He also said that there are not any average people in the celestial kingdom.  There needs to be alignment with stake and ward leaders.  The Lord knew this would be our time.  We have many Saturday warriors coming. 

Elder Watson then talked about the Doctrine of Christ and real growth.  In D&C 82: 14 we read “her stakes must be strengthened.”  Real growth means those who grow up in the church remain active be baptized receive the Priesthood and be endowed and sealed.  We must find investigators who can build the kingdom.  He said the plan of salvation is the bookends to eternity.  We need to teach enduring to the end.  This is a very active part of the gospel.  We need to be doers of the word.  We have pavilions that cover and keep us from the spirit.  We need to focus on what matters most.  We need to live what we preach this is a great reason to rejoice.  We must never give up.

I always love our time with the Presidents wives, when we meet separately for a couple of hours.  Sister Watson spoke first; she gave out the curriculum for next year.  I’m sure that most of you know that there is a new curriculum for the youth.  Its entitled “Come follow me.”  Unfortunately this new material does not come in our mission languages, which makes things quite challenging.  They are very concerned for the youth and they hope this program will help save them.

Sister Pearson talked about being bolder in the work.  She gave us a paper with concerns from Jeffery R.  Holland.  He said that the spirit of this work (missionary work) is urgency and we must imbue our missionaries and members with the spirit of now.  If we need to call down miracles or angels, then call them down.  Every dispensation begins with a vision.  We must have a vision.  We must believe in miracles.  If this is God’s work, and if He still lives, then the miracles and angels are still there.  We must live up to our potential. God is easy to please and hard to satisfy…this is not convenient, easy work.  We have to live in such a way that we cannot do it alone anymore, where we will resort to the Lord.  Go to the edge where miracles happen.  Move into a realm of the miraculous.  Welcome to the apostolic work.  Wow is that powerful or what!  Sister Pearson said if you are happy notify your face! 

Sister Hamula talked about being all that we can be.  We need to rely on the Lord more and have the vision of what we and our Missionaries can become.  She had written to some of her missionaries who served when they were Mission President and wife.  She pointed out the life’s that they had helped change and how it affects generations.  Also talked about what the missionaries have become and how blessed they are with families of their own and staying strong.  She showed us pictures of them and it was very touching.  This certainly is not all that we learned but some highlights to share with you.  These mission seminars are powerful and we now will go back and teach our missionaries what we have learned.

Now back to some of the activities.  Tuesday evening we had a ride on a Gondola which took us to the top of this mountain.  There was a restaurant at the top.  To look out from the top was an incredible sight.  We ate dinner there and then had a Maura show afterwards.  We had a wonderful evening. Elder Hamula was our chief and he and others did the hawka! 

On Wednesday, we had an all-day activity at a place called Milford Sound.  It was a six hour bus ride and then we got on a boat.  The scenery was amazing.  It was a clear day and this is the part we needed a coat for.  The pictures don’t do it justice.  They had been praying that we would have good weather as we were going to take a small airplane back to Queenstown.  If it had been rainy we would have had to take the bus back.  We were then able to see things from a whole different perspective.  What an amazing day we had.  That evening we were on our own for dinner.  We went to a famous hamburger place there called Fergies.  The hamburgers were huge and really good. 

The next day we had more training and then in the evening we got on another boat to go across to a restaurant and sheep farm.  The restaurant was beautiful and big.  After dinner they took us over to the sheep farm.  There was a man who told us a lot of facts about sheep.  He had a dog that went and rounded up some sheep to show the control they had.  He then went into the barn and sheared a huge sheep for us to see.  It was very interesting and fun to watch.

The next day we had until 3:30 to walk around and to go into the shops around the town.  Things are very expensive in New Zealand, but it was fun to look at the different things they had.  We then flew back to Auckland.  There were three other couples who were on our flight that we ate with that evening in the hotel.  It was definitely cooler than we are used to, and we were actually cold!

We left the next day to go to Hawaii.  We knew that Elder Warren and Sister Kristie Dansie were going to come to Majuro on our same flight.  They came in a day later then us.  We picked them up on Sunday and took them to church with us.  We also went to the National Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl), as it was Veterans Day.  We got there as they were having a little ceremony.  We walked around the grounds.  Kristie and Warren had never been there before, and they were happy they were able to see it.  There is a very hallowed spirit there.

We are now on the flight back to Majuro, with the Dansies.  They are family history missionaries and that is the purpose they are coming to Majuro, to show the stake how to use the program.  It has been fun to talk to them and talk about those back home.  They have just started their mission and they will be traveling all over the Pacific helping train others on family history.  We will be busy when we get to Majuro and will be leaving for Tarawa a week from now. 

We loved the Seminar, they are always so inspiring.  We will now train our missionaries the things that we learned.  We are so grateful to be serving at this time.  We are aware our time is winding down and that there is still much to accomplish.  Miles had a Birthday yesterday and we hope it was a good one.  This is an exciting time to be alive and to witness the growth of the church.  We love you and pray that you are helping the missionary efforts back home.  Love Mom & Dad / Nana & Papa / President & Sister Shaw

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