Thursday, February 7, 2013

Dec 19, 2012 - Jan 1, 2013

The last blog was shorter because I am having a tough time putting the pictures on the blog ever since they changed the format.  Just when I’m finally able to do something on the program they change it to something else!  

We have been busy through the holidays.  On Thursday, we received ten new missionaries, nine Elders (Elders Wood, Ciriako, Holman, Prisbrey, Walden, Parkinson, Schmidt, Foote, and Sherman) and Sister Tago-Sister Huni was delayed and will arrive in a couple of weeks.  The first person off the plane was Santa Claus in a fancy sequined suit-it was great!  We took them to the office to email their parents and to have pizza for lunch.  They were then taken on a little tour of part of the Island and then they split up and went out on the streets to talk to people to see if they were speaking the language that they learned!  They got a taste of the people and the heat!  We then had them over for dinner at the mission home.  They are always so tired; we had the Elders go to the Assistants and Sister Tago stayed with us.  The next day they were oriented and they had the meeting to train the trainer and the trainee.  They are a great bunch and seem eager to do the work.  They then went with their companions back to their areas. 
They received seven new missionaries in Kiribati, five Elders (Elders Lopez, Sias, Koplin, Klatt, Toanna) and two Sisters (Sisters Apineru and Tauteoli). They all received language training at the MTC, which helps them out so much.  We are so happy to have them come and are excited for the work they will accomplish and the good they will do.  

Friday, we had a dinner at the mission home for the Stake Presidency two clerks and their wives.  It was a busy night for a lot of them so we only had five who came but we enjoyed their company.  We love to meet with them, they are great leaders.

Saturday evening there was one baptism that we attended.  It was a young man about 18 years old.  He seemed very happy and bore a sweet testimony.  

Sunday, we attended Delap ward.  It started at 9:00 and there were not many there.  By the time they passed the sacrament more had arrived. 

Monday was a special day that we spent with the missionaries in Majuro.  This included everyone from the Marshall Islands side excepting Ebeye.  They come in for Christmas to make their calls home.  We had a lunch of turkey, ham and all the trimmings.  It was really good and we had enough to go back for seconds which many took advantage of.  We then did our tie and jewelry exchange.  All the Elders brought a tie and the sisters brought a necklace, bracelet or earrings.  We gave them numbers and handled it like a white elephant gift and it could be chosen/stolen three times but then it was dead.  They had a great time taking from one another and trying to get the one they wanted.  We then watched the “Forgotten Carols” with them.  Many had never seen it before and seemed to really like it.  We love it as it has been a tradition to see every Christmas with our family. 

The next day, Christmas, the Island missionaries called their parents and, of course, the Stake had the Biit.  The Biit is the dancing and the singing of all of the wards at the stake center.  It starts at 10:00am and we were told it did not end until 12:45 am the next morning.  We missionaries did a Kiribati dance that Sister Roota taught us.  She is Kiribati and she asked a Kiribati lady to make blouses for all of the girls and senior women, the Elders wore Santa hats.  It was a lot of fun and we threw out candy at the end.  Other wards also threw candy too.  You have to watch it when they throw it because you could get hammered on your face!  They love this day and each ward all ladies usually get new dresses that are alike.  We didn’t stay the whole time but we stayed quite a while.  Some of the Missionaries danced in several of the dances, we don’t know how they did it as it is so hot in the gym and the dances last a long time!  I love to watch the little kids, they have so much rhythm. They dance onto the floor then they do the dance and songs and then march back off.  Many of them were at least an hour long!

On Wednesday, the American Elders and Sisters called their families.  We also had a Mini Zone Conference.  We only have everyone in once a year so we wanted to take advantage of that. We touched on a few obedience issues because there are a few things that they get lax on.  We have asked the American, Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand Elders to ask their parents to send them replacement white shirts and pants when they need new ones.  So if you who read this blog and have not heard from your missionary about those things and they have been out a while you might want to ask them if they need any new clothing or crocs. 

On New Year’s Eve we had the senior couples over for dinner.  This is also the farewell dinner for Elder & Sister Hilbourne who will be completing their mission on January 11th.  We will miss them so much.  They are from New Zealand and we like to tease them about some of their funny words!  They have been super and accomplished so much-we thank them for their service.  After midnight, different groups come sing at your door throughout the night.  We are to go to the door and throw candy to them and then they leave for a while!  This is a tradition here. 

Happy New Year to all of you!  We were thinking about the family going bowling today-hope you had a great time?  On our New Year’s Day we went to a party at the Long Island ward.  Some of the wards had parties on New Year’s Eve and others had them on New Year’s Day.  We ate there and they had a little program.  We are so grateful for the past year and the many blessings we received.  We look forward to the 2013 and pray that you will all be healthy and happy.  As our missionary numbers increase we look forward to focusing on the less-actives to bring them back to the fold.  As is the case in all areas of the world we have many who need to be rescued.  We love you all and loved connecting on Christmas with all of you.  Love Mom & Dad / Nana & Papa / President & Sister Shaw

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