Friday, August 17, 2012

Jul 24 - 17 Aug 2012

There is a lot to tell you about this time. The week before we left for Kiribati was not super busy which was nice. Tom dropped in on some Missionaries during their study time and planning time. He has been able to give some guidance and help to them to make the time a little more valuable and worthwhile.

I was able to go teaching with the Sisters in Rita which was done at the church. A young girl around fourteen was who they taught. I was able to go to Laura with the Wayas’ who are teaching a Temple class out there. They are doing a great job and they have had about ten attending the class.

The next day the senior sisters went to Laura to drop in on the girl’s camp they were having on the property of the Stake Presidents next to the chapel. They had tents and tarps set up just like back home and they were doing the same things to pass off. Of course they have a whole ocean to play in! They were making fire without matches, chopping wood, cooking food, and doing a handicraft. They love spending time together and staying up all night talking! We had a zone leader training on a Saturday. They are a good group of leaders. We had pizza at the end which always makes them happy!

We had a baptism on Saturday evening for an older couple. He is in a wheelchair. He could walk into the font very slowly with the help of two Elders. It was a sweet experience to watch both he and his wife. They will be faithful members.

On Sunday, we attended the Rita sacrament meeting. They can’t wait to meet in their remodeled and enlarged chapel. That evening we had Elder Green come over for his final dinner. He has been a wonderful assistant and has been able to serve on both sides of the mission. He stayed overnight as he would be leaving the next day. We were also going on the same flight with him as far as Hawaii. That day we had a mission wide preparation day. They played some rugby and then had a shower as it rained really hard! We had to take a picture of Elder Fesola'i's shoes, kind of hard to miss! Elder Seru was able to come back from Fiji where we had had to send him for some medical reasons. We are grateful to have him back and he will be serving as a new zone leader. We found out while we were at the preparation day that the flight had been canceled. They told us that it would be flying the next night at the same time. Elder Green had to call his parents to tell them that he would be a day late. We also had two families who were going to be sealed in the Hawaii Temple. Both of their husbands are deceased. The Johnson’s had two girls and a boy to be sealed and they had the mother and daughter sealed along with the Father. They were really sweet people and this was the first time for them to fly! We stayed with them until we got our luggage and walked them out to the bus waiting for them outside. They were so cute with the escalator! They had never been on one before and it was a challenge to get on and off! We are so happy for them and I’m sure they had a wonderful experience. Elder Green left us to go where he would catch his next flight. We will really miss him. Because we were a day late coming to Hawaii we left the same day for Fiji, a 12:00 noon flight. We rented a car so we could pick up some things at Walmart to take to Kiribati.

We stopped on Christmas Island on the way to Fiji and picked up the senior couple; the Mabey’s and the four missionaries from there, Sisters Valo and Babo, and Elders Eneri and Hosler. They were able to come for our zone conference with Elder Wakolo and Elder Pearson. We stayed overnight in Fiji and caught the 5:00 am flight to Kiribati.

We were then on the flight with Elder Wakolo, Elder Pearson, and the Temple President Davis and his wife of the Fiji temple. We arrived in Tarawa at 8:00 am and we had the seniors and zone leaders there to pick all of us up. That morning at 10:00 we had a zone leader training with Elder Pearson. He has such great insight and he gave us all a lot of things to work on. He told them to work as hard as they can. He said capacity grows with hard work. This is the gathering of Israel and there are legions of angels helping us. There is more revelation going on during this time than any other time. As leaders we need to inspire the Missionaries. That evening they had a program for the guests with two of the wards in the stake danced for all of us.

The next day Friday, morning we had a zone conference with Elder Wakolo and Elder Pearson. The Davis’ also attended. Elder Wakolo talked, and then Elder Pearson asked the Davis’s to bear their testimonies. He had been a Mission President in Tonga, forty years ago. At that time Kiribati was in that mission area. He went there to visit and he asked the government if they could start a school. The British Government who was running Kiribati said no. He also said that if we wanted to have missionaries there that they would first have to have a chapel and that they couldn’t baptize unless they had a chapel. He had felt something there and so he went back. He selected 12 students to come to Tonga to attend the Liahona School. President Tune was one of them who was selected. The following year his wife was selected to go also. They both joined the church there. When they returned they helped the church start and grow.

Elder Pearson gave some wonderful training. He told the Missionaries that their Moms would be able to tell in 30 seconds whether you were a disciple or whether you just winged it on your Mission. The Holy Ghost will teach you in a language you will understand. The Holy Ghost knows how you learn, the Savior also knows. We have to get rid of words like try; we must show faith by doing. Average is not good enough. There are no average people in the Celestial kingdom. It’s about the Lord and his children not you-so don’t hold back give it your all. Focus on the things you will do. Stop praying to change other people, but pray to help you change, and draw nearer to the spirit. We need future leaders of the church. It takes hard work and study. You need to become what Heavenly Father already knows you are your divine identity. The senior's out did themselves as we had hamburgers, salad, chips, and desert.

Saturday, Tom had some interviews with the Missionaries who are serving in the outer islands and the three new Missionaries who arrived since we have been in Kiribati. The new ones are Elder’s Atata, Raisor, and Puleiku. They received the language training in the Provo MTC. They are the first ones to be trained there and from what we understand it has helped them a lot.

Saturday evening we had the meeting for stake conference. Elder Wakolo and Elder Pearson spoke. The 1stcounselor in the Stake Presidency gave a talk as well. Then the Davis’s and both of us bore our testimonies. The reason that Elder Pearson had come was to put a new Stake Presidency in.

On Sunday, the new Stake Presidency was announced; the new Stake President and his counselors. The first counselor in the old Stake Presidency is now the President. They had the former President, President Tune and his wife both bear their testimonies. Then they had the new Stake President and his wife speak, after which the two counselors spoke. Elder Wakolo spoke and then Elder Pearson. It was a good conference. The Stake Relief Society President arranged for all of our dinners through the conference weekend which was really nice. President Tune had been serving for a long time he is such a wonderful man.

After Stake Conference Tom held more interviews. Later that evening they had a youth fireside. It was very well attended. Elders Wakolo and Pearson spoke again. I don’t know how these men keep such a tight schedule they amaze us. Elder Pearson was going to be going on the Papa New Guinea after he finished this assignment and then to another assignment to Australia from there; probably all with many meetings and talks to give, including some visits.

On Monday, we went to the airport to see Elders Pearson, Wakolo, and the Mabey’s, our senior couple, along with the two Sisters, Barlow and Kimmons, and the two Elders Eneri and Veikau, who were all leaving. They all flew to Fiji and then our Missionaries went back to Christmas.

Later that day they had a joint Preparation day. Basically they played basketball. The seniors provided boiled eggs and orange slices for their treat and of course a ton of water. They love boiled eggs over here! Tom had a few things to tell them and it was fun to be there with them that trip. The seniors are so great and they take such good care of the Missionaries there.

On Tuesday, we had four final interviews for two sisters, Tieke and Valo. We also had two Elders, Norton and Mills. We had the final lunch with Elders Mills and Norton. The two Sisters will have theirs a little later as they were not leaving as quickly.

Wednesday, we were able to go teaching with both sets of zone leaders. Elder Mickelsen has now joined the zone leaders and we are grateful to have him serving in that position. We also had a new Zone meeting that will be held monthly, we went to the west zone. The zone leaders and some of the district leaders taught them. We took the zone leaders to dinner that evening. We are going to try to free them up more so that they can proselyte more and have time to study. The seniors will take on some of the things they have been doing which will help a lot.

On Thursday, we left for Fiji. Elders Norton and Mills were on our same plane. There were also some of the students who were going to BYU Hawaii on the same flight. When we arrived in Fiji we ate lunch with the two Elders. They went downtown to see Nadi. They came back and we talked for a bit and then they left for the airport to catch their flight to Los Angeles. They were both great Missionaries and we should be able to see them again when we return.

This was a busy visit but a good one. We love our Missionaries and we appreciate their wonderful service as do the people of Kiribati and the Marshalls. We have gained so many sons and daughters who mean so much to us.

Maddie had a Birthday on the 31stof July. We love you all and we thank our Father in Heaven for the blessings he bestows on all of us. Thank you for your love and support that we count on so heavily. We feel you close to us even though you are so far away. I can’t honestly say that I haven’t thought how easy it would be to hop on a plane in Hawaii heading to home! We love you Mom & Dad / Nana & Papa / President & Sister Shaw

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