Wednesday, July 4, 2012

June 11 - July 4, 2012

We’ve had a long but wonderful trip. We just arrived back in Majuro on July 3rd. We don’t usually do Christmas and Tarawa back to back but this time we did. We left for Hawaii on June 11th. We were able to go visit Elder Armstrong who has been there since Mother’s day. He had surgery and is now recuperating from that. We also saw Elder Bishop Eneri, who has a brother serving in Kiribati and Elder Tui who also has a brother serving in Kiribati. We took pictures so
we could show their brothers. We were able to also get a trip to Walmart to pick up supplies for Christmas Island.

We left for Christmas on June 12th and arrived three hours later on June 13th! The Mabey’s picked us up at the airport and it was great to see them again. They are doing very well and are
happy there. We are hoping to get them better internet access. Also they got a new phone because the other land line had not been working. They have to be so patient because things don’t always work as they should! The missionaries who are serving there right now are Elders Eneri and Hosler, and Sisters Valo and Babo. This was our first time to meet Sister Babo; she is so sweet.

The second day we were there we had our Zone Conference. We all did some training, and we had a great meeting. It is a very intimate group and we enjoy that time with them and the Mabey’s. We had Digorno pizza and it was really good just like they advertise! That evening Tom and President Mabey met with the Branch Presidencies after which we had a dinner with them and their wives.

The next day, Friday, Sister Mabey and I were leaving to go shopping when we saw Taa the Branch President of Banana Branch. He said he was there to perform his first wedding. We were so glad that we saw him or we would have missed the wedding. The couple who got married has been waiting for his divorce papers from a former marriage before they could get married. They are planning to go to the Temple with a group from Christmas in January of next year. The Mabeys, President Taam and we were the ones honored to be there. We embarrassed them by making them kiss, something the Islanders never do in public! We are so happy for them and for the opportunity that they will now have of going to the Fiji Temple to be sealed and to have their children sealed to them.

That evening we took the missionaries to dinner at the Village. They always look forward to going there. We needed to take them as soon as possible because the Elders were going to go to a little Island called Fanning as soon as the boat the Kawai was ready to leave. The Elders were going to go do some training with the branch leadership and also perform some baptisms. As it turned out they didn’t leave until the week that we left so we were able to enjoy being with them the whole time.

Saturday, the Christmas branch had a party in conjunction with their Branch Conference. It was not as well attended as the norm, but of course we had a lot of food for everyone. Those that came had a good time and enjoyed being together. They also had a baptism that afternoon of two boys the Sisters had taught.

Sunday was Father’s Day. We want to let our sons and son-in-law know how much we appreciate and love them. They are creating memories with their own families now, something they learned from Tom. Thank you all for honoring the Priesthood and for providing for your families both physically and spiritually. I want to thank Tom for being such a good Dad, Papa, and hubby. He has always been a “hands on” Dad and even though everyone is married he is still creating memories for all of us. He is also a good Mission Dad. We have gained so many more sons and daughters and I know Tom has had a powerful influence in their lives in our mission. I also want to tell Grandpa Pearson how much I love him. He is 89 and going strong! We love and miss him and Jeanne and we are so glad that we can keep in touch on the phone and skype. Thank you for all the years of support you have been and for your love.

Now back to Christmas Island. Sunday Father’s day we went to the Christmas Branch for Branch Conference. They have Relief Society and Priesthood first, then Sunday school, and then Sacrament Meeting. We had good meetings and Tom spoke in sacrament meeting. Depending on
the time I was going to speak as well, but they ran out of time, darn! They had candy leis for every Father and also had lunch for them. Later that evening we had a fireside with the Banana Branch. It was well attended. Both Tom and I spoke and they had some musical numbers. Sister
Valo and Sister Babo sang at both meetings, they have beautiful voices. Sister Babo who is from Kiribati has been singing for different functions for quite some time. She has some DVD’s as well.

Tom had interviews with the missionaries. He also interviewed two young men for future missions. I took part in Sister Babo’s interview as it was her first. Of course, we spent a lot of time with the Mabeys and hopefully were able to answer their questions and concerns. The people in
Christmas love them so much and appreciate all that they do. They took such good care of us and fed us, we can’t thank them enough. We were hoping to get the copper link working for their internet before we left but unfortunately that did not happen, hopefully soon? We have such incredible senior couples in all parts of our mission. We don’t know what we did to deserve such
wonderful people. They are all so helpful, spiritual and capable to do so many things. We love them all and can’t thank them enough for their service. Those of you who are in a position to serve as seniors would not regret taking the opportunity to do so.

Tuesday, Tom and I had the opportunity to go teaching. Sister Mabey and I went with the Sisters and Tom went with the Elders. We both had good experiences; we always love to go with the missionaries.

We left Christmas on Wednesday and arrived in Fiji Wednesday evening. We got up early Thursday to head for Tarawa. Elder Anderson and Elder Bradshaw picked us up and took us to Moroni campus where we stay while we are there. We had the zone leaders come over to bring us up to speed with the Kiribati Missionaries.

We had interviews on three different days of all of the Missionaries. Five of the missionaries Sister Gardner,Sister Rebeta, and Elders Anderson, Pearson, and Everett had their final interviews. Two of the missionaries, Elders Whippy and Mautaake, were first time interviews as they were on an outer Island when we were in Kiribati before. We love to get to know them better and to feel of their love for Missionary work.
We had a Zone Conference there and we enjoyed all of the training. Tom talked about the Doctrine of Christ in both zone conferences. He had a little play on words as he said that we need to endure to the end-owment. We want those we teach to know that this is something they should work for and actually receive. With the Temple Assistance Fund it can happen after they do all that they can. Then to the next step of eternal marriage and sealing’s. I spoke on role playing. In Moses 3:5 we read that everything that was created and placed on the earth was created spiritually first. Role play allows us to create spiritually before we go and teach. As they use actual investigators who they are teaching and role play how they will teach them and receive inspiration on behalf of them. Starting role playing with pray and sincerely seeking for inspiration on behalf of the investigator one companion being the missionary and the other being
the investigator. When we do it correctly role playing becomes “real playing.” Some of the missionaries gave trainings of things they felt their areas needed to improve on. We had many testimonies of new ones and those who were leaving. We had a wonderful lunch prepared by the seniors where there was more than enough to feed those hungry, bottomless missionaries!

On Saturday, we had a baptism in Bairiki. Elder Banks and Elder Lewis taught this young man. Elder Lewis baptized him in the ocean as they don’t have a font there. We went to Buota for Sacrament Meeting the next day. This branch has an outdoor chapel.

We were fed every day by the senior couples. We appreciated all of their wonderful food. Monday morning we were able to go to the airport to see Elder Seru, who serves in Majuro. He had been having some medical problems which made it necessary to have him go to Fiji to be checked. He really didn’t want to leave but we needed to get him healthy. He was able to get on the flight from Kiribati to Fiji. We will be anxious for him to return.
Also, on Monday we had a lunch at the Bonnemorts for three of the Elders who were leaving on the same plane as we are on Thursday, Elders Pearson, Anderson, and Everett. They have all been wonderful leaders, all of them serving as zone leaders and Elder Pearson as an Assistant also. We are going to miss them all and pray that they will adjust and enjoy being with their families and loved ones.

We left Tarawa on Thursday morning. The Bush’s took us and the Zone leaders took the three Elders to the airport. We had a good trip in Tarawa. There were only two new zone leaders prior to this time; Elder Turner and Elder Bradshaw. We called another Elder, Elder Falke as another new zone leader. We welcome them all and thank them for all that they do. When we arrived in Hawaii we were able to see Elder Armstrong again. He is doing much better. We also attended a concert that was given at the Honolulu Tabernacle building. They had a full orchestra and a choir as well as soloists. The theme was Broadway songs and some older musicals. It was fantastic, so much talent!

We arrived in Majuro on July 3rd and we had been invited by the American Ambassador to attend a celebration for Independence Day. It was great they had gone all out decorating and the food was good as well. Ambassador Campbell will be leaving the end of this month. We don’t know yet who is taking her place.

On the 4th of July we had a barbeque for the missionaries. We had hotdogs, hamburgers, salads and watermelon. It was a good time. Sister Terabwena and Elder Green bore their testimonies, as they are the next two to finish their Missions. We had a contest to see who could get an Oreo cookie from their forehead to their mouth without using hands! We also had a watermelon seed spitting contest in which the winner received a candy bar. Sister Ieie won, she put the Elders to shame!

Jeff and Fischer had Birthdays since I last wrote. Jeff turned 36 on June 12th and Fischer turned 6 on June13th. We love you both and have heard that you both had good Birthdays.
In one of our trainings and Elder shared a saying from Elder Neal L. Maxwell. He said that we are not comfortable as people in time because we belong to eternity. “Water is to fish as eternity is to man.” We look forward to spending eternity together and we know that if we endure and do our part that it is possible. We love you all dearly, Mom & Dad / Nana & Papa / President & Sister Shaw

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