Tuesday, April 23, 2013

On March 28th I went to an enrichment night in Delap with Sister Barlow and Sister Bulkley.  Sister Bulkley trained the sisters on first aid and good nutrition.  She did a great job and the sisters seemed to enjoy the training.  We had to leave at that point but the sisters were going to do some exercising. 

Another big blog!  It seems like time is flying now.  We have done many things since I last wrote.  On April 30th we went to Ebeye.  We have been taking subway sandwiches over to the missionaries.  This time we brought some for us and the Elder & Sister Woods as they had been there since Thursday doing trainings for Seminary & Institute with the District and branches.  Elder & Sister Morgan had gone to Lae the week before and had planned to be back when we came but hey decided that they would rather come back on Air Marshall instead of the boat.  Their boat ride to Lae had been extremely rough so they didn’t want to go through that again.  It was a blessing to Lae to have them on the Island because they were able to do some training.  The District President changed the Branch Presidency and they took food over for the members there.  Some of the members from Ebeye also went to show support and help out.  Tom had interviews that evening on Ebeye.

On Sunday, we attended all three branches; it was Easter Sunday.  We hope you all had a great Easter and enjoyed spending time with family.  Tom had more interviews, as you can see he was kept very busy.  That evening we had auxiliary training which Tom also taught.

Monday, we had our Zone Conference with our Missionaries.  Tom and I both trained and then Elder Angilau who is the district leader also did training.  The people are so wonderful in Ebeye and they help our missionaries a lot.  All of the missionaries love it there and would be perfectly happy if they were never transferred from there! 

We left on the transit boat at 12:00 noon and the Woods also left on that day.  Elder Zernando Stephen came with us on his way to the Provo MTC; he will be met by Frank and Annette Mills in Salt Lake and taken to Provo.  He will be serving in the Philippines.  He knows English very well.  President Parker took the Wood’s and we went along for the tour of Kwajalein.  They loved it.  We saw some sharks that we had never been shown before.  They say that they are not dangerous but I think if I were in the water I would still keep a safe distance away!  We flew back to Majuro that evening.

On April 4th the Assistants brought Elder Peck or was it Sister Peck over as he was going to Lae to

serve.  We would not see him again before leaving so we got to say goodbye.  He took the place of Elder Kaka who we needed to bring in as he will be finishing his mission.

April 6th, we attended a Baptism in Delap.  We are trying to improve our baptisms and making them more spiritual, as of course it is a special day for them and we want them to remember it as a spiritual, sacred occasion. 

April 7th, we went to Ajeltake for sacrament meeting.  They were changing the Branch Presidency as the former President Aini moved to Washington D.C.  They sustained Brother Billy as the new Branch President.  We then had Elders Ka Ka, and Vaulu over for the final dinner for Elder Ka Ka.  He is leaving while we are gone and we will miss his service and wish him the best.
Monday we had a sister's get together in the Marshall side.  We were going to go to the beach in Laura, but most of them needed more time to go shopping and email so we met a little later at the mission home and ate lunch and played a few games.  Then we took many pictures.  I'm convinced that we could hold it anywhere and the sisters would be happy just to be with each other and to be silly and take goofy pictures!  We soooo love our sisters in the mission!  Tom even got in on the action, but then we politely told him to leave as this was a sisters only party!

That evening we headed for Hawaii.  Of course, that turned into the 8th again so we had that day to shop for the things they needed in Kiritimati (Christmas) Island.  Tom also had an MRI on his neck and shoulders; he has been having trouble/sharp pains for about 6-8 months.  We left the next day (9th) for Christmas which turned into the 10th our 39th wedding anniversary.  The Mabey’s picked us up at the airport and took us to their home.  They had found out the night before that the reservation they had made for us at the Kiribati Protestant Church Village Hotel had been canceled.  Apparently, the KPC head guy who owns it said that some of their ministers were coming in for meetings and so some who had arrived earlier decided to stay another week.  So we stayed at the Rainbow place which is right across the street from the Church.  We had stayed there one other time.  The owner fixed it up nice and had put curtains in it and flowers and a little fridge.  This is what they call a bush house.  We were grateful that she had it available and we enjoyed our stay there.  So turns out that we had a honeymoon suite for our anniversary! 

We ate dinner that evening with the Branch Presidency members and their wives, after their Branch Presidency meeting.

April 11th, we had Zone Conference with the missionaries and President & Sister Mabey.  We trained our same subjects as we have been in our other areas and then Sister Tenoa trained on Christ-like attributes.  The sister missionaries, Sisters Tenoa and Nakibae, and Elders Butterfield and Sias love this place and they also would be happy to stay here their entire mission. 

The people are very supportive here and they help the Missionaries all the time.  We had lunch and then Tom went to Banana to go teaching with the Elder’s there.  He had a great experience with them.

April 12th, Tom held interviews with the Missionaries.  That evening we had a Banana Branch party

which they planned because this is our last time here.  We ate and then they had a program where they danced and sang and also did a stick routine which was impressive.  These people are amazing dancers and singers; we love to watch them.  This Branch is getting big enough now so they will qualify for a level one Chapel.  They have been meeting in a school since they were formed.  We love these people; they are so gracious and happy.  This is one of the friendly critters you see on this Island.

Saturday, we had a party with the Christmas branch.  They have a LDS park which the church owns right on the beach.  It is a beautiful setting and they have a maneabwa plus a tarp that covered a lot of space that made it very comfortable.  It was to start at 10:00am; it started at about 11:30 so not too bad!  We played some games and then we had lunch. 

They also had planned a program of dancing and singing.  We had a great time and it was a great turn out.  The Sisters had some investigators there which is always great.  Elders Butterfield and Sias were going to go on a boat to go to Fanning Island.  It is about a 24 hour trip from Christmas. 
The Fanning Branch President had been on Kiritimati for some medical treatment and he also went with them.  It was quite the experience to watch them load the boat.  They have a big net that was operated with a big crane, and they put all the cargo on the boat that way and all of the people too!  We waited until the boat left and then we went back to the church for a baptism.  There were three who were baptized; a 10 and a 14 year old boy and the Sister was 20.  They bore their testimonies afterwards and they all seemed very happy.

Sunday, we attended both Branches.  The Christmas branch was first.  Before the meeting started the YSA brought over some blouses for me and Sisters Mabey, Tenoa, and Nakibae.  They were all matching and they wanted us all to wear them to church-so cute.  The YSA were the speakers at church and they all sang a song, it was great.  He also asked Tom to say a few words which he did.  

We drove to the Banana Branch right after the sacrament meeting in Christmas.  Tom and I both spoke at this meeting.  It was hard to say goodbye to them looking out at them; I think we tried to etch the meeting in our hearts.  What great people.  The Relief Society President presented us with four sets of pillow cases that were hand done. 

Wow!  We will treasure them. Later on Tom held leadership training for the Branch and Auxiliary Presidencies.  They were very appreciative and seemed to learn a lot.

Monday, Tom had 8 potential missionary interviews for most of the day.  That evening we were invited to dinner by President Naitiniwa’s family.  Earlier, Sister Mabey and I were given a new blouse and earrings to match, which they wanted us to wear to the dinner.  They had a feast for us.  They just give and give! 

It is Tuesday today and I am writing this blog.  Tom is holding more potential missionary interviews and finishing up last minute items.  We leave tomorrow morning.  This is our last trip here.  The day we left we were given another set of pillowcases and some subota's for me.  All of the gifts we have received will be cherished forever.   Some were made by this sweet lady.

The Lord truly loves his people on the Isles of the Sea.  They have so little but they have the most important things, a love of the Lord and a love of life.  They are a great example to us.  They would give you the shirt off their back and help you out with anything.  We will miss them all dearly.  We love you Mom & Dad / Nana & Papa / President & Sister Shaw   






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