Sunday, June 9, 2013

Baby Blessings!

We’re blessed to be called missionaries for the next 18 months, but even more blessed to be called grandparents!  We were blessed this week with the birth of a grandson, Alessandro, on June 4th.  We found out via email on June 5th that Eleesha and Davide delivered by C-section and Alessandro weighed in at 6 pounds 11 ounces.  We know he’s beautiful even though we won’t see him in person until he’s toddling around the house 18 months from now.  We’re grateful he’s finally here, that Eleesha and Davide are adjusting to a newborn, and that we’re able to see pictures and communicate though we’re half a world away.

If we were paid for talking, we would be raking in the dough since we’re visiting with members and nonmembers every single day—and loving it!  We’ve met almost all of the members of the branch, even those in remote villages on Babeldoab.  We spent many, many hours searching for some that haven’t been contacted in quite some time, and were blessed for our efforts finding almost everyone home.  The weather even cooperated and only rained while we were driving or in someone’s home.
Speed bump memory

Village road
A big negative was the giant crash of Sister Carter’s computer!  Though she backed up all the information, still all of the programs are gone and will likely stay that way until a return to the U.S. to install those pricey programs.  Fortunately, Elder Carter’s computer is still up and running so we don’t have both hands tied behind our backs!

A Monday (preparation day) highlight is playing games with the missionaries.  All nine of us played some wild card games for a couple of hours, which gave us the opportunity to learn more about one another and each of their journeys to the mission field.  They are faithful and true and one of our greatest joys is watching over them.

Monday evening we visited with President and Sister Kesolei at their home and enjoyed their company along with the stories of Mitch Hibbard, another former St. George man now stationed in Palau for a few months.

Sister Carter continues to teach piano lessons and added three new students this week.  Preparing to teach is a breeze, and feeling a breeze is what she hopes for on hot, sunny afternoons.  The tropical heat is so manageable while moving, but sitting in one place for very long can be a sizzling experience.

Elder Carter on Meyuns

While Sister Carter teaches, Elder Carter works at the church updating records, preparing agendas, recording minutes, watching training videos, and may even run an errand or two.
Sister Carter on Meyuns causeway
Since no Wal-Mart, Costco, or K-Mart exists on Palau, we frequent Surangel’s Department Store or WCTC which stands directly across the street.  Prices are a big bump up from what we’re used to, and it was especially clear to us this week as we needed a basketball for sports night at the church.  We found the least expensive one on the island at only $37!  The funny thing about this purchase was that after shopping around and seeing prices close to $100, we decided that $37 for a basketball wasn’t bad, paid the money, then watched the ball carefully as the sun set in the west so we wouldn’t lose it in the jungle next to the church.
Easy two points
Smiles for sports night
Sister missionaries play ball too
President Kesolei hosted a representative of the church who administers humanitarian aid and a member of the mission presidency who also runs the service center in Guam.  They were only on Palau for one day and had some productive meetings with government officials.  While they were in town, one set of young missionaries locked their keys in their car—along with their spare set!  That’s bad enough, but then to have these two church officials witness the event was even more humiliating.  Bad timing for everyone!
The more the merrier??
Smile through the pain!
One of the blessings of having a threesome among the sisters is that Sister Norgrant is able to jog with Sister Carter while Sister Masi and Sister Ale play basketball.  They all get to do what they want and Sister Carter has someone to talk with as she’s working out.

Elder Gubler, our zone leader, shared information from the recent zone leader conference on Guam.  He traveled there for three days and returned with lots of information including 25 ways to be a better missionary.  As he shared what he learned with us, we determined to do all we can to work harder and smarter to bless the lives of our members and support our younger missionaries.

Twenty people attended the First Friday Flick this past week, and a couple mentioned that they’d never seen such a large crowd.  We were happy with the turnout, the popcorn made by Kaytano and Skarlee, two of our young men soon to be full-time missionaries, and the movie The Ultimate Gift.  The message of the movie was powerful and a couple of the adults mentioned that they wouldn’t mind seeing it again with all of their children.

Saturday morning we met a couple of members from the branch plus all of the missionaries for another clean-up project at Long Island Park and the surrounding roadways.  It was a beautiful morning, cooler temperatures, no rain, plus Surangel’s generously donated all of the garbage bags for this and many more service projects.
Clean up crew

Sundays are interesting because they’re filled with a multitude of responsibilities and meetings, but the Spirit we feel is so powerful that there’s no denying its heavenly foundation.  Following branch presidency meeting, two brethren spoke in Sacrament Meeting about the power of the Book of Mormon and the priesthood while the brethren of our branch choir sang a stirring rendition of “Ye Elders of Israel”.  Their participation in word and song was a blessing to all of us.  The balance of our regular Sunday meetings flowed smoothly as Sister Carter taught singing time in Primary and helped them prepare to sing for their fathers next Sunday.
Rare sight--most bury their dead in the front yard
We are grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and a living Prophet who called us to serve on Palau.  Bounteous blessings flow into our lives every day as we work with, serve, and love the people.  We feel peace knowing that our family at home is held in the Savior’s hands, and that they are surrounded by others who will come to their aid in our absence.  We love our mission!
Elder Carter on causeway

Sister Carter in Babeldoab

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