Sunday, July 14, 2013

Better and better and better and better......

This past week has been filled with so many activities, events, and memories that we're not sure we can put into words the depth of our gratitude to a loving Heavenly Father who sent us to this amazing isle of Palau. We love our people here who, in spite of economic hardship and relatively few "things", love one another and are happy, kind, and thoughtful.
Sister DeLeon is moving to California this week.  We miss her so much already!!
Our children have often heard us talk about jogging in various parts of the world, but we've never had a tougher terrain yet kinder, gentler drivers than in Palau.  Sister Carter marvels every single day about the kindness of the drivers as she maneuvers along a 6 inch shoulder and deep potholes often filled with rainwater. She has never been splashed by a car though opportunities to do so come along every few feet. We often see the same drivers who now honk or wave long before they reach us and almost every driver acknowledges us by a wave, honk, eyebrow raise (this means "yes" in Palauan, head bob, and a couple even shout out our names.

Our sports night Tuesday looked similar to an EKG, lines going up, down, over and over.  The kids of the branch were super excited to swim at a hotel in the area where some of our members live, but just a few minutes before our start time, we received a phone call that they were going to charge $5 per person to swim.  We cancelled the swim and redirected everyone to the church for a hot, sweaty game of beach ball volleyball.  The beach balls had something inside each one so the ball never went exactly where it was aimed, but that only increased the excitement and laughter.  Sister Carter played the entire time while Elder Carter was able to discuss the importance of committed activity with a less active member.

Players posing

Sports night is fun for everyone!

Beach ball volleyball players

Most of the time the young missionaries get all of the proselyting and teaching opportunities, but we were able to visit with a part-member family and teach about the priesthood.  The Spirit was strong as we all felt his calm reassurance that what we were teaching was true.  We're grateful for the restoration of the Gospel and the priesthood along with all the attendant blessings, and for the opportunity to share our testimony with honest truth seekers.
Zone meeting
Elders Dopp, Malais, Fullmer, Gubler, Sisters Masiasomua, Ale, Purcell, Norgrant
Elder Fullmer is sporting a new smile, minus his wisdom teeth.

Elder Carter, in a direct but kind way, often asks less active members when they joined the church and invites them to share how they gained their testimonies.  This simple act has given them the opportunity to renew those feelings, which has led to some walking through the chapel door to again participate in the sacrament and renew their covenants. His inspired questions and remarks continue to move the work forward here.

We're continuing Summer Cinema through the month of July and enjoyed another opportunity to be with the saints.  Another activity was our community clean-up supported by one of our major stores and the newspaper.  After our last two clean-ups, they printed articles and pictures, but this time they printed an article before the event.  We're making progress.
The Roberto family helps with the clean up and everything else!
Smiles in spite of the garbage!

Our favorite event though is a baptism, and we were able to attend the baptism of Arisei on Friday evening.  He has had some tough, life-altering experiences in the last five months, but it's easy for the rest of us to see how the Lord has prepared him for the gospel.  The elders found him "accidentally". After the elders taught him a couple of discussions, he asked them what he needed to do to be baptized.  You can imagine their reaction!  We look forward to his service in the branch and look at him as an answer to our prayers for another priesthood leader to support and strengthen our members.
Happy missionaries & happy Arisei

Elder Gubler, Mitch Hibbard, Arisei, Elders Fullmer, Malais, Dopp

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