Monday, July 29, 2013

Winding Down and Gearing Up

Palau enjoys an eternal summer, but for school-age children, summer is about to end with the start of school on August 5th.  We’re finishing up our summer series of sports nights and summer cinemas but preparing mightily for seminary and institute classes beginning mid-August.  We’ve spent many hours tracking down parents and students to sign registration forms and invite them to the opening social and another year of gospel instruction.
Elders Malais & Dopp helping at Sports Night

We’ve done a lot of cooking and a little entertaining while hosting dinners at our home.  The younger missionaries are always happy to eat with us each Sunday and we’ve enjoyed the company of branch members and short-term visitors during the week.
We don't buy many strawberries--even if they're on sale!
Elders Fullmer, Gubler, Malais, & Arisei

Sisters Masi, Norgrant, Ale

This past Wednesday was Pioneer Day in Utah, but we didn’t do much to celebrate here except sing some pioneer songs in Primary and refer to the pioneers and their struggles to enjoy religious freedom.  It’s easy to draw parallels with our Palauan saints, and they are pioneers in their own right as they forge new paths for their families and join the church and leave false customs and traditions behind.  We love these saints and appreciate their desires to serve the Lord with all their heart, might, mind, and strength.
Three baptismal candidates, Kaytano (a member), and Elders Gubler & Fullmer

Our final summer cinema event was held at Eli’s home and created a new level of excitement holding the movie someplace besides the church.  We are missing Eli already as he’s planning on leaving for Salt Lake City around September 6th!
Ready for camp
Girls’ camp was our highlight of the week as ten of our beautiful young women, the young women presidency (president, first counselor, second counselor, and secretary), two husbands, two missionaries (Elder and Sister Carter), the branch president and his wife, and four sister missionaries traveled to the far shore of Babeldaob for the opportunity to grow closer together and strengthen their testimonies of the Savior.  Those who have lived or served on Palau will recognize the power of a complete young women presidency and their husbands who served as priesthood leaders while at camp.  We and the branch president arrived in time for dinner and testimony meeting and heard deep, insightful messages from many of the young women about how they felt the Holy Ghost and what being at camp meant to them.  The four sister missionaries drove to camp on Saturday to present a workshop highlighting the theme of camp:  “Stand ye in holy places and be not moved.”  The girls loved the presentation and were given valuable ideas about how they can make each place holy through their thoughts and actions.
Camp at the beach--oh yeah!
Driving to camp

Kayaking in the ocean
Can you pick out the YW leader?

Cooking like crazy
Cooking competition

YW leaders:  Kirsten - Secretary, Rilang - President

Eating is always fun

Sacrament Meeting on Sunday was a continuation of the beautiful spirit of girls’ camp as the young women talked and sang about their experiences.  The four sister missionaries enhanced the spirit with their own rendition of “Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee.”

Several days ago a family in the branch asked some of our elders if they would show the Joseph Smith movie to some of their friends, so the elders set the time for Sunday evening.  Imagine our delight when about 30 people attended, including many investigators!  This touching movie about Joseph the Prophet reminded us again of why we are here and how much the Lord loves his children.  We’re grateful for our testimonies and the joy the gospel brings into our lives as we humbly serve the saints of Palau.
Ready for zone lunch

Eating is a treat

Palau Zone Missionaries
Primary boys

Primary girls

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