Between many missionary moments, we celebrated Elder Murdoch’s birthday on Tuesday and Elder Malais’ birthday on Friday. We ate cake last Sunday then again on Thursday to honor both elders, plus a little sugar seems to improve every event. Elder Murdoch is our youngest missionary (just turned 19) while Elder Malais is our oldest (just turned 24), and both are dedicated, hard-working missionaries who want to bring the light of the gospel to every single person on Palau.
|Elder Malais ready to eat cake.|
Since many members of our branch are here on temporary assignment from elsewhere, we inevitably have to say goodbye, and this week was no exception. We wished farewell to Kelsey Leavitt, who returned to the U.S. so she could be home in time to start college. Her mom, Cassandra, accompanied her but will return in time to speak in church the middle of September. Mitch Hibbard and Joseph Rue, members of the U.S. military serving for the last six months in Palau, will be leaving us Friday. Both spoke in church about the power of personal revelation, bore their testimonies, shared their love for the branch members, and allowed each of us to feel a powerful Spirit and a desire to improve our lifeline with heaven. In addition to their talks, the branch choir sang a “Love at Home” medley. It was a difficult piece of music which changed keys several times and employed parts of four different hymns. Honestly, we were concerned how it would sound, but when they performed, something magical happened as their voices blended to add more fire to an already powerful meeting.
|Part of our branch choir|
|At in-service meeting|
|Kaytano's parents and President Kesolei|
Every Wednesday we meet with the Young Men and Young Women to enjoy an activity. This week Daniel Sowards taught powerful tips about nutrition and exercise with cute demonstrations from a couple of our young men. Afterwards, we all heard and saw a rare thing: Kaytano Edeyaoch read his mission call. Everyone gasped, clapped, and cried together when he read that he would serve in the South Africa Johannesburg Mission and would report on November 28th to the mission training center in Africa. We’re grateful to his parents, all of his Young Men leaders, former missionaries, and friends who support Kaytano and helped him reach this point in his life.
|Kaytano reading his call from the Prophet|
Thursday we attended a public forum held in the Palau Cultural Center regarding crime and violence in this country. Hundreds attended with us, but Ibedul Gibbons (the high chief) asked us to serve on the steering committee which consists of about 15 people. What an opportunity to teach about home and family values plus extend the church’s presence within these islands.
The Seminary opening social on Saturday evening was a bittersweet affair since only 25 of the 75 we planned for attended. Those who came did have a good time and we were able to serve leftovers to the missionaries on Sunday afternoon, so that was a little blessing in disguise. Regular Seminary classes begin on Wednesday, and we are praying mightily that the youth will attend and gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon.
|Dinner is good|
Why are we so blessed to participate in every aspect of missionary work in this paradise of Palau? We appreciate the variety of experiences we enjoy every single day and are deeply grateful to our family and friends who support us through prayers, letters, packages, and living their lives in accordance with the teachings of the Savior. We love you!