How has four months of our mission passed by?! It feels strange to think that we entered the MTC a few short months ago with butterflies fluttering in our stomachs yet determined to serve with all our hearts. Now we feel a little seasoned, only a little, but at least we have a better idea of what we are to do and how we can serve the people of Palau.
|Dogs can be lazy, but we have too much to do!|
|Elder Dopp and hanging laundry|
Elder Carter doesn't like apartment inspections!
Our first Seminary class this week began with nine of us, and with the addition of three latecomers and three other adults, it was a good showing for the initial lesson. Teaching the Book of Mormon is an honor and responsibility, and the willing attitudes and love of the students made the evening a great event.
|Getting ready to pose|
Immediately after Seminary, the Young Men and Young Women had a farewell party for those leaving our branch: Mitch Hibbard and Joseph Rue, both members of the military serving at Camp Katuu; Daniel Sowards, our amazing former Seminary teacher and Gospel Doctrine teacher leaving for New Mexico Sunday night; Risong and Ulang leaving for BYU-Hawaii on Monday; Ulang, our YW president, going to Taiwan the 3rd of September for her advanced degree, Eli McCann, our YM president, leaving for the States and another job in Salt Lake on September 6th; Seth and Kirsten Saterfield leaving for another job mid-September. We’re feeling quite a sense of loss from all these good people leaving the island, but know that others will have to step forward, fill their shoes, and help the church grow.
|Cake is supposed to make leaving easier.|
|Four leaving Palau (Daniel, Mitch, Eli, Joseph)|
|Arisei, Mitch, Elder Carter|
The Institute opening social was perhaps our best attended event since we’ve been on Palau! About 50 people attended, and like one sister said, it was almost better than Sacrament Meeting. We ran out of food, but not until everyone had a dish full or else they came in past 7:30. We had new members, investigators, and less actives, plus all those that are leaving within the next few days.
|Enjoying the night|
|Fun for everyone|
|Missionaries & members--winning combo|
|Elder Carter, Risong (Charity), Sister Carter|
|Kirsten & Seth Saterfield|
Friday morning we drove to Camp Katuu to watch the change of charge ceremony. We’re so happy for Mitch Hibbard and Joseph Tew since they’re on their way to see their families, but sad for us since they’ve been such a valuable asset to our branch and to us personally. Mitch has been our “doctor on call” and helped Elder Carter deal with a few health issues in the last couple of months. The ceremony itself was well done. They had tents set up for the spectators and the two teams stood in the sun in their heavy duty, long-sleeved fatigues, combat boots, and visored hats. The weather was really great though and we had cloud cover most of the time and enjoyed a slight breeze that kept us comfortable in the shade.
|Mitch & Joseph in the 2nd row|
Friday evening was quite unusual for us as we met Daniel and Eli at Palau Pacific Resort for the dinner buffet. What a great opportunity to spend a few moments with our friends before they leave our island. We were able to watch the sun set while sitting near the beach, eating good food, watching Palauan dancers and singers, and talking with these men who have grown into our hearts. We will really miss them.
|View from our table|
Daniel and Eli invited the Young Men and Young Women (and us) to their apartment for a farewell breakfast Saturday morning. Immediately after, we started our monthly trek to Babeldaub. Though we don’t get to see as many members as we would like, the ones we did see on Saturday were glad for the contact and to know that the Church has not forgotten them.
|Enjoying breakfast together|
We love Sundays and the opportunity to gather with the Saints to renew our covenants, build friendships, and learn from one another. Daniel, Eli, Rilong, and Ulang shared tearful, heartfelt testimonies plus our trio of Elder Carter, Eli, and Clair Hall sang “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer” and brought a sweet spirit to the meeting and enlarged our hearts with the blessings of the gospel. Our hearts are bursting with love for our fellow Saints as we pray for their success and joy in the new chapters in their lives.