Every once in a while we meet a visitor to our island that asks, “What good thing did you do so you could be called to Palau?” We ask ourselves the same thing because we feel so blessed to serve in this beautiful area among kind-hearted people.
|Sister Carter & Josie Lynn (Maylyne Obak's mother)|
This week was the first official reporting of home and visiting teaching for the Palau Branch, and though we’re carrying forth this program a little differently, still the members did a good job caring for one another and making sure individual needs were met. We’re grateful for the members catching the vision of what home and visiting teaching can do for and with members. We feel a spirit of ownership among the members far different from the idea that the leaders can do everything and that they will participate when it’s convenient.
|Palau High School students in a very HOT classroom--no air conditioning!|
Sister Carter continues teaching piano lessons and each student is progressing well enough to play in various church meetings. What a blessing it will be when the members can provide music for each meeting with occasional assistance from the missionaries!
Though Elder Carter suffered three days with a head cold, he worked hard to bring the branch membership records up-to-date and include detailed addresses of each member. He attended every meeting, completed each assignment , and did it all with a smile on his face when he didn’t feel much like smiling. He was able to teach with one set of elders and gather information about members while working with another set on a “fact-finding” tour of Airai.
|Hiding new toys in the corner.|
Our friend, Sister Barbara Gilson, returned to Palau this week with a wonderful surprise. Her daughter-in-law's Young Women in Draper, Utah completed a service project of gathering school, humanitarian, Primary, and Young Women supplies for our branch! Our Young Women will package and donate the supplies to worthy causes here. Barbara brought two giant loads with her and the rest have been shipped and should arrive this week. Some of the Primary supplies included new toys for the nursery. One of our two-year-olds took ownership of some toys and refused to leave nursery. Oh, the joy of something new!
|It should work!|
|How do you read Chinese?|
|Our remotes match!|
A few things tried to jump in our way, including a broken air conditioner, but we were blessed when our landlord installed a brand new one. It blows cold air and doesn’t even make noise! We have retired the mop we used to “gently” persuade our old A/C to stop rattling. We celebrated with a date night at a local restaurant. The food was good, the view lovely, and the company outstanding!
|Elder Carter ready for a night out|
|Sister Carter at the Rose Garden Restaurant|
|Enjoying the view|
|View from the restaurant|
Our trek to Babeldaob this week, though hurried, was productive as we visited with almost every member on that island. The weather was a little stormy and since it was the week-end before Independence Day, not many customs were held (funerals, baby showers, house warmings, etc.) and most people were home enjoying cooler temperatures (in the high 70’s).
The baptism this week was a triple blessing as three people joined the Church. Pasqual Ngwal, Idu Singeru, and Chelsea Raph were all baptized on Saturday evening with the generous and loving support of many branch members in attendance. We were able to attend for the opening song and prayer but left immediately after to attend a dinner honoring a visiting American authority, Judge Clifford Wallace from San Diego, California. We had no idea what a blessing this would be!
|Elder Dopp & Chelsea|
|Elder Dopp, Chelsea, Elder Murdoch|
|Pasqual & John Thing|
|Idu, Pasqual, Chelsea|
Judge Wallace is a distinguished member of the Court of Appeals first appointed by the President of the United States in 1972. The Chief Judge of the Palau Supreme Court invited Judge Wallace to conduct training among the judges here, and Judge Wallace happily agreed as he has visited and worked in Palau numerous times. We expected to meet him at a banquet hall filled with people to mark this occasion but were surprised to find that the dinner party included the chief judge, Judge Wallace, another Palauan judge, and us. We had an incredible time learning about each of these three and their responsibilities over the past several years and could easily see the depth of respect and friendship between the two chief judges. A note of thanks to our friend Eli McCann whose fine work ethic at the Palau courts brought us fame by association. Thanks again, Eli!
|Sister Carter, Judge Clifford Wallace, Elder Carter|
|Back row: Elders Dopp, Murdoch, Malais, Fullmer, Carter, Wallace|
Front row: Sisters Norgrant, Masiasomua, Carter, Ale, Purcell
Judge Wallace is known as Brother Wallace too. He has served in numerous callings and continues to make friends for the Church as he travels throughout the world on assignment from the Brethren. As we enjoyed Sunday dinner together, he shared gospel insights with us and the eight younger missionaries serving here. During and after his visit, we all felt lifted and filled with the knowledge that the Savior directs His Church and that we have a living Prophet, President Monson, who is the mouthpiece of the Lord and the one with authority to direct the Kingdom of God on the earth.
We are grateful to be included in this work of gathering Saints, and we so appreciate your letters, emails, packages, and prayers that lift and inspire us every day. Thank you! We love you!