Sunday, October 27, 2013

Joyful Moments

Oh, what a week!  It’s been jam-packed with excitement, teaching, fun, meetings, assignments, mail, calls, and a host of other activities.
Palau Zone & President & Sister Mecham

We just returned home from our first musical fireside presented by two of our younger missionaries, Sister Masiasomua and Sister Ale.  They’ve been planning it for a couple of months and working hard to invite participation from branch members and their investigators.  Their efforts were rewarded with a receptive audience and people touched by the message to “Come Unto Christ.”  Many members of the branch sang about the Savior while others provided dialogue between musical numbers.  Sister Carter provided the accompaniment for all the music while Elder Carter conducted the meeting. 

Following the fireside, we had to say goodbye to President and Sister Mecham, our mission president.  They had been here for a couple of days to conduct zone conference, interview missionaries, review branch business, and visit with us.  We loved the opportunity to spend time with our leaders, receive inspired instruction, and feel of their love and concern.  We were blessed to go to dinner with them Saturday evening and learn more about them in a relaxed setting.  We will miss them!
Elder Malais, Jose, Elder Fullmer
Jose & Sister Carter

Jose Thomas was baptized Saturday night at a sweet, simple baptismal service.  He’s one of Sister Carter’s seminary students and has studied with the elders for a while now.  He’s a fine young man and has great support from his family and friends within the branch and will make a powerful contribution to the Young Men’s program.  Both of us gave talks during the service and were honored he would ask us to talk about baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Saturday was a busy day as zone conference began at 9:00 and ended at 2:30.  Sister Mecham reminded us that we teach people, not lessons.  She sweetly taught us to ask questions that will require deeper thought and greater participation and help our listeners bring doctrines and principles into their hearts.  President Mecham gave us a brief history of where the mission has been and where we’re going.  His enthusiasm about the work is contagious and made us want to jump out of our seats and get to work harder and faster.  He feels a definite hastening in the work and communicated it to us through his testimony and knowledge of the scriptures.
Elder Fullmer & Sister Mecham

Sister Mecham & President Mecham

Elder Fullmer, our zone leader, conducted much of the training about role play and gave us opportunities to see examples and then participate.  It was an eye-opening experience for all of us as we had the chance to watch all eight of the younger missionaries teach one another as if they were investigators, and then we offered our observations.  It gave us a chance to evaluate and refresh our teaching.  Sister Carter was happy that Elder Malais, one of her piano students, confidently and willingly played the opening hymn for zone conference.
Elder Malais & Elder Fullmer

Elder Murdoch & Elder Dopp

Sister Norgrant & Sister Ale

Sister Purcell & Sister Masiasomua

Since Skarlee Renguul received his mission call to Brisbane, Australia he has an entire packet of papers to complete for his visa.  Elder Carter has taken on the project, which has taken several hours this week gathering forms, taking photos, completing applications, and searching for information.  He’s happy to help this young man as he prepares to serve and will work many more hours in the week ahead to make sure everything is done correctly and on time.
Skarlee proudly displaying his mission call letter

According to Sister Carter, Seminary is always a pleasure to teach, but this past week had an added measure of joy as they reviewed President Packer’s story about spiritual crocodiles.  Maybe it sank deeper into the hearts of the students as there are plenty of alligators in the mangroves along the beaches here and they could relate to the analogy very easily.  Following Seminary, the Young Men and Young Women made decorations for the branch Halloween party this next Wednesday.  We weren’t sure that they celebrated Halloween here, but now we know to buy plenty of candy for all the branch members and any others who may trick or treat on Thursday.



In conjunction with home and visiting teaching, this past Tuesday evening was Fellowshipping Night where members of the branch visit those less active and bring them a message from the First Presidency.  We were disappointed that only the ten missionaries attended but were able to deliver assignments to members of the branch throughout the rest of the week.

The school children of Palau were released on Thursday for U.N. Day.  A big celebration was held in downtown Koror where a multitude of booths were set up selling food, drinks, crafts, and various children’s activities.  In the afternoon, many hamlets sponsored their youth performing native dances, and then other dance groups presented dances from around the world.  We were able to take an hour and watch some of our branch members perform on the stage as dancers and drummers.  Even through the high temperatures and thick humidity we were able to feel the desire that all nations get along and honor other cultures.
Native dancers

More dancers

Palauans doing a Samoan dance

When any of us missionaries have a birthday, we celebrate it together at dinner on the Sunday before the date, and today marked the celebration for Sister Carter.  She ages one more year tomorrow (on the 28th).  Sister Masiasomua, Sister Purcell, Sister Norgrant, and Sister Ale baked a beautiful two-layer birthday cake garnished with chocolate covered almond M&M’s.  Even after a hearty dinner, four strong elders, four hard-working sisters, and four “older” missionaries (President & Sister Mecham too), made short work of the cake.  A sincere and grateful “thank you” to Sister Carter’s family and friends at home who remembered her birthday and sent cards, packages, and good wishes.
Bakers & Decorators
Beautiful birthday cake!

Lots of hot air?

It’s truly been an amazing week filled with moments of disappointment followed by a multitude of uplifting and inspiring interactions with our llocal church family.  We are grateful for each of you and can feel the power of your faith and prayers to help lift us over disappointments and catapult us toward joy in our calling.  We ever pray for you too!   

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