Monday was Sister Carter’s birthday, and for those of you who know her, you remember that she loves birthdays and stretches the celebration for as long as possible. This year was no exception. We celebrated last Sunday with all the missionaries and President and Sister Mecham, our mission president. After dinner, President and Sister Mecham insisted on doing the dishes and made Sister Carter relax and talk with the other missionaries.
|Elder Carter remembered!|
|Lots and lots of gifts!|
Monday morning, October 28th (in Palau), we were able to Skype with several of our children and grandchildren who all remembered Sister Carter’s birthday. Seeing and talking to family was a wonderful gift, and then the mail arrived. Sister Carter had packages from Ferral Jones, Lavenda Moore, Madison and Cody, and even an extra box from Amazon. Later in the week another package from Camille and Clint arrived, so the party continued.
|Throwing a coconut to get a coconut.|
Monday afternoon we met all eight younger missionaries for an excursion to the north shore of Babeldaob for a couple of hours frolicking on the beach. They were able to dislodge a few coconuts, wield the machete to open them up, then drink the sweet juice with spooky straws sent from Elder Murdoch’s mom for Halloween. Games with Frisbees and water balloons kept us moving—and wet. When we returned to Koror, everyone hurried back to the business of missionary work—since preparation day ends at 6:00 P.M.
|Vivica made a cake|
Sister Carter’s students at Palau High School also remembered her birthday with a cake, punch, and a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday.” As part of the celebration (and a vocabulary and essay assignment), they watched Raiders of the Lost Ark, which only one student had ever seen before.
We love Skarlee Renguul, one of our branch members preparing to serve in the Brisbane, Australia Mission. Elder Carter continues to shepherd him through his visa application and papers required by his mission president. They visited the U.S. Embassy, the police station, a photo shop, and the state finance office multiple times applying for his passport and visa. Though time consuming, the time spent with Skarlee builds our testimonies of his commitment to be faithful and true.
|Where to post?|
|Found a spot.|
|Must sell this mission car.|
One of Sister Carter’s most exciting events was Seminary Wednesday night with ten students. What a blessing to have so many want to study about Nephi’s final days and feel the power of his testimony. Elder Carter hosted the addiction recovery class and hopes to see many overpower their addictions and prepare themselves to attend the temple next July. He had an “aha” moment when he discovered that one of his students did not understand the word “weakness” in Ether 12:27, which is the basis for the class. Language differences keep us humble.
Following Seminary a big crowd of over 50 people gathered for a Halloween party. We all enjoyed the decorations, games, food, face painting, music, and fun sponsored by the Young Women. They worked hard to make it a success, and their work was amply rewarded.
The party was still in full swing when we left for the airport to pick up Elder and Sister Olsen, our mission family history specialists visiting from Guam. They hosted us when we first arrived on Guam this past April and made us feel welcome and comfortable in a new environment.
|Olsens & Carters at the Capitol|
|Look at that dome!|
|Olsens & Carters|
The Olsens spent the next three days training us, the younger missionaries, and branch members how to begin or continue their family histories. They held meetings at the chapel and visited in members’ homes to share the joys of family, and though in their 70’s, they did well sitting on bare floors, handling the heat and rain, and meeting with a variety of circumstances. We were sorry to see them fly off to Yap late Saturday night but know their efforts will be amply rewarded somehow.
|The Olsens & our zone after a rainstorm|
We spent many hours Saturday with members on Babeldaob sharing President Monson’s message “To the Rescue.” We felt especially blessed to find a member that’s been lost for years and feel we were guided to his remote and hidden home. We won’t give all the details of this miracle, but we easily recognize the Lord’s hand guiding us to bless the life of this lost son and invite him into full activity in the church.
|Raven all ready for baptism|
|Sister Purcell, Raven, Sister Masiasomua|
The culmination of this week was Raven Kloulubak’s and Chioll Singeru’s baptism. Though we’ve attended several baptisms by now, each one is a sweet reminder of Heavenly Father’s love for each one of us. As we stood outside to witness the ordinance, rain started to fall in torrents. All of us were almost as wet as the two who had been completely immersed in the water, but though we were drenched, we enjoyed the peacefulness of the Spirit and the joy in their countenances as they took upon themselves sacred covenants.
|Chioll baptized by his uncle Timothy|
Fast and Testimony Meeting on Sunday continues to be a highlight. Part of the meeting is done in Palauan, and though we don’t understand a lot, we can feel the depth of their testimonies and the strength of their convictions. The Primary is practicing mightily for the Children’s Sacrament Meeting presentation at the end of the month. We don’t have a lot of children who attend regularly, but those who do love to sing and look forward to sharing what they’ve learned this year.
|More beautiful with every year!|
Our celebrations continued Sunday afternoon at a dinner held in Sister Masiasomua's honor. She turns another year older on November 10th, but since she'll be in Guam doing mission training on her special day, we celebrated with dinner and a banana/nut cake, plus a little off-key singing. She didn't seem to mind.
Amid all the celebrations of the week, we revel in one that happens every single day: our mission in Palau. How grateful we are for this blessing and the outpouring of love, support, faith, and prayers from each of you!