Sunday, December 8, 2013

No snow....ever!

We are edging ever closer to Christmas, but instead of snow, shopping, and wrapping gifts, we fill our days with finding and fellowshipping members, preparing for church meetings, and many other aspects of missionary work.  We are so blessed to serve in Palau among a humble people where “things” are not high priorities.
Typical Palauan home on the water

Monday morning we hurried to Camp Katuu to visit with Dr. Taylor.  Elder Carter is doing much better and should be able to start jogging again in only a few more days.  He spent much of the day inspecting apartments and installing smoke alarms while Sister Carter taught piano lessons to five missionaries.  We enjoyed playing games with the elders for a couple of hours before we jumped back into the missionary proselyting schedule.

While in the middle of delivering priesthood manuals for next year, we heard that Grandma Frank passed away Tuesday afternoon.  She had been ill for only a couple of days.  We visited the hospital to be with family and, along with all the younger missionaries, were happy to testify again of the reality of the Plan of Salvation.  We are grateful for the blessing of continuation of the family and the promise of eternal life through the Atoning sacrifice of the Savior.  What a beautiful message to share anytime, but especially at the death of a loved one.  President Kesolei's stepfather also passed away this week after an extended illness.

Our younger missionaries were switched around a little this week.  Elder Dopp was transferred to Airai with Elder Fullmer and shares zone leader responsibilities while Elder Malais moved to Midtown with Elder Murdoch and serves as our new district leader.  We’re grateful for these priesthood holders and their willingness to serve in any capacity and help the work move forward on Palau.  Our sister missionaries are working as hard as they can with Sister Purcell and Sister Ale still under the weather.  They're improving and appreciate all the faith and prayers offered in their behalf.

Elder Carter spent many hours this week helping Skarlee Renguul work on his Australian visa application including three hours at the doctor’s office for an extra exam to fulfill more requirements.   Karla Johnson and Kessy Antonio spent a couple of hours with Sister Carter working on the computer doing family history.  Kessy, one of our young women, will be working on her history as a Young Woman’s project next year.
YW playing around

YW practicing music

Every first Friday of the month we host a movie at the chapel.  We had about 25 people attend to enjoy the show, the popcorn, and one another’s company.  Elder Carter has mastered the technique of making  popcorn in mass quantities.

A bridge on Babeldaob--it might need some repair
A couple of dogs enjoying the beach on Babeldaob
Now that Elder Carter’s extremely painful boil is almost healed, we were able to make our delayed trek to Babeldaub.  Each trip gives us the opportunity to remind members how much the branch needs them and the strength of their testimonies to bless all our lives.  After driving down a dirt path, parking in a clearing, walking downhill for a while, and seeing a home hidden deep in the jungle, we finally found a member we’ve been searching for since we first arrived on Palau.  Though he has not attended church in the last few months, he and his wife were happy to see us and talk about the gospel.
Sister Carter showing the remains of a tree blown
 across the road during Typhoon Haiyan.

Elder Carter inspecting more trees cut away from the road
following the typhoon.

Clair and Betty Hall were our inspired speakers for Sacrament Meeting, and our special musical number included three angels named Kali Kesolei, Courtney Tervet, and Kubari Antonio.  They sang “The Nativity Song” with each singing a solo then joining together at the end to share their joy in the birth of the Savior.  The talks and music were touching and invited a powerful spirit.  Part of the joy of this meeting was the packed meetinghouse.  We had 12 investigators attend and many members who arrived late had to stand in the hall or outside. 
Elder Carter unlocking the gate to the church property.

We are humbled to serve among such wonderful people.  We are supposed to be teaching and training members to serve more effectively, but we are the ones learning more about the power of relationships and becoming as little children worthy of the Lord’s kingdom.  We are so blessed!

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