New Year’s in Palau seems to be a more widely celebrated holiday than Christmas! We heard plenty of fireworks, smelled the savory aroma of several barbecues, marveled at the fewest number of cars on the road we’ve ever seen, yet were surprised to find so few people home. Missionary work slowed down for a few hours.
|Sister Ale & Sister Norgrant|
|Skarlee, Elder Murdoch, Elder Malais|
As we reviewed our efforts and goals in 2013, we were all disappointed to find that we were one baptism short of our yearly goal. But Monday, as many of us gathered at the church for piano lessons, we learned from our zone leaders that we had miscounted! Imagine our excitement, awe, and humility when we discovered our error. We reached our goal and saw 30 souls exercise faith, repent, and join the Church in 2013. We didn’t quite know how to express all the tender feelings of our hearts, but we celebrated with dinner together, generously provided by a donation from Ferral Jones, Sister Carter’s mother.
|Happy Palau Zone|
President and Sister Kesolei invited all the missionaries to ring in the new year at their home. As we climbed out of our car, we could smell the chicken, bratwurst, fish, hot dogs, and spicy sausage they barbecued in our honor. We consumed massive amounts of fruit salad, potato salad, red rice, and all the varieties of meat. Just before dinner we even saw the last couple of minutes of a televised football game, but we all laughed plenty as we sang Karaoke in their front room. We spent a delightful two hours with some of our beloved branch family.
|Joanny Kesolei & Sister Norgrant|
|Lots of food!|
|Elder Malais & Elder Murdoch|
|Elder Malais, Teruo, Elder Dopp|
|Elder Carter, John Thing|
|Waiting to sing|
|Elder Carter & football highlights|
We continue to receive Christmas packages from our family, much to our delight and that of the younger missionaries. We are grateful for each item and are most thankful for the tangible and heartfelt love that flows from each package. Thank you!
|Clothes & candy!|
|Lots of treats|
|Lots & lots|
|We love packages!|
|Love those gifts|
|Quite a haul|
Our trip to Babeldaob this month was a delight! In answer to our prayers, we found and visited with nearly all of the members we were seeking plus the weather could not have been more beautiful as we felt a breeze cooling the bright sunlight everywhere we went.
|Typhoon Haiyan destroyed this mango tree|
Sunday morning was a continuation of Saturday’s blessings. Some members we had visited attended church for the first time since we’ve been in Palau and committed to be there more often. Sacrament Meeting was an opportunity for some of the St. George people, who are leaving this week, to share their testimonies and feelings about their Palau experience. Their testimonies were punctuated with plenty of tears, plus we listeners were equally touched by their tender emotions. We and the branch will miss their service, experience, and testimonies!
|Last Sunday with the Huffakers in Primary|
We are grateful for 2013 and all the lessons we learned about one another, our family, missionary work, and the loving concern of our Heavenly Father. We are grateful for another year and a new beginning for each of us! We anticipate even greater blessings and experiences throughout the new year and wish the same for each of you, our wonderful family and supportive friends. We love you!