Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sad day

We love our missionaries.  Each has his own gifts and talents to offer in the service of the Lord, and we are grateful for each one and how he moves the work forward in Micronesia.  Elder Toa, serving on Chuuk for the last several months, lost his life on Thursday while working on a service project.  We pray for his family’s comfort as they remember his desire to serve and sharing of his gifts with the Chuukese people.  We also pray for Elder and Sister Crisp and all the other missionaries on Chuuk who were so closely associated with Elder Toa and will feel his loss even more deeply.  We’re grateful for the Lord’s love for each of us and His Plan of Salvation.

Elder Carter struggled for several days with dental pain, visited the dentist in Palau for relief, but found that he needed the expertise of a dentist in Guam.  We left early Tuesday morning and expected to return late the same day.  The dentist changed those plans drastically.  He informed us we would be in Guam for at least a week, which was a bit of a shock since we came with nothing except what we wore.  Enter a miracle—or at the very least a tender mercy.  Someone had dropped off clothes at the mission office that just “happened” to fit Sister Carter perfectly, and how grateful we were since we couldn’t find any skirts or blouses in the stores that would fit missionary standards.  Elder Carter purchased a couple pairs of pants and two short-sleeved white shirts that kept him looking like a missionary.  Following another dental visit tomorrow, we expect to return to Palau Monday evening, but the dentist seems to be in control of our schedule.

After recuperating from severe pain and dental procedures, we were able to visit a couple of historical sites from World War II.  We learned so much and are humbled by those who paid the ultimate price to guarantee freedom.  And our timing was perfect to meet Elder and Sister Hurst, the new family history missionaries from Texas as well as Elder and Sister Martin who will succeed Elder and Sister Prince in the mission office.  Saturday night Sister McClellan, our mission nurse, invited us to dinner and games with other missionaries, a rare treat since we are the only missionary couple on Palau.  We didn’t play any games, but we did get a chance to know each other better through non-stop chatting.
Watching the beach

Near Tumon Bay

Asan Beach Park

Asan Beach Park

War in the Pacific Park

Next to a Japanese submarine

Two-man submarine

Claustrophobia chamber

War in the Pacific Museum

Asan Beach invasion date

Japanese lookout

Banzai charges

Beautiful skies

Monument to those who died on Guam

From the Japanese lookout

The B-29 mission from Guam

At Two Lovers Point

We missed President and Sister Mecham during our stay in Guam as they were in Pohnpei organizing the second stake of the church in Micronesia.  Elder Whiting of the Seventy accompanied them, plus Elder Ringwood of the Seventy came to Guam to serve in their absence.  The creation of this stake is one of the steps required before we start thinking about a temple in Guam.  After all, the work is hastening!

Following our regular Sunday dinner with all the missionaries last week, we took a few moments to celebrate Elder Fullmer’s birthday on the 13th.  He may not look it, but he now ties Elder Malais at the ripe age of 24!
Elder Fullmer, Elder Dopp, Sister Norgrant

Elder Fullmer and his cake

24 already?

Blow out those candles

If you read the blog last week, you will remember the departure of Skarlee Renguul to the Provo MTC prior to his mission in Brisbane, Australia.  We talked with one of the elders who hosted Skarlee on Guam before his flight to Salt Lake, and he mentioned that Skarlee took the lead in his group of four elders and one sister all leaving for their missions.  We’re so proud of him!  Our friend Eli McCann picked him up at the airport in Salt Lake and spent several hours with him to help quell the culture shock he must have experienced.  They visited Temple Square together, and Eli reported that Skarlee was thrilled to see the temple and asked, “Do you think it would be all right if I touched it?”  They were able to meet with Elder and Sister Johnsen and a few other missionaries (including our own Elder Gubler) who had served previously on Palau, so Skarlee felt right at home, and, according to Eli, was excited to enter the missionary training center.
Skarlee at the Salt Lake Temple
Elder & Sister Johnsen, Skarlee, Eli

Thursday was also a big day in the life of three of our missionaries:  Elder Malais, Sister Norgrant, and Sister Ale.  They reached milestones in their missionary labors and can now be considered “veterans.”  We are so grateful for all of our missionaries and recognize that we are blessed to serve with some of the Lord’s finest who work tirelessly to bring the gospel to those who open their hearts and minds.

It’s difficult to describe the depth of our feelings being away from our mission area and our Palauan family, but we know even more strongly that we serve where the Lord wants us to.  Thanks to you, our friends and family, for your faith and prayers in our behalf.  We feel your strength every day.

War in the Pacific Park

A Japanese bunker

Above the Japanese bunker

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