Some days burst with activities while others seem to drift quietly by, and this week was a perfect example of both.
Monday was Elder Fullmer’s last preparation day on Palau and he requested we play games at our apartment with all of the missionaries. We spent a couple of hours together strumming a ukulele, playing Scattergories and Catch Phrase. The games and music and camaraderie provided lots of laughter, memories, and talk of the future. Our time together was also a celebration of Elder Murdoch’s new calling as district leader and trainer. He left for Guam Monday night (early Tuesday morning) for training and to pick up his new companion.
|Last time these elders are together (Fullmer, Dopp, Murdoch, Malais)|
|Elder Dopp & Elder Fullmer|
|Sister Talakai & Sister Purcell|
Our seminary and institute director for Micronesia, Fredevik Nicerio, flew to Palau Monday evening. We met for lunch on Tuesday and enjoyed a long discussion about seminary and institute on the islands. He is a good man working at a tough job, and we are blessed to follow his leadership and feel the depth of his support.
|Bro. Nicero & Tradson Mark|
We thought we would invite Brother Nicerio to dinner Tuesday evening, but we and all the younger missionaries were invited to dinner with the Daniels family visiting from the States. Brother and Sister Daniels brought two of their children for a family vacation diving in the beautiful waters of Palau. He had been a mission president in Japan a few years ago and currently teaches at BYU and serves at the Provo MTC as the Japanese Branch president. The hour we spent together was a time to share mission stories, play the “do you know?” game, eat plenty of food, and marvel at the hastening of the work.
|Missionaries & the Daniels at Rock Island Cafe|
|Love being together|
Wednesday was a day of preparation for seminary and institute graduation as well as talking with Brother Nicerio for several hours about our students’ needs and challenges. After reporting to Brother Nicerio that we usually start on time, we began the graduation a half hour late because many of our institute students were late! Sergio and Raphia, our two class presidents both spoke with power and testimony. Raphia shared the story of Sherem, the anti-Christ and the destructive nature of pride. She spoke far beyond her 17 years. Sergio presented an amazing talk about our responsibilities as members of the Church to always learn and grow in the gospel. He sounded like a missionary! Rolmi and Boni offered testimonies while Brother Nicerio spoke about the power of the Book of Mormon and President Thing ended with an awesome testimony and instruction for those graduating. He asked them to read the scriptures daily, especially the Book of Mormon, pray morning and evening and sometimes in between each day, attend Sacrament meeting to weekly partake of the sacrament, serve in a calling in the branch, and spend time teaching with the missionaries. The seminary students sang “A Marvelous Work” and the institute students sang “Nearer, My God, to Thee” and invited a sweet spirit with these powerful hymns.
|Boni & Sergio|
|Kali & Kesiil|
|Kessy, Sister Ale, Sister Bevans|
|A good crowd|
|Angie Ngiraked receiving an award|
|Elder & Sister Carter receiving an award|
|Kesiil, our honorary seminary member|
|Five of our seminary students|
|Grateful for our students|
|Ready for the program|
Following the graduation service, we served a dinner of chicken, fried rice, salads, and cake to about 50 people. It was also the perfect time for many members to tell Elder Fullmer goodbye as he flew to Guam this same evening.
|Goodbye Elder Fullmer|
|Elder Fullmer & friends|
|Sergio & Elder Fullmer|
|Sergio, Jose, Elder Fullmer, Ronnie|
|Wesley, Elder Fullmer, Hanson, Trad|
|Elder Malais, Elder Fullmer, Elder Dopp|
All the missionaries gathered at our apartment before going to the airport and send Elder Fullmer home. He answered plenty of questions about his mission and offered advice to each of us. He said that if there was one thing he would do differently, it would be to learn the language sooner. He recognized that speaking the native language was also the language of their souls and that they could better understand and recognize the Spirit when hearing their native tongue. We took plenty of pictures then sent another of our fine missionaries home after serving faithfully for two years.
|We love you Elder Fullmer!|
|Carters & Elder Fullmer|
|Share what you've learned|
|Sister Bevans, Sister Purcell, Sister Ale|
|He has learned so much!|
|Elder Fullmer's worn out socks|
|Sister Ale & Sister Bevans at the doctor's office|
|Sister Purcell, Sister Ale, Sister Bevans|
|Crowd of support|
|Sister Ale, Sister Bevans, Sister Purcell|
|Sister Carter with Michelle|
|Rolmi & Sister Talakai|
Sister Bevans pain levels remained high on Friday, so we took her for a back massage. It didn’t seem to help either. She was able to attend the Young Single Adult party Friday afternoon that was also a celebration for Sister Purcell’s birthday. Sister Purcell turned a seasoned and mature 21. The YSA men barbequed hot dogs then we played games inside since it was still very, very hot. It’s always warm here, but this past week has seemed exceptionally hot.
|Rolmi with birthday cake|
|Sister Talakai & Sister Purcell|
|She was surprised|
|Blowing out the candles|
|21 years old|
|Poster signed by friends|
|Singing with friends|
|Ready to eat|
|Waiting for the party|
|Goodbye to Hanson & Ronnie (for the summer)|
All of the missionaries congregated at our apartment Friday night to welcome our newest elder, Elder Striplin from Australia. He and Elder Murdoch flew in from Guam in time to eat apple cobbler, ice cream, and Sister Purcell’s birthday cake. We peppered Elder Striplin with plenty of questions, and he graciously sated our curiosity. He will be an awesome addition to our zone and will serve in Midtown.
|Elder Murdoch, Elder Malais, Elder Striplin|
|Sisters Bevans, Ale, Talakai|
|Elder Striplin--our newest missionary!|
The joy of our new elder was softened with sad news for Sister Bevans. She flew to Guam late Saturday night so she could receive additional medical care for her back. We heard from her Sunday morning that she had arrived safely, had already visited a doctor, and they were searching for a chiropractor. With the Memorial Day holiday tomorrow, that may be a big order. We continue to pray for her quick recovery so she can return and serve with us.
Wilbur Seharmidal was baptized Saturday night by Elder Dopp in a sweet, short service and then confirmed Sunday morning by Arisei Tikel. He’s been studying with Sister Purcell and Sister Talakai along with a few other members of his family, so we’re hoping several others will follow his example.
|Wilbur & Elder Dopp|
|Silmai, Wilbur, Sister Talakai, Sister Purcell|
Sacrament Meeting was a big surprise for plenty of us. Brother Knight asked all of the seminary and institute students to move to the front row of the chapel. He then proceeded to tell them what a fine job they did studying this past year and for their accomplishments during the graduation ceremony, and then asked them to bear their testimonies. What a surprise! They were stunned but did a fine job and were followed by the testimonies of their teachers, Sister Ngiraked and Sister Carter.
Sunday dinnertime is always a treat—in more ways than one! The missionaries are happy to meet at our apartment for food and fellowship, and since Elder Striplin is new, we reviewed a lot of past activities and talked about plans for prep day tomorrow. We love our zone and are blessed to serve with such dedicated, focused missionaries. Thanks too for our family and the love and support you generously give every day of our lives. We love you!
|Elder Carter, Elder Striplin, Elder Murdoch|