Sunday, June 8, 2014

Start of Summer

Our cute missionaries!

View from Malakal

View from T-Dock

The first few days of our summer schedule began with a national holiday.  Monday was President’s Day to celebrate the accomplishments of the six men who have served as Palau’s presidents.  Community events were held at the college campus where we enjoyed watching Elder Murdoch and Elder Striplin play basketball and many citizens compete in various foot races.
Elder Murdoch and Elder Striplin with college students
Track Meet

Race spectators

We were blessed to host the Marjorie Towai family for dinner and family home evening on Monday.  She, Boni, Jose, and Kesiil made their own burritos then we worked together to learn a little about the family history website.  Internet connections here are so slow that it can be a bit frustrating, but we still had fun watching their facial expressions as they discovered their names on a pedigree and fan chart.

At 6:00 P.M. Tuesday evening, we were disappointed to be the only ones at the first Sports Night of the summer.  Sister Purcell and Sister Talakai talked with us as they waited for their investigator to arrive for a lesson at the church.  Finally, a few people began to arrive and start playing basketball.  At final count, 21 came to enjoy playing and fellowshipping together!  Sadly, the sisters’ investigator failed to show up, but an amazing miracle replaced their disappointment with joy.  Earlier in the day they sent texts to all investigators inviting them to attend the activity, and one man who had not been taught in several months walked into the parking lot.  The sisters met him at the gate, talked about the church, gave him a tour of the chapel, taught him a short lesson, and made appointments for future lessons.  The members were outgoing and friendly and invited him to attend church as they shook his hand and expressed their pleasure at meeting him.
A few to start

A few more

Good players

Getting better

A few at Sports Night

 The same evening Arisei, our elders’ quorum president, told experiences of his first day at a new job as a park ranger.  During their physical training, this 38 year old man ran the distance required and beat almost all of the younger recruits in record-setting time.  Many of the others asked him how he could run so much better than they, and he happily explained about the Word of Wisdom and bore testimony of the difference it has made in his life since last May when he was baptized.  During his training he also wore a t-shirt emblazoned with the words “I love seminary/institute”.  That shirt sparked several other conversations about what seminary and institute, and Arisei was more than happy to answer all their questions and invite them to church.

Elder Dopp and Elder Malais conducted their first zone meeting as co-zone leaders.  They shared information given them from the mission nurse and spent most of the time discussing becoming a Wonder Missionary.  We believe that all eight in our zone are Wonder Missionaries and are working hard to improve themselves every single day.
Prepared for meeting

Elder Dopp & Elder Malais

Elder Malais distributing hymnbooks

Elder Carter worked for quite a while popping popcorn for First Friday Flicks, but it was worth it as 16 members of the branch came to enjoy the movie and eat every single kernel.  We met in the Primary room where the air conditioning works, and that made everyone’s night a little brighter—and certainly cooler!
A few at the movie

We had a major “oops” this week that could have been disastrous, but instead was a chance to laugh until our sides hurt.  As we were backing down a member’s uneven, pothole-filled driveway we felt the right side of the car sloping dangerously.  We stopped to check and found that if we had backed up one more foot, the car would have been high-centered on an outcropping and nothing short of a tow truck could have retrieved it.  We couldn’t go forward as the tires couldn’t get traction, so after a member came to help push, we were able to get out of this predicament and avoid an embarrassing phone call to the mission office.
Not backward

Not forward

We had a combination adventure and spiritual experience Saturday morning as Sister Ale, Sister Bevans, Sister Purcell, and Sister Talakai drove with us to Ngaraard to dedicate the grave of a member.  We met Chiba and his family at Ngaraard and were surprised when Elder Dopp and Elder Malais pulled up behind our cars.  We drove together to the base of a hill and made the hike through bog and jungle to the top where the cemetery was located.  Following the short program and dedication we hiked to the bottom and only lost one shoe along the way.  Sister Purcell and Sister Ale both slipped into a bog, but Sister Bevans was able to retrieve the shoe and everyone cleaned up at a pond near where we parked the cars. 
Lost a shoe

At the pond

Cleaning shoes

Elder Malais & Sister Talakai

Near the grave

At the gravesite


On the trail

Jungle trail

Our Sunday meetings are always a joy since we get to see so many members and participate in several capacities.  We played and led the music in Sacrament Meeting, Elder Carter taught priesthood meeting, Sister Carter taught the youth Sunday School class and singing time in Primary.  Our goal is to have NO calling in the branch so that the members are doing everything.  Some weeks that works and other weeks, well, not so much.

Every day we see the hand of the Lord in this work and are grateful to serve our humble and faith-filled Palauan brothers and sisters.  Thanks to each of you for your continuous love and support.  We can’t do this without you!
Morikawa in a new white shirt

Wilbur in a new white shirt
Pay phone??

Another pay phone??

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