Sunday, July 27, 2014

Back in our routine

Our Monday morning routine included Skype calls with family, car inspections, and piano lessons, and then we rounded out the afternoon with three hours of games with our amazing missionaries starting with card games then moving to Catchphrase, Scattergories, and charades.
Car inspections
What am I acting out again?

Not that!

Elder Carter is still working to get the air conditioning at the chapel repaired.  He spent time with President Thing, Paul (an electrician), and the power company.  They ran a new line to the chapel, and now we have to test it for 30 days before the facilities management people will order the replacement parts.  We think we’re still a few weeks away from enjoying AC in church again.

Sports Night was amazing with at least 40 people attending.  Several investigators joined us for a breezy Tuesday evening of basketball and socializing and plenty of talk about the Micronesian Games now being held on Pohnpei.  Everyone had a good time!
Waiting for the ball

Still some natural light

Sisters & investigators

Oirei waiting for her turn to play


A few of the crowd

Waiting for a ride

Teruo & friend

We’ve learned that part of this mission, and maybe missions all over the world, includes a lot of baking.  Much of Wednesday and parts of several other days Sister Carter can be found in our apartment kitchen searching for new recipes, proper ingredients, and enough pans to handle all the treats.  She baked several dozen cookies which came in handy as she was asked at the last minute to teach Young Women.  After a quick lesson about how to lead music, the young women enjoyed fresh-baked coconut oatmeal raisin cookies and plenty of laughter, plus now they know how to lead hymns in church.

Elder Murdoch conducted a wonderful district meeting on Thursday afternoon as he taught how to use the Book of Mormon as we invite investigators to be baptized.  The missionaries role-played these techniques in a sweet, humble way.  They are all working diligently to invite all to come unto Christ.

Our Aaronic Priesthood young men and leaders left for an overnight camp at Jerry Knight’s beach Thursday afternoon.  They had a wonderful time in the water, the sand, and the cooler temperatures.  About 3:00 A.M. they all ran for cover as it started to rain bucketfuls of water for hours and hours.  We’re not sure how much rain they saw, but we measured 5 ¼ inches in about 12 hours.
A few of our young men

While the young men were gone, the rest of us stayed for the baptism of Esther Ilt Nemelas Biana Paulis, a cousin of John Jr.  Since he and his family were leaving for the Manila Temple on Friday, we moved the baptism to Thursday night so he could baptize Esther.   The speakers, Diliaur Ngiraked and Silmai Mad, did a wonderful job talking about baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and then Esther and Sister Ale and Sister Talakai sang “Did You Think to Pray?” accompanied by Elder Striplin. 

Esther & friends

Sisters singing

Sister Talakai, John Jr., Esther, Sister Ale

John Jr. & Esther

Sister Bevans, Sister Purcell, & investigator

As soon as the baptism was finished we began Summer Cinema in the Primary room.  We started with a crowd of 15, and somehow they were able to eat giant bags of popcorn until only a few salty kernels remained.

This entire week we’ve had plenty of rain, but the true deluge began Friday evening just as the Palauan night market began at the park downtown.  We weren’t too worried about that, but we were concerned about the young single adult activity at 7:15 since a bunch stayed home because of the weather.  Only five joined us at the church for the Micro Mormon Games, but they had a great time competing and earning their medals for games such as Shuffle Lid, Tabletop Football, Penny Toss, Ping Pong Bounce, and Water Relay.  Ice cream sundaes topped off the evening, and somehow we all made it home without floating in the rain soaked streets.

Taking aim


Ball in the cup, ball in the cup

Two can play this game
We can both do it
Body language
Lots of skill
Lots of luck

Keeping score
Sister Talakai is a natural

Sister Ale's turn
Water Relay

Sister Carter gives it a try

Tabletop Football
Harder than it looks

Happy Winners!!

Sunday morning we were disappointed with poor attendance—only about 60—in Sacrament Meeting, but the talks about ordinances and covenants were well-prepared and thought-provoking and the choir sang “How Firm a Foundation” to add to the spirit of the meeting.

Sunday evening the missionaries met again at our apartment to enjoy dinner together.  They’re always happy for food, and it’s even more fun when we can share an hour in a relaxed atmosphere.  Afterwards they rush out the door for appointments and we clean up in time to make it to the church for the missionary preparation class.  We love Sundays, and we love our missionaries!
Sister Talakai

Sister Bevans

Elder Striplin, but where's Elder Murdoch?

Sister Ale

Elder Dopp

Elder Malais

Sister Purcell

We were devastated to hear the news about the death of our dear friend Terri Lusk in St. George, Utah.  She was hit by a truck while out jogging on Friday morning and succumbed to her injuries the same day.  Our hearts are broken.  We pray that her sweet husband Ken and six children will rely on their faith in Jesus Christ as they face the trials that lie ahead and that the Holy Ghost will embrace them with the power of his comfort.

We are grateful for the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the knowledge that He has a plan for us.  That plan gives us direction, hope, strength, and energy to overcome whatever life throws in our path.  We love the Savior.  We are most blessed because He has given us you, our family and friends!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Couples' conference, temple trip, goodbyes, zone conference, mission call, Palauan saints

A lot happened after couples' conference...

Senior missionaries from the eastern edge of the mission left early Friday morning while we enjoyed most of the day relaxing in Guam. Before leaving for the airport, we met missionaries at the mission office to say goodbye.  Sister McClellan is going home next week and the others we will see again in October.  We’re grateful for mission reunions that will bring us together to share memories of this rare time in our lives.
Sister McClellan, Sister Carter

Sister Carter, Sister McClellan, Sister Martin

Sister McClellan, Elder & Sister Martin

Elder & Sister Hurst

Line Jiminez, Sister Carter

President and Sister Zarbock traveled to Palau with us, and what a treat to visit with them a couple of hours before the plane took off.  This was our opportunity to learn more about them and feel their spirit of dedication, focus, and testimony.  Once on the ground in Palau we escorted them to the church and their hotel to help them get oriented, then unpacked our several suitcases at our apartment, and humbly thanked our Heavenly Father for bringing us home to our Palauan family.

We gathered with our wonderful missionaries at the church for zone conference Saturday morning.  How we missed them this past week!  President and Sister Zarbock shared their vision for the next three years of the Micronesia Guam Mission which includes not only baptizing new members but retaining and reactivating less active members as they faithfully attend church, daily read from the Book of Mormon, and often accompany the missionaries as they teach principles of the gospel.
President Zarbock
Sister Zarbock

Elder Murdoch being his cute self

Elder Malais, Zarbocks, Sister Carter

Sister Bevans & Sister Purcell

Sister Ale & President Thing

Sister Talakai

Elder Striplin & Elder Murdoch

Elders Striplin, Murdoch, Dopp

Elder Malais, Sister Zarbock

Lunch break

A highlight of our meeting was hearing the testimonies of John Jr. and President Thing who just returned from his first trip to the temple.  As he walked into the room we could see a change in his countenance, a celestial glow, that shined through while he recounted the trip and bore his testimony.  We’ve been planning this temple trip for an entire year and what joy to see the difference it has already made in his life and all those that accompanied him!
John Jr.

President Thing

Elder Striplin began the afternoon of our zone conference with a beautiful  solo of “Jesus Lover of My Soul”.  That set the stage for inspired training from Sister Purcell followed by the testimonies of missionaries going home before the next zone conference:  Elder & Sister Carter, Elder Dopp, and Sister Ale.  It’s difficult to grasp the concept that we will be gone, but wonderful to hear the depth and strength of all testimonies.
Elder Striplin

Sister Purcell

Elder Dopp's testimony

Sister Ale's testimony

Sister Carter's testimony

Elder Carter's testimony
While we were gone three more investigators were baptized and confirmed members of the Church:  Sha Sha Mae Silas, Tuched Gatsby Ervin, and Raynaldo Sodicta Delposo.  The other missionaries reported that it was such a spiritual experience that they would like to repeat it every single day.  We were sad to miss it but happy to welcome three new members.
Sister Purcell, Sha Sha, Sister Bevans

Sisters Purcell & Bevans with Gatsby & Sha Sha

Elders Murdoch & Striplin with Mariano & Raynaldo
And now for a momentous event that occurred the day after we left for Guam—not only a momentous event for us and the Koror Branch, but life-changing for our beautiful friend Rolmi Muller.  She received and opened her mission call on July 11th surrounded by our Christlike sister missionaries.  Rolmi has been called to serve in the Manila Philippines Mission and will enter the Philippines MTC on October 10th.  She will probably leave for Guam earlier in the week to spend time with the missionaries there and be set apart by President Zarbock.  We love Rolmi and know she will represent the Lord, her family, and the branch with distinction and honor.
Rolmi holding her call from our living Prophet Thomas S. Monson

Rolmi surrounded by Sisters Talakai, Bevans, Purcell, Ale
Attending church on Sunday was like a family reunion!  We are so grateful to be back with our Palauan saints and feel the strength of their testimonies and commitment.  We enjoyed plenty of opportunities to serve by playing for Sacrament Meeting and the choir, teaching priesthood, teaching Sunday School, providing singing time in Primary, then leading choir practice.  All of the Primary children, including several investigators, sang “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission” as they proudly wore their missionary name tags.  18 children attended today, the most in many months.
Elders Malais, Dopp, Striplin, Murdoch & three Primary children
Chris McDonald & Sister Carter

We are missing our friend Chris already!!

Our missionaries and President and Sister Zarbock came to our apartment for dinner.  We ate plenty of food and talked even more.  We cleaned up in time to arrive at the church for a missionary fireside presented by Sister Ale and Sister Talakai.  They asked several members to speak about ordinances and covenants including Arisei who just returned from his first temple trip.  The sisters and Esther also sang a song about the Savior prior to watching a video showing one sister’s preparation to attend the temple.  A sweet spirit attended the meeting and bore witness of the power and importance of ordinances and covenants.  After the meeting, we said goodbye to President and Sister Zarbock as they were leaving tonight for Guam.
Sister & President Zarbock

Sisters Purcell, Bevans, Talakai, & Ale enjoying dinner

Saying goodbye to the Zarbocks

Zarbocks & Carters


Sister Ale, Esther, Sister Talakai singing

We’ve experienced so much variety in our mission experience this past week and are grateful for the opportunity to continue our missionary labors in Palau.  Thank you to our family, friends, leaders, and teachers for your sustaining influence.  We love you!