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!

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