Happy Birthday America—just a couple of days late. Actually, we celebrated Independence Day on July 3rd at the U.S. ambassador’s home. Since we don’t have an ambassador to Palau right now, it was a little less formal than last year but still a great occasion to get together and celebrate the birth of our nation and the blessings of freedom that flow to us through the sacrifices of those who gave their lives to defend our country.
|Sister Carter and America's birthday cake|
|Sister Carter, Mr & Mrs. Thomas Daley|
|Elder Carter, Thomas Daley, Charge de Affaires|
|Elder Carter eyeing the cake|
Another missionary couple joined us this week! We love Elder and Sister Hurst and are grateful for their desire and willingness to travel here to teach us and our branch family about how to work on family history and bring the blessings of the temple to all who have gone before us. We took a few hours away from work on Monday afternoon to visit the Palau Capitol building in Melekeok, show them a few sites on Malakal, Meyuns, and Babeldaob, enjoyed a brief walk through the Palau Pacific Resort, and enjoyed dinner together at Drop Off, a restaurant directly on the water next to a couple of miniature rock islands. What a setting!
|Elder & Sister Hurst, Elder Carter|
|Elder & Sister Hurst inside the capitol dome|
|Sister Carter & Sister Hurst|
|Elder Hurst & Elder Carter discussing politics|
|Elder & Sister Hurst at Palau Pacific Resort|
|Sister & Elder Carter at PPR|
|Can you see the stingray?|
The months leapfrog one another and here we are in July already! We’re halfway through our summer program at the church, and Sports Night continues to be a favorite. Forty people attended Tuesday and played a couple of fast and tough basketball games. Morikawa and Rolmi, two of our Young Single Adults, both jumped for the ball, but instead of taking control, they knocked heads and fell to the pavement. Morikawa was okay, but Rolmi needed an ice pack to reduce the papaya-sized lump on her head. Fortunately, they were both able to play again and the night ended with happy faces all around.
|Waiting to play|
|President Kesolei can play!|
|Luke & Sister Ale|
|Luke & Conrad|
|Rolmi with an ice pack|
The Hursts visited with several members during the day on Wednesday and Thursday then instructed the young women about how to start their family histories. The young women were willing listeners and worked hard to complete a couple of pages in their books.
|Sister Hurst giving instruction|
|Oirei & Kali|
|Rayda, Idu, Raphia, Gabidor, Sister Hurst, Oirei, Kali|
We invited the Hursts to join us at district meeting on Thursday afternoon where Elder Murdoch taught us about setting inspired goals. We reviewed information in Preach My Gospel and committed ourselves to set goals inspired by the Spirit and keep them in front of us all the time. Following the meeting, our eight younger missionaries made several dozen chocolate chip cookies disappear in just a few seconds.
|We learned so much!|
Our power has had a difficult time staying on this week, but we count our blessings since it’s only off for an hour or two at a time instead of days. It stayed on throughout the length of the movie for First Friday Flicks at the church. The 15 of us in attendance were grateful.
Two of our branch members have dealt with death this week. A recently baptized sister lost her mother unexpectedly and another member’s 10-year old son died in a boat accident while at a work party in the rock islands. Again, we’re grateful for the Plan of Salvation and the peace and comfort it gives each of us during challenges in our lives and we’re grateful how families rally around one another in times of trouble.
Three of our missionaries are in Guam this weekend for leadership conference. They return tomorrow night, but they missed celebrating Sister Ale’s birthday during Sunday dinner and the turtle cheesecake she requested for dessert (inspired by her companion Sister Talakai). Sister Ale is a humble, valiant servant of the Lord, and we’re blessed to work with her and all of our other outstanding missionaries. Her actual birthday is on the 11th, but we always celebrate the Sunday before when we’re all together.
|Happy birthday girl|
|Celebrating Sister Ale|
|Just a small piece:)|
|Only one candle?|
We love our Palau family, our missionaries, and our family and friends at home. The joy we feel through your righteous desires and good works is immeasurable. Thank you, thank you for inspiring us to do better and be better. We love you!