Sunday, August 17, 2014

Goodbye Elder Dopp...Hello Elder Bush

Any surgeon will tell you that the heart is an amazing organ as a result of its many functions and capacities.  We’ve learned this week that the heart can be torn apart yet massively enlarged at the same time.  How is this so? 
Elder Dopp & a farewell treat
One of our beloved elders, Elder Dopp, faithfully completed his mission, then the very next day we welcomed a brand new missionary from Farmington, Utah, Elder Bush.  We love Elder Dopp and know that he left a legacy of faith, devotion, service, and dedication.  His Palauan branch family and friends miss his gentle, warm way, but their commitment to better live the gospel is his greatest tribute.  Thank you Elder Dopp!!
Sister Ale & Sister Talakai

Sister Bevans & Sister Purcell

Elder Murdoch & Elder Malais--our zone leaders

Sisters Bevans, Purcell, Ale, & Talakai

Elders Malais, Bush, Murdoch, Striplin

Sisters Bevans, Purcell, Ale, & Talakai

Prior to his departure late Wednesday night, all of us missionaries spent several hours together playing games at our apartment—Elder Dopp’s choice.  How can our games ever be the same without the wordless clues offered by our humble elder? 
Oh no--wrong answer!

Treats & games


Eating & working

Elder Murdoch waiting his turn
Taking it easy
Exchanging photos

Having fun together

All smiles

Being cute

Being silly

Our new zone leader

Elders together for the last time
Part of the fun for Elder Dopp was sharing the news that Elder Striplin would be training a new missionary and leaving for Guam Tuesday night.  Of course, Elder Dopp made the announcement in such a noncommittal, ambivalent way that Elder Striplin became more and more frustrated with each pronouncement.  Finally, after a couple of hours of reassurance from all of us, Elder Striplin believed that he would train the new missionary and serve as our new district leader.  He knew the assignment was real when the elders put him on the plane to Guam!  Elder Murdoch was called to serve as a new zone leader and moves to Airai with Elder Malais.
Watch Elder Striplin's journey to a trainer


He's kidding, right?

Oh, that's not true!

Elder Dopp explaining it might be true...

What the real story Elder Dopp?

I don't believe you.

It's really true!

Quit teasing!

Ok, maybe it's true.

Though we had a wonderful time together on Monday, later on that same day we were caught up in drama between a couple of our Filipina friends and their employer.  They endured mistreatment for several months and finally ran away seeking shelter from friends.  We met with them, provided them with a few necessities, then were happy to hear that they had worked a deal with their employer that he would pay for their return flights to the Philippines.  Tuesday afternoon we said our goodbyes, happy in the knowledge they would soon be reunited with their children.

We love our friends from the Philippines!

Elma & Ella

Elders Dopp, Malais, and Murdoch stopped by our apartment for a few minutes Wednesday afternoon to share the details of Elder Striplin’s departure for Guam.  While chatting, Elder Murdoch mentioned that he would now be going to Guam every month with Elder Malais for leadership training and would be able to bring us our choice of sandwiches from McDonalds.  Our uncertainty showed on our faces since we didn’t understand what he was telling us—until finally we got it!  Several months ago we made a little observation:  if his girlfriend “waited” for him, we would treat him to his choice at McDonalds; however, if she didn’t “wait”, then he owed us.  Yep, it’s true!  He finally got the letter that allows him total focus and dedication to his mission. 
Support from fellow elders

Elder Murdoch doing just fine

What happened to Elder Murdoch?

Maybe a little too much acting?!

The missionaries met late Wednesday evening for our final goodbyes to Elder Dopp.  He dutifully answered the bunches of questions we had prepared and all the other missionaries took careful note of everything he said.  We finished the evening with a pineapple/whipped cream cake to celebrate Elder Dopp’s service and remind him how much we will miss him.  We wished him farewell here as the other missionaries escorted him to the airport and stayed until 1:00 A.M.
New tie for his post-mission life

Sister Ale toasting Elder Dopp's success

Elders Dopp, Murdoch, Malais--they love one another

Post-cake party

Sugar overload

Reading a question

Careful listeners

I can't believe he's going!

Good times

Gifts for Elder Dopp


Lots of photos

Hard to smile when he's leaving!

Three pillars of Palau

Elder Dopp & Elder Carter

Sister Carter & Elder Dopp

With Seminary and Institute beginning again next week, we spent several hours making treats and delivering invitations to the opening socials.  We’re grateful for the assistance of several of our students who so willingly took the time to prepare and deliver with us. 
Sergio & an invitation
Friday evening Elder Carter took a member with him while Sister Carter stayed home to prepare a treat to welcome Elder Bush.  He and Elder Striplin arrived late Friday evening, so we only had a short time to eat and ask questions about Elder Bush’s background, and we look forward to many gatherings to learn more about him.
Elder Bush & Elder Striplin

Elder Bush & Elder Murdoch

Elder Striplin & Elder Bush--cleaning up

Elder Striplin & Elder Bush

Elder Bush--give him a hand:)

Elder Malais, Elder Bush, Elder Murdoch

We enjoyed the baptism of Toyoshi  Idesiar performed by our branch president John Thing on Saturday evening.  He’s an older gentleman who has lost one of his legs, so getting into and out of the font was a little more of a trial, but he did great.

Toyoshi & Pasquale

Back row: Sister Purcell & Sister Bevans
Front Row:  President Thing, Toyoshi, Pasquale

On the way to the font

Getting in the font

Sunday is always a wonderful day, and this Sunday was made even better since we fasted for all of our ill sisters.  They have been struggling with colds, allergies, and a few other things for a couple of weeks, so we need them back at full strength to keep the work moving forward.  We had over 100 people attend Sacrament Meeting where Toyoshi was confirmed, some of the Ngirakeds spoke about home and family, and Elder Bush was asked to introduce himself and share his testimony. 

We gathered for our Sunday meal again, and all the missionaries seemed to enjoy the down home fare of meatloaf with all the trimmings.  Food is fun, but the chatter is what brings us closer together.
Elder Striplin knows how to do dishes.

Happy stomachs make happy faces

Post-dinner smiles

Thinking about dessert

This is what happens when you're companions for five transfers.

Elder Striplin and Elder Bush were in charge of the missionary fireside.  They had several people speak about their roles in the family plus two musical numbers by some Primary children and Palau Community College students.

For those who have been in Palau:  $380,000 road repair that lasted for two weeks!
We are grateful for parents who willingly prepare and send their children on missions.  We love your sons and daughters!  We're grateful for our own family who constantly nurtures us with emails, letters, Skype calls, and heartfelt prayers.  We love you more than we can say!  We are blessed beyond measure!

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