The sister missionaries have been having a difficult couple of weeks with illness and back pain, visiting the doctor, and trying different medications. Just when we thought we had all the illnesses under control, then Sister Bevans’ back pain increased significantly and beyond the expertise of anyone here. After contacting our brand new mission nurse, Elder Guercio, and President Zarbock, they decided to bring Sister Bevans to Guam. We had an impromptu meeting at our apartment to talk about her mission experience in Palau, share a treat, and wish her well since we were fairly certain she wouldn’t be coming back here. The sad part of this story is that we found out Sunday afternoon that Sister Bevans will be leaving her mission early and going home to Canada Monday morning. Fortunately, President Zarbock gave us permission to call her and say goodbye. We will miss her but hope that she will find the remedy to her back problems and be free from pain.
|Icing the neck|
|Pain hurts your companion too|
|Zone leaders add comfort|
|A gift for Sister Bevans|
|Goodbye Sister Bevans|
|Elder & Sister Carter with Sister Bevans|
|Elder Murdoch & Elder Malais enjoying a treat|
|Elder Striplin & Elder Bush|
|Too much ice cream|
With the speedy and unexpected departure of Sister Bevans, it left Sister Purcell without a companion, but we have seen a miracle in our tiny island nation. Rolmi Muller, who leaves for a full-time mission in the Philippines in October, is available and willing to be a missionary early! What are the chances that we would have a sister in this position on this island at this particular time?!
|Sister Rolmi Muller|
|Sister Muller & Sister Purcell|
In the midst of miracles, the elders felt the tragic loss of their hair! Somehow Elder Striplin and Elder Bush misread, misused, or misapplied their new haircutting set and ended up with closely-shaved heads. We think they look great, but it may take them a few weeks to recuperate.
|What have they done?|
|Their hair looks fine|
A major part of this week was spent preparing and presenting opening socials for Seminary and Institute. Food is always a major source of entertainment at any church activity, and these socials validated that idea! At the Seminary gathering, we watched a slideshow of the past year’s activities. So amazing to see the physical and spiritual growth of each of our students! After dinner the students played a dart game. Anything with darts has to be fun, right?! We printed questions from the scriptures and placed inside balloons, plus we color coordinated the balloons: white for Doctrine & Covenants, blue for Book of Mormon, green for New Testament, and red for Old Testament, with a few "surprise" balloons that were yellow and orange. Each person had three chances to pop a balloon and then read the question to the class and ask someone to answer it. It went pretty well, especially since we went overtime and no one wanted to leave.
|Joining the party|
|In line for food|
|Reading a question|
|Waiting their turn|
|Dart nailed the question|
|A group effort|
|My turn yet?|
|Every answer was correct!|
The Institute opening social Thursday night included plenty of food, a slideshow of their meetings and YSA activities for last year, plus a couple of games. The first one was a "how well do you know the full-time missionaries" matching game made up of statements about the missionaries, and the second game was a computerized version of Jeopardy with questions about several aspects of the church. About 25 students attended, which is remarkable when we consider last year’s slow beginning. Of course, we always want more to attend, so we will continue to recruit students for both Institute and Seminary.
|First in line|
|They should know all the answers|
|Acing the game|
|Ready to eat|
|Helping each other|
|Food first, then the game|
|A good looking group!|
We enjoyed Elder Striplin's first district meeting as our leader. He taught us the importance of "going to heaven" for help as we teach and then invited us to role play several situations. He did a great job even though he was self-conscious about his new, extremely short hair cut.
|Sister Talakai & Sister Ale|
|Elder Malais & Elder Murdoch|
|Elder Bush & Elder Striplin (new haircuts)|
|Sister Ale teaching from the handbook|
|Elder Striplin conducting district meeting|
|Sister Purcell with no companion|
|Elders enjoying Amish cinnamon bread|
|Sister enjoy a treat too|
A prospective member graduated from the police academy Friday afternoon and invited us to attend the ceremony. It was a lovely event with the President of Palau, Vice President, and several other government officials. We also visited with John Bradley, the new attorney general for Palau who comes from Texas.
|Waiting to start|
|Happy graduate Clarice|
We stopped at Palau Community College Friday afternoon to visit with the new dorm supervisor Mino. He was an evangelical missionary for many years and wasn’t warm about our missionaries spending time at the dorms. He seemed happy to spend a few minutes with us and after a kind and open discussion, he invited us to return as often as we’d like.
We visited with Walter Mariur and his family, which isn’t unusual, but it was unusual to see many of their family photos and share stories of their history of church activity. Walter was the district president from 1988 to 1994 and has always opened his home to missionaries both then and now.
|LBong, Sister Carter, Walter|
|Grandkids--they love stickers|
Our Sunday schedule often feels a bit hectic, but we love the Sabbath. Today we played the organ for Sacrament Meeting, accompanied Joanny and Kali Kesolei for a duet, taught the youth Sunday School class, directed singing time in Primary, led the choir after the three-hour block of meetings, played the organ for Sunday School, and taught the priesthood lesson. Then we spent the afternoon visiting at the jail, preparing and serving dinner for the missionaries, and attending missionary preparation class. We love our branch family and are grateful for each one who so willingly give of their time and talents to build the branch and their own testimonies.
|Banana cream pie--Elder Striplin style|
|Sister Muller & Sister Ale talking with Sister Bevans|
|Elder Bush & Elder Striplin preparing dessert|
We are grateful for our family at home. They continue to support us through their heartfelt prayers and daily efforts to stay in contact with us and one another. We love you and offer prayers for each of you!