Sunday, August 10, 2014

"This is his last..."

As we head into the fall, even though there’s no change in weather here, we look forward to Seminary and Institute classes again once students return to school.  We gratefully welcomed Boni, Jose, and Kesiil Thomas back from their summer-long trip to Angaur and several of our Palau Community College students returned this past weekend.
Flower of Palau


Beauty everywhere


A beautiful tree

So many colors that it looks fake

Now on the “down” side…Our good friend Chris McDonald and the other 12 members of the civil action team at Camp Katuu finished their deployment on Friday.  We will miss Chris and his willingness to teach, transport members, and do whatever else we needed, but we’re thrilled he is finally reunited with his wife and three children in Alaska.  We miss you already Chris!
Senate President Chin & Elder Carter

New & former civil action teams

Chris--in the back

Maria receiving her certificate

Happy Maria

Eileen receiving her certificate

Happy Eileen

They worked so hard!

Chris retiring his company's flag

Celebrating together

The elders joined us

The Ngiraked's were there too

Chris McDonald--Ngiraked's home teacher

We love our friend Chris!

Raphia, Eileen, Chris, Maria

The whole bunch

Chris--on the right

Chris is happy!

Chris & Elder Carter

During the Camp Katuu changeover ceremony two of our members graduated from the apprenticeship program.  Maria and Eileen have worked hard over the last year to complete their office and medical training and are now qualified to work at responsible and more lucrative careers.
Sister Purcell waiting at the doctor's office

We were pleased to host at our apartment the Roberto family on Monday evening and the Kesolei family on Tuesday.  Both are stalwarts in our branch and encourage their family and friends to be true and faithful.  Another member made an unexpected stop at the hospital ICU after suffering an intense asthma attack, but she’s now doing well at home.
Rilang, Alfons, Martina, Neil

Elder Carter experienced a skirmish with customs this week.  We received notice that 30 long-awaited chairs for the church would arrive by ship on Thursday morning.  In preparation for the arrival, Elder Carter and President Thing visited the dockyard to make sure everything was in order for the delivery.  Little did they know that their visits at three different offices on Tuesday were just a warm-up for the ten additional stops Elder Carter would make on Wednesday, including one stop where he had to pay 57 cents for taxes.  Once all the paperwork was completed, Elder Murdoch and Elder Striplin picked up the chairs in their truck and delivered them to the church Friday morning.

Pres. Thing at first window

Pres. Thing & Elder carter at 2nd office

All ten of us missionaries enjoyed a zone lunch on Thursday just prior to zone meeting.  We met at Carp Restaurant and enjoyed our own private room there while tasting Asian fare.  Though we enjoyed being together, a pall settled over us as we realized this would be Elder Dopp’s last zone lunch.  Ever since then, we have heard that same refrain in our heads, “This is Elder Dopp’s last…” since his mission ends in less than one week.
Elders Murdoch & Striplin, Sisters Talakai & Ale

Sister Bevans & Sister Purcell

Elders Carter, Malais, & Dopp

Sisters Talakai, Ale, Bevans, & Purcell

Elder Dopp’s last zone meeting that he would conduct was held Thursday afternoon.  He and Elder Malais taught us for several hours, and then we celebrated Elder Malais’ birthday with confetti cake and ice cream.  We’ve celebrated several “second” birthdays for a few missionaries, which is another reminder that we’ve been out for quite a while too.
Elder Murdoch & Elder Striplin

Sister Ale & Sister Talakai

Elder Dopp & Elder Malais

Elder Dopp & Elder Malais

Sister Bevans & Sister Purcell

Taking a break

Sister Purcell instructing us

Elder Malais & Elder Dopp
Sister Bevans, Sister Purcell, & birthday cake

Eating already

Elder Murdoch, Elder Striplin waiting for cake

Going to get his wish

Thinking of that wish

Cake and a candy bouquet

Raphia, Desiree, and Kessy, three of our branch young women, spent several hours at our apartment Thursday afternoon.  They made yummy brownies, packaged them beautifully, and created and attached an invitation to attend Seminary this year.  They delivered 19 brownies and encouraged each student to attend every week beginning August 20th.  They had a good time, and we heard from several recipients that the brownies tasted great.

Working hard and loving it!

Visiting Chelsea

Chelsea's kitten

New kittens

Sharing a message

Another one

Cute baby

Riding together

A selfie

The route

The driver

Always fun together

Many of our young men and young women met at the chapel Saturday morning for a day-long youth conference.  It began with a generous breakfast followed by presentations by the elders, a health department representative, and a team-building game created by the sister missionaries.  Their game included balloons, relays, water, and a great gospel message—a winning combination.  After an amazing lunch of grilled meats and other favorites, all of the young people completed service projects at the church and then ended the day cleaning the chapel.
Listening to a speaker

A speaker & Rayda

Explaining a game

Eating candy

Ready to play

In line

Here's one team

And another

Racing for the message

Water balloons

Looking for the papers

Avoiding water balloons

Taping answers on the board

Running for her team

Looking for clues

Arranging the clues

They almost have it

They got it!

They finished cleaning in time for Joycelynn Sekeiur Perly Beltau’s baptism.  This was Elder Dopp’s last baptism that he performed on his mission. Rayda and Rebluud gave inspiring talks about baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Esther Paulis, another recent convert, sang a solo of “Savior Redeemer of My Soul” and added even a sweeter spirit to this spiritual moment.
Joyce & Elder Dopp

Elder Malais, Joyce, Elder Dopp

The elders & Joyce

Joyce & Rayda


Sister Carter & Joyce

Sunday morning dawned bright and hot, which is a small test of faith since the air conditioner still doesn’t work in the chapel, but it didn’t seem to keep our members away.  Over 100 came for Sacrament Meeting to see Joyce confirmed and listen to our speakers:  Sister Purcell, Sammy Sebuu, and Elder Dopp—his last talk in Palau.  All three spoke about marriage and family and used stories from their own families to illustrate the duties and responsibilities of husbands, wives, and children.  We all felt the power of their testimonies.
A member's home

Another view

A member's home

After several more meetings and assignments, all the missionaries met at our apartment for a dinner of “build your own burritos”.  Since Elder Dopp will soon be back in the U.S., we decided to have the great American dessert of apple pie and ice cream.  If smiles are any indication, each went away with a full stomach.
Some of our Primary children

In the midst of all our visits, teaching, and training, we feel the strength of the hand of the Lord going before us and preparing a way for us to accomplish His work.  We’re grateful for your faith and prayers, plus the visual reminders of letters, emails, and packages to support our efforts here in Palau.  We love you!

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