Sunday, October 5, 2014

Last week...what?!

If busyness equals productivity, then we had a very productive week!  How grateful we are for plenty to do to keep our minds off of the final days of our mission because the thoughts of leaving our branch family “well nigh consumes my soul”, as one inspired writer penned.

Visiting members on Monday was bittersweet.  We love to see them yet hate to say goodbye, so you may imagine the number of tears shed on this day—and every other day this week.  To stanch the emotional flow, we spent much of Monday baking treats for various events within the next few days.
Helga & Sister Carter

Sister Carter & Minda
Scarla & Frauline

Sister Carter gets a turn with Skyler

Part of our mixed emotions included the birth of a new granddaughter.  Lily Marlene Ctibor, our healthy 8 lb. 6 oz. part of heaven arrived on September 29th and we were able to Skype with the happy parents not long afterwards.

We couldn’t stop long to bask in the joy of another grandchild since we prepared for then hurried off to the young single adult family home evening at the college.  We’re never quite sure what to expect, but imagine our surprise when 23 young adults walked through the door?!  15 nonmembers, eight members, and four missionaries created that total, and all of us were blessed by the short but powerful lesson given by Rodney Yakuchil.  Afterwards we played a getting-to-know-you candy game and finished the evening with a giant batch of oatmeal raisin cookies.
Ready to play

Great smiles

Always ready for a picture

Beautiful Rolmi & handsome Hideo


Look this way

Some are shy

They like this game

Happy elders

Love that smile Tommy

Listening to each other

Learning about one another

Where are the snacks?

Photo bombing Rolmi

We played the waiting game for over three hours this week tapping our toes in the doctor’s office.  Sister Talakai hasn’t been feeling well for a while, so the mission nurse thought she should see a doctor.  The prescribed medicine seems to be helping already, and we’re thankful!
They look healthy

Really not feeling well

Preparation day this week moved to Wednesday to coincide with Palau’s Independence Day.  Sister Carter ran a 5K race in the morning, and the elders had planned on joining her, but they mixed up the time and came just in time for the end.
End of the race

Elders looking fresh--Sister Carter not so much
Most of the activities were at the capitol building on Babeldaub.  After piano lessons, we stayed in Koror to play Phase 10, the first time we’ve ever actually completed the game (Elder Carter won!).  Throughout the marathon card game, we fed the six missionaries everything we could find in our fridge and freezer.  No one left hungry!
Food & games

See those cards?


Can't see these cards

No one can resist that smile

This pic is for Sister Ale (at home in Australia)

The winner!

We’ve spent a few hours this week deep cleaning our apartment, and we’re hoping that Elder and Sister Proffit, the new missionaries coming to Palau, won’t see too many ants or geckos to welcome them when they arrive the middle of this month.

Thursday's district meeting was another spiritual event.  Elder Striplin invited us to find new investigators wherever we go then had us role play various situations for extra practice.  Eating cupcakes afterwards was a sweet reward for spiritual efforts.

Sister Purcell & Sister Talakai

Elder Bush & Elder Striplin

Elder Bush & Elder Striplin

Elder Murdoch & Elder Malais

Role playing with Elder Carter

Elder Malais & Elder Murdoch

We love our zone

Sister Carter visited her friends at the salon to say goodbye and enjoy a little pampering.  They have treated both of us so well and affectionately call us “Mom and Dad Carter”.   While Sister Carter enjoyed their attention, Elder Carter popped huge amounts of popcorn for First Friday Flicks, but the crowd didn’t match the popcorn.  Only 20 watched Heaven is For Real, but we did enjoy our time together.
Fay, Sister Carter, Wendy, Mikki

Fay, Robert, Wendy, Mikki

In the midst of member visits, we decided to squeeze in another activity for Seminary and Institute students, so we met Saturday afternoon for a read-a-thon.  We decided we would read the Doctrine and Covenants for one hour then enjoy pizza together.  We’re not sure if it was the enticement of the scriptures or pizza, but 17 students participated and we had a wonderful time together feeling the joy of the scriptures.
Few to start

Where is everyone?

A few more arrived

And even more

Happy to be here

Did we really just read for an hour?

Add caption

Enjoying the spoils

Pizza and posters

More food

Heads down and eating

No one wanted to leave

One more piece

Sharing food and thoughts

More food

Food and water

One more pizza

Oh oh

Missionaries like food too

Luke & Rolmi

Elder Striplin teaching how to eat pizza

Homemade cookies

One more bite


Sister Carter & a cookie

You caught me

Hungry elders

Having fun

Elder Carter's ready to clean up


Saturday night we enjoyed the sweet spirit that only a baptism brings!  Rowena Tarkong and her darling daughter Ashanda were baptized by Elder Striplin and Elder Bush.  When Rowena came out of the water she couldn’t stop the tears, which inspired Ashanda to weep right along with her (and maybe a few of us in the congregation too).  What a tender moment to watch mother and daughter hold each other and cry for happiness at choosing to follow the Savior!
Rowena & Ashanda

Rowena & children

Happy group

Elder Striplin, Elder Bush, Ashanda, Rowena

Ashanda & Elder Bush

Elder Striplin & Rowena

Following the baptism, several women in the branch brought massive amounts of food for a farewell party in our honor.  How we love our branch family!  The food was plentiful and beautiful, but it couldn’t match the faces of those we’ve come to love so dearly in the last year and a half.  We leave part of our hearts with them, but know we will meet again!  (We tried to capture a few pictures afterwards.)
Elder Carter & Tommy Sakuma

These ladies make everything happen

Everyone loves food

The line starts here

It all looks good

Courtney & Alfons

CJ & Sergio

Jose, Boni, & Neil




Sister Carter & Rolmi

Hanson & Sister Carter

Luke & Elder Carter

Sister Carter & Miriam

President Thing & Elder Carter

Rolmi, Sister & Elder Carter, Miriam

Elder & Sister Carter & Kali & Joanny Kesolei

Sister Carter & Clarice

Sister Carter & the Nacionales family

Rayda's gang

Glorinda, Maahaa, Sisters Talakai & Purcell


The Johnson family

Marjorie & the sisters

Arisei & Elder Carter

Tommy & Wilbur

Rowena, Miriam, & Ashanda

Evangeline & Melus family



Joanny cleaning up


Rowena & Martina

Jose, Marjorie, Kesiil, Boni


Esther, Gabidor, Raphia

Later Saturday night we met with the missionaries and Rolmi at our apartment to say farewell and wish her well as she begins her service as a full-time missionary in the Philippines Manila Mission.  We all offered a bit of advice but know that she’s well prepared to serve with all her heart, might, mind, and strength and will do everything in her power to invite all to come unto Christ.  We’re so proud of her and the changes she’s made in her life to serve the Savior.  She flew to Guam to spend a couple of days with there and be set apart by the mission president before leaving Thursday for the Philippines.  We love her!
What?  More advice?

Sister Talakai always makes us smile

Sister Purcell

Thoughtful Rolmi

Sister Talakai has great ideas


Advice from Elder Striplin

Elder Bush thinking

What to say?

We love you Rolmi!

Sister love

Elders capturing a moment

Sunday morning was overcast and cooler than normal, which made the chapel much more comfortable for Fast and Testimony meeting.  What was a little uncomfortable were the magnitude of sincere sentiments and overly generous words offered to us by many of our members as they bid us goodbye.  We were overcome with tender feelings.

Melody & Sister Carter

Sunday School class

Sister Carter, Miriam, Tommy, Elder Carter

Our Primary

Sister & Elder Carter, Karla & Josh, Nisha & Mia Johnson

After Sacrament Meeting we continued with classes, teaching and learning with all of our beloved members and reminding everyone that we fully expect to see them all again!  Sunday evening Elder Carter attended Temple Preparation class only to find that the teacher didn't come.  He taught it, or rather the Holy Ghost taught it, and he said it was a wonderful spiritual experiences for all eight of the members.

Elder Murdoch and Elder Malais are on Guam for the leadership conference, so we hosted only four younger missionaries for dinner.  We love hearing about their daily experiences and have adopted each one of them into our family.  We planning zone reunions already.

How grateful we are to our loving Heavenly Father who sent us to live and work among the people of Palau.  We have one more day before we board the flight to Guam, and we’re going to fill it seeing people we love!

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