Sunday, May 10, 2015

May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day moms, aunts, sisters, daughters and friends! We are a day ahead of you in the States so I already enjoyed a lovely day with a celebration of moms at church. Mothers Day is a big event here with bouquets for sale everywhere, candy and perfume. I'm so happy I won't have to endure the usual Mothers day/Christmas/Valentines Day Pajama or giant teddy bear commercials on TV. Two generous families think I need to fatten up because they each gave me a box of Cadbury chocolates.  Craig wants me to give them away, but I can eat one or two (or three) a day and enjoy them for a long while. 

We visited two lovely ladies in two different rest homes this week. Both were in their 80's and had many children. When we asked if we could visit them often, their eyes lit up and said "would you please". One of them, we found out, only gets visits from their kids if they need something. I don't know what that could be because they don't have anything. I know it's the same story for elderly at home, and I have been guilty of neglecting my mom at times, but please try to visit the elderly and not assume their children are filling their time.

We were introduced to The Strawberry Farm, which is going to be the death of us! They sell produce grown on their farm AND they have luscious ice cream cones! They take two scoops of vanilla ice cream and you have your choice of strawberry, blueberry or mixed berries. They put whatever you choose in this special mixer with the ice cream, pulverize it and pour it into a waffle cone and it is heaven! I love the mixed berry. Thankfully, they close mid June til August for winter. Tons of people come there. Also I discovered that cilantro is called coriander here. I couldn't find it, but then I saw it here with that name! 

More about food. We invited a man to dinner at our place that we meet with and he is coming back to church. He's from the Cook Islands and is a big guy and I fixed him fajitas, a beans/rice dish and chips and guacamole. Mexican was a first for him and he was licking the bowls clean. Please someone come here and open a good Mexican restaurant!  With him in our tiny apartment, there was room for no one else. Also we ate dinner at two homes this week. One place we had burgers and really good potatoes. They eat beets on burgers and sandwiches here in case you love beets and want to try it.  The other home we had Butter Chicken, which is an island recipe.  We tried our first taro ( an island staple, like potatoes), which wasn't our favorite, so we ate it with rice. So nice and generous of these people to invite us. 

We visited a woman who had not been to church in a long time and at first got a chilly reception on her porch. After a very short chat, before leaving, I commented about a beautiful plant on her porch that resembled an agave, and that opened her up for a very nice visit. Surprisingly, she said we could come back. Finding common ground in a non-threatening way, breaks down barriers and leads to relationships. We'll see.

Instead of our P-day, we joined in a service project out on the bay at Ambury Park. We were restoring a bird habitat for the Dotterill, which is native to that teeny, tiny island and was losing it's nesting area from years of erosion. Men, teens and women from church, armed with shovels, rakes and wheelbarrows shoveled tons of crushed shells back on the island for the little birds. Many women were like shoveling machines, keeping the men with the wheelbarrows going as the old ladies raked the shells out evenly over the ground. We saved the park $20,000 by not having to hire a tractor to do it. 

The people in the background are shoveling the bank of crushed shells into the wheelbarrows and I'm raking the shells. It's dark colored because it's wet and will dry out white like the other. 

Afterwards we had a bbq of sausages and onions in a bun provided by the park staff. These are the Sister Missionaries we work closely with. They are darling and we  love them. Both are from Australia. 

If any of our senior friends are thinking of serving a mission for the church and want to come to New Zealand, we can get you requested because they need more of Seniors here.

"There is the sin of omission, the sin of commission and the sin of no-mission."

10 reasons to serve a Senior mission:
   1. Its good for your health.
   2. It pushes you out of nest.
   3. You can be a small pebble in the Rolling stone.  D&C 65:2
   4. It exercises your mind and delays dementia.
   5. It's a faith booster.
   6. It's a blessing to your family.
   7. Your grandchildren will think you're greater than you are. 
   8. You'll be on the fast tract to celestial kingdom.
   9. You get to drive the IRS crazy with Legit deductions.
  10. You'll be showing your gratitude to a Father who gives us all. 

#10 is my favorite reason because we have been and still are so blessed, and serving full-time is a great way to show truly how thankful we are. 

We love and miss you all!
Elder and Sister Martin

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