We have been on our mission for two months already and time is going by fast! This week especially flew by. Because our assignment here is Member/Leadership, we do a variety of things during the week. Here are some of those things:
** We started helping an older man learn to read. We don't know much about teaching reading, but we downloaded a great program on our iPad and he is really catching on. The only downside is that the program uses American prounouciation and they speak with an English accent here. He is still doing good, and we are having him read the Book of Mormon with us everyday too. We know learning to read will change his life.
** a less active sister we visit, who is in poor health, wanted a blessing so Craig and another member gave her a blessing.
** we were introduced to a Chinese Kiwi widow, who needs some help painting rails and spindles on her deck, so we went to see if it could be a service project. She's not a member, but is so nice and she served us some homemade Chinese dumplings. They were so good. We will do that project this week with the Sisters, and I think we get some lunch too! Totally worth it!
** we attended the transfer meeting to drive some Sisters to their new areas. At the meeting, President Bali was so inspiring, telling the Elders and Sisters not to take for granted the miracle and power of the Atonement. That once they truly grasp it's meaning, they won't mind getting up at 6 am every morning and will be anxious to get out of their flats to find people to teach this marvelous message to!
** Friday, I taught how to make Taco Soup at Relief Society. The theme was budgeting and this soup is good for the budget. The women loved its Mexican flavor with sour cream, cheese and chips on top.
** we had many great visits in members homes and shared spiritual messages. It's good to meet them in their homes and put names to faces. There is a large wonderful family established here with several brothers and a sister and their children. I find it hard to tell the brothers apart and remember which children go to which house.
We said goodbye to Sister Bonilla (on the right) from Perth, Australia this week. We get so attached to the Sisters and she is our first one to go home. We are happy Sister Palu is still here. She is from Sydney, Australia. These wonderful young women are spiritual giants, and when they teach the gospel, we can feel angels surrounding us. Their testimonies of Jesus Christ are solid and pure and they have hearts of gold. They are out and about, rain or shine, meeting, teaching, and praying with people. We love them and will miss Sister Bonilla. That tree behind the Sisters grows in the Mangare village and someone crocheted and knitted a patchwork "blanket" for the trunk. Quite bizarre.
Our new Sister Gila is from the island Vanuatu. She has a sweet, spunky personality and is rock solid in the gospel too. We will love working with both of these great Sisters!
The highlight of the week was our visit with Jericho. He is a Methodist, but he likes to talk to us. He is a divorced dad of three young children and his wife left him and the kids five years ago. He lost his home, and had to quit his job to take care of the baby while the other two children went to school. They lived in a homeless shelter till he could get on his feet again. Now he has a humble home, a car and his own lawn business. He only cares about his kids. He won't marry because he doesn't want anyone "messing" with his kids. They have family prayer morning and night, and he knows God will provide for his needs when he comes up short. When we came for a visit, the children were in bed, the house was tidy, and he served us cake and juice. He had no money for that, but he made it so special for us. We talked about family and prayer, and we offered to come again with a Family Home Evening lesson and treats. He seemed happy about that and we left with a prayer. Driving home I could not speak, I was feeling so humbled by the message we had learned from Jericho that night about humility, sacrifice, and faith in God.
On a lighter note, P-day brought lots of rain, so I googled "what to do in Auckland on a rainy day", and it said to visit the Natural History and War Memorial Museum, which we did, and so did tons of other people. We spent about 3 hours and learned all about the Maori culture, New Zealand plants and animals, including extinct ones, and about the Kiwi contributions to the Boar Wars, WWI and WWII, and much more. We left our apartment from our underground garage and parked in the underground garage at the museum. Three hours later we drove to the underground garage of the grocery store, got what we needed and drove back to our underground garage. We never felt a drop of the all-day downpour. Below are some photos from the Moari section of the museum, which was the most interesting.
This is the back of a storage building used for storing food and precious items of the Moari Chiefs. Lots of intricate carvings.
This a reconstructed actual Moari meeting house or Marae. I couldn't get get these people to leave so I could take a picture, but the walls are intricate woven mats with carved posts in between. The gates are to keep people out of an area that restoration work is being done. Out of respect, shoes are removed before entering. Different towns still have these Maraes today, but they aren't near this detailed.
This is the front end of a Waka, or giant canoe used for traveling between islands. This one held 140 men. They were hollowed out and carved with stone tools from giant Kauri trees. The picture below is the tail end of the Waka. It's hard to see how big it is. There are intricate carvings all along the each side and on the ends. Even the water balers and oars had detailed carvings.
These are decorative, flat wooden clubs once used by the Moari in hand to hand combat to split heads open. Then they took those they killed and had a cannibal feast!
Missionary Pledge, paragraph two:
"My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, and warped goals. I no longer need pre-eminence, positions, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be right, first, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live in faith, lean in His presence, walk with patience, am uplifted by prayer, and labor with power."
I am so thankful to be on the Lord's side, one of His soldiers, thankful to be a missionary!
Have a good week dear family and friends!