Sunday, July 5, 2015

July 5, 2015

Heather told me that I need to write about our missionary work first, before writing about our fun P-days, because if people only read a little bit of this blog they will think we are on an extended vacation instead of a mission. That is good advice from our lovely daughter. I do like to start this blog with a photo, for any of you that are more visual, like I am. 

Happy 4th of July from the Senior couples in the Auckland NZ Mission. They are serving in so many different capacities, I can't name them. But they work hard and love their work! We will soon be getting 3 more couples and need more! I would say we are a pretty young looking group of Seniors!

            We had a fun 4th of July celebration with grilled burgers, and root beer floats. You don't know how dear A&W rootbeer is here (about $2.00 a can), so that was a real treat. We played "Minute to Win It" and had a patriotic message and song. Sadly, we could not set off any fireworks. This group gets together twice a month at the Auckland Area Office for FHE, and we all take turns providing the dinner and activity. 

One of the sad things about this week was losing our sweet Sister Gila, from the island of Vanuatu, who was transferred to another area, after only being in Mangare for one transfer. We hope to see her again at mission events, but will miss her warm smile, cute giggles, and tender, heartfelt testimony!

On a happy note, we gained Sister Nakabae, from a tiny island north of Fiji, called Tuvalu. Look it up and you will be amazed. They are a small cluster of islands and are so tiny.  She is a newbie and Sister Palu will be her awesome trainer. 

Elder Martin and I are so lucky when we get to drive missionaries to Transfers. That is where all the Elders and Sisters meet who are being moved to a different area. There is so much energy and anticipation as new companionships come together, luggage and bikes are ready for transport in rented trailers, and we get to attend an awesome, inspired meeting. It is also when the new missionaries, fresh from the MTC, are welcomed and meet their first companions! We love being a part of this excitement. 

Here are a few quotes from the transfer meeting:
"My mission is not something I had envisioned, it has become something better"
"Missionary work is uncomfortable. There is no comfort in a growing zone, 
      and there is no growing in a comfort zone."
"The secret to missionary work is WORK"
"A righteous person is one who is repenting".  Elder Bruce R. McConkie
One of the highlights of last week was joining with this family for FHE and to celebrate Sister Lana's birthday! What a fun and sweet family and we get to be with them once a week! They truly love each other and share their love freely with us!

We had another FHE with a family and after a lesson about keeping the Sabbath Day Holy, we taught them the game, Farkle. Talk about excitement, introducing a new game for them to play as a family!  
(I think they normally do karaoke for family time.) Spiritual times, and fun times is what we love to be a part of with these families! 

One visit, the mother forgot we were coming and her father and brother, who are not members were in the living room. We could tell she was uncomfortable inviting us inside, and found out later that they usually insite contentious conversations with missionaries. We had a delightful time with them though, talking about various topics, and even about the church. We had a prayer and left. Walking us outside, she seemed relieved and amazed that how good our visit was. She didn't know how kind and gracious Elder Martin could be and how people always love his stories. 

We taught Dollie, the very polite and feisty Chinese friend of a member, and she told us we could continue to visit her, which we are happy about. We also have a few older single members who enjoy a visit every week, and we are always happy to come with a message and show them a short church video. Where does the week go? It seems to fly by.

What a cool looking bus! It is a transport for an Auckland aquarium, which I heard, should be on our list of places to go. 

This is Kete #3, which was so easy and so much fun to make. And it only took a few hours instead of all day! Of course, the flax was already prepared and dyed. In case you're wondering why I'm making Kete's when I could be doing real missionary work, this is missionary work! I am fellowshipping, and strengthening relationships while weaving, sort of like quilting bees, because there are other sisters participating. 

I just had to add this picture of darling Kinley on her first 4th of July. Emily sent it to us and we had an "Ahhh!" moment missing all of our grandchildren and the fun activities they were having with their parents on this holiday. One of the sacrifices of coming on a mission is being HERE instead of THERE at times like this. There are plenty of other times too, but we feel so blessed to be HERE, at this time, in this place! Today in Sacrament Meeting, some loving testimonies were given by people we've been seeing. Our names were mentioned more times than I was comfortable with, but all I thought of was how thankful I am for Jesus Christ and his love for each of us! Craig and I pray for guidance each day, to be God's instruments and perform simple tasks, and maybe they are bringing about great results!

We love you all and thank you for your prayers for us!
Linda and Craig

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