Occasionally, one of the Elders or Sisters has a dental or doctor appointment and we always offer to take them. We like getting to know the missionaries and helping out. For the kids coming from the Islands where they don't have adequate dental care, the Church gives them 6 month checkups. If there is a problem more than a cavity, and the family can't pay, the tooth is extracted. This week we took a Sister for a filling, and an Elder to the doctor for a monthly shot. Elder Martin and I have our 6 month dental checkup and cleaning appointments next week. Another first in NZ!
There is an 8 year old boy who's mother has a drug problem and is not a member. We've been wondering how to help him have contact with the Church with little or no support from his mom. Thankfully, we started having FHE once a month with a close neighbor, who invites this boy and his younger siblings to join in. He's a smart boy and happy to learn. We hope this helps both families.
We have a TV in our apartment, but we never watch it. Craig can't believe he doesn't mind leaving it off. In the evenings and after our morning walk, time is spent making phone calls, reading (scriptures, Church publications), and planning lessons. We catch up with the news and financial reports on the computer, and I write in my journal. I admit to getting on Facebook once a day, but we've committed to making these 18 months a special time for putting the "normal" aside, and doing what will help us help others. Sometimes, I find it a nuisance to grocery shop or do laundry, but those things can't be helped.
A member of our ward went into the hospital with flu-like symptoms and found out she has cancer. We dropped off a get-well card, and in it wrote words of encouragement and support. Not thinking too much of it, we later got a text message from her thanking us for our timely words. They were just what she needed to hear at that moment and it really strengthened her. She has since thanked us again several times, because it meant so much to her. A simple card of encouragement can mean so much! I will try to remember that!
A man who rejected the Church thought he had gallstones and found out he has cancer and 3 months to live. We visited the home and he was too ill to see us, so we spent time with his wife. I think she needed the visit more than him. Most times the spouse and caregiver need extra support and someone to talk to. They are exhausted emotionally and physically, from holding it all together, and have their own fears. They have lots of family and ward support, but we hope to be able to help in some small way.
We teach an inactive man once a week, and we are seeing him recognize that the days of his procrastination need to come to an end. He hasn't been to church in about 40 years, and rationalized that because he reads the Book of Mormon every day, he is ok. Our lessons have become a weekly reminder that he is not ok Like the man I wrote about above with cancer, who this man is good friends with, the clock is ticking and time may be running out. None of us knows the future, and now is the time for us to prepare to meet God.
Friday night the High Priest Group hosted a Father's Day Luau and feast! They honored the fathers with a lei and a dance with a child or loved one. We are dancing near the back.
These two men with Craig never married or had children, but were honored as well, and two wonderful women danced with them, making their night really special! The one on the right told Craig he never married because he wanted to see the world. When asked where he went, he said "Christchurch". Christchurch is on the South Island. Funñy!
Before the meal picture of all the food trays with our Stake President Young-Yen. They served a whole roasted pig, roasted chicken, sweet-sour pork, egg foo young, chop suey, amazing rolls, fried rice, green salad, potato salad, taro, donuts, cookies and cobbler with ice cream. Most of this food was prepared by one woman in her kitchen and there was enough to feed double that attended. She had a couple of helpers, thankfully. The party lasted til 11:00, but we had to leave at 9:30 to get the Sisters home.
Driving from one appointment to another, we happened upon this flock of birds along the waterfront. Sorry you can't see their detail, and I don't know their name. New Zealand has lots of birds. There is a historical marker we read that in the early 1800's a Maori tribe traveled from the east side of the country (up at Auckland Bay) to this west side (Mangare Bay) to investigate the great noise they heard, and found it was from birds!
Traveling back to KawaKawa Bay on Saturday with the Sayer's, we stopped to take pictures of these fun mailboxes. This is a puffer fish!
A lighthouse with a little fisherman on it. At the base is a small solar panel that lights it up at night.
We found this nice Wharf with men fishing at the end of it. There is a small island out there that is owned by a family. How fun would it be to have your own island!
Elder and Sister Sayer's are great adventurers with us! They are from Idaho and have six months left, and Saturdays spent exploring are very precious to them.
View of Kawakawa Bay in the distance. Those boats are moored out that far. When it's low tide you can almost walk out to them.
Random outhouse at a parking lot in the park. There are nice bathrooms at the beach, but this must be for emergencies. Never seen one like this.
Unfortunately, Saturday night while eating at a nice restaurant with some other couples, my Church (dumb) phone, that I am very appreciative of, must have fallen out of my coat pocket and just disappeared! I have no idea what happened to it. I can't imagine someone wanting it, but it is gone! I was embarrassed to call Elder Reeves to report it missing. I should be able to get another one, but I do feel really bad for losing it.
I really liked this quote from Elder Holland:
"God expects you to have enough faith and determination and enough trust in Him to keep moving, keep living, keep rejoicing. In fact, He expects you not simply to face the future (that sounds pretty grim and stoic); He expects you to embrace and shape the future--to love it and rejoice in it and delight in your opportunities. God is anxiously waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can’t if you don’t pray, and He can’t if you don’t dream. In short, He can’t if you don’t believe.” Jeffrey R. Holland
Say your prayers, dream and believe. Sounds simple, and good advice.
We love you all and appreciate your love and prayers and support. The Elders we took to the doctor this week told us that the Auckland Mission isn't really a mission because everyone is so nice to them, and they don't get doors slammed in their faces! Maybe your prayers are softening people to at least be nice!
Elder and Sister Martin