We get General Conference here a week after the U.S. so today between sessions we went to our favorite park, One Tree Hill, for a picnic and a view of the city. It wasn't a very nice day with wind and clouds, but there were still tons of people there.
These are cherry trees in bloom and picnicing below them are a large group of native Japanese celebrating their tradition of eating under cherry blossoms at springtime.
Elder and Sister Bath from Sandy, UT, are our newest Senior couple, and they attended both days of conference with us. We were also happy to share some of the sights close to home with them. Sister Bath is the new mission nurse and Elder Bath hit the ground running helping Elder Garth with his million jobs! See how happy they are to be on their mission!
This is New Zealand. Isn't she pretty? The north island is on the right and we are located in the neck of the skinny part going up. The South Island has the snow on the mountains.
Transfer week was while we were in Utah, so at District meeting this week, there were three new sets of Elders, and a new Zone leader. Two Elders were greenies; a Vietnamese from Australia, and a Japanese/Hawaiian from Salt Lake City.
Our New Zone leader is an American from Italy. Does this sound crazy?
Our Zone leader, after meeting us, said how he can hardly wait to be a Senior missionary "and serve an MLS mission like the Martin's do"! I think he liked the part about us not having any rules.
Our Tahitian sister took us to the Auckland Fish Market today! We bought fresh salmon that was so delicious when we cooked it for dinner! Fish is very expensive and there are so many kinds. Snapper is popular, and more money than salmon. We also bought smoked salmon. We need to take advantage of the wonderful fresh fish here, and stay away from fish and chips in the restaurants.
We saw the Relief Society in action this week as one of our dear members was in the hospital and the family needed meals brought in. These generous women know how to do food well, and spring into action when there is a need. They did the same for a funeral the week before. We are in awe at their service and generosity!
I shared my new-found talent with Sister Sayer and Sister Bryne. They did great and were quite happy with their Ketes! Thank you to Gaelene, my generous teacher, for providing the flax for us to use!
We had interviews last week with the Mission President and he asked us what our feelings were about our work so far. At the time I was feeling a little discouraged, but Craig was more upbeat. Our work is like a slow trickle. Later that night, I made a list of at least ten ways we are having an impact, so I feel better. President Balli got out his Preach My Gospel and reminded us that our success is measured by our commitment, not by outward results of our efforts. I thought about a comment made by a woman in testimony meeting last month where she said how happy her family was when we came for Family Home Evening and how special our message was to them. I need to remember that we represent Jesus Christ; we wear His name on our badge, and our message is His message! We are committed! We need to pick up our pace, though, because time is going by so quickly!
We brought the movie, "Cokeville Miracle" from Utah, and have shown it to a couple of families. It is a true story and so good, teaching about prayer, the love of family (in this world and the hereafter) and the faith of children. We highly recommend it.
Friday, we had a movie night with one of the active members, and showed them "Meet the Mormons". They loved it and thanked us for coming. They said they were humbled because they "know we could be spending our time elsewhere" and we chose to be with them! We truly felt privileged to be with them!
On a family note, we got good news that our son, Taylor, was offered a job transfer to work in the Phoenix area! We are so excited that he and Crystal will live closer to our family. When we bought our home in Arizona, never did we imagine that any children would live there, let alone 3 of them! We are looking forward to getting more details about their move.
Today is Emily's birthday! Happy birthday Emily! You're as beautiful as ever!
We thoroughly loved General Conference this weekend. The presentation of such great wisdom, from every speaker, must move us to action! More prayer, more scripture reading, more service, simplicity, and more love! Read and re-read the talks, and make them a part of our lives!
Here are a few quotes from Saturday's sessions:
"Are we making decipleship too complicated?"
"Start where you are!"
"What's in the Old Ship Zion that we should hang on to?"
"Joy in our life is proportionate to how centered we are (to Jesus Christ)."
"How do we make the Lord's ways our ways?"
Ask the Lord, "What lack I yet?"
"Never deliberately fly into a thunderstorm (temptation)."
"We don't marry perfection, only potential!"
"I didn't raise my children on money, but on faith!"
"If you want more than you now have, reach up, not across."
"To all mothers everywhere, I say thank you. You're doing better than you think you are!"
"The world used to fight for our children's energy and time, but today the world fights for our children's identity and mind."
I could name a ton more quotes.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is simple. Simple to read, to feel, to share, and to do!
May we all strive to follow Christ, simply!
We love you, we thank you for your prayers, be safe!
Elder and Sister Martin