Sunday, October 25, 2015

October 25, 2015

Craig and I with our island Sisters, Sister Palu (Tonga) and Sister Nakibae (Tuvalu). This is Sister Palu's last week before she finishes her mission. I won't tell you yet about how much we will miss her!

Elder and Sister Reeves (right) went home to Australia last weekend after serving for 2 years running the mission office. They welcomed us so sweetly when we arrived in New Zealand and we will miss them greatly. Beside them is our wonderful Mission President, President Balli and his companion, Sister Balli! They make our mission a delight!

When I saw this beautiful amaryllis I had to take a picture. Now that it is spring, I'm on the lookout for flowers I don't see in yards at home. When driving, I make Craig pull over (when it's safe, of course) if I see something unusual I need a closer look at.

One thing the Sisters love to do is service, wherever it's needed.  

Morris is the bearded guy second from the left, and although he is not a member, the guy next to him on the end volunteered us to help him with his lawn. Brother Lawrence is the Ward Mission Leader and he puts to practice Jesus' admonition to serve our fellow man. The grass was about two feet tall and our little army came to conquer it! It was a fun and quick task, and Morris was so appreciative. Yes, I'm wearing a skirt, because I was too lazy to change. 

Love this starburst, pin-cushiony flowering bush, which I believe is a member of the Protea family . It is stunning!

Found this guy at a local park and I was hoping he would spread his feathers for a beautiful show, but not a chance. He seemed perfectly fine dragging that heavy train behind him, and didn't care one bit about my presence. 

This little troop crossed the street in front of our car (Craig slowed down for them) and then waddled off. So cute! Springtime is sweet! 

This is our adopted "Aunty Alice" from Tahiti, and we love her. She has so many relatives, practically the whole island of Tahiti, and they love to visit her in New Zealand. She is constantly picking someone up at the airport and hosting them. Sometimes they stay in a hotel instead of her little house, but she will pick them up to eat breakfast at her house anyway, and then drive them where they want to go. One relative is buying her a new car so she will have it for when they visit.  We asked if we could call her "Aunty" and she would fix breakfast for us! She is so good to us, though, and feeds us lunch often. 

We were with Alice three times this week, and loved it! One day she taught us (the Sisters) some simple island dance moves for our activity Saturday night. The next day I taught her how to make dinner rolls and she taught me how to make amazing tiramisu (a French/Italian dessert). The third day she fed us a delicious Tahitian salad and we taught her a spiritual lesson. Craig told her, "When people ask us where we went on our mission, we will tell them, 'To Aunty Alice's!"

Instead of our usual sight-seeing P-day, a few senior Sisters went shopping for New Zealand souvenirs. We had heard of a few cool places, so we were on the hunt. Sister Sayer drives, so she was our chauffeur. It just so happened to be the NZ Labor Day weekend and a cloudy, drizzly day, so the malls were mobbed with people. Finding a parking spot was next to impossible and there were sales everywhere.! We all found something interesting to buy, and had an international lunch selection from the food court. I don't know if we ate Japanese, Chinese, or Korean food, but it was good. Our husbands, too, got together for lunch, but shopping wasn't on their agenda. 
Saturday night was our ward missionary event. Each Auxillary was assigned a different decade and asked to perform one song, and they could choose their song. Our missionary group had the 80's decade and we performed the Beach Boys song, "Kokomo". Craig and Brother Lawrence lip-synced the words while we danced in the background. The evening was a success! All auxiliaries participated, except Primary, and we had 8 non-member guests attend. Craig was pretty entertaining doing his own signature "moves" during our number!

The Relief society wasn't shy dancing to 60's music and doing the Limbo! 

For dessert, we did something really unusual - we only served bakery cookies and lemon water, instead of having sisters bring gobs of food! They got a night off from their kitchens! 

The following floral arrangements were in the chapel today for services. The incredible thing is that they aren't bought from a shop. Someone from the other ward (that shares our building) provides flowers each week. Most times the arrangements are made just from garden flowers and shrubs. Next year it will be our ward's turn to do it. I am always amazed at their beauty. 

The Sisters have a baptism scheduled this coming Friday. Yaay! It is for a darling 16 year old who's older sister is a member. She wanted to be baptized a few months ago, but her parents were against it. We've been fasting and praying with her for their hearts to soften, so she could have their blessing. 
She is pretty determined, so we will see what happens.

We've been doing FHE at a certain member's home once a month, and they have a lot of children ranging in all ages. Instead of the usual lesson from the FHE lesson book, we chose 4 parables from the many that Jesus taught. Involving the parents, we each read a parable and then discussed it.
The Prodigal Son and Good Samaritan were the favorites that brought the most discussion. We really enjoyed this lesson and hope to do it often for other members. 

For our game, we taught them "Farkle", but they already knew it and call it "Zilch". Farkle has a few different rules though, that they really enjoyed. Then I told them about making a "consequence" for the loser, and they really liked that. It was a great evening together and reminded us of how rewarding it is being on a mission and sharing times like this with these great people! 

We love and are so thankful for our Saviour, Jesus Christ, and for his patience and love towards us! We know He is beside us everyday, wanting to help us more, if we will just ask Him more. Our work is His work, and  there is no place else we would rather be! This is the true Church of Jesus Christ and we love the joy it brings into our lives and the lives of others. We cannot be lazy, but must all be dedicated and consistent in our Sabbath observance, which will keep us on the straight and narrow path, enduring to the end. 

Thank you for your prayers on our behalf and for all missionaries. We love you!

Elder and Sister Martin

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