Sister Nakibae said it was her most fun P-day yet, even though as a lefty, she had a limited choice of clubs.
We had a spiritual Family Home Evening using our "Testimony Glove" to teach about testimonies. The little girls in the family hugged us and were so happy to wear the glove and participate in the lesson. In fact they asked us at church today when we were coming back to have FHE with them again.
As part of the lesson, I always get emotional when I tell the story about a young German girl who gained a testimony of modern-day prophets and the church, when through a series of miracles, she was able to attend a meeting and see President David O. McKay. I told this family about the times we went to meetings where a Prophet was present, and the Holy Ghost testified to me that he was a Prophet of God. After the lesson, we played our silly Donkey Game, that always brings out the giggles, even from the adults, and they all love it!
Last week one of the Australian Elders broke out from head to toe with chicken pox. It was so bad, he went to the hospital for two days, and has been so miserable. Now other Elders are worried about getting it because they didn't have the shot or have it as a child.
One of our very less active ward members died last week. He had started coming to church with his sweet wife and was earnestly trying to repair his life, knowing that the end was near. We enjoyed a few sweet times with them, and he was able to take the Sacrament the week before he died. At both the evening family services and the funeral services, the chapel was full halfway into the cultural hall. He was a good man, athletic, successful in work, and loved by so many. It is sad that he waited so long to return to church, when it was really too late to accomplish what he needed to do in this life. We hope to teach his wife so she can go to the temple, and even their adult children. His struggle to come back to church, is a lesson for all of us, because we never know when our time to repent will run out.
We teach another sweet family that are really trying to do all the right things. They have been praying, reading the scriptures and exercising everyday. The dad and mom are stepping it up to move their family forward towards the Temple. They see the blessings from obedience and are really trying. We love working with them, and they teach us so much in return.
Our Thanksgiving "feast" last Thursday with the Baths was a success and it was fun to entertain again! We had a stuffed boneless turkey, mashed potatoes, salad, green bean casserole, rolls, fruit slush, and a strawberry tart for dessert. It was all yum! It was so fun celebrating Thanksgiving in our little flat. It was also very challenging preparing food with no counter space, cooking space or refrigeration space!
After dinner we played Wizard, and enjoyed hanging out together.
Saturday was rainy and gloomy, but we had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration with all the Senior couples up in Takapuna at the Area Office. There was about 54 of us and it was a "feast"! We all pitched in for 4 very expensive turkeys, and everyone signed up to bring part of the meal.
These are beautiful fresh flowers for the serving table. They sell gorgeous, huge sunflowers here.
It was wonderful to celebrate Thanksgiving as an Auckland missionary group. Not all Senior couples are American. We have some Australians and Canadians. I didn't even know that Canadians celebrate their own Thanksgiving in October! It was wonderful expressing our gratitude for being missionaries here, and for all the tremendous blessings we enjoy everyday.
Later that evening, our ward Relief Society had a lovely end of the year Christmas activity, with a few classes, and a meal put together from from foods that are traditional in some way to each family. I made rolls using my sister-in-law's recipe and my mother's signature knotted shape. Also, I brought our family's favorite fruit slush. Both were a hit with the sisters and I shared my recipes with them. Some said the slush was way better than their favorite Tongan Otai drink. That was a big compliment!
Our Sunday evening ended up with no appointments, and the sun was shining, so we went looking for a place to walk off our dinner, and the whole weekend of feasting! We found Murphy's Bush, which is a short and sweet trail through some landscape that is preserved as it would have been 200 years ago.
It was a beautiful very dense forest, with little light.
A little sunlight left, so we finished the evening with a walk on the beach. If you haven't noticed, I have to walk on a beach most every weekend, or I get a little sad. What will I do when we go home, I am so spoiled here by so many lovely beaches? It was low tide tonight, and a lot of the volcanic rock was exposed. The rocks are covered with rock oysters, and I saw a woman hitting the shells to crack them open and she ate the small raw oysters like they were candy! Sorry, no thanks! That is not for me!
Rangatoto Island is in the distance. You can take a ferry there and hike the trail to the top.
Sunset, with downtown Auckland in the far distance.
Please don't get upset with me when I post warm, sunny beach pictures, while some of you are struggling with freezing, snowy, icy, miserable weather! We already had our winter, and while we didn't have snow or ice, it was cold enough. We are so ready for summer!
We missed out on all the post-Thanksgiving shopping fun, but that is ok. Our kids did some shopping and are pleased with their "deals"! We'll be home next year to join in that fun.
Our shopping is done and mailed, so we plan to concentrate our time now on teaching the meaning of the season, about our Savior, Jesus Christ! We are excited to share with everyone the new Christmas video, "A Savior is Born", available Nov. 29 (by visiting christmas.mormon.org). It is a short video about the birth, life and mission of Jesus Christ. Be sure to check it out and share with all of your family and friends! Be a missionary and invite your non-member, less-active friends and family to watch the Christmas Devotional broadcast next Sunday evening as well! DON'T FORGET!!!
Elder Martin and I are also in charge of a ward caroling activity Dec. 20. Since that is my birthday, we are going to make it a special night with great refreshments!
We love you all and will miss your cards (too expensive to mail here), but feel free to email a picture of your card with a Christmas message to: Ldsmartin54@gmail.com, Rcraigmartin@gmail.com
If you have lots of money, you can send a card to us at:
17 Amersham Way #1108
Manukau 2104 Auckland
I'm always happy to get a few small packets of Crystal Lite.
Elder and Sister Martin