On P-day, with a wrong turn, we happened upon this great little beach called Martin's Bay! There was a nice house for rent right on the beach, big enough for our whole family. In our next life we could rent it and all our kids could relocate here and we could live together in Martin's Bay! Hahaha!
At our last Ward Council, we talked about planning more activities to help activate people and one of the members suggested we have a Sunday School Family Home Evening. Great idea! So last Monday night was a BBQ/Gospel Principles class FHE/Goodbye party for Sister Palu at Ambury Park. I feel really bad that I didn't take any pictures of the people, only the farm animals at the park!
Here's the wooly goat who ran over to us to get a friendly scratch! I gave him some nice pats instead.
The BBQ was really fun with tons of food, team games and lots of people. It was supposed to start at 5pm, but true to form, got under way at 6:30. Craig and I spent the whole day preparing for it with shopping and setting up. The Sisters invited a non-member family who attended and got to know lots of people. Sister Palu wrapped up the evening with her testimony and then we hugged her goodbye.
We were joking with her about how NZ missionaries put on weight and when Elder Martin told her 80 lbs is the usual, she said “if I gain that much weight, I will look like a pumpkin." That was funny since she is so short. We are excited to work with her and Sister Nakibae, and hope they're here for more than one transfer!
It was time this week for me to get a hair cut and dye, and I was really scared trying out a new hair dresser. This is a BIG DEAL! The first one I went to was a disaster, the second was good, but way too expensive, and now I'm pretty happy with this one. She and her partner are from Thailand, spoke good English and they did a good job. One did the cutting and the other the coloring. I will go back!
I have to admit that I spent a day and a half making Kites last week with my weaving friend since she had the week off work. We bought some new dye colors and were anxious to use them. While I was doing this, Elder Martin kept busy with lots of service. There were lawns to mow and trim, and windows to replace. A wonderful young widow in the ward had several broken window panes and Craig has been obsessed with replacing them. He's never done it before, but with the help of YouTube videos, he is now a pro.
Saturday was the warmest and sunniest weather we've had since early June, so we spent the whole day with the other Senior couples exploring new places. They trusted me to be the tour guide and we had a great day! Starting early, we drove north an hour to the Parry Kauri Forest for a short hike through ferns, palms, kauri trees, and we could see what the bush was like when Captain Cook came to NZ over 200 years ago.
The Bath's and Sayer's were loving this day too! I can't believe I didn't get a picture of all of us together!
Our final destination was Scotts Landing. I thought it would be a quaint little village at the end of the pinensula where we could get some ice cream, but the road ended at this deserted beach. That's a little island across from the beach, and beyond is another pinensula that is only accessible by boat.
Residents dock their boats, but I'm not sure how they get to them when they want to use them!
After we left the beaches, we finally got some ice cream down the road in Puhoi, a little dairy village.
We had a great day being together, caravaning in 4 cars. We feel very privileged to serve our mission here in this beautiful country with wonderful couples who like to get out and have fun.
Last week, we were able to attend Transfer Meeting and President and Sister Bali spoke to the old and new missionaries who attended. Sister Bali spoke about miracles that happen every day around us. She told the story of Matthew Cowley, who as a young missionary in NZ, blessed and healed a child who was blind. "He asked the question, 'Why not, why can't miracles happen?' Then offered a clumsy blessing and felt the guidance of the Spirit and said, 'God wanted this baby to see again,'" Elder Cowley's descendant was one of the new Elders in the audience.
Our own Sisters witnessed miracles with a family they are teaching. By fasting and praying, they helped the father quit smoking completely and the mother is reduced from 20 cigarettes down to 2-3 a day. They are still working on ways to help her. Also by fasting a praying, a young woman had the courage to set her baptism date and tell her parents about it. They were against it and she was fearful of them, but their hearts were softened and she was able to be baptized. Miracles are happening all around us. How is our faith, and do we believe we can achieve miracles!
Everyday we are with members doing all that we can do. Some days are fuller than others, but daily we ask the Lord to direct us where we should go? We are so blessed and love this missionary life! We know this is the true church of Jesus Christ, and we are so thankful for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ for answering a young boy's, even Joseph Smith's prayer, to know which church to join, which brought the Restored Gospel back to the earth again, with the Priesthood, Apostles, and Prophets. We are so thankful for our Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, who leads and directs our church today. We have been blessed our whole lives, from our membership in this church, as have our children and their families!
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a happy message - it brings happiness!
We pray for all of you to be happy as well!
Elder and Sister Martin