Sunday, January 10, 2016

January 10, 2016


For a lot of New Zealanders, last week was still part of Christmas break, so many people were away, still had visitors or were just unavailable for us to visit. We don't mind the break too much, because the roads are uncrowded and easier to travel. In the U.S. we are so used to straight and fast roads, but that is not the case here. Most roads have curves and there are lots of roundabouts. The main motorway (freeway) going through Auckland is often contested at any time of the day. Soon when schools open again from summer break, traffic will be worse.

I learned something new this week, weaving flowers. It is fun and easy. The green dries brown and they can be dyed or left natural. I hope to use them for the chapel with fresh flowers when it is my week to provide the flowers. Thank you Gaelene!!!!

Our beautiful Sisters have been teaching this wonderful Tongan woman, but she left for Tonga, back to her husband and children. She embraced the Gospel and plans to get baptized in Tonga. To say goodbye, we had a great FHE with her and the family she's been staying with. She loved coming to church and even started paying tithing. She's seen great blessings and miracles come into her life from her faith in Jesus Christ and from all she has learned. We hope to see her again in June when she is returning. 

Every couple of months the mission president has interviews with all the missionaries, including the Seniors. We passed our interview this time and are glad we don't have any assignment changes. President Balli is a great leader, and he and Sister Balli work endlessly, tirelessly, they love the missionaries, and are always so happy! Being responsible for 150 young men and women missionaries is a tough calling. Our previous stake president, Sione Tuione, was just called to be the new Tongan Mission President, and is another great man! 

We visit a man who is a recent convert of a year and a half, and is less active. He struggles with faith and has many doubts. He is a prime example of someone who should "doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith" as Pres. Uchtdorf said in his Oct. 2013 conference talk. Something very simple and profound happened to him when the sister missionaries were talking to him on his doorstep. They don't even remember what they were talking about but he said his heart was pierced by the first and second commandments,  "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind",  and "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." It was a revelation for him that maybe all those doubts and questions don't matter if he can live these two great commandments. 
We hope to help him move forward from here and get him back to church. 

This is such a lovely view of the Hamilton Temple, which still has this Nativity scene displayed. 
We made a trip there this week with two lovely ladies for a wonderful occasion. 

We were privileged to drive Leti (middle) to the temple to be sealed to her late husband. It was a sacred occasion for her, and she has been looking forward to this for many months. Her friend drove up from Roturua as well. Leti is a wonderful and generous woman that we love teaching the Gospel Principles lessons to every week, and we are thankful she wanted us to be a part of her day. 

To show their appreciation to us, Sister Trull and Sister Selwa made us breakfast for dinner Friday night. It was very sweet of them and delish. How did they know Elder Martin loves breakfast food! 

I saw this picture of Salt Lake City with all the snow they've had,  and while I think this view is magnificent, I'm glad I'm here and not there! 

This is my view, which is equally magnificent, considering there is not a cloud in the sky. We haven't seen a cloudless sky for months!  Just an hour before there was complete cloud coverage. Now I wish I had a hat and my bathing suit! We had fun watching some boys haul a queen-sized blow up mattress out into the water to ride the waves on. They had a blast with it. 

Saturday, we went back to Omaha Beach with several couples. This has become a favorite spot because the golf course is 2 minutes away, and that makes fun for all, either golf or the beach, or both! 


Love this variegated hybiscus from a member's yard. She plucked it for me. 

I love this quote. We are told though, that the object and design of God is for our happiness; hence, The Plan of Happiness! Only by keeping the commandments can we truly be happy. 

Also, in our lesson today about Exaltation, it said, "The time to fulfill the requirements for exaltation is now". I realized that I'm at an age where "now" really does mean now! Time is running out and I had better complete more of those requirements! I have been able to read the Book of Mormon twice in the last nine months and that has been a blessing. It is now #1 on my book list, and I'm ready to read it again! I know the Book of Mormon was written for us in these latter days and it is truly another testament of Jesus Christ. There is just so much to read and do, and so little time! 

We are so happy to be in this beautiful place, the "dessert" of missions! Stay warm, all our loved ones, and be safe! Thank you for your prayers! 

Love, 
Elder and Sister Martin

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