Sunday, June 12, 2016

June 12, 2016

It is not offensive or intrusive to ask a friend, co-worker, neighbor or family member "What is most important in your life right now?" Use their answer to lead into a gospel discussion. Or ask, "What role has religion played in your life?" See where it leads you to teaching them about God's love for them, reciting Joseph Smith's vision, or the explaining the Plan of Happiness! You don't have to be a scholar of doctrine or have all the answers to enjoy a good conversation that starts with sincere questions. 

I have learned that we all need to ask more questions. Ask others, ask ourselves, and ask Heavenly Father. We don't know until we ask. We gain knowledge through questions. It's easy to just "go with the flow", but we learn more about others, ourselves, our world, and the eternities by asking questions.

Last Monday was Queen Elizabeth's birthday and a national holiday, so we celebrated with the Afoa family. We had a fun FHE, complete with a birthday cake and song. Alice blew out the queen's candles! Everyone enjoys the long holiday weekend, and who doesn't like an extra day off work?

Last week was our Stake Temple Week. Of course we couldn't spend a week in Hamilton attending the temple, but we were able to go Tuesday for one of our ward sessions.  We took two extra sisters with us, which was a treat! Sister Martino, from the Cook Islands, is here for a vacation and was so happy to attend the temple after being away from it for almost 15 years. We met her at church and offered to take her with us since we had room in our car. I was so touched watching her tear up as she participated in temple ordinances. Also, Craig was able to participate in Sister Leti's family baptisms! Such a great time we had at the temple! 

Little Neville turned two and we were happy to share in his little celebration with Kelly, and the other boys. He was clapping his hands so cute for his cupcakes! 

Norton, Thor, Tyler, Stanley and Rogue can be quite a challenge for their mother, Kelly, but they love the missionaries, especially Elder Martin and the Sisters! 

We had a wonderful Zone Conference on Friday. We broke into lots of groups, with a young missionary companionship with a Senior couple. They were to teach us a first lesson about the Restoration and the Seniors were to rate them. Our guys were amazing and I really felt like an investigator! If they had asked to set a date for baptism, I would've jumped at it!

Unfortunately, so many missionaries are sick right now with fevers and respiratory problems, and we are surprised to still be well. Poor President Balli is smiling in this picture, but he's really struggled all week with Zone Conferences and being so sick! We were all asked not to give hugs or shake hands, but only bump elbows to keep contact to a minimum.

Friday night we had a fun movie night with the Kata family! We watched the movie, Mr. Popper's Penguins, and laughed so much! It's great to share these times with them! 

Some days it just doesn't seem like winter, especially after a week of rain, wind and cold like we had. We also love it when the best day of the week is our P-day! We took a cruise to and around Kawau Island and had the best day! There was only a small group of passengers, so we traveled on this smaller catamaran.

Our group of 8 gathered for fresh air and a better view out on the back of the boat for the 1 1/2 hour trip to our destination.

We arrived at the island and toured in and out of different bays and peninsulas, dropping off passengers and collecting and distributing mail. Along the way we enjoyed seeing activity along the shoreline. These guys were taking full advantage of the nice weather sunbathing after a swim. I love the Cypress looking trees up on the hill. 

I would like a boat named "Popeye"! So many boats and most homes have their own docks! 

This was a picturesque backyard at one home. So green and inviting with the palm trees and playground. We wondered as we saw so many homes, "Who lives in these places?" Apparently there are about 350 residents on this island, but only 40 are full-time. The rest are weekenders. There are no roads on the island, so no cars. 

This is the Mansion House, once owned by the former governor of New Zealand, Governor Grey. He owned the whole island, along with several other families after him. Eventually, the island was sold into lots and this house became the property of the Government to maintain, so it is now a museum.

This is a huge Moreton Fig tree on the Mansion House property. There was once, kangaroo, zebras and monkeys on the island. We saw peacocks and Wekas (a bird similar to the Kiwi).

The mansion is beautiful and furnished with period furniture. How wonderful it must've been to sit on this veranda and enjoy the ocean view way back then! Governor Grey's niece lived in the home with him, with her husband and their 9 children. There were many servants and grounds keepers. Such a lovely place!

We've never seen palm trees with such huge trunks. They said the monkeys loved the nuts from these palms!

Heading back to the mainland from the island, we had views of more green hillsides. We never tire from seeing these bright green rolling hills found everywhere in NZ. 

This is one of those giant cypress looking trees found out at Scott's Landing. It is hard to see Craig, but he is standing inside the middle section and is so small by comparison. We topped off our wonderful day with pizza and salad at our favorite Rusty Pelican restaurant in Matakana! 

These Sisters are so lovely and we are happy to work with them on a daily basis! They don't have a car and are out and about in rain or shine! The life of a young missionary is tough, but they love the work because they love the Lord! Missionary life is full of great blessings and great trials. Last night we responded with the Mission nurse to an Elder who fell off his bike and had a deep cut and horrific scrape on the side of his face. Thank goodness he had a helmet on or he might have had more damage. The nurse sent him and the Zone Leaders to Emergency for stitches. Last week another Elder slipped and face-planted on a wooden deck cutting his lip and he also needed stitches. With the cold, the flea bites and scabies are down, and hopefully the chicken pox epidemic is over. Crazy!

The work moves forward and regardless of challenges. We know Jesus Christ is leading His church and we are instruments in His hands! We are thankful for the promptings we receive from the Holy Ghost that direct us where to go, who to see, and what to say. Mostly, to protect us on the road. 

At night we have been watching the church video series, The Joseph Smith Papers, and have learned so much about the prophet, Joseph Smith! We know this is the restored church of Jesus Christ and what a marvelous church it is! Everyone should watch these videos! 

We are thankful to be missionaries and encourage everyone to go on a Senior mission! Thank you for your prayers and we feel your support! We love and miss you all!

Elder and Sister Martin

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