Sunday, June 26, 2016

June 26, 2016


Every week is different from the last. There is always someone new to visit or someone we are helping move forward. We finally met Rosa, a widow with a lot of children, mostly grown, who give her a lot of grief. She was very welcoming and wants us to come back to answer some of her questions. Elder Martin is helping an older man use the computers at the public library so he can access LDS.org and listen to Conference talks. We take for granted our ability to use a "mouse" and navigate to websites. 
It is a struggle for him.  We are also helping an older man with his family history by taking him to the Family History Library during the day.  Another man, Alex, wanted to update his will, so we helped him as he met with his lawyer, just to make sure his wishes were carried out. 

This is a typical scene outside the front door of homes with lots of people/children. We go to this home every week for a wonderful FHE and deposit our shoes outside along with theirs before entering. They have seven children, and last week when we arrived, their shoes were all stacked up neatly on one side of the porch so we didn't have to trip over them. So cute and thoughtful of them. The children were ready and waiting quietly for us to come inside. They like the game and treats the best!

This picture is of the two Stake Presidents we have had here. President Sione Tuione (right) was Stake President of the Manukau Stake. Last June the Penrose Stake was created and our Bishop, President Young Yen, (middle) was called as Stake President. President Tuione is now serving as Mission President over the Tongan Mission with his beautiful wife (left). This picture was taken in Salt Lake the day they were set apart. Both are great men! 

The Sisters really enjoyed learning how to weave and made some colorful Kete's! 

It's always a great day when I get to weave with Gaelene, who taught me over a year ago. We both wove beautiful backpacks. She works hard during the week as a nurse and I am so appreciative of her preparing the flax and setting time aside to do this. It's great girl time.

What was Elder Martin doing during that time? Being the handiman that he is, he spent the day in service fixing things at different homes! What a great missionary!

Sister Gila is going home to Vanuatu! We are sad to say goodbye! We will miss her smile, her cute giggle, her humility and her sweet testimony! She is a great missionary and served the Auckland NZ Mission well! We hope she comes to the U.S. for a visit sometime so we can see her again! 

Sister Paegotau arranged these flowers for church last week. I love the camillas and poinsettias together, and they are all from home gardens!  A very cheerful sight in the chapel! 

I coaxed these handsome young men, Maui and Sione, into taking a picture with Elder Martin. The young men here all where suits and look so sharp and ready to perform their Priesthood duties. 

I'm just a little obsessed with these cute red mushrooms. They are hard to find and I'm always on the lookout for them. After consulting Google about them, I learned that they are common in Europe and North America and were introduced into NZ. They are also hallucinogenic and poisonous. I won't be eating any, but just love to looking at them.

Here is a cluster of some button-looking mushrooms under the trees in the park. Not as colorful, but still pretty cute!

We took an overnight trip 2 hours north over the weekend with the Bath's to Waipu and Ruakaka! This view of the golf course and ocean rivals Pebble Beach anytime! The guys golfed Friday and Saturday and loved it, while Sister Bath and I enjoyed the beaches and found lots of beautiful shells. Winter doesn't keep us away from the beautiful beaches and golf courses!

More of the golf course.

We were so excited to hike to Piroa waterfalls, since we had never seen or heard of it before, and had only seen the sign on the highway! It was just a short downhill hike from the carpark and we were not disappointed!  The falls splash not on several large boulders and cascade into several pools. It is stunning, along with the stream it flows into and the bush around it!
 
Some pictures of the beaches we enjoyed. This is Langs Beach, where we found tons of shells. A local woman was collecting some shells with her grandson and said she had never seen that many shells before. We also went to Waipu Cove and Ruakaka, all in the same area. 

That is Taranga Island in the distance. It is a small, Nature Reserve, so no one is allowed to land or inhabit it. It is said to have rare and endangered fauna and flora, as well as historic Maori features from the tribe that inhabited it long ago.

Nothing new about rainbows here, since it rains a little everyday and they are quite common! This rainbow was a huge arch crossing the sky.


We had a rare treat today at church and in a member's home. This group of very talented men and women traveled from Laie, Hawaii to sing in Auckland, Hamilton and Rotorua at LDS churches, service projects and meetings for the next two weeks. They will be singing tomorrow too, at a homeless shelter our ward is serving at. They financed this trip themselves and left spouses and work to come here to sing! Beautiful voices and harmony!
  
This is a picture from our granddaughter, Makayla who is 6, and it melted our hearts! We sure miss our grandchildren, but are so glad they are all happy, healthy, and well!

We've had our share of perfect moments with our children and grandchildren, and feel so blessed as a family. We've had some pretty perfect moments here on our mission too, even when they didn't  seem perfect at the time. We will look back when we leave NZ in a few months and think our time here was all pretty magical! We encourage all our family and friends to go on Senior Missions, when the time is right, but don't wait too long!!!

I heard a good quote today at church, "Gospel learning is of no use, unless it is accompanied by Gospel Living!" Having a knowledge about the Atonement doesn't matter unless we repent and live the commandments so it will take effect in our lives. Knowledge about keeping the Sabbath day holy and its blessings means nothing, if we don't observe to keep it holy every week.

We love our Waterlea Park Ward so much and the members are wonderful! We hated to see Sister Coe and her counselors be released from their callings today, but welcome Sister Aspinall, and support her totally! We give total credit to Sister Coe for helping us get started in our mission work in the ward. She saved us and helped us so much! The missionary work moves forward, slowly but sure! 

We thank our Heavenly Father for the blessings of the Gospel, for the Atonement, and for our prophet, Thomas S. Monson! We appreciate the work of these young missionaries! They are the Lord's rock stars! They are truly God's army! It is a privilege to work along side them and they keep us young!

Thank you for your love your prayers and your support!
Love,
Elder and Sister Martin



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