Sunday, June 5, 2016

June 5, 2016

It's a little hard going into our second winter here, but I'm determined to be smarter than last year and wear warmer clothes. Layering and warm scarves might be the answer, and I found some tights that are fleece-lined and so comfy. I even carry socks in my purse for homes with cold floors! Elder Martin likes his sweaters and fares pretty well. I feel sorry for our Sisters walking in the cold and rain, but they always have a smile on their faces. 

Sister Gila is going home this month and we traveled to see her before she goes back to Vanuatu. We introduced her to her first Mexican food for lunch!  We will miss her so much! Her smile transfers the light in her soul to everyone around her.  She is a true daughter of God and a great missionary! We only had her for one transfer, but she stole our hearts! 

Sister Placido and Kilgrow wanted to weave scripture cases, so they cut the flax, stripped and scraped it and Gaelene dyed it. She was generous enough to offer her home and expertise in helping them
complete the task. It was a fun night and they enjoyed the challenge, and they were good students!

Sister Kilgrow turned her scripture case into a hat! Love the colors and fringe!

We had a nice Chinese lunch at Dollie's, who is a non-member friend of a member. She is so sweet to us but not too interested in the church. We still love to visit her and share in her good humor, and she seems to like us too! In her backyard she has a beautiful garden and I noticed her huge pointsettia tree with giant blooms! Last summer she had a hydrangea bush with blooms the size of large dinner plates! 
Stanley is in town for his 13th birthday, coming up from the South Island where he is living with his grandmother, and we took him for mini golf with his brothers. Such a fun and crazy time, and they really had fun. Norton, the youngest won and got an ice cream bar for his prize. I love Thor's toothy grin.

I heard all this noise outside and looking out my window, saw this graduation procession from the nearby Manukau Institute of Technology. They were enthusiastically marching down the street, lead by a man in a beautiful kilt playing the bagpipes! I wanted to run down to march with them! They circled the block back to the Insistute. 

We took Alex, a 90 year old member, to see his friend in the hospital a few days before she died. After seeing where she was staying, he was able to take public transport to go see her one more time, but she had passed an hour before he got there. It was hard on him to see her go, because there are very few of his friends/family left. 

We watched "Other Side of Heaven"with the Kata's and even though I've seen it a few times, I enjoyed it so much more this time. Sister Kata is from the Cook Islands where it was filmed and she knew several people in the film and all the locations. Also, it was supposed to be a Tongan mission, and Brother Kata is Tongan and could interpret some of the language. It was just more personal to us because we are down here and closer to the Island people! What a great movie though!

We were so happy for the baptism of Norton and his older brother, Thor. This was the second time for Thor because the record of his baptism couldn't be found. Norton turned 8 two months ago. The boys clean up really nicely!

 TK Kata also turned 8 and was baptized. The best part of this story is that His father got to baptize him! What a great blessing for the Kata family that Lee was able to put his life in order to get the Priesthood and then be able to baptize his son.  His example also encouraged Maui, his nephew, to participate in his priesthood responsibilities, and the whole family is blessed! 

This is one of 5 beautiful flower arrangements for our Sunday service last week, made by the bishop's talented wife. These are flowers and greenery from home gardens in the area. Sela knows all the homes for clipping, but always asks permission first! 

We had a very moving and spiritual missionary fireside last week, with the theme, "We are God's hands".  Our very favorite and talented George sang a prelude song for it, after only being asked to sing a few minutes before it started! I thanked him and he just said, "I would do anything for the Lord!" We had several other wonderful musical numbers, along with testimonies from 3 new converts, including a 10 year old girl. There was also two other great speakers, and yummy refreshments. This is our second successful missionary fireside, with the help of our great ward mission leader and the full-time sister missionaries. We had several nonmembers and less active members attend. 

This is our first Waterlea Park Self-Reliance graduating class after their 12 week course. They all loved it and gained so much from attending, even resulting in new jobs for some! Their biggest cheerleaders are President Young Yen and Elder and Sister Jarvis (on the front row). The Jarvis' are Senior Self-Reliance missionaries. 

We had two birthday feasts and celebrations in one day! The first was our Zone leader, Elder Seelos, who turned a big19! A wonderful sister in his ward made our whole Zone breakfast, consisting of ham, bacon, chicken, fish, sausage, chicken soup, spaghetti, baked beans, scones, scrambled eggs, corn fritters, and egg foo young. There might've been more that I forgot. This breakfast reflected her great love for the missionaries! 

The second celebration was for Sonny that night, turning 39!  Millie, his flat mate, spent the whole day preparing food for all of us. She had salad, stir fry, roasted chicken, lamb, potatoes, rolls, taro, eggs, cole slaw, and more, along with a banana cake and ice cream. No wonder we've put on 10 lbs! We can't escape all the food and wonderful, generous members! 

It was time for transfers last week and we figured Elder Dalton and Sister Placido would be leaving our District! 

Goodby Sister Placido! We loved your "go get them" and "get it done" attitude and and will miss you. 

Hello Sister Fisiihoi, who is right out of the MTC and waiting for her visa so she can go to her true mission in Houston, TX. Sister Kilgrow is nervous about being a trainer, but she will do great! 

This isn't rush hour yet, but is one of those round-abouts so common here that rattle anyone from the U.S., esp. Elder Martin! Several lanes of traffic entering the center from 5 different directions, lots of traffic, and all on the "wrong" side of the street! Our mission has a ton of accidents and fender benders and Craig considers it our greatest mission miracle if we make it home alive!

We took Stanley to lunch and for his first time visit to One Tree Hill. We've been to this lovely place many times, but never stopped at the visitors center! What a great place with lots of history and info about the Park. Where Stanley lives on the South Island, the closest church is over an hour drive, and with no transport, it's impossible for him to attend church. We've wanted to give him a little fun to remember the missionaries by, and hope he reads his scriptures and stays true to what he's been taught, till he returns to his mother next year. 

Loved spending a beautiful winter day at the beach with my beach buddies, Sister Jackson and Bath! The guys went golfing and had a perfect day also! Lots of people were walking on the beach and only jet-skiers in wet suits were out in the water. We didn't mind bundling up in jackets, just to be out on the beach again. We brought our tent to crawl into in case it got cold but didn't need it. 

After golfing, the guys joined us on the beach for a few pictures. We love to go to this restaurant near the beach in Matakana, called The Rusty Pelican. They have the best pizza, and lots of different kinds. Our favorite is the Mojo, which is kind like a Hawaiin, but with a sweet chili sauce. Also, they have a spicey Mexican, with the same sauce and avocado. Yum!

There are a few Wendy's here and we never go to them, but last night chili sounded good so we gave it a try. I love Wendy's chili and it was just like at home! On a cold night, I'm not cooking and we are going back for chili! 

I will admit that it's not just member's food that has contributed to our weight gain, but going out to eat too! When we get home, no pizza, French fries, curry, Chinese food, Cadbury chocolate, etc.!

Without the gospel in their homes, our grandchildren don't have a fighting chance of weathering the storms surrounding them, and they are quickly getting worse. When we were set apart as missionaries, we were promised that our families would be blessed for our service, and we can see so many great blessings! Everyone has been safe and healthy so far, the dog has been cared for, our homes are still intact and in good repair, and we even have two grandsons coming! We are so thankful for our good health and safety over here. We have been blessed to go out each day to get some work done. 

Craig mentioned tonight how happy he is we are on a mission and we got to come here. No regrets and we wouldn't change anything! We are especially thankful for the good changes in us! "Whom God calls, God qualifies".

We love you and appreciate all your prayers for us and missionaries all over the world!

Elder and Sister Martin

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