Sunday, July 24, 2016

July 24, 2016

Happy Pioneer Day! We honor our pioneer heritage and the great sacrifice the early pioneer saints made for the Church and Gospel! Their example of courage, fortitude, and commitment are eternal! 

This is a shorter blog with a few words under each photo. It's late, my brain is dead, and we have another early day tomorrow. Our days are getting fuller, and longer, but time is going too fast!!!! 

We are so excited though, because, along with the Sisters, we are seeing many successes! We had a fantastic Sacrament Meeting today with great talks and testimonies, and lots of investigators and returning less actives! Its so fun being with them in church and sharing the Gospel! Our ward is really stepping up and inviting others to come! Waterlea Park Ward has a missionary vision! Penrose Stake has a missionary vision too! 

Our own Sister Selwa (from Zambia) was transferred back down our way from up north and it was good to go to lunch and connect again. She is living in Auckland Central, one of the busiest places in Auckland. We loved working with her in our ward and she is one of the best missionaries! 

Why would anyone have a nasty looking giant bug on their roof! When I spyed it while driving down a street, I made Craig stop the car so I could take a picture. I know it's not a Halloween decoration. 

We love taking Alice and Leti to the temple. This time we were proxy for Leti as she was sealed to her parents and it was a special time together! 

Elder Calderwood had a birthday, so we celebrated as a Senior group by going to the movies. We saw Disney's The BFG, and went to dinner at Lonestar. We liked the movie, and nicknamed Elder Calderwood our own BFG (big friendly giant) because he is pretty tall and super friendly. 

We spent part of our last P-day downtown at a World Press 16 Exhibtion, which presents the best visual journalism of the past year. There were amazing photos, but mostly centered around depressing stories. We came away feeling very blessed to live and work in NZ. Also, to be citizens of the most blessed nation, where so many take for granted our freedoms and don't realize how quickly those freedoms can disappear! 

To make us feel better, we went shopping and had lunch. Sister Jackson and Sister Bath are always happy to shop!

Elder Bath and Elder Martin didn't mind following the shoppers! Elder Jackson was doing some service and couldn't be with us, unfortunately.

A nice view of the Auckland Skytower, an icon of downtown.

Last year this time we went to Shakespeare Park for a hike and were surprised to see all these baby lambs prancing about. Last week we came back with our friends so they could see them and although the numbers were fewer, we were not disappointed. They are so cute and seem to be about 3 weeks old. This park is on a narrow pinensula with beautiful views!

I told everyone it was a short walk uphill to see the lambs and it was worth the walk. We also saw some birds I've been wanting to see, the New Zealand Fantail, the Tui, and a Wood Pidgeon! Tui have two voice boxes and make the most unusual sounds. I've heard them many times but had never seen one.

P-day is not complete without time on a beach shell hunting. I got a kick seeing Sister Bath and Sister Jackson bent over picking up shells. I was doing the same myself, only closer to the waters edge. I have quite a collection of shells now and need to mail them home soon. I also need to stop collecting them, but find it hard not picking up "just one more"!

A lovely few from the beach to the hillside at Shakespeare Park where we were with the lambs. It's low tide so the water is shallow and looks like mud, but it's sand. 

We saw these "planters" hanging in a restaurant and thought they were pretty clever.

 A popular expression here is to put the word "as" after different words. For example, "big as" or "sweet as", etc. At the gas station, I like the name of this ice freezer. 

This is so true!  We are so blessed to have great children and grandchildren, and we have learned most of life's great lessons because we were parents! 

Another way to put this is - 
"While we try to teach our members all about the Gospel, our members teach us what the Gospel is all about." 

We teach others about Jesus Christ, but we have learned more of His Gospel than those we've been teaching! Our testimonies have grown so much and we've added greater layers to the foundation we had at the start of our mission. This is one of the great blessings of serving a full-time mission.

We hope you have a great week, serving, loving, working, and doing all you can do for others! 
Thanks you for your support and prayers for us and all the missionaries!

Elder and Sister Martin


  1. I just LOVE YOUR BLOG! I'm experiencing NZ and a mission through it!!! What an amazing place to serve... We can't wait! Also we are so excited you'll be home soon.. We miss you and you'll be here just in time for all the "baby fun!"""

  2. Love your blog! You are incredible and I miss you! Congratulations on the new guy! Keep on blessing lives -- forever is counting on you to finish strong! Love you!