Sunday, August 28, 2016

August 28, 2016

Sunday nights is my blog-writing time and for the past few weeks I was either too lazy, too tired, and even sick one time, to post a new blog. So sorry, but thanks for hanging in with me as I continue again. Trying to recount the past few weeks will take too much writing, so I will give brief accounts of August events.

One of my favorite photos of our sweet newest grandson! TJ is a happy, well-fed, loved little boy that we enjoy through photos and FaceTime. Thank goodness for technology that keeps us in touch. 

We were volunteer cooks at the local Marae several times and it was a lot of fun and challenging. Each time we worked with other members too. After looking at the donated food supplies, we had to come  up with the lunch menu on the spot and then got to work. Thankfully, there were men and women who were better cooks than Elder Martin and I who lead the way creating fantastic meals! We were happy to be the choppers, stirrers, and dishwashers.

We enjoyed another outing to the Hamilton Temple with Leti before it closed for a two-week yearly cleaning! A trip to the temple and being able to take one or two other members with us, has become a real treat!

        P-day isn't complete without a trip to one of our favorite beaches. 

Omaha Beach is close enough, is a great walking beach with lots of shells, the golf course is near and there is shopping and several good places to eat. It's a great dog beach with a lot of dog walkers and sometimes, horse-back riders. 

Sorry, but I have to share this "Price is Wright" photo of cute little TJ Wright after his first road trip to a family reunion in Washington.

Stake Musical Firesides are a treat and Elder Martin really loved singing with our ward. Each ward in the Stake performed two songs, one had to be a hymn, but could be a new arrangement. We have a musical genius in our ward who arranged "Sweet Hour of Prayer" and "I Have a Testimony", and they were beautifully done.  I was happy to be in the audience, sitting with members we invited. Several members told Elder Martin they could even hear his voice above the others!

Because our Sister trio was ending soon, we took the girls to One Tree Hill again. This is their second time because the President brings new missionaries here after leaving the MTC. It is a wonderful overlook of the whole city, and he points out where the different Zones are.

The Sisters had never been to our second favorite part of One Tree Hill, and that is the beautiful fig tree, or "Tree of Life" as we call it. They had the best time taking tons of pictures sitting, lounging, or leaning on its gigantic branches! Sadly, Sister Ohlwiler was transferred a few days ago. 

Sister Fisiihoi is the best at taking "selfies"!  She finally got her American visa and left for the Houston, TX mission. We enjoyed our "trio", who worked hard, always seemed to get along, and didn't mind cramming into the back of our car.

One "must see" place we finally visited was The Kauri Museum. It is a two hour drive north and wonderfully tells the story about how early settlers harvested the timber and gum from the giant Kauri trees that once covered the country before the mid 1800's. It was an industry that nearly decimated all the Kauri trees because the wood very desireable and heavily exported. 

This is a massive Kauri slab 22.5 meters long. The museum has displays of working steam sawmills, and furniture and boats made from the very hard kauri wood.

Here are different trunks and how they were transported on wagons pulled by 8-10 bullocks. 

I loved this large picture made from different inlaid woods. It is one of three pictures depicting settler life.

Elder Martin really wanted to sail on the America's Cup Sailboat before going home, which sails everyday around the Auckland Harbor. We had one weekend available and secured our tickets, but the weather wasn't great and it was too windy. Instead, we had to sail on the white yacht above . . . . .

instead of this beauty from the America's Cup race.  In the Maritime Museum, they have the original sailboat and tell the story about when New Zealand won the America's Cup from the USA. I didn't know much about it, but It was pretty amazing! The boat above also competed in the America's Cup, but was owned by the Japanese. It is still a very fast sailboat and an amazing sailing experience, but we will never know, since we have run out of time for sailing in NZ! 

A lovely iconic view of downtown Auckland from the water. We will miss this beautiful city view.

Barely missing the rain, we were treated to one of the brightest rainbows we had ever seen.
Unfortunately, our photo does not capture it's true radiance or beauty.

It was a full arch but I could only photograph one side of it.

Our good friends, the Calderwood's and Byrne's braved the cold winds and came along with us.

Last year when we started our mission, we found the wonderful Mormon Message video that tells the story of the quote above, and we showed it to most of the new members we met. We teared up, along with them every time! It is a wonderful message that is true and full of hope! 

In August, we shared some great lessons, gave important service, and lifted sad spirits. We had a lot of fun, had some challenges, and weathered another winter. Spring is here and while others keep reminding us that we only have a few weeks left, our focus is on finishing strong, doing as much good as we can do to the last day! 

We love our mission and we love all the wonderful members we visit! Why wouldn't everyone want to be a missionary serving full-time! We never thought we would gain more than we've given, but the blessings came soon after we accepted our call even! Heavenly Father is anxious to bless us! 

The Church is true! The Book of Mormon is amazing and another testament of Jesus Christ! God loves each of us and we are His children!
We love and pray for you all!
Elder and Sister Martin