Friday, March 26, 2010

Meet my new favorite Missionary (besides Lee that is) - Elder Green. He has been with us for about a week because he first missed his connecting flight onto the Marshall Islands. He was transfering from the Christmas Islands to Tarawa (an island that you can see the ocean on each side of the road because it is so narrow!) When he first transferred to the Christmas Islands it took him 15 days on a cargo ship if you can believe it! Anyhow, it turned out that it was a good thing that he missed his flight on Tuesday because he had a serious foot infection that was going up his leg and needed antibiotics via IVs for 4 days. I really believe Heavenly Father wanted him to miss that flight so he could get the medical attention he needed. He is a darling Elder; great personality! He learned the Kiribati language, but they could not teach it to him in the MTC, but rather he just had to pick it up. Said that everyone on the island is always late to everything so he calls it Kiribati Time~ I guess that's something like "Mormon Standard Time"

Lee found Elder Hatch's backpack was left in the Mission Car so he strapped it on to take back over to the Office. Elder Hatch is 6'7" tall and typically a backpack rides on the top of your back; but this hit Lee's but!


Every 6 weeks anywhere from 1/2 to 1/3 of the missionaries receive a phone call to pack a bag and come to the "Transfer Meeting" for new assignments. Also arriving are the new missionaries coming to the Mission and those who are going home. It's quite a sight!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

MISSIONARIES! Don't you just love them!! Here is a group shot of (starting left to right), Elder Jose, Elder Hatch (6'7" tall), Elder Eteaki, Elder Medeiros, and Elder Frederickson. Alway makes me smile to see these guys!

Monday night we were invited to a Dinner with the Mataele Family. They invite the Missionaries every month to their home and have a million dollar view of the City of Honolulu and the Ocean. SPECTACULAR! The food was pretty fabulous as well! This photo doesn't show all that they had made which was enough to feed a small army!

This darling lady is Elise Mataele our hostess for Dinner on Monday night. She is an actress and use to be on the T.V. Show Hawaii 5-0. She is a convert to the Church and LOVES the Missionaries. She spent all day cooking for us and talk about variety of food.

Bishop Mataele and his wife invite the local missionaries once every month for dinner at their home. They fed 20 people and I swear had food for 50 - they really put on quite a dinner and he got up at 4:30 that morning to catch fresh fish. Everytime I turned around he was filling my glass with POG drink (Pineapple, Orange & Guava). A wonderful gentleman who loves the missionaries!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

For all you "Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Fans": There has got to be a "BIG W" in here . . . somewhere??

From Jeffrey Holland in an address given to New Mission Presidents, June 2007

"Presidents, you will have occasion to ask, and your missionaries will have many occasions to ask, why is this so hard? Why doesn't it go better? Why can't our success be more rapid? Why aren't there more people joining the Church? It is the truth. We believe in angels. We trust in miracles. Why don't people just flock to the font? Why isn't the only risk in the mission field pneumonia, just being soaking wet all day and all night in a baptismal font? Why isn't it easier President? Why do the people not understand, President? Why do they reject us, President? Can't they see? These are things that a nineteen and a twenty and a twenty-one year old will ask. They are things I have asked.

"I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. It is not Church doctrine per se, it's just my feeling to you as you prepare to go into the mission field. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation was never easy. We are the Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, He is our Great Eternal Head. Why would we believe, why would be think, that it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? In turn, how could we possibly bear any moving, lasting testimony of the Atonement if we have never know or felt anything of such an experience? As missionaries we are proud to say we are disciples of Christ -- and we are. But mark my word. That means you must be prepared to walk something of the path He walked, to feel something of the pain He felt, to at least occasionally sometime during your mission shed one of the tears of sorrow that He shed."

Sunday, March 21, 2010

This morning Lee and I spoke in Sacrament Meeting and were asked to speak about Missionary Work - a subject near & dear to my heart! Before the meeting started we noticed a man walk in with his wife. They were dressed in shorts and vacation type clothing. They went to the back of the Chapel to sit. After the meeting this gentleman came all the way to the front to visit with us. He told us that he had not been to Church for 15 years, but that our talks really touched him so he made a point to come up to thank us. He also shared that he was a returned Missionary. Lee told him that it's never too late to come back and I chimed in "Hey, you are one of US!" We hope and pray that he does seriously consider going back to Church. It's always hard to take that first step, but it is harder not to.
One afternoon this week, a Sister Smith called us in the office. She had been to the Doctors because of Migraine Headaches and as she was leaving the office fainted. She was afraid to drive back to Laie (she and her companion are assigned to the Temple there). So I drove these two sisters back to their place; it's about an hour one way. Elder Freeman followed behind me so that I could get back to Honolulu. The other sister Missionary was a darling sister from South Korea; Sister Han. Lee and I first took them to McDonald's to get them some lunch before driving them home. I was able to visit with these cute sisters as we were driving back and Sister Han shared with me that she joined the Church about 4 years ago because her friend was a Mormon and asked her to take the missionary lessons - which she agreed to. All of her family is Catholic and they disowned her. It broke my heart when Sister Han told me that she called her home on Christmas Day and her mom got very upset with her and said, "Why are you calling?" And then she hung up on her daughter. Sister Han said that it as the worst Christmas ever. It's tough enough leaving family and friends to serve a mission, but this cute girl did so without the support of her family. The only thing that I can think of is that she must of had a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel or why would she have given up everything for the cause of the church? What a remarkable young lady! A pioneer in her own family. She wants someday to go back to Korea and open an adoption agency because there are so many babies in Korea that need homes.
COTTAGE MEETING We attended our first Cottage Meeting at the Mission Home this week. Quite a remarkable meeting to say the least. The Missionaries can come, but their "ticket" to get in is to bring with them an investigator. President Peterson invited 3 newly baptized converts to share with the group their conversion stories and testimonies. They were all outstanding, but it was the second sister, a Sister Audrey Sherry, who just grabbed my heart! I sat there quietly listening to her life's story and kept thinking how blessed I am with the childhood and wonderful parents I had. She told us that her parents never loved her and told her so on many occasions, so by the age of 14 she left home. She was living in New York and left for San Francisco and embraced the Hippie Movement. Her mother was bi-polar and often told her she was ugly. I can't even imagine my own darling mother ever hurting my feelings; my mother was always my biggest fan. Anyhow, she had a difficult life all of her life. About 4 years ago she got a call from her father telling her that this mother had alzheimer's and she needed to come to Hawaii to take care of her. She didn't want to since she never had a relationship with her mother, but did so out of obligation. She has been taking care of this mother for about 4 years now, and often when she is with her, her mother tells her that she is ugly and doesn't want her there. One evening as she was leaving the care facility she was outside talking to the Doctor and he sensed that she was struggling and told her that it won't be long now, but to just "hang in there". Sister Sherry screamed at the heavens telling God that she needed help. The doctor didn't know what to do, so he left her standing there . . . again Sister Sherry screamed at the Heavens that she needed help. That evening she went home and the door bell rang. It was 3 Sister missionaries and Sister Sherry called them her Angels. She KNEW that God had heard her cry and so he sent these "angels" to her almost immediately!!!! She started taking the lessons and reading the Book of Mormon and just knew that this was God's Church. There was much more to her story, but I have tried to capture a sense of her struggles and how in desperation she cried out to God and that prayer was answered that very evening. This darling lady (she mentioned that she was 60 years old), now has such a peaceful presence about her and her face just radiates with joy now that she has the Gospel of Jesus Christ in her life that can answer all of her questions. No wonder I just sat there listening as the tears rolled down my face. I felt her struggles that she had to endure in order to find the Gospel, and realized how very blessed I have always been. It was an amazing contrast for me. I loved this dear sister for sharing her soul with us and hope to see her again . . . and again!

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Temple in Laie is currently under major renovation and is scheduled to be re-dedicated and opened sometime in July. It will be a thrill to go through this Temple, knowing that Grandma & Grandpa Barrus served here as Temple Tour Guides! Wendy & Allison tell me that Lee & I must re-enact the picture of them having their picture taken with Grandma in a mumu and holding an umbrella. (And I must confess . . . it would be nice to rendezvous with them and Mom in the Celestial Room!)

Captain Mervyn S. Bennion was the Captain of the U.S. West Virginia that went down in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked in 1941. He was the first Latter-day-Saint to receive the Medal of Honor during WWII. I did some research to find out how we are related. He was Grandma Barrus' 3rd Cousin (through our great-grandmother Mary Emma Sharp) making him our 4th cousin. He is one we want to claim. (His story was also included in the movie "Pearl Harbor"). For many years Mom & I would put an American Flag on his grave and clean up the area. I should also figure out how we are related to Henry B. Erying (B. for Bennion) while I'm at it. Then next - how we are related to the Osmonds and Merlin Olsen!

This picture show a most unusual Mosaic on the Honolulu Hawaii Stake Tabernacle. The Church building was dedicated August 17, 1941 by then Elder David O. McKay and the Mosaic artist was Eugene Francis Savage. He made the tiny blocks in his studio in New York, pasted them in proper sequence on sheets of heavy paper 2 feet square and shipped them to Honolulu. There are over 100,000 tiny blocks in this 19 ft. high mosaic. Instead of the traditional bowed head and sorrowful face, the head is erect and the expression is one of serenity and exaltation. Elder McKay, then a member of the 12, blessed the tabernacle that it would not suffer any war-related damage. While the mosaic was being installed Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese. The steeple is 141 ft. tall and during the war was used as a homing beacon for ships entering Honolulu Harbor.

Sunday, March 14, 2010 following Church Meetings. It was a most beautiful sunny day! (Sorry about the Snow blizzard back home in Utah!) We have already been nabbed to speak in Sacrament Meeting for next Sunday - Aloha to the Ward!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

They say that every ward has a character or two . . . Well Lourdes is definitely the Makiki Ward's personality that I noticed from our very first week here. She loves to say Aloha, but drags it out for as long as she can. Today, she agreed that I film her (iphone) next week in a demonstration of how to properly say ALOHA!!! Something to look forward to!

Grandma Grace gave the lesson today in Relief Society and it was just very cute - just like she is. Now Allison and Wendy - who does this Grandma look like? I thought it obvious, but maybe I'm just missing Grandma Barrus and Mom today. She is an oriental version of Grandma Barrus; at least I think so.

This picture just can't do justice to give you an idea how HUGE this BANYON TREE is - just know that it takes up about a block and it just outside out apartment complex so we can enjoy it's beauty every day as we go back and forth to the Mission Office next door. At night the tree fills with hundreds of Parrots and in the early morning white birds chases them all away for them to guard during the day. I'll have to try and catch pictures of the changing of the guard between the Parrots and White Birds!

I think it fascinating that this Banyon Tree is so large that it anchors itself into the ground at various points as to support it's own weight.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

We started out our P-Day back at the Beach known as "Love Beach" because the movie "From Here to Eternity" was filmed here. You know the scene with Burt Lancaster & Deborah Kerr Kissing on the beach. It's very small, but oh so very beautiful!

This is Lee's idea of PARADISE . . . and I have to agree!

Lee brings NEW MEANING to "P-Day" like only he can do. Just don't let the young Elders know about this!

Have Fun Honey!

Off he goes . . . into the WILD, blue yonder!

Lee triumphantly returns from the Sea . . .

You can tell from the rocks that Hawaii is a volcanic island.

It may be a little hard to tell but there were some TURTLES swimming around here at the beach. Lee really wanted to go swimming with them (and they will allow you) but the waves were a little too strong and he didn't want to be thrown into the rocks. Maybe next time!

Here is another TURTLE . . . there were about 3 guys hanging around!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

We moved into our Apartment today! We have lots to do with getting organized and throwing all the old food, and "STUFF" that was found in all the drawers and shelves that you can tell has never been used and we have officially identified as "JUNK" - it's got to go! Anyhow, this is the view off our balcony - Honolulu is a beautiful city and we will enjoy living here.

Lee is here in his new office. His responsibilities is for all Mission Finances, Missionary Credit Cards, Missionary Cell Phones, Missionary Apartments, etc. Our Mission President told us that the Church is short 5,000 Mission Couples. Other than the Church Historic Sites - Hawaii probably has the largest number of Missionary Couples; largely because of the Polynesian Cultural Center, (there are 2 couples in the office and 2 couples that service with the Military Base). Many Missions do not have couples, so they have to pull in the Elders to help with office needs - which is too bad because the young Elders really should be doing the proselyting.

I have been learning the "other" desk duties until I switch over to the President's Secretary desk next week. I have been doing the Baptism Records for all new converts and associated reports (February there were 87 baptisms). I also manage all Referrals that come in from the MTC and make assignments to specific missionaries here in Hawaii. (Also all missionaries' mail comes to the Mission Office and has to be forwarded onto them, and answering phones, etc.)

I have been entering Baptism Records and just look at these names! Especially the name of the third child - the middle name is only 27 letters long!!! HAUOLIEHAAHEONAKAIKIOKEHIKO What the?? Can you even imagine as a kid trying to learn how to spell your name! I guess you would have to put it to music (like learning how to spell Mississippi)

Monday, March 8, 2010

My cute neighbor Donna sent this email to me and it's just too funny! We sure have come a long way Baby! This poster dates back to 1919 of these Mormon ladies - quite a rugged bunch. But seriously, would you quit drinking???

Sunday, March 7, 2010

“The great test of life is obedience to God.

“The great task of life is to learn the will of the Lord and then do it.

“The great commandment of life is, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength’ ” (Mark 12:30).

With these stirring words, President Ezra Taft Benson opened the first general session of April conference 1988

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A sweet Sister in Relief Society shared her testimony - which really brought tears to my eyes and touched my heart - I just love Conversion Stories! She is a convert to the Church and I just loved how she told how all of her life she had 3 questions: 1) Do we live after this life? 2) Where do we go when we die? 3) Who are the "Lost Sheep"? When she asked her Catholic Priest he formed his hand into a fist, and shaking this fist told her not to be difficult and ask hard questions! She said that whenever she asked these questions of other churches that no one could answer. Then along come the Missionaries and they could answer all her questions!! She said that she knew then and there that our Church is true!!! I sometimes forget that most of the world really do not know what we know. How blessed we are to have the knowledge that only comes by way of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I too add my testimony that
The Church is true!

Saturday, March 6, 2010 - our first official
And Play we did! We first went to Costco and purchased chairs for the beach with a large umbrella (I'm a shade-kinda-gal) and some huge colorful beach towels and water shoes so we are all set for going to the beach. First we located the beach famous because this is where they filmed the movie "From Here to Eternity" also known as "Love Beach". I was surprised to see how really small this beach is, but we will go back - very beautiful! Next we stopped at Blow Hole, then drove onto Kailua Beach where we shared a yummy burger. When we drove back to Honolulu late in the afternoon we walked Waikiki Beach, ate at Cheesecake and enjoyed the nightlife activities along our walk. Great Day; we plan to do it again . . . and again!

This is BLOW HOLE and I tried to catch the water sprouting out of the ground at just the right time. It's hard to see, but there was a couple sitting right next to the opening and they got pretty wet.

On Kailua Beach Lee checked with the Life Guard as to where to go for the best snorkling on Oahu. I'm sure we'll be looking into that very soon! Will keep you posted on what we think.

Well . . . I guess we will be doing a lot of this! Nothing like warm sun and beautiful sparkling waters of an ocean to warm the soul and there is no place better than Hawaii. We spent the afternoon enjoying Kailua Beach. I think Lee's master plan is to visit each beach on Oahu to determine which ones are the best - I can't imagine there is a loser among them!

Friday, March 5, 2010

This is the view from off the balcony of our Hotel. This has been our home since we arrived until Tuesday when the missionary couple we replace finish their mission and vacate their apartment. Then we get to pack up everything and move to our "real" home on tuesday. Today was a slow day in the office. It rained as we walked to the Mission Office and it rained walking back to our Hotel!
For all you weather fans (and Lee is probably
the biggest fan of weather I know) - here are the
average high temperatures for Hawaii during the year:

JAN 80
MAY 84
OCT 86
NOV 84
DEC 81

Sounds to me Same Old, Same Old!
Most rain comes November through March so I guess we
are heading into more beautiful weather! (Coolest months
are January and February)

Come along with us to Dinner this Evening! O.K. so we've been to CheeseCake Factory twice this week but it's only a mile away from our Hotel Room and we really enjoy the walk! The following photos show some of the unique sights we saw as we found our way to Cheesecake. They are not so unique for Honolulu, but you won't see this in Elk Ridge!

Here is our 1st "Sight" along the way . . . and
Mr. Hawaiian Guy definitely gets my vote for
the best sight of the evening (you'll soon
understand why with the upcoming photos!)

Lee never likes to miss a PHOTO OP!
Personally I think he was feeling like
proving He is really MR. HAWAIIAN GUY~

Lee really thought the trees in this park were beautiful!
(I guess I'm one of the trees??)

Along the way to dinner we saw your typical Hawaiian
Singers - sans Hula Dancers!

We have seen this guy several times before
on other trips so he must be pulling in the
big bucks. I to have to admit he has a talent -
how many people do you know who can
create a painting in minutes just using cans of
spray paint!

Here we have Newspaper Guy who doesn't
move unless you give him money, then he
amazingly comes to life . . . what some people
do for a buck!

Dancing Dreg-Locks - at least he thought he could
but maybe I'm wrong; it was a good attempt though.

And finally - Balloon Man . . . I bet he makes good money!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Yesterday evening I was re-reading my Missionary Certificate from the Prophet and it really jumped out to me the words:
"We invite all people to heed her message" WOW - what a responsibility we have as missionaries, but the ultimate responsibility falls on the investigator! Powerful words!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

"These shoes were meant for walking . . . "
Lee and I walk to the Mission Office every morning and walk back to our Hotel Room every evening so that gets in 2 miles of walking. Then we usually walk somewhere for dinner for about mile. But of course Lee runs every morning as well (4 miles!)

Today the training continued with me learning about Baptismal Records, posting, reports, letters, referrals, etc. It will be interesting to see what I actually am assigned once the Mission President decides how to divide up the office tasks between the sisters. There will be two of us once Sister Robbins comes on board mid-March.
These two Elders are the Assistants to President Peterson; Elder Medeiros (from Centerville, Utah and Elder Frederickson, from Weston, Idaho). They keep very busy and currently are involved with the various Zone Conferences taking place - which requires them to fly to the different islands!