March 7 – 13 Our First Half

This week was filled with the good, the bad, and the ugly!

IMG_1943.jpgA good thing was helping Sumeet prepare his mission papers. Money for his passport and other things has been a challenge, but he is excited, and very close to submitting his mission application. For some reason he was asked to provide a picture from the knees up (a new thing?) Anyway, we are happy for him.

Monday we got the bad news that our Saturday night activities will be postponed until we can coordinate and share responsibilities (and budget and leadership) for future YSA activities with the three stakes in the area. Bro Sefeti met with our Area Seventy, Elder Johansson, and a stake president has been chosen to lead that coordination. We just hope that happens soon! That news made for a pretty sad meeting with our institute council.

A bunch of YSAs finished doing a good deed helping pack more Humanitarian Relief kits for Taveuni (the place with no trees to tie the tarps to for shelter). We also added more bags of donated clothing to be shipped. Food aid from the Church arrived almost immediately, but the cyclone victims had no pans or ways to cook the food, or plates and utensils. Bro Stanford (Country Welfare Manager) said it was such an ugly sight, it looked like a bomb had hit. He brought them pans, etc., and the people were thankful for everything they received.  In an area where three homes were left standing, 105 people were now calling one of those home. We take so much for granted!  This week we will work on bedding.  Four adults in one family in Taveuni shared a twin mattress, and the children were sleeping on the ground.

Wednesday at 1:00pm we streamed the World Wide Face to Face with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. What a fantastic broadcast! We learned so much. As soon as it was over we closed the institute and went with 25 YSAs to do baptisms for the dead in the temple. We weren’t sure how many would able to participate because of the change in the temple schedule, but we were their largest group so far. We hope to go every Wednesday now. It was wonderful to be there with so many faithful YSAs!

IMG_1944.jpgThursday was a bad day for me sitting in a dentist chair, and then we found this incredibly ugly seven-legged spider walking and jumping across the institute kitchen floor (shown here by brave Maraiya). But it was another good day with our classes — Mission Prep and Foundations of the Restoration — both attended by a full house of super YSAs.

Just so you know: if you squish a seven legged spider it will rain. Well, that’s what we were told, so I put him outside in the flower garden. I didn’t want to get rained on as we walked home. This week will be one month since our car accident. It’s been ok to walk except for when it rains. We are getting a little bit of a tan doing all of our walking, and that is a good thing because it is helping Elder Whitehead get rid of his “white socks.”

Friday afternoon we attended a special temple session with outgoing missionaries. We were thankful once again for the blessing of the temple’s peaceful atmosphere.

Late in the evening we were surprised when two YSAs knocked on our flat door. They told us that one of the guys had injured his foot playing rugby, and wanted to receive a blessing before going to the hospital. He was hurt so badly he couldn’t get out of the car, so Elder Whitehead and another young man laid their hands upon his head by putting their hands through the car window. It was hard to see him in so much pain! He’s in a cast now and recovering. That’s rugby for you!

Saturday morning Bro Sefeti led a training meeting where we heard counsel from Elder Kim B. Clark and Elder M. Russell Ballard. This is the second time we’ve listened to the broadcast, and are so thankful for it. Hopefully we’ll figure out how to teach before we’re released!

IMG_1947.jpgWhich reminds me — it’s hard to believe, but this week marked the middle of our mission. Nine months ago when we posed with this same group in front of the world map at the MTC.  Time flies when you’re having fun:)

IMG_1949.jpgSunday night we had our senior missionary Family Home Evening at the mission home, where we listened to Elder and Sister Martin tell us tales of helping to organize the temple rededication and cultural celebration. What an experience! They also told us about the humility and dedication of many of the bishops as they go around the mission auditing. We also said goodbye to the Nielsons. It has been so nice to get to know them. They accomplished so much good while they were here. They hope to finish handing out 7,000 pairs of eyeglasses before they leave (they missed some villages last week because of flooding). That’s a lot of lives to bless with better eyesight!

So there you have it — lots of good, some bad/sad, and ugly. All in all though, we’re still happy to be in Fiji.



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