Thursday, July 10, 2014

Happy Fourth of July!

Consider this promise given by the First Presidency to missionaries: “The Lord will reward and richly bless you as you humbly and prayerfully serve Him.  More happiness awaits you than you have ever experienced as you labor among his children.”

Last night Sister Perron and I spoke at a Young Single Adult fireside in the Papatoetoe 1st ward.  It was attended by about thirteen young single adults and the bishop.  It was a very spiritual event.  At the conclusion of the fireside the bishop asked the Young Single Adults if they would sing their special mantra to Elder and Sister Perron as the closing hymn.  With that said they all stood, came to the front of the room, and standing directly in front of us they sang a cappella three verses of a song in their native language. They sang in part, syncopated all in beautiful harmony!  Sister Perron and I had tears in our eyes and several of the singers had tears running down their cheeks.  Never have we felt more special. More happiness awaits you than you have ever experienced as you labor among his children.”  One conclusion we have reached.  Down here the musical instruments are the saints and their voices.

“The Lord will reward and richly bless you as you humbly and prayerfully serve Him.  Sister Perron has been richly blessed.  She can deliver a talk, a lesson or add a powerful, timely, comment at the drop-of-a-hat.  It would not take her a week to prepare a Relief Society lesson any more.  This week she taught a Book of Mormon institute lesson at the Self Reliance center to about 15 adults.  She taught a YSA Sunday School lesson when a teacher did not show up; she taught an Eternal Marriage Institute class when a teacher did not show up and last night she spoke at a YSA fireside.  Last week she attended an Eternal Marriage Institute class where the teacher started talking about how some couples they know argue and how they can have some really loud, heated arguments.  The teacher then turned to Sister Perron and said, “Do you have anything you want to add about this part of a marriage?  Sister Perron said, “I remember a prophet saying the only time a husband and wife should “speak in loud tones to each other is if the house is on fire.”  The students laughed, a proper principle was taught and the lesson was brought back on track.  As Sister Perron was telling me of her experience on our drive home I said, “You go girl, the Holy Ghost is really sweetening your mind.  What a terrific comment in a difficult situation!” 

Lest anyone think that teachers do not show up down here, quite the contrary they are very faithful. One only needs to realize that during a week we have 37 classes being taught out in the stake institutes and 16 classes being taught here at the city institute so we have 53 chances of something coming up during any given week; therefore we can very often be the first OR the last resort.

Last blog I spoke of our suggestions made to the Area Seventy and his acceptance and enthusiasm for our recommendations.  Following is a copy of an e-mail he sent out to all of the stake presidents in his coordinating council.
Dear Presidents:

     We have a very valuable resource in Auckland for the next several months to have Elder and Sister Perron who have been serving here now since March. They are full-time missionaries, slightly older than young F/T missionaries, and are a delightful couple. They report to me and are specifically assigned to help us with our Auckland-wide institute and YSA efforts. When you see them at institute or YSA in various wards and meetings, please welcome them and know that they are “our” resource, to bless us and our YSA’s. They are engaged and energized and their heart is filled with love and concern for YSA’s

     As you know we have 25% of our YSA attending meetings and less than half of those attending institute. There is great concern expressed for the YSA all the way up and down this Church. I am very keen, like I know you are, to change the YSA landscape. A training program is being prepared for each stake high councillor who has YSA/institute as their portfolio. The first of these training sessions will likely include a counsellor in the stake presidency. We will let you know as this unfolds.

     We will likely have Elder and Sister Perron visit with us at our next Coordinating Council for a discussion about institute / YSA’s.

     Thank you brethren.

Our recommendations are things that are sustainable – meaning that they will be able to be carried on after we leave – and are NOT new programs.  They are things that are applicable to the conditions here in this part of New Zealand.

I cannot even begin to tell you how the Spirit has guided our efforts and the places we go.  After our Area Seventy sent out the letter referenced above I have been working on getting the material ready for presentation to the Stake Presidents.  It so happened that we did not have a YSA activity to attend this past weekend so Sister Perron put out a post on Facebook to the 12 stakes asking if there was any activity taking place that we could attend.  Bishop Leuluai of the Papatoetoe 1st ward responded to Sister Perron’s Facebook post and said they did not have anything planned but he would like to have us speak at a YSA fireside in his ward if we were available.  We said, “yes” so he quickly organized the fireside.  After the fireside he wanted to know what could be done to move forward on the momentum of the fireside.  We briefly shared with him what we had recommended and what was planned.  He said,” I already have a returned missionary called to a position all I would have to do is change his assignment to fill the call you are recommending.  We would not have to wait for stake presidency and high council clearance of a new person.  Let’s do it right now.  I gave him encouragement that we would work on getting thing rolling.  I came home and immediately sent an e-mail to our Area Seventy.  He got right back stating that if the Bishop wants to proceed and has asked for help for us to proceed and that he would tuck the stake president into the loop which he did with a copy of the E-mail he sent back to me.  Short version, I have our first implementation taking place in the Papatoetoe 1st Ward this coming Saturday morning at 5:30 A.M. when I attend their bishopric meeting.  This whole process has been approved and moved to implementation in just a few weeks.  Each week Sister Perron and I have been in the right place at the right time!.  Not circumstantial; we are on an errand from the Lord to rescue Young Single Adults.  We recognize the hand of the Lord directing our efforts!

Change of writers here….Elder Perron got busy and has not been able to finish up this blog so I will try to start where he left off.  He has been very busy trying to develop and write a training curriculum for the YSA leaders to help with the functioning of the YSA and “rescue” of those less active.  He has his first training with Papatoetoe 1st Ward this Saturday.  (I love these names of towns now that I can say them).   We feel very privileged they are allowing us to implement our ideas and the recommendation and approval process is behind us.    

I t has been really slow this week with school and institute out.  Sooo we decided to clean up the Institute Building….all three floors!!  I started in the office and cleaned off about 4 long tables of office supplies and equipment and put them in cupboards.  There were about 50 boxes of books that had been in the library downstairs before the remodel.  There were more boxes and boxes of old files of Institute and Seminary records and rolls. .  Elder Perron attacked the large boxes and started going through them saving some books and discarding others.   The books  he  saved he carted downstairs and put them on shelves .  The boxes of files we discarded most of them.  I then went into the storage room and organized and moved boxes and labeled what was in the boxes.   Then we took down tables and moved tables, chairs, file cabinets and organized everything.  We took large framed pictures out of the other storage room and hung them on the walls. We then went upstairs and carted things out and rearranged all the tables and chairs and hung art.    We love it!!   Now to see what the director thinks of all we did.  They said do whatever you want so we did!   Don’t turn Elder and Sister Perron loose and leave them alone, unless you really mean it!   (We have photographs of the after effect….unfortunately we don’t have pictures of before so that you can see all that we did) 

At one of our Institute Eternal marriage classes there was a student who was in her late 20’s, that said she had been dating her boyfriend for two years and they had been ready to get married for quite awhile.  However as custom to the culture they would not proceed until they had both their family’s blessings.  Her family would not give their blessings for what she felt was prejudice reasons.  She and her boyfriend were at the point they did not know what else to do.  They had been patient, they had waited, and they were worthy to go and ready to go to the temple, but out of respect to her parents would not proceed.   I talked to her a little while after the lesson and told her to go to her parents and have a heart to heart talk with them.  She was very reluctant but said that she would.  I thought about her all week and my heart ached for her.   The next week, Elder Perron and I were headed to another institute stake building and it was raining really hard.  We whizzed right past the first exit, and then missed the 2nd freeway exit and got kind of lost, and it ended up that we had gone past all the exits and turns and the only institute left to go to was the one that we had just attended the week before.  Because the traffic was so bad and the rain, we decided we would just attend it again.  Besides I said that I would like to talk to that girl again, I had thought about her all week.   That was the class I attended above that Elder Perron said I made the comment in. It was a class and a discussion that I felt the Lord had sent me to be in.  There were many comments and discussions that night and I felt I needed to be there to make remarks to clarify some points.   Also after class I met with the girl again and I asked her, “Did you talk to your parents?”   She said, “Yes.  And I am engaged.”  They said okay!  They are to be married in the Hamilton Temple in November.   She is so happy!     I felt like we just kept missing those exits because we were guided to be there that night, in all reality both nights. 

I have thought I wanted a ukulele.  Elder Perron got on the internet to look to see where we could get one.  Come to find out there is a music store 2 blocks from our apartment that specialized in guitars and ukuleles.  So we went in one evening and came out with a sweet ukulele.   Now I am trying to learn how to play it off YouTube.   I have learned a few chords and how to strum the ukulele.  There’s a lot to learn!  Tafi, our office administrator was telling me that when she was pregnant she learned how to knit and how to play the guitar while she was at home.  She said you can learn anything off of YouTube.  So I believed her and I am going to try!  I am having fun trying.  It’s been less than a week so I will let you know when I learn to play a song.   J 

Oh another big milestone for me!   Elder Perron finally has let me drive the car into and out of downtown Auckland.  He is only scared a little bit.  I tell him to just shut his eyes and if he doesn’t hear a scrape, we are fine!  Photographs of the parking garage we have to park in and where he gets really scared when I drive are included.   But it is just fine….no scarier than when he drives only I don’t scream!   He screams like a girl!  lol 

On the 4th of July – back home but on Saturday the 5th here – we had a FHE with the other missionaries here.  Because it is COLD, wet and rainy, and the wind blows a lot now, we had it inside at the Area Office.  We listened to a beautiful rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner”, ate sloppy joes with a variety of salads, and had plenty of desserts.  We then played a get to know you game and we learned some very interesting things about some of their pre-mission life.  It was way funny and we had a good time! 

We have a new Mission President as of July 1, President and Sister Balli from Colorado.  We have not met them yet.  I am sure they are very busy with lots of things to do.  As long as we stay out of trouble we will probably not meet them for awhile.   

On the weekend we drove 40 km from Auckland to Piha; New Zealand’s most famous surf beach.  This black iron sand beach has a reputation for awesome surf which rolls in over the Tasman Sea.  When Uncle Toby’s Iron-Man contest was held at Piha in 1997, canoes were snapped in two by the pounding surf and they’ve never come back.   It can be moody, misty, and mysterious, wild, wet, and wind-swept.  The electrical power goes off, the phone lines come down, sometimes the road in (and out) get blocked.  Living there is not for the faint –hearted.  Piha has rips and currents and is very unforgiving.  Not real safe in other words.  Fisherman regularly die off the rocks, so they advise you to check with the clubs before you venture out.  It was very windy and rugged the day we were there.  No swimmers, no surfers, and no boats were out.  Piha is not just surf and sand.  With rugged cliffs and the majestic Lion Rock standing guard over the beach, the scenery is dramatic and inspiring.   The beach is backed by the Waitakere mountain range, and a parkland of sub tropical forest.  It was beautiful! 

So basically life is wonderful, beautiful, and we are happy.  We are thankful for our experiences.  We are thankful for our children’s support as we serve the Lord.  We pray for their safety, their happiness, their successes, their spirituality, and we want them to know that we love and miss each and every one of them.  We are thankful for the Book of Mormon, for prophets to guide and direct us, for the atonement of Jesus Christ, and the Plan of Salvation.  We love you all!

Aroha Nui,

Mom and Dad

(AKA: Elder and Sister Perron)

 Pahi and Lion's Head rock from up above.  Notice the sky and clouds at about mid day

Papatoetoe 1st ward fireside after they had sang their mantra to us

Learning to play the ukulele

Work work work

Work work work

Pahi and Lion's Rock from the ground 30 minutes later. Notice the blue sky.

The forest road at Piha just above the beach.

I love rainy days and umbrellas!

A rainbow just outside our window.  The colors were so vibrant!

Clean up day!

Storage room before I cleaned and organized

Boxes Elder Perron has emptied!

Organizing and cleaning out the cupboards

The after pictures of arranging chairs and tables - 2nd floor

The view from our desks now

Upstairs new look - 3rd floor

Game Room

We even decorated the stairwell!


Sister Perron's first time driving.  The Auckland bridge. 1st scare of the day for Elder Perron

I'm cool as a cucumber!  No problem!

2nd scare for Elder Perron, but we're almost there!  :-)

Down into the parking garage. Sharp corners, tight lane, no problem!


Now up to the 8th floor. 
 "Just close your eyes Elder Perron. If you don't hear scratching, we're just fine!"

Sister Perron at your service.  Where would you like to drive to next?!  :-)


No comments:

Post a Comment