Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Missionary Service: A Passport to Excitement and Blessings

When we left home – Boise – to serve our mission in New Zealand I would say, “virtually all the people I taught in New Zealand fifty years ago will be gone but we” – Sister Perron and I – “are going to serve a mighty mission seeking to bless the lives of the children and grandchildren of the people who blessed my life so abundantly those many years ago.”  Of course that was figuratively speaking indicating so many, many of these great people blessed my life that we were going to do everything we could to bless their families, not even knowing who or where they might be.  This past weekend we came to find out that my figurative statement is literally being fulfilled. 

This past weekend Sister Perron and I went to a Young Single Adult dance in the Henderson Stake.  There we met a Brother and Sister Pilling.  Brother Pilling is the high council advisor in the Henderson Stake over YSA.   Brother Pilling grew up in Calgary, Canada.  Sister Pilling grew up in New Zealand.  Her maiden name was Palmer.  She went to Calgary from New Zealand to work as a nanny.  While there the two met and were married.  Brother Pilling and his new wife then moved to New Zealand where they have raised their family.  Sister (Palmer) Pilling was born in 1965 the year I left New Zealand to return home.  Her father was President Palmer, a member of the stake presidency here, who I worked closely with when I was in the mission presidency.  Obviously I never knew this daughter because as stated she was born the year I left New Zealand.  We again visited with Brother Pilling following the Sunday evening YSA devotional in the Henderson Stake where we spoke.  On our drive home following the devotional lights started coming on in Sister Perron’s head.  We had a Bryton and Britney Pilling who attended institute classes at the Auckland Institute last semester.   Sister Perron sent a text to Brother Pilling wanting to know if Bryton and Britney were their children.  His response, “Yes, Bryton and Britney are our two oldest children, they are great kids.”  The rest of the story; Elder Perron had Britney in his Doctrine and Covenants class last semester at the City Institute.  Bryton and his fiancé were in the institute every day, he was graduating from University – which he has now done – and they were planning a wedding – and are now married – but we visited with them literally every day.  We were literally having an influence on the grandchildren of one who blessed my life.  “Where ere thou art act well thy part!”  You never know. 

Last week we met a Brother and Sister Roberts who are the Ward YSA advisors in the Lincoln Ward of the Henderson Stake.  We attended the YSA Sunday School class in that ward and they were teaching the class.  We had a short but delightful visit. They are preparing to put in their mission papers. They are down-sizing, selling their home and moving into a smaller one.  We could relate.  On our way home lights started coming on in my head.  When I was here in New Zealand President Roberts was the Stake President and President Palmer mentioned above was his counselor.  At the YSA devotional in the Henderson stake referenced above I again ran into Brother and Sister Roberts.  I asked my question.  Yes, he is the son of President Roberts of fifty years ago who I admired and revered.   

The Universities have been on break for the past six weeks so our lives have been a little different.  We have attended  the stake institutes on week nights as usual; visited the Ward blocks on Sunday as usual; attended some stake YSA activities on the weekends but we did not have to be into the Auckland city institute building on any set schedule because there have been no institute classes.  We went into the institute every day but that was when we wanted to go.  That was good and bad.  On days when we got into cleaning we were there all day and late at night.  Other days we would go in around 11 o’clock – even noon on some days. 

Not realizing our schedule had more flexibility, but wanting to know if we could be of assistance, the Publishing Services Department of the Pacific Area Office contacted us.  Brother Hatu Tiakia,  the director of the LDS Area Publishing Services Department  (who we met  following a sacrament meeting several weeks back) , wanted us to come into the Area office to talk about Young Single Adults.  Bottom line the Area Presidency wants to get social media as a tool for sharing the gospel firmly established in the Pacific Area.  People will be coming from Salt Lake City and will be holding an LDS Share Expo in Auckland in September.  They want to have a crew of YSA who are tech-savvy and social-media savvy trained and ready to help the members who come to the expos.  There will be expos here in New Zealand and then in Australia.  The first expo will be held here in Auckland for the 12 metropolitan stakes and they have a pretty short fuse when it comes to getting everything ready.  They wanted to know if we could help them find about 40 YSA adults who could be trainers for the masses.  We said that will be easy, we are with them every day in all 12 stakes.  They indicated that a letter had just been sent out to the Area Seventies in the Pacific Area asking them to get geared up and ready.  I said. “Send me a copy of the letter sent to the Area Seventies and we can make this happen, however I will not get out in front of   the priesthood leaders so send me the letter and we will go into action.”  

When we got back to the city institute building we already had an e-mail copy of the letter.  I contacted our Area Seventy.  Told him we had been invited to the area office – not by anyone in authority – but they had asked us to help get YSA trainers from each stake.  He said, “You guys are awesome!   You have my blessings and I will notify the Stake President of what you are doing.”  We went to work on it and by the end of the week we had 50 YSA contacted and signed up representing all of the stakes.   The YSA love Sister Perron and I take good notes.  We have spent another week – several meetings – and things are ready from our end!  We will be in a meeting where they will train the trainers this Saturday.  Our work is bearing some fruit.  Time and time again we see that when we are prepared the Lord opens a door and in every case we have been ready to walk through.  We pray that with hard work and preparation that will be the story line of our mission. 

During the university break we also got a student council organized and functioning.  We met with the male and female reps twice and organized a week- long series of welcome back events including an open house at the newly renovated city institute.  Students were encouraged to invite friends.  

Monday, we cooked pancakes all day, some consider pancakes and syrup the way to eat pancakes but to many of the people pancakes are a desert so we went through a lot of ice cream and chocolate topping as well – quite good!  Tuesday we served fresh fruit and Panipopo buns – Poni is bread and Popo  is coconut – so Sister Perron baked several dozen coconut buns  (dinner rolls) but they were soaked and baked in a coconut milk sauce.  Wednesday was the final of the Annual Auckland Institute Table Tennis Tournament – Bob, like in China Bob, was the winner.  Made me feel better since he took me out in the first round so no one knows how good I really am – except Bob – and he swore he would not tell.  During and after the tournament final we served Pizza and soda.  Thursday was Sister Perron’s cooking class so she prepared Sloppy-Joes and prepared enough to serve them all afternoon with chips.  Friday was cookies and ice-cream, Sister Perron baked 9 dozen cookies throughout the day!  

If Sister Perron is not teaching institute, speaking at YSA devotionals, personally visiting with YSA, cooking and baking, she is shopping for food-stuff getting ready for the next day.  We usually are shopping at about 10:00 P.M.  They even gave us a church credit card.  Said it was easier than approving all the receipts and cutting her checks.  We do have a budget however? 

Friday night after institute we drove down to Papatoetoe where we met Cory Christiansen, the son of our good friends Scott and Caryl Christiansen back in Boise.  Cory works at BYU-Idaho and lives in Rexburg, Idaho; he has just been appointed supervisor of the BYU-Idaho Pathways program in the Pacific Area and is in New Zealand for some meetings.  Pathways is the program where you can take BYU-Idaho college courses on-line.  It was great to meet and see Cory.  

After the meeting where we met Cory, we then headed off to the Mt. Roskill Stake for a YSA dance.   When we arrived at the building the dance was going on; as we walked into the building we were greeted by a bishop and he ushered us right to the food which was set up in the room next to the kitchen, told us to fill up our plates; he then ushered us into another room where some adults were eating.   We were greeted as always, made to feel right at home, while we were eating and visiting we found out we were at a combined three-ward youth dance, they told us the YSA dance was at another building.  They wanted us to stay and eat and watch the cultural floor show the youth had prepared.  We did and then we were off to the YSA dance.  We got home about mid-night.   

Saturday we met in the area office for two hours where the three YSA “key leaders” were trained for the LDS Share Expo mentioned above.  (Picture included below.)  These three YSA leaders will now train the other 40 YSA trainers who will man the social-media booths at the Expo.  When the members come thru the Expo, these YSA / tech-savvy /social-media-savvy leaders will train the masses how to get on the various platforms (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Websites, etc.) and then post on them. 

Sunday we visited three wards – Mt. Roskill 1st (Samoan); Mt. Roskill 4th (Tongan); Epsom (English) – and during the Epsom ward sacrament meeting a young man – about 30 years old – spoke and mentioned that he had grown up in Cambridge, a town I served in 50 years ago.  After the meeting I visited with him.  His name is Ezra Nordstom.   I mentioned that 50 years ago there were only about 17 active members in the ward and most of them were the Tipene family.  He said, oh yes, that would have been my grandparents.  My mother was a Tipene.  As we talked it became apparent that his mother, Raewyn, was one of the children - an 8 year old daughter – at the time I was there.  He said his grandfather passed away in 1975 of cancer and that he had never met his grandfather.  I shared with him how kind his grandparents were to us.  I told him what a great man his grandfather was.  Yet another experience of Sister Perron and I literally teaching and loving the children and grandchildren of the people that blessed my life.  This mission is one great experience.  Too bad we have to take time to sleep. 

Sunday evening Sister Perron and I spoke at a YSA devotional in the Mt. Roskill stake.  Sister Perron has become a veteran – a very good speaker – and is instantly prepared no matter the gospel topic. 

We must share an experience we had when we visited a ward party in the Papatoetoe 1st ward.  It was a family history night and the ward had three rooms set up where ward members rotated through.  In one of the rooms they had a bank of computers set up for the members to log in and set up their own family history account and get started.  The response was so overwhelming Sister Perron spent most of the evening helping people log on and set up accounts.  The ward clerk’s wife who was in charge of that portion of the event was so thankful for Sister Perron.  During the event Sister Perron met her first Maori with a full-face tattoo.  Even fifty years ago I did not see a Maori with a full-face tattoo.  Tom has been a member of the church all his life, in fact Tom brought a non-member friend that has been taking the lessons to the event, and that friend got baptized the following week.  (Picture is included.)  

As you will notice from our pictures we have been able to stop off and visit a few sites around Auckland.  We did not have to rush from place to place during the days the universities were on break so we would take a leisurely lunch (Davenport) or drive to the top of a look-out (One Tree Hill) or visit a local park for a walk.   

Well my advice is to turn in your paper and get one of these “black badges” it is a passport to a world of excitement and blessings.
Aroha Nui, 

Elder & Sister Perron     
Elder and Sister Perron meeting with the 3 keyYSA leaders and
Area Leaders for the LDS Share media Expo

Look who we met!   Cory who is Scott and Caryl C.'s son all the way from Idaho!

The first wave of the cooking class.  There was about 30 students this day.

Cooking class of sloppy joes.  Most of the students had never heard of them or tried them.
They thought they sounded really wierd, but were willing to try them.   
I did the recipe x 6.  Every drop was ate! 
The picture is of one batch of the recipe that we made during class.
There was a big pan of mix still on the stove.

Tuesday of Orientation Week and Open House. 
Fruit, panipopo rolls, and cornbread with honey butter. 
The rolls and cornbread disappeared fast! 
Luckily I held two pans back to make it last longer. 

Elder Perron cooking heaps of pancakes!

The cute, cute Institute students!

The lounge busy with students starting school for a new semester

Sheep dotting the hill at "One Tree Hill"

 The huge monument on top of "One Tree Hill".
The Maouri Chief is about 10- 15 feet high to give you an idea of how big this monument is.

The "dashing" Elder Perron at top of  "One Tree Hill" overlook.  Beautiful view!!

A day at the park and Elder Perron is trying out the zip line
King of the Hill

Crocodile Dundee!  We are all safe now!   :-)

I have to admit.....this was fun!   :-)

The Ward party where we met Tom.  I asked Tom if Sister Perron could have a picture with him.  Tom was very comfortable with the picture he has lived with his tattoo for years.

Ward party Friday prior to their conference where their YSA are doing Maori cultural songs and dances. Here they are dancing with the poipoi balls.  I love love love this!  I can't get enough of it! 

Ward party prior to Ward Conference. Here is the family History workshop.
Elder Perron helping Tom and Tom's wife.

Cold windy days bring out the kite surfers! 
We sat in our car and ate fish and chips while we watched them. So fun! 

Sister Perron relaxing at home preparing an Institute lesson


1 comment:

  1. Hello Elder and Sister Perron,
    It sounds like you are both having way too much fun on your mission! I am so happy to see the pictures and see your awesome faces! I hope that it is not too cold for you there. Here in Idaho it is getting too hot for me. We could use some rain here. It is gloomy tonight though so maybe we will get some rain. I love reading all about your mission so keep the blogs coming. I love you Guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!