Friday, October 24, 2014

Each Life That Touches Ours For Good

What a great day to be in New Zealand but in actuality every day is a great day to be in New Zealand!  Back in May we received word that Tyler Perron – my nephew’s son or I could say my brother’s grandson better yet I could say my mother’s great grandson – received his mission call to the New Zealand Auckland Mission.  His departure date was not until October.  Seemed far off back then – but TODAY (October 9th) Tyler arrived in New Zealand.  We have not seen him yet and it may be quite some time before we do see him but when Tyler’s plane touched down at the Auckland airport Sister Perron was up already – early in the morning at our apartment – baking pies for her institute cooking class. Two pumpkin pies and two apple pies.  

The flight from Salt Lake City to New Zealand is a long and gruelling process but you just keep at it until you finally get here.  In the process you have crossed the international-date-line so when you arrive you are very tired and have no clue as to what day it is.  That is the reality of the journey down.  NOW let me describe the trip from our point of view since we are in New Zealand anticipating Tyler’s arrival.   Yesterday morning - a day later than your day – Sister Perron and I commented to each other, Tyler is getting on the plane in Salt Lake City right now.  Later after we made that comment we drove from our apartment in Takapuna across the bridge into Auckland where we taught some institute classes; went back to Takapuna for a meeting in the Area Office; then back across the bridge and out to Mt. Eden for combined institute classes for the Mt. Roskill, Henderson and Waterview stakes.  Following the night institute classes we made a late night trip the store to get some things for Sister Perron’s cooking class the next day. Left the store, went home and made pie crusts getting to bed about midnight, got up in the morning and started cutting up apples and baking pies. Tyler was still not here yet... However before we were done with the pies he had landed.  I thought to myself – man that IS a long flight! We had put in a long days work, had a good night sleep and were starting another day all the while he was on the plane.  

Tyler is now in the MTC.  Funny thing we will be going to institute tonight at the Redoubt Stake Center – our normal routine – and the MTC is only 100 yards away.  Tyler will not know how close we are.  We may see some of the YSA returned missionaries at institute who are instructors at the MTC.  Maybe they can tell us if Tyler snores because I know we were useless the day we arrived.  Snoring would have been good!  Tomorrow when Tyler can keep his eyes open he will have a beautiful panoramic view of the area.  Both the Redoubt Stake Center and the MTC are built on a large piece of hillside property just off the Motorway in the south end of Auckland. 

A post script to the above paragraphs – When Sister Perron and I left institute late last night at the Redoubt Stake Center I glanced over at the MTC and the lights were out, just a few lights on in a couple of the apartments.  Thought to my self – I bet Tyler is asleep. 

We have had some great experiences over the last couple of weeks; simple things but spiritually uplifting to us.  Last April 25th Emily – a university student of Korean descent – was baptized. She was converted to Christianity; gained a testimony of Jesus Christ and the restoration of the church through the prophet Joseph Smith by reading the Book of Mormon.  That was six months ago because we attended a session of general conference with Emily while she was investigating the church.  Immediately after being baptized Emily enrolled in institute and is currently in one of Elder Perron’s institute classes.   Emily called us the other day and asked if we could take her to meet with her stake patriarch to get her patriarchal blessing, the ride she had arranged had fallen through. We were happy to give her a ride. During our visit with Emily while driving to and from her stake centre we learned that Emily has obtained a limited use temple recommend from her bishop.  Although she has not been able to attend the temple to do baptisms for the dead as of yet, she has her recommend.   She indicated that she has had such a desire to go to the temple that a few weeks ago – by herself –she caught a bus from Auckland to Hamilton – a two hour bus ride – then in Hamilton transferred to a city bus to travel out to Temple View where the temple is located.  Temple View is about six miles from Hamilton. She went to the Visitor Centre and spent some time.  She said before she could even see the Temple she could feel the Spirit.   She loved it there.   She is so faithful and so sensitive to the feelings of the Spirit.    She is a bright and intelligent girl.  She is 21-years-old and is a 4th year student at the University majoring in Medical Physics.  She will be graduating the end of this semester and then will be finding a job.  She is so sweet and is such an inspiration to us. 

A couple of Sundays ago – September 28th – we attended the Otara 1st Ward – which is a Tongan ward.  During YSA Sunday school class the YSA teacher asked a member of the class if he would sit behind us and interpret for us.  The young man moved over behind us and did a great job even though half of the class was in English anyway.  After class our interpreter asked us where we were from.   We told him, “Boise, Idaho.”  He got really excited, said he had served a mission in the “Idaho Boise Mission”; he had served in the Meridian South Stake; and his favourite area that he served in was Burley.  During the visit he mentioned that he was living in Tonga when he received his mission call and had moved to New Zealand following his mission to find work to try to support his family.  His father has passed away and he has a brother on a mission and he is supporting him.  When he found out we were working at the institute at the university he asked if we knew where he could get a scholarship because he was trying to get an education but could not get to school without a scholarship because all the money he was making was going to support his brother and his mother.  They do not have the perpetual education fund available in New Zealand but we told him to stop by the institute and we would help him look into things. 

On Wednesday we got a phone call and he said he had caught a bus into the city but could not find the institute.  Turned out he was only about two blocks away so we gave him directions.  About ten minutes later I got a text, “I am here!”  I went down stairs and he was standing just inside the front door.  I greeted him.  I then walked him around the lounge area and introducing him to the students that were sitting around.  I said, “This is William, he is a member, he lives in Otara and is visiting the University today to see if he can get accepted, he needs some friends,” I then asked a couple of the girls if they would show him around the building.  It is a three story building; they jumped right up and off they went.  I walked back to my office.  About twenty minutes later they brought him to my office.  Just so happened Ephraim, a great young man who returned from a mission about 5 months ago was here in the office.  Ephraim had just gone through the process of meeting with counsellors at the university who help Polynesian students who need assistance get into the university.  Ephraim said, “Here let me take you over there and see what we can do,” so off they went. 

 The next morning – Thursday – we had just finished breakfast in our apartment when our phone rang.  It was a young lady who introduced herself by saying, “I am not a member of your church, but I was in the institute building yesterday when you walked that returned missionary around and introduced him, telling everyone he needed a friend, do you remember that?”  “Yes.”  Well when you did that, it was not for that return missionaries’ sake that you did that, I felt such great, sweet feeling when you did that; I do not even know how to describe it to you but what you did was for my benefit,”  then she started to cry.  She wanted to know if we were going to be in the institute building today, she needed to come and talk to Elder Perron.   We agreed to meet her at 10:00 A.M.  She said, “I did not even know who you were but I have a friend who is a member of your church and I described you to her and told her where I was when I had this experience.”  My friend said, “Oh, that is Elder Perron” so she found your phone number for me.  Within five minutes of the call the phone rang again.  This time a young lady said, “I have a friend who is not a member of the church and she may call you.”  The caller indicated that her friend had told her about the experience she had had when she was in the institute building. “I gave my friend your phone number, hope that was alright.”  I told her that her friend had already called, just five minutes ago and we were going to meet with her at 10 o’clock!  We visited for awhile and were both excited that her friend had followed through by calling.  We agreed that we would keep in touch.  

 At 10 o’clock, Lataai, the young lady who had called our apartment showed up for the appointment.  Sister Perron was just starting her cooking class so I took Lataai upstairs and introduced her to Sister Perron.  We then went to where we had some privacy.  Lataai started by saying she had had a couple of very unusual experiences.  Then she started crying, eyes filled with tears she stopped talking to try and gain composure...  told me yesterday when I introduced that young man she had “a great warm feeling just sweep over her”... started crying some more...  “I do not know how to describe it”... she struggled trying to describe her experience. “I had this warm feeling just sweep over me and I got goose bumps.   I felt at that moment God was telling me I needed to be taught about the Mormon Church and I needed to get baptized.”  She continued by saying,” I have been diligently looking for a job for quite a long time and had nothing going then yesterday afternoon – after I had this experience here – I got a call and was offered a job”... then she started crying... “And that is not all, I got a second job offer later in the day and I had not even put an application in with the second company.  I asked them how they knew about me and they said someone had given them my resume.  I have gone from no job, no prospects to now having to make a decision where to go to work.  This all happened after I had been here yesterday and after I had that warm feeling sweep over me.”  She was still crying telling me of her experience all the time apologizing because she did not know how to describe what had happened to her.  I said to her, “I know how you feel – you have had a very moving, spiritual experience – you cannot describe a spiritual experience to someone but I have had spiritual experiences and I know what you are trying to describe to me.”  She continued, “I want to have you and Sister Perron teach me about the church and I want to get baptized.  I have had friends for years try to get me to take missionary lessons, I really did not want to take any lessons, I did not want to be a Mormon, felt I was a Christian and that was good enough.   Said she did not want the Elders to teach her.  We told her we could teach her the gospel.  After explaining this was really The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and that some people called us Mormons because of our belief in the Book of Mormon which is a book of sacred scripture; Another testament of Jesus Christ.   We set up an appointment to start teaching her on the following Tuesday here at the institute.  

Since that time we have given her two lessons; are scheduled to go to church with her this coming Sunday.  At the close of our first lesson we asked her if she would offer the closing prayer.  She said she was not experienced in praying but she would offer the prayer.  It was a great heartfelt prayer punctuated with period of silence when she was crying.  She also prayed following the second discussion. When we left institute today she was there studying some of her college courses in the serenity of the institute building.  We are very excited about the opportunity to teach her the gospel. 

A few weeks back the students brought a couple up to our office, they were members of the church from Chile – South America – and he had come to New Zealand to take some university courses.  They were going to be here for several months.  They had just arrived in New Zealand two days ago and were walking through the campus and happened to see the sign on the front of the building – Institute of Religion - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  They were so excited, did not know anyone in the country and stumbled into the church.  We introduced them to the students.  Sister Perron had a cooking class going on so they joined in and instantly had new friends and something to eat.  The sweet sister comes to the institute several times a week while her husband is in class.  She reads and helps do the dishes that the students seem to leave around.  When we left the institute today he was there studying.  The two of them and met through the YSA program in Chile and graduated from Institute.

Last week out in the Institute at the Panmure Stake I was attending a Missionary Preparation class and the instructor had divided the class into several groups.  They were working on giving one of the discussions from Preach My Gospel.  The instructor asked me if I would work with one of the groups and they were to give me the discussion – each taking one of the major points in the discussion.  Obviously they were nervous – so I told them to just follow the promptings of the Spirit and teach what they knew about their particular point and not worry about trying to memorize the paragraph.  Relax and enjoy the experience.  The next young lady in our group started telling us how much she loved the gospel – then she started to cry – she told us her father had recently passed away and how strong her family had been through the whole experience; Said she had a sister that had just entered the MTC a couple of days before her father’s death but how she stayed on her mission.  How the families knowledge of the Plan of Salvation was such a comfort to them.  She had experienced how much support the extended family and the church members had been to their family.  That she could not wait to get on her mission.  Everyone in the group was teary-eyed.  I suddenly realized this was a daughter of the Bishop that had passed away several weeks ago; we mentioned the incident in our blog at the time.  I was so very emotional the whole night; the strength of the gospel and the blessings of the Atonement.

We had a time change - Daylight Saving Time – a couple of Sundays ago so the days are starting to be lighter- longer; the sun is moving back South.   All you people back home might have noticed the sun is leaving your area and is headed our way.   It might make you sad but it makes me HAPPY!  The temperatures are still pretty cold here in the mid 50’s to low 60’s.  The wind blows a lot and we still are getting a lot of rain.  It is cloudy most of the time.  I am really ready for the warm weather and sunshine!   That probably sounds funny to most of you since you are headed into fall and winter.       

Thursday for my cooking class this week we made Pico de Gallo and Cafe Rio Tacos!   I think the students inhaled them.  They were gone before I turned around!   I did not do the salad, but we used little mini taco shells, cheese, cabbage, Pico de Gallo, and onions.  They were delicious!

On Friday, Tafi’s little girl, Ann Vahry, (Tafi is the office manager at the city institute) - came into the office with her.  When I tried to talk to Ann, she just stared at me and would not smile or say anything.  She just stared at me.  I took her picture and couldn’t even get a smile.  Her Mom said, “Yah, she is quiet now but just wait until she warms up!”  She never really warmed up I guess.  But when she left she gave me a hug and told Elder Perron “thank you for making me a pancake.”  As she was leaving, we heard her in the hall tell her Mom, “I love them sooo much!”  That same day we also had a Friday Activity at the Institute.  The committee planned a Quiz Bowl that was really fun.  We then had heaps of pancakes with ice cream and toppings to put on them.  Elder Perron is the Master Pancake Maker!

Before the activity and the pancakes were finished we got a call from the Area Office – they told us to come in and pick up our new car.  We received a new car when we arrived in New Zealand seven months ago; now another new car?  After we concluded the activity at the institute we had to go trade in our car; now we have a brand new white Toyota Corolla to drive around.  Being a missionary here is tough!!

Saturday we had so much fun!  We cleaned our tiny apartment really good.  We went shopping for a tower fan for our apartment – getting ready for summer – but never found one.  We found other things though that we weren’t really looking for.    Then we decided to find “The Woodcarver” that other missionaries had told us about.  It was a rainy cold dreary day and not really a good day for sightseeing so we thought it might be the perfect day to go visit this place.  I am so glad we did!   This sweet Palestinian couple from Israel were the kindest people.  Their place is like driving back into the rain forest.  The shop/store is also their home.   He carves religious carvings and a few kiwi birds.  He uses wood native to New Zealand, the Kauri tree is one of the main woods he uses.  He showed us all over his shop, his different tools.  He took a flat piece of board and carved us a small kiwi bird.  Elder Perron drew the pattern on the board.  From there the master woodcarver took over.  His wife made us a glass of orange juice.  Later she asked if we wanted some hot chocolate.   She was going to drill the eyes for our Kiwi bird and her husband told her to show me how to do it and to let me do it.  I said, “Oh no that is fine.”   They insisted so I drilled the eyes on the bird.  I was so afraid I would ruin his bird if I flinched-the-least-little-bit... but it was fun and I did it!    The nativity scenes that he carves are beautiful.  He had carved for 21 years in the Bethlehem area, and then he moved to New Zealand and he has been carving here for 27 years I think he told us.   I will put some pictures of his nativity sets below.  They are beautiful!  Later that night we went with Elder and Sister Wallace to dinner in Posonby at our favourite restaurant.  It was fun ending to a good day!

Sunday we attended Papatoetoe’s Ward YSA Committee meeting bright and early at 8:00 am.  There are wonderful things happening there.   We only expect greater things to transpire as time goes on.  Then we went to Sacrament meeting and Sunday school.  

This past weekend was the quarterly YSA activity.  Each of the twelve stakes had to put on a 15 minute stage production of a Book of Mormon story of their choice.  The productions were presented Saturday afternoon and then there was a dance that followed.  On Sunday there was an YSA devotional.  The Book of Mormon productions just set a spiritual tone for the whole weekend. 

We received a call from Lataai – our YSA investigator – and she wanted to know if she could come to the institute building and talk to us.  We were wondering what was up and were preparing for whatever might happen.  When she came in she said she had been talking to her boyfriend and he was willing to meet with us and take the lessons.  She was so excited.  She said he worked during the day and she knew we had institute at night so was concerned and wanted to talk to us about it.  We told her we could make it happen.  She also said she had talked to her mother and her mother was okay with her getting baptized.  She talked to her grandma and her grandma said she had met with the missionaries several times and went back into her bedroom and brought out a Book of Mormon.  Lataai was so excited she could hardly contain herself.  We taught her the Third lesson today.  She has accepted a baptismal date of November 15th.  She also complimented Sister Perron.  She noted that in Relief Society last week they talked about dressing modestly and wearing appropriate clothing and that modesty was beautiful.  She said when they talked about that I thought of you Sister Perron.  You are always dressed so nice and look so beautiful.  Needless to say we had a good day. 

Tomorrow night we have another lesson with Lataai and her boyfriend.  We will find a way to teach mother and grandmother also.  

This week is the last week of institute classes at the university.  Summer break starts next week.

Funny thing we started this blog on October 9th... seems we are so busy that we just keep putting this off.  Today however is the day Tyler came out of the MTC.  We have not inquired what area he has been sent to so we started this blog talking about Tyler and we will end it talking about Tyler.  He is sleeping in his apartment tonight in his first area here in the New Zealand Auckland Mission. 

We love you all!   You are in our thoughts and prayers. 
Aroha nui,

Elder and Sister Perron
PS – I found Sister Perron’s blog and added some STUFF so you may figure out who is or was writing!
Emily right after receiving her patriarchal blessing.

Graduation day for some of our students.  People make them lolly leis.  This is Craig. 

This is Bryton and Kane.  They just recently got married about 4 months ago.  They met at YSA and dated for a long time before they got married.   Wonderful people.  We have talked about them and their parents before in our blogs.  
This is the most adorable Ann Vahry who wouldn't say one word to me, and then as she leaves tells her mom, "I love them soooo much!" 

This is the Institute Quiz bowl.  Marilo, in the pink sweater is the girl from Chili.  And then Tena, Hailey, Latu, Tom and Bronson. 

The Quiz Bowl winners!  Emma, Bob, Katelyn, Tim, and Stevie!  They are so smart!

The master pancake maker

The start of our kiwi bird at the Woodcarver's.  
Elder Perron is tracing it the bird on a block of wood.

And no time later it is starting to take shape!

We loved him and his wife, Marciella.

Making eyes on our kiwi bird - hands steady please!

Some of the beautiful nativity sets he makes.  This one I think was out of olive wood.  The rest are made out of wood more common in New Zealand. 


This little beauty is only a mere $950 if anyone wants one. 
Our new car

A sweet note left on our car

Pumpkin pies

Elder Perron and Stacey. Stacey is moving to the States in a couple of weeks. 
She is an extremely bright computer tech!

Just proof for Nicole that I do lead the singing now. 
FHE with Elder and Sister Gifford Nielsen, Pacific Area Authority.

Book of Mormon plays by the YSA at the Regional  Conventions.  They were awesome. Each Stake put on a play, so there were 12 plays in all.

Just a sampling of the props and costumes they made.  Each Stake had an assigned BOM story to write a script to which usually included some dancing and singing.  It was quite awesome!   Talented people!

Nephi up on a tower preaching.

Brother of Jared when he took the stones to be touched and saw the finger of the Lord.

This is when Haggoth left the Americas and took many people on the boat somewhere.  The Polynesians believe they are from those people.

Me with the "warriors".  I love this men.   Even if Bill let me leave the house with two different shoes!  :-).   None of them even noticed, but I all of a sudden was conscious of EVERYBODY'S shoes!!!

Do you notice anything wrong with this picture?!   I must be too busy or too tired.  This is how I went to work today!  Hahaha. I went to the Institute and did my cooking class.  Ran to a missionary meeting..exchanges and as we were sitting in the meeting on the back row with all the other senior missionaries, I crossed my legs and SAW that I had two different shoes on!   Several pictures later with missionaries leaving etc. and a visit with the Mission President we left.  I begged Bill to take me home and he said no one would notice. Lol. We went back to the Institute and I took off my shoes as most all the Poly's do and spent the rest of the day in stocking feet. Got home at 9:45 pm.....took this picture.  All day and no one noticed.....OR they didn't say anything.  When I saw them I almost got the uncontrollable giggles in the missionary meeting in the chapel.  Jennifer...look in all those pictures I sent you...Yep...two different shoes! 

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