Wednesday, October 29, 2014

We Absolutely Love Our Mission!

We absolutely love our mission!   The personal growth that I have received from being here and serving the Lord makes me so happy!   My testimony, my spiritual, and my emotional growth have grown by leaps and bounds.   My love for my husband has increased.   Life has been good these last 8 ½ months.   It’s hard to believe that we are almost at our half way mark.   Lest anyone thinks I don’t…..I do miss my grandchildren and children, but I have seen that while I am in the service of my Lord that he has blessed my family and taken care of them in ways that I could not.   For this I am eternally thankful.

This week we have given five hours of missionary lessons to Lataai and Joshua.  It has added another dimension to our mission being able to study and prepare the lessons and then teach them.   It is hard to explain the feeling as you watch someone come in for the first time for the missionary lessons with confusion about the gospel, and then as they are taught line upon line and precept upon precept you actually just watch the light in their eyes become brighter and brighter.   It has been the most amazing thing for me to be a part of.   Lataai is what some may call a Golden contact.   She is very sensitive to the Spirit and recognizes when the Spirit testifies to her and/or prompts her.  She already had a testimony and the knowledge of fasting and prayer and of tithing.   In fact one day when we were giving her a lesson she was fasting because that evening her boyfriend, Joshua, was going to take the first missionary discussion and she wanted him to feel the Spirit and hoped he would accept the teachings of the Gospel.  That night when we taught him and then we challenged him to be baptized he accepted and said “yes” he would.  Four months prior to Elder Perron and I meeting Lataai and Joshua, his sister Catherine was baptized into the church.  At the time of Catherine’s investigation and baptism, Joshua and Lataai were not very supportive of her; they tried to talk her out of getting baptized, and gave her a pretty hard time.   Now – miracle of miracles – they both are taking the lessons, are so excited about the church, they want their parents to know of the gospel and be baptized, they can’t wait until the next lesson, they ask lots of questions and are so eager to learn.  When we are not teaching them Catherine is discussing the gospel with them and teaching them, and I am so amazed at how much she knows and how well she teaches them.  Joshua and Lataai have set a baptismal date for November 15th.   We still have three lessons to teach Joshua, and Lataai is attending those lessons again with him so she is hearing everything for the 2nd time and it just increases her testimony!

Elder Perron and I have had a flu bug this week.  He started it with hoarse voice, stuffy head, tired, and I felt bad for him….that is until he shared it with me!  Some things he just doesn’t have to share and I’m quite alright with that!  We have had a three day weekend this week because it is Labor Day Monday today for New Zealand.  Most of the senior missionaries took off and went sightseeing.   We were going to but then our weekend booked up with YSA activities and missionary lessons and so we have had a wonderful weekend full of activities.   Our favorite of course was teaching Lataai and Joshua.  On Saturday we got up early and went to a YSA BBQ at 6:00 am.  Yep that is right….not a misprint…at 6:00 AM!   The High Councilman and Stake President Counselor over the YSA wanted to treat them for a job well done at the YSA Regionals and express thanks for how hard they had worked preparing and putting on their Book of Mormon play and 6:00 AM was probably the only time they – stake presidency and high councilor - had free to hold this BBQ … we attended too!   It was fun being there so early and visiting with all the YSA. 

Then Saturday afternoon we went seashell hunting.   I was determined I wanted to find a sand dollar.  All the times I have ever been on the beach I have never found a sand dollar.  Some other senior missionaries were on this certain beach and said they found almost a hundred of them.   Bill and I went there once last week in the evening and found two broken ones but we didn’t find a good one….and besides Bill found them and not me.  I wanted to be the one to find a sand dollar!  So we had the afternoon free and it was low tide at 3:00 pm and that is supposedly the best time to find them at low tide.  Well we were at the beach for about 5 hours looking for seashells and we had a wonderful time!!  The first beach we went to where the other missionaries had found so many sand dollars, we combed the whole beach, and on our way back to the car….Elder Perron and I spotted one sand dollar at the same time!  I was so excited.  We also found a whole bunch of live Starfish at this beach and I had never found them before on a beach.    Then we decided to go to another beach where we had found some really good seashells once before and try looking there.  We went to one and I kept saying this isn’t the right beach.  Bill was determined it was.   After talking awhile and after we had combed the 2nd entire beach and found no good shells, then Bill remembered where we had been before, so we took off for that beach.  This was the jackpot!   We had to walk a long ways and through some rocks but we found an urchin green shell fully intact; but broke before we got home.  As we were walking back to the car I found five sand dollars all lying in one spot!  It was almost if someone had laid them there for me!  I am satisfied now….anytime I find a sand dollar from now on it will just be a bonus in life.  Then as we got up on the grassy area two wild parrots landed right in front of us.  They were so beautiful!  Bill would try to walk up close to get their picture and they would fly another 10 to 15 feet away which was beautiful because we saw all the colors in their wings, but we were never able to get close enough to take a good picture.  It was just so exciting to get to see them.   Then we got in our car and three wild peacocks walked by.  One male with all the beautiful colors and feathers and two female; I jumped out and tried to get a good picture.  The male got curious and started walking fast towards me, and of course I got scared and jumped into the car.  In the process I rolled part of my hair up in the window.  WE were laughing so hard.  The peacock came right up to my window.  We got beautiful pictures of him.   We had such a blessed day with the wonders of the world.  We also saw some really unusual large black birds with long – about 9-inch – orange beaks.  They were on the beach but were land birds so the beaks must be used to fish in shallow water or to dig for sand crabs?  We must have got too close to their nests because they were really squawking at us and were acting like they were going to attack us.  As soon as we got past this certain point they ignored us and all was well.  Later that night I dreamt those black birds did attack us and Bill had to wake me up because I was thrashing about and crying out.  They definitely left an impression on me. 

A change of writers here and Elder Perron is going to write about the other activities of the week.   It’s been a great week!

                Let me return to the early morning YSA BBQ that Sister Perron spoke about.  When we arrived at 6:00 A.M. the stake presidency had the BBQ grill heated up and there were about 10 YSA there at the appointed hour.  Those few YSA were in the cultural hall trying to get a basketball game going.  One of the young men was the Tongan missionary we spoke about in our last blog who had served in the Idaho Boise Mission, whose father had passed away while he was on his mission and now he was supporting his brother who is on a mission; and supporting his mother.  He mentioned he needed a scholarship to get an education.  We invited him to the institute building; was the one that I had introduced when Lataai (the young investigator we are teaching) was so moved by the Spirit.   The day our Tongan RM visited the institute he was taken over to the University by Ephraim – one of our institute students – to introduce him to the people at the university that help the Polynesian students who need assistance.  We had not seen this young man since that day.  He informed us as we visited with him on this early morning that it was going great at the University.  He had filled out all of the paperwork, had submitted his application and was being walked through the process by the advisor Ephraim had introduced him to AND it looked like he was going to be accepted and given a scholarship.  What good news!  Then this Tongan RM wanted to know if I wanted to play basketball with them.  I said, “No I will just watch.”  He said, “No come play with us then I can send an e-mail to my former mission president and tell him I finally beat an American in basketball!”  My competitive juices started to pump.  He had thrown down the gauntlet, but the Spirit whispered, “You are too old and will get hurt.”  So I replied, “Tell your mission President you still have not FOUND AN AMERICAN you can beat but you keep looking.”  It is amazing how much these Polynesians love basketball.  By the time we left there was a large group of YSA who had shown up for the event.  They arrive on YSA time when it comes to dances and activities – about an hour-and-half late.

As Sister Perron spoke of Lataai, she studies here at the institute for her university classes.  Lataai has had all five missionary lessons, but just comes up to our office and wants to know if she can have another lesson.  We have given her eight lessons in all and she has taken two with Joshua and they are scheduled for one tonight.  She loves the gospel!

Last week we needed to speak with the mission president.  We wear so many hats in our assignment.  We are directed by the CES personnel but they seem happy with what we are doing so we receive no real direction; we do have an ever expanding schedule of classes we teach here at the city institute.  Next semester we will be teaching six classes.  With our YSA hat we work with the 12 metropolitan stakes and three of those stakes are out of our mission boundaries so in that aspect we keep the mission president informed if there is anything pertinent we feel he needs to know.  Also there are two stakes up north which are in the New Zealand Auckland Mission but they were not included in our assignment but the Area Seventy over Auckland covers that area and when we made presentations to the Stake Presidents the stakes up north were included and they have both requested that we come up and meet with their Bishops.  So that was approved.  Now we are teaching missionary lessons.  Even though they sent us to the MTC and gave us a week of training on Preach My Gospel – senior missionaries usually turn any investigators over to the young missionaries – but again virtually all of the other senior missionaries work in the mission office or in the area office and are not out in the field.  Working with institute students and the YSA we are quite involved in seeing them come into the church so teaching is what we do – giving missionary lessons is not the norm for us BUT here we are.  All in all our efforts take us outside the box and I feel like I need to keep my file leaders filled in on where and what we are doing so they do not feel we are a law unto ourselves.  There is no formal process so I called the mission office to see if we could get five minutes with the mission president.  They said he was at a transfer meeting at the Panmure Stake Center with all the missionaries who are being moved this transfer and our best bet to catch him was to go to the transfer meeting and visit with him right after things were concluded.  The mission office said he would be leaving for the Cook Islands the next day.  We therefore drive to the Panmure Stake Center and WOW the parking lot is filled with missionary cars.  Large enclosed U-haul type trailers hooked on the back of the cars, bikes and luggage all over the parking lot.  Unbelievable if you have not been around for such an occasion.  We go into the chapel and sit in the back while the mission president addresses a chapel full of missionaries – turns out this is Tyler Perron’s first transfer.  Tyler had just come out of the MTC and was at this meeting.  Was getting his first companion and going to his first area.  What a blessing and a surprise for us to be in this meeting.  Next surprise, Elder Tibbitts who is a relative and had been the Zone Leader in the Whangarei Zone up north is being transferred and was in the meeting.  In that meeting we find out that Elder Tibbitts is to become the Zone Leader in

Auckland.  He will be the Zone Leaders with responsibility for central Auckland where the Institute is located.  We will see him around quite often.  More good news, Tyler’s first assignment was to go to Dargaville which is a small town up North in the Whangarei Zone where Elder Tibbitts just left.  Elder Jorgensen who had been a Zone Leader in Auckland is the new Zone Leader in Whangarei – Elder Jorgensen has been in the institute about three times a week so what a great relationship we have had with him.  There are 11 zones in the mission – not counting the Cook Islands – and 9 of those zones are here in the Auckland Metropolitan area so some missionaries will never serve up north.  Tyler is blessed!

JUST A NOTE to follow up on Tyler’s new assignment.  Sister Perron and I went to the Lynfield Ward in the Mt. Roskill Stake with Lataai, Joshua and Catherine this past Sunday.  There was a new missionary in the ward; had only been there about three days.  In visiting with him I find out he has just been transferred down from Dargaville – it turns out Tyler took his place.  Elder Freemanis – the Elder I was visiting with – said Elder Anderson – Tyler’s first companion – is a “great missionary; he is a very hard worker and follows the mission handbook and rules exactly as they are printed.”  I said, “Boy, I am happy to hear that!”

 It seems fire engines are becoming a bigger part of our life.  A few months ago we were evacuated from our apartment complex on a Saturday morning before we were dressed in any fashion presentable to neighbors and onlookers – but the fire engine was out front with lights flashing and firemen entering the building so I took long enough to become somewhat presentable.  Turns out it was nothing but an experience.  It was not more than three of four weeks later that some students here at the institute were cooking some rice – got involved in a table tennis game right off the kitchen – forgot the rice and were startled when the smoke detectors set off the fire-alarms which are connected to the fire department.  Engine with lights flashing and firemen in full gear show up; we knew it was not serious so no one evacuated the building.  Seems I was taught a lesson at the institute building that day- by the fireman – “everyone always evacuate the building when the alarm goes off.”  NOW that we know the procedure we had another fire truck show up at the institute just a few days ago.  Seems the same kids were cooking some chicken – got distracted and burnt the chicken!  The smoke set off the fire-alarm.  We evacuated the building so everyone – except Elder Perron – was out front when the fire truck showed up and the firemen in full dress with ax in hand ran into the building.  WE HAVE THREE free false alarms before they start charging you $1,500 per visit.  WE need some rules; WE have some rules; It seems YSA do not read rule books.  A great picture of the YSA standing out front of the building with the fire truck in the back ground all pointing at the culprit.   

                Sunday we went to Church with Lataai, Joshua and Catherine and introduced them to the bishop.  They found some neighbors that were members of the church.  Sunday evening Sister Perron and I went to the Henderson Stake for a YSA devotional.  Sister Perron spoke and did a great job!  A member of the stake presidency when he concluded the meeting used her comments as a great part of his closing remarks.

Monday was Labor Day down here so it was a holiday – we had planned to go on a short three day trip with some of the other senior missionaries but with the YSA 6:00 A.M. BBQ just popping up – then going to church with our investigators – finally there was the Henderson Stake YSA devotional where we had been invited to speak so we stayed home.  Monday we came into the institute and worked on some things and then we drove over to Mission Bay and had Mexican food at a nice place on the beach.  When that was over we walked down to the corner and bought some ice cream.  People have said to us – speaking of the brand – “It is the best ice cream in New Zealand.”  It costs $7.50 per scoop.  Have walked past it before and always said, “No ice cream is worth $7.50 per scoop!”  Seems we got two scoops each on this day!  Why not?  We saved money on petro and hotel rooms by staying home over the weekend!

After the ice cream we returned to our apartment and watched, Thomas S. Monson - An Errand From The Lord.  After it was over Sister Perron said, “That was great, I could watch that again, should we watch it again?”  I am not stupid so I said, “Yes, let’s watch it again!”  After the second viewing we retired to bed.  A great week! 


Aroha Nui,

Elder & Sister Perron
The colors in this bird were absolutely beautiful!!


It was Irvin again!

Fire truck at the Institute again.  Someone burnt food on the stove!  Who was it?!
Transfer day.  Elder Perron and Elder Perron

Elder Perron and Elder Tibbitts

Transfer day.  Amazing what a production this us. Trailers, bikes, suitcases. 
  President and Sister Balli shaking hands with all the missionaries.

That trailer is packed about as full as it can get!

Early morning BBQ.  These were such good men to get up that early and cook for the YSA.  They had been at the church the night before with a relief society dinner and had not finished clean up from it until after 9:30 PM
 Early morning sports and BBQ at 6 AM.  That's William shooting the ball. 
He wanted to beat Elder Perron.
My lovely find of seashells!

1 comment:

  1. We love reading about your missionary experiences and your wonderful testimonies. Keep up the good work and thank you for your tremendous efforts and great service in spreading the gospel to others.

    Love, Beverly and Larry