Our last Blog ended with Joshua and Laatai being baptized on Saturday November 15th and confirmed on Sunday the 16th so we will pick up from there.
November 18th (Tuesday) .We taught Joshua and Lataai a post baptism lesson. Since they are so very focused on getting married in the temple the lesson was on the doctrine that families can be together forever and the importance of the temple. We answered a lot of their questions. During the lesson they finally understood that they could get married now – civilly – and still be married in the temple as soon as they have been members one year (obviously qualifying for a temple recommend and Joshua obtaining the Melchizedek priesthood.) They were excited! When they decided to get baptized they were working under the idea that they would have to live apart for one year and could not get married until they were married in the temple.
Joshua shared a comment made by one of the speakers in a sacrament meeting talk –made while they were investigating the church - that had made a great impression on him. The speaker spoke of his grandfather who had joined the church against stiff opposition from his parents. The speaker talked about how grateful he was for the courage of his grandfather because of the blessings of the temple and the fact that all of his aunts and uncles, cousins and his brothers and sisters and now his children were all enjoying the blessings of the gospel because of the courage of his grandfather. Joshua was receiving some opposition from his family about joining the church. Joshua shared that when he heard that talk he decided right then and there that his future wife (Lataai) and their future children and grandchildren would receive that same blessing.
November 19th (Wednesday) Debbie received a facial at Smith and Caughey’s – a large Macy type Department store - in down town
November 20th (Thursday) Debbie was not feeling well. We have no institute classes in the City so we just stayed around our apartment. Did some cleaning, did some grocery shopping. Since we do not have any designated P-day this must have been one of those days.
November 21st.(Friday). We got up early and drove over to the Tamaki Stake where met with their YSA and went to the
November 22nd (Saturday) We had a Thanksgiving day celebration in the Pacific Area Office with the other senior missionaries. Thanksgiving is not a holiday in
November 23rd (Sunday) Sister Perron and I spoke in the
Following our speaking in the
November 24th (Monday) We went to institute building in the city. Did some work on preparing class schedules for next year 2015. I needed a haircut so we walked down
November 25th (Tuesday) . Attended Institute at the Papatoetoe, Tamaki, Otara combined stake institute at the
November 26th (Wednesday) Members of the 2015 YSA National Conference Planning Committee visited the ASB show grounds and buildings, the site of the conference. The ASB show grounds are located in
November 27th (Thursday) Attended the Redoubt, Papakura and Manurewa combined institute. This was their last class before the summer break. We met two YSA ladies that had just been baptized that week and were at institute with a member friend. At the Devotional following classes just prior to the blessing on the food Elder Perron spoke up and introduced these two young ladies and told the kids these two girls needed some friends. The girls had big smiles on their faces as these kids swarmed around them. The remainder of the night was Pizza and games.
November 28th (Friday) We attended a Redoubt Stake YSA Carnival held at their stake center. There were booths for all kinds of carnival activities that each of the wards YSA groups set up. It was fun! Sister Perron and I set up a booth to encourage the YSA to sign up for the 2015 YSA National Conference. Sister Perron helped YSA register and Elder Perron wandered the cultural hall visiting all the other booths. Following the Carnival (about 9:30 PM) Sister Perron and I went to
November 29th (Saturday) We attended an event that was organized and sponsored by the Manukau Stake YSA called THE BIG GIVE. This was such a great event that Sister Perron decided that we needed to get this event written up and in local newspapers. We took pictures, interviewed people and wrote an article about the event. Turned it into the Pacific Area Public Communications office and it was published in the Mormon News Room on lds.org and in a couple of local newspapers.
FOLLOWING IS A COPY OF THE ARTICLE WE WROTE:
Mangere, Auckland, New Zealand – Saturday, 29 November 2014
The Young Single Adults (ages 18-30) of the Manukau Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joined together for a weekend of activities which they themed STAND-A-LITTLE-TALLER, and they definitely did just that.
Nothing makes a person stand a little taller than when they give service to others. The main focus of the Saturday activities was dubbed by the organizers as THE BIG GIVE. For the last two months the young single adults had been asking the members of their local church units to donate to the cause. They have been collecting items to be given away to those in the community who are in need. As Manu Fisi’ihoi – one of the young single adult organizers said, “We didn’t want people to have to pay for anything. That’s why it’s called The Big Give. One guy came in today and picked out a TV and asked, “How much does this cost?” Our answer to him, “Nothing, it’s yours!” He couldn’t believe it! He was so happy and said, “I would like that one!” Two husky young single adults picked it up and carried it out and helped him load it into his car.
One young boy was heard to say, “Wow we have a new couch!” Even though it was second hand that boy was excited over something many of us take for granted.
Seini Folau, one of the architects of the event said, “We have been working on this for two to three months; at first we were afraid no one was going to donate stuff and we would have nothing to give away. But the turnout has been so good and everybody pulled through!”
Manako Nemaia, a young single adult female who was helping a little girl fill her bag with clothes said, “This is really exciting! It’s just good to see all this stuff going away to good homes because I know all these things just lie in the back of our closets and cupboards collecting dust. It’s just really good to see it go to other people.”
THE BIG GIVE was held at the LDS chapel located at
President Sione F. Tuione – Manukau Stake President - was asked to share his impressions of THE BIG GIVE. His response, “These young single adults have been asking members to donate, they have sent invitations to the community to come and take as much as they need. This is the first year they have done this and it has really been a big success!” He continued, “It is really good to see the non-members of our community come in and feel at home. I have seen them take bags of clothes and everything they need for their families.” Speaking of one family in particular he said, “They came and left with bags of clothes, pretty soon they were back with other members of their family. They returned a third time with extended family members. I think it was the feelings that they felt here when they come to the chapel.”
While visiting with President Tuione a small family of six – Mom, Dad, three young boys and a baby -were passing by sorting through the merchandise. They had a small stroller that was loaded down with bags full of clothes in the stroller where the baby would normally be and bags of clothes hanging from the handles of the strollers. Mom had her arms full of boxes of board games, the small boys had some bags they were carrying, Dad had his arms full and the twelve year boy was carrying the baby. President started visiting with them. During the visit he found out that they had walked to the chapel – two to three kilometres. They did not have a car. President indicated that when they were finished gathering the things they needed and were ready to go home he would load their things in his van and drive them home. Smiles lit up their face. Dad then told the boys they could get one of the Televisions sets that they had been wanting. The young
single adults started loading their things in the President’s van for a happy ride home. Before they left mom found herself a pair of knee-high black boots.
Many of the young single adults were really touched by the event. Jessica Folau who was sorting and organizing clothes said, “It’s been cool to give our all. I feel like by doing this we’re showing love to these people.” Her friend – Damaris Petersen – who was helping her sort and put out clothes chimed in, “It’s been good to see people who actually need things to come and find it. Just to know the things we’ve given them are needed. Like the Christmas tree, that was probably one of the best parts of my day. Someone donated a Christmas tree with ornaments. Two little boys grabbed it up and were so excited. Their eyes lit up and they got big smiles on their faces!”
The young single adults had also procured an oversized van and were making home deliveries of the larger furniture items when the people had no way getting the needed items home; truly a service of love!
Manu Fisi’ihoi, the young single adult male representative for the stake, said, “It’s been a great success! People have been able to come and just take whatever they want or need. After it’s all done with and what we have left over, we will ask our missionaries in the area if there’s anything they need and then we will donate the rest to Salvation Army.
President Tulione expressed it best. “It’s really good to see our young single adults willing to give and invite the community; they spread the word all through the community by word of mouth and with signs all over the place. They might make this an annual event. We are looking forward for some more activities like this!”
Roger Mataupu, commenting on all of the weekend activities – Friday evening workshops; Friday night dance; The Big Give on Saturday followed by games and an evening bonfire; concluding with a Sunday evening musical devotional – said, “I can honestly say it has been one of my most memorable weekends in young single adults.”
November 30th (Sunday) We attended three different ward blocks of meetings to be with the YSA in their Sunday School classes. Sunday evening we attended the Manukau Stake YSA devotional – the closing event for their YSA weekend. The stake presidency asked Sister Perron and I to bear our testimonies. There were about five hundred YSA in attendance. As usual there we some YSA from other stakes that showed up; typical since the YSA are a nomadic bunch when it comes to activities.
December 1st (Monday) We worked on a presentation that Sister Perron has to make at the upcoming CES training for
December 2nd (Tuesday) Mixing some work with some pleasure, we drove to Devonport and then rode the Ferry across the harbour to
December 3rd (Wednesday) We drove to
December 4th (Thursday) Full day of training and interaction conducted by Ngati Smith. Great day! We had a dinner that evening after training catered by a member of the church who does the catering for special events such as when the mission President has a special event or when general authorities visit. My point is this – It was the best meal we have had in
December 5th (Friday) Training continued. We had sandwiches and fresh fruit for lunch. We had a great three days. Sister Perron found an immediate soul mate – Sister Poulsen senior CES missionary from the NZ Wellington mission – they were friends as soon as they heard each other speak. They met day one and hated to say goodbye at the end of day three. The conference ended at 2:00 P.M. Following the conference Sister Perron and I set out for parts south. We had planned a SPECIAL TRIP and received permission from our CES leaders and our Mission President to travel outside our mission for a few days. Our next blog will be a report on our SPECIAL TRIP.
Elder & Sister Perron
Thanksgiving feast with all the Senior missionaries. We brought Kasia with us. Love this girl! She is from Albion, Idaho studying for her doctorate here.
The National YSA Committee checking out the ASB Showground facilities.
Elder Perron waving in the background
ASB Showgrounds - Very large facility!
Panmure Stake YSA Institute - last classes of the year.
Sister Smith (Elder & Sister Alders niece), Sister Perron and Lataai. We went with Lataai to her new ward after her baptism and we found Sister Smith who is currently serving her mission in that ward.
Downtown Auckland at Christmas time. Smith & Caughey department store is where sister Perron got treated to a wonderful facial. Thank you Elder Perron! :-)
The very large Santa and his reindeer. Santa is five stories tall and his reindeer three stories with their antlers. They were quite impressive. Queen Street is always this busy.
Redoubt Stake YSA - Two new converts at their first Institute class. Just baptized within the week. Best friends and they got baptized on the same night. They were so happy and so enthusiastic about the gospel.
Manu the YSA leader
Manukau Stake YSA at their Christmas "Big Give"
Riding the ferry from Devonport to Auckland
William, from Tonga, that needed the education scholarship with Elder Perron, and another YSA.
Lavina, they DID get married in the temple in November and she is happy as can be!!!
Snack time at CES training in Hamilton. They treated us well!.
New Zealand CES Training - Front row: Elly Edwards, Sister Poulsen, Aaron Wi Repa, Sister Wi Repa, Sister Zollinger, Mereana Ngakuru, Sister Perron. Middle Row: Elder Poulsen, Brother Richard Aspinall, Brother Stranz Wihongi, Elder Zollinger, Brother Jonathan Warwick, Elder Perron. Back Row: Ngatai Smith, Phillip Skeen, Newman Soloai.
E/S Perron in our native Polynesian clothing. Called Puletaha if you are Tongan. Puletasi if you are Samoan. Probably the only time and the only picture you will get to ever see Elder Perron in his lava lava skirt. Enjoy! :-). Me on the other hand, I love them. They are so comfortable and cool. Actually on a hot evening in the house unbeknownst to anyone else...you might see Elder Perron in his lava lava. They are quie nice and comfortable!
Elder Perron loves these outfits so much he insisted we buy two different sets! Lol. J/k