Monday, June 28, 2010

Our Adventures at the End of June

A few days after the last post we were able to go to another wonderful Zone Conference. Conference always makes us want to improve.It is wonderful to meet with our Mission President and his wife and the young elders. We learn many things. There are 2 types of people--those who are acted upon and those that act. This time we were told the story of a man who came with the Elsworth Handcart Company. In 1856 he told the people who asked why he would walk to Zion that "I would rather die with my face toward Zion than turn by the wayside." He and his family entered the valley on September 26. His name was John Moyle and he settled in Alpine, Utah. Shortly after they became settled and had a crude home and outbuildings built he was called to work as a stone mason on the Salt Lake City Temple. On Monday he would arise early and walk to the temple site 22 miles away from his home. He did this for 20 years. He would come home on the weekends and do what he needed to do around home. One day their old cow, Old Lindy, kicked him while she was being milked. He had a compound fracture below the knee. They tried to save the leg but could not so they had to amputate. As he was healing he carved a wooden artificial leg and worked so it fit him. He learned to walk with it and after healing for a few months he packed to go back to work. When his wife questioned what he was doing he told her that he hadn't been released and so he was going back to work. In 1885 he limped the 22 miles to the temple. He died in 1889 before he could see the temple dedicated. He was the man who carved "Holiness to the Lord" at the Salt Lake City Temple. He was truly a man who chiseled away his challenges. As we were watching the DVD I wondered if I would even start to walk from Alpine to the Salt Lake City Temple. John Moyle was truly a man who acted and I had a great desire to become more like him.
We also learned from our President that there are levels of studying the scriptures. First you read for the story, then for the doctrine and finally as you read you receive personal revelations. You begin to ponder over what you read and keep a study journal. As you ponder over what you have read your eyes of understanding are opened. I want to reach the final level. At times I am there, when it is something that I have read over and over. As you can tell it was a great Zone Conference.

Above you can see us eating at Zone Conference. You can see Elder Berryman, Sister Jolliffe, Elder Booth, Elder Kavaefiafi, Elder Fullmer, Elder McLean(New from Melbourne, Australia), Elder Tamale, President Jolliffe, Elder Hill (New from Alabama). The Relief Society in Nelson always fix us such great meals and then we are off for our home areas. This time coming home Elder Fullmer was so sick that the elders stayed with us that night and went to Greymouth the next day.

Later in the week we returned to Nelson to help the Elders move out of their Cherry Avenue flat to the one we had found for them in Tahunanui. We went to make sure the flat was clean and to get the property manager to clear it. The elders had done a really superb job of cleaning. Above you can see the trailer load of junk they were taking to the dump. The stuff, for the most part, had been moved from flat to flat and really is never used. They are tying the load down with climbing ropes. You can see Elder Booth, Elder Berryman, Elder Archibald, Elder Mataupu, and Elder Tamale. It cost $29 NZ dollars to get rid of it. Money well spent.

Here is the new flat from the outside. The man who owns the boat and 4X4 told Elder Archibald he would take him out fishing in the boat--20 miles out where the big fish are. That should be exciting. Last night we asked the elders how there new flat is and they really like it. They can keep warm and it has an "American" shower--one with lots of water pressure. They like being able to come home on the flat, not up a steep hill. It has more room, especially handy when they have guests come at interview time and Zone Conference.
After we had finished helping them get settled we drove to Blenheim to do a car repair. One of the previous elders had hit a possum and done some damage to the bumper. The bumper kept falling off. They had taken it to the Toyota dealership and they had glued it in place but with how the elders drive it kept coming loose and part would rub on the tire. Because they will have to replace the whole bumper when they get ready to take the car to the auction, Elder Archibald got permission to "farmer fix" the bumper. It works--he screwed the bumper from the outside to some piece inside--looks like the farm. The elders were laughing at how it looks but sure appreciate that it does not drag or come loose anymore. Thank you dear, for all you skills. They sure come in handy. Wish I had a picture of the fix.

I am putting some pictures of the blooms that we are having right now. You need to remember that we are in winter right now. It is like end of December here, as we are opposite of home. I am not sure what they are called but they are so pretty.
This was taken just outside the chapel. I was waiting for "President Archibald" to finish his tasks with his Branch job. Notice the bee--was sure glad it did not sting me. I am noticing other plants starting to bloom and will include pictures when they come out. To me it is so interesting as at home all the flowers are dead in the winter. But days are getting longer now--we've passed the shortest day of the southern hemisphere.

Our weather at the present time is sometimes rainy with snow in the mountains. After a few days of heavy rain it clears and you can see snow on the mountain tops. We have had a few days of frost, but now in a row. In the early morning and evening you can smell the coal that people are burning to keep warm. We have a heat pump that works well and we are able to stay warm. When we turn it off to go out we come home to a cold house. We have an electric blanket that I turn on about 1 hour before we go to bed, which warms the sheets. We turn it off when we jump in bed after a long day. Electric blankets here are very different from home. They go over the top of the mattress and under the mattress pad, sheets and blankets. When I was explaining to the sisters at Relief Society about electric blankets at home they thought it so strange. So far we are keeping warm and when the elders stay in our small flat we have a heater for that room and they stay warm. We don't have beds for them just 2 mattresses they throw on the floor and make up. The other day we got some bookcases to put together so we could arrange all our mission supplies and get that out of the spare room. It works quite well. We have been told that about every other week the elders from Greymouth will be able to come up and help us with finding and teaching so we can grow our branch. We need youth here or before long the branch will die because everyone has passed away. All but 4 active members plus the boys, are older than Elder Archibald.

Last week I stepped out of our flat and saw a rainbow just across the street. I thought it so nice to see a rainbow in the winter. After I took this picture, I have seen many rainbows. That is the nice thing about the rain. It rained for about 7 days in a row. And then we had 5 fine days. I have been told that it can rain from May until October and never see the sunshine. Thankfully, that hasn't happened so far.

Above you can see a picture of one of our dear members who passed away on June 21. Her name is Ani Pirimona. She was 73. She was given 6 months to live 20 years ago. She was quite a goer. In the 60s and 70s she was quite the activist. She had quite the personality and we enjoyed our visits with her. She could convince anyone that they needed something if she also needed it. We were able to go to the Marae to meet with the family the day before her funeral. It was quite like a wake at home. After the person dies, people stay with the body until it is buried. When we went to the house to see the family, her coffin was between mattresses and family (Whanau) stayed with her. The following day her funeral was held. It was a Maori funeral, but not typical from what we have learned. It was quite informal and people stood up and told about their experiences with Ani. Then quite often they would sing a song. Most of the family is inactive but after one person told of her experiences with Ani the crowd sang "I Am A Child Of God." It was so beautiful. After the funeral some young boys from the school went out and did a Maori Haka to say farewell and have a safe trip upward. It was a wonderful experience.

The following day the Nelson Zone Leaders were doing exchanges with the Greymouth Elders. After a great District Meeting we fed the Elders. We cooked our first roast beef dinner since being here in New Zealand. It was great. This day we also had mashed potatoes, gravy, carrots, corn, salad with Ranch Dressing from the mix from the States. For dessert we had ice cream and brownies. You can see Elder Berryman, Elder Archibald, Elder Fullmer, Elder McLean, Elder Tamale. Because of the way exchanges went, the 2 drivers went to Nelson. Elder McLean and Elder Tamale stayed Thursday and did some work in Westport. They visited less actives and taught a lesson. We have some names and addresses that we need to contact this week. They stayed in the spare room. The next morning for companionship study we watched a wonderful DVD on Matthew Cowley. Then we took them back to Greymouth to work there.
Yesterday the elders were exchanging back. Because it was P day, they brought the 4 elders from Nelson and we went down and picked up the Greymouth Elders. They played rugby at the field down the road from us. They enjoyed that, especially the Greymouth Elders because they had new people to hang out with. They were able to walk to the library in the afternoon to do emails. We fed them Taco Salad for lunch and pancakes and eggs for tea. It was a great and productive day. Here you can see Elder Berryman, Elder McLean, Elder Archibald, Elder Tamale, Elder Fullmer, Elder Mautaupu, and Elder Booth. They all left about dark to go to their areas of dwelling. It was a great day for us to associate with them.
I think that this is a darling picture that Merle found by accident. He typed in Ira Hayes on google,. and found the site with great music and beautiful pictures. We never know how powerful prayer can be. We pray for our family and friends where ever you are.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

End of Another Transfer--Happy and Sad!

We can tell that each day is getting shorter as it gets dark by 5;30 p.m. It also does not get light until around 7:30 a.m. We have also discovered that it is the north of our flat that gets the sun. We are having a hard time getting our directions straight, that is especially difficult for Elder Archibald. He always used to give directions by north, south, east and west. Sometimes it seems that down at this part of the world the sun rises in the west and sets in the east.
A couple of weeks ago it was time for us to make the rounds and do flat inspections again before the end of this transfer. We picked a nice day to start. We had had some snow falls in the mountains around us and the above picture shows heaps of sheep in a paddock with snow in the mountains behind. This is on the way to Blenheim through St. Arnaud. Rainbow Ski Area is just beyond here. As you can see, the hills are green. Last time when we drove this road the hills were brown like a desert, but we have had rain over the mountains on the east side and it is greening up. It is very beautiful.
In the above picture you can see two of our very fine elders. Elder Hudson left Blenheim this transfer. He was excited to go as he had been in Blenheim since before Christmas. We had grown quite attached to him. He is a great elder. He has gone to the north island as a Zone Leader. His companion is Elder Kavaefiafi, a Tongan from Sydney, Australia. He too is a fine elder who has been out since the January intake. He came out with Elder Palsky, who is Tamara's son.(That information is for all the McMurray relatives following this blog.) We look forward to meeting the new elder in Blenheim. This picture was taken after we had done flat inspection. It was the P day and they were ready to go do emails and some activity. After we had done flat and vehicle inspection in Blenheim we journeyed to Nelson to do the same. Their flat also was great. That evening in Nelson, we were able to meet with a gentleman who had heard our call for help in finding a suitable flat in Nelson for the Elders. He is a member who lives in Temple View, on the North Island. He owns 2 properties in Nelson and one was just perfect for the Elders. Brother Tahere is a returned missionary. He said he knew how elders lived and was glad we did inspections, although he said it does not always look that nice. He said, "They are busy young men with something more important to do that clean." We laughed and said we agreed but there needed to be order sometimes. We were able to get the ball rolling to secure it for the Elders. It will be able to keep them warm during the winter months and it is centrally located so both sets of Elders in the Nelson area will not have far to go to their area. We considered that a great answer to our prayers as we have been hunting for several months for a warm flat in the Nelson area. The elders can start moving this next week.

Later in the week we journeyed to Greymouth for District Meeting and their flat and transportation inspection. We were so impressed by the elders this time round as each of their flats were very well cleaned. Above you can see the beautiful day we had in Greymouth. You can see Elder Archibald, Elder Fullmer, and Elder Sacco. It is always nice to have a sunny day in late autumn/winter.
Trevor Yeatman is one of our friends and investigators. He lives in Granity with his wife Sue. He is standing by his Powertiki. It is a device that they use for fishing. It has a timer and line and you can aim it out into the body of water and it goes out however long you have set the timer for. 35 minutes goes out about 2 kilometers. There are hooks along the line. After a while you bring the line in and you may or may not have fish on the line. I am not positive how it works but the people who have them think they are marvelous. This couple are retired farmers from the Christchurch area. We got in the door through the farmer connection. We have really enjoyed getting to know them and sharing the gospel with them. They have become good friends.

A week ago we had an Apple Festival at the meeting house. Each dish needed to have apple as an ingredient. We had deviled sausages with apples; sausage patties with apples; I made an omlette; salad with apples, avocado, corn, peas, and light dressing; apple cake; apple pan dowdy; and apple cobbler. It was quite good. Two of the ladies had gone to district conference a day early and picked apples to share with the branch. It was a very nice day to share with friends. In the above picture you can see Maraea, Thea with her back to us, Joy Anderson, and Jonny and Beverly VandenBosch.

This transfer was a little sad because we also had to say goodbye to Elder Sacco. He has been in Greymouth for 2 transfers but he got word on Monday that he would be going to the Dunedin area. He had really grown to love the people in Greymouth and liked the ruralness that is in our district. You can see him above in his new suit that he picked up at the Oppy Shop for $4.00. I had madly hemmed the pants so they would be ready to go. You can also see him with Elder Fullmer. As we waited for his flight to come I overheard the elders talking and saying that one thing a mission prepares you for is a divorce--you just get to love the people and the work and your companion and you are sent away. I told them--no it just shows you how you have to adapt and learn to love and work hard. In a marriage you are sealed together and the experiences of a mission teach them how to work with differences and learn to love each other through good times and bad. I also told them to remember how much it hurts to leave those you love and when they are married they must work hard so that the marriage stays good and there is no divorce.

We had about 6 hours before the new missionary came in so we went to Lake Kaniere. It was not far from Hokitika. We took a leisurely drive around the lake. It was a misty day and we saw heaps of rainbows. Along the drive we came to this beautiful waterfall. It is called Dorothy Falls. This picture is taken from the bridge. Then we walked along the short footpath to the base of the falls. The pool underneath was golden in color. Then we continued our drive around the lake and then into the open grassland. It was spectacular. Because it was a cloudy day we were not able to see the Southern Alps. They are covered with snow now and on a fine day they are supposed to be magnificent. I am sure one day will be fine to see them.
Yesterday we were getting water at the Church because Westport water is not good to drink. As I was bringing some water out to the trunk I saw a couple taking a picture of the Chapel. So of course I visited with them It turns out that they are a couple returning from a mission in Perth, Australia. As a young elder, 47 years ago he was in New Zealand on a mission. He was able to open up Westport. He had served in Nelson a lot and in New Plymouth. They were doing a 2 week tour of New Zealand on their way home by the 23rd or 24th of June. We visited with them. He had played basketball with the mission team in the 60s and the mission team had defeated Team New Zealand as they prepared for the Olympics. They had only 6 missionaries that toured the area. They had interesting stories and we had a great visit with them. They were leaving to eat and we invited them over for a meal. They were able to use our internet and make some connections and then were on their way. They were Elder and Sister Miller from Sandy, Utah. It was sure nice to visit with another missionary couple.
Today we had 19 people in our congregation. It was sure nice to see the chapel getting fuller. We will keep working and doing out best. We want our family and friends to know how much we love and appreciate them and all they do for us. We love you.