Thursday, September 16, 2010

Highlights from End of Winter!

Highlight #1
A Baptism(2 in fact)

Mosiah 18:8-10 ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light; stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places...what have you against being baptized...that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?

At the end of August we had the awesome opportunity to go down to Greymouth for a baptism. In fact is was 2 baptisms. A couple who live in Greymouth were baptized. Peter said that he had been looking for the true Church for over 40 years and was so glad to have finally found it. Peter and Marilyn MaCrae have been searching for a long time. The missionaries said they were a golden couple. They still are a golden couple. They love the gospel. They both bore their testimonies at their baptism. It was a truly spiritual experience. Below you can see them with the missionaries in their whites. From left to right there is Elder McLean, Marilyn, Peter, and Elder Fullmer. They were confirmed the next day and we also went down for that. When President Kinikini found out we were coming I was asked to be one of the speakers. It was nice to talk to a branch with heaps of people including little ones that wander around. The Greymouth Branch is full of life and we enjoy the times we have been down there.

Highlight #2
Flat Inspections
The week following the baptism we did our 6 week flat inspections. We find this a fun time to associate with the elders and check their flats and cars and bikes for safety. This time we were saying farewell and have a great rest of your mission to two young Elders. Elder Booth is from Australia and has been in Nelson since he came as a greenie at the end of April. That seems so long ago but it was only 3 transfers--each transfer is 6 weeks. Below you can see him with Elder Archibald. Elder Booth is obedient to the T and drove some of the other elders crazy but we enjoyed him and his little quirks. This flat was awesomely clean when we inspected and after they passed it looked like a hurricane had blown through as one of the Elders cannot find his "stuff" when things are neat and tidy.
The elders had their P-day after inspections and we came back later to cook them "tea". We did a chicken cashew Thai stir fry over pasta. Below you can see them enjoying the "tea".
Closest to us on the left is Elder Metikingi. He is from Porirua and was in our mission waiting for a Visa to go to Guam. When he went to Auckland for an interview his Visa was denied and so his call was re-issued and he left for the Perth, Australia Mission at the end of transfers. He was so excited and even more so as we have been teaching a lady, Tui, and her 2 daughters. Tui was inactive until she came back to Westport. Her young daughters are 9 and 7. She has been coming to Church and her daughters have been being taught since she came and she wants her girls to be baptized together in January when the youngest turns 8. They are going back to Perth at the first of October. Her daughters names are Marina, 9, and Shakira Rose 7. They are just darling and love learning about the gospel. So we have their address in Perth and will email Elder Metikingi when they leave for Australia.
Also, in the above picture you can see Elder Berryman in the foreground, Elder Saxton, behind Elder Berryman, and Elder Booth. Elder Saxton is one of the traveling assistants to the President and he was visiting Nelson with his companion Elder Cook. Elder Cook and Elder Prebble had a tea appointment.

Highlight #3
The Seal Pups
When we went to Blenheim to clean the mold a month or so ago we came home by way of Kaikoura. About a half hour before you arrive in Kaikoura, there is a large fur seal colony. We had noticed it on our way home but the next day I was reading in the paper about how the seal pups navigate their way up the Ohau Stream to a pool at the base of a 30-metre waterfall. They play in the pool at the base of the falls all day while their mothers are out fishing. Knowing that the elders would be traveling this way on the way to the Christchurch Zone Conference, I told them about it and they stopped and saw these cute seal pups. They said it was one of the best things they had seen and done in New Zealand. We had not seen the pups, only the adults lazing on the rocks. After the elders told us about their fun time we decided that when we did flat inspections we would again come home by way of Kaikoura and watch the pups. So we did. We took many pictures and I did about 5 minutes of video. They were just fascinating to watch. Things you see in the zoo or at Sea World being done in the wild. It was great. The water was just "boiling" with young seals. They were curious about us and came very close. Below you can see just one of the many photos I took. It was just amazing.
Highlight #4
Watoto Children's Choir
A week ago we went to a choir concert of Ugandan Orphans. This group tours around and raises money to sponsor some of the many children left orphans in Uganda by Aids and war. The children are delightful. We went mainly because Andrea and Gene are in Africa. We were hoping they would sing and dance of the culture. They did dance but in unison to the songs they sang about how Jesus loves the children. I was amazing at the uniformity of their movements and knew how much work it would take to train a choir as such. They sang very well, a little loud for my husband, but nevertheless delightful. I just love to hear children sing. I loved listening to them talk as they told their stories. This group is well looked after. This institution places the children in a family environment with 8 other children and a "house mother" who helps care for them. Also, in the village are classrooms, medical clinics, a nursery school, teachers homes, playgrounds, and churches. It was quite interesting. Mostly, I loved the children.
Highlight #5
A couple of the end of winter flowers
I am constantly amazed at the flowers that are blooming at the end of winter. Below you can see an orchid. It is the smallest orchid I have ever seen. It is about the size of the end of my finger. Frank O'Connell grows them in pots on his front porch. It is so delicate. Also, below you can see the lilies, I think, that are growing in my front yard. They grow wild all over the West Coast.

It is just starting into spring and many plants are beginning to bloom. I find myself taking my camera when I go for my morning walk. Everyday there is something new blooming. This has been the most amazing winter we have ever spent. We have only had 2 or 3 days of frost. We are into September now and it has been rainy a lot. They say that September is one of the rainiest and it is doing so today. We are blessed to be living on the West Coast and only felt the tremors of the earthquake in Christchurch almost 2 weeks ago. When Merle woke me up I told him to quit shaking the bed. I had been dreaming that I was on a ship and the rolling from the quake felt like it should be. But the creaking of the flat and the rolling of the bed went on for over a minute; it seemed longer when we were in it but it was not. They keep talking of the "Big One" that is supposed to be coming. I pray that it waits until we are home. It is supposed to be 10 times stronger than the Christchurch Quake and it is supposed to be close to this coast. We have our Emergency Packs ready to go and so we are sort of prepared. "If ye are prepared ye shall not fear!"

So we will go on about our work and enjoy our time here in this beautiful land.


  1. I love your updates! It sounds like you're having a wonderful time. We're praying for you & especially for 'Elder Archibald's' feet. Love you!

  2. What a great post. We love you and are also hoping that you will be safe at home before "the big one" hits.

  3. I really enjoy following your blog, Sister Helena. Stay safe.