Thursday, October 14, 2010
"Oh, That I Were an Angel"
For many years one of my favorite scriptures in in Alma 29:1. "O That I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!" We are here in New Zealand to do just that. As we visit with the wonderful people here we are able to remind them of the love Heavenly Father has for them and what he desires for them to do: repent and follow the example of our Savior and keep the commandments and prepare to return to live with our Father in Heaven. We love the people here in New Zealand, especially the wonderful people here on the West Coast. In May "President" Archibald was given the assignment of inviting all the endowed members of our branch to "Come to the temple with us!" Somehow, he was able to invite them all. Many heard his invitation and prepared financially and spiritually to attend the temple. It is a major undertaking here on the South Island. One has to fly from Christchurch and then rent a vehicle and drive to Hamilton or take the ferry to get to the North Island and then it is a good days drive to Hamilton. Either way it is quite an expense for the people. We had planned on flying and booked our tickets but in mid-September the mission asked us to drive up so that we could trade our car. "Good-bye Old Whitie" our beloved Corolla. What a blessing that was as we were able to see more country going and coming. It looks vastly different on the North Island. There are more rolling hills and not so much rock and it is amazingly beautiful.
This is just one of the many pictures taken from the car on our way up the island. I am driving and Merle is the photographer. But I must take a step back. In Wellington we met the Service Couple, Elder and Sister Ditchburn, from Wellington. Of course when you meet people you always ask where they are from. Sister Ditchburn was born and raised in Wellington but had been to Canada as a young girl of 18. She was sailing there in 1958. She had met a wonderful couple whom she said she would never forget--a Brother and Sister McMurray. They had been to the temple dedication and were sailing home. Tears came to my eyes as she was speaking of my grandparents. She loved them and so appreciated them for taking her under their wing and helping her as she sailed all alone across the ocean. While in Canada she stayed with my Aunt Mabel, whom she also fondly remembered. She knew that Aunt Mabel had 3 children, a boy and 2 girls and had lost her husband in a tragic train accident. Her name then was Lorraine Luft. What a memory! That was an awesome beginning of a wonderful time on the North Island.
This picture was taken as we drove through the gate and at the base of the temple. There was a Visitor's Center behind us. I cannot explain the feelings that overcame me as we parked here. It was like I was home so far away from home.
This is a picture of the temple from the back, our little motel unit was just right here. I loved being able to once again walk around the temple and feel the wonderful feelings I always feel near the temple. I thought of Grandma and Grandpa walking around here with the trees much smaller; I also thought of Uncle Jeddy and Aunt Loretta as they served here and probably lived in the missionary apartments at the base of the hill. It was nostalgic for me.
We had a marvelous week at the temple. We spent a lot of time inside the temple and a lot of time associating with the members of our Nelson District. It was just wonderful. One day we were able to attend the sealing of Lou Ann Kinikini to her parents. It was such a beautiful experience. We love the Kinikini family and we were grateful we were able to share the day with them. One evening Sister Kinikini cooked tea for us and her family. They were staying in the dorms and the cooking facilities were scary for her. We were glad that we were able to help them attend the temple. Below you can see the delightful Kinikini family. We love them so much. Back Row--Moni, Taina, Atu; Front row--Maui, Elder Archibald, Lou Ann, Sister Archibald, and Taufa. We love this family from Greymouth.
Some of the people from our district that we spent a lot of time with were the MacDonalds from the Blenheim Branch. When I first met President MacDonald he told me that Grandma had taught his father in school. I had a copy of the picture that Dave had given me with Grandma as a teacher. I had the picture and my computer at the temple and so one night we took both down to the MacDonalds. After looking for sometime Phillip MacDonald found his father in the picture. He was so excited that he called his sister who lived in Hamilton to come over and see the picture. His sister picked her father out very quickly.
Their father is the little boy just above the child in white. He is looking towards the side. The father was about 10 in the picture. At Wairau Pah is the area where the MacDonalds grew up with many cousins and close friends. This picture was a treasure for them to see and I was able to give them a copy. They are going to try and identify many of the people in the picture. It was a fun time and Phillip and his sister fondly remember Grandma and Grandpa. I also had a picture of them(Grandma and Grandpa) in the 50s.
On our way home we were able to spend time with the MacDonalds and were able to see the area where the school was and where Grandpa labored as a missionary in Spring Creek.
We were also able to have another great experience at the temple. Elder Jensen from the Mission Office was some more copies of the DVD on Matthew Cowley. We needed to find Rangi Parker. We went each day to her place and finally one day as we were leaving her place she pulled up in their car with her husband. Her son had just picked them up from the airport. They had been in Australia for 5 weeks and just returned. Rangi is the darling little lady in the above picture. Also, there is her husband Vic and her grandson. Rangi Parker is a Church History expert for New Zealand. She has a collection second to none of pictures and journals and artifacts of former missionaries serving in New Zealand. We were blessed to see her collection. She asked me if I had a copy of my grandfather's missionary journal. I had a scanned copy which I shared with her. She stayed up most of the night reading it and the next morning asked my permission to have it transcribed for easier reading. I said yes and will receive a copy when it is finished. She also remembered my grandparents when they visited and served here in New Zealand. We had other great experiences while we were away and I will post more later.
Our visit to the temple truly turned the "hearts of the children to their fathers". It was such a blessing for us to be able to have this experience.