Monday, June 19, 2017

Gifford Nielson

20 June 2017    

At our weekly Devotional we had a special opportunity to hear from the Area Presidency in Auckland NZ.  It was a farewell to a member of the Area Presidency, Brother and Sister Gifford Nielson.  It was interesting to hear a little bit more about someone I was familiar with.  Gifford Nielson was a star quarterback for BYU when Monty and I were first married and living in Provo.  Before being called to the Quorum of the Seventy's Brother Nielson had been Mission President in the Melbourne AU mission.  Wonderful remarks were made about Brother and Sister Nielson and then they each took a few minutes to express things they had learned and grown from while serving in the Pacific Area.

Brother Nielson encouraged all of us to build our foundation upon the Rock of Christ.  This is done by doing the simple things. Reading our scriptures daily, saying personal and family prayers, and giving Service.

Brother Nielson told how when he and his wife flew to New Caledonia he asked the local Stake President if there might be a couple of families they could visit in the short time they had in the area.  The Stake President set up 2 appointments.  When the time came Brother  Nielson went into the designated home with the Stake President, introduced himself to the family and then said something like this.  "The Lord has sent me here to your home.  I do not know why I am here, but you do.  Brother______can you tell me why I am here?"  The father of the house would first say, "I don't know"?  Brother Nielson would look deep into his eyes, smile, and start nodding his head.  Shortly, the Brother would start to say something like "You are here because I need to do better.  I need to take my wife to the Temple and we need to become a forever family  We need to be reading our scriptures".  Brother Nielson would say "That is right."  Without saying anything the member would intuitively know what needed to be said and done.

Sister Nielson quoted Albert Einstein who said:  There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; or you can live as if everything is a miracle.   So with that comment I will tell you about a miracle, that happened Saturday.  

Monty and I had a very busy day.  We/I was gearing up for one of the busiest times of my job, MLC (Missionary Leadership Conference).  This is where all the Zones put their orders in for  supplies and Housing needs for all 150 missionaries.  I am feeling much more comfortable with this big responsibility than when I first arrived.  But this week coincided with our Senior FHE that Monty and I were in charge of Lesson and dessert.  Elder Ellison was also getting ready to take a rental truck up north to close out a Senior Flat and help the seniors move everything out as they were headed back home and no replacement was coming to take their spot. We needed to clean our flat as it gets NO attention during the week. We also had our YSA lesson to prepare for Sunday and a Stake YSA evening meeting.  We also had an Engagement Party to attend Saturday for the son of Glen Karaka who we have become very fond of down in the Service Center.  Saturday was a pack full day.  By 2:30 I was exhausted and needed a nap if I was going to make the Engagement Party.  I laid down thinking I needed to get up by 3:30 or 4 p.m. at the latest.  At 3:30 I sat up in bed and thought, "I can sleep for another 1/2 hour and it is so cold.  Lay back down and sleep just a little bit longer.".  But I couldn't go back to sleep for some reason.  I got up, put on my sweater and thought to myself, "I wonder what the weather is like outside?"  I went to the back door and opened it.  On the other side of our electronic gate was a tall Polynesian fellow.  He said "Is this the church Mission Home?"  I told him the office was down closer to the Temple, was there something I could help him with.  He told me his brother was serving a mission in this Australia Sydney North Mission and he had 2 packages he wanted to drop off to him.  I told him to bring them to me, as I am the person that actually gets the mail to the missionaries.  He and his wife brought 2 huge 
packages that weighed between 20-30 lbs.  I had him put them in the car so I could drive them down to the office later.

Now there is no reason I should have been awake.  I heard no noise or stirring outside my gate.  If I had not woke up this poor brother would have had no where to leave these large packages and he certainly would not have wanted to pay postage on those heavy boxes.  Now this is just a little miracle.  Well, maybe a big one for Elder Kaipuke who will be so excited to get these gifts from home.  I would say it was really a BIG Miracle for the Brother that had driven up from Melbourne to  deliver these package among other errands he had to do.  And it was faith promoting to me that Heavenly Father cares about the DETAILS of our lives, BIG or small.  He is interested in each of our lives.


Vivid Senior Activity June 2017

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

FLAT Inspections

Monday Elder Ellison and I  drove up to the Central Coast Zone to do 3 flat inspections.  For those that may not know, a flat is NOT a flat tire.  Rather a flat is an apartment, condo or some type of housing.  Flat inspections have not been done for several months as Elder Ellison and I are just coming up to speed.  Elder Ellison has involved all the Senior Couples in helping inspect flats in different areas of the mission.  That way we don't have to do 60 inspections and drive extremely long distances.

We started with the Zone leaders flat.  It looked like a small older twin home.  We pulled up about 15 minutes later than we told them we would be there, due to the fact I had Elder Ellison go back to our flat so I could pick up some cleaning gloves (per Tyler's recommendation) and cleaning supplies, just in case we would have to get involved with showing missionaries how to actually clean.

The minute we walked into Elder Riquelme (pronounced Rikaleme)  and TangiPi flat I could sense it was VERY clean.  Things were definitely older, worn and seen better days BUT it was clean, organized and well taken care of.  I was so shocked at how nice it was, I wanted to give them a big hug, but that would be breaking Mission Rules.  The study area was so impressive with maps of their Zone, the missionaries under their charge, spiritual thoughts and quotes on the walls etc.  (I even flipped the picture of the Prophet to the back side to make sure their were no inappropriate pictures like in the movie "The Best 2 Years"). They had a few weights and bars for lifting so they could get their exercise in.  The fridge and stove were all very clean albeit the fridge was quite empty due to the fact that it was P-day and they had not been out shopping.  I was so proud of these 2 Elders I gave them an A+ for a job well done.  Now on to the Sisters.

Hmmm, well the Sisters are very sweet and kind, bubbly and full of energy but not quite as responsible as the Zone Leaders.  A couple of the Sisters I think really did want to have a cleaner flat but being in a 4 missionary flat made it more challenging.  I gave them a number of things to improve on.  As we walked out to our car Sister Walker and Lam walked out with us to get some light bulbs. They forgot to bring their flat key so Sister Lam stayed holding the locking gate open.  As Elder Ellison was rummaging through the car looking for the light bulbs Sister Walker asked if they got the award for "Most Improved Flat"?  We did not know what she was talking about.  She said she was brought in last transfer and asked to help the other Sisters do a better job of cleaning and organizing.  What a hard job she had.  She could not become the "Boss" or do all the cleaning on her own.  She had to encourage and lead by example.  That is a difficult job for one so young.  She was really doing the best with the situation she moved into.  Good Job Sister.

The last Flat was another set of Elders.  We had gradually fallen farther behind in out time schedule.  They were patiently waiting for us sitting on their deck reading scriptures.  Once again, when I walked in I could tell this was a clean flat.  Lucky for these Elders this flat was new, and pristine and they were doing an excellent job keeping it that way.  Their study room once again was organized and clean.  Motivating quotes in a couple of spots.  The only problem I found was they had a Fan, heater and vacuum in a closet that were not being used.  Elder Ellison didn't want to fill up the car with more junk, but I felt we needed to bring it back in to the warehouse so we would know where things were instead of sitting in closets and no one knowing where they were.  We tested all the items to make sure we were not hauling back nonworking items.  The vacuum was broken so we told them to just throw it in the trash/rubbish.  They were hesitant to do so.  No one around here wants to throw things away.  They think they can be fixed!  BY WHO?  Elder Ellison doesn't have the time and taking them into repair shops takes money and TIME.  By the time you do this the cost is almost as much as a new vacuum.  These Elders had their 2 beds in the living room as the 2 small bedrooms would not hold the two beds.  It was interesting to see no furniture but 2 beds (neatly made) in the living area.

I am happy to report that I did NOT need my cleaning gloves or have to demonstrate how to clean a toilet.  We have 8 more flats to inspect in the next 10 days.  I hope we find all of them in as good of condition as we did these 3 flats.  It is really enjoyable getting out and putting names with faces of the missionaries.  Such outstanding young people.

Driving the hour home from Central Coast we got a phone call from an Elder living in the City on the 27th floor of a building.  He called to report a flood they had in their flat.  Another story for another time.  Stay tuned.


Here is a question for you.  NO looking up on Google.  Who knows where they speak BISLAMA?
I have had missionaries guess Middle East, India, Philippines etc.  First the story.

A couple of weeks ago I had 2 Elders come in very excited and wanted to know if I had any Books of Mormon in the Bislama language.  I actually had ordered 2 Books of Mormon in that language a couple of weeks earlier so I had 1 extra Bislama Book of Mormon.  The Elders needed 15 Books of Mormon in Bislama.  Their Ward had 15 investigators from the Island of Vanuatu come visit their Ward on Sunday.  They have been hired as field workers for some farms in the area and they came with a friend that was either a member or very close to joining the Church.  It was contagious to see how excited these missionaries were about the potential investigators.

I quickly ordered the requested supplies and they came in lightening fast, very unusual actually.  We will see how this all turns out.

  Bislama also known under its earlier name in French Bichelamar  is a creole language, one of the official languages of Vanuatu.