The MTC is finished and now we roll-up our sleeves!

What a busy week this has been. We got up every morning early so we were ready for our CES MTC training. It started in Utah at 8:00 AM but there are 3 hours difference here. We were done by noon however each day. What totally exhausted us was that we had a lot to do and went right through the rest of the day like normal. By Thursday morning, we were pretty done in. We recuperated quickly however and recovered enough to do our monthly shopping on Saturday on the south side of the island. The second day of training was worth its weight in gold. It really helped us get grounded in the mechanics of the lessons we will be teaching. 
A lizard that lives on our faucet.  It must be a good place for bugs!

 We taught an Institute class on Wednesday night. It is the small class so far and was not too stressful. We always attend the Thursday night class also that Brother Meyers teaches. There is usually between 70-90 students in that class. The sweetest thing happened after class when a group of girls approached Janice and asked if I could give one of the girls a priesthood blessing. It is nice to be needed and feel like perhaps through us, the Lord can give these young people some hope. 

We did take time one evening to go to Sunset Beach and watch the sun sink down past the horizon in the water. It happens so fast and is quite spectacular. 

We are loving our location and take the opportunity a lot of the mornings to go swimming in the ocean just a couple of blocks away from our house. The water is warm and soothing. It is helping our joints feel better. We have met a couple of neighbor women who are Samoan and had some delightful visits with them. There is so hope of umu-baked breadfruit and palasami from one of the women’s husband. Their names are Pat and Loni (the two sisters). 

Our bishop was released today in Kahuku 3rd Ward. He is very happy and relieved. Our new bishop is fairly young and we are eager to get to work with him. We introduced ourselves and told him that we are willing to do most anything to help as long as it doesn’t get in the way of our teaching and recruiting activities. We paused a little bit this weekend to reflect on how comfortable we are here and muse a little bit about the possibility of living here. We are surrounded by everything we love except our family and friends. Well, we will have to think on that aspect of it. Regardless, we are blessed here everyday and are excited to be of help here.

MTC in Hawaii

Monday through Thursday, we dressed up in our nice MTC clothes and put on our nametags to join 11 other couples for the online MTC training. Brothers Napeirski and Lucas were our teachers. They did a good job taking us through the basics of the Preach My Gospel manual. Typically, they just work with 4 senior missionary couples each week but this week, there were 12 because some of them had tested positive for COVID and could not attend the in-person training. There were couples assigned to New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Washington D.C., California, Salt Lake, and Tennessee. Here is a picture of our district. We have our Church Educational System (CES) training this coming week.
We are still settling in and getting to know our surroundings. We looked for used bicycles and could not locate any that were reasonably-priced so we finally ordered new ones from Walmart that were $98. Nothing fancy, just one-speed cruiser bikes with coaster brakes. That should be sufficient however because everything is on the level here. It is a short ride to our office (when we get it fixed up and ready) and a even shorter ride to the market and the beach.
Just down from our house is a beautiful beach where we have been swimming every morning. It is at the end of Halela'a street which is the wide street that goes from the ocean up to the temple. Here is a couple of pictures of the beach. One was a spectacular moonrise that took our breath away.
We went to our Institute classes on Wednesday and Thursday nights. We are growing attached to the young people who are there and want to get to know them better. We will start teaching on Wednesday nights this coming week. We also attended the first ever after school Seminary class for students with special needs. It went really well and we will be attending every week to support the teacher (Sister Daniel) who is one of the student's mother and did a fantastic job teaching. Saturday, we participated in a senior missionary activity and rode down to the south part of the Island to Koko Crater Botanical Gardens and Sand Beach park for a picknic. We were riding with Elder and Sister Clark (Mission Mechanic and PCC vehicle clerk) and they took us to a Japanese temple that was beautiful. We got to ring a gong and walk the manicured gardens.

Exciting Weekend

We finally had a few moments to finish unpacking, do some final shopping and meet our other mission brothers and sisters. We are settling into our new apartment and adding a few touches that makes it feel like home like putting up a painting done by our granddaughter, Layla. We are close enough to where we will commonly be going that we ordered new bicycles for ourselves. They are nothing fancy, just single speed cruiser bikes but they will give us an opportunity for exercise and to save a little money on gas. Saturday, we posed with the other members of our mission along with President and Sister Bassett (our mission president) in front of the Laie Temple. It was the first temple built outside of Utah (except for Kirtland and Nauvoo of course). I believe it was dedicated in 1918. if you expand this picture, we are on the left side in the middle of the pack.
We also attended Church in our newly-assigned ward (The Kahuku 3rd Ward - Tongan speaking). We were thrilled to be able to sing the hymns with them because Tongan is similar to Samoan. We also discovered that the ward mission leader flew back with us on our flight here from Seattle. We think this is a little more than a coincidence. We met his whole family on the plane and got to know them on the way here. It was wonderful to find a friendly face in our new ward. Of course the big area of concern today at church was the erruption of a volcano near Tonga and the resulting tsunami in their homeland yesterday. Everyone is praying for the safety and welfare of the people in Tonga.

We Have Arrived!

We landed in Hononlulu at 6:30 PM Hawaii time on Tuesday and were greeted by our mission president, President and Sister Bassett. We visited in the van as we drove back toward Laie and stopped to order take out mexican food. We arrived safely in our apartment and were overwhelmed at how spacious and modern it was. We truly feel blessed.
We were grateful to meet Brother Meyers and he kindly took us on a tour of the institute facilities and invited us to observe a couple of his institute lessons. We will be taking over the teaching of his Wednesday night class. He also connected us with a sister who will be teaching an afternoon Seminary class for students with special needs. we will be helping with that class once a week. We did take time yesterday to comemmorate our daught Jenny's birthday by tossing some lei flowers (just the flowers, not the string) into the ocean.
we are getting settled in. We have a car on loan until our new one gets here. We have been to COSTCO and Walmart to stock up on food and to buy what we need for the apartment. We have gone to BYUH surplus and purchased a new desk chair and small desk for our apartment. We have also been assigned to attend the Kahuku 3rd Ward which is Tongan. We are looking forward to learning some new language skills. Keep looking for more updates. We will try to get some Beach pictures in soon.

On Our Way!

As we write this, we are about 1/2 of the way between Seattle and Hawaii on Delta flight 450. These past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity as we were surounded by our family from Thanksgiving on. We had a chance to see everyone and fill up our "love buckets" before departing. Janice and I both had surgeries just before Christmas so we could be all fixed up for our mission. Around New Year's eve, there was an outbreak of COVID at the MTC in Utah (where we were scheduled to receive training) so we were offered a chance to go a week early to our apartment in Hawaii and participate in the online MTC training. This Sunday we gave talks in Church, Monday we were set apart, and today we are on our way to Hawaii for our mission. It is good to get to wear our nametags again. We are assigned to a brand new mission in Laie. Our mission President and his wife are going to meet us at the airpoty and take us to Laie. We are excited to meet them. We have talked several times to Brother Meyers, our Institute Director (and our "boss"). We are excited to go and make a difference. We will be working with young people in their late teens up through 30-years-old. That is such a critical time in life and we hope to be a positive influence to them as we teach them the hope that is available through Jesus Christ. We know that He lives. We know this not because we have seen him nor have we heard his voice. We know personally through the miraculous change he has brought to our hearts and the abundant blessings we have recieved by living his gospel. May God bless us all this coming year. We are so grateful for everyone who helped get us out here with your kind service and prayers. We have a wonderful friend that is staying in our and taking care of it. We will try to post a lot of pictures. I will try to attach a satellite image of where we will be living. The red dot is our apartment. You will notice that we are two blocks from the beach (second photo). We are three blocks from the Temple (third photo). Finally, we are 4 blocks from BYU Hawaii where we will be teaching (last photo).