Fishers of Men

 It struck me this week what a privilege it is to be able to serve a mission.  To be called of God by a prophet and given an assignment by an apostle of Jesus Christ.  You are set apart by a stake president who has been given keys to do so by a general authority sent by the Quorum of the Twelve and First Presidency.  You are given the apostolic assignment to go out into the world to minister in the name of Jesus Christ.  

With very few exceptions, most who have served an honorable mission and have pursued a successful life will confess to you that their service as a missionary was foundational to their success and happiness in their life after that.  I admit that my desire to gain an education, live a life of service, to work hard, and to be positive all sprouted and grew during my mission as a young man.  It is possibly one of the most important areas of training I received in my life.  I highly recommend it to any of my descendants either male or female.  In fact, I made it a point to seek my wife from a pool of young women who had served a mission.  Her preparation there has been a blessing to me and our children.  I have never had to doubt her loyalty nor her testimony that was tried in the furnace of her mission in Norway.

We find that fortunately, all of our children also served missions.  It has also served as a solid foundation for each of their ensuing successful lives.  I watched a father fishing with his son.  He took the time to show him how he baited the hook and prepared the line. While his son held the bell that would be attached to the pole to alert them of a hooked fish, he watched his father wade out into the water and cast. I hope that my grandchildren will look to their father's experience of being "fishers of men" and want to emulate their example.  A life of compassion and service to your family and to others is a key to happiness.  I highly recommend it.

It's Hard to Keep a Good Woman Down!

 As Janice recuperates, the work of our mission goes on.  We taught our Institute class and our Sunday School Class this week as well as passed out at least 100 invitations to attend Institute.  Janice is making a remarkable recovery and was encouraged at her doctor's visit that she could start swimming again in 2 weeks!  What a blessing.

Joe & Janice on their Friday night date

We drive in a couple of times a week to Waipio for physical therapy.  She really hates it but it is really helping.  She walks around our apartment quite a bit now without her walker or cane.  She uses those when she is out of the house for increased stability.  She isn't afraid to stroll over to the edge of the beach for a picnic however.

We witnessed a demonstration of faith this week in our Kahuku 3rd (Tongan) ward.  Last week, our young bishop, Bishop Kioa, challenged the families in the ward to get each young man in the ward a suit for church.  His premise was that they needed to start now to prepare to be missionaries and even start looking like missionaries at church.  He said that if there were people in the ward who did not have a young man that they should consider helping another family who did buy a suit. 

Today (just one week later), most of the young men who participated in blessing and passing the sacrament were wearing suits.  We know that it was a great sacrifice for some families who don't make a lot of money but they did it anyway.  Surely, their faith rivals that of the stripling warriors in the Book of Mormon whose mother's faith sustained them and protected them.  It says that they performed their duty in the army with exactness.  This is a hallmark of a faithful people!

We are still surrounded by great beauty here.  It has been a little stormy which has been a relief from the heat.  It is also the season for breadfruit and tropical flowers.  Here is a little sampling that I shot just yesterday.

Breadfruit on a tree next door

Gardenias in our yard.  They smell so sweet!

Plumeria flowers in our yard.

Hibiscus outside of our office.

Bird of paradise outside our office

I have used some of the recuperation time to paint while Janice is down.  I saw this scene on a postcard and thought I would try my hand at painting it.  

Better Late Than Never!

 The past week and a half have flown by because last week, Janice had knee replacement surgery on her right knee.  We are blessed to be in the right place at the right time for this to happen.  Our mission president, President Bassett encouraged us to have this surgery as soon as possible.  So, during our little holiday from institute, Janice went through with it.  She is completely off of the pain medication now and is getting around pretty good. 

The pain was fairly lively for the first few days but is subsiding.  She is doing so well because you can't keep a good woman down.  Yesterday, on the way home from physical therapy, we stopped at the beach to eat our lunch. She actually forgot to use her walker this morning and walked across the room to the kitchen sink before even realizing it.  She is one tough cookie!!!

I taught our Sunday School Class and our Institute Class by myself this week and I have to honestly admit that the lesson was less interesting without Janice's teaching.  We make a better team together than I do just on my own.  It is a shame that it has taken over 40 years for me to figure that out.  
Our lessons always end with a treat!
I am having the time of my life gardening here.  I am eating fresh tomatoes from my plants that I started from seed and my pineapple plants are really taking off.  I have always wanted to start a coconut tree from a coconut and have gotten my wish.  The Samoan family next door took pity on me and their girl brought me over a coconut that had just started sprouting.  Of course, Janice sent her home with a plate of cookies.
Our coconut trees and pineapple plants

The tomatoes are fresh and delicious!

Time and again, we feel so blessed to be in this wonderful place.  There is very little prejudice here and people are so kind and loving.  We are indeed fortunate to be among this happy people and we thank God for that fact every day!

Sadly, we could not attend our family reunion that happened in spite of our absence.  It brought great gratitude to our hearts to see our children and grandchildren get together and have a grand time.  We love that they love each other and we love them!