Yes, I missed a week. But last weekend was a bit crazy and wonderful and there was just not time for a post. So here we go with catch-up!
On the 19th of July we held our Seminary teacher’s training session. I have mentioned it before, and I will again…we have three of the BEST Seminary teachers! Love them and their dedication to their callings…even in the face of chaos! It was a productive meeting.
On the 20th of July we attended a wonderful get together at the “other Larkin’s” in the stake. They currently serve as the advisor couple to the Mission Prep class. They are fantastic at their job and had a fun get together at their home. After a fine meal and a watching a video of President Monson’s announcement of the age change, we ended the meeting with a rousing game of Spoons and Apples to Apples! It was fun introducing some of the YSA’s who have not played these games before. Here are just a few pictures from the 45 or so I took that night. My favorite…the blurry one when everyone went for the spoons.
What a fine bunch of youth this is! One of the girls, Brittney, is leaving on her mission tomorrow. She travels to the states to attend the MTC in Provo where she will train as a visitor center missionary. Then she will fly back to New Zealand to serve! Also in this bunch is another young man waiting for his call! (The one with his spoon above Elder Larkin’s ice cream!) They’re terrific youth!
Here’s the photo with us and Brittney, (the blonde) and also our photo with Keisha. Keisha came to us from Canada a year ago to live and work here as a Nanny. She leaves to return to Canada in a week. We will miss her very much:
Also during that week, we attended a ward FHE, taught with the missionaries, had our YSA committee meeting, as well as prepared and taught our regular classes! It was a fine week and then got more crazy at the end!
Last Friday, a week ago, we held a stake YSA dinner and dance! It was a Rock and Roll theme and the YSA’s and we spent a great deal of time getting it ready! But that’s half the fun, of course! What a fun group! They came through for the decorations, food and other assignments! And it was a blast! It was, in part, to say good-bye to the two girls as well as one of our advisor couples who is moving to Sale (South of here by a few hours). We had a cute photo booth and some of the crazy stuff they’re wearing was from the props! Here are some photos from that night:
The very next day was one of the highlights of our mission! We were able to attend the baptism of our good friend, Lipou! We so admire his courage and faith in choosing to enter into covenants with his Father in Heaven and so proud of him. It was so sweet to see his glowing smile. We have attended his lessons with the sister missionaries for months as he has been learning more and more. It’s been the best experience. The following day, Elder Larkin was able to confirm him a member of the Church and confer the gift of the Holy Ghost upon him. He gave Lipou the most amazing blessing that day! Here are some photos. In the first photo, from left to right, is Lipou’s good friend in the church, Brother Tim Kalonihea, who baptised him, Sister Sauaki (from Tonga), Samuel Libeau Prescott, Sister Pea (from Tahiti), myself, Elder Larkin and Solomone Ahokava, who recently returned from his mission in Tonga. The second photo, Sister Kalonihea has stepped in. In the third photo, Elder Webb (who was one of the first missionaries to teach Lipou) and Lipou’s children are in the photo. The next photo includes two other sisters and friend of the children and the last photo includes Lipou’s uncle who flew in from New Zealand for the event. His uncle served as a missionary in Tonga around the same time as Elder Larkin’s first mission, but, sadly, they did not know each other, then.
On Monday this week, we helped one of the sisters in the stake make some purchases for a Youth Service project which will be coming up. Since she asked us to help, we went with her to make the purchases, also. It was fun being in a craft store again. But elder Larkin was a bit bored! We also had FHE with Lipou and talked about our feelings at his baptism. I noticed a change in his countenance! He has other Tongan friends who have wanted to be baptised, but have not had the courage. He hopes that his example has helped them see they can make that change.
We are so grateful for being able to teach our classes this week. Our CES coordinator came and visited two of our classes as well as the Seminary classes. We love our students and we really love to teach. Getting to the end of the Book of Mormon means we are getting to the end of our mission. I’ve hesitated to talk about it because we are sad it has to come to an end. We have just a few weeks (7) left and even though we are really looking forward to going home, we will be sad to leave all the wonderful friends we have made here. One really good thing is there is a couple who have been called to fill our place. They are from Oregon and will arrive less than three weeks after we go home. We would have loved an overlap, but it just didn’t work out. We have had, and will have a few more Skype calls with them to give them information that they will need.
I was faced with some tech challenges again this week. It seems to have been one of our biggest challenges. But we testify that we have been sustained by our Father in Heaven as we have served and we are so grateful for the Tender Mercies that have been given to us. This experience has been amazing! We are so grateful we have been able to be missionaries here!
Until next time….