Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Business of Living

      There are things that need to be done on a regular basis - shopping, cleaning, and laundry for example.  Laundry here is an evenings activity.  There is a coin operated washing machine here at the Blue Lagoon.  There is not a dryer.  Many of the wonderful wash and wear items that we brought with us do not turn out as great as at home with a dryer.  My dresses, skirts, and blouses usually take several days to dry.  We are used to the system by now.
   Of course, this load is all whites!

      Going to the market is a weekly event.  This time we are with the Edwards.  There is always plenty of papaya and bananas.  Right now there is a bigger variety of vegetables!
I finally got Clyde to go into a fabric store with me.  The brighter the fabric the better he liked it.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Planning for Success Workshops

      Planning for Success is a four week workshop.  We teach the workshop all over the island.  Every month there are three or four workshops running at various locations and at various times of day or evening.  The workshop is designed to assist the people in setting goals and realizing those goals.  We have taught as many twenty three students in one session.  There are usually more women than men in attendance.
      This particular class took place in the Family History Room at Branch One.  The first two girls on the front row, Jenny and Katharina, just got their mission calls.  They have the same calling.  They are both to serve in the Provo, Utah Mission.  The other sister on the front row, Madeleine, is the wife of the Port Vila District President.  Her plan is to go to the Hospitality School for the fourteen month program.  She wants to study tourism management.
      Remember the church at Paonangisu?  The cows and the chickens and the pigs attend.  Well, Pres. Erick got a committee of workers together and put some siding on the structure.  This improvement keeps the animals out and the children in during church.  This is the building where we had the class of twenty three.

       The workshop is set up with four parts.  Every session has a spiritual orientation.  We connect with thoughts from the prophets and the scriptures.  A warm and loving feeling is developed.  There are three main plans that we work on together.  The first plan is their Work Plan - how do they want to spend their lives, in what occupation.  The second plan is their Education Plan - how and where can they make this happen.  The third plan is their Finance Plan - how can they pay for this plan.  They have homework to complete along the way.  It is a wonderful experience.  We get so close to the students.  Every month we start new classes with new participants!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Grandbabies in Vanuatu!

      No child can have too much love.  Every child can use an extra grandma.  Well here our two of my new babies.  The first is Veronica Hilliman.  Her mother, Fanny, is attending the University of the South Pacific.  She is studying to be an elementary school teacher.  Fanny is a returned missionary!
      The second baby is Alista's son.  Remember - Alista is the soccer hero here in Vanuatu.  He is also the District Clerk.  He has his application in for the Nursing College of Vanuatu.  We are hoping to find out the results soon.  The baby has not been blessed yet.  When we visited right after his birth, Alista asked me for a name.  Children all have several names - five or six.  I said that he looked like a Daniel.  We will see, if this name is one that sticks!     
        **** His precious little baby has now been blessed by his father.  His name is Allan Kaleb (something I can't spell or pronounce) DANIEL Justin.  They will call him Daniel!!!*****
      This is the proud father, Alista.  Notice the soccer trophy on the cabinet.  The new little family were staying with relatives after the birth in a real house.  Alista is also a returned missionary.
       These little ones belong to Maria.  The little boy, Jiwaka, says "Elder Larsen is good"!  When Clyde goes fishing, he will frequently give the fish to Maria.  The children think that the fish are a real treat.  Sylvia and Jiwaka run and hug us at church.  Maria is the Gospel Doctrine teacher and the Young Women's President in Branch One.  She is a returned missionary and studying at USP.  She wants to be a secondary school teacher in management.  She is very bright and has a strong testimony!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Baptismal Service

      There have been many baptismal services here since we have arrived.  Some have been in the ocean.  Some have been for individuals.  However, last Saturday, after the Women's Conference, we had a service for seven children and one adult.  The adult was the wife of a member - the brother in baptismal clothes.  Terry was able to baptize his wife!


         This is the only picture with the sister missionaries.  Sorry it is not more clear!
      The baptismal font is outdoors.  There is a fence all around the font.  Everyone gathers close to see the baptisms - just like at home.
      There had been a lovely service in the chapel before the baptisms.  Three of the children spoke.  After the baptisms, they all returned to the chapel for a brief meeting.  Then they had refreshments in the cultural hall.  A Samoan saying was shared with us all!

"We teach our children to be happy, not to be rich -
Then when they grow up, they will know the value of things - not just the price!"

Friday, October 4, 2013

Spiritual Blessings

      We have enjoyed some incredible spiritual experiences.  It is wonderful to see the Lord's hand in everything.  There have been very special Sacrament Meetings throughout the island, in each of the branches.  We are really understanding the bislama much better.  (We are not having much luck with the speaking part.)
      Last month we had the opportunity to have a visit from Elder Wakola, our Area Seventy.  He is from Fiji. He is a real scriptorian.  One morning, he spoke at our devotional.  His testimony and depth of understanding was imparted to us all.  I will share several of his thoughts.  I wish that each of you could have heard his remarks in their entirety.
"Doctrine understood will change behavior."
"Your testimony will not save you - only your continuing conversion."
"To be endowed will help us to endure."
      The Women's Conference was another wonderfully spiritually occasion.  We had the conference on October 5th here.  Our translation department needed the week to get it all translated and recorded in bislama. Thank goodness there is also a room with meeting in English.  Some of my favorite quotes from the conference are:
"Covenants are contracts with our Heavenly Father...Covenants strengthen us, empower us, and protect us!"
"Keeping covenants are essential to our true happiness  -  start early and keep steady."
"Come to the temple and claim our blessings!"
"Prayer is our anchor - our strength.  He will always be there for us, if we but ask."