Monday, September 3, 2012

Shedding the Old, Beginning Anew (#51)

After what seemed like weeks of work procuring materials, priming the wood, tearing off the old—we finally got the siding on the back of the shed replaced.  It felt like it took all summer to complete the project since we only spent one morning each week working on it and some weeks we couldn’t work because it was raining.  You should have seen Elder Fullmer and Elder Johnsen out in the hot parking lot cutting the 4x8 sheets of plywood to the proper size with a tiny hand saw.  You’d be surprised how much work it is to cut wood with no power tools and a dull hand saw.  Elder Johnsen always says, “Work Will Win When Wishy Washy Wishing Won’t”.  
Speaking of shedding things, we’ve been going thru over 20 years of old records found in the branch president’s office.  Normally the church has us retain records for the current year and the prior 3 years, but before Elder and Sister Johnsen felt that they could throw away the records (at the recommendation of the service center) they wanted to make sure that everything on the records had been recorded.  Here we see Elder Johnsen taking a break from the data entry. 
 He probably spent 20 hours on the project for the members that still reside in Palau.  We sent a huge stack of paper to Guam where our partner and friend, Liz Giddens, at the Service Center processed 1, 099 records which included Child’s Blessing, Aaronic Priesthood ordination, Melchezidek Priesthood ordination and Baptism with Confirmations.  After making sure all the information was properly recorded, we felt comfortable shedding all those old records.  They literally went up in smoke because we burned them in the same fire which consumed the old siding from the shed.

Elder Johnsen also used the snipping tool to capture face shots of many of the members that we’ve met over the past 11 months.  He now has about 175 face shot photos with the member’s name.  The next miracle we’re praying for is that we’ll be able to get the LDS on-line directory to accept the member pictures and also their location on LDS maps (but that’s a story for another day).

Elder Fullmer told a wonderful story in Testimony meeting on Sunday.  He and 3 brothers were skate boarding with two of the younger brothers riding on the front of the long boards, and two of the older boys were actually doing all the work of making the boards move.   It was getting dark and so it was a little hard to see. They came to an intersection and they couldn’t see any cars, but suddenly his older brother told them not to cross but step back 3 paces, which they all did. Just at that moment a jeep came careening around the corner without the lights on, and actually ran over the tip of the shoes of one of the younger brothers who was sitting on the front of the long skate board. It they hadn’t moved back 3 paces the results would have been disaster.  Elder Fullmer said that later his brother said he heard the voice of the spirit telling him to say, “Move back 3 steps.”  If we will just shed our sins we can remain close enough to the spirit to hear the warning voice protect us until we complete our mission on the earth.  Nephi says “that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance” 1 Nephi 1:20

We also began shedding the carefree days of summer.  Our local community college is back in session and so is our weekly Institute.  We’ve begun teaching institute at Palau Community College in room #59 of the Smuuch building on the PCC campus every Thursday night at 7:00.  Smuuch in English looks a lot like smooch and most of the North Americans refer to the building by that name, but this is not the kissing building!  Smuuch is the Palauan name of a fish and the uuch is pronounced with an ooh sound as in Boo.  It is wonderful beginning the study of the Savior’s life as recorded in the New Testament.  Angie is a great teacher, and we are going to have a great year learning about him. 

Finally, the entire Zone of Elder’s welcomed Sister Johnsen back to Palau after a break in the states to attend an important wedding.  As she shed her suitcases she read a card signed by all of us.  Perhaps Elder Gubler best captured how all the Elder’s felt about her return, “Sister Johnsen, you are the best!  You do so much for all of us.  It’s amazing how hard you and Elder Johnsen work.  Thank you for giving all of us a mother here in Palau!”
Maybe, no matter what we’re currently doing, it’s time to shed the bad and move forward to better. “If ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.”  Moroni 10:33.  We testify that it is only in and thru the Savior that we can be made perfect.  

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