Monday, October 29, 2012

First Observe, Then Serve (#59)

Linda K Burton, the General Relief Society President, quoted words from President Monson in her Sunday Morning conference address: “We are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness.  We are the Lord’s hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve and to lift His children. He is dependent upon each of us.”

She went on to say, “Did you hear it—the invitation to love one another? For some, serving or ministering one by one, following the Savior’s example doesn’t come easily. But with practice, each of us can become more like the Savior as we serve God’s children. To help us better love one another, I would like to suggest four words to remember: “First observe, then serve.”  We found that this was definitely a observe and serve week!

Last Sunday we listened to conference in the Koror Branch. We had special visitors from Lehi, Utah with us,  Rob and Cindy Andra.  After the meeting was over they talked to President Kesolei and said that they had reserved a little time and money from their vacation in Palau to do a little service.  President Kesolei asked Elder Johnsen to work with them and come up with a project.  Elder and Sister Johnsen quickly thought of a widow in the branch rearing two young sons, with a daughter who just returned home from a mission to Australia.  We knew that their kitchen floor was on the verge of caving in.  After clearing the project with the family Elder Johnsen contacted Rob and Cindy and made final arrangements for the project.  On Wednesday we inspected the job site, acquired and delivered the materials, and made arrangements for the tools.  Meanwhile, the family began the arduous process of obtaining a permit for us to do the work.

On Friday, our work day, the sky was cloud free; it was a perfect day for our project.  Of course, rather than just overlay the kitchen floor our project expanded to also include replacing the siding on the back of the kitchen and replacing the cabinet doors.   At 8:00 all the full-time missionaries as well as Rob and Cindy were in place, and you should have seen the sawdust fly.  By 1:00 we were done with as much as we could do, and were eating a celebratory pizza with the family.  As we dropped Rob and Cindy off at their hotel we felt so blessed to have been a part of their commitment to first observe, then serve.   Incidentally, the arduous permit still hadn’t been issued by the time we drove away.  

That wasn’t the only service in which we were engaged; on Tuesday, we were at the church with the Elders painting exterior doors and the bathrooms of our building.  With the parking lot lines finished the week before, the building is looking very fresh and nice.  
On Wednesday Elder Johnsen and Brother Thing spent all morning gathering materials for a roofing project for another one of our widow women in the branch.  We hope to have time to actually do the work on her house later this week.  By the end of the week Elder Johnsen thought he’d spent more time in his work clothes than he had spent wearing his white shirt.  

We were all back in missionary attire on Saturday morning for our Zone conference with President and Sister Mecham who had come to visit us from Guam.  We learned some great new phrases like “Bust the crust” off  our investigators, and “revelations come with role playing”.  We were there until 4 p.m. and then came home and began some of our preparations for feeding 9 people on Sunday.

The Elders Role-Playing
For Sacrament meeting our little choir of 8 sang, “Let Virtue Garnish All My Thoughts Unceasingly” and it was our best performance so far.  Both Elder and Sister Johnsen had to teach Sunday School, one to the adults and one to the youth. Then Elder Johnsen had to stay to help with other responsibilities, and Sister Johnsen went home to eat lunch and work on dinner.

We had the best time during dinner with all four Elders and President and Sister Mecham. President Mecham told us several stories about his very cold mission in Quebec, Canada; hearing that made us so happy to be in Micronesia. He also told us that the new office couple, the Princes from St. George Utah listened to Elder Bednar speak while they were in the MTC, and he said the new policies for missionaries have definitely occurred because the Lord is hastening his work.

Elder Johnsen still wasn’t done when everyone left at 6:00 P.M. He had to go out to Airai and see how many families he could home teach.  He and Rodney visited 13 families who were home, and left a message for 4 others—not a bad night home teaching.

We feel that we have tried to observe and serve A LOT this week; we definitely were ready for our day off on Monday!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Contention, Conference, CES and Calophyllum (#58)

Elder Gubler told a great story at district meeting last week that reminded us that contention is not part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Elder Gubler and Fullmer were teaching a man who belongs to the Church of Christ, and who is very familiar with the Bible.  As they prepared for the lesson Elder Gubler said that he was actually apprehensive about teaching a man who knew bible scriptures possibly better than he did.  He said that he prayed and thought hard on what they should teach, and the spirit seemed to ratify their decision to show the restoration video.  During the video the Elders were praying that the investigator would feel the spirit and his heart would be softened.  After the video was over, the investigator said that he had a couple of scriptures in Isaiah that he wanted to review with them.  Elder Gubler used that as a smooth introduction to Isaiah 29 where he taught the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.  When the investigator had his turn in Isaiah the scripture which he wanted to point out had no meaning in the context of their ongoing discussion.  He basically had a stupor of thought on the point he wanted to make.  The investigator then commented that he would like to have the Elders meet with his pastor.  The Elders politely pointed out that their calling was to contend with no man, but to proclaim the restoration and invite all to come unto the Savior’s true church through baptism and receipt of the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Elder Gubler strongly felt the spirit as they testified to him of the restoration and the coming forth of additional scripture which testifies of Christ.  It was evident that the investigator felt the spirit of their message for as the meeting concluded the investigator had them turn to John 21:35 which reads, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.”  We are reminded of the Lord’s reasoning in D&C section 50:21-22 where it is written that “he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth.  Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together.”

This past weekend was our general conference (we view conference a couple weeks after it airs live in the states, we receive it on DVDs).  We were in-charge of providing sandwiches between conference sessions on Saturday and a pineapple chicken topping for rice between the Sunday sessions.  Other members brought additional food for the pot luck luncheons—the Sunday meal was quite the feast.  In addition to the chicken, Sister Johnsen made cookies, two batches of rice crispy squares, a batch of brownies, two batches of rolls and a jello salad.   We always come away from conference restored and rejuvenated (and in Palau, well fed both spiritually and physically).  On Sunday evening before the Elders went home for the night (after eating Johnsen’s famous popcorn and lemon bars) each person took turns telling something from conference that stood out to them.  We really enjoyed Elder’s Fullmer’s comment.  He and Elder Gubler had a very choice investigator with them at both Sunday sessions, Elder Fullmer commented that it was so fun to be sitting with a beloved investigator and listen to the conference and in effect hear it through her ears and see it through her eyes.  His countenance just radiated the love he felt for the gospel truths taught.   

This week we also had Brother Nicerio, the head of the Church Education System in this area come for a visit.  He was able to attend our seminary, and  institute, conduct training with us and our teachers, and also make a presentation to our students about BYU-Hawaii. 

After he departed he left us with the following words. “I am so grateful for the tremendous work you are doing in Palau. You may not always realize how far your influence reaches into the lives of those you teach and your positive impact might not be readily apparent to you but don’t underestimate what the Lord is doing through you. The Lord loves you and He is aware of the challenges you are facing. Your continued guidance will help many of our Palauan brothers and sisters get the best of their spiritual education. Your work in Palau reminds me of what we have been talking about the past two days I was there, and let me share that again with you…at this time the whole story. I hope it will inspire you.”

P.U.S.H. = Pray Until Something Happens!

A man was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with a bright light, and the Savior appeared. The Lord told the man He had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might. This, the man did, day after day.

For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down with his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore, and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain.

Seeing that the man was showing signs of discouragement, the Adversary decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the man’s weary mind: “You’ve been pushing against that rock for a long time, and it hasn’t budged. Why kill yourself over this? You’re never going to move it” —thus, giving the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure. These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man.

“Why kill myself over this?” he thought. “I’ll just put in my time, giving just the minimum effort and that’ll be good enough.”

And that’s just what he planned to do— until one day he decided to make it a matter of prayer and take his troubled thoughts to the Lord.

“Lord” he said, “I’ve labored long and hard in Your service, putting all my strength to do that which You’ve asked. Yet, after all this time, I haven’t even budged that rock by half a millimeter. What’s wrong? Why am I failing?”

The Lord responded compassionately,

“My friend, when I asked you to serve Me— you accepted. I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength— which you’ve done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to Me— with your strength spent, thinking that you’ve failed. But is that really so?”

“Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscular. Your back sinew is mighty. Your hands are callused from the constant pressure; and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you’ve grown much and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. Yet you haven’t moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom. This you’ve done. I, my friend, will now move the rock.”

At times, when we hear from God, we tend to use our own intellect to decipher what He wants. What God ACTUALLY wants is just simple OBEDIENCE and FAITH IN HIM.

By all means, exercise the faith that moves mountains, but know that it’s still God who moves the mountains.

P.U.S.H. = Pray Until Something Happens!

When everything seems to go wrong,

When the job gets you down,P.U.S.H.

When people don’t react the way you think they should,P.U.S.H.

When your money looks funny and the bills are due,P.U.S.H.

When people just don’t understand you,
Elder Early is just a couple of weeks away from going home so we decided to go spend our Monday at Toby’s beach which we did when Elder Adams was going home. Elder Fullmer had never been there.

While the elders played football and went hiking E/S Johnsen walked along the beach, sat on a palm tree (which was growing out over the water) and talked with our feet dangling in the warm ocean water and spent about 60 minutes in a hammock (built for two) under a big shade tree right on the beach.  It was a totally relaxing and restoring afternoon!  We ate raw fish that Toby caught about 60 minutes before we arrived, and Sister J brought some lemon bars and brownies along for a treat.  It was a GREAT day.

While on our walk down the beach we met a woman with a pail pulling sap off the trees. She told us that she was collecting it because of its many healing properties. She wrote the name in the sand for us, calophyllum.
The oil is analgesic and is used for sciatica, shingles, neuritis, leprous neuritis and rheumatism. The pulverized seeds have been used to cure ulcers and bad wounds. Bark also has medicinal uses as an infusion or in other herbal remedies. Calophyllum oil has been an important part of Pacific Island folk medicine for a wide range of skin disorders and conditions, from superficial burns and scrapes to neuralgia and fissures. Polynesian woman have used Calophyllum oil to promote healthy, blemish-free skin. It is also used on babies for diaper rash and skin eruptions.

We know that the gospel also has many healing properties; unlike the woman who was collecting, we are happy to be taking from our gospel bucket and sharing its healing properties with the people in Palau.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

Who is on the Lord’s Side? (#57)

During a baptism this week Elder Johnsen was asked to give the brief talk to welcome the new member, Jonathan Tamangmow, into the branch.  He chose for his topic the question Moses posed to rebellious Israel after he “…cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount” upon returning to camp finding Israel worshiping a golden calf.  Moses asked them, “Who is on the Lord’s side?” (Exodus 32:26) Elder Johnsen said to Jonathan that by being baptized he had stepped over the line onto the Lord’s side.  Now he was under covenant to stay on the Lord’s side.  He mentioned that Jonathan might be tempted by tobacco, betel nut, or to sleep in on Sunday rather than go to church. He told him that he might want to drop out of school, or be dishonest, but whatever the challenge he should remember to stay on the Lord’s side of the line and that he would enjoy a more abundant life than if he gave in to the enticements represented by the golden calf.  Elder Johnsen read the first 3 verses of Hymn 260 as he concluded his welcome talk, but the second verse seems to be especially pertinent to our little branch in Palau, it reads, “We serve the living God, and want his foes to know that, if but few, we’re great; Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?  We’re going on to win; No fear must blanch the brow.  The Lord of Hosts is ours; Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?”
Speaking of the Lord’s side, we were so happy that the bugs in the LDS mapping tool were corrected this week.  On three separate days Elder Johnsen has spent 2-3 hours each day recording the member locations using the church’s on-line mapping tool.  Since the google map for a given area takes so long to load using dial-up what he uses as his go-by is our priesthood service night member maps that he created.  Those paper maps have the member names and locations by geographic location.  It is much easier to keep the computer google map for an area open and then just jump to the various member names in the directory who live in that area than to try to mark the locations alphabetically. In some cases the area where the member lives was under cloud cover, but since we have GPS locations for most of our members we still can mark them with precision (after he converts the degree, minute, second coordinates into decimal, which is what the church marking tool uses)  So far this week he recorded exact locations for all the members in Airai, Meyuns 1 and Meyuns 2, plus a few members in some outlying areas that we just visited on Saturday (we visit members who live too far out to be visited during priesthood service night).  In addition to locations we’ve also been working on loading member pictures.  So far Elder Johnsen has created and loaded 201 head shots of our member’s. He has only 90 more go and we’ll have a picture of every member in our branch directory.  During our spare time each week we’re working to track down those members and take their picture.   We’re hoping that this effort will make it easier for subsequent missionaries, and also persons called into the branch leadership, to find and come to know the members in their watch care.

We held a CES fireside this past Sunday in our apartment.  Elder Holland entitled his fireside address “Israel, Israel, God Is Calling.”  He is such a passionate speaker.  He very powerfully challenged listeners by saying “We never leave our religion at the door,” which seemed to us to be just another way of saying, “Stay on the Lord’s side, no matter what.”    

Eli McCann from Salt Lake City spoke in church on Sunday. He’s a new branch member who is working in Palau for a year as council for the Supreme Court chief justice.  He mentioned in his talk that he had served in Ukraine on his mission.  In one very small branch where he served there was a little girl named Yana. She was about 9 years old but she would walk all alone to church every Sunday. (as Eli was telling this part of the story, Elder Johnsen caught 9 year old Carein’s eye who had, as usual, walked to church all alone as she does every week; she gave him a knowing glance). Eli said that they had no other children that attended, nevertheless, little Yana would stay for the entire 3 hour block by attending adult gospel doctrine class and then stay with the Relief Society during the 3rd hour.  The elders told Yana that they couldn’t have a Primary because she was the only child there.  The next Sunday she brought with her 6 non-member friends so that they could have a Primary. The Elders helped them get it going. Yana was later baptized, and was thrilled to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  When Elder McCann leaned that he was being transferred from that area he purchased 7 CTR rings; one for Yana and her 6 friends.  When he gave the ring to Yana he asked if she knew why he was giving her that particular gift.  She had put it on her finger and looked down at her hand and thought for a while. Then she asked, “It is so that I’ll remember you?”  Elder McCann said that was part of it. Then he asked her if she knew what CTR stands for. He told her it stood for “Choose The Right.” Then he said he was also giving her the ring so she would remember to always choose the right. Yana looked down at her finger again and thought. Then she looked up and said to Elder McCann, “But I don’t need a ring to remember to choose the right, I have the Holy Ghost.”  Elder McCann then said, “That’s right, you just keep the ring to remember me then.”  The story brought a powerful feeling into our meeting.  I think we were not only touched by the faithfulness of this little 9 year old girl, but also touched by her insight.  She knew how to stay on the Lord’s side. The spirit bore witness that we must all do likewise!  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Palau’s “Piper Cub” Club (#56)

We celebrated one year in the mission field this week. Sister Johnsen made a poster. She has to admit it looks NOTHING like Elder Pauga’s signs. Oh well. We find that we have learned some things in the last year that we thought those who read our blog might find interesting. We also discovered this week that even after a year we can still have some new experiences. 
On Monday Sister Johnsen decided she would try the Chinese massage and cupping procedure. It sounded pretty interesting.  In retrospect, maybe she should have looked it up on-line first…”The air inside the cup is heated and the rim is then applied to the skin, forming an airtight seal. As the air inside the cup cools, it contracts, forming a partial vacuum and enabling the cup to suck the skin, pulling in soft tissue, and drawing blood to that area.  According to the American Cancer Society, "available scientific evidence does not support cupping as a cure for cancer or any other disease". It can leave temporary bruised painful marks on the skin and there is also a small risk of burns.”  For Sister Johnsen, the Chinese massage therapist attached about 15 bottles to her shoulders and back and left them on for about 10 minutes, and then they took them off. She looked like she had been in a paint ball fight and the paint ball hits were the size of tennis balls. Here she shows what one of her shoulders looked like. 
In theory, after cupping, the darker the skin the more toxic is that part of the body which the cupping is “drawing out”. Sister Johnsen’s family line tends to have a little arthritis in their shoulders so you’d expect pretty dark spots there.  Elder Johnsen thinks that the reason the shoulders are darker was because the curve of the underlying structure created a tighter seal, more suction and more bruising.   Regardless of the efficacy, it will probably be awhile until she tries that again.

Speaking of new things, Elder Johnsen found that what we in the states call a putty knife has a different name here in Palau, at least in one of the Chinese hardware stores. Here is what he found while shopping.  Luckily most people in Palau use toilet paper. 

We find that we still have lots of work to do on the building and while the Elders painted interior doors, Sister Johnsen filed papers in President Kesolei’s office, and later in the week hung some pictures.
We also put up a few new decorations in his office including a small lighthouse. President’s Kesolie’s favorite hymn is Brightly Beams our Father’s Mercy.  Beside the lighthouse we created a framed picture that says, “But to Us He give the keeping of the Lights along the shore.”  Elder Boyd K Packer related a story that gave that hymn special meaning to him.  He and several others, including John Groberg, were attempting to make a 13 mile night crossing between islands in Western Samoa so they could reorganize a stake the next day at their destination.  He said, “We made the 13 mile crossing on very rough seas.  None of us realized that a ferocious tropical storm had hit Upolo Island.  At Mulisanua, there is one narrow passage through the reef.  A light on the hill above the beach marked that narrow passage.  There was a second lower light on the beach.  When a boat was maneuvered so that the two lights were one above the other, it was lined up properly to pass through the reef.  

"But that night, there was only one light.  Someone was on the landing waiting to meet us, but the crossing took much longer than usual.  After waiting for hours, watching for signs of our boat, they tired and fell asleep in the car, neglecting to turn on the lower light.”  Elder Packer then explained how with just that one upper light to guide them the captain tried and repeatedly failed to find the opening in the reef.  He said, “It seemed like the boat would struggle up a mountainous wave and then pause in exhaustion at the crest of it with the propellers out of the water.  The vibration of the propellers would shake the boat nearly to pieces before it slid down the other side.”   After many attempts, the captain realized it was impossible to find the opening.  All they could do was try to reach the harbor in Apia, twenty miles away.  It took them all night in very heavy seas to travel those 20 miles with all the brethren holding on spread eagle to the top of the cargo hold to keep from being washed overboard.  

In this song the Savior is the shining light house, but to us God gives the keeping of the lower lights along the shore.   This song encourages us to let our lower light shine so we may rescue those who are struggling to find safe harbor in the ocean of life.  

To celebrate one year in the mission field we ate at a little Thai restaurant where we have never eaten before. The food was amazingly delicious. We will definitely go there again.

One thing that Elder Johnsen says that he has learned from serving in the mission field for one year is that the Lord knew what he was doing when He sent us to Palau.  We have come here with a certain skill set and it seems to be just what the branch needs.   Eric Carlson, the previous second counselor in the branch presidency, told him that it always seems like the Lord sends just the right senior missionaries with just the right skills at just the right time.  President Rawson, in his prayer to set Elder Johnsen apart, used those words in his blessing.  He said that Elder Johnsen would use his education, skills, talents, knowledge etc. in his calling.  It has been quite amazing for us to see how literally that has been fulfilled in our first year.  Elder Johnsen has used Accounting, Computing, Scouting, Finance/Budgeting, Musical, Teaching, Carpentry, Painting, Car Care, Cooking, Cleaning, Laundry, First Aid, Ministry, and Administering skills almost from day one.   

Elder Johnsen has also discovered that you can find and visit everyone-multiple times, improve the Sacrament meetings, create a home teaching night, improve the music and work with all the auxiliary programs and it doesn’t seem like it makes any difference to the majority of people.  Our Sacrament meeting attendance this past quarter was basically the same as it was at the end of December last year.  

Sister Johnsen says that she has learned that senior missionaries are truly needed in these “Piper Cub” branches. As Elder Uchtdorf suggested in conference some units of the church are F18’s and some are Piper Cubs. The work that senior missionaries can do makes a huge difference in helping the faithful few, and in the maintenance of the church programs in these “Piper Cub” areas. She sees it all over Micronesia.

Sister Johnsen has also learned that 18 months is a long time to be away from family, friends, fast food and fun. It’s a sacrifice, but it’s also a blessing in many ways. Just has to balance out, doesn’t it?  Elder Johnsen always says that there’s balance in the universe.  

So that is our one year anniversary analysis that we wanted to share. We’re still here, still doing the work, still trying to make a difference in Palau!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Becoming as little children! (#55)

Studying with our Sunday school class in 3 Nephi has been a great experience for us. We have learned so much and we hope that the youth have too.  We have talked about the Savior’s teachings in the Sermon on the Mount. Each principle brings us to a higher and higher level. We want to become more like the Savior, and we know we have to start somewhere. We like the idea of becoming like little children.  “Except you become as little children, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

We love the little children here in Palau. They are so beautiful, sweet, and innocent. How can we be more like they are?

One of the ways is by turning our will over to our Heavenly Father. This quote says it very well: “Yielding one’s heart to God signals the last stage in our spiritual development.  Only then are we beginning to be fully useful to God! It is only by yielding to God that we can begin to realize His will for us. And if we truly trust God, why not yield to His loving omniscience? After all, He knows us and our possibilities much better than we do.” (Willing to Submit, May 1985 Neal A. Maxwell)  Elder Johnsen told his Sunday School class this week that he thought “blessed are the meek” meant “blessed are those who defer to the will of God”.  President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “Meekness implies a spirit of gratitude and opposed to an attitude of self-sufficiency, an acknowledgment of a greater power beyond oneself, a recognition of God, and an acceptance of his commandments.”  

This is our one year mark in the mission field, and to be perfectly honest, we have learned serving a mission for 18 months with no breaks is HARD work.  At ExxonMobil Elder Johnsen had 6 weeks of vacation, 10 holidays with nights and weekends off every year, and they paid him a salary.  On a mission we’re up at 6:00 a.m. and fall exhausted in bed every night at 10:00. It is a relentless schedule, seven days a week, and we pay for the privilege to serve.  

This last week we were facing some personal challenges, and had questions about how to handle those problems, so we opened a fast on Saturday night. We were seeking to know the Lord’s will about our mission here in Palau. We went to church with one very strong opinion, hoping the Lord would validate that. Instead, he showed us in very interesting ways what He wanted us to do.

Sister Johnsen was teaching about how the Nephites heard a sound, but they had to hear it three times before they “Opened their ears to hear it.” (3 Nephi 11:5) Sister Johnsen and the class decided that opening our ears meant listening with our hearts. She felt that maybe she was being reminded that she needed to open her heart as well.

Then Sister Johnsen went into Relief Society, and Elder Johnsen went into Priesthood. Both groups were studying the talk by Elder Holland, called “Laborers in the Vineyard”. Sister Johnsen had prepared the opening song a month in advance, so as she lead and sang the song, she was surprised to hear the words as though the Lord had spoken to her. “The time is far spent, there is little remaining, to publish glad tidings, by sea and by land. Then hasten ye heralds, go forward proclaiming: Repent for the kingdom of heaven’s at hand. Shrink not from your duty, however unpleasant, but follow the Savior, your pattern and friend. Our little afflictions tho painful at present, Ere long, with the righteous, in glory will end. Be fixed in your purpose, for Satan will try you; the weight of your calling he perfectly knows. Your path may be thorny, but Jesus is nigh you. His arm is sufficient, tho demons oppose.” (The Time is Far Spent, Hymn #266)

Elder Johnsen was listening to the lesson in Priesthood, but was beginning to feel a little drowsy (as High Priests are sometimes known to be) and felt as though someone shook him and said, “Pay attention. You need to hear this:  “The formula of faith is to hold on, work on, see it through, and let the distress of earlier hours-real or imagined-fall away in the abundance of the final reward.” (Labor’s in the Vineyard, Jeffrey R. Holland, Ensign May, 2012. Pg. 32.)

When we came home to talk and pray and break our fast, we felt we knew what the Lord wanted us to do, and we just needed to align our will with His to accomplish the work that he sent us to Palau to do. We felt grateful for the opportunity to know what He wanted us to do, and are praying for the strength to do it.

Sometimes we have to learn this lesson of deferring to the will of God over and over again. It is not usually a one and done situation. Just as little children have to try and fail sometimes several times, we also need to develop these attributes over time. This is advanced discipleship! These things seldom are accomplished in a straight line.

Speaking of straight lines, you should see the work we did in the parking lot of the church this week. To paint a truly straight line we had to tape every line first and then we could paint. It was hard work and hot. But we finished all the yellow lines and curb markings in one morning. Surprisingly the Elders were sorer from the stooping and kneeling than were the old timers.

 In addition to painting, Elder Johnsen and Fullmer hung a bulletin board in our primary nursery.
We are grateful to be reminded that we need to become as little children and that we can trust the Lord-- He always knows the right thing to do!