Monday, November 5, 2012

Kia Kaha (#60)

In the movie Forever Strong, during an intense conversation with his dad, the reformed Rick Penning passionately says, “ I don't do anything to embarrass myself, my team, or my family; not anymore, Highland Rugby Kia Kaha.”  We had our biggest crowd to date when we showed “Forever Strong” this week during First Friday Flicks. (By the way, when President Mecham was here he mentioned that Highland Rugby coach Larry Gilwicks was called as a mission president  the same time as the Mechams were).  We also have stayed strong this week as we’ve continued our efforts to provide both physical and spiritual service.

Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. all the missionaries gathered at the church to prepare for another morning of service.  Our project was directed to one of our less active members who lives at the end of a long and usually muddy trail that Elder and Sister Johnsen affectionately call “Dead Dog Road”.  The day we found Diane’s home tucked back in the jungle there was a dead dog lying on the trail.   About 100 feet before the home there is a sharp 8 foot rise in elevation where prior to our service project there were only muddy steps (barely toe holes) carved into the clay hill.  We thought it would be fun to create something more durable and impervious to the 160 inches of annual rainfall.  As you can see the project was masterfully completed with member donated materials, and tools from the church.  The only thing we needed but didn’t have was a hack saw to cut the rebar.  Sister Johnsen made a quick trip to Mason’s hardware and scored a deal of the century, she purchased 3 hacksaw blades and saw handles for $1 each.  Unfortunately, the blades were not filled with the spirit of Kia Kaha and quickly broke in pieces. But no worries, the elders just hammered the rebar a little deeper into the clay.  Kia Kaha!

After the project on Tuesday the elders helped Elder Johnsen finish cutting our 4x8 foot sheet of galvanized steel flashing into 1x8 foot strips.  On Wednesday, the Koror Elders along with Elder Johnsen were hard at it again, this time on the top of the roof at Sister Paz’s dwelling installing the flashing along the drip line of her current roof.  The runoff from the roof was actually running down the side of house and rotting out the windows—the Elder’s pulled the roofing nails which held down the steel roofing material, slid about 6 inches of the flashing under the steel and then re-nailed thru the roofing and flashing to extend the drip line and keep the water off the house.  You would be surprised how hard it was to pull the nails out of the old roofing and the underlying wood—Elder Johnsen thought they’d be done in 30 minutes but the job took 2 hours.  But they persisted until they succeeded, Kia Kaha!
Tuesday night was also our Priesthood Service Night.  Elder Johnsen prepares Liahona’s and first presidency messages for each of 7 different routes for members living in Koror.  On Tuesday we were able to cover 6 of our 7 routes—each companionship visits about 20 families.  We’ve been doing PH service night for 9 consecutive months now—sometimes you don’t know if that regular contact with the church priesthood holders makes any difference but this past Sunday one of the members on Elder Johnsen’s Meyuns 1 route actually came to church, brought her non-member son who the elders have begun teaching, and she actually bore her testimony in Sacrament meeting.  Kia Kaha!

This Sunday also was Elder Early’s last Sunday in Palau.  He has reached the end of his two years of missionary service.  He says that his mission has been “everything that he needed but nothing that he wanted.”  Elder Early converted to the church in his late teens.  Despite his family’s opposition he decided to serve a mission. He just recently learned that he has been accepted as a student at BYU-Idaho.  As is our tradition with departing missionaries, Elder Early sat in the hot seat and answered our version of 20 questions—all having to do with his mission.

He is one of the most thoughtful and articulate departing missionaries; so his answers were very insightful.  He noted that one of his greatest desires was to come back to civilian life the different  person than the one that left for the mission field.  What Elder Johnsen likes best about Elder Early is his ability to extemporaneously discuss any subject with passion and insight.  He was always the go to guy when no one had prepared a priesthood lesson.  Elder Early has the gift of spending 60 seconds looking at material and then presenting a lesson that seems like he spent a week preparing it.  We think Elder Early is well on the road to staying strong.  Kia Kaha!   

When life presents us with obstacles or problems, whether physical, spiritual, or emotional, we need to be forever strong, Kia Kaha to all of our faithful readers!

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