Monday, January 7, 2013

Be Prepared (#69)

Monday is usually our preparation day, but this past Monday was New Year Eve and Sister Johnsen was in charge of games and also prepared a large supply of snacks and treats for the big event at the church. Instead of personal preparation, we were preparing in another way.  The party was set to begin at 8:30 p.m. and go until mid-night.  At 7:30 we began loading our car with 4 gallons of purified ice water, 40 frosted cupcakes, a tray of brownies, a tray of rice crispy treats and about 5 gallons of Johnsen famous popcorn.  The loading continued with two trash bags filled with Palauan snowballs (crumbled up paper surrounded by a white piece of paper securely fastenened with wide cellophane tape), Sequence, 3 decks of cards, old maid cards, dice, beans, straws, Banana Grams, balloons and a host of other supplies.  Upon arriving at the church we hauled all our supplies indoors and set up game tables, the food table, the drink dispenser, and then got the volleyball net up in the parking lot.  By 8:30 all was ready.

With volleyball going on outside and board games happening inside everyone was able to find something fun to do.  At 10:00 we stopped all the play, moved the volley ball nets and got set up for Palau’s second official annual snowball fight.  For those of you that have never had a snow ball fight with wadded up paper snowballs here’s how it’s done. The court is divided in half; the snowballs are dumped in the middle of the court along the center line.  Two teams of equal ability are chosen; all players line up on the back line of the court and at the sound of GO run to the center, grab snow balls and start pelting members of the other team, like dodge ball.  The only difference is that when you get hit instead of leaving the playing court you just switch sides and become a member of the other team.  It gets pretty wild—our game had about 20 contestants on each team.  Play continues until everyone is on one side or the other—however, after 30 minutes of hard charging play the Second annual Palauan snowball fight ended due to exhaustion of the players.  We have never seen so many smiles—the smaller children love trying to pelt the adults with snowballs.  In fact one little boy who didn’t quite understand that he was supposed to stay on his side of the court basically circled President Kesolei and pelted him nonstop with “snowballs.” It was the most intense barrage we’ve ever witnessed.  Both participants and watchers on the sideline were literally laughing out loud. 

After the snowball fight ended, we played some outdoor tag games which we very fun.  About 11:00 the teens got a game of basketball going while most of the crowd went back inside to continue their board games, play musical chairs, and balloon volleyball.  Elder Johnsen and 3 of the teenagers had an intense game of sequence going when the clock struck midnight. It was an amazing way to welcome in the New Year.  We felt so blessed to have a perfect night. The moon (on the breast of the new fallen snow-- balls) was nearly full, no rain, just enough of the breeze to keep the outdoor pleasant.  We got to bed at 1:00 and enjoyed our preparation day on Tuesday which was a very rainy day followed by a very rainy night.

We moved our service project to Wednesday because of New Year’s day. We found that the lights, air conditioner filters and ceiling fan blades were much dirtier than we had expected.  It took a couple of hours for four of us to clean them.

Elder Johnsen and Elder Fullmer worked on replacing the ceiling tiles in the Young Women’s room. The tiles were ruined by a water leak (which we repaired earlier). When we were finished all the Elders stopped at Sister Paz’s house to see what they could do about her roof. Bopha had blown off one of her corrugated sheets of roofing so we found and reattached it.  

On Thursday Sister Johnsen delivered her spiritual thought in district meeting which was based on the parable of the sower (or better named the parable of the different types of soil) she made the point that you don’t know the quality of the soil until you sow the seed.  So it is with missionary work, we prepare and then try to share the gospel with everyone—as Peter taught, “ . . .and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you “ 1 Peter 3:15

We were heading for the church on Friday morning to do our usual weeding when we got a call from Brother John Thing. He said that there was something wrong at the church. He asked us to come over. We were not prepared for what we saw. The church had been broken into. There was broken glass and torn door frames.  An attempt on the Branch Presidents office yielded no treasures so the family history center was tried. There a laptop was stolen. We were grateful that the other three computers were not disturbed.  Here’s how Elder Johnsen described what happened:  “Sometime between 3:30 p.m. 1/3/13 and 9:30 a.m. 1/4/13 the church building in Koror was broken into and the branch president’s office and the family history center doors were forced open and the FHC laptop was stolen. Thankfully the data projector was still at our apartment (we used it during the Christmas party which was held here) and thus it was not taken from its usual storage spot in the branch president’s office.  As far as we can tell nothing else is missing. The bad guys entered the building by breaking a louvered window by the side door (between the chapel and the aux class room building) reaching around and through the broken window pane and unlocking the door lock and the dead bolt lock.  We met with the police shortly after 9:30 and at 9:45 I filed a statement with the police.  We’ve replaced the glass panel, cleaned up the glass debris and also the debris around the forced doors.  The door into the BP office and the FHC will need to be replaced and the trim replaced and repainted.”  This was sent to both President Kesolie and to church leaders in Guam. It wasn’t the morning that we expected. We learned that that the extra glass in the shed does come in handy another example of being prepared!  

We are showing The Wizard of Oz for First Friday Flicks before we take off to Guam for our Senior conference. Our suitcases and those of Elder Marshall contain the equivalent of 9 large flat rate boxes worth of contents to mail home, all addressed to Karen Johnsen. Thanks, Krn.  We only have 10 weeks left and we thought this was our best chance to get our things home with less expense.  (All mail goes out of Palau at $.46 per ounce.  Do the math that’s $7/lb.   We literally have 130 lbs to bring to Guam that we’ll be shipping in 9 separate boxes.  From Guam we can use flat rate boxes and we will spend about $1/lb.  Now that’s being prepared to live providently!  

Bon Voyage to us! We are prepared for our trip to Guam!

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