On Saturday we were able to witness a very special baptism. After twenty years and numerous sets of missionaries, “Grandma” was finally baptized. Elder Fullmer and Elder Gubler were the right missionaries, at the right time, with the right message. Now in her 70’s and crippled, she was carried into the water by the two missionaries. Because they had carried her into the water and had to hold her in their arms, it took three attempts to finally make sure she was completely buried in the water. On the first attempt she had her hand on Elder Gubler’s back so that didn’t go under. The next time both elders tried to kneel down and get her covered, but they couldn’t make a space between them. Finally they figured out a way to baptize her. As she was wheeled back into the chapel after her baptism, she was glowing. There was a noticeable difference in her countenance. It doesn’t surprise us that they are having success for the past 3 weeks they’ve averaged 40 lessons taught each week!
We talked today in Sunday School about the lost 116 pages of the Book of Mormon which Martin Harris convinced Joseph Smith to give to him. But the Lord, who knows the beginning from the end, had prepared the Book of Mormon to be complete by inspiring prophets thousands of years in advance to include portions that needed to be there. The Lord knows that some things take thousands of years and some take only twenty, but the Lord knows how to get his work done. We read that, “The works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they be come to naught…remember, that is it not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men” (D & C 3:1, 3).
We found ourselves perfect examples of that principle of the work of men being frustrated this week because we forgot to prepare someone to take Karen’s place to post our blog. It was pretty frustrating! Now our last two blogs are back to back because we did not find anyone to help us. Karen has been out on a cruise with our son, Clay, and she is the one who helps us. We appreciate how the Lord’s work is always accomplished.
This week Sister Johnsen went out to give our newly baptized member, Melody, an orientation for her calling as branch music leader. With a name like Melody, it is the perfect calling. She loves music, but it turns out that she can’t read music at all. So now, Sister J has to go back and start teaching her from the church’s keyboard workbook and see if we can help her. Because she loves music so much and enjoyed Sister Johnsen’s musical number in Sacrament meeting when she sang Sally DeFord’s song, "Whole Again," Elder Johnsen burned her 10 songs from the Sally DeFord collection with both the vocal and the minus track, and Sister Johsen printed all the music. Melody was thrilled to have that music, and wants to learn all the songs.
We also started working with the kids at Koror Elementary on the Spelling Bee. It is kind of late, because last year Meyun’s Elementary started before Christmas and it is the end of January. We will just have to do whatever we can to prepare them the upcoming Spelling Bee in late March.
We continued our “new” tradition of having a picnic on the last Thursday before the end of the transfer which occurs on Sunday, the 27th. We found a new location, and it was so beautiful. The boats streaming by, the Rock Islands, the beautiful blues in the water created a pleasant atmosphere for our meal together. There was plenty of good food prepared by Sister Johnsen, and all of it was free (to the Elders). Elder Johnsen is always reminding us that this is the BEST kind of food-free food!
Our lovely day was especially appreciated because we have had rain every day this week. SJ mentioned to EJ on Sunday afternoon that we hadn’t had rain for a while, and it started raining Sunday evening. We walked in rain almost every day, and one day it was like a monsoon. We were super wet walkers!
We also had another police experience this week because we found on Monday that the lock on the church gate was broken. EJ and Brother Thing went out and bought a new lock which wasn’t too expensive, but they had to purchase gate keys for the leaders and this cost an additional $18. Unfortunately on Wednesday when Brother Thing came back to the church, the lock had been broken again, so they had to go an buy another lock after contacting the police and filing another report. Elder Johnsen is going to be on a first name basis with the policemen soon!
Baptism, broken gates locks, beautiful district lunches, and Spelling Bees. Kind of a mixed bag, but making a memorable week for the Palau missionaries!
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