The LAST week of our mission! It is incredible that it is here! We have been SO busy! Tuesday we gave the Elders their final car and apartment inspections. They passed with flying colors! Their apartments and vehicles were the cleanest they have ever been. Way to go Palau Zone!
Wednesday we had a service project at Sister Paz’s house, and helped her move things from a storage room in the back of her house. Everyone worked hard as you can see from our pictures. One of the things we moved was a heavy accordion room divider. Well, maybe it wasn’t THAT heavy!
Wednesday was our LAST seminary so Sister Johnsen made homemade cinnamon rolls. It was spring break and Daniel suggested that we not hold seminary. He was right on! Only one person came, but more people came to Young Men and Young Women so the cinnamon rolls got eaten.
Thursday we hosted our LAST district picnic. The elders suggested we go under the KB Bridge, and it was a lovely spot. We had pizza from Payless, and everyone said it was the best pizza they had eaten on the island.
We had our LAST district meeting after that. That night we also had our LAST institute meeting where we talked about grace. Elder Johnsen reminded the class of Elder Bednar’s BYU devotional address reprinted in the April 2012 Ensign, where he defined grace as the divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ. Elder Bednar also quoted the bible dictionary definition that reads “It is likewise through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means. This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts.” Elder Bednar went on to say that, “Grace is the divine assistance or heavenly help each of us desperately needs to qualify for the celestial kingdom. Thus, the enabling power of the Atonement strengthens us to DO and be good and to serve beyond our own individual desire and natural capacity.” Both of us have not only seen the Savior’s redeeming and cleansing power, but also have seen and felt his enabling power as we’ve served in Palau. So when we say WE did it, we really mean by the grace (enabling power) of the Lord Jesus Christ, we DID it. He was our companion in this work; He deserves all the credit. (see Jacob 5:71-72)
During our spare time on Thursday both of us worked on our homecoming talks which will be delivered at 1:00 in the Klein Ward on March 24. (Will it be the LAST missionary homecoming talk we’ll ever give?)
Friday, Sister Johnsen had several personal appointments to get ready to come home, and Elder Johnsen worked on his LAST Priesthood Service Night updating maps and getting the First Presidency message ready. Then, after Elder Johnsen’s LAST missionary haircut, w e went to Meyuns and took Sister Johnsen’s picture. Here is the one we took on our FIRST week.
The interesting thing about that FIRST picture is that we had barely been in Palau a week, and had just visited a member. We drove down to the dock near that member’s home and sat on a bamboo bench and wondered what we were going to do in Palau. We tried to come up with a list of things, like attend church, pray for the members, and speak in Sacrament meeting. Elder Johnsen took Sister Johnsen’s picture. We don’t know if you can tell by looking at it, but she was not that happy that day!! Within two weeks of that first picture we were so busy that we were not sure we could finish all that we planned to do in 18 months.
After the picture at the dock we came home and tried to pack. We have too much stuff! It is going to be interesting to see how we can get it all home. On Friday night we made mint brownies which used up the LAST of our chocolate chips and bottle of Hershey’s chocolate syrup. That’s what we call provident living!
Saturday we had work at home, but it kept us pretty busy, and we listened to the rain! It was pouring a ton! We had the Kesolie Family to dinner and also our new friends from Hurricane, Utah, Betty and Claire Hall. We played Buzz Words for the FIRST time!
Sunday was our LAST Sacrament meeting with the biggest congregation since we arrived in Palau, we had 84 in attendance, and the LAST time we sang in sacrament meeting with our little Palau choir. It was Elder Johnsen’s LAST time to teach the Palau youth Sunday School class, “How can the Book of Mormon help me strengthen my faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ”. We got to feed the Elders, Eli and Daniel one LAST time, and WE finally had to sit in the HOT SEAT and answer questions! What goes around comes around…
Monday was our final packing day and our special farewell FHE at the church. They asked us both to speak and to sing. Sister Johnsen sang, I Have Not Seen, But I Believe,” with an accompanying slide show about the Savior. It was the LAST thing we did in Koror Branch.After our usual games and final batch of famous Johnsen popcorn, our faithful elders drove us to the airport and stayed with us until we walked up the stairs, (just to make sure we didn’t break any rules before we left) and we were on our way home after 18 months!
Will it be the LAST time we ever see Palau? We don’t know, but we wish the Carters well as they begin their missionary service here and pray that the grace (Enabling Power) of the Lord Jesus Christ will attend them, as He has attended us, during their service!