Friday, January 31, 2014
Sunday, January 19th
Sister Mitchell and I went into church at 9:15 this morning. We are both in the Relief Society Presidency and we had a meeting at 9:30. Sunday is the only day that will work for me right now. The airport is closed on Sunday! Sister Matiali is planning two big RS events in the next two months. A social on Valentines day for the sisters and their husbands or friends and a dinner in March for the RS Birthday Party. That is going to be a lot of work but the Tongans love to party. Hopefully we can get good people to help.
Sacrament meeting was really good. It was all about the importance of education. The kids will be starting back to school in a couple of weeks and the Bishop had one of the youth, a teacher and a parent speak. They all did a wonderful job. I had a spiritual experience during the Sacrament. As they were passing the bread, I remembered a sentence in my Patriarchal Blessing. It says, “you will feed many with the bread of life.” I always thought that meant that I would help others find the truth of the gospel, but then I thought how we did that literally, yesterday, when we sent all that bread to Ha‘api. It overwhelms me to think about how the Lord knows such details in my life and so many years before they happen. I look forward to the day, on the other side of the veil, when I will understand all of this. But for now, it is very humbling.
I heard today that when Sister Maile, the returning missionary, got off the plane with the bread, a man came out to help her carry it. President Tukuafu was at the airport and he took the bread and gave it to the employees at the airport. They were over joyed and so grateful. Then the rest of the bread was given out to the people, members and non-members at the chapels. It was such a simple thing but it did so much to lift the spirits of the people in Ha’api. It is comfort food for them. Something they are used to, something that they can’t make right now and something that they love. It was so worth all we went through to get it to them!
We had a new member in our Sunday School class today. The man who was interviewing for a job so that he didn’t have to work on Sundays, got the job and he was at church today. It will be good to have him there with his wife. Peau was back today too. We were thrilled to see her, but Vincent came with her and we weren’t thrilled about that. He wants to get back into her life. We are really worried that she will go along with that and we know that he is abusive. He still has that hard, cold look in his eyes and it seems like he just endures coming to church to please her. She is leaving for New Zealand in May and he wants to go with her. We hope that between now and then she will make the right decision. They Reynolds also came to our class, so we had a great discussion on Prayer today.
Our first Sunday as a RS Presidency went well. We had a good group at church today and everyone was very nice about our accepting these callings. I think they will all be supportive.
We had our President’s Dinner tonight and it turned out super. The food was wonderful and we had a full room. Not only were all of the senior missionaries there, but we had 8 guests, our visitors from New Zealand, The Area Mission Doctor and his wife from New Zealand, the man over the TVET program from Australia and Sister Edwards has her parents visiting. After dinner Elder Reynolds told a little about what he saw in Ha’api and I had put together a slide presentation to show them the pictures of the devistation, the gathering of supplies to help and the arrival of those supplies in Ha’api. Everyone enjoyed seeing what is going on and what we have been doing this last week. It was a good night.
The days are all starting to blend together. There hasn’t been time to do anything but address this emergency. It has been such an amazing experience to be a part of all of this and to see how well organized the church is in an emergency. We have witnessed miracles and seen Priesthood leaders receive inspiration as they make decisions. The Lord’s hand is in our lives constantly and that is very humbling.
We haven’t had time to connect with our children except a quick email to let them know that we are alright. I MISS MY KIDS!!