Sunday, February 16, 2014

Monday, January 27th, 2014

We went to the devotional this morning and that led to a change of plans for our day. Once the devotional was over, Howard called a special meeting for everyone involved with the cyclone relief. That meeting lasted from 9:00am until almost noon. President Tupou and President Fehoko returned from Ha’api this morning and they reported on what they saw happening up there. It was really interesting to learn about what is going on. We thought that the churches had good water now, but that is not really true. We still have some work to do to make sure that there is clean drinking water available for the people of Ha’api. The weather forecast for the Ha’api group of islands for the rest of 2014 is not good. They will have a very dry summer and they rely so much on rain water to live. A drought now, with all of their crops ruined, will be terrible. They are desperate right now for rain to fill their sema-vis again. We are praying for rain for them.

We also heard about the missionary work. The missionaries are busy working to clean up the island, but they are talking to a lot of people along the way. There are many people who have become inactive who are saying that they will now come back to church. They saw what buildings withstood the storm and which church was the first one there to help. They know the church is true and this experience has solidified that in their minds and in their hearts. The missionaries are also having baptisms. People really want to know more about the church. They are saying to their preachers, “Why are you telling us that these are not good people when they have done so much to help us and ask nothing in return.” Most of them have spent a lot of time in our buildings and they have felt the difference there. Now they want to know more about the Mormons.

After our meeting we ran home for lunch and then back to our office here on the campus. I had to submit the financial report to the Area Office by today. While we were there we had a power surge that took our air conditioner out. We never could get it going again so we had to pack up and move to the Service Center. It was 115 degrees in our office! I worked until 5:00 on the report, never getting all of the receipts and information from other people that I needed to complete it. Finally, I just sent it in. I did all I could do to make people submit their charges. Someone else will have to put the pressure on them.

We had an interesting FHE tonight. Our temple is closed for 2 weeks and the men that are working on it came to FHE to talk about their work and their experiences. There were 6 of them and they have worked on various temples all over the world. They are doing some stone work on our temple and putting in new doors. Just some basic upkeep work. One of them told us about working on the temple in Nigeria. When they were finished and headed to the airport to go home, they were stopped on the road by a road block set up by 4 armed men. These men wanted a bribe to let them continue down the road. Their driver, who was a member of the church, refused to pay. He started yelling at the armed men. They pointed their guns at the car and the driver stepped on the gas and took off. They were all expecting to see bullets flying but as they looked back, all 4 of the men were pounding their rifles on the ground. All four of their guns had jammed. That story, plus others, made for a very interesting evening.