Saturday, August 30, 2014

Hungry Missionaries - Avoiding Wild Mushrooms - more

We enjoyed having more missionaries for dinner recently. We made a Chuck Roast, the kind that falls apart after 7 hours of slow cooking. Fresh Garlic, chopped onion, Thyme, Basil, Worcestershire, pinch of Real Salt, Bay leaf, beef broth, kale, carrots, mashed potatoes, etc.

We invited Elder Hunter, Elder Rice, Elder Hatch and Elder Siren this time.

Both Elder Hatch and Elder Rice said that this meal might have been be the best dinner they have had on their mission so far. It reminded them of a typical Sunday dinner at home. I'm sure they were just trying to be nice with compliments.

Elder Siren liked it but said his favorite is definitely Chicken and rice. Elder Hunter said he was offered 5-6 small donuts just before coming so he was nearly full. He said, "I wish I could eat more".
Elder Hatch, Elder Siren, Sister Martin, Elder Martin

Elder Rice checking out the missionary picture board - 14 new missionaries arrive next month

Elder Hunter looking for supplies like nails and a new fan, in our stock room - Sister Vave

During dinner, Sister Martin asked each Elder what was a big influence on them deciding to go on a mission. Each mentioned more than one reason but these are the ones we remembered.

Elder Hunter talked about being the oldest of 6 boys in his family and wanting to be an example to his younger brothers.

Elder Hatch talked about the example of his brothers serving mission that influenced him.

Elder Hunter, Elder Rice and Elder Hatch all agreed that they had decided to go at a younger age.

Elder Siren, who is from Chuuk, told us a story of his mother passing away when he was about 14. He went to live with his Auntie who was a member of the church. He joined the church when he was 16. The missionaries were also a big influence on him.3

Last month we had Sister David, Sister Warner, Sister Mika and Sister Rotuk over for Enchiladas
We usually bring our lunch to the office. One day we brought a salad made with Bulgur Wheat, cucumber, goat cheese, tomatoes, parsley, cumin, olive oil, etc. We had left overs. Elder Hunter was in the office that day, probably p-day, and we offered it to him. He cleaned it up and said it reminded him of something his mom use to make.

Elder Petersen and Elder Barrus, happy to find food in their car when they just flew in from Kosrae
Elder Petersen and Elder Barrus just came back from visiting the missionaries on Kosrae. They said it was a successful trip. The only challenge was getting enough food to eat. For example, that morning just before catching the plane back to Guam they said they chopped opened and ate 7 coconuts. We shared our leftover lunch salad with them which they quickly devoured. The next day they mentioned they were still hungry, even after eating a very large meal.

Perhaps one of the most challenging stories I've heard about food, or a lack of it, was from Elder Fabiano. He said when he first went to the island of Pata in Chuuk last year, the other missionaries started running out of food. Then they all shared his food until it was gone, 5 days before they could catch the boat back to the main island to buy more food. They lived on mostly brown sugar and water for nearly a week.

Yes, I (Elder Martin) still love making (and eating) several varieties of Curry Chicken over rice.

One of the several varieties of Curry Chicken - enough for leftovers

We didn't eat these. These mushrooms were bigger than softballs. Saw them on church property near our office.

In life, we must choose what to feast on. Not eating these wild mushrooms of unknown origin is obvious to most people, but bad influences by the wrong type of people could cause many to be deceived. Attempts will continue to try and persuade us to confuse good with evil, making good things sound bad and bad things to sound good. Therefore we must do as Nephi said and, "...Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do. 2 Nephi 32:3

I like Elder M. Russell Ballard's talk how he compared Lucifer's deceptions to techniques used by a fly fisherman to catch and deceive fish with special lures. He said, "Like the fly fisherman who knows that trout are driven by hunger, Lucifer knows our “hunger,” or weaknesses, and tempts us with counterfeit lures which, if taken, can cause us to be yanked from the stream of life into his unmerciful influence. And unlike a fly fisherman who catches and releases the fish unharmed back into the water, Lucifer will not voluntarily let go. His goal is to make his victims as miserable as he is."
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Here's a link to his great talk on addiction which includes anything. He even talked about excess texting, gaming, gambling, substance abuse, etc.... O That Cunning Plan of the Evil One

I'll finish this thought on feasting to include prayer,
"And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.
 But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul. 
2 NEPHI 32:8-9
Wow this is great advice to us all, because we all need to improve and grow closer to Christ.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Stealth Bomber, Baptism, Farewell to the MacCabes, Welcome Guercios

We were driving up toward the north part of Guam the other day and saw a B-2 Stealth Bomber. A few weeks ago a Nuclear Sub and now we see a stealth. Wow!

Saturday we had the opportunity of going to a special baptism service for a man named Jay. He seemed very sincere and ready for baptism. The missionaries told us that he was originally contacted by Elder Pita and Elder Baliling, and then Elder Hunter and Elder Hatch taught him some, then he moved near us in Mangilao and was taught by Sister Vave and Sister Mika.

What was interesting is that he remembered meeting us on the beach back in April. We were looking for small rocks/coral to go into the bottom of our pots for the plants we had purchased at the banana festival. We remember him recommending certain kinds of rocks that were good for planting. 

The bishop said Jay is ready to move forward with callings and Priesthood ordination so Sister Martin will be recording his baptism record soon. It's exciting to be here in the Micronesia Guam Mission where the work of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is "Hastening" at a record setting pace.

President Zarbock mentioned to me the other day that over 90 inactive members had become active over the last month due to renewed efforts, and help form God. Many of these members have been asked by the missionaries to teach investigators with them, re-igniting the fire within.
Elder Hunter, Sister Vave, Elder Hatch, Jay, Bishop Davis, Sister Mika, Elder Siren
Another little miracle happened in the office recently. Elder Petersen, the Assistant to the President, asked Sister Martin if a flight could be made for Elder Barrus, faster. It was Friday and she checked and all flights from Pohnpei were overbooked. After calling United, the agent confirmed the story saying that it would be impossible to get a flight for at least two weeks. Even the waiting lists were over-loaded. Three days later on Monday morning Elder Barrus was standing there in the office. He said early Monday morning he went to the airport, attempting to go standby. By some miracle the standard 737 plane was replaced by a larger plane so he was able to come to Guam to be the new Assistant to the President.

Our new friend and noise maker just outside our office window - The Diesel Generator - It's killing a palm tree
Office work has had challenges lately. Construction workers recently damaged the main power line coming into the office, chapel and service/distribution center. They brought in a big diesel generator to keep us going. They said it would only be here for "TWO WEEKS" lol---. Its been over a month now and they are saying "TWO WEEKS" ha ha.

Over the past week we have had some big thunderstorms with driving rain, swamping the generator and shutting off the power for hours at a time. We must continue to be patient and flexible and get our office work done at different times when it goes down.
Sister Martin in the office
Farewell to Elder and Sister MacCabe
We have loved doing may things with them and have truly enjoyed their company in the mission. We recently enjoyed a dinner farewell with them at the mission home, hosted by Sister Zarbock, while President Zarbock was off-island.
Sister Zarbock, Sister MacCabe, Elder MacCabe

We also welcomed the new Nurse Specialist Couple, Elder and Sister Guercio. We instantly felt a connection with them and are enjoying a new friendship.

Elder and Sister Guercio

Enjoying a feast - Elder and Sister Hurst, Elder and Sister Guercio

Sunday, August 17, 2014

"The Empty Pot" & Going to Urdaneta Mission

Sister Zarred from Pohnpei came to our mission office. She said she is going to the "Urdaneta Philippines Mission". This is where my sister, Sister Beth Roberts and Elder Dennis Roberts, my brother-in-law are serving their mission. I asked her to give my sister a hug for me after finishing at the MTC. She said she would. She said Sister Chandler was her other mom on the island of Pohnpei.

Micronesia Guam Mission Office, The popular hang-out

So, I emailed the Chandlers (the senior couple on Pohnpei) and asked about Sister Zarred. Sister Chandler answered that she was from Sekere town and then said, "Tiny little thing, huh".

It's exciting to see so many young missionaries going on missions from these islands. We've seen young missionaries from our mission recently called to South Africa, Australia, Philippines, Micronesia, etc. We also have a few missionaries in our Mission from the Philippines. 12 new missionaries from the United States and Canada just arrived a few days ago.

Sister Martin and I have been working on setting up an apartment for Elder and Sister Reed, the new "Self Reliance" senior couple coming to Guam. One real estate agent I was emailing addressed me as "Elderly Martin". Is 52 really that old?

So, in our spare time, ha, ha, Sister Martin and I have been looking at apartments, looking at furniture, used and new, and buying various apartment necessities.

Sister Martin was looking on Craig's list and saw some couches available on the same street where we do our walk/jog down by the ocean. It's the one side-street in Guam that we actually know. After looking at the furniture and deciding it was way too "ghetto", the young man saw our name tags and asked us if we had a religious message. He said he had looked at different religions and hadn't found one that suited him. We said "Yes" and gave the referral to Sister Vave, one of the Sister Missionaries in our area to follow up on.

These pictures are from a restaurant that we went to recently with President and Sister Zarbock near the airport. Good food..I had a "Rib Eye" hamburger and Sister Martin had Salmon. The manager, Brother Frank Toves introduced himself as a member of the Yigo ward in Guam. Some how we connected that we knew the family of his best friend by the last name of Leddy. I mentioned that Rachel Leddy lived in our home in Heber City for a few weeks, years ago. He said he knew her. The Leddy's were in the Heber 8th ward. Small world.

Great views.

Beautiful views of Guam lights and the sunset 

Today in church, Chloe Hague, a young woman, gave a great talk where she quoted a story we had never heard before. Elder Jeffery R. Holland used the story, "The Empty Pot", in a talk given at West Point on Integrity:

"A storybook emperor called all the young people in his kingdom together one day. He said, “It has come time for me to step down and to choose the next emperor. It will be one of you. In making that selection, I am going to give each one of you a seed today. Come back here one year from today with what you have grown from this one seed.”
A young boy named Ling was in the crowd of children. He went home and excitedly told his mother the whole story. She helped him get a pot and some planting soil. He planted the seed given him. Every day he would water it and watch to see if it had grown.
After about three weeks, some of the other youths began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Ling kept checking his pot, but nothing ever grew in it.
Eventually all the others were talking about their plants. Ling was apparently the only failure. Everyone else spoke of small trees and tall plants, but he had nothing.
Finally a year went by, and all the youths brought their plants to the emperor for inspection. Ling told his mother that he wasn't going to take an empty pot. But she encouraged him to go, report how hard he had tried, and be honest about what happened. Ling felt sick to his stomach, but he knew his mother was right. He took his empty pot to the palace.
Ling put his empty pot on the floor a midst beautiful plants and flowers of all shapes and sizes. When the emperor arrived, Ling tried to hide in the back of the room. But the emperor spotted Ling—empty pot and all. He ordered his guards to bring him to the front, where the leader said, “Behold your new emperor!”
To a now very quiet audience, the older man said, “One year ago today I gave everyone here a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds, which would not grow. Yet all of you, except one, have brought me magnificent trees and plants and flowers. Obviously, when you found that the seed I gave you would not grow, you substituted another. Apparently only one young man among you had the integrity to abide by the rules I gave you. I can trust him to take my place and lead my people.”
I suppose I was only six or seven years of age when I first heard that story read to me by my mother. Forgive me for such a homely example, but the fact of the matter is its meaning has stayed with me for more than 60 years." Here's the link to his full talk

We were greatly uplifted by the other talks that were given as well. Another great Sunday meeting.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Visiting the U.S.S. Oklahoma City Nuclear Submarine

How often do you have the opportunity to get on board a Nuclear submarine? We never expected it.

Elder MacCabe, retired Navy Captain, and now missionary, arranged a tour for our P-day. What an amazing opportunity it was for the senior couples on Guam!

They told us this working/active Los Angeles class sub is also equipped with Tomahawk Missiles. It was interesting how they said generally 140 sailors would typically go out for each 2-3 month tour. We are grateful to all our military units who serve and protect the freedoms we enjoy.

We saw this picture on the wall inside the submarine showing an "emergency blow". They said the numbers were added for identification after the picture was taken and are not on the sub.

After leaving the base we drove up to Nimitz hill, which provides visitors with virtually the same view the Japanese had of Apra Harbor and Asan beach as U.S. Marines stormed the shores of Guam July 21, 1944. Many lives were sacrificed in WWII, liberating Guam from the Japanese.

Looking in another direction you could see the submarines that were in port.

What a fun start to our Pday. Now back to cleaning our apartment, and perhaps another baptism service.

Friday, August 8, 2014

A Storm Parable and more

Our last blog mentioned the big tropical storm named "Halong" that was just developing as it passed by our apartment in Guam. A few days later, it turned into a Super Typhoon, with wind speeds from 160-195 mph. Thankfully, it also turned the corner and moved north and missed Urdaneta, Philippines, where my sister Beth and Dennis (Elder and Sister Roberts) are serving their mission.
Aug. 2-3, 2014, Halong became a Super Typhoon

The picture below and the moving picture above make it look like the huge Typhoon was headed toward northern Philippines.

The satellite images are analyzed by meteorologists and the predicted paths are given to government leaders so they can give residents advance notice of what to expect. This next image shows the actual path and the location of the weakening Typhoon as of August 8, 2014. The predicted path published about two weeks ago is nearly identical to the actual path.

Before Halong was about to hit Guam two weeks ago, the governor warned all the residents to stay inside and make sure they had plenty of food and water. We also have shutters on our outside windows that we closed.

Super Typhoon, Pongsona, hit Guam about 12 years ago, knocking out power on the island for 2 months. Worst of all it wiped out about 1300 homes including the racquetball courts. They were not built well enough to withstand the horrific winds. Sister Martin and I used to be regular racquetball enthusiasts in Heber City. Link to Super Typhoon Pongsona

These pictures are of us playing racquetball one month before we were married about 6 years ago.

It is sad that they have never rebuilt the courts. The Navy base and one hotel on Guam has courts. The hotel charges $110.00 to use them one time, one day. (But it does include the buffet lunch..ha ha)

Interpretation of our storm parable:
We all face temptation or challenges. In today's world, we are continuously being hit with storms like discouragement, inadequacy, desensitizing entertainment, money challenges, decisions of what's right and wrong, etc.

Prophets know the results of the various "paths" we choose to take in our life. Answers to questions regarding the storms of life like: "How hard?", "Where?", "When will they hit us?", "How can we prepare?", can be found in the words of the living Prophets and the scriptures.

The storm's size and shape can be deceiving. For example, even though it looks like we will have money problems if we pay our tithing, Prophets know the unseen future benefits of doing so. Even though financial wizards may say that you need to leverage and take risks in investing, Prophets continue to warn us to get out and stay out of debt.

When the storms hit us hard we must be prepared before with strong structures designed to withstand these 150 to 200 mph winds. Like the Governor, Prophets give warnings for our physical and spiritual safety. We have the choice to heed the warnings or to ignore them.  Sometimes, we don’t get the full blast of the storm, and so we may say,” oh it wasn't that bad. We are just fine. “ But, will we be prepared when the big one hits us?

Our physical bodies and possessions are protected by concrete buildings, made strong enough to withstand super typhoon winds. Spiritual protection includes doing what it takes to feel close to our Heavenly Father every day. Reading scriptures like the Book of Mormon and Bible daily, reading words of the living Prophets, praying, listening to uplifting music, watching some of the great videos on, etc. (Here's the link to these Great Videos)

If we are not feeling the spirit every day, or at the very least, spiritually fed weekly, our testimony or concrete wall of protection decays and becomes easily destroyed by the Super Typhoons that Satan throws at us.

I think it is best summarized by Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the twelve Apostles, in October 2013 conference, talk called, Strengthening Faith and Testimony

We may not know all the reasons why the prophets and conference speakers address us with certain topics in conference, but the Lord does. President Harold B. Lee taught: “The only safety we have as members of this church is to … give heed to the words and commandments that the Lord shall give through His prophet. There will be some things that take patience and faith. You may not like what comes from the authority of the Church. It may contradict your [personal] views. It may contradict your social views. It may interfere with some of your social life. But if you listen to these things, as if from the mouth of the Lord Himself, with patience and faith, the promise is that ‘the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; … and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory’ (D&C 21:6).”10
How did President Lee know what we would be facing in our day? He knew because he was a prophet, seer, and revelator. And if we listen and obey the prophets now, including those who will speak in this very conference, we will be strengthened and protected.
Sister Martin and I know there is a living Prophet and Apostles on the Earth today that are guided and led by Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ. Their words are inspired by God. Our families will be greatly blessed by following their teachings. Please read them and follow them and you will be showered upon with immeasurable blessings. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

We enjoyed going to Mission Leadership Council on fast Sunday last week. Sister Martin praised the missionaries for turning in baptism records on time. She recorded 140 baptisms in July. She was super busy. I did some training on taking care of vehicles.

Elder and Sister Martin at the mission home for Mission with Sister Zarbock
There's always something happening to our vehicles when you have over 50 of them. The latest car story was not preventable. After our latest series of storms, Sister Ma'a brought in her Toyota Yaris. Apparently, these cars are prone to leaking in the trunk. They had several Books of Mormon that were wet in the trunk. Water leaked into the trunk and then sloshed around, soaking the carpet and seats, especially in the back seat area. Toyota engineers obviously knew this type of problem existed. Before I began to bail the water out of the trunk I noticed a few drain plugs under the spare tire. I pulled them and the water drained out onto the ground. The car has since been airing out for days.

Drain plugs under water in the trunk of a Toyota

Speaking of baptisms, we enjoyed going to a great service last Saturday.

Elder Seguin, Roseanna, Elder Afualo
Fast Sunday was certainly a spiritual feast. A few members of the ward went to the Manila, Philippians temple last week and shared their experiences. One older woman said she was scared to go. But when she arrived she was so grateful to be there and had a wonderful experience. Her daughter also shared her testimony, so thankful that she didn't fight with her mother any more on which church was true. Now they both know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true church. Sister Martin and I have a testimony that this church is true. We love it. We would be lost without it. We know that the "Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ" is the word of God given to us through ancient Prophets. We read it every day and know it's teachings are true.