Monday, January 26, 2015

Baptisms and Blessings

I continue to be amazed by the number of people coming unto Christ recently. Some are beginning their journey through baptism and others are starting to come to church again. Each one is a special, unforgettable experience.

In the Micronesia Guam mission alone, over 800 people were baptized in 2014 and several hundred became active in coming to church again. To be considered active again in our mission, they need to attend church three consecutive Sundays in a row.

This baptism service was also amazing. We arrived late but it must have been early, since several people, including the man that was to be baptized, came later. I sat down on one of the baptismal service chairs provided, but then decided to walk around with the children.

I got a glimpse of a rainbow after a light sprinkle.

Sister Martin took my picture out on the beach. Some enjoyed skipping rocks and others sifted through the rocky sand. I found some fun shells and even some teeth. We gave the teeth to one of the boys, who thought it was neat.

The boys chased and played with the crabs. I watched one crab dig a hole and disappear into the sand.

Then it was time to start. After a prayer and song, a talk was given on baptism by Brother Albert.

Elder Kata, the new member, Elder Afualo, and Elder Holmes
Every baptism we attend comes with an amazing outpouring of the spirit of God. This baptism was unique as it was done in the ocean.

Elder Afualo performed the baptism. Here's a link to info on baptism...Baptism-beliefs

After the baptism, Elder Kata played the guitar and Elder Afualo and Elder Holmes sang "How Great Thou Art". It sounded like Elder Holmes was just getting over a cold so we were thankful he was able to sing.

We also enjoyed a talk on the Holy Ghost, given by Brother Ongesel.

Sister Martin and I felt the calm peaceful feeling of the Holy Ghost testify to us that what we witnessed was of God, performed by those holding the proper authority from God. Authority-to-baptize

The service began with a rainbow and ended with a beautiful setting of the sunlight pouring down through the awesome clouds onto the vast calm ocean.

Baptism is the first step of many steps required to gain eternal life. Click this link to the song...Families-can-be-together-forever. We couldn't accomplish this without the help of our Savior. Death is the final step in this life.

On January 18th, Antone Clark, a dear friend and work colleague, passed away at the age of 60. I was following his blog of his battle with Amyloidosis cancer. -Obituary I will miss him as he left this life earlier than I expected. I credit his example as a writer as one reason I am writing this blog. We worked closely together for a decade, creating informative newsletters for Martin Doors. He was a great member of our team. May his family be comforted as I was when my late wife Laura passed away suddenly at age 40. Likewise, my wife, Sister Martin, lost her late husband at age 48. I know that as we have faith in Jesus Christ our Lord, we can be strong during times of heartache as well as in the happy times of life. He is the "way the truth and the life" (John 14:16) John Chapter 14. This is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Here's a clip of the September 2002 newsletter...

Elder Afualo sent us these pictures of two other individuals who were baptized last week at the same place.

Elder Afualo

Elder Kata(left), Elder Afualo and Elder Holmes(far right) just before the baptism.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Great Missionary Couples Conference and a few Sunsets

Guam Sunset 
Perhaps a fun way to start off this blog. Sister Martin said it looks like a post card.

During our Family Home Evening at President and Sister Zarbock's Home, we welcomed a new Senior Couple to our mission, Elder and Sister Eliason. He is a doctor. They will be serving on the island of Chuuk for the next 18 months.

Elder and Sister Eliason

About a week ago we welcomed another senior couple, Elder and Sister Furstenau. They are serving on Pohnpei in MLS (Member Leadership Support).

Elder and Sister Furstenau
The Senior Couple's Conference happens every six months. This gives everyone a chance to gather together. We give our stewardship reports, listen to counsel from President and Sister Zarbock, and have a little fun.

Sister Proffit giving a spiritual thought. 

Elder Martin giving an update on apartment rent, finances, and water filters. 

Elder Hardy talking about the Chuuk District Conference

Sister Maxine Thomas led us in a great activity where we painted the (MGM) Micronesia Guam Mission Logo. Each couple was given one journal to paint the logo on the cover. 

Elder and Sister Hurst giving their stewardship report

President Zarbock sharing a song on his banjo from his younger days, as he put it.

How about another sunset or two...

We went to the Chomorro village with some of the couples Wed. night. Took a short video of Elder and Sister Hardy dancing. After, Sister Martin and I did a little swing.

We had an opportunity to take a little two hour Jungle River Cruise up the Talofofo and Ugum rivers.

Saw a few large lizards along the river.

We stopped at a little village along the way.

Sister and Elder Martin 

Elder and Sister Hurst
Elder Martin with the ancient Latte stones

Fire making demonstration in the village

We took some walks along the beach with the couples and took some more pictures of Guam.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

More Cockroaches? - Ritidian Refuge hike

For Christmas, a few of our grandchildren sent us a big cockroach. This cockroach was like a gummy bear though. So, I talked Sister Martin into a picture. Here we are talking to the Jones family, who gave us the cockroach. 

Yum, yum, we love to eat cockroaches.

This is a very cold January in Guam. Lows are hitting a bone chilling 77 degrees. In a few days, the cold front is expected to drop to an unbelievable, 76 degrees. The high is 85. It will soon be back into the 90's.

Four of our five porch plants are blooming in this cold weather. White Ginger flower, Plumeria, Basil and a small rose. The Gardenia isn't currently blooming.

After a wonderful week of office missionary work, we always try to get out and get our bodies moving and explore the beauty of Guam.

This time, the Senior Couples decided to get together on P-Day and explore Ritidian and the Guam National Wildlife Refuge in Northern Guam.

Elder Thomas, Sister Martin, Sister Thomas, Elder Hurst

Elder Guercio, Elder Hurst, Elder Martin, Sister Guercio

Sister Guercio

Exploring the shallow caves...

Sister Martin said, "May I please have the camera?"
Elder Thomas, Elder Guercio, Sister Thomas, Elder and Sister Hurst and us - Sister Guercio took the picture

Elder Guercio and Elder Martin looking at an old stone-lined well

Elder and Sister Guercio

Elder Hurst and Elder Martin on the trail

Picture of Sister Martin - "I got the camera back"

Another fun hike - and the cloudy day made my day

Elder Martin digging a mote around his sand castle

Not a very crowded beach.

A little visitor dropped by to see what's going on - The video below shows him hiding in the sand

Driving out of the refuge, we saw some pigs running loose, or wild. Not sure which.