Believe it or not that is not a typo... that's how most of the branch here spells/says "family." ....I'm pretty sure it started out as just a joke about their Marshallese Accent but it kinda stuck I guess.... haha! Anyway, it's always fun to see people signed up on our dinner calendar as the "Elanzo Bamile" (and so forth) :) haha! Well anyway, sounds like you all are having a great time getting back into the flow of things. I know I am looking forward to hopefully hitting at least a little more smooth patch in our work over here as compared to the continuous rapids we've been going through so far in this area... although I must say, while rapids tend to be a lot more difficult and uncomfortable to get through, they also tend to move very fast and present quite the excitement as well as throwing you some thrilling twists every now and then! :) Sure enough this week was chock-full of its own new twist and turns and progress in our area!! Let me explain.
First off, it's funny that you would ask if we have any more last minute surprise baptisms to prepare for because... well... we do! haha! Last week Elder Livaie was on the phone with our Ward Mission Leader and after he got off he casually informed me that "he wants us to come over sometime and teach his niece so she can get baptized next Sunday" (As if it was just a passing thought that came to mind right before hanging up the phone). Thankfully, this one shouldn't be quite as hectic because the niece already took all of the missionary lessons in the past and so we just need to review them with her and make sure she's ready for baptism (which I'm pretty sure she is.) Then comes the real trick though... getting the parents approval... I think that was the main hold up in the past. But we are hopefully this time! After all, she's already giving talks in Sacrament meeting. She and her sister gave great talks on missionary work this Sunday which I especially appreciated because besides being about missionary work, they were also in English! So that was nice to actually be able to understand them! haha! And she is very active in all other church endeavors, so hopefully they will allow it and then in due course hopefully they themselves will come around and take the missionary lessons too! :) And speaking of children leading the way for parents to later take the lessons... that is exactly what is happening with T and L!
So I don't know if you remember the whole story with the rather hectic baptism we had last week that turned out to be basically just a "rehearsal baptism" because they got the names wrong and we didn't find out until after the fact. So this Sunday, just before church, we re-filled the font and re-baptized the two young boys we were teaching. (T and L) This time things went quite a bit smoother! We told them all that the baptism would start at 1:00pm expecting them to all show up by about 1:30.... which they did... and we had just enough time to do the baptism, take a few pictures and then head into sacrament meeting just in time for it to start ten minutes late as always!! :) haha! (I think the stake presidency knows exactly what it's doing when they gave our Branch the latest meeting time in the building... haha!) The confirmations went great as well and the two newest members of the Waipahu Marshallese Branch were welcomed in with a lot of excitement. What added even more to our excitement this week however was talking at least a little bit with their families afterwards! L’s father is less-active and his mother is not a member. But both have asked to sit in on our "after baptism" lessons with their son which will hopefully also double as her "before baptism" lessons as well! Likewise T’s parents (who are both non-members) are hopefully going to start taking lessons soon, as well as their good friends who live next door that have been coming to church with T and his mom for the last few weeks! So yeah! Lots of exciting things happening there!
It's interesting how at the end of every week with as many bumps and bruises and rough patches we seem to hit throughout the week, that as I look back over the week for things to share with you, there seems to be only positive things to share! Or at least the positives seem to outweigh the negatives by a LOT!! I guess that is the way life and the mission is. It's hard, this is probably the hardest it has ever been... But at the same time it is worth it because there are people who are ready and just waiting for us to come teach them! (In this case they're quite literally ready and just waiting for us to scramble and try to organize their actual baptism service! haha)
Thank you for your update about your spiritually uplifting week! I hope that every Sabbath continues to provide that for you! I know it sure has helped me more than I could ever express. I understand now better than ever why the Prophets refer to the Sabbath as a "delight" and as "a gift" that God has given us! I know it is starting to be that way for me! Even when all of the services and classes are in Marshallese, the spirit of the Sabbath is the same either way! :) I hope you can all feel that spirit especially this week! Thank you also for telling me about the new stake presidency. While I am very excited for the new leadership in the Tempe south stake and am sure that they will do a phenomenal job I am also sad to hear that Pres. Thomas will not be the one to release me as well... although I guess he already got to release me once, from my mini-mission, so it's all good! haha! Anyway, be sure to send all of my love and gratitude to the stake presidency for all that they have done! President Thomas and his councilors played a big role in my life as they were the ones to help me and interview me as I got my Melchezidek Priesthood, my first temple recommend and endowments, my mission call (well kind of... I guess technically that one was Pres. Monk from BYU-I but Pres. Thomas still helped me a lot!) and a lot of other very significant events in my life!!
Also, I'll be sure to be on the lookout at this next transfer meeting for a Sis. Christensen! I realized I'll probably have to look for her by name tag because all I have to go off of as far as memories of their family is a lot of pictures of me and Grant from when we were 5... as well as probably two more brief encounters the rest of our lives... so I'm not sure I even know what he looks like any more let alone his Sister... but I guess we'll see! We have one Sister in our zone who will probably be leaving the area soon so who knows! Maybe she'll get trained down in Ewa beach! :) haha! If so her trainer is a really solid missionary and a hard worker! (Although I'm sure she can find that wherever she goes in the mission!)
Well... now that this little "closing paragraph" ended up being three times as long as originally planned, I should probably get going! I love you all and look forward to hearing more and talking to you more soon!! Ofa lahi atu!!!
p.s. pictures: T and L at their baptism (the real one... not the rehearsal one! haha!) and them again with their Grandpa and Uncle who did the actual baptism. :)