Saturday, September 9, 2017

Called to Serve!

It has been a hectic couple of weeks and that is why this blog is slow in coming! We had to prepare for Missionary transfers, outgoing missionaries, and incoming Missionaries. We had to catch several meals at some of the local takeaway shops like this one that was English Roast run by oriental people. It was pretty good and close to the Doctors office where we spend a lot of time.   
We also had to transport a lot of bikes to the Mission Home for the incoming Missionaries so our car often has bicycles on the back. We always have our bike rack on and ready for any occasion as this picture shows during one of our trips to the Mission Home.  
This was a nice meal we had after one of our morning meetings we made a short trip to Devonport where it was suggested we eat at Manuka. Steak and Salmon, yum. This was not Takeaway (fast food).    
When we had a few minutes between delivering bikes and meetings we drove up to Mount Victoria to get a good panoramic view. Mount here is usually an extinct volcano several hundred feet above sea level. The island we are looking at is Rangatoto which is a wildlife reserve in the Auckland bay.  
This is Mount Victoria from the road below so it is not very high and is located in Devonport. There is an old military fort that is dug down into the top of the mount and a very large gun in it.       
We had 10 Missionaries die (go home). Among these were Sister Cacho from the Phillipines. We are sad to see them go because we are just getting to know some of them.     
Sister Dinglas and Elder Ponse are also some Missionaries that we were able to take to the airport for their flight home to the Phillipines. Their flight left at 11:55 pm so we were at the airport rather late. Many times the members from the Wards and Stakes the serve in come to see them off at the airport. They do get close to some
families and it is bitter sweet when they leave. They are excited to see their families back home but sad to leave the people they love here on their Mission. A new chapter in their lives is about to begin. They will be a great asset to the world and to the Church wherever they go. Good luck to all of them. We love them and will miss them.  
We also have some wonderful Senior Missionaries who are completing their Missions. The Freemans will be leaving us next week. We are able to have family home evenings once a month with some of the Senior Missionaries serving in the New Zealand Auckland Mission so it is sad when they finish and go home. We will miss them also and need more like them to come serve. They are sorely needed here and
have many wonderful miracles they told us about families they have helped back into the activity. You couples please consider coming here to serve among these wonderful people and see these miracles happen.   Next it was on to new Missionaries. We were originally supposed to have about 21 new Missionaries come into the  Mission this transfer but because of VISA and other delays we only had about 14 new Missionaries. It was quite hectic to get all of their bikes ready and we have been working long hours trying to get ready along with taking care of other bike and health problems. 
Because of the hectic schedule we didn't get any picture of the new Missionaries. We had about 5 countries represented by the group including 2 from Brazil.  While the new Missionaries were having lunch we went to get some lunch also. We ended up in the parking garage of a mall and this was interesting. They just incorporated the natural rock as part of the underground parking garage.  
We took a few minutes while delivering and picking up bicycles and going to doctors appointments to visit Achilles Point and found thes three statutes. We just couldn't resist taking a picture. It was a beautiful overlook of Ladies Bay.  
This is another picture from Achilles Point looking at Browns Island. It was a little windy as you can tell from Sister Bartlett's hair.
We also wanted to get a view from Mount Wellington a few minutes from Achilles Point so we drove up there just before sundown. This is a picture from there out to the ocean where you can see Rangatoto Island in the distance. This is also an extinct volcano.    
In this picture you can see the crater on mount Wellington with the city below in the background. This is the first one we have seen where the crater is very visible. There are some people down in the bottom that are hard to see.  
To top off the week we were able to go with the Ward to the Temple on Saturday. The bus left our Ward building at 5:30 am and had about 44 people on board for the Temple including about 22 young men and women. This is them after the were through at the Temple in the Visitors Center.  
We also visited the new Library/Church History Museum for the Pacific area. The first outside of the United States. It was fun to see the youth doing dress up.  
It was also fun to see Priests playing with blocks and building their own Temples with them and taking pictures of what they built. They even had tiny Angel Moroni's to put on the top of the Temples.  
This one hit home for Elder Bartlett. You peddled the bicycle and the film on the screen showed you cycling around different missions. There was one that even showed Mangere Bridge where we have been on the same street. At least Elder Bartlett didn't have to fix this bicycle.  
This is a picture on the bus getting ready for the ride home. At this point the youth have been spiritually fed and physically fed and full of sugar and are very excited. For us old folk they actually kept it kind of quiet for the ride home. The people at the Visitors Center and the Library we surprised that there were so may youth from just one Ward. What a great opportunity Elder Bartlett had to help them do Baptisms and Confirmations in the Temple. When our cups get kind of empty it is great the the Lord provides these opportunities to fill them up spiritually. We love being here and serving with the Missionaries and with the Otahuhu Ward. Our life has been blessed greatly. We love our Mission and each of you. Love Elder and Sister Bartlett.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Did I mention this before?

Some thing We forgot to mention in our last post is that a member of our Ward passed away. We were invited by the Bishop to go with the Ward leaders to her brothers home for part of the funeral services. The Ward put on a program for the family. We all sat on the floor of the home on  woven mats in a room where the coffin was. We had songs, prayers, and talks by Ward leaders. When it was over the family invited us to take home a snack which consisted of some BBQ and a bag full of something we later found out was raw meat which we put in our freezer for later. The following day the above service took place in the cultural hall of the Church. We didn't understand much of it since most of it was in Tongan. The following morning was the final funeral and burial. Unfortunately she left a 15 year old daughter and 10 year old son.
We love working with these young Missionaries. We purchased a pressure washer to clean the bikes and three Missionaries showed up at our flat to have bikes fixed. We told them to clean the bikes with the pressure washer and they had a little to much fun and started cleaning the cement driveway. That's right you now have their names, Elder Cowl, Elder Chung, and Elder Vaioa along with Elder Bartlett.    
We were able to attend the Otara and Tamake Zone Conference and this is our group. We are loosing many Missionaries so the groups are much smaller. This is President and Sister Walkers 2nd round of Zone Conferences. Unfortunately Elder Bartlett had to take the picture so he wasn't in it.   
Sister Christy pictured here with Bishop Samau and President Ofanoa (2nd Councilor to the Stake President) just returned to the Ward from her mission in The Phillipines. They do put on a party for their Returned Missionaries. You can see the leis that people placed on here she could hardly stand up. She also talked briefly in Stake Conference and bore her Testimony in Tagalag which was amazing since the Sisters had an investigator from the Phillipines so he heard testimony in his own language.  
Our Stake Conference was this week and they seem to love to have an Stake Activity to go along with Stake Conference, which would be a fun tradition back home. In this case it was Karioke night. They wanted representatives from Primary, Youth, Relief Society, and Priesthood. The Sister in this performance is the Stake President's Wife Sister Pulu. What fun it is.   
This is our Bishop Samau and he was really getting into it. We could say we let our hair down but some of us don't have much hair to let down. Let's just say it was a fun time with clean wholesome entertainment. They also enjoy inviting government officials to their activities and to Stake Conferences.  One of the officials was able to give a few words of encouragement and told them to get registered to vote and
make sure to vote. This is his daughter (and wife). His daughter got caught up in the fun and wanted to sing a song. It was great.    
Some of the Missionaries decided to dress up for Stake Conference and wear some of the traditional island dress including Sister Bartlett, Sister Gorrela (from India), and Sister Romauldo (from Phillipines). We couldn't resist taking this in front of these beautiful blossoms on the tree. Funny thing is the tree has blossoms but no leaves.
We couldn't help taking this selfie so Elder Bartlett could get in the photo. We had a great Stake Conference and afterward we were invited to have dinner with that the Stake Relief Society put on for all of the visitors. Since we were taking home these Sisters they also were invited. They love the Missionaries. We sat with the two Stake Patriarchs and their wives and had a wonderful conversation.   
Sunday evening there was a Primary baptism and Mele Felila was baptised. Her grandfather actually came from Tonga for the baptism and performed the confirmation in Tongan. Mele was dressed in her traditional dress after her baptism.  
Yes, you are seeing correctly. Following the baptism the family put on a feist including a whole pig and all the trimmings. They do know how to put on a meal.  
Since three sets of Missionaries were at the baptism dressed in the Island dress, we had to get a picture with all of them. From left to right the are Sister Loneza, Sister Fehoko, Sister Romualdo, Elder and Sister Bartlett, Sister Gorrela, Sister Miko, and Sister Tauiliili. Many things are going on right now and we are involved with the Missionaries and our Ward. We appreciate all of your prayers in our behalf and we pray for all of you our friends and family. May the Lord bless you all. Love, Elder and Sister Bartlett            

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

No time to stop and think!

Lately we have had little time to think or get much done other than bicycles and bodies. We are the Elder and Sister B&B Bartlett. Elder Bartlett takes care of the bicycles and Sister Bartlett the bodies. We just have to take the little joys as they come along. We have this large rosemary tree in our back year and it seems the butterflys and the bees like the purple blossoms. You can see a butterfly on the flower if you look
closely.  We have had a little time to get out and enjoy collecting shells at some of the beaches. This is Longs beach and we collected some shells there. Lots of people and dogs on the beach this day but we had no flee bites. We had to see some sick missionaries up in this area so we took advantage of a beautiful couple of hours. Here are some of
the shells we collected on Longs beach. They have more blue in them than the ones we found on Red Beach. We just love the scenery and the tranquility of walking up and down the beaches.    
We were heading toward this cliff on Longs beach to read what the sign said. When we were close enough to read it it said "Beware of Falling Rocks". Only then did we see the huge rocks that had fallen from the cliffs above.  
We love the old drift wood it reminds you that even the largest trees can succumb to the ocean. Elder Bartlett wants to bring some back to the Flat with the shells but Sister Bartlett always objects. What do you think, wouldn't this look good above our mantle.  
We also visited Takapuna beach for one hour. It is only about 2 blocks from the Mission Office so we decided we needed to visit. As we walked out on the beach there were homes right on the beach with volcanic rock walls. The tree branch was growing through the wall, under the sand and back up again. We are sure the homes along here are multi million dollar homes. We found some very nice shells here. It is catching. We
are starting to be more selective. We thought it would be good to put our Missionary name take with the shells to show the relative size.        
Elder Bartlett finally got his way and collected some driftwood, a volcanic rock, and this shell that still had a clam or whatever in it. It was dead but the shell was still together. These shells have a flat bottom shell and a curved top shell. We wondered how these flat ones fit together with a rounded one and now we know.  
Elders Vaioa from Samoa, Elder Chung from Tahiti, and Elder Cowl from Australia, invited me to go to the Golf Driving Range with them on their Preparation day. We had a good time and only hit one bird. Is that why they call it a birdie? It is fun to hang with the Missionaries, they are excited about their missions.
This is what happens when you give your camera to an Elder to take a picture. You get a selfie. Thanks to Elder Taranaki. We stopped by a Zone Conference on our way to a doctors appointment to pick up some bikes and check on some Missionaries during their lunch break.   
We wanted a picture of us with Elder Kessinger, one of the Missionarie going home that day to Spanish Fork, Utah. He will be going to BYU this fall. Go Cougars! Hey BYU son Jarom, look him up. He is a great guy. It is always sad to see them go.      
We did find probably the best burrito in Auckland. It was a place called Mexicali and was introduced to us by Elder and Sister Briggs who work at the MTC. Ouch! A burrito and soda for two $40. It was good.        
 Sister Bartlett prefers Elder Bartlett's cooking. It is good quality like this omelet and it is server right to her table and much cheaper. She only has to do the dishes. We searched everywhere and finally found a waffle maker so Elder Bartlett has made some terrific waffles also. We like to put fruit on them like mango, kiwi, bananas, blueberries, strawberries. The machine looks like one of those you find in hotels where they have free breakfast. Enough about food, we are excited that one of the families we are trying to get activated in the ward has been to Young Men's and to Church. We keep inviting them to other Ward activities but so far with no success.  We do hear of miracles back home as one of our longtime friends is getting baptised. He and his wife read this blog and we just wanted to say congratulations. We have always had faith that you would someday be baptised. Wish we could be there.  We pray for all of you our friends and hope the Lord blesses each and every one of you.  Love Elder and Sister Bartlett  

Sunday, July 30, 2017

It is so sad to see them go!

It has been several weeks since we have posted on our blog. It has been a very busy couple of weeks and we are worn out. We started out with our Preparation Day and went to the MOTAT(Museum of Transportation and Technology). We saw this huge sea going plane they used before they had an airport. It was ginormous! We also saw this tiny plane which was home made and only carried one
person. They found out this was not very airworthy after many crashes.
Then there was this cute little plane. Reminded us of the planes in the cartoons.
We took a ride on this Trolly since part of the museum was in seperate areas to far to walk.   
There was even something about Accounting Technology for Elder Bartlett's sake. Yippy!  
We really liked this springless trampoline. They used fibreglass rods if we remember properly. So Much for the Museum.
On Monday we had to rent a trailer and take 7 bikes to the Mission Home which was only half of those needed for the new intake of 14 Missionaries. That night we celebrated Pioneer Day with the most of the Senior Couples. Sister Parker recounted many of the stories and pictures of early Missionaries who served in New Zealand. It was fascinating. Glad they have improved the Flats.
On Tuesday we traveled back to the Mission Home and delivered 7 more bikes for the new Missionaries. We also took  take some of the Dead (finished with Missions) Missionaries to the Airport. We just sent home 21 Missionaries and they have so much experience it is sad to see them go. We have been able to work closely with some of them. 
Some of you from the Herriman Utah Butterfield Stake may recognise this Elder. He is Elder Shannon who was a member of our Stake back home. By now he has probably settled into his home life and is recovered from jet lag.  
For their going away some of the Sisters were wearing the traditional Tongan Ta'ovala (woven skirt) that is worn for many formal occasions. 
Many Missionaries were met at the airport by members in areas where they served and were draped with flower leis and flower Sei (Samoan hair flower or crown).  Members here love the Missionaries.  
Sister Fuimaono even had her uncle and cousin come to see her off. She goes home to Independence, Missouri which was Elder Bartlett's Mission Home about 45 years ago. Her leis was a little more practical filled with candy for the trip home.      
Elder Bartlett however was met with hostility! Actually just having some fun with one of the Assistants Elder Black (my 14th cousin once removed).         
On Wednesday we again made a trip to the airport to drop off 2 Elders who didn't leave the night before. Elder Heward pictured here with his parents who flew in to spend some time in New Zealand and Elder Leung who was previously pictured. Elder Heward and Elder Bartlett are 4th Cousins twice removed through his dad's line. Their common ancestor is Isaac Turley. After we dropped them off we picked up Missionaries from the airport and from the Auckland Mission Training Centre (NZ spelling). There were 14 in all with 6 Elders and 8 Sisters. We picked up 2 Sisters at the airport and 3 more at the Auckland MTC. Sorry we didn't get many pictures of the New Missionaries since we were busy talking to them about their health and assigning bicycles. This was the largest intake of Missionaries since we have been here. The next intake will be bigger.
After the transfers and outgoing and incoming Missionaries we spent Thursday moving bikes around and visiting sick Missionaries. We have been working early morning to late night every night. On Friday night the Otahuhu Ward where we serve had a Ward Party. The band that played was all made up of the Williams family. Brother Williams on the left is a member of our Ward. The others are his children.
Several of his grandchildren also rotated in during the evening. The Parese's enjoyed the dancing. I just love this couple. They are always smiling and happy and love to dance.    
Everyone joined in the fun. The music was quite a mix of the oldies from the 60's and 70's.       
Even the little ones can shake a leg. This little one danced about every dance. Often she would just shake and clap her hands. We miss our little ones.    
Finally we were at the mall grabbing a bite to eat during our busy week and along came their monkey mascot. He saw me taking pictures and came over to us but I didn't get and good pictures of that. We really are not monkeying around. On Sunday one of the less active members we have been trying to see came to church. He also said he would be there next Sunday with his son. Sometimes it takes little miracles. We are glad that we can share some of our experiences with all of you and hope you enjoy this blog. We have some wonderful times with the Missionaries. We get to know many of them very well. It is time to say farewell from Elder and Sister Bartlett.