Saturday, December 9, 2017

Where have we been?

Where have we been? I know it has been a while but you know how time flies (or fleas as we say in New Zealand). We have been very busy, often getting home after 10pm trying to fix bikes and sick or injured Missionaries. 
We just woke up one day and it was December and we were transferring Missionaries out and in and six more weeks have past. 
We saw these cute pink flamingo’s in the Christmas section of a store and had to take a picture. The tree to the right is like a bottle brush tree that blooms in December and so they call it the Christmas tree.

In case any of you back in Utah or Colorado are wondering this is what it looks like for Christmas in New Zealand. Who is dreaming of a white Christmas when you have these to look at in their back yard. Yes these were all in our back yard. You have to love the flowers here.

We were able to visit the Julius the Woodcarver in Henderson, a suburb  of Auckland. He and his wife were very nice and they showed us the whole process how he carves the wood. He actually uses a dremmel type tool to do most of the carving. He is from the Middle East near Jerusalem and has been in New Zealand doing this for about 30 years. His wife could tell us what kind of wood he was working on by the smell of the wood.
Elder Bartlett was able to help him by putting the eyes on this small kiwi bird which he gave to us as a present. We also purchased this Nativity

Scene from him for Sister Bartlett’s birthday. We also were able to see their little farm and saw their sheep and baby chickens and came home with some lemons and avacados.

We had a Missionary activity at the Ward and invited members to bring their friends and neighbors to learn about the Plan of Salvation. They started by watching some Mormon messages while waiting for a flight. They each were given a boarding pass as pictured and used that to get in the simulated plane which was set up on the stage. They were given refreshments while the plane simulated takeoff and the captain spoke to them. Then the lights went out and they were told they now entered the Spirit World and that was explained to them. Then they were guided to another room in the Church and the Judgement was explained to them by Elder and Sister Bartlett.
They were then guided to three rooms representing the Telestial, Terrestrial, and Celestial kingdoms and those were explained to them. We had four investigators there for the activity along with a lot of members. It was a wonderful experience.

This is the group of Missionaries who participated in the activity along with a lot of Ward Missionaries and Members.

We had the wonderful experience of going to the sealing of John DeLosa and his wife and child. We taught him the Temple Preparation and were excited when the whole family became a forever family in the New Zealand Temple.

Jacob and Shayla our son and daughter-in-law arrived for a visit for 10 days. We are so excited to have them here to visit with us and enjoy some of the New Zealand sites. Unfortunately they were not able to bring any of our grandchildren with them. I will let you know of some of our adventures next time. We love and miss you all and hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are having a great Christmas Season.
Love Elder and Sister Bartlett

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Halloween, Kauri, and Rainbow Falls

We are back again with another exciting episode of Bartlett's on a Mission in New Zealand. There is a controversy in New Zealand whether they should celebrate Halloween. Well at least in several Wards we saw the tradition of Trunk-r-treat alive and well. Our Ward actually did it the Thursday after Halloween and it was great fun. This "turkey" got into the act. Elder Bartlett decorated one of his Missionary Bikes and got into the occasion. That isn't actually Elder Bartlett it is a turkey who laid a golden egg.  
Elders Peterson and Tu'tuila, Sisters Romauldo, Gorrela, and Tapu, are Missionaries in our Ward along with the Ward Mission Leader and his wife Brother and Sister Tavaga went with Book of Mormon Characters. Quite appropriate.  
Of course the children loved it also and not just the adults. What is better than candy? Elder Bartlett was dishing out candy from the bike basket and every time he wasn't paying attention someone was putting candy in the basket. He was finally able to give it all away and only had a few donuts, and cupcakes, and chocolate.  
Brother Sau and his father dressed up their car as a big scary mouth. When Sister Bartlett took this picture the lights on the Chapel make it look like two glowing eyes.  
We were able to drive up to the Kauri forest on our preparation day with the Stahle's, a senior couple from the Office. We dropped in to see a kauri wood turner who made these beautiful bowls and objects. It is illegal to cut down kauri trees but they dig these trees up that were covered when giant tsunamis hit New Zealand thousands of years ago. This wood was from buried trees about 3800 years old.  
Elder Bartlett is standing in front of some trees we saw that were covered by knitted decorations. We thought it was quite unique.    
The tree behind us is the Tane Mahuta. It is a Kauri tree which is estimated to be several thousand years old and is the largest living Kauri tree. We are standing some 50 metres from the tree so it doesn't look so large in this picture. In the past these trees were decimated by the logging industry as great wood for building. They are now protected by the government.
This grouping of Kauri trees is called the Four Sisters since there are four trees growing close together. These trees remind me a lot of the giant redwoods.  
On our way we stopped by Rainbow falls which was quite spectacular. It is amazing that these falls were right next to a new housing development.       
Sister Bartlett (alias the bird lady) saw some cute baby ducks and went to take their picture. After she took their picture the baby ducks started following her.     
When we were going to take picture with them, Elder Stahle threw part of a muffin to them and the chickens and seagulls all of a sudden appeared and ate the muffin. The baby ducks didn't get much.   
We happened to see these wild turkeys as we were driving. It was fun and every time Elder Bartlett would try to imitate their gobble they would all stretch out their necks and gobble back. 
For my brother-in-law I am showing this picture of beehives. Yes they produce Manuka honey here and it is very expensive.  
This is a very unique picture where the Tasman sea meets a large river so you see the river going out and the waves coming in. My picture doesn't show it very well.   
When you let the Missionaries borrow your phone for District Meeting you often get back selfies like this one. Sister Tapu, Romauldo, and Gorrela who are the Sisters serving in the same Ward as we do. Great Missionaries!  
This is Elder Sully who comes from Australia. He has a unique scripture cover that he made himself from kangaroo fur.   
This is one of our wounded Missionaries, Elder Peterson who had a bicycle accident. Sorry to say we have had many bicycle accidents the last couple of weeks. Three resulted in broken hands or wrists and one in a broken foot. We even had an Elder bitten by a dog instead of flees. Gratefully some are just scrapes and bruises. These Missionaries are not discouraged by this, they just keep on going and doing the work they are called to do. We have spent a lot of time fixing bikes and bodies. We pray every day for Heavenly Father to help and protect our Missionaries. We love the work and are staying very busy. May the Lord bless you all. Love Elder and Sister Bartlett      

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Outgoing Sadness, Incoming Happiness and Post Transfer madness.


Hello everyone! Thought we were done sending these blogs? You are not so lucky. Sometimes we get a little crabby like this crab that crawled out of one of the shells we collected when Kathy and Josh were here. We have been a little lonely since they left.



We are so sad to see some of the Missionaries go home that we have grown to love. Like Elder Canoy died (finished) and went home to the Phillipines.

Elder Chi died and went home to Malaysia






Elder Augustin who died (finished) and went home to Malaysia. He also has the distinction of riding his bicycle more than 1000 Km in two transfers. He also holds the speed record I believe at 58 Km/hr. I don't suggest that to anyone. We have heard from him since he went home and he bought bike parts and put together his own bicycle and has broken his speed record. Happy cycling Elder Augustin, I wish he could come back and help me with bicycles.


Elder Shumate who died and went home to North Carolina.



Elder Ale Tua, Elder Siuta, and Elder Whalley who died and went home to Australia. All of  the Elders  I have mentioned and more that I haven't are great and we have served with and are sad to see them go.

This sweet member lady makes her way to the airport to say goodby to the Elders that she loves so much. She brings leis for them to send them off properly and is often in tears when they leave. We love the members here and they love the Missionaries.

Well that is enough of the sad farewells we had 16 new Missionaries arrive the day after most of the Missionaries went home. That means Elder Bartlett had to prepare 14 new or used bicycles for them. Since we have changed the location for our incoming Missionaries we also had to transport all of the bicycles to one location for that day so Elder Bartlett put about 200 Km on the car to get them to the Church. This is him lecturing the new

Missionaries and their trainers before sending them out into the field.

 It was Labour Day in New Zealand and so the Ward decided to get together for games and an Imu (Hangi only above ground which I will show later. We had some fun volleyball. Elder Bartlett only fell twice during play when he tripped over his own feet.

We also had a remote control car for the little ones. That is for the little ones to ride in. There was activity all over the cultural hall. Besides volleyball there was basketball on either end of the court. Those who didn't want volleyball or basketball were playing games in other parts of the hall. 


Then the Imu arrived. Basically they have a rock lined oven where they burn the wood and they remove the coals and put in the food which is cooked by the heated rocks. In New Zealand the ovens are in the ground and they call it a Hangi. Kind of like a pit BBQ.


We were also privileged along with this group of Missionaries from our Zone to review and critique segments of the new Book of Mormon church videos. They were just small segments and we gave our opinions of them and expressed how we would use them in Missionary work. It was quite enjoyable and exciting. We do have a picture with us in it but the sun was shining through the windows and we all look like we were being translated.



We spent most of the remainder of the week in Accident and Medical waiting rooms and Hospitals. We had 5 bike crashes which resulted in three broken hands, one broken foot, and teeth that were almost knocked out. We had an eye with shingles and heaps of sick stomachs and flee bites and scabies.

Along the way Elder Bartlett also fixed some flat bike tires and other broken bikes. We were both so warn out after that week. During one of our long waits to see doctors, Elder Bartlett was approached by a man who wanted a Book of Mormon. He had just moved to the area and wanted to come back to church. Elder Bartlett sent the Missionaries to his home that day and they had a wonderful discussion.

After such a hard week we had to take some time out with Elder and Sister Stahle to play another escape room. This time we were in a forest and had to get food and water in order to find our way out. With only a few clues were made it on time. 

Well this has been a long time coming because of the busy last few weeks. We love you all and miss you and we pray for you all. We hope you are praying for us also.

Love Elder and Sister Bartlett




Friday, October 20, 2017

It has been a few weeks!

 Since Elder Bartlett takes care of the bicycles and we saw this sign in the bank we had to take a picture. It is so true that often we save money for something only to let our dream go out the window for a small moment of pleasure. For those of you in the United States you are in fall and headed for winter. For us in the Southern Hemisphere we are going into spring and headed for Summer.
So even though we get flowers pretty much all year long, we have some very beautiful ones coming out right now. Problem is that some of our Missionaries have hay fever and asthma. If you are allergic to something it probably grows here. It is also changing of the seasons so we have heaps of colds and other seasonal illnesses.
Another beautiful plant that came to life just recently. We find many interesting and beautiful things out here just in a normal subdivision. It is even more beautiful when you get out of town and into the country.   
We had to get a shot of this pickup going down the Motorway. The back said Mission Vehicle. It is kind of hard to see but we thought it was unusual.  
Kathy Shipley and her son Josh arrived on Saturday for a visit. After a 12 hour airplane ride from the United States. One of the first things that greets you at the airport is some memorabilia of the Lord of the Rings. The statue below has an inscription that reads "On Loan from Middle Earth, do not touch". So it was all true.  
I believe this was supposed to be Gimley or one of his relatives. 
We didn't give them much time to stop and rest so we visited one of the local open air markets, the Otara market where they saw and tasted some of the local fare. The picture is of some sea Urchens which we understand they just tear open and eat them raw. Needless to say we didn't try these. Maybe some day we will be brave enough.  
We next visited One Tree Hill which is a monument to the Maori people and stands atop one of the highest extinct volcanos in the Auckland area. The one tree was chopped down many years ago. You will notice in the background on the right is a sheep just eating away and ignoring the crowd.  
We all went to Red Beach next and practiced one of our favorite pastimes, shell collecting. Found some interesting shells and even one with the crab still in it. We didn't find out till later when we arrived home and the crab came out to play.  
This one is kind of dark but we found a little cave at Red Beach and we took a picture of Josh in the opening of the cave with the Pacific Ocean in the background. It is a little dark due to my amateur photography. Little features like this make the experience much more fun.  
We also went to Takapuna beach to collect some shells. It was a windy day and you can see the para-surfers in the background. Again more shell collecting. It is amazing that on the same ocean you find different shells on different beaches.  
One of the Missionaries had a leg injury so Sister Bartlett had to amputate. Just kidding, this was a Halloween prop we found in one of the stores. We thought it would be fun.
Kathy brought gifts from Utah. Of course she had to bring U of U socks which are standing on top of my BYU shirt. It has been a rough year for BYU football and they have been beat by almost everyone this year. Katie Wilse also sent pictures of her family. They are growing so fast. A U of U scarf for Sister Bartlett, some chocolates from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and a "Good Night Utah book. I did wear the socks all day.  
We also visited the Auckland Museum and saw their Maori show. These are some of the performers announcing the show. It was slightly different from the show we saw last time at the Museum.
Of course the performers are happy to get a picture with you so we took the opportunity. They are hams.   
  This is the inside of a Whare which was at the Museum. It is a Maori meeting house and intricately carved. They had a large one built inside the Museum so you could go inside. It was one that had been re-furnished and re-assembled inside the museum. One of the highlights of the day was Josh jumping off the Sky Tower in Downtown Auckland. He jumped from 192 meters (630 feet). It took about 4 seconds from top to bottom. They suspended him between two cables on a harness which gives you a sensation of a parachute free fall and slow you down at the end.
We took Kathy and Josh to one of our favorite falls, the Kerikeri falls. We have really only been to two and they are ones that are easy to get to from the road.   
Josh and Elder Bartlett just had to hike up to a small cave on the side of the road to get a better view of the falls in the background and the beach.  
The climb paid off as they got some beautiful pictures of the hills and the beach beyond. It was a beautiful day with some warm sunshine.  
There were beautiful views of the Kerikeri beach. We did find some more unusual shells and had a great day. The next day Kathy and Josh flew to Christchurch for 4 days and saw some of the filming sites for Lord of the Rings and Hobbit. They even took a helicopter ride over part of the South Island. Needless to say the were pretty exhausted when they left. We have had a very busy transfer this week and have not had much chance to write until now. Sorry for the delay. Love, Elder and Sister Bartlett.