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.          

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Cute children, stolen bikes, and fires!

When you let a little girl play with your iPad you often get selfies you were not expecting. This is the daughter of an investigator. She hasn't felt comfortable going to Primary and so this is during our Gospel Principles class. We couldn't resist putting this on the blog.       
This is our team of Ward Missionaries and Full time Missionaries at our Missionary Correlation Meeting. We now have 2 Elders and 3 Sisters in our Ward along with the Ward Missionaries and the new Ward Mission Leader and his Wife. The full time Missionaries also cover two other Wards besides ours.    
This is a new Senior Missionary Couple, the Downs who are now serving in the New Zealand Auckland Mission. Our childhood friend Danzelle Lewis Allen was good friends with them back home in Utah. They are serving in the Church Education System and teaching Institude. This was at our Come and See fireside which is where missionaries can bring their investigators to hear music and testimony. Danzelle and her husband are serving in Greece.  
We had to say goodbye to most of the beautiful trees that lined the golf course behind our flat. Evidently this golf course merged with another adjacent golf course and they are redesigning the one in back of us which means they are cutting down trees. So now we have a logging camp behind us. This day was so unusual since we had this sunny day with a few clouds and in just a few minutes it all changed and we had this
cloudy day and rain. Then in a couple more minutes it was sun shine again. That is how fast the weather changes here. Last Tuesday we received a phone call from two Sisters who said the had their bikes stolen the previous Thursday. Immediately We called the Police and reported the bikes stolen. We decide to go see where the bikes were stolen to see if we could spot them. We also decided to check
the local pawn shops but didn't find anything. We had to go to the pharmacy to pick up some prescriptions so we left the area. When we were done with picking up the prescriptions we decided to go back and check again. As we drove past the home where the bikes we stolen we noticed that two doors down there were two boys on bikes that looked like the Sisters bikes. We stopped at the home and the two boys rode away. We knocked on the door and talked to one of the boys mothers. She said she would get the bikes back for us. We drove around again looking for the boys and when
we returned the mother waved us over. The two boys were there, the mother and the father. They gave the bikes back and agreed to listen to the Missionaries message. On Wednesday we received a call from the Pokekohe police and they said the had an Elders Bike that was stolen about 4 months ago in Mangere. Pokekohe is about 30 kilometres from
Mangere so that was a little surprising. We took about an 30 minutes to get down there. While we were there we needed lunch so we found a Turkish restaurant and this was our food. Sister Bartlett had something chicken and Elder Bartlett had shrimp. Very interesting and the person serving us was from India.    
Friday night we had a Missionary game night. Members and Missionaries could invite investigators and less active members to play games with the Ward Members. This is our Bishop in the middle in the apple eating contest. The hit of the night was a human Hungry Hungry Hippos. One team member layer on a skateboard with a strap tied around their waist and a bucket
in their hand. The team members would push the person on the skateboard out to the center of the hall where there were balls. They had to grab as many balls as they could with the bucket and the team pulled them back to their corner with the strap. We also did Face the Cookie and the M&M game. Great fun was had by all.  
We woke up Saturday morning to a panicked phone call from a Zone Leader who said there  was a fire and some Sisters were at the Middlemore Hospital Emergency room. So we rushed over there to find four Sisters and their Zone Leaders. Sisters Graf, Fuimaono, Fehoko, and Tanuvasa. Elders Stringer and Del Rosario. These Sisters were being checked out to make sure there were no after effects of them inhaling smoke. Sister Graf had soot all over her face from the smoke but she
was ok and no other problems. We took them all back to our flat and fed them waffles. Food can cure many ills. When we went back to the Sisters flat we saw what had happened. Since they don't have central heat here all of the Missionaries have to use space heaters. One of their blankets somehow came into contact with the space heater and started to burn. You can see below the damage done to the mattress and box springs. Luckily no one was injured in the
fire and it was put out immediately by one of the Sisters. This is a picture of the mattress and box springs and the heater and the small bundle at the feet of the Sisters is what is left of the blanket. Sister Graf and Sister Fuimaono are posing by the damage.  We know that the Lord is looking out for these Missionaries. There are so many things that can
go wrong. We pray for their safety and health and for their bikes. We have joy in this service and hope you all have joy in reading this blog. Love Elder and Sister Bartlett.      

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.