Sunday, March 26, 2017

IT WAS A BUSY TWO WEEKS!

Sorry we haven't posted our blog for several weeks. Two weeks ago we were involved with Zone Conferences all week so by the end of the week we had a lot to catch up on and just couldn't get to it. Our first Zone Conference was in Whangarei (pronounced Fangarei) where we met some wonderful Elders and Sisters. Since we are new we had to introduce ourselves to all the Elders and Sisters.    
The Relief Society was so wonderful to feed us while we were there. We always Eat to much and will be huge if we don't stop.We took advantage of
the long trip to Whangarei by visiting the falls that are right in town. Because of the great amount of rainfall here in a short period of time the falls were a little muddy.           Our Tuesday Zone Conference was in Takapuna. We had our first real
experience with the horrendous traffic that can take place in Auckland. The Meeting was just north of Takapuna where the Mission Office is.  It is only about 26 km (16 miles) from our flat (apartment) and should take about 30 minutes. We left our flat at 7 am and didn't arrive until 9:30 am or about 30 minutes late. It seems we have Missionaries from all over the world.
We have met Missionaries from the US, Australia, China, New Zealand, Africa, Taiwan, Tonga, Samoa, Hawaii, Korea, and Ukraine. We are truly an international mission.         Our next Zone Conference was finally south of the Bridge
(South Auckland) closer to where we live. We  were finally able to make it on time. We have wonderful Sisters in our Mission. Our Zone conference was on Friday the last one and because we had to go see some Elders from another Zone we didn't get in the picture.  
         
Not everything is work. On our anniversary and Elder Bartlett’s birthday after our Missionary Correlation Meeting and Rescue night they surprised Elder Bartlett with pizza and cake. We were also able to attend a Stake dance for the Relief Society birthday. We were able to find matching outfits for the occasion. They love to dance and have very colourful outfits. They even put on a floor show of Polynesian dances.
On Saturday we attended Polyfest with thousands of other people. It is a whole week affair where they have food and entertainment (dances) from all the Pacific Islands. What a crowd. We didn't last long because of the big crowds. Because we wear our Missionary name tags, many members stopped and talked with us. Sunday we were able to talk in Sacrament Meeting about Missionary work. We get the feeling this will be a common occurrence. There were no Sunday School or Priesthood classes since they were replacing the carpet in the class rooms
and the glue smell was nauseating. The councillor in the Bishopric invited us to dinner which was wonderful. We loved his little grandaughter. She reminded us a little of Claire. All princess.  Last week was transfers and incoming and outgoing missionaries. Another busy week for both of us. We had to introduce ourselves to the new Missionaries several of whom had just arrived after a 13 hour flight from the United States. Most of the new Missionaries attend the MTC in New Zealand so they just had a short ride from the MTC. We also had to arrange bicycles for the new missionaries.    
We are amazed at the wonderful flowers so they have here and we took these pictures after church today. We have many things to be thankful for and we are just happy to be here. Sister Bartlett is finally getting brave enough to drive. This driving on the other side of the road is a little nerve racking not only for the driver but for the passenger as well. She did great on her maiden voyage back and forth to church. We love the work and the Missionaries. We love our Savior Jesus Christ and his message that have brought us to this beautiful land and among these beautiful people.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

FIRST WEEK IN NEW ZEALAND

We have finally arrived in New Zealand after a 2 hour flight to San Francisco and almost 13 hour flight to Auckland. The picture shows the exit from the gates to the baggage claim and immigration. Sister Bartlett didn't want to be in the picture after such a long journey. We had a lot of jet lag and we're hoping we would have someone there to help us. On the plane we had a Senior Missionary couple and 3 Sisters going to Australia. There was also a Missionary returning home from Utah. We met some cute young ladies traveling to New Zealand from Iowa who were going to do their student teaching in New Zealand. What a wonderful experience they will have in paradise. I believe they will be teaching in a Maori school.  The New Zealand airline fed us dinner and breakfast on the plane so we were well fed during our flight. The seats were much better that what we experienced on Frontier. They 
even had inflight movies, blankets, and pillows so they made the flight a little more enjoyable. All of our luggage arrived with us so we had we were lucky. We even made it through I migrations will little problem. We had visions of them going through all our bags and spreading everything all over. Instead they just asked us a few questions and sent our bags through x-ray.  We were met in the airport by Elder and Sister Bath and luckily they didn't make us drive immediately. They took us out for some hot chocolate and a scone. They do these cute little faces in your chocolate as you can see. After that they took us to see our apartment. Our apartment is kind of like a duplex back home. 
We did get a chance to rest up before our strenuous week of training. To the left is a picture of our kitchen and dining and a small living room. We feel very fortunate to have something so nice. This is our bedroom and we will have to get used to a queen sized bed again. It was so nice of Sister Bath and Sister Jackson to decorate it so nicely. We sure have enjoyed all the Senior Missionaries who serve in the mission. Many are going home. They really need Senior MLS couples to serve in the mission. Anyone out there that would be willing have them submit their papers and request the New Zealand Auckland Mission.  
We have to leave the windows open to let the air circulate because there is no air conditioning and no central air so we use electric space heaters for apartment heat. Sister Bartlett is thinking she needs some more blankets and warmer clothes.         
The bathroom is very nice with tile all over. There are two sinks and a shower stall which only comes to about my sholders so if you are not careful sprays over the wall onto the floor. We are so happy to have something so nice. Many of the current Senior Missionaries are living in Hotel rooms. We have a garage but that is where the bike shop will be so we have to park the car out front.    
This is the Mission bike shop (our garage). President has asked that Elder Bartlett take over the repair of bikes. This goes well with Sister Bartlett's assignment as we are able to work with the Elders and Sisters and make sure they are well and safe. They will need lessons on bike safety, since we have been here this week there have been several accidents on bikes (mostly due to rider error). This is very important since we are a bike riding mission. Every Missionary is assigned a bicycle, lock, and helmet when they enter the mission. Many have never ridden a bike in their life. Each bike comes with fenders (to keep their clothes clean) and lights which are required. Whenever anything goes wrong with a bicycle we get to repair it. So far we have replaced fenders,
lights, flat tires, and derailleurs. Things are going slow as we learn our duties. This is the front of our apartment. We have the left side of this Flat. Our home for the next 23 months or so.       
We have been assigned by President Balli to work in the Otahuhu Ward in the Otara Stake. We were able to meet our Stake President and our Bishop since last weekend was Stake Conference and we were invited to have dinner with all the Stake leadership before the Adult session of Stake Conference on Saturday. The picture is some of the food we were fed. Boiled bananas, taro, salad, corn, salmon, and several casseroles. We had yummy mango ice cream.  
On Sunday we tried to sneak in the cultural hall for conference but one of the ushers came and took us up front to the second row and then the Stake President made us get up in front and introduce ourselves. Afterward they fed us again and they had this wonderful fruit drink with all sorts of fruit and coconut juice. It was more like a fruit salad than a drink. They are very missionary minded in the Stake and almost every talk was about missionary work. The area Seventy, Elder Sinjoux from Tahiti, who spoke told about visiting inactive members and that one family accepted and invitation to come to conference. They were at the dinner after the Sunday session of Conference, along with other dignitaries that were invited.
On our Preparation day we were able to visit an open air market in Otara not far from our Flat. We also happened upon one Friday night as we were shopping for groceries at Countdown (the local grocery store). We also visited a beautiful park called One Tree Hill and the monument to the left was erected at the top of the hill. It is commemorating the Maori people. Yes the food is doing us in. Hopefully Elder Bartlett can try out some of the bicycles he fixes and stay in shape.  We had FHE with some of the Senior Couples who have various assignments here in the Mission. About half of them are returning home in the next few months. There were only several couples who will be here any length of time. We need you. That is about all that I have to report on this week. We are excited to be here and still feel like deer in the headlights. After talking to other Senior Missionaries they all felt the same. We will eventually be able to function as well as all the other missionaries. Love ya all, Elder and Sister Bartlett 

Monday, March 6, 2017

CALLED TO SERVE

We have received our Mission call to the New Zealand Auckland Mission. We are excited to be serving the people of New Zealand and to be able to serve in paradise. We are looking forward to bringing the love of Jesus Christ to these people. We hope that the Lord will bless us in our service and bless the people we serve. We also hope our family and friends will be blessed by our service. We love you all and thank you for your prayers.