Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Prepare for the End!

As I mentioned last week President and Sister Balli will be leaving this next week. They had one last meeting with each Zone to help the Elders and Sister in the Mission to make the transition to the new Mission President. We are sad to see President and Sister Balli go but we know they will have a sweet reunion with their children and grandchildren.  A new chapter is about to begin here in the New Zealand Auckland Mission and we will enjoy getting to know a new President and his wife. We are excited to meet them and to serve with them. The new Mission President is President and Sister Walker from Hawaii. He has been involved with the Management of the Polynesian Cultural Center on the campus of BYU Hawaii.  
We saw these shoes in the trash. Probably some Missionary just wore them out. You will notice that the shoe is completely removed from the sole. The sign of a hard working Missionary.  
We had to go to Kaikohe this weekend to pick up a bike and deliver another. We took that opportunity to go to the farthest northern tip of New Zealand. It is called Cape Reinga, where the Pacific Ocean meets the Tasman Sea. You will notice the different blues in the water. They say the ocean is a different temperature that the sea which makes the different colours.  
This Lighthouse sits at the very tip of New Zealand. I am not sure whether it is a working Lighthouse. We didn't get to spend a lot of time there since it was a 3 hour drive back to Whangarei where we were staying. It was also looking like rain and very windy. There is a beach called 90 mile beach on the Tasman sea side of the New Zealand that ends at Cape Reinga. I am not sure why it is called 90 mile beach since it is only 55 miles long and everything here is measured in kilometres. I think they meant to call it 90 kilometre beach and that would be 55 miles.  
When I left for New Zealand, someone wanted me to look for the Red Stags which are native to New Zealand. On our way back from Cape Reinga we found them. I am not sure whether these were wild or not since there were about 30 bucks in this field.   
We also saw these turkeys out eating among the sheep. We haven't seen any turkey meat in the store so we where not sure they raised them here. These may have been wild? Until next time we will say good bye from Elder and Sister Bartlett.            

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Voice of Warning!

President and Sister Balli are done with their Mission on July 1 so we as a Mission Staff decided to get them a going away present. It is a Maori Putatara conch horn. It was used by the Maori to signal certain things. We put a plaque that reads, "The Voice of Warning NZAM 2014 to 2017". They have served here for 3 years and have spread the Gospel to the people of New Zealand. NZAM stands for the
New Zealand Auckland Mission. We had a bit of fun with it as President and Sister Balli tried to play it. If you want to see how it sounds go to YouTube and they have demonstrations there. None of us could bet much sound out of it.  
We will sure miss President and Sister Balli and all they have done for the NZAM. The Missionaries they have served will certainly miss them. They now have about 600 sons and daughters who have served with them. They will be missed. I know they will leave a little piece of their hearts here in New Zealand.  
We took a few minutes while we were waiting for Family Home Evening to start to drive to the end of a peninsula to a town called Devonport across the bay from Auckland. This is a picture of Auckland from that location.     
This week was also transfers. We had a bunch of Missionaries coming and a bunch going home. It is always sad to see them die (that is what the call it when they go home). This young man is Elder Katoa from Tonga who we took to the airport. We were privileged to know him for a few months.  
By the way I decided to make my pictures a little bigger for you to see. This is a leis that was given to one of the Senior Missionaries but she wasn't able to take it home so Sister Bartlett took it. Of course we ate the candy bars. The leis is hanging on our wall. We were also able to see our first Rugby match on TV at the Self Reliance building not far from us. We didn't know what all was going on but we are learning.  
As we mentioned we did transfers this week and with transfers comes the moving of bikes all over. We spent most of Thursday, Friday, and some of Saturday picking up and dropping off bicycles. We put on about 200 km in one day in about 12 hours. While at one flat we happened upon a map that hung in the flat. Elder and Sister who served in that area signed the map. If you will
notice E. Western signed it. That is our nephew who served in this Mission several years ago. We visited the Otara market on our Preparation day and saw this dance group doing a modern interpretation of some Maori traditional dances. It was very entertaining and free. We also did some of our grocery shopping since they always have heaps of people selling fruits and vegetables. We ended up carrying them because we forgot our trolley.  
We were able to make a wonderful colourful fruit salad with fresh pineapple, kiwi fruit, and persimmons. It was wonderful.   
Our Ward has been divided into 6 Zones for Missionary work so that everyone can concentrate on their own neighbourhood. We split up in Zone 1 on Saturday and went to visit less active and part member families. We even had several young men who came to participate. We met at the church later for a feast. They prepared a Hangi, which is like a pit bbq with Chicken, Pork and Lamb. It had a rich smokey flavour and was delicious. And of course we ate to much. We are getting used to being asked to talk in Sacrament meeting. This week we were asked to talk in another Ward. Seems the Bishop wanted a Senior couple to speak so the Missionaries serving in that Ward volunteered us. We love those Missionaries. We are loving the service. At times it is frustrating and yet at the same time it is a Sweet Mercy from the Lord. We miss you all and send our love. Elder and Sister Bartlett                 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Happy Birthday to the Queen!

This week started off with a Holiday. The Queens Birthday to be exact. What do you do on a holiday? You dance the Zumba with the whole Ward. Yes that is Elder Bartlett in the brightly coloured shorts doing the Zumba with the Ward. The instructor went so fast that we had a hard time following. What do you do after the Zumba? Of course you fill your face with bacon, eggs, and buttered bread. It was a fun time.   
What a wonderful way to spend a Preparation day. We visited some hot springs with another Senior couple and tried out the warm water on a cold day. Lava Pool was 48 degrees Celsius (118 Farenheit) so we opted for the Sapphire Pool which was 40 degrees (104 Farenheit).  
There was also a beautiful beach there by the hot springs so we had to go see. What do you do at the beach on a cold day? You collect seashells of course. You also chase the silly birds that are standing on one leg. When you approach them they take about 3 hops on one leg before the put down the other leg and start running from you.  
We were privileged to go to Zone Conferences once again this week. Since our first was in Whangarei we were on the road a little before 6 am and this day turned out to be foggy. This is from a hill top across a valley on the way to Whangarei.  
The Relief Society Sister's put on a great feed for the Missionaries at Zone Conference in Whangarei. The food is wonderful and it was fun talking to some of the Sisters. They are so gracious.  
We love to be around these Elders and Sisters and get to know them. This is the Whangarei and Keikohe Zones.
While at Zone Conference Nurse Sister Bartlett had to check out how one of the Missionaries was doing. She burned her hand in an accident and this is what it looked like several weeks after. Still some healing to do. She gave me permission to show this picture. Ouch, 3rd degree burns from the oven.  
Sometimes one rainbow is just not enough. The Lord gives us two for good measure. All for our enjoyment and to make us feel better. 
I feel like mostly what I give pictures of is food. Again at the next Zone Conference we were treated by the Relief Society. This group made a volcano with the Cheese, Tomatoes, and lettuce. Very Clever.  
This group had loftier thoughts and wrote the Plan of Happiness. Complete with the three degrees of glory. Ask your LDS neighbor to explain if you don't understand.  
      These are the Missionaries of the Chinese, Henderson, and Harbour Zones.  
  Sorry this is smaller, but it was the way it was sent and saved. This is the Panmure, Waterview, and Manakau Zones.
This is Sister Bartlett talking at Zone Conference about how to avoid colds, or at least not spread them. Also how to lessen the effects of colds. Retire to thy bed early and arise early. Drink plenty of water, exercise, and work, work, work.  
Elder Bartlett or course talked about bikes. This time safety and security. About 10% of Missionary bikes are stolen, and most within a few months of the Missionary entering the field. Mostly because they are new bikes. The other problem is the bikes are being lost because they leave them at their last flat and they seem to disappear.   
Not to worry, we found the Missionary lost bikes in this bike art one day. One of the Missionaries actually thought her bike might be there. We assured her it was not. At least we know where to get an extra bike when we need one.    
This is the Otara, Tamaki, and Papatoetoe Zones.  
Our Otara Zone Leaders decided that all of the Elders in their Zone should have matching Island ties. This is a picture of us in our Island ties. Awesome! Even President Balli was in on the ties.    
We were able to spend another Preparation day and went to the Kelly Tarlton Sea Life Aquarium. It is completely underground and is pretty amazing. This one is for Luke our grandson who loves to hund for ghosts. Luke, I found these ghosts for you.
Have you ever seen a penguin pillow. This little fella likes the hard pillow.
They also had very flexible necks and it appears this one has no head.        
Beware of sharks Sister Bartlett there is one hovering over you. We asked about scuba diving with the Sharks. We could have done it for half off. That would only be about 140. The reason it is so cheap is that it saves of food costs. Just kidding.  
There were times when we felt that the Sharks were to close. Yum Yum said the shark!      
This octopus was able to take pictures with some underwater camera equipment. Pretty clever. 
The sea horses are mighty cute even though they are very small. By the small and weak things of this earth many great things can come to pass. The Lord gives us strength the do whatever he calls us to do. I know he has called us to New Zealand to serve him and to serve the people of New Zealand. We are weak and through home we can become strong. This why we are here. Love you all! Elder and Sister Bartlett            

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Sing with Enthusiasm, Pray with humility!

This week I want to dedicate the blog to the wonderful people we have met in New Zealand. For prelude music the Bishop got up and sang a acapella solo. It was wonderful, not that he has a marvellous voice but because it was filled with the spirit. I have noticed a couple of things in their Sacrament and other meetings. They sing with enthusiasm and they pray with humility. You can hear all of them whether they can sing or not, they love to do it and it is as a Heavenly Choir. When they pray it is with humility to the point you can hardly hear them but you can feel the spirit. They bear testimony fervently and again you can feel the spirit. Every meeting begins with a song. This island paradise is also very international. Today in church we heard testimonies in English, Tongan, Samoan, Portugese, Niuen, French, and some language from India. Yes these were all in their native tongue and all are members of our Otahuhu Ward. All of these sweet people also speak English, which is amazing to me that they have mastered two languages at least. You may ask what is Niuen. There is a tiny island in the Pacific called Niue. It is an island nation with about 1500 inhabitants. I believe it is supported mostly by New Zealand. There is one road around the island that is approximately 36 miles long. We have several members of our Ward who are from there.
 On a lighter note. We have a little frame in our kitchen which has pictures of our Children and Grandchildren that appear in a slideshow. It is a pretty neat gadget given to us by some of our children. At times we just sit and stare and miss them all so much. One of our children (Jarom) doesn't put anything on it. 
Sometimes we wonder how the Missionaries survive under the conditions of their flats. We were helping some of the Sisters with their electrical problems and came across this fixture. We puzzled for a second and then figured out it was a heater installed above the sink in their bathroom. Yes those are live wires espoused because the glass tube was broken and hanging down. Don't worry mom it is not longer a hazard.  
 If you are on the go and hungry we found these pancakes, both regular and dollar sized in the bakery at the local market. We thought it a little unusual. We are starting to get use to the way things are done here.  
If you were ever wondering what happens to those socks that seem to be eaten by the washer and dryer so you have only one of the pair. We found them! We see this on the way to Church each Sunday and we just had to take a picture. We don't dare look inside. We have been busy and enjoy hearing from you who respond to things we mention in our blog. We are enjoying our time here in New Zealand. Our Mission is a blessing to us and our family. We get to talk to some of our children and grandchildren each week which is great. Until next week!
 Love Elder and Sister Bartlett