Saturday, July 8, 2017

So Much to be Thankful For!

First of all we want to say we are thankful for President and Sister Balli. We have had a wonderful experience getting to know them. So much so that we were locked in a 14 by 14 foot room for 90 minutes with no way to escape except for us to solve a whole bunch of puzzles and find a key that would let us out. We chose the DeVinci Code room which was heaps of fun. We were a little slow but still managed to escape. Elder and Sister Stahle who take care of Finance, Cars, and Organization, arranged this little fun team building activity. Everyone loved it. We will miss President and Sister Balli and their wonderful leadership of the New Zealand Auckland Mission.   
We had a nice dinner that President and Sister Balli put on for some of the Senior Missionaries who serve in New Zealand Auckland Mission. Part of the occasion was Sister Clarke's birthday.  Brother and Sister Clarke live in New Zealand and have been called to serve here and help with the Flats and Baptismal records. 
We are thankful for all the Senior Missionaries and their dedication. These Sisters do a lot for the Mission. From left Sisters' Balli, Graham, Seamons, Stahli, Bartlett and Clarke.
Some of these Missionaries serve in the Area office to serve with many Missions and their spouses serve in the Mission Office.   
Some serve as Mission Leadership Support (MLS) Missionaries and serve in an assigned Ward and Stake like Elder and Sister Freeman.  
Brother and Sister Briggs (Center) serve at the Mission Training Center. We really don't have enough Senior Couples in the Mission so you Seniors get going and get out here.  
Sister Clarke also made this Polinesian dress and matching tie for President and Sister Balli. Maybe they will wear them for their homecoming.   
We are also thankful for President and Sister Walker who arrived just last week as President and Sister Balli were leaving. We are excited to get to know them and serve with them. They are wonderful people and and will bring great blessings to this mission.   
The same day that they arrived we had our July 4th celebration with the Senior Couples. It was great fun and food. We are thankful for our Country, the land of the free and home of the brave. God bless America. We are also thankful for New Zealand and it's wonderful people that we love.
Part of the food included Sister Clarke's homemade donuts. She makes the best pastries and was in the spirit of the 4th even though she is Samoan from New Zealand. She also makes a mean Red Velvet cake.  
As you can see the general theme is Red, White, and Blue. There were no fireworks but we have heard them here before for Anzac Day and for Matariki. The food was a good old fashion BBQ with burgers, hotdogs, potatoe salad, and of course apple and peach cobbler and ice cream.
We had a nice program where the Gettysburg Address was read. Then one Senior Missionary changed the words and compared it to Moroni's Title of Liberty from the Book of Mormon. It was terrific.     
We are thankful for these Young Missionaries. Sister Graffe serves with us in the Otahuhu Ward and turned 21 this last week. She is from Tahiti and in the Polinesian culture that is very important, so she dressed in the traditional special woven skirt and received a carved key with 21 carved on it. It represents that they now have the key to being an adult. The Felila family made her feel at home.  
We are thankful for the Temple and for having the Priesthood so that families can be together forever. This is John Dalosa and his family. He went to the Temple for the first time this last Saturday. They will be sealed as a family once his wife's sister returns from her Mission. We look forward to that day.  
We were greatly blessed to have Sister Faalogo also go to the Temple for the first time on Saturday. We were blessed to be involved in both of these individuals Temple classes.   
We are also thankful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is our Savior and the Redeemer of the World. Through Him all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. Shortly after John received his Temple Endowments, he was privileged to Baptized his sister Pam Dalose. She has a wonderful testimony and her life has been changed forever. 
We are thankful that through the Savior we can become pure and clean through Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. This is Pam with her Mother and several Aunties. She is such a great example of Faith and Hope.
We are thankful for Friendships. This is Pam's Institute class and teacher who came to be there for her at her baptism. Her Institute teacher spoke at her Baptism.  We also were there for Pam's Confirmation on Sunday. We are so thankful to be serving the Lord here in the New Zealand Auckland Mission with a companion we love. We are thankful for you our friends. We love you all and hope you are as thankful for the blessings in your life. Love, Elder and Sister Bartlett        

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