Dear Family & Friends: We are having so many new and exciting adventures to tell you about. We get up around 5:45am and go as fast as we can until bedtime, learning our new responsibilities and having a peek at this BEAUTIFUL country. We hope in this blog we can express how blessed we are to testify of Jesus Christ and serve Him in this amazing corner of the world! HAERE MAI* to our blog, we're glad you are visiting us!.....(*This means 'WELCOME' in the Maori language)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fruits of Our Labors

It is nice to know.......

Prime Minister of New Zealand - John Key

Public Affairs missionaries, (as well as other non proselyting missionaries), don't always see the end result of their efforts.  We don't have the thrill of watching someone receive a testimony of the Gospel, make changes in the lives and accept the invitation to be baptized. 

As Public Affairs missionaries, we are the bridge builders from neighbor to neighbor, faith to faith, and our Church to the communities and countries where our members live.  We help bring the Church out of obscurity so our neighbors know we are followers of Christ, and because of this, we strive to better ourselves and contribute in positive ways to the communities where we live. 

As our neighbors become our friends and they see us as the good people we strive to be, doors are opened, Gospel messages are humbly and prayerfully given and accepted, lives are changed and souls are saved!  It all starts with building bridges and friendships.

When we were traveling on the south island, we went to church in Nelson.  It was a fast and testimony meeting, and several members bore their testimony about how grateful they were for missionaries who brought them to the Gospel.  I also shared my testimony, introduced Jeff and myself, and said we were Public Affairs missionaries.  I took a few minutes to explain what our mission is all about, as it is usually unknown to most people.  

After I sat down, a young man got up and said he wanted to testify to the valuable work that PA missionaries do.  He works in government, and said that the people he works with, mayors, members of Parliament, etc., all speak favorably about the Mormons.  He then said, "A while back I was with John Key (the Prime Minister of NZ), and he said, 'What do you think about the Mormons?'  According to this young man, he then said something like, 'I was with the Mormons recently and they gave me a history of my ancestors.  When I took it home and showed it to my wife, she burst into tears.  She said I've wanted to know about our family history for a long time, and now these people have done this for us.  I've not seen her cry that much since I've been Prime Minister.'"

It is gratifying to do something nice for others, and know that a bridge of friendship is beginning.  This is a photo I took of the ceremony when John Key was presented with his family history enclosed in a beautiful, personalized binder. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Christmas Day - 2011

Christmas in NZ is at least a four day holiday and many take several weeks of vacation around Christmas and New Years.  Our boss, Rich, went on vacation with his family, and since a majority of the office staff was gone as well, we also took a holiday and decided to head north.

When Christmas Day came, we found ourselves in a tiny little village called Opononi.  We quickly discovered a tiny chapel and when we pulled into the parking lot, there was Rich and his family getting out of their car!  We know NZ is a small country, but thought it funny that we would end up in the same place.

The congregation was very small, in fact with Rich's family and ourselves, we about doubled the numbers, and we were the only white faces there.  The others were either Maori or Polynesian.  All were friendly, and readily welcomed us.  The meeting was to begin at 10 am, but the prelude music began at about 10:15, and the meeting was over by 10:50 am.  The Christmas message was wonderful, albeit short and to the point.  Afterwards they served ice cream.  Hmmmm, I think I could like going to church here-HaHa!  I am sure services were shortened so all could spend Christmas day with their families.