Thursday, September 8, 2011

It is done! Kia Ora to Lekias' and Porter's!

A BIG KIA ORA to President and Sister Lekias!
Porter's leave the New Zealand shores with gratitude in their hearts for the blessings of associating with the Lord's anointed, for having the opportunity to know and love the people of New Zealand and most of all for being witness to the hand of the Lord in the lives of those who will have faith in Him, obey His word and follow the Spirit!!!

A special thank you to the families of all our fabulous missionaries for trusting in the Lord and sharing your loving and talented sons and daughters so that the purposes of the Lord might be fulfilled! We are certain that your trust and faith in the Lord will be richly rewarded with blessings upon your families as well as having your sons and daughters grow and experience God in ways that would never otherwise be possible! Glory be to the Father and to His Son and to the Holy Ghost!!!

The "Mantle" changes hands!

We were told by Elder Callister of the Seventy that when the mobile phone is passed to the new mission president is when the "mantle" rests upon the new president from the old one! So this was a momentous occasion for all of us!
President Lekias looks anxious and President Porter has been dreaming of this moment since he was given the mobile phone from Elder Cook 3 years ago!
President Porter looks relieved!
Reality sets in for President Lekias!
The Porter's and Lekias' stand side by side with a great appreciation for what the Lord has done in the past three years and with great wondrous anticipation of what the Lord has in store for the New Zealand Auckland Mission in the next three years!

One last game of basketball! President calls it the "celestial sport"!

Elder Smith's attempt to thwart President, but no luck!
Elder Kimball tries to slap it out--but President is triumphant!
Elder Smith tries again!
Elder Kimball makes another attempt!
The President changes courts and Elder Brown tries his hand at stopping the President!
A final Elder Porter/President Porter dual!!! You do know that I am paid to make President look good on this blog---right!!!
In the end, they are all adorable! Left to right: Back row - Elders Desmarias, Greening. Middle row - Elders Curtis, Chandler, Smith, Handy, Brown, President, Porter. Front row - Sisters Jones, Donumaibugale, Elders Kimball, Hoko, Rehak and Toka!

Getting in those last beautiful baptisms!

On the final Saturday in June we attended the baptism of Anna and Victoria Howard and Atiu Enerii In Pukeokohe! Victoria is the 9 year old daughter of Anna and who had great faith! She removed a bone carved necklace that she had worn since she was 3 years old and thought that it would bless and protect her; for the blessing and protection of the Lord! I think she made an excellent choice, especially for her young age!
One last stop at Pokeno's with the Papakura Zone and District Leaders and the Sisters after the baptism! Left to right: Back row - Elders Kitara and Kaufusi; Front row - Sisters Leu and Perry, President Porter, Elders Nipko and Pre!
A wonderful farewell with the Seniors in the Area Office! Friends Forever!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"Hurrah for Israel"--time for our temple trips is here!

Certainly a favorite time is our trips to the temple every 6 months! It was a blessing that the schedule worked out that these trips would be the last thing we did with our missionaries! This group went on Tuesday and included the Whangarei/Kaikohe, Henderson/Harbour, Mt. Roskill, and Manakau/Papatoetoe Zones!
We travel down in two buses!
The bus ride down to the temple and back is a wonderful time of song and association!
Pokeno's doesn't know what hit them! Quite famous among New Zealand Latter-day Saints is a unique and wonderful place in which prices are low and members have discovered the goodness and flock in droves! Every temple trip includes a stop--or two--if the timing is right--to this blessed ice cream shop!
Couldn't have cuter customers!

Sister Sitthidamrong and Sister Mafi supports. Lick it Sister!
I think she likes it!
A happy Elder Smith!
This is Tongan sharing!
Happy Shop owners!
Happy Tongan Sisters Feao, Funaki, Pasiaka and Mafi---such beauty and happiness all at once!
$$$$$$$$$$ Yeah!!!$$$$$$$$
How many scoops is that Elder Pohahau?
Elder Jenkins preaches by the way while enjoying his ice cream cone!
Elder Walker gets a scoop for every member of his family! I wonder if he wishes he came from a smaller family?
Sister Hohaia takes this opportunity to speak with someone waiting for the gospel!
I believe Elder Aldridge and Elder Walker are wondering why they got so much goodness!
Wednesdays group included the Panmure/Waterview, Tamaki, and Manurewa/Papakura Zones!
Elder Greening begins with "preaching by the way" and sets a great example for the mission!
Shop owners are prepared after yesterdays invasion!
Elder Cook gets the biggest cone available! He has a thin body that could handle a few extra fat cells!
Oops! Elder Cook looses the biggest cone! So much for the extra fat cells!
Elders Tugaga and Matu'u and Sisters Masoe and Fu'e!
Elders Handy and Kimball get twin cones!
Tongan share! I think Elder Rehak flipped the bill for these cones that Elders Hoko, Havea, Rehak, Palaiti and Falepapalangi partook of! Thanks Elder Rehak!!!
Sisters Clark, Marie, Jones and Domumaibugale(the one with the huge cone!)
Elders Tito and Huang let the shop owners know who it was that blessed their shop today!
Thursday's group was all the southern kingdom! They didn't get a chance to go to Pokeno's! This was the Glenview, Hamilton, Templeview, Tauranga, Rotorua and Gisborne Stakes! They have longer drives to look forward to in small mission cars--some up to 8 hours drive! The temple is so worth it!
On Friday, President Porter and I were able to participate in a wonderful event--the sealing of Mark and Salina Burdette and their son Jacob! On our first trip down to Gisborne two and one half years ago, we visited the Burdette's in their home and challenged them to get their family to the temple and sent them a picture of the temple as a reminder of their commitment! Here at the very end of our mission, seeing Mark and Salina sealed was a glorious event to culminate our experience here in New Zealand! How could we ask for more! Thank you to Elder and Sister Gubler and the rest of the Gisborne 3rd ward for their love and support for this precious family!

Elder Steven Snow of the Seventy in New Zealand!

Elder Steven Snow came with Elder David Hoare to make a change in the Panmure Stake President!
President Mark Dean Westerlund was called as the new Panmure Stake President!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Our last Leadership Training!

What a great group of Elders and a few Sisters were there as well! There are such exciting things happening with missionaries that it is very hard to leave! We must keep in mind that we are never released from missionary service--we are always on duty! It is who we are--we are representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ and we are here to gather his elect wherever we might be! It is truly evident to us that --No unhallowed hand can stop this work from progressing--it will go on boldly, nobly--till the Lord says it is done!(paraphrasing of course!)