Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas To All!

"True happiness comes only by making others happy - the practical application of the Savior's doctrine of losing one's life to gain it. In short, the Christmas spirit is the Christ spirit, that makes our hearts glow in brotherly love and friendship and prompts us to kind deeds of service. 
It is the spirit of the gospel of Jesus Christ, obedience to which will bring 'peace on earth,' because it means - good will toward all men."
-President David O. McKay-
 Southland Zone Conference
 Sister Sudweeks, Sister Fetu'u, Sister Tukuafu, Sister Matwaychuk, Sister Unsicker and Sister Crankshaw at the Gore Chapel.
 Elder Leonard, Elder Crawford, Elder Richardson, Elder Evans, Elder Crosland, Elder Woodland and Elder Kerr.
Christchurch Zone Conference.
 Just before choir practice with Sister Faana and Sister Glen.
 Our newest couple - Elder and Sister Harding. We cannot do without our Senior Couples.
 Arriving all on his own but, very welcome we have Elder Gacad from the Philippines.
 Nelson Zone minus just four Elders.
 Elder Danner, Elder McKenna, Elder Hamilton, Elder Savage (I think), Elder Hunsaker, Elder Seabury, Elder McClellan and Elder Collins.
 Sister Haacke, Sister Morris, Sister Wooodbury, Sister Rose, Sister White and President Kezerian.
Checking out the flat in Motueka!
The Motueka Unit meets in the community center.
 Our small Zone Conference with Elder Vimahi, Elder Adams, Elder Anderson and Elder Halladay.
 Elder Hamilton and Elder McClellan got their pictures in the paper! They're representing us well.
 All the missionaries are studying in PMG, the white handbook and the scriptures everyday and using the Book of Mormon in every lesson. 
 A common site in New Zealand at Christmas time is to see the red flowers from the Pohutukawa Trees. 
Pohutukawa trees line many of the city streets through out the country.
Also in bloom right now are the beautiful bird of paradise plants.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

What is the most important thing in this world? I say to you it is the people, it is the people, it is the people! (He tangata, he tangata, he tangata) -Maori Proverb

"Every morning . . . , missionaries should get on their knees and plead with the Lord to loosen their tongues and speak through them to the blessing of those they will be teaching. If they will do this a new light will come into their lives. There will be greater enthusiasm for the work. They will come to know that in a very real sense, they are servants of the Lord speaking in His behalf. They will find a different response from those they teach. As they do so by the Spirit, their investigators will respond under the influence of the same Spirit."
-President Gordon B. Hinckley-
 Vic and Rangi Parker - Sister Rangi Parker with the support and help of her husband, has dedicated the last 26 years of her life to collecting histories, photographs and memorabilia from former New Zealand Missionaries to document the history of the Church in New Zealand.
Rangi Parker at the Church History Centre in Temple View Hamilton.
 This is a pattern in the carpeting of the building.
President Rudd (President of the Hamilton Mission) and President Kezerian at the old MTC in Temple View.
 President Rudd's father Glen L. Rudd with his wife. He served as a missionary in New Zealand under President Matthew Cowley, as Mission President in NZ, as Pacific Area President and as the New Zealand Temple President.
 This is how the early missionaries in New Zealand use to travel.
Rulon James Crook soon after arriving in New Zealand to serve his mission in 1914.
The following is his story told by his son, James Crook, who also served a mission in New Zealand.

"I've seen a lot of things in my life, faith wise. My father was sixteen years
old and they had to travel about sixteen miles to Stake Conference by
buck board, team and wagon, and he had a large family of boys and one
They went to the Conference and as the Conference was proceeding, the
visiting General Authority called the following missionary Rulon James
Crook to the Auckland New Zealand Mission. Now my father was only
sixteen years of age, and his Dad was quite a missionary. He leaned over
to him and said “Rulon will you go?” My Dad had aspirations of College,
he had only one more year of High School and was going on to College,
the only one in the family, none of them ever wanted to go until he came
home. Well, he went to New Zealand. There were a lot of things involved
in that.
When Dad got home he was twenty one years of age. He wanted to go back
to school but he was too old, so he didn't get a chance to go to College.
He was very good at mathematics. He married a young lady from the same
community, a community of about 300 people. Her name was Rula and
they had four children, the first one they buried, she had appendicitis and
whooping cough, and I was the youngest. In 1933 during the middle of
the Great Depression, a letter came to Dad asking if he would go back to
New Zealand as they needed Elders back there who could speak the Maori
language. This was in 1933. So Dad goes and Mother is left alone, with
three children. I'm the youngest.
A lot of times we talk of missionaries. We should do, but you know my
mother went through a great deal. She had one daughter that had polio,
and in a farming area where the snow is deep, my mother got small pox
in the corner of her eye, and it swelled up. I don’t know whether you have
ever seen smallpox. It’s like huge boils right in the tear duct of your eye.
The doctor said “I can’t do anything for you. You’re going to have to go to
Salt Lake which is 250 miles away. They left for Salt Lake and on the way,
stopped at the home of Elder Maughn. My Dad and he were companions
for a while.
The next day they went to see the doctor and he was going to take my
mother’s eye out, and Elder Maughn went to the President of the Church
and he told him the story and the President of the Church went over and
administered to her. The next day the doctors come in ready for surgery.
He looked at it and said there’s nothing wrong with this eye. My mother
was a very dedicated member of the Church. Sometimes I’d like to have
somebody say something about those who provide for. I was just a little
guy and I saw all this. I thought you would like to know the story."
We have a great missionary heritage here in New Zealand. Much to live up to and great examples of faith, sacrifice, and dedication.

While attending the annual CCM for the Stake Presidents, Mission Presidents and Area Seventy we were able to attend the temple and be there the night they turned on all the lights.

Isn't this a wonderful missionary tool. Flocks of people came to visit and see the lights. I heard one little boy, as he saw the outstretched arms of Thorvaldsen's Christus in the visitors center say, "Is that really Jesus?"

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

New Arrivals

Elder Talataina (Samoa) and Elder Faaifoaso (American Samoa) Welcome!!
We can tell they are diligent. Thanks for helping out Elder Brown!
 There is a new greeting awaiting everyone flying into Wellington. 
 Welcome to the "Middle of Middle Earth"
 All packed and ready for training.
 The Mission Office has been spruced up!
Elder Sauvao (New Zealand) President and Sister Kezerian, Sister Gilmour (Aberdeen, Scotland), Elder King (Walker, Louisiana), Elder Davis (Centerville, Utah), Elder Vagai (Savaii, Samoa)
 Flying in from the Provo MTC - Elder Halladay (Gilbert, Arizona), and Elder Hunsaker (Auburn, Washington). We also welcomed in Elder Gacad (Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines)
Heading home after serving honourably and faithfully, Elder Van Beek (Perth, Australia), Elder Atkinson (Malad, Idaho), Elder Howard (Sydney, Australia), Elder Brown (Not leaving yet) Elder Hobby (Sydney, Australia).
 Elder Adams and Elder Gordon in Hokitika bringing in the Christmas Spirit.
 Senior Couples gathered for a Thanksgiving Feast. Elder and Sister Robbins, Elder and Sister Roberts, Elder and Sister Hayward, Elder and Sister Christensen, Elder and Sister McNamee, President and Sister Kezerian, Elder and Sister Hadlock, Sister Eames and Sister Ingles.
 Elder Dunbar and Elder Langi.
Ground breaking for a recreational facility being developed by the Church is just a few minutes' walk from the Hamilton new Zealand Temple. There will be two large pavilions, two amphitheatres, a sports field, camp fire gathering areas, cooking facilities, showers, 12 cabins and tent areas.
 Elder Adams, Elder Gordon, Elder Vimahi and Elder Anderson.
 Beautiful views from Elder and Sister Edwards on their way through Westport.
 These faces all look familiar! Elder Ma'u, Elder Petaia, Sister Paongo, Sister Kei and Sister Saulala all returned missionaries from the Wellington New Zealand Mission!
 President Kezerians' office at the Mission Office.

 Elder and Sister Webb, Elder Hopoate, Elder Merchant, Elder Kava, Elder Evans, Elder Kerr and Elder Smith at the Oamaru Chapel
 The Dunedin District Presidency performs at the celebration of the dedication of the Oamaru Chapel. President Jenner, President Gaskell and President Mitchell.

 Since everyone hasn't been able to come to the mission home at some point in your mission we wanted to show you what it looks like. This is the largest missionary room with 7 beds and a bathroom.
 Wall to wall beds and extra pads so up to about 24 can fit in the mission home if needed.
 Two more beds.
 Looking into the backyard.
 We have a wonderful forest full of birds.
 The front of the mission home in Tawa

 General Authority Room.
It seems a little empty, but not for long.
Remember when Elder Oaks came to visit? He had a few things to say about his experience in the Pacific.