Sunday, June 26, 2016

We attended a welcome back and farewell party with the Dededo Ward.  We always enjoy spending time with them.  There are always new foods and fun.

 We had a busy week with transfers.  That means changes and some coming and some leaving.  It's very hard to see these missionaries leave.  It's also exciting to see new missionaries arrive and start a new phase of their lives that will effect the rest of their lives and many others as well.
Assistants, Sister Trainer Leaders, new missionaries and one departing missionary and Sister Zarbock.

These four exemplary Sisters have now reached the end of their missionary service in the Micronesia Guam Mission.  We are sad to see them leave but know that they will continue to bless lives wherever they go.

New missionaries and their trainers.
We have taken a lot of pictures this week.  Can you see why we love serving in the Micronesia Guam Mission.  We get to serve with these beautiful Sisters.

 And these awesome Elders.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

We attended the Talofofo Group Sacrament and Sunday School meetings today.  It was a good meeting.  Elder Hamilton said it reminded him of when the church was just started.  I hope the group grows just like the church has.

How often do you have a dog and cat join you for sacrament meeting?

This cat was playing with an avocado during church.
The dog really wasn't interested.

Guam was blessed to have two members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Quenton Cook and his wife,  Elder Gary Stevenson and his wife,  the Asia North Area President, Elder Scott Whiting and his wife, Elder Gong of the Quorum of the Seventy and his wife and Elder Jung who is an Area Authority Seventy visit and hold training and a special stake conference.  Elder Stevenson and Elder Gong went to Saipan to hold a special meeting there and Elders Cook, Whiting and Jung attended the stake conference in Guam, along with all the wives that were traveling with the husbands.  Elder and Sister Cook, Elder and Sister Whiting and Elder Jung also held a 2 hour meeting with the missionaries of the Micronesia Guam Mission.  It was also broadcast to a church on each of the other 6 main islands in the mission by closed circuit broadcast.  It was also recorded for use by the church for whatever they decide to use it for.

They were such great meetings.  There was such a peaceful and loving feeling in each of those meetings.  Each of the missionaries got to shake the hands of the church leaders and wives that were also in attendance at the missionary meeting.  When you are around them you can just feel the love that they have for everyone.

I had a feeling to make cookies for the visiting authorities and handed them out as they were leaving.

Elder Hamilton didn't shake their hands at the stake conference because he was planning to shake their hands at the missionary meeting, even though he had a couple of opportunities.  Right before the missionary meeting started President Zarbock asked him to run back to the house and get something that he forgot and he didn't get back in time to shake their hands.  He felt bad that he didn't take the opportunity earlier.  He used that experience to teach the missionaries to seize the moment and never pass up an opportunity.

I just wish that all of you could feel the Spirit of the Holy Ghost bear witness to you that these men are called of God and that they are truly witnesses that Jesus Christ lives, as I felt then and feel now.

Please pray with an open heart about the truthfulness of the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  If you truly want to know and are willing to study and learn and fast and pray, then you can get the witness that Jesus Christ lives and loves you.  You have to put forth the time and effort to learn about the teachings of the church, which are the same teachings that Jesus Christ himself taught, and you will receive your witness.  Please be very patient.  It will be something very simple.  There won't be fireworks.  You will feel peaceful.  Satan will try to confuse you but you must not let him stop you.

Please enjoy the pictures.

Elder Cook-Quorum of the Twelve
Sister Cook
Elder Whiting - First Quorum of Seventy

Elder Jung-Area Authority Seventy

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

I would like to share an experience that we had lately.  We were so sad to have one of our Elders have to go home because of an allergic reaction to sulfa.  He got either Stevens Johnson Syndrome or T.E.N. from it.  He broke out in sores all over his body inside and out.  They were in his eyes and throat so he couldn't see well or swallow for a while.

I was just told that another miracle occurred at the beginning of this story so I wanted to add it to this story.  When Elder Eliason decided to send Elder Beckstead home he contacted President Zarbock.  President Zarbock was in Japan at the time in a meeting with Elder Whiting, The Asia North Area President, and Elder Myers, the area medical advisor.  They were able to communicate and decide what to do in minutes.  If they had not been together the decision might have taken up to a couple of days.  The Lord's hand is in our lives.  We just have to look for it and recognize it.

When I got the call to book him a flight from Chuuk to Guam as soon as possible, I looked on the web site and found that the soonest flight I could get was going to be 12 days away.  I began to panic.  I started to try and find a travel agent and see if they had connections that I didn't.  I had no luck with that.  I prayed and called upon God to provide a way.  Elder Hamilton suggested I check with Line.  She knew a travel agent that was able to book him on a standby flight, which turned into a  booked flight for the next day, which was the very next flight to Guam.  In the meantime we were told that they were going to have a medevac team fly to Chuuk and take him to Salt Lake City.  We  discussed whether to cancel the flight after we heard that and decided that we would keep it in case there was a problem.  They decided that the medevac company would not fly to Chuuk so we were glad that we kept the flight.

We met him at the airport on Saturday night and took him straight to the emergency room at the hospital.  They checked him out and decided that he didn't need to be hospitalized and that it would just have to run it's course.  The mission nurse insisted that they keep him there until the arrangements were made to take him to Salt Lake City. The company that was supposed to come and get him kept putting the flight off for one reason or another and it was getting very frustrating.

On Monday night we were at the mission home with all the senior couples and Elder Hamilton told them that his vision was worse that day.  President Zarbock was very concerned.  The mission nurse said that the medevac company couldn't get anyone there for 4 more days.  He got on the phone with the area medical team and insisted that they send him home immediately and we continued to discus what to do during dinner.  Before dinner was over it was decided that I should book him and Elder Hamilton a flight to Salt Lake City as soon as possible.  I was able to get a flight for the next day.

President Zarbock was very concerned about flying through Japan and having trouble so we tried to get a flight through Honolulu but the time wasn't good so he decided to take the chance through Japan.  The problem was that there was only about one hour to change planes and if they held him up at all he could miss his connection.  The miracles continued.  When they got to Japan they had no trouble at all and got on the flight.  Before the plane landed in Oregon the flight attendant talked to Elder Hamilton and said that they could have trouble clearing customs in Oregon.  He had the proper papers but if they got held up there was a good chance he would miss the connection there as well.

When they arrived in Oregon there was an agent free but Elder Hamilton was waiting for the Elder so they went to a different agent together.  The agent knew what Stevens Johnson disease was and they had no trouble clearing customs.  What are the chances that out of the 15 or so agents working that they got one that knew what the disease was and cleared them right through.  To me that was God's hand.  By the time they got to Salt Lake he had about had all he could take.  When they got to Salt Lake City an ambulance met them at the airport and Elder Hamilton rode in the ambulance to the U of U burn center.  Because of the sores all over that is where they sent him for treatment.

They got him settled and immediately there were four or five doctors checking him.  They determined that he would be in the hospital for two weeks and that it was not Stevens Johnson but T.E.N., which is basically the same thing only over a bigger percentage of the body and inside as well.  They said it was still getting worse.

In Guam they did not treat his skin at all.  All they did was give him solution to swab his mouth with.

Elder Hamilton then called Heather and she and Justin came and picked him up at the hospital and then they went to pick Kyler up from preschool.  He didn't quite know what to think when he saw grandpa.  The kids and grandkids and Lowell and Lorraine all got together that evening at Travis' and Tiffani's house and had pizza and he watched the kids play on the trampoline.  Then he went to Dustin and Toni's house and he stayed there in the trailer for the night and he went to the airport with them the next morning.  Dustin was taking Toni to the airport about an hour earlier that Elder Hamilton needed to be there so it worked out great. He was real cold when he was outside.  It wasn't that cold there though.  It was probably around 70 degrees.

It was a hard couple of days for Elder Hamilton flying about 20 hours and then flying another 20 hours back the next day.  I was very glad when he got back.

Now more of the story and miracles.  I am inserting an email that I got from the parents a few days later.

"Ok so here is a timeline. It seems long, so this is a short version.

Tuesday, Wyatt gets here.  Bishop came for a visit  that night and We give him a blessing. Later that evening the dr. Comes and talks to us and says that it is severe enough she moved the diagnosis from Steven Johnson syndrome to something called T E N. Look it up. The same thing more serious. Anyway she says that it is possible the worst is still to come.

Wednesday things are good and the dr. Said that he'd at least be in for two weeks probably longer. We are still waiting for the worst to come.   That night Jane's brother lets her know that his father in law put his name on the prayer role of the twelve and the first presidency in the temple.

Thursday we were in the room and a lady comes in and says she works in the out patient part of the hospital and wants to set up an appointment for the following Friday. I said that won't work cause he'd still be here. She looked at us and said that in the morning meeting with dr. And staff they were surprised by the progress he was making and that he was scheduled for release the next Monday.

Friday I was up on my farm and my wife called and told me they we releasing him Saturday.  She said she asked  the doctor what happened because he was diagnosed previously as a  T E N. The dr said he was heading for a lot worse and it "just stopped"!

Well considering the scare we have had I told her to tell them to keep him in there til Monday. She then talked to them and the dr said she'd call me the next morning to explain.

Saturday , When she called she told me she could see absolutely no reason for him to be there any longer.  I headed to salt lake to bring him home. 

Sunday, He was released (as a missionary) today and received another blessing from the stake presidency. He is doing great, playing guitar, singing, games, very active. As soon as he was released he went for a drive in his truck by himself.
Right now my concern is depression, and possible anger, that this is not supposed to happen to a missionary. So far he hasn't shown any sign of that! Thank goodness!

That is kind of the jist of it. So many feelings, emotions, miracles, that I never thought I'd have or see. If it wasn't so terrifying I would have almost enjoyed the experience as if I were reading some story from the scriptures wishing that I could have been there to witness it myself. Now that I have witnessed one of those stories I can tell you I really hope I don't have to do it again but i also know I will never be the same.  It's not over yet but what I've seen fills me full of so much gratitude!
He looks so good besides his mom thinking he is way to skinny.  Each day is just another miracle.  He is healing so quickly.  We are going Tuesday to check his eyes and back to the burn unit to be checked out.  They told me we need to take him to an allergist and dermatologist also.

We will always have a special place in our hearts for all who was involved in his return and recovery.  We have all witnessed something special. 
We will be sending you pictures of Wyatt.  Keep in touch,"

Each time I read this and think about this I am so grateful to witness the hand of God in our lives everyday.  When I think that I have earned what I have or worked hard for things, I am reminded that I have no control over life.  Things can change so fast and my whole life can be turned upside down for reasons I cannot control.  Everything I own could be taken away by a disaster and I would have no control.  Only God has control.  The thing I need to learn in life is to  have faith in God and try to learn everything he wants me to through life's experiences whether they are good or bad experiences.

I know that God loves everyone of us and is voting for us to succeed.  He wants is to succeed.  How we handle our challenges is what determines who we are, not our challenges themselves, but how we handle them.

Let's all turn our hearts away from worldly things and to living as God would want us to do.  That is what we will have in the eternities.  If we would make our decisions based on how they would affect us for the eternities and not just for this world how different would our decisions be and our life as well?
This Elder left Monday to go home due to sickness. Sorry to see him go.
Festpac 2016
Festpac is a festival attended by the people of the islands of the Pacific.  It is held every 4 years and rotated among islands.  We were glad that it happened while we were here.  We saw dancing and plays and booths and displays and documentaries.  We still put our time in at the office. We went on the weekend and after the office.

This sister served in the Micronesia Guam Mission and has returned with her parents to visit.  It was great to see her again and to meet her parents.
Two baptisms that we attended lately.  One in Barrigada ward and one from the Dededo Ward.