Wednesday, 1 July 2015

On Saturday, May 23, 2015 we got up early and headed to the air port to pick up two TVET Missionary Couples flying in from the States.  Their plane was over an hour late.  It was pouring rain, windy and cold.  We finally got them in the van and to the flat.  I spent Friday evening cleaning flat A213 and washing sheets and making beds so they could stay there.  Usually we only have couples for two days but travel booked them over the weekend and they will be here until Wednesday so it is our job to take care of them. We decided to save $500 a day between the two of them for the Spencer Hotel since we have this flat still available until August.

Elder and Sister Gillette are from Idaho and Elder and Sister Jensen are from Star Valley Wyoming.  We had them for dinner on Sunday then did training all day on Monday. We had them attend Family Home Evening with us on Monday evening and we ate dinner there.  On Tuesday we did training in the morning and then took them to the New Zealand Temple for the afternoon and showed them some of the beautiful country
Wednesday the 27th we took them to the airport.  Elder and Sister Jensen headed to Fiji and had an early afternoon flight.  They each had two checked bags and were only allowed one each.  The airline charged them an extra 549 New Zealand Dollars to take their two extra bags with them.  We were shocked!
Elder and Sister Gillette checked in for their flight to Samoa.  They were told they could not take two bags each even if they paid for them.  The plane was full and the weight limit was one checked bag each, no exceptions.  There were a few tears, moving things around to get their other luggage to the maximum weight.  The attendant said to check back right before the flight left and maybe there would be a chance.  That was four hours away.  We took them to lunch and went to One Tree Hill so they could overlook all around Auckland and not just sit and worry at the air port.  It really is a beautiful site up there.  Finally half an hour before their flight was to take off they let them pay for the extra two bags, 240 New Zealand Dollars, and we got them on their way.  What a day!

On Saturday May 30, 2015 we went to a special meeting with all the missionaries from the Auckland and Hamilton Missions.  Elder Quentin R. Cook, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, was in Auckland and met with all of us.  He stood at the front of the chapel and had every single person there walk by and shake his hand.  Elder Nielsen, 2nd Counselor in the Area Presidency, and the two local Area Seventies, Elder Coward and Elder Thompson also shook every hand.  There were about 600 people there and we did it in 20 minutes.  It was a wonderful meeting.  We have been really blessed on our missions.  This is the third Apostle we have been able to shake hands with and be taught at multiple meetings while they were in the country.

We ran into Elder Jeffrey Barker, Nada's Great Nephew, and said hi and took this picture.  He will finish up his mission in July.  He is serving in the Hamilton Mission and has done a great job.  It was great to visit with him for a few minutes before the meeting started.

Elder Barker with his companion from Samoa and Sister Spencer.

Dean Westerlund, our Area Education Specialist Manager and also a Stake President, shaking hands with Elder Cook.  Elder Gifford Nielsen is standing next to him.

President Frederick Balli, our Mission President of the New Zealand Auckland Mission.  The Mission Presidents from the New Zealand Hamilton and Wellington Missions were there as well.

Elder Cook speaking to us.  He talked about when he was called to be a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  That was very interesting.  Then he shared this message to all us missionaries.
  • Love your companion
  • Love the people
  • Love your Mission President
  • Love the Lord

He left an Apostolic Blessing that was very touching.  It was another wonderful blessing of our mission to be attendance today.
Sister Mary Cook his wife.  She led everyone in the Hymn "Hark All Ye Nations."  It was powerful.  Then she had us sing it again with one group singing the line hark all ye nations over and over while the other group sang the verse.  It was very effective.  She loves music and talked about finding songs that teach about obedience, faith, love, etc. and then using them when we teach.

That evening we attended a devotional for YSA and adults where they spoke again.  Mostly on families.  Then on Sunday they spoke in our special Stake Conference.  So we listened to Elder Cook and his wife three separate times.  After this meeting he walked from the stand out the back door of the chapel and shook hands all the way.  We were blessed to be on that side of the room and were able to shake his hand and speak with him for a brief moment.  What a remarkable man.  We really could feel his love of the Savior, the Gospel and that he is a special witness of The Lord Jesus Christ.  We were truly fed many wonderful truths these last two days.

This was a busy and wonderful week.  We were exhausted but spiritually fed.  We just wanted to share some of the highlights we enjoy serving a mission here in New Zealand.  We hope you enjoyed learning and seeing some of the things we get to do.  We have really enjoyed getting to know these new missionary couples and seeing people excited and willing to serve The Lord. We feel truly blessed to be able to be in the presence of these special Apostles of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  We know what they teach us is true.  Until next time.  Love Elder and Sister Spencer


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