Friday, 15 July 2016

I have not written for a while so I need to get caught up.  On June 8, 2016  our oldest son, Justin, celebrated his 41st birthday.  My where have all those years gone?  Reed had a bad mole removed by Dr. Paul LeGrice.  It went well and only took 20 minutes.  Dr. LeGrice took quite a bit of flesh and tissue with it to make sure he got it all.  There were 10 stitches that we could count and it measured 2 inches long.  He healed very nicely and you can hardly see any kind of a scar.  The results came back that it was cancer but had not invaded any tissue and was not Melanoma so we were very grateful we got it taken care of.

On Saturday the 11th of June we took our time cleaning and doing things around the flat.  Later in the afternoon we decided to find how to get to the parking area under the Auckland Harbour Bridge.  We finally found it and enjoyed the close up view of  Hauraki Bay and the Auckland skyline.

The weather was quite nice and there were quite a few people down here taking pictures.

We walked out on this dock and took pictures.  We were right under the bridge.

The seagulls sat there on the dock until we got right next to them.  There were a lot of sailboats anchored and the tide was in.

The Auckland City Skyline is so beautiful.  The city begins right on the waters edge.

We were right under the bridge.  There is a lot of concrete involved.

Nada with Hauraki Bay and Auckland City behind her. 

We were told that there are more than 2200 sail boats anchored here.  It was just a nice break and only about 15 minutes from our flat once we found the right road.  One night we will go here and watch the sun go down.  We then headed to Devonport and had dinner at Portofinos which was very delicious.  We walked around the little town area and headed home.  Another beautiful day in New Zealand.
On Friday, June 17, 2016 we had dinner and a very nice visit with Olivia and Roy Pome'e.  He had been the second counsellor in the Auckland YSA 1st ward Bishopric and was released in March when they put in the new bishopric.  We had not seen them since then and wanted to catch up.  There little girl Ilaraine has gotten so big.  We really enjoyed catching up. 
We had dinner at Genghis Kaun in Manukau.  Olivia, Nada and Sister Mickelsen. 

Reed holding Ilaraine.  He put her to sleep.  This was a grandpa moment since we cannot hold our own grandchildren.

Elder Mickelsen, Roy, Ilaraine, Reed, Nada, Olivia and Sister Mickelsen.  Elder and Sister Mickelsen and Reed and I are the two missionary couples assigned to the Auckland YSA 1st Ward.  We had a very nice evening getting caught up.  The Pome'es  are a great couple and very faithful members.  Another blessing of serving a mission, having such good friends come into our lives.

On Sunday, June 19, 2016 all the kids called Reed to wish him Happy Father's Day.  It is not actually Father's Day here in New Zealand.  They celebrate in September.  He received some wonderful email messages from the children but the greatest gift was a small package from Nichole and Trevor.  When he opened it with them on Face Time it was a small onsie and they announced that they are going to have a baby.  We are so excited for them and they are very excited.  We feel so blessed.

On Monday, June 20, 2016 we begin the Self-Reliance Manager's Seminar with the four managers who deal with funding in their countries.  It went very well.  We have really grown to love these managers, Verna, Sope, Ned and Bruce.

From Tuesday, June 21st through Thursday, June 23, 2016 all of the managers were here for training.  We had some really good training going on.  There were a lot of very good doctrine discussions and then training. We did a lot of laughing and learning together.  We went to some fun places to eat each evening and got to know each other even better.  It rained pretty much all day every day while they were here.  They were pretty cold coming from the warm islands.

We met in the ground floor conference room from 8:30 .m. until 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

We had a great time learning and sharing.

We gave everyone a thank you gift bag to take home to their families with treats and two games to use for FHE.

Reed and Carl Maurer, Self-Reliance Manager, for Queensland and Western and Southern Australia.  They were role playing about a way the SR Managers could approach and meet with Stake Presidents in their areas to help them understand more about Self-Reliance and the importance of their Stake Self-Reliance Committees.

We broke into groups with the managers from the emerging church, developed church and mature church areas.  These are our managers from Australia and New Zealand the mature church areas.  We gave them different scenarios and they needed to come up with how they could apply and work with those concerns in their areas.

Elder S. Gifford Nielsen the first counsellor in the Pacific Area Presidency.  Since Elder Pearson is being reassigned to SLC, Elder Nielsen has been assigned as the member of the presidency working with Self-Reliance and Education now.  He charged us with the direction of making sure we had strong and vibrant stake self-reliant committees in every stake and district throughout the entire Pacific Area.  He is a great speaker and we have really enjoyed working with him and getting to know him better.  The new booklet Reed has written was hot of the press today, "School Success Begins at Home."  He went through the book with the managers and explained the different lessons and the importance of each one.  They were all very excited to finally have copies of it.  We only did a small printing now and will do a large one in September along with it being translated.  The Area Presidency is going to do a small video and discussion questions to roll it out to all the stake presidents and their councils in September and then to all ward members in October.  We are very excited, Reed has worked really hard on this booklet and spend a lot of time praying, fasting and listening to the Spirit as it was developed.

After Elder Nielsen finished presenting we had a group picture taken.  This was the end of a wonderful three days of training and learning together.
Back row, Dean Westerlund, Pacific Area Education Manager, Carl Maurer, Manager in Australia, Ned Taito, Manager in Fiji, Kiribati & Vanuatu, in front of him Bryson Haipartai, Manager in Tahiti, Paul Reid, Area Self-Reliance Manager, Elder S. Gifford Nielsen, Bruce McCarthy, Manager in Samoa, Reed, Moses Armstrong, Manager in Auckland, Northern New Zealand and Cook Islands, Arama Puriri, Manager in Hamilton and Southern New Zealand, Johnny Leota, Manager in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, Moasope McCarthy, Manager in Papua New Guinea and Michael Carthew, Director of Church Schools.
Front row, Ariel Wetere, Operational Manager and Manager for Marshal Islands, Rene Solomon, PEF Specialist and Manager for Solomon Islands, Dallas Olsen standing between Renee and Nada, he is a PEF assistant and takes care of all the odd jobs, Nada, Verna Tukuafu, Manager in Tonga.

 We are so blessed to work with such great people.  We have had a wonderful mission and so many different experiences.  To meet with General Authorities on a regular basis and discuss important items and make decisions with them and be able to learn from them is a remarkable experience.  We know the Church and Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true.  We love and miss you all.
Until next time, Love Elder and Sister Spencer (aka Reed and Nada)


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