Monday, February 25, 2008

God orchestrated the Best Visual Aid Ever!









The first Sunday in French Polynesian we were on the beautiful ship Tahitian Princess and holding our own meeting there. In our group the numbers were about 58 but when we assembled for church in a lounge on at the front of the ship there were many more that joined us. Apparently our group had drawn some interest among other passengers and they invited both members and non-members they met to attend our services. We were fortunate to have several Bishops, Stake Presidents, and former Mission Presidents among us and so we were able to have the sacrament passed and it was very special. Here we were at sea for two days and all that we could see from our "church pews" was ocean on all sides.








Our speakers were a couple from Colorado who had served as Mission President in Jackson, Mississippi. After Sister Sheffield sweetly spoke, President Sheffield launched into a story about his father who had served a mission in French Polynesia many years ago. He told about how he had come upon a story about a specific island that was quite flat and suffered a terrible tsunami that swept many people out to sea. Many hung on to or tied themselves to trees to survive and it was very scary. He told of the great faith it took for people to gather what was left of their belonging and family members and go on through this horrible ordeal. He told of the testimonies strengthened and how his grandfather helped the islanders rebuild. Just as he was relating a most tender part of the story we began to see some land in the distant. The ships Captain got on the PA and identified the islands we were just beginning to see and we all realized that these were the islands as the little atoll islands that his father served on as a missionary. It was like a little miracle .... the Captain of the ship surely didn't know that we would be talking about those little islands. President Sheffield had no idea that we were even near any land, let alone the land that he was talking about. Talk about a great visual aid! We were very teary as it was confirmed to us that indeed "this was the place".

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday Night

It's been a good Sunday. Hope you have seen some of the Tahiti Pictures in the right hand column. I will try to put captions to them a little at a time. I'm having trouble finding the time to do anything but catch up at work.....and coupon shop of course. We are happy to be back to our regular schedule today. The kids in Primary were absolutely darling. We have two sets to twins in the 4 year old class, all girls. They always dress alike and sit on the front row. It's a blessing in my life to have a church job in Primary. I need more ideas so keep sending me your suggestions and insights. We have been learning "Tell Me The Stories of Jesus" and the third verse is really hard. We have also learned all the verses to "I Am a Child of God" and that cute song entitled "Home". These are sweet songs and we are having a very good year.

The Center for Entrepreneurship at BYU is merging with the Kevin Rollins e-Business Center next month so things are changing at work. They are keeping all of the employees in our center and letting all the employees at the eBusiness Center do other things so we are very fortunate. There is much to do every day but it is stimulating and fun!

We are making plans for Jesse and Danielle's wedding events and can't wait to have our whole family together in April. Doug and I will also be traveling to DC in June for Grant's baptism. We are so proud of Abbie and the great little lady she is and are excited that Grant will be able to join her as a member of the church. This is the first big step to happiness in this life. They are two very capable young people and we love them very much.

We are so sorry to hear about the death of Meg, the Hawkins sweet little puppy. She will surely be missed! We welcome Jax and Turbo into the family. Seems like we are gaining more and more animals (Croshaws, what are your fish's names?) but don't see any new grandkids on the horizon. Papa and I just want to remind you to keep your priorities straight. Tee Hee!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

HOME AGAIN HOME AGAIN!

Well, it seems like forever since I had internet access so here goes my report on our trip. I'll make it short and sweet since no one trudging through snow wants to hear about blue as a dream tropical waters, islanders in native dress, amazing schools of fish over pure white sand, and warm air and sea enough to want to remove all your clothes and run screaming into the ocean.....no gloves, no hat, no winter coat, no snow boots, and not one ounce of wool anywhere on the cruiseliner!

We are happy to be back to our usual surroundings and especially excited to see our grandkids tonight!!! We have been so blessed with this opportunity to spend some time in an other-worldly paradise, but still feel like "there's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home". Now we have arrived we can take off our magic slippers and dig into our normal routine of work, wedding, and church responsibilities. We feel rested and happy.

A little "cruise critique" here: The Tahitian Princess was a medium size ship, smaller than Celebrity we were on to Alaska and much smaller than Royal Caribbean we were on with the Founders in Feb. 2006. Passenger + crew loads are respectively 2,000, 3,000, and 4,000. The seas were very smooth so even though this ship was smaller we hardly felt motion and had to keep reminding ourselves that we were on a ship in the middle of the ocean with 2 miles of water underneath us!

I like the bigger ships because there is more to do on them and they contain larger open areas, a promenade in the middle of the ship, and a theater bigger than most multi-cinemas. I like the smaller ship because there are less people around all the time and the island we went to were only lightly populated and very pristine. I like the Caribbean because most islands have a pier where the ship can dock and you can walk on and off at any time. I like French Polynesia because it is fresh and non-commercial. The Caribbean ports have lots of shopping and good prices, The Tahitian Island ports have little to buy and horrible prices. We didn't buy anything this time which was both good and bad. Each time we have cruised we felt like each was a very different experience.

I'll write more later as I have time.