On June 29th we had a changing of the guard, so to speak. The Mecham's arrived around midnight and the Dowdles left that morning. Such a bittersweet time.
We were really sad to see the Dowdles leave.
But we were very excited to meet the Mecham's. The short time that we had to get to know them reaffirmed to us that the Lord is directing this work. President Mecham will do things quite different than President Dowdle but we could see that he is going to be very good.
Shortly after the Mecham's arrived, we had a Guam Zone Conference so that President Mecham could familiarize the missionaries with he and Sister Mecham. This is a picture of all the missionaries assigned to Guam at the time of our release.
For the Fourth of July, we planned a FHE for the Senior Couples. There were only five of us! We thought there were going to be fireworks in the bay so we went to a hill where we had watched the spectacle on Liberation Day last year. We took a picnic dinner and we went nice and early so we could get a prime spot. I guess we were a little too early. No one was there but us and we began to wonder if they were really going to be doing the fireworks. We were there for at least an hour before anyone started to come. Slowly more people arrived. It began to get dark and nothing was happening. We had now been there for about 2 hours and wondered if we should just leave. Just when we were about to give up the show finally started. It did not last very long and there were only a few really big bursts because there had been a fire in the warehouse and half of the fireworks had gone off already. They still had to do Liberation Day on July 21 so the fireworks were divided between the two days. Oh well, we had an enjoyable night anyway.
Wayne, Sister Miyazaki, Sister Hertzberg and Elder Hertberg.
The next big event was the Senior Missionaries Conference. All the couples from all the islands started coming in on July 16th. Well actually, one couple had to come almost one week early because of the flight schedules. There are only two flights a week from Kosrae so the Wright's got to stay with the Hertzbergs for four days before switching to the hotel when the rest of the couples came. It was great to have all of the senior missionaries at church on Sunday and then Monday morning, bright and early, we started three days of presentations. The presentations are always good but the best part is just being together.
Monday night we all got together at the Mission Home for Family Home Evening. Sister Anderson led us in a game called "Four on the Couch" (or chairs in our case). It was a great game that tested our memories - of which most of us had problems!! Fun, fun, fun.
We ended the night singing happy birthday to Sister Sheppard and having cupcakes and home made ice cream - YUM!
Of course part of the fun of the conference is having meals at different restaurants. One of our lunches was held at a Tepanyaki place that was really good. For those coming from the other islands, the meals are always a highlight because they are so limited in what is available to them on their islands.
One night we went for Italian at Capricciosa. This was one of my favorites because they serve family style and with lots of people you can order a variety and get lots of different tastes.
Just about every night the majority of us ended up at Yogurtland. Dangerous habit! This is one of those yogurt places where you serve yourself. Lots of flavors to choose from with lots of toppings to add.
On the last day of the Conference we had the whole afternoon for a group activity. This time we went to several of the tourist sights of Guam.
The first stop was at Latte Park. We had a group picture taken here. Behind the group are six latte stones which were moved from an old Chamorro Village site. You can see lattes all over the island but most are reproductions. These are authentic.
This group shot was at the top of a hill where a fort was located during the Spanish time on Guam. Beautiful view of the downtown area and bays. We are standing in front of several canons which were original to the fort. This is the area where we went to watch the fireworks on the Fourth of July.
We also went to Plaza de Espana. At one time this was a beautiful area which housed the Governor - again from the Spanish era. It is an interesting area to see.
The last day of the Conference was the day before we left our mission. We spent the rest of the time saying good byes .
We are missing our friends, the Hertzbergs. They are serving a Family History mission. At least they are from Southern Calif. Hopefully we will see them again.
We attended one last District Meeting and then had a group picture taken. Elders Malit and DeOcampo in the front, Elder Barlow, Elder Clarke, Sister Clarke, Sister Smibert, Sister Vano and Elder Bano. :)
The Sisters were "blue" to see us go. Sister Vano, Sister Anderson and Sister Smibert.
We were blue to be leaving them.
This has been a wonderful experience for us. We have loved working with all the missionaries. It has been good to see the gospel growing in this area. We hope that in some small way we were able to help the work move along. At least we were there to help the missionaries move along. We look forward to serving in a new capacity as we return home.
We left Guam on July 21st. We had one last look from the plane window of those beautiful Guam clouds.
Then it was on to Cairns, Australia, to meet Jonathan and his family for a short vacation before heading home. We left Guam which was its usual 85 degrees or so and landed at mid-night in COLD Cairns. It is winter there. No coats or warm clothes. What a change.
Australia is another post and I will try to do it sooner than I did this one. Stay tuned.