We are enjoying retirement and loving the time it affords us to enjoy family and do a little traveling. This is mostly a record of the trips that we have been lucky enough to experience and a little family thrown in.
Transfers were at the beginning of the month. We gained Sister Toa and Sister Smibert and Sister Howard (second from left) went home. We will miss her but are excited to have the other two here in Guam. Sister Toa had been serving in Pohnpei and Sister Smibert transfered from Saipan. The three sisters came into the office just before Sister Howard was to leave and we all just happened to have the same color on. We thought it called for a picture.
Wayne did his own "Boonie Stomp" hike with an investigator that we have been visiting when the Assistants are off island. Ken took him to Pagat Cave.
They had some nice jungle terrain to walk through to get there.
This is the entrance to the cave. Notice the little river going into it. They had to wade in water that was almost chest deep - well for Ken it was definitely chest deep. After exploring the cave, they went hiking on some lava formations and worked their way down to the coast where they had some fantastic views.
Along the way they found some nice Papaya trees. One of our Filipino Elders informed Wayne that our little tree out front will never produce fruit. It seems we have the wrong gender. Oh well, it has been pleasant to look out the window and see greenery.
On January 8th we got to go meet two new couples coming in to our Mission. They arrived around 2am. We were taking a car to them so we both drove to the airport. The plan was to load them and there luggage, take them to the hotel and then leave a car.
As you can see, between the two of them they had a lot of luggage and our little Toyota Carollas really don't hold that much. It was a good thing that the CES coordinator had arranged a hotel shuttle for them - which somehow we were not informed of. We sent the luggage on the shuttle and followed with the Wrights and the Crittendens. We got home about 3am. Not much sleep that night.
January 10 - 12 we held a Senior Missionary Conference. All the CES and Family History couples came in from the other islands. After having met the Wrights (who will be going to Kosrae and the Crittendens (who are going to Chuuk) early Saturday, we headed up to the hotel again Saturday night to give one car to the Petersens and Holloways and leave the van for the Hansens and Sheppards who would be arriving early Sunday morning.
For the couples coming in from the other islands, this was like a vacation. They got to stay at the Sheraton and had a food allowance. For us, what can I say, we stayed at home. The other couples use this time to see doctor's and dentists and do a lot of shopping. The islands that they are assigned to are very small and basic in what services are provided. One couple waited until they got here to Guam to do Christmas shopping for each other. They brought empty suitcases and an ice chest. They are gourmet cooks and they loaded up on the things that they cannot find on Yap - which is just about everything! We really are lucky to be here on Guam. Other than having to pay high prices, we can get most things we look for.
The conference was really great. President Dowdle spoke about the Foundational Principles of Missionary Work, President Del Valle introduced a new program for teaching English, we had a Roundtable session where any questions or concerns could be voiced and we had a small introduction to the new Handbook. Everything we heard was very informative and helpful. I think it was especially good for our new couples to be able to have such a concentrated introduction to the mission and their responsibilities.
The Holloways alway have to add a little fun to their presentation. We did this in July but it was still funny this time.
One of the major activities of our Senior Conferences is eating. The first day we had a wonderful Mexican buffet at the Fiesta Resort. Our CES coordinator, Freddie Nicerio, is pictured on the far left. This is the only picture he will appear in. Unfortunately, he had to go to meetings in Japan the rest of the week. While we enjoyed each others company in our balmy weather, he was freezing in Japan. The picture on the right was taken outside of the Nikko hotel after our Asian buffet. They have beautiful grounds that was our scenery for the lunch.
We joined the other couples each night at different restaurants on the island. Most of the places we went to we had been to before but we discovered a Teppanyaki place we did not know about. The prices were a little high so we shared our meal. The meat was definitely divided but the rest of the meal we received full portions. We were all so full by the time we left. It was a great restaurant, great food and great service. We shall return!
At the end of the conference we always have an activity. They have usually gone bowling or miniature golfing. Wayne and I were in charge of arranging the lunches and activity this time and we thought everyone would enjoy going to the aquarium. We of course have been several times but did not think anyone else had been. We were right and everyone really enjoyed it. We took another picture out in front of the entrance. I think this is my favorite picture.
Our timing was perfect. We went through the aquarium right when they had divers feeding the fish. There were Manta Rays and Sharks swimming all around them.
All in all, good teaching, good eating, good socializing and we look forward to doing it again in July. We will be able to enjoy everyone's company one last time before heading home two weeks later.