Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas 2015 - making it just under the wire!!!

















Seriously. I've written this Christmas blog 3 times now. Someone is trying to tell me something. Obviously, my message needs to be reviewed and revised. So I'm going try this one more time.....

Beloved and I are going to answer 6 questions. Also, we shall share some of our favorite pictures from this year. Ron's answers are in red, mine are in blue

1.  What is the best thing you’ve done this year?

Finding opportunities to do the right thing in the right way at the right time

Visiting Maui was a big highlight, but I’ll have to say that getting to know the beautiful people of Hawaii and beyond is what I’ll carry with me forever.



2. What is the hardest thing you’ve had to face while on your mission?

Realizing that not everyone wants to “   “ 

My own shortcomings and the fact that I don’t deal well with them.



3. What lesson have you learned?

It is easy to enjoy peace in paradise, but Laie HI is not paradisiacal at all times and in all ways with all peoples

That a mission isn’t automatic Nirvana – that life is hard on purpose – that I have more to learn, do and conquer.





























4. What is your most favorite part of PCC?

Soooo many things to enjoy, fix, eat, see, experience and love

The villages bring me great happiness, peace and joy

























5. What advice would you have to give to anyone considering a senior mission?

Anywhere, at any time; Heaven, earth and hell can be anything you make of it. Choose wisely, what you choose to make of it.

Throw pride and expectations out the door, and build up your relationship with your spouse, because you will need each other desperately.




6. What would be your Christmas wish this year?

Pick a cliché; Peace on earth and in my heart; joy good will toward man; no-worries; sunny days with cooling breezes; A happy face on Nina and I; the kingdom of God on earth.

A clue about what the future holds would be great! Also, holding/loving/enjoying my children/grandchildren is my fondest wish. But beyond that, I wish for peace in the knowledge that the Lord knows me and my needs and will always guide and protect me. That is different from my fondest hope, by the way, which would be that I become successful in being an instrument of the Lord by sharing Aloha every day with everyone I meet.


  




I want to tell you a bit more about "Sharing Aloha". It isn't just a tourist phrase for the islands. The Polynesian Cultural Center's motto is "One Ohana sharing Aloha". Let me clarify how important this statement is.


This summer, a prophet and representative of our Church leaders - and more important - of the Lord, President Deiter F. Uchtdorf, came and gave a blessing on our beautiful Center. In that blessing he said: "May those who come here with heavy hearts or weariness be re-energized, enriched, comforted and uplifted. May they find a place of refuge. May those who come out of a hectic world, with a hope for serenity, neighborly love and for wholesome recreational activities never be disappointed. May families and individual find here a home away from home."

To us, the workers and volunteers, he added "May the PCC and its people be a blessing to the visitors who come from many nations and cultures."

These are powerful words, but also extremely appropriate. The Polynesian Cultural Center was built to share the beautiful cultures of our Polynesian Islands. Part of those cultures - and especially part of the Hawaiian culture, is the sharing of Aloha (or Bula, or the equivalent word from each island)

Aloha literally translates out to "the presence (alo) of breath (ha)". For us, as hosts to the world, it means that by saying aloha, we're are asking "how can I be a source of life to you? What can I do to help?" To say Aloha means to live Aloha.

When I walk the PCC grounds, I say "aloha" over and over and over again, and I never mean it as a trite greeting. I really am trying to open myself up to whatever need that person - be it guest or staff - may have. I LOVE to help people, because it is an act that gives both ways. It lightens their load, and lifts my spirit.

My department participated in a staff training yesterday. We were asked "where did we most feel that "Place of Refuge" spoken of by Pres. Uchtdorf at the PCC. For me, it is at the Mission Chapel. I love that building. It brings me back to center whenever I am off kilter.

We were then asked "Name someone who brings you Aloha". That for me would be the Funiomoanas, who I've spoken of before. Despite illness, age and personal needs, they are the light that shines brightly when I'm feeling in the dark. Isn't it handy that their post is right there, on the porch of my cherished chapel?



So - This last year has been beautiful, exhausting, crazy, full, surprising, frustrating, miraculous, and hard. Really, really hard. But as Pres. Uchtdorf says, "if life and its rushed pace and many stresses have made it difficult for you to feel like rejoicing, then perhaps now is a good time to refocus on what matters most."

I am grateful that I am given the opportunity to review and refocus everyday. My priorities change very little, but my understanding and my commitment to those priorities change constantly.

I want our friends to know that we appreciate them so very much. I wish I had the time to write to everyone individually. I feel horrible that we didn't even get cards out this year, but there honestly is no time - and isn't that the way it should be?

I want our family to know that I miss them so very much. Not a moment of this mission passes without the knowledge that it is because of you that we are here. We love you, we pray for you, we dedicate our hearts and our efforts and any success that we may experience to each of you. Thank you for being a part of our soul.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!!

Okay, some MORE pictures from this past year!

Ron's team of Blue Shirts, and some of the missionary wives
My outstanding department members and their families. Notice all of the bare feet? SO Hawaiian!!!!
A typical outing with some of our Sister Missionaries - oh, and beautiful Kalia




A Christmas Tree designed by our team and built (mostly) by Elder Jones with a bit of help from me...
and amazing assistance by Sister Glaus!

Just sharing some Aloha/Bula greetings we've posted on our sites.