Sunday, March 6, 2016

Porirua & Upper Hutt Stakes

We finally arrived in Plimmerton early Saturday evening.  We checked in to the HomeAway apartment where we would be staying and found it to be lovely, as we usually do.  We save a lot of money by staying in local rent-by-owner places rather than motels and they are usually way more charming.  We took a drive across the harbor bridge to find the Porirua Stake Center since we would have meetings there early the next day.  We wanted to be sure we knew where we would be going.

Photo from Porirua Salvation Army Webpage

Although there were definite signs of autumn turning, there were still lots of flowers blooming.
At 8:00 AM on Sunday morning we met with the full Stake Council from Porirua Stake.  They were very receptive to hearing about the Find / Take / Teach message we are sharing and about the Family History workshop we are suggesting be held on an ongoing basis.  Several of the leaders asked good questions.  It was great to have the auxiliary leaders there as well as the Priesthood so they all could get the information and discuss ideas for how this could impact the individuals they serve.  After the meeting Brother Saovao asked us if we could come to his ward's family history night on Tuesday to help train members in how to Find / Take / Teach.  We were happy to accept.

Stake President Roberts (left) and High Council Adviser over Family History - Bro Joseph Saovao

Our next meeting with with the Porirua Stake Family History Center director and two other women who help staff the center.  They were eager to learn all they could.

Adele Arthur, Lois Wineera and FHC Director Ranei Parai
We then attended Sacrament meeting in the Papakowhai Ward, which happened to be the ward where we would be coming back on Tuesday to help with the Family History Night.   It was fast and testimony meeting, so I got up and bore my testimony about the importance of family history work and let people know that we would be there to help them to find family names to take to the temple.  Afterward several other members spoke of experiences they had with family history.   The spirit of Elijah was so strong in that meeting!

After the meeting we got to visit briefly with the Document Capture missionaries serving in that area.  Elder and Sister France (on left in photo below) were preparing to leave and were being  replaced by Elder and Sister Tacher.  What a great group of missionaries!  We could tell the ward members had come to know and love Elder & Sister France in a very personal way.   Also from the enthusiasm of the Tachers we knew they would be every bit as committed to getting involved in the ward and making a difference.

After our meetings in Piorua we traveled over to Upper Hutt Stake.  There we met with FHC Director Iris Paha, 1st Counselor in Stake Presidency, Ricky Miller, and High Council Advisor over Family History Gary Pene

We were particularly impressed by Brother Pene.  He had previously been serving as the Stake Technology Specialist so he has an excellent understanding of the computer system and knows FamilySearch well.  More importantly, he has a personal testimony of  the importance of family history work and the positive impact it can have in the lives of members.

Over and over we see that even though FamilySearch is a computer based program, the most important thing we can bring in our trainings is opportunities for leaders and members to gain that personal witness about the work - far more than any tech instruction.

Finally, with all our meetings done for the day, we returned to our sweet little spot in Plimmerton for some much needed rest.   The weather was turning cold and rainy so it felt good to be snug and warm there where we could put our feet up and reflect on the day.   It wears us out sometimes, but we love our mission!

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