Saturday, July 21, 2012

President and Sister Brewer arrive

Early in the year, we were told that The Solomon Islands would be moved from the Papua New Guinea Mission to the Vanuatu, Port Vila Mission.  We learned in April that our new mission president would be Larry Brewer from Utah.  We were so surprised and excited because we knew of a Larry Brewer.  He was a year older in school than Ken and was the older brother of Cheryle's friend Julie.  After an e-mail to Julie, we did find out that it was the Larry Brewer that we knew.  We waited anxiously for a visit.  He and Sister Brewer came to The Solomons just 16 days after they arrived in Vanuatu.  We were thrilled.

We met them at the airport.  They brought along the AP's.  What a wonderful time we had getting to know them and showing them our town.

The AP's are Elder Tupou from Sydney Australia and Elder Harmon from Logan Utah. What great young men they are!

The next morning we enjoyed Zone Conference where we were introduced to and instructed by President and Sister Brewer.
The Elders gathered around Pres. and Sister Brewer for a group photo following the conference.  Elders Ifuna'au Junior, Ifuna'au Senior,Tupou, President Brewer, Sister Brewer, Harmon,Wanebana, Measi, and Haura.
After the great training, President Brewer treated us all to lunch at a local cafe.

Elder Harmon had a little problem with the language and got 3 plates of 3 tacos instead of 3 tacos! LOL

No problem, he shared with everyone.

After a fun lunch, we went back to the church and each Elder had the opportunity to be interviewed by President Brewer.

Thursday,  President  and Sister Brewer toured the island and visited the local members.

President Brewer, the mountain climber, on a bush trail, visiting members.

Sister Brewer, Sister Fiona and President Sauseru, 1st counselor in the District Presidency, and President Brewer.

Sister Margaret and President Rimou.  He is 2nd counselor in the District Presidency.


Left: Prospective missionary Maclean Sauseru
Right:  Burns Creek Branch President.
Dickson Koke

Returned sister missionary Eunice Hoiesi

All too soon it was Friday morning and time to take the Brewers and the APs to the airport.

Elder Wanebana, prospective missionary Hubert Theonodi, Elder Ifuna'au, Elder Topou, and Elder Haura.

President and Sister Brewer, Sister and Elder Mitchell

Our new mission is in good hands, and we are confident in the future of missionary work in the Solomon Islands.
We have quickly come to love, respect, and sustain President and Sister Brewer as our new Mission President.  What a delight they are!  We know that they have been fully prepared for this new assignment, and called by our Heavenly Father to serve the people in these three Island Nations.

Newspaper article printed in Solomon Star


Matthew and Fiona Sauseru welcome President Larry E. Brewer and his wife Maryanne to the Solomon Islands.



The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has named Larry E. Brewer as President of the new Vanuatu Port Vila mission effective 01 July.   This new mission includes the three Island nations of New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu.  The Vanuatu Port Vila mission has been created to accommodate the growing membership of the Church in these three nations.  For the past 17 years, the Solomon Islands have been a part of the Papua New Guinea mission.


Matthew Sauseru, 1st Counselor in the District Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, his wife Fiona, and other members of the Church welcomed President and Sister Brewer to the Solomon Islands. 


President Brewer expressed his love for the people of the Solomon Islands and their efforts to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others.  He told the members that he admired their strong families and faithfulness.  His vision of the Church in the Solomon’s is one of continued growth for the future and the strengthening of families and individuals as they live the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ.    


President and Sister Brewer are from the State of Utah in America.  He is a retired teacher and secondary school principal.  Sister Brewer taught English in the public school system.  They have four adult children and 5 grandchildren.  They served in leadership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout their lives.  President Brewer served a two year mission to the American Indians as a young man.  He and Sister Brewer served a mission as a couple recently in the Cape Verde Praia Mission off the west coast of Africa.  Their calling to lead the Vanuatu Port Vila mission as President is for three years, after which they will return home to their family.


Missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints typically serve for 18 months to two years and provide their own support.  Many members of the Church serve when they are nineteen or twenty one and then again as senior couples after their retirement.  Currently there are over 55,000 full time missionaries serving throughout the world.  They testify and teach of Jesus Christ and his gospel.   


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a world-wide Christian religion of 14 million members with congregations in 185 countries around the globe.   There are over 340 missions covering the world. 

Here in the Solomon Islands there is one organized District with congregations in Honiara, Burns Creek, White River, Malaita and Gizo.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Pacific Arts Festival

When we arrived in Honiara, last Sept., we were told that The Pacific Arts Festival was going to be held here in The Solomon Islands in July 2012.  The Festival has been held every 4 years on 11 different Pacific islands.  This is the first time for it to be held here, on the Solomon Islands.  We were so excited to have the opportunity of living here during this great event.  This festival is a really big deal here in the pacific.  It is like the Olympics. Many of the island nations send over a large group to demonstrate their native crafts and dances and stories.  We decided to attend the first activity on Monday July 2.  Our walking partner Judy Kirchner, told us that there would be many authentic, war canoes and  ancient native sailing boats coming into Honiara at 5:30am.  So we went down to the beach to see.  WOW!  was it worth the early morning effort!

First there were the fireworks from a barge on the ocean.

Then the native pan pipe band and dancers. 
These are only found in the Solomons Islands.

As day began to break, the boats started to approach the shore.

The re-created ancient boats used to travel from island to island in the pacific arrived first.  These have traveled all over the pacific even to San Francisco and now to the Solomons.

Then amazing war canoes that are from the Western Province of the Solomon Islands.
They raced up and down the beach multiple times for our entertainment.

As the native sailing vessels from each nation came into the shore, their people on the beach blew conch shells and horns to them, sang native songs and chants, and even performed the Hakka.

Those on the boats, responded by answering back.

As we were walking along the shore we heard someone saying, "I'm a member, I'm a member" and we met our new friend, Charleen.  She is a member of the Church who came with her native delegation from Samoa to perform at the festival.  Many members from different Pacific Islands attended our Church services on both Sundays.

The Solomon Island pikininis all loved the festivities, even this little "fireman".

What a fun morning as the Festival of the Pacific Arts began for the first time in the Solomon Islands.

The Festival was held July 1st to the14th and we were able to attend two different afternoon programs during that time.

Pan Pipers from the Solomons

There were lots of artists creating wood carvings.

Elder Mitchell and our five Solomon Island missionaries.

Here we are in the Solomons watching primitive native dancers, and one of them is on stage taking pictures with his Ipad.  Can someone please send this to Apple and see if we can get royalties for this picture?

Dancers from Ulawa, Elder Measi's home island.  (Elder Measi is our  district leader)

At the closing ceremony, the delegates from each Island Nation entered the Lawson Tama stadium and marched around the field.

As each delegation approached the grandstands, school children raised placards that created the flag of the island nation.

New Caledonia


As the closing ceremony progressed there was much dancing, gift giving, and unscheduled performances.  A great party was enjoyed by all as the different nations celebrated together.

A spectacular fireworks display signaled the end of the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts.  How glad we are to have been able to be here and participate in this gathering of the Island Nations.  Twenty Seven nations participated in this great cultural exchange.  This has been a great blessing for the Solomon Islanders to be involved in the festival, and will leave a lasting legacy for them to remember.

Sunday, July 8, 2012



Never did we dream that we would be able to visit Australia during our Mission, but here we are!!!!  One of the hats we wear is that of Public Affairs for the Church in the Solomon Islands.  We were invited to attend the annual conference for those with this responsibility in the Pacific Area.  This year it was held in Melbourne.  We have been doing public affairs for nine months and were so grateful to be able to be trained.

We had a little hiccup on the way to Melbourne, our plane was scheduled to leave Honiara at 3pm, but didn't take off until 6pm.  For some reason, they could not refuel the airplane before we took off, so we stopped in Cairns Australia.  Who would have guessed, but now we can say we have been to Cairns.  As we sat on tarmac, after 30 minutes or so, the pilot came on the intercom and told us he was sorry it was taking so long, but the ground crew was really busy.  We looked out the window to the right and couldn't see a plane, out the left the same, and this is a small airport.  Oh well, after about 1 1/2 hour, we took off for our original destination of Brisbane.  It was 11:30 pm when we got to Brisbane and the airport was nearly deserted.  There were no more flights that night and we of course had missed our connection to Melbourne so they put us up in a hotel about 45 minutes from the airport.  We finally got to bed at 1am and we were up at 3am to get ready and catch the bus back to the airport at 4 am.  We caught the first flight to Melbourne and arrived there at 9 am.  The conference was at the Marriott and we checked in at 11 am.

While we were still running on adrenaline we jumped on the trolley and took a look around town. 

There a many beautiful parks in downtown Melbourne.  You can see Cheryle is dressed a little different than when we are in the Solomons.  Every one said we would freeze, but it was great, our first cool day in 9 1/2 months.  Yes winter here is in June, July and August!!

No, there are not a lot of Rhinos in Melbourne, just a lot of these signs.  They warn you to look out for the trolleys because it would be like getting hit by a rhino on a skateboard.

The Queen Victoria Market has been in Melbourne for over a hundred years.  It is amazing, you can buy almost anything from produce to jewelry and the prices are really good.

Cheryle loved the isles and isles of clothes and the prices!!

Our room at the Marriott was great.  After a short nap, we enjoyed a session at the Melbourne Temple.  It has been 9 long months since we have been able to attend the temple and we appreciated this opportunity.

Elder Hamula was the first speaker at our Public Affairs seminar.  He gave the important vision of what we should be doing in our callings.
What a great honor to have him speak to us.

Ken wore a suit for the first time in 9 months.

Kim Woodbury from Church Headquarters Public

Saturday evening we enjoyed dinner at a nice Thai resturant.
As the Conference concluded Sunday afternoon, Rob and Theone Snow invited us to their home in Melbourne to stay with them for a few days.  They are a great Senior Couple serving in Papua New Guinea as Public Affairs and Humanitarian missionaries.  They treated us like family and we had a great time with them.


Monday morning Rob took us to Healesville sanctuary, a nature preserve with all Australian native plants and animals. 

                            The Kangaroo Whisperer

                                Pretty Parrots

                                                                          Bottle Brush

            Kookaburra sitting in the old gum tree 

While we were with Rob at the sanctuary Theone and their daughter Tammy were home preparing a wonderful dinner.  The Melbourne Mission President and his wife and a counselor in the Temple Presidency and his wife were invited.  It happened to be Cheryle's birthday.

The dinner could not have been bought at a restaurant at any price, it had been prepared, presented and served in a most extraordinary fashion.  It was delicious from the three appetisers, through the multiple main dishes, to the super tasty choice of deserts!

The next morning we started early for a trip down the Great Ocean Road.  We spent the next 12 hours viewing the most amazing scenery you can imagine.
Our first highlight was a herd of Kangaroos on the side of a mountain near the coast.  Just like we see deer at home.  Then we began seeing Koalas in the trees.

Sleepy Koalas

                          Black Swans

                                 Island Arch

                          London Bridge
                                                                              Split Point lighthouse

Rob Snow, our expert guide

 World famous Twelve Apostles

Australia is an amazing country, we will never forget our time there!
We learned so much on our Public Affairs Conference and are so grateful for this opportunity to visit Australia.  Cheryle could not imagine a better birthday.