Saturday, September 29, 2012

President and Sister Brewer visit Gizo

After hearing about our June visit to Gizo, our new mission president thought it would be wise to evaluate the progress of the church there.  

As always the flight over the Solomons was beautiful

The ferry boat from the airport to Gizo was much smaller this time

We checked into the Gizo Hotel and ate a nice dinner at the restaurant.  Saturday morning we walked through the town and toured the new hospital.  It is by far the nicest in the Solomons.  President Brewer spent the afternoon interviewing the priesthood brethren.

Pres. Brewer & Toisman Bwerei


Pres. Brewer, David Teeta, Sister Brewer

Pres. Brewer & Teisi Toma
and the house where church is held

After President Brewer's interviews, he determined that the Church will need to grow and strengthen before missionaries can be sent or a unit can be organized in Gizo.

We had a great trip and are happy that the Brewers were able to experience Gizo and visit with the good people there.
Newspaper article printed in Solomon Star:
Mission President Visits Gizo
President and Sister Brewer
Last week the newly called Vanuatu/New Caledonia/Solomon Island Mission President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints visited Gizo, Western Provence.  President Larry E. Brewer and his wife Maryanne have been serving since July 1, 2012.  This visit marks the first time a mission president of the Church has ever visited Gizo. 
President and Sister Brewer are from the United States and will serve for 3 years.  Headquarters for the mission are in Port Vila, Vanuatu.  During his three day visit to Gizo, President Brewer toured the Island and met with members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  His purpose in visiting Gizo was to become familiar with the Island, the citizens and the members of the Church.  He interviewed Priesthood holders and instructed them in their responsibilities.  As he concluded his visit, President Brewer stated that though the membership of the Church is small in Gizo, he sees a bright future for the Church there.  He was very impressed and found the people of Gizo to be happy, kind and welcoming.  He believes there is a bright future for the Church in the Western Provence.  He foresees the time when the Church will be organized fully in Gizo and that it will grow and mature in the years to come.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has congregations and members throughout the world.  It is one of the fastest growing Christian religions on the earth.  There are nearly 15 million baptized members of the Church Worldwide.   The Port Vila Mission is one of 340 missions in the world.  Over fifty thousand young men and women 19-26 years old are currently serving 2 year missions for the Church.  An additional five thousand Senior Couples are serving one to two year missions throughout the world at their own expense. 
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe in God the Eternal Father, his son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.  All faithful members strive to live the principles of the gospel as taught by the Savior while he lived upon the earth.   


Last November when Elder Hamula visited the Solomon Islands to create the Honiara Solomon Islands District, we, with Elder and Sister Hamula and Pres. and Sister Fata, had a chance meeting with Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo at a restaurant in Honiara.  During the conversation Elder Hamula explained that we were living here in Honiara for 2 years.  The Prime Minister invited us to visit with him in his office about the Church, our humanitarian projects, and the missionary work in the nation.  We have tried since that time on many occasions to meet with him.  We became good friends with his personal secretary, but never could manage to get an appointment to meet with him.  During the year, we spoke with him at several social events and each time he would invite us to come to see him again.  

Knowing that Elder Hamula was coming again to the Solomon Islands in September, and that he had asked if it would be possible to him to meet with the Prime Minister again, we made one last attempt to set up an appointment.  Through a series of small miracles late one afternoon, we walked past 5 police security guards who were there to protect the Prime Minister without a question being asked, right up to his personal secretary's office.  Seeing her on the telephone, we paused in the hallway.  Almost immediately the door across the hall opened and the Prime Minister stood looking at us.  He asked if we were there to talk to him and we explained that we were just there to make an appointment to see him.  He had an appointment with the ambassitor from the Phillipines right then and said that his secretary would make an appointment for us as soon as she finished her phone call.  A few minutes latter she finished her call and said "He KNOWS you!"  (as she had witnessed our exchange with the PM)  We asked if there was any time open on Wednesday morning because we knew that was the only time Elder Hamula had available.  She looked and said, "Yes, how is 8:30 am."  This was perfect.

To make this long story short, we accompanied Elder Hamula and President and Sister Brewer to the Prime Minister's office Wednesday morning and enjoyed a short visit with him.  Elder Hamula presented him with a porcelin figure of a family in prayer.  He was very warm and cordial and showed interest in the Church, our beliefs, and what the Church is doing in the Solomon Islands.

Elder Hamula, Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo, President and Sister Brewer

We left feeling humble and grateful for the Lord's hand in our missionary work.  We had truly experienced miracles this week and have firm testimonies that the Lord prepares the way for His servants.  

Newspaper article printed in Solomon Star:


September 18, 2012


On September 18, 2012 Elder James J. Hamula, President of the Pacific Area, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints visited the Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo, in the Prime Minister’s office.  Elder Hamula was accompanied by newly called Vanuatu, Port Vila Mission President, Larry E. Brewer and his wife Maryanne.  The Solomon Islands are part of the newly created Vanuatu, Port Vila Mission.    


Elder Hamula presented the Prime Minister with a porcelain figurine of a family reading the scriptures.  He spoke of the Church’s emphasis on families and important influence that the gospel of Jesus Christ has in families, the basic unit of society.   The Prime Minister agreed that strong families lift and build the nation and that the teachings of Jesus Christ bring peace.  He expressed gratitude for the positive things that the Church is doing in the Solomon Islands.  Prime Minister Lilo spoke of his desire for unity and prosperity in the Nation.    


The Prime Minister has made it a practice of visiting many different church services in the Solomon Islands during his time in office.  Elder Hamula extended an invitation to the Prime Minister to attend the Honiara Solomon Islands District Conference to be held in November.    


The tone of the meeting was warm and cordial as they shared their common beliefs.  The Prime Minister stated that he welcomes the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Solomon Islands and welcomes missionaries to serve here in the nation wherever the church desires.  



Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo and Elder James J. Hamula

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Elder Hamula, Pacific Area President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, came to the Solomon Islands on the 17th of September to visit Malaita.   Our new Mission President, President Brewer and Sister Brewer accompanied him on this historic visit.  Never before had a Mission President or General Authority visited this Island.  

As the sun rose on the 18th of September we prepared to board the plane for Auki

Air travel has just resumed to Auki this month.  The Landowners have been in a two year dispute with the government over the lease.  The Dash 8 that we flew over in has a capacity of 36 passengers and was almost full.  The airstrip is over grown with grass but after the second attempt we made a soft landing.  The pilot aborted the first attempt to land and explained that there was a dog on the runway.  Guess the dogs are not accustomed to airplanes yet. 

Baggage is self service so Elder Hamula and Ken pick up the case of books and church materials we brought with us.


The village is next to the runway so there is a large welcome committee ready and willing to greet each plane.

Auki airport terminal

Along the road to Fauabu we saw this "tree house".  Yes, a family really lives in it!

One of the objectives of our visit was to tour the Fauabu clinic so Elder Hamula and President Brewer could see the Humanitarian Project that was completed in December last year.  We began by visiting with Father Michael in his office.

Father Michael showing Elder Hamula his new dispensary.  Hopefully there will be more supplies in the future to take care of the needs of the many patients that come here for medical care.

Father Michael led us on a tour of the buildings

Urgent Care Building

Maternity Building

Children's Ward

After the tour we stopped along the road for a bite to eat.  A group of school Children soon gathered to see these unusual white people.

They all loved getting their picture taken, including snoopy the dog.  Notice the bush knife, which is standard equipment.  These children are very skilled in the use of their bush knives and can do almost anything with them.

Elder Hamula is THIS big!!!

As we arrived at the Chapel we were greeted by the sound of conch shells being blown, orchid leis for the guests, decorations, native warriors, escorts in native dress and a path made of hand woven mats.

The members had built a shade structure to make us comfortable and protect us from the sun during the program.

After a wonderful program we all gathered in the chapel.  Elder and Sister Mitchell, President and Sister Brewer and Elder Hamula each spoke to the members.  Prayers were offered, songs sung, love was shared and testimonies born.  The members were so grateful to have a General Authority and Mission President speak to them in their little bush chapel in Fauabu.

All too soon it was time to drive our taxi back to the airport and board our 8 seater chartered plane for the 30 minute flight back to Honiara.  In case you are wondering, Elder Hamula BARELY fit in the copilots seat.

Hello, President and Sister Brewer

The views were spectacular!!

President Brewer said that Linda, our Solomon Airlines pilot was the best pilot he has flown with and this was the smoothest flight he has ever been on!


2012 has been a busy year for the Solomon Islands.  The Queens Birthday and Jubilee in June, the Festival of the Pacific Arts in July,  the 70th commemoration of the Marines landing on Red Beach during WWII on the 7th of August and now the royal visit of William and Kate in September.  We lined up on the side of the road with thousands of Solomon Islanders as the Royals arrived on the 16th of Sept.  We had a good view of the "war canoe/truck" that transported the Royals from the airport to the Heritage Hotel.

I really should have zoomed the camera, but I think that I was too excited! LOL

The next day after we had picked up Elder Hamula and President and Sister Brewer at the airport, we were checking them into the hotel and William and Kate came through the breeze way on their way to a press conference and we were able to see them up close!  It was great, they were very warm and nice.  Such a striking couple!!!

                       So cool!  We could have touched them.  But of course we wouldn't!  LOL

Only in The Solomon Islands do things like this happen!!