Thursday, June 4, 2009

Of Missionaries, Miracles, and Devoted Dentists

Meet Elder and Sister Garrett,   faithful LDS missionaries who have worked  miracles in Tonga:  Miracles like small bottles of meds that never seem to run out when there's  a need and the supplies haven't arrived; like saving the life of a sister from Vava’u who collapsed and quit breathing but was revived with Sister Garrett’s CPR; or answering the calls 7/24 and driving into the bush to minister to sick missionaries suffering from boils, dengue fever, and other tropical ailments. You see, there is very little medical help on the island except for Dr. Ana, and the hospital is archaic. When the missionaries call all hours of the night, Sister Garrett will ask, “How sick are you?”   The standard replies from Tongan missionaries are “Really sick!” “Really, really sick!!” or “Really, really, really sick!!!”   Elder and Sister Garrett have become loving grandparents providing cheerful comfort and healing for these young missionaries and others on the island.                   [Photo from our yard one Sunday May 31, 2009]002Sister Garrett experienced a miracle herself when she slipped on a banana peel—yes, that’s right—during a youth talent show at the Navu tennis courts. She has a chronic back condition and there she was in severe pain, in a critical situation and unable to move.  In fact, she wondered if her hip was broken.  But, the Garretts know that the first half of any healing or surgery is to receive a priesthood blessing.  Elder Hawley and Elder Garrett  carried her to the car, drove her home, and gave her a priesthood blessing. She was healed almost immediately. Some details are too personal to share, but know this:  The Lord does watch over his missionaries!                                                                                                  Elder and Sister Garrett prepare to leave for a Wake:Elder and Sister Garrett (medcal nurse for missionaries) When Sister Ten Hoopen arrived to serve as a health missionary,  Sister Garrett suggested she buy small plastic Ziploc bags to use as containers for prescription pills.  On market day when Sister Ten Hoopen couldn’t find them at the Chinese store, she explained to the clerk what was needed.   The clerk exclaimed, “Oh, you want to buy Garrett Bags!” and got some for her. Yes, we’ll miss these two cheerful, caring servants of the Lord as they return to their families in Salt Lake City.

Last Sunday we were at  the potluck for missionary couples in the home of President and Sister Makemaile.  Sister Shumway, the temple matron,  gave beautiful leis to the Garretts.  Later, as we walked home, Sister Garrett placed her lei on me saying it would bring me luck.   And that's the way they are.  163 About a month ago Elder and Sister Garrett invited us to help with missionary house inspections on the island to check for order and cleanliness inside and out.  The challenge for the missionaries here is to create a Celestial Home to invite the spirit.  Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God."  D&C 88:119

The missionary houses  in Tongatapu have no hot water, stoves, or washing machines, and the young sisters and elders rely on the members to feed them.  Following the directions to inspect the missionary homes was a challenge especially after the hurricane, but we enjoyed the humorous instructions to find their places: "Turn right at the Mango street sign:"Turn left at the Mango Tree sign Or "Turn left at the church with the purple fence:"Turn left at the Church of Tonga w/purple fence Elder Garrett claims to have cleaned more toilets here than he did in the military as he trains the young missionaries,  and he loves it when they smell more like Wellington toilet cleaner then cologne!Water filter Neighborly pigs led us to the next inspection:Pigs "We are the armies of Helaman!" say the elders when they pass inspections:Elder in front of his clean missionary house Proud missionaries have a celestial home Check out those mosquito nets:Inside missionary house:  one room plus small bathroom for toilet and shower Celestial Homes inside and out!Missionary House Missionary house The young elders from the office came to say goodbye to the Garretts and hello to Elder Hawley:012Elder Atetele and Elder HawleyFarewell time at the airport with Sister Sing, Sister Clayton, Sister Pulsipher, Sister Hawley, Sister Garrett, Sister Vuki, and Sister Ten Hoopen on June 2, 2009.   It was a chilly winter evening clear down to 70 degrees!   Sister Sing, Sister Clayton, Sister Pulsipher, Sister Hawley, Sister Garrett, Sister Vuki, Sister Ten Hoopen 008 Elder and Sister Garrett, God be with you 'til we meet again.    Ofa atu!--Elder and Sister Hawley

Meet the Pulsiphers--A Family of Miracle Workers:  This family of doctors and dentists are a great example love and service to the Tongan people.  David and JoAnn Pulsipher lived in Apartment 24, our place, when they served their mission.   They continue to come back each year for a month or more to give free dental work for the Tongans.   Dr. Pulsipher stays close to the Lord,  and he shared with us about  a dream he had one night this week.  It answered his concern about replacing a tooth for Dr. Ana, a wonderful Tongan female practitioner.  He awoke and told his wife about the solution and then wrote down the details.  The next day he used a  procedure on Dr. Ana that has never been done before, and it worked beautifully.    In fact, it was so successful that he is now writing a paper about it  as well as sharing the information with others.   

Joann, his wife, is a delightful and talented woman.  Her warm sense of humor and tales of Tonga are entertaining.  She taught school here and has been a wonderful help in our office.  Joann is  an expert on Read Right strategies for students who cannot read and I'm very interested!   Another miracle worker and a new friend.

Dr. Pulsipher and two students prepare to for another busy day at the health clinic on Liahona Campus:  (A long line of people come early to wait patiently until it's their turn.) Dr. Pulsipher with helpers Paul, Dr. David Pulsipher, Joann Pulsipher, their grandson, and their son Dr. Daniel Pulsipher, a practicing dentist in CA and former U of U place kicker star:The Pulsipher family of dentists



Dear Elder and Sister Hawley 1 from Elder and Sister Hawley-to-be-2: The photos add so much to your blog. The Garrett's sound like wonderful people. YOU look like you feel at home and comfortable with what is expected of you . . . and humble because of all of the blessings from the Lord. How wonderful for you both. Daylight's burnin' here, both fast and slow...a curious moment in time. I especially appreciated your comments about Mother's Day, as I am missing my parents and wish they were here to talk to and to share this experience with ... well, who knows? how close they really are, our parents -- wouldn't it be natural for them to be cheering us on, waiting for new details, delighted at our choices? What would we do or be w/o the Plan? Much love to you from the "trunky" ELMissionaries-to-be!

Rachel said...

Why can't we grow those flowers here. I love your photos and I get so hungry looking at all the food. I'm glad no one is coming to look at my house i might not pass.