In April of 2013 our son, Caleb, opened his mission call to serve a two year mission for our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was called to serve in the Vanuatu Port Vila Mission. When he read where he was going most of us said, “Where’s that?” However, there were a few people that were somewhat familiar with it. Landon had heard of it from serving in Australia, where a lot of the missionaries that served in his mission were from various islands in the South Pacific, including Vanuatu. Zach had heard of it because he had a friend that had served in the Fiji Suva Mission years ago at which time Vanuatu was a part of that mission and his friend had spent his whole mission serving in Vanuatu. (Apparently, less than a year before Caleb received his call, Vanuatu was moved out of the Fiji Suva Mission and was made its own mission.) Our neighbor informed us that there was a recent episode of House Hunters International about a family that was relocating from Brisbane, Australia to Vanuatu and there were several people who remembered that the 9th Season of Survivor was filmed in Vanuatu.
Other than that, the rest of us had never heard of it. So, of course we started looking up information online about Vanuatu. Here is a little bit of what we found in our search: Vanuatu is an island nation in the Oceanic South Pacific. It is located east of the northeast coast of Australia and west of Fiji. Included in Caleb’s mission boundaries are the Solomon Islands which are northwest of Vanuatu and New Caledonia to the southwest. Vanuatu is part of Melanesia.
Caleb has served in the main city of Port Vila on the island of Efate, several areas on the island of Tanna and several areas on the island of Malakula. On some of the islands, including the island of Tanna, are active volcanos which Caleb felt erupt on a regular basis.
Caleb was called to be English speaking but was informed that he would be learning a native language, Bislama, once he got to Vanuatu. It is an interesting “pidgin” English language and Caleb speaks it fluently and has also picked up some other island dialects as well. The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, has been translated into Bislama.
For this year’s ornament I wanted to represent the Vanuatu flag in the design because I really like the description of what the colors and emblems on the flag symbolize: The black represents the Melanesian people that make up the majority of Vanuatu’s population. The red represents the country’s unity through blood. Green represents the land and its agriculture. The yellow Y-shape represents the light of the gospel going through the pattern of the islands in the South Pacific (approximately 83% of the people profess Christianity). The yellow emblem in the black is a boar’s tusk – the symbol of prosperity worn as a pendant on the islands – along with two leaves of the local namele fern. The leaves are supposed to be a token of peace and their 39 fronds represent the 39 members of the Parliament of Vanuatu.
Brough Family Update 2014
Merry Christmas! We enjoy the cards, photos and letters we receive from you this time of year. Here is a recap of what has gone on in our family this past year:
Don and Nancy started out this year having the opportunity to serve as ushers during the open house for the new Gilbert Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This was such a great opportunity to invite those not of our faith to see the inside of one of our beautiful temples. In addition to a weekly shift as ushers we went through the tour several times with different friends and neighbors. It was dedicated in March and it is such a blessing to have this beautiful temple in our own town in which to worship.
Jordan and Casey were blessed with the birth of baby Lindy Nicole on April 10th! She is such a beautiful and sweet little girl and has truly healed our hearts since the loss of Elliot last year. Jordan changed jobs and is now working at Go Daddy and really enjoys it. He is a huge ASU fan and has season football tickets and loves going to the games even when it is over 100 degrees outside. Casey continues to cut hair several days a week at Blossom Salon and Boutique in Mesa, has a jewelry business called “A Little Bit of Princess” (www.alittlebitofprincess.com) and is the sweetest mom to little Lindy. They recently bought their first home about eight miles from us and have been busy getting settled in and seem to like their new ward.
Zach and Tara welcomed little Piper Amanda to their family on March 7th! She is a little brunette beauty. Porter turned two in February and continues to delight us all. Zach continues to work as an engineer at Burns and McDonnell. He has traveled quite a bit on business to California and had a trip recently to Wisconsin as well. He just ran the Gilbert Days 5K in November and is training for a half marathon in February. Tara is busy being the mom of two and does such a great job. She has a business making videos called “Shorts for Life” (www.shortsforlife.wordpress.com) and also teaches voice lessons in her home. Zach is serving with the Young Men of their ward and Tara is an Activity Day leader.
Landon and Ashlin were married in the new Gilbert Temple on May 16th and we are so grateful to have another beautiful daughter in law join our family! It was so nice to have lots of extended family in town for the wedding and while here they were also able to attend the baby blessings of Piper and Lindy. Landon is finishing up his classes at Chandler Gilbert Community College and will begin classes at Arizona State University in January. He is majoring in applied biological sciences (pre-veterinary medicine). He also works full time at Pay Pal. He has been working out with a trainer and is planning on doing a mini triathlon in the new year. Ashlin is working at Zerorez, where Jordan used to work. They are busy newlyweds and the proud parents of two kitties (our grandkitties?), Maple and Ruben. They’ve enjoyed serving as ward missionaries in their ward.
Dalton returned home from his mission in the Australia Adelaide Mission in March and then a week later Don and Nancy flew back with him for his post mission trip. It was so great to be able to see the areas that he served in and meet the people that meant so much to him on his mission. We got to see the Adelaide area, Alice Springs (with a day trip to Uluru) and Darwin. On the way to Adelaide we stayed in Sydney for a day so Dalton could see some of Landon’s mission and it just so happened that when we were there we were able to go to the season opening game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the LA Dodgers at the Sydney Cricket Field. Dalton is working full time at Pay Pal and attends Chandler Gilbert Community College. He enjoys the YSA (Young Single Adult) ward and stake he belongs to and serves in the elders quorum.
Caleb loves serving in the Vanuatu Port Vila Mission. After serving on the islands of Tanna and Malekula for most of the year he is back in the main city of Port Vila. He was able to wear sandals (even flip flops sometimes) when he was in the outer islands but now that he is back in the “big city” he has to wear his dress shoes again. We also had to send him some new white shirts because his were all yellow from having to wash them by hand. He loves the people of Vanuatu so much and loves sharing the gospel message with them and has been fortunate to see them accept it. We have really noticed through his emails a big change in Caleb. We miss him so much but are so grateful he is having this wonderful experience. We are still looking forward to June 30, 2015 for his return, though!!
Don continues to work for Wells Fargo Bank of which we are so grateful. He has traveled quite a bit this year for work and Nancy got to go with him on several of his trips to San Francisco. On one of his trips to Charlotte, NC he also visited a facility in Columbia, SC and was able to visit our niece, Katie. He’s also traveled to Birmingham, AL and Boise, ID. Don has always loved to read but this year he has started reading a lot of books electronically. He also enjoys going to Diamondback games even though they didn’t do so great this year. He is enjoying serving in the High Priest Group in our ward. We are so grateful for Don and the great husband, dad and papa he is!
Nancy loves volunteering in the baptistry of the Gilbert Temple on Tuesdays, traveling with Don on business (and also pleasure) trips and stays busy with her calling in the Relief Society (women’s auxiliary). She made some baby quilts for the new granddaughters and has discovered that she really enjoys piecing quilts. Lately she has been busy making ornaments to represent Caleb’s mission. In September she went on a quick trip with a dear friend to St. George, UT to see the plays at Tuacahn as well as a “girls” trip to Chicago with some of her sisters in law and nieces. She (Nana) has been watching Lindy on Mondays for a few months to “pay it forward” for Don’s mom watching Jordan when he was a baby!
As mentioned earlier we were blessed to have extended family here for the wedding weekend in May as well as some family that came in March for Dalton’s return home from his mission. We were also so happy to have a visit from Don’s sister in September for a few days.
Don and Nancy also went to visit Nancy’s dad in June while Don worked at a bank facility in Salt Lake City for a week. He turned 86 in September and then a few weeks later had open heart surgery in October. Nancy is grateful that she was able to visit him for a few days in November. It makes her sad that he lives so far away but she is grateful that she got to spend some time talking to him when there and expressing her love and gratitude to him for the loving way in which he and her mom raised her and her brothers. She is blessed to have had parents who loved each other and made sure that we kids knew they loved us. And that they made it possible for us to learn about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
In October Don and Nancy went on a trip to visit Nancy’s brother and nephew in the Pittsburgh area as well as some of Nancy’s and Don’s family in Ohio. While back east they also went to Niagara Falls and visited the LDS church historic sights in the Palmyra, NY area. It was such a blessing to feel the spirit as we sat in the Sacred Grove where the simple ernest prayer of a young farm boy was answered and the restoration of the gospel began.
When we returned from that trip we were able to attend the open house and dedication of yet another beautiful temple in Phoenix. We are so blessed to have so many temples in our midst!
Don’s parents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in November at a Thanksgiving gathering in St. George, UT. Most everyone was able to make it and it was great being together to honor this wonderful couple. One of Don’s sisters and niece asked Tara to put together a video which we surprised them with at the gathering. She did an awesome job!
We are so grateful for all of you and wish you all a “Hapi Krismas” and all the best in the coming year!
The Brough Family (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Giving Tree 2014