Sunday, January 16, 2011

Christmas Eve and Christmas

Christmas in Fiji is all about the family getting together and having a big meal.  It seemed like a lot of families serve ham for Christmas as they were plentiful in the stores, and I hadn't noticed any in the stores before.  But seafood is always a favorite of the Fijians.  We saw this lobster in the market and had never seen one this colorful.  The photo doesn't do it justice, but it was a bright yellow, green, and orange.  If you notice, we put two pens down so you can get an idea of how large it was.  

We were invited to a nativity play, that a girl from our church and her mother organized in their neighborhood. The only member of the church in the play is Talei, the 21 year old young adult from our ward.  It was really sweet, and we were surprised at the cast.  They used all neighborhood kids, and there were younger girls, ages 6-10 and then about 7 or 8 teenage boys between the ages of 14-17.  We were just amazed because boys that age would probably not do that sort of thing at home.  After the play, they brought out all kinds of refreshments and the boys had also each donated $5.00 for the food.  It was a very nice night, with Christmas hymns and scriptures and thoughts about the Savior's birth.
The shepherds, sheep (kneeling) see an angel telling about the birth of Jesus Christ.

The wise men worshipping Baby Jesus.

 Christmas Eve the temple president and matron, President and Sister Wooley had a nice get together for the senior missionaries.  We had some bags of goodies and went caroling at the patron housing at the temple.  This group of children from Kiribiti Islands, pronounced Kir-ee-bahs, were very happy to receive their bag of goodies.  These families had been at the temple apartments for almost 2 weeks.  I think they were going home on Monday, January 3.
The Kiribiti Children

After leaving the group from Kiribiti, we had a nice dinner together.  President Wooley had invited a family, with 9 children, to have dinner and entertain us with some Fijian singing and dancing. 
This picture came out with major red eye, and the dancers look pretty scary.  They were really such respectful and polite teenagers. 
This was the older of  their 2 daughters.  A beautiful girl, who also danced beautifully.  We then shared the Christmas story from Luke and the senior missionaries had bought the family some gifts and also a ham for their Christmas dinner.  The children were so excited about their gifts.  Their father said, that only the younger children receive gifts for Christmas, and that this was the first time all of his children had received a present. We then went out by the manger scene on the temple grounds and sang Silent Night, and had a closing prayer.  It was the perfect ending to a special evening.

The children enjoying the manger scene.

On Christmas day, Mike and I drove out to a resort, The Wellesley, about an hour from Suva.  We spent 2 days there and relaxed a bit.

We passed this mountain peak on our way to the Wellesley that the natives call "The Thumb".
Joske's Thumb is a precipitous volcanic plug that rises on the horizon to the west of Suva.
Sir Edmund Hillary was defeated in his first attempts to climb the peak. It  takes its name from Paul Joske, one of the pioneers who established Suva's first sugar mill.  There is a picture on the back of the $10 bill.
Christmas Evening the resort had a huge banquet.  The is the Fijian way of serving fish.  Cooked whole in coconut milk.  It was yummy.  They also served, lamb, turkey, ham, and beef along with the fish.   
The Wellesly is a small resort nestled in a lush, green valley right on the beach.  It was so beautiful and a wonderful Christmas break.

 This is the bungalow where our room was.
Last year at spring break we went on a cruise and they were doing massages on the beach, but I wasn't able to get one.  Since then, I have really wanted do have a massage on the beach, and I finally got my wish! 
Sunset at the Wellesley.


  1. Wow, that is a beautiful sunset! It looks like a fantastic and busy Christmas. I'm glad to see you are doing well.

  2. Looks like a wonderful time. Rylin said the suset is beautiful. Jordyn said the lobster is gross. They like the dancer pictures too. Love you guys

  3. Fish works for me. But some of my family would find that a challenge. Cliff

  4. It is beautiful there. This is January maybe next January we will be there with you. I talked to Melinda Sunday and she told me you were doing great. That fish looked wonderful. I bet the food is great too. What a fun Christmas you had. Little different than home but neat in an other ways. Love you and Keep up the great work that you were called to do.