Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dinner, Track Meet, and Family Home Evening at the Hilton House

Dinner on The Deck with Talei and her Family
This is Talei, her mother, Josie, and her cousin.  Talei is getting ready to leave for New Zealand on her mission at the end of March.  The rest of her family are not members of the church. 
We go to their house once in a while for their family devotional (Family Home Evening) where we sing sometimes in Fijian and share scriptures. We invited them over for dinner last Sunday.  Talei's parents and brother came, and also her aunt and cousins.
(Left to right)  Cousin, Josie, Talei

The Inter-House Track and Field Meet
 The Church school took a day off and had a track and field meet.  The school rented the National Vodaphone Arena.   They divide the school up into 4 houses: Nephites, Mulekites, Lehites, and Jaredites  It was a competition for the whole school, and the winners of the events would go on to a 32 school event, and then a country-wide event.
It was a fun day, and the kids all enjoyed the competition.  The best part for me was the running.  80% of the students ran barefooted!  It was just amazing to me to see everyone running barefooted!
 Some ran in flip flops!

Most ran barefooted.

The stadium.   Thelma the Deputy Principal announcing, "Let the games begin!"

Girls waiting for the long jump.

Here is a picture of the Zone Meet.  Some of the schools are huge.  LDSCC won the premiere event, the 100 m, and took a few other medals.
A picture of the crowd.  Where's Waldo (Mike or Papa)??  People tell us we look more Fijian than we did 5 months ago what do you think?

Family Home Evening at the Hilton House
The ward members take turns hosting a FHE for the new members and investigators.  We decided to take the group over to the Hilton House for disabled children.  We stopped by on the Saturday before and asked Jacqueline, the caretaker, if we could come on Monday evening and have some activities.  The kids were so excited to have us come.  We sang some songs and played some games with the kids.  The kids also sang to us.  

This is some of the kids from the Hilton House and Apensia (in the Hawaiian shirt), our friend who is taking the missionary lessons. 

 The FHE group, the workers from the Hilton House, and the kids. The Pelagi (white) girl in the front is from England and is here on an internship for 6mo. 
The couple on the right are the Strawdermans, our new neighbors. She is the mission nurse, and are from Colorado. 
Grandkids:  Where is Papa?
 This is Annie, she is so sweet.  She can not talk, but she was very interested in my camera and loved looking at the pictures.  She especially loved looking at her own picture.  The very disabled children were in bed and were not present at our meeting.  However, we went in their room before we left and sang to them and had a prayer.
Some of the Hilton House children.

Lastly, I took some videos of the students at the Primary school having culture.  The boys from a 5th grade class are doing a Haka (war dance).  And then I took a video of the entire 5th grade class singing a children's song.  They are teaching me the song so I can sing it to my grandkids when I get home.  Below are the links to the videos.

The children's song link:

The Haka War Dance

Friday, March 11, 2011

Taits in Tonga

Malo e lelei (Hello in Tongan)

We had a chance to fly to Tonga on March 1st, for a Principal's Conference. 
We learned so much from the conference.  Elder Hamula from the Area Presidency spoke to us on 3 different occasions.  He shared with us the goals of the Area Presidency for the church schools in the Pacific.  Their goal is for every student to complete high school and tertiary school.  This is a very lofty goal, but we caught the vision and are ready to do everything in our power to help the schools achieve this goal.  He shared with us how education is important for these young people, to make them better parents, community members, and leaders. 

We had a wonderful time in Tonga and had a chance to meet some of the other ITEP missionaries serving there.  We were surprised to learn that Tonga has a 46% LDS population, so they have many large church schools there.  Liahona High School, where the conference was held, has around 1,000 students attending. 

This picture was taken from the plane as we left Fiji.    
The reefs look so pretty and colorful from overhead.

The first day we arrived, all the missionaries drove down to the craft market.  The Tongan people were so kind and generous to us as missionaries.  We were just walking around the market "looking".  I walked in to the stall where this younger woman was selling her items and I spoke to her for a few minutes and started to walk away.  She calls me back and says you can have this.  (If you can see what I have in my hand, it's a handmade flower that you can stick in your hair as a decoration.)  I said,  "Oh no, this is for you to sell."  She gave me a big smile and said, "It's a gift!"  It just melted my heart.  She was so sweet and caring to me.  Then when she saw there were other missionaries she gave a flower to each of the other sisters.  We decided we would go back and buy something from her the next time we came.  But she wasn't there when we went back on Saturday.  Then on Saturday when we went back, as soon as we walked into the market, a woman stopped Mike and said, "You are from Fiji!"  We didn't recognize her, but she said she was related to a woman that is in our ward at church and had visited her.  Then she said, "You pick of gift because you are from Fiji!"  So we picked a pretty shell that I liked and then she also wanted to give me a necklace and bracelet.  I told her I would buy the necklace, so we gave her $5.00.  The people just have so little, it's hard to take their livlihood away from them.  But they just love the missionaries and would give them anything

Monday night all the senior missionaries get together for Family Home Evening.  We were very surprised to see someone we knew from Corona!  Those of you who are old timers from Corona will recognize Sara Fager now Sara Kenyon.  She is remarried and she and her husband just arrived in Tonga about a month ago for a mission.  We had a great time visiting with her that night, and then we also went to dinner with them another evening.  This is their second mission.  They served a mission in Africa a few years ago.

The Tonga Temple.

Some of the sights of Tonga.  This is the Tongan version of Stonehenge.  They are not sure what it is was for, but some think it was for astrolgical use. 

This was a really beautiful sight they call the blow holes.  It is a shelf of volcanic rock that has been eroded away by the ocean.  The places that have been totally eroded away shoot up when the waves hit under them.  The thing that is so amazing about this is the whole coast as far as you can see in both directions has these blow holes. 

More blow holes


These ladies were keeping cool while preparing their dinner of fish and clams.

A monument to Captain Cook.  This is where he first landed when he arrived in Tonga.


Pig, Pigs, everywhere.  Pigs just roam the streets all over Tonga.  There are more pigs than dogs.





The students at the church middle school performed for us the last evening of the conference.  They were really good.

They had made leis for everyone and they were all very unique and different.

All the missionaries went over to a resort and had dinner and saw a Polynesian dancing show.    This was the view out on the deck.