Friday, September 30, 2011

LDS Primary School Retreat & Where's Papa

On the last school holiday, the end of August, the Primary School had a teacher's and spouse retreat.  It was 2 days of learning and eating and diversion.  The first day we went to the temple together and then went back to the school where we had a nice breakfast.  (One of the teachers' husband said breakfast was the best part of the day. Better than bread and Milo anyway)  
Mike gave one of the talks on appreciation for and the importance of supporting your spouse.
(Since I retired before Cherie, I have been a great wife to my wife, cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, and I get little appreciation! Just kidding)  
I organized a getting to know you activity; "choose between two options" 
Example:   Do you like sweet snacks or salty snacks, (or as Mike said "diabetes or arteriosclerosis") 

The second day we went to a resort called The Pearl which is about 45 min. from Suva. We had some learning activities, another nice lunch, and then some free time..  Most of the teachers played volleyball.  That is a big thing here in Fiji. (Not as big as rugby however). 

On the bus for our ride to the Pearl.  Front to back: Bro. and Sis. Toro, Bro. and Sis. Rokobuludrau,
and Where's Nana???

Me and Sister Tagicakibau (tang - ee - thaw - keem - bow).  Her husband is a teacher at the Primary School and she is a secretary at the college.  We really like her.

Most of the group. I fit right in with my sulu (Fijian skirt)!
Where's Papa?  (NO! That is not him on the far right.) 
 Brother Wayne Maurer and us.  He is the Director of the Church Schools is the Pacific. 
He came from NZ for a presentation.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Joeli's Story

Once a month we get together with the Senior Missionaries and have a Family Home Evening.  Last month we met at the Mission Home and had a delicious dinner and speaker.  The speaker was President Kalougata and he had an amazing story that he shared with us.
Joeli is a very humble man who has had a lot of tragedy in his life, but he has been able to overcome his tribulations through faith in the Savior, Jesus Christ, and the hope of someday finding the truth.  What an amazing man.  We felt very priviledged to be able to hear his story and meet Joeli and his wife, Elenoa.

  His story was printed in the 2004 Ensign and Liahona.   If you want to read the full story follow the link below.

Otherwise we will share some of the highlights.  Although his father was raised a Methodist, he did not raise his children Methodist because he knew it did not conform to Biblical teachings.  His cousin had been in Hawaii and joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  When his cousin told Joeli's father about his new church the Holy Ghost witnessed to him that it was the true church.  There were no missionaries or branches of the church where they lived on a small island in the Lao group, so his father wrote the Mission President in Suva and the Mission President sent him a Book of Mormon and some other information.  The family saved and planned for 2 years to make the boat trip to Suva to be baptized. Finally, in December of 1973, Joeli, his younger brother and sister, and his parents got on boat for the journey to Suva.  2 older sisters and 1 brother already lived on the big island of Viti Levu.  A few hours into the trip a small storm turned into a cyclone.  The boat took on too much water and sank.  Joeli was able to hold onto a floating bag of coconuts but his father, mother, and siblings all drowned.  Out of 120 passengers, 35 survived and were rescued after 2 days and 3 nights of floating in the ocean.  Joeli, who was 12 years old, went to live with his older sister and in all of the chaos of the tragedy, the mission president could not find him.  In 1985 after 12 years of searching, the missionaries located Joeli and he was baptized a member of the Church. 
 Joeli Kalougata and his wife Elenoa

The first time Joeli met Eleona he said she kept looking at him and he at her finally he told her he was going to marry her (note: this was before their first date or first anything else.)  His wife was the daughter of the island chief and as such Joeli had to give 7 tabua (pronounced "tam boo uh" and is whale's teeth) to her father (reminiscent of "Johnny Lingo").

Elder and Sister Barfus, work in the mission office (left)
Sister and Elder Archibald, work in the temple
Left to right- Elder and Sister Lawlor, Elder and Sister Anderson all temple missionaries

Monday, September 5, 2011


We had a chance to travel to Taveuni, "The Garden Island of Fiji", and took the time to see a few of the sights.  Our good friends and fellow missionaries, Elder and Sister Sunderlage, picked us up at the airport, and took very good care of us.  They showed us around the island.  We saw lots of interesting sights along the way. 

Bouma Falls (the 1st of 3)

The International Dateline runs through the island of Taveuni.  You can have 1 foot in Friday and another foot in Saturday.

A Fiji weather station.  Notice the rock on the right side hanging by the rope. We visited several of the houses that the Church rebuilt on Taveuni that were destroyed by Cyclone Thomas in May 2011. 

This cute boy had gathered sea urchin shells, left over from lunch, so we gave him a sucker "lolly" as they call it in Fiji.  The people said they boil the urchins and then eat the eggs inside.

Many of the women wash their clothes and dishes in the river.
Cherie does not appreciate how well I have taken care of her.

Mike and Jean and Jack Sunderlage

4 warriors sharpening their cane knives and a lady

Fishing.  He said he will use these small fish as bait later in the day.
He was freezing the air was 75 and the water was 80.

The coastal walk, which is a trail about 2 miles long, which leads up to another waterfall.

                A suspension bride along the coastal walk.  Indiana Tait crossing the bridge.

Many of the trees were covered with these huge tree ferns.
We met these kids in the bush about a mile from the village.  The oldest was 5-6.  Imagine letting kids do that in California.  
They loved getting their picture taken.

Find the Papa

Walking home across the stream.
A natural rock waterslide that the kids love to slide down.  We got there later in the day, and there weren't many people there.  We didn't try it, but watched a young man slide down. 

Baptism in the Ocean
Walking from the church to the beach.

Getting ready for the baptism.

 It was a special experience to attend the baptism of this good Brother his sweet wife.

The sunset from our hotel.

Every room has an outdoor hot tub.

The fruit bats called the "flying fox"  They "hang out" in the trees by the hotel.  They are about the size of a seagull.