Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Saturday, April 27th
We didn’t want to go into the fair today and since we found some great deals yesterday we didn’t have to. We slept in a little and then did some wash. Alan cleaned and then went to the Mission Office to get things ready to take out next week when we take the money to the missionaries. I just worked around the house and did some cooking. Sister Cahoon found some wheat flour somewhere, I don’t know where but I will write and ask her, so I made a loaf of wheat bread. It really tasted good to us and we are hoping we can find more wheat flour. We have not seen any the whole time we have been here.

We are having a dinner at the President’s house tomorrow and I wanted to make the chocolate ├ęclair desert. We don’t have graham crackers here but Elder Szoka brought me some other crackers that we hope will be a good substitute when he went to New Zealand last month. He also had a huge package of vanilla pudding that he shared with me, so I gave it a try. We don’t have cool whip either so I just made it without it. It will be interesting to see what it tastes like but it looks good so hopefully all will be well.

We were able to go for another good walk tonight. I took some pictures of the moon over the Tongan Temple. It was full and so beautiful!

It was nice to have a day off with no stress or hurry. We don’t even know what everyone else did today, we just pretty much stayed to ourselves.

The moon over the temple was absolutely beautiful last night. My camera really doesn't do it justice, sure wish Elder Coles was still here.

Friday, April 26th
It was a beautiful day today. The weather is starting to cool off a little and the humidity is lots lower so life is good in Tonga. I was able to write a few emails at the office this morning that I sent from Lihaona in the afternoon. We are trying to keep track of our project and also work on a couple of other things.

We left early to go to our last Zone Conference of the week. Sometimes we wonder why we speak to them, nothing seems to be changing. Sister Tukuafu, our Mission President’s wife doesn’t get involved in the missionary housing. She is a wonderful woman and I love her, but she is very shy and unsure of her English so she hates to speak when we are around. We are hoping that the new Mission President’s wife will take a more active roll with the missionaries and help us with the housing problems. The Mission President is focused on the Spiritual things and really doesn’t want to worry about the temporal.

On our way home from the Zone Conference we found a lady selling American products in front of her house. She had Raisin Brand for $15.00 ($25.00 at the American store), Clorox for $15.00 and large boxes of Kleenex for only $3.00!! We were thrilled. We don’t go out that way too often but maybe we will start. It’s closer than going into town and no people!!

We were able to go for a nice walk tonight. It’s fun just to walk around Liahona. Everyone is so friendly and we see lots of people that we don’t get to see on Sunday anymore. It does make it hard to get a good walk in though. I really long to get out and take a fast walk but Alan’s leg has been giving him trouble again so we are taking it easy for now. I don’t want to walk without him, especially at night.
Thursday, April 25th
Today is a national holiday. It is the equivalent of our Veterans Day. All of the stores are closed, the offices are closed and the schools are closed. Our grandkids would love living in Tonga. Since January, they have had two holidays, a 3 day sports event and they missed a week of school because of the rain, which they don’t have to make up. It seems like the kids are always out of school here.

We decided to really take the day off and not do much of anything. We have been going strong since we got here and it felt good to just stay home and relax. We slept in an extra hour and did a little wash but that’s about all. I found out this week that someone was using our washing machine while we are at work. When I went to put some wash in there was a mess in the machine, dried up powdered soap all over the place. I don’t use powdered soap, I use liquid. I hate the fact that people know when we are gone and using my washing machine is like using my towel, it gives me the creeps. When I washed Alan’s white shirts last week one came out with stains on it, now I know why. We figured out which circuit shuts off the electricity to the washing machine today. We will flip it off when we leave for work in the morning.

We spent some time catching up on our journals and we called Dave in Hawaii to wish him a happy birthday. It is his birthday there today. When he answered he was on the golf course having a great time. Tuff life that kid is living!~

Thursdays are great because we can end the day with a trip to the temple. It doesn’t get any better than that!
Wednesday, April 24th
Happy Birthday David!!!! Anyway it is his birthday here, but not in Hawaii.

We stopped in Havelu on our way into work. The sisters that live in that village didn’t have any water this morning. They have been having trouble for the last week but every time the FM men go there they say that the water is working fine. We went to check on it today and the FM met us there. It was just like our TV, when no one was there the water pump wouldn’t work and as soon as someone came to fix it, it worked. Today we saw it when it wasn’t working and sadly the FM said that they don’t know if it can be repaired. If not it will cost about $1, 000 to replace it. We are praying someone can fix it!

Today we celebrated Elder Bean’s birthday. It really isn’t until tomorrow, but tomorrow is a holiday so the office will be closed. We went out to lunch as a welfare team. There is a place close to our office that is called Waves. It is the first time we have eaten there and it was really good. Alan had a fish burger and it was made with a real slice of fresh tuna. He was in heaven. I had a penni made with ham, cheese, pineapple, onion and tomatoes. YUMMY. They also have good French fries and diet coke. It doesn’t get much better than that. Then we went back to the office and had cake and ice cream that Sister Bean had brought.

We headed back to Liahona because we had another Zone Conference to speak at today and it was in a village not far from where we live. We always ask if there is anything we can do for the missionaries when we talk and today two elders said yes. They have a RAT in their MQ. One of them woke up last night and the rat was on his face!!!!!!! He flipped it off and it landed on his companion who went ballistic. I can relate to that! They really wanted some help so Alan spent the afternoon getting some traps for them.

I made some chocolate chip cookies this afternoon. Elder Bean likes them and I will take him some tomorrow on his real birthday. We took a nice long walk to end the day. I’m worried about Alan now. His leg is bothering him again. We thought we had that taken care of before we left but he has had trouble with it off and on the whole time we have been here. He wants to go see the Chinese Master ….. Good luck with that!!!

It was Christmas in Tonga for Susan!! I was able to buy a whole case of Diet Coke today. My ship finally came in!!!

Tuesday, April 23rd
Before we left for work we said our last good-byes to the Cahoons. They have lived right next door to us so we see them everyday. We have become good friends over the last 4 months and we will really miss them. Thank heaven for email!

The Beans and Anna had meetings at Liahona this morning so I was able to get a lot done at the office. The computers work pretty good when you are the only one there. Alan’s still isn’t working but he was able to use another one for everything except his LDS account.

We left a little early because I had a massage today. They seem to be helping me. I don’t have the terrible pain all the time anymore and a little of the numbness is going away. Hopefully if we keep doing this for a few weeks things will get better.

We went back to the office and had a sack lunch because we had to speak at a Zone Conference in the central zone today. I spoke for a few minutes with President Tukuafu after the conference. He is such an amazing man! I will write a special entry about what he told me today.

When we got home we spent some time emptying out the Cahoon’s house. They had left some things for us in the kitchen and in the fridge. Then I drank lots of water and relaxed for the rest of the day. Hopefully my body will respond to the massage and get back in line where it is supposed to be. Ying said that I was much better today and that my nerves are good. That was good to hear and I really am starting to feel better.

Alan went for a walk without me tonight. That was hard but I am trying to do what Ying said would be best. I can walk tomorrow.
Monday, April 22nd
When we got to the office this morning the internet was actually working, sort of. We were hoping for a great improvement but that is just not going to happen. My computer worked so I was able to start to catch up on a few things but Alan’s wouldn’t connect to the internet at all so I had to stop what I was doing and send emails for him too. It was frustrating but at least it is better than last week.

When we were back in our house a man stopped by to talk to us about humanitarian work. He works for one of the internet companies here in Tonga. He told us that fiber optics wouldn’t be here until SEPTEMBER! Here we go, we are on Tongan time. I truly wonder if we will ever see it while we are here.

I made a salad for our FHE dinner tonight. We had a dinner in honor of the Cahoons. It was their farewell party. Everyone brought something and all of it was yummy. We all ate way to much but we sure had a good time doing it!
Sunday, April 21st
The Cahoon’s spoke at church today. It was their last Sunday, they are heading back to Canada on Tuesday. He has helped a lot of people with dental work here in the three months they have been here. We will really miss them. They did a great job today and it was a very nice Sacrament Meeting. Lina and Richard were not there today. I found out that his mother lives right by them and she watches very closely what they do on Sunday. She has made it very hard, if not impossible for them to come to church. It is sooooo sad!!

We took Sister Mitchell, the mission nurse, in to church with us today. After Sacrament meeting she got a call that they were kicking one of our missionaries out of the hospital. Evidently, when they want you to go home, you go home. Right then. We had to leave church to take her back to Liahona to get her car so she could go to the hospital, pick up the missionary and then take her home to her family. She is from Tonga. That cut our day at church short.

To take advantage of the time that we were home and everyone else was at church, we went over to the school and we were able to face time with Greg and Tiff’s family. Because we were the only ones on the computer we could actually Skype with Tiff for awhile. It was good to see the grandkids again!! How we miss them all!!! We called Kimi when we got home, she doesn’t have internet yet, Dave and Alisha are in Hawaii and Bryan’s family is getting ready for a trip to Disneyland ……. Without grandma!!!!!!!!! So sad!!

We have only seen two cruise ships dock here since we came in December. Tonga isn't the most popular destination in the South Pacific. It's kind of sad really, because it is a beautiful island and they could sure use the money from the tourist trade, but we admire them for not having shops open on Sunday when a lot of ships would be in port.

Saturday, April 20th
We slept in a little. It’s hard to sleep in when the roosters are going crazy all over the place. They don’t even wait until the sun comes up here. When I first woke up because there was one close by, I could still see stars in the sky!

We quickly cleaned the house, I did some wash and then sprayed poison for critters. Funny thing, we have had more bugs since they sprayed last week than we ever had before. Whatever they sprayed with seems to attract them! I did a real thorough spraying with our own poison in hopes that that will help.
We took a quick trip into the fair because I needed some American products, but we went in later than usual and most everything was gone. I was able to get some things in smaller sizes but that just costs more money. Now we know that it is important to go in early.

There was a cruise ship in port today so we saw tourists all over town. The ship comes in at night and then they give people several hours to walk around town or take tours to some of the beaches. There really isn’t much to see so a few hours will about cover it. Tonga doesn’t really want the country to be a tourist destination. They don’t like catering to tourists, like keeping shops open on Sunday, so they just have what they have and that’s the way it is.

Alan and I rode out to the east side of the island this afternoon to deliver supplies to some of the missionaries. One MQ was without water and we wanted to check and make sure that had been fixed. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful drive through the bush and along the far side ocean front. It was relaxing. We would like to do that more often if gas wasn’t so expensive.

After dinner we walked down to the Johnsons. It was Sister Johnson’s birthday today and they had everyone over for cake and ice cream. We had a nice visit with the other senior couples.

This is probably the rooster that woke me up this morning. They wander free all over the island. I have no idea who owns this one but he is in our back yard quite often with about 6 others. I don't care if they come around later but before 5 AM is to early!!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Friday, April 19thNO INTERNET!! The computer guys came yesterday but they can’t fix our problem. They said that there is one more thing that they can do and they will try that today. If it doesn’t work we are in big trouble. They will switch internet companies and see if that helps but if not we are stuck until June when the fiber optics are supposed to be here. The church is not going to do anything that will cost a lot of money when hooking on to that is supposed to be so close. MERCY!!! We can’t do anything!
When we got home we had a man stop in to fix our TV. It has been giving us trouble for a long time now. All of a sudden the sound will just go off, then just as suddenly it will come back on. Lately it has been going off and staying off so we asked about it. The FM sent a man over. The sound has not worked all day today. About 2 minutes before he arrived Alan checked it again .. nothing. When he came we turned it on and the sound was working loud and clear! It’s like taking your car in to have them listen to the funny noise. We were so frustrated! He believed us anyway and took the whole thing apart. Once inside he could test the sound system and easily see that it was faulty. It is really an old TV but he said that he had a spare speaker at home that would work in it and off he went. Sure enough, when he got back he was able to fix it and it has been working just fine since. It’s amazing what some people have here.
It was cool enough tonight to go for a nice walk. That feels soooooo good!!
Thursday, April 18thStill no internet at the office. I am serious, it won’t even come up now. Hopefully Ana will throw a big enough fit that they will really do something about it now. For two days we have just been sitting around for 4 hours doing nothing!!
Alan and I went into town and picked up some things for the missionaries and when we got back we still had nothing. The computer specialists are coming from Liahona to look at it this afternoon. Hopefully by tomorrow things will be better.
We can’t get our emails, but Elder Reynolds called from New Zealand to tell us that our project had been on the agenda for the Area Presidency’s meeting but they didn’t get to it. Elder Dallin Oaks will be here tomorrow and he is touring the area. (Not Tonga!) The Area Presidency won’t be meeting again to look at our project for at least 2, maybe 3 weeks. Oh, I’m dying! We are so disappointed!! Alan called Sione to tell him about the delay. He is soooo patient. He said, “No worries, we can wait.” I guess I need some Tongan blood in me. Now I am worried that this delay will affect the momentum for our hygiene program, but with their attitudes maybe it won’t. I need to relax!
I spent some time this afternoon making a tin foil supper! The carrots are nasty here. They have no flavor but they do add color. The minced beef is a little questionable, but with an hour in the oven to kill whatever might not be good and a lot of cheese and ketchup, it tasted really good to us!!
Then we were off to the temple. Thank heaven for Thursdays. Going to the temple once a week helps me get through the week!
Wednesday, April 17th
Today we had no internet at all. I guess that is what you get when the internet company knows you have a complaint. We did receive two phone calls from New Zealand wanting clarification on items in our project so at least we know they are looking at it. It is amazing what an email from SLC will do to get people moving. We couldn’t look anything up on the computer but thankfully I have kept everything we do in a file. I like to have a paper trail! We are really going to like the new couple in New Zealand. Elder Reynolds is very organized and he stays on top of things.
We couldn’t get anything done so we left the office and took care of missionary housing needs. Alan is looking for supplies to send to the other islands. We needed some empty spray bottles and they are impossible to find. No one has them here. We will have to order them in and that will take weeks, if not months!
Today, tomorrow and Friday are “Sports Days” in Tonga. It is like the state competition for track and field at home, only the whole school system shuts down. Everybody goes and the schools from the outer islands compete too. It is a huge event so Liahona is basically shut down. Hopefully that means that I can get on the internet there and get something done.
I was able to get some things on the blog and send emails from Liahona. No one was there so the internet worked well.
We had a quiet night at home. We went for a walk and I got the ironing done. It felt good to just be home without much to do.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Tuesday, April 16thToday was a great day!! When we got to the office we had 3 emails about our water project. The head water man in SLC had written to the office in New Zealand and asked them about our project. He wanted to know what was holding it up. Then the Area Welfare office wrote and told us they were looking at it. By the end of the day we had phone calls about it and hopefully it will FINALLY start to progress through the process of approval. It has to be approved at 8 different levels before we can actually do anything.
My Massage today was sooooo helpful. Ying is really good. She is strong and she knows what she is doing. If it is really painful for me she will ease up and then come back and work on that area again. After she was through I felt so much better. The pain in my leg was almost gone and my back felt lots better too. When Alan and I walked tonight I didn’t feel any pain at all. THERE IS HOPE!!

This is the Geico that lives in our house. He comes in, eats what he wants, doesn't say much and then he is gone. We nicknamed him Greggie. I think he knows who he is. When we turned the calendar from March to April he went under it to find Greg! He made me a little nervous at first but now I appreciate him, he eats bugs!!

Monday, April 15thNow I know why people who work in offices complain about Mondays. Nothing works on Monday!! We found out last week that the internet line coming into our office is not big enough to supply all the computers that we use. In other words, we are paying for service that we are not getting. The internet people came and said that they would be back today to fix the problem.. Ya right! No one showed up today but we did receive the new printer that we ordered back in December. PATIENCE … everything in it’s own time. Now we will wait for someone from the service center to come and hook all of our computers up to the new printer. We are taking bets on how long that will take!
My back and leg have really been giving me fits so I made an appointment with Ying, my lady massage therapist for tomorrow. Hopefully she can help me get this worked out. I am so glad that I found her, at least now I have hope.
Sunday, April 14thThe conference sessions started at 9:00 this morning. We went a little early because we are having such a good time seeing all the people that are in the ward we used to go to. We miss them all so much and they said that they really miss us too. Even the kids in our Sunday School class came up to us and told us how much they miss us. It was so good to visit with them all again.
The session was wonderful and the messages so straight forward and powerful. This conference gave me a lot to ponder and think about. It sounds like there are tough times ahead and that we need to be obedient and cling to our faith.
After the first session was over the bishop said that there was a treat outside for everyone. We went out and had a couple of rolls and some punch. While we were out there Sister Szoka came to find us. She said that there was someone that she wanted us to meet. When we went back with her we met the Johnsons. They are a couple that have come here on vacation. Brother Johnson served his mission here and would you believe it, he and Alan were companions! He was just finishing up his mission when Alan arrived but they did serve together for a short time. Heavenly Father has been so good to us. They have been planning to come on this trip for 20 years and they just happened to come when we were here and come to a meeting where we were. It’s not a coincidence, it is another tender mercy! They are a lovely couple and we will have them to dinner one day this next week.
The last session was bitter sweet. It was wonderful but I hated to see it end. When you sit through them one right after another they are over so fast. It is such a long wait until the next conference that I like to spread the sessions out a little more. But watching conference in the mission field is such a special experience. The spirit is so strong in my heart when we are on a mission and I was so grateful that we are on a mission when the brothern talked about senior missionaries. I know that we are where the Lord wants us to be, doing what He wants us to do, at the time He wants us to do it. The experiences we have had since we got here have made that crystal clear to me. Even if Salt Lake doesn’t know who we are or where we are, the Lord knows and that is all that matters.

When the sessions were over we met up with the Johnsons again and they came to our house. They are hoping to see all of the places where Brother Johnson served when he was a young man. They thought they could come here and then arrange a flight to the other islands. That just isn’t possible right now. With the new airline not up and operating yet, there is only one “little” plane flying to all of the islands. You have to have reservations weeks ahead. It will take a miracle to get them on that plane. We will help them work on it tomorrow. We had made dinner plans with another couple so they just stayed a half hour but we will see them tomorrow afternoon. We had dinner with the Szoka’s. He is a good cook and he had made chili and corn bread. With a breeze blowing it was actually not to bad to have chili and it tasted really good. I made a cake yesterday and we shared that so it was a light but yummy dinner.
We were able to face time with Bryan’s family, Greg and Kimi tonight. By the time we hung up with Kimi it was to late to call Tiff and Dave. Hopefully we can connect with them tomorrow.
Alan and I went for a walk tonight. It is finally cool enough at night to walk. It doesn’t cool off until after dark but there are street lights around Liahona so we just walked around the school. At first my leg and back really hurt but gradually it got better. We really need to walk every day. My body is used to that and I know part of my problem is the fact that we haven’t been able to walk and we are sitting all day. My body HATES that!
Saturday, April 13thWe spent the morning finishing up in the house and washing. I needed to wash everything that was covering our bed and the table in the living room, plus do the weeks wash. Thankfully there was a good breeze today so we were able to get most of the wash dry.
Then we got ready for General Conference. We have been looking forward to this weekend for a long time. We watch it on CD’s so they showed the Priesthood session first. It started at 1:00 in the afternoon and then the men were able to go home and get their families. We watched the Sat. morning session at 4:00 and the afternoon session at 6:30. There isn’t much of a break but conference is so good that it really doesn’t seem like it is that long. However, sitting on those plastic classroom chairs is not very comfortable. I took my little pillow with me and did alright. We loved the sessions. All of the talks were so good and the spirit was strong. The intermediate songs were so fun. The Tongan people love to sing and they really filled the room with beautiful music. But they sing much slower here than we do in the states. They had a hard time keeping up with the music. It was good for them to see how fast they should be singing them. We will see if it will help.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Friday, April 12thWe went into work a little later this morning. Even though we got up early it took us a long time to get everything ready for the spraying. We piled all of our luggage on the bed and then put the clothes from our closet on top of that. Then we covered all of it with sheets. We also covered all of the food and pots and pans on the table in the living room with sheets and the table cloth. We had to turn our kitchen table on it’s side so they could spray the underside. We have termites eating on it. By the time we left for work we were hot, sweaty and exhausted!
The technical people from Liahona have been trying to get our internet fixed at work. Anna Ika is relentless with them. She calls them just about everyday and it seems to be working. The internet company came today to check the reception we are getting in the office. It is NOT what we have been paying for. The signal here is very weak and won’t begin to cover all of the computers we are using. DUH!!! How long have we been saying that?? They said that they will be back on Monday and start to fix the problem. We are hopeful but still in a wait and see mode.
When we got home the spraying had been done. We left all of our windows open and there was a nice breeze so most of the smell was gone. There were puddles of spray in some of the drawers and cupboards so I took some paper towels and wiped them out before we started putting things back. We got most of it done tonight but there are a few things that have to be finished tomorrow. One of them is putting the pictures back on the walls. It was hard for me to take them all down. It really made me miss my grandkids and long to hug each one of them. I will be glad when their smiling faces are back up on the wall making our house a home again.
Thursday, April 11th,
I must have eaten something that didn’t agree with me last night because I had a bad day today!! I could have gone into work but I would have had to move my desk much closer to the bathroom! Instead I stayed home and took the morning off. I got some extra rest and geared up to empty all of the cupboards and drawers. By afternoon I was feeling a little better and by the time Alan got home I was well enough to start working.
We are having our house sprayed for pests tomorrow so we have to empty EVERYTHING! They spray inside and outside and they do all the cupboards and drawers. We got a table from the school and put it up in the front room. We loaded it with everything from our kitchen cupboards. Then we filled our suitcases with shoes and clothes from our drawers. We will finish unloading our closet tomorrow morning.
It is a huge pain to do all of this but it will be worth it if the spraying will keep all of the bugs and spiders out of our house. So far we have done pretty well but I spray faithfully every other week. Hopefully I won’t have to do that so often from now on.

I don't have many pots and pans to work with but somehow we get everything cooked. I LOVE that pizza stone!!!

When I get home I want to remember just how little food I had in the cupboard ... and we did just fine! I was glad we didn't have more when we had to empty it all out.

Wednesday, April 10th

We went out to visit the Tonga Country Pharmacy today. It is a huge warehouse where Tonga stores all of the medicine that comes into the country. They get meds from all over the world so it makes you wonder how well made they are. And if that doesn’t stop you from getting help here, you can walk into the warehouse where they store it and seen the mold and mildew and just plain dirt everywhere. We were taken into a “sterile room”. We had to put booties on our feet to walk into a room with an open window. It was just as dirty in there and they just let strangers walk right through. It’s scary! They came to us with a request that we supply the paint and labor to paint the whole warehouse. Granted, it will look better, but somehow they have to keep it clean. Plus the fact that they don’t clean anything here, they just paint over the dirt, really bothers me. Will paint kill mold and mildew?????
When we got back to the office we had a very nice lady come to see us. She works for the Tongan Broadcasting Network. They do the TV and radio here. She brought in a request for all new equipment totaling $750,000! It was all I could do not to laugh. A request that high would have to go to the Prophet
himself and it was for a business. How can you run a business with no plan for the future? Some of these people just wait for someone to come in and “fix everything” for them. It’s so sad. This sweet lady is a member of the church so they made her come in with the request. We told her we would look into it but that we were sure the church would not want to get involved with a business. That is not why we are here.
We left the office and went straight to the airport. We had a new couple coming in from America today. They are both Tongan but they live in Salt Lake City. When we met them he took one look at Alan and said, “You were my mission companion when I was a young man.” It was another sweet reunion at the airport! President Tukuafu flew in on the same flight. Just looking at him we could see that he had changed. He now carries the mantle of a 70 and there is an added light to his eyes. He told us that he didn’t know if he could put into words the experiences he had while he was away. We hope to have some quiet time alone with him before he is released and perhaps he will share some of them with us. We so love that great man.
After a quick lunch I made rolls for our dinner party tonight. Elder and Sister Johnson are having a dinner for the Vimahi’s. They are the family that had us all over to dinner at their house. Now we are returning the favor and we are all bringing American food for them to try.
Since I have a minute, I want to write down a funny experience before I forget it. When you ask people for directions here they give you land marks because there are no addresses. If you want to send a letter, you send it to the bishop at the church address and he will get it out to the members of his ward. Every village has a church so you just send it to the LDS Church and then name the village. Well, we wanted to know where the Patriarch lived. We were told to go to Vini, (that is the name of the village) to the big mango tree (there are hundreds of them in every village). There will be a horse tied to it ( that narrows it down considerably). Turn right and the house is straight ahead. You can’t miss it, it is the one with the grave in the front yard. The Patriarch’s first wife died and he buried her in the front yard. ( He is now remarried and his wife gets to see that grave everyday). I laugh every time we ask for directions but somehow it works and we find where we need to be.
Tuesday, April 9thThe internet wouldn’t let us do anything at the office today so I took the time to catch up on my journal. It seems like I am always behind! I was able to get on the CHaS program for just long enough to check on our project. It is still in New Zealand. We know the Area Presidency is in SLC so it will probably be there for a week, if not longer. We are anxious!!!
We had a teaching appointment with Lina and her family today. When we got there Richard wasn’t there. He had been called to teach a class at the University of South Pacific. He is a very intelligent man and he is in high demand here. He asked his wife to excuse him and tell us about what happened with his parents this last week. They are “very Catholic” and they don’t want him to join the church. He had a big argument with his mother about it during the week and she got so upset that she passed out. It scared him. He really loves his mother and he wants to find a way to handle this so she won’t make herself sick. He watched conference while he was home on Sunday. If we had known it was going to be on KBYU, he has a cable plan, we would have gone to his house instead of going to church! Not really. But he loved conference and he told his wife all about it. He said that he will continue to read the Book of Mormon but he doesn’t want us to come to his house until he can get his mother settled down. We were really sorry to hear that and we are praying that it is not just a way to stop our meetings but Lina seems very sincere about wanting to have her daughters baptized and she will keep coming to church. Hopefully he will come with her. This is a matriarchal society and the mother and grandmother have great power here. Traditionally, no one opposes them and it is a big deal for a son to go against his mother’s wishes. We are praying that her heart will be softened and somehow Richard can become a member of the church.

When we go out in the bush to look at water projects we meet men like this man. He was fixing a coconut for us. He skinned it, and then cut it open with his machete.

Monday, April 8thWe went to the Service Center to our devotional this morning to find out that we weren’t having one today. Sure wish these people would learn how to send out an email!! The room was being used for translation. All of conference that is translated into Tongan is done right here at Liahona. This poor translation team has been working around the clock to get everything done and then copied onto CDs and sent out to every ward and branch that needs a Tongan version. It is a HUGE job!!!
When we got into work we had a staff meeting so Ana will be prepared for her Manager’s meeting tomorrow. She is excited to go and tell them about our project. Also, the Beans are seeing 16 students off to BYU Hawaii today that they have helped to get grants. They have done a wonderful job helping these YSA continue with their educations. Our office will look good at the meeting tomorrow and it should. We work darn hard down here!!

I have been trying to catch up with laundry and everything that we let go last week so that is what I did this afternoon. I also had to make cookies for game night tonight. We have a game night about every 2 or 3 month. Alan doesn’t love to play games but we always have a good time. We also called Bryson for his birthday. It isn’t his birthday here but it is in America so that is when we call. He didn’t really want to talk to us. He had just opened his presents and he had better things to do. We called in the middle of his party. How did that little stinker get to be 4 so fast? Our grandkids are growing up way to fast! We took the water sample that we collected from our house while the Colson’s were here, with us to FHE. It is supposed to be light yellow if it is safe to drink but ours is green. That means there is some bad stuff in it. Ours turned light green so it won’t kill us but we still need to be diligent in using our filters. We talked to all the couples about how to change their filters and gave each of them a years supply of filters.
We also took water samples at two of the villages we visited and they both have bad water. Theirs is really bad. It has e-coli in it. That comes from animal and human waste. We are working on a plan to help the villages clean up their water supplies.
Then we played Rummi-cube. I love that game but it makes me homesick for David and Tony Grove. We always played it up there and David always won. Well not always, but, most of the time.
Sunday, April 7thIt was our second week in our new ward and I had to go by myself. Alan wasn’t feeling well this morning and he decided that he had better stay home. Brother Cahoon’s wife wasn’t feeling well either, so he went with his two wives to church. Sister Mitchell, the mission nurse being the other one. It was a great Fast and Testimony meeting. This is a much smaller ward and it is all families so it is more like home. We start right on time, even if there are only 15 people in the chapel. By the time the song and prayer are over people are starting to arrive. At first I wondered how many people would bear their testimonies but I should not have worried. They don’t line up like the kids do in our other ward but it was a steady stream of people sharing beautiful testimonies. I really wish that the people back home could hear them, they are pretty amazing. A little girl who will be turning 8 soon stood up to bear her testimony. She said that she would be baptized soon and she wanted us to know what she believed. Then she proceeded to recite the Articles of Faith. It was pretty impressive and touching. That is what we believe. We all learned a great lesson from her.
Lina came with her family again this week but Richard came home from his trip to Vava’hau with a cold so he stayed home. Hopefully we will meet with him this week on Tuesday. Lina is great and we had a good day with her and the kids. They stayed for the whole block. Her oldest daughter is in Young Women’s and they did a project for their personal progress. Every one of them made a skirt and top in the Tongan style. They all wore them to church today. They looked great and they all did such a good job. Once again I was very impressed.
When I got home Alan was feeling a little better but still weak. I made some soup and we ate light today.
We know that conference started at home today so we called Dave and Greg after the Priesthood session was over to find out what was new. They told us about the new temples and the new Young Woman’s Presidency, but they missed the best part. Our Mission President was made an Area Authority 70 today. He will be over the South Pacific. We knew that he came up missing from the Mission late last week and no one seemed to know where he was … now we know. He will be great. He is such a spiritual man. We really love him and feel so blessed to have been able to work so closely with him.
Saturday, April 6th,
I was so tired that I couldn’t sleep. That is sooooo frustrating. We had a leisurely day today. We did some work around the house, ran into town to pick up a few things and then just relaxed. We feel really good about all that we got done last week but we needed a day off!

I never get tired of taking pictures of the sun setting over the ocean.

When we took Elder and Sister Colson to see the sunset we had to walk quite a ways to get to the beach.

The grass was taller than Sister Mitchell. I am so grateful that there are NO snakes in Tonga!!

The outlook above the beach gives us a beautiful view of the ocean, which always reminds us just how far away we are from those we love. When we look out across the ocean it goes on and on and on …. forever.

The Tongans love to swim in the evening. They were diving off of this rock when we arrived.

Another beautiful evening in Tonga.

Us with the Colsons. They were dressed up because they had a plane to catch, and everything else was packed.

Friday, April 5thWe went into the office this morning to finish up the training that the Colson’s wanted to do. Alan went with Elder Colson to the company who will provide the tank and stand for our project, just to take a look at what we will be buying. Alan has talked to the head of the company on the phone and they were both very impressed with him and his knowledge. He is a good partner to work with. If he does a good job we will continue to use him in the future.

Elder Colson sent in his report supporting the project and we heard back from Ty Johnson, who is over all the water projects for the church throughout the world. He said, ”Great project!! Let’s get it going.” Steve Stebbings, our Area Welfare Manager, wrote, “This looks like a great project, let’s get right on it.” ……..I cried. Then because I was crying, Sister Colson started to cry and then Elder Colson really knew how much this project means to us. I never dreamed that I would get so attached to these people and this work so quickly. We have put our hearts and souls into this project and we love the people it will be helping. We still have more approvals to get before it is passed but when Salt Lake and Ty Johnson are behind it the chances are good it will go through. Just the same, we will continue to pray about it. We left early so that we could get back to Liahona for lunch. The Colson’s needed to finish packing and then we took them to the airport at 2.00. When we got there we discovered that we were the only ones there. The flight had been delayed and because the internet is so bad, the message that was sent to the Colson’s didn’t ever come up on their computer. It is a 35 minute drive to the airport so we got a number to call and check before we headed out again.
Their new flight was scheduled to leave at 10:30 so we took them to our house. I fixed some spaghetti for dinner and we had a nice visit. We went over to the school to check their email and sure enough, the flight had been delayed even further and wouldn’t leave until 1:00am! We decided to take them to the beach to watch the sunset and we were able to see a beautiful one. I took some movies that turned out great but I don’t think I can get them on the blog. That is very frustrating for me. I really wish the kids could see what we are seeing.
We were all exhausted by the time we left for the airport at 10:30pm. Alan and I don’t stay up that late and we had had a huge week. We got them safely there and checked in and then we headed back home to bed. It was a long day … a long week…and we are exhausted!!~

Elder and Sister Colson are at the front, us, Ana Ika is at the back and the Beans are on the right. This was our dinner at Cafe Escape.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Thursday, April 4thWe met Ana at Liahona this morning and headed out to see more past projects on the west side of the island. We saw two really good ones and two bad ones, but even the bad ones were still running. We saved the worst for last so that Elder Colson could see some of those too. But today when we went to one that was not working last week, we found it working. We had been told that our pump broke about a year ago and it could not be fixed. The village was using a pump that was 30 years old and they wanted us to give them a new one. Well, during the week the old pump broke and they were forced to fix the pump that they told us “couldn’t be fixed.” It only cost them 500 pa’anga and now we have one less request to process. It was a good day!
After lunch we went to the school to finish
the project. We are determined to get this done while we have help. When the Colson’s pulled up their emails they had one from Salt Lake saying, “Who are the Webbs and what is their assignment?” That made us feel important! Evidently we are the couple who fell through the cracks when all of the hustle and bustle of the new missionaries started . Salt Lake didn’t even know we were here. Elder Colson got that all straightened out and explained who we are and how valuable we are to the work in the South Pacific. Within the hour we were up and running although it took a little longer than that to sooth our bruised egos. Once we were on the right site and in the right program, we were able to submit our project. Elder Colson and I went over all of the details and I pushed the submit button!!! It is gone!!! Now we WAIT AND WAIT AND WAIT. The Area Presidency is in Salt Lake for conference so we know it will be at least a week. But I feel like a 100 pound weight has been taken off my shoulders. I am so grateful it is done.
To celebrate, the Colson’s took us out to dinner at the Water Front, a very nice restaurant here. We just relaxed and had a lovely evening.
Wednesday, April 3rdWe left right from Liahona today to tour the island and look at projects. We started with a trip to Lavengatonga to meet with the Stake President, the Branch President, members of the village council and the water committee. Sione couldn’t meet with us, he had to go to work, but the rest of those men were there waiting for us. We showed the Colson’s the project that we have been working on and what this village has already done . He was very impressed and he was also able to ask all the questions he wanted of the Stake President and water committee. He is 100% behind our project now and we have decided to add a hygiene program to it. The church is very committed to hygiene programs in 3rd world countries and that should help us to get is passed. Besides, they really need that training here. Hopefully we can help the children to stay healthy.
We spent the rest of the morning and part of the afternoon looking at water projects that the church did here in 2006 and 2007. So far everything we have shown them has still been working. Some were well taken care of and others, not so much, but they are all still running. When we stopped in takatakatonga we were able to talk to the water committee about how they collect money to maintain their system. They collect money from every house and they have two bank accounts; one for money to make repairs and another that is 10% of all money collected. They call that one their “tithing” account. They have set that aside to replace the pump when it wears out. So far they have collected over 13,000 pa’anga and they have never had to make one repair on the pump. They know that the Lord is blessing them.
When we got ready to leave they gave us baskets full of food, onions, carrots, lettuce, cucumbers, watermelons and coconuts. It was a great sacrifice for them and way more food than we could ever eat. We gave a lot of it to Ana and divided the rest with the other senior missionaries. I am always humbled by the love and gratitude of the people we meet with.
When we got back to Liahona we were all starving, so we stopped for lunch and then headed back to the school to keep plugging away at the project. We are determined to have it submitted before the Colson’s leave. Today we had all sorts of problems with the internet. It kept cutting out on us and just shutting down. It was really frustrating, and yet we were kind of glad that it happened so the Colson’s could actually experience what it is like here.
We ended the day by going back into town and meeting Ana Ika for dinner. The Colson’s and the
Tuesday, April 2ndWe took the Colson’s into the office today. They met Ana Ika and Ana Lupe our office secretary, then we had a training meeting. They gave us pages of information to read and went over some of the items individually. They want us to attach hygiene training to everything we can. The church really wants to emphasize hygiene in these 3rd world countries in hopes that some of the sickness can be lessened.
We called Sione, the champion for our water project and had him come and meet the Colson’s. He was able to tell them a little about the village and their needs and explain what they have already done. Elder Colson had some questions for him and poor Sione was a nervous wreck. He did a great job answering all of them and Elder Colson thinks that we have a good chance of getting the project approved --- if we ever get it submitted!
We tried to work on the computer again today but we still can’t get the project to come up on any ones account but mine. We emailed SLC again and they said that we needed to try a different web sight. This time it worked. Not only did they forget to take us out of the training program but they forgot to set us up on the real sight. You could start to feel very unimportant and we would if Elder Colson wasn’t here to

support us and help us over this hurdle. Without his help we could have been just spinning our wheels for months into the future, if not our whole mission. When we got that straightened out, I was able to access the real project but still no one else could. We got it set up on CHAS and got a real number assigned to it and then we had to head back to Liahona. We had a Zone Leader’s Conference that we had to speak at. Alan and I just looked at each other. We are going in so many different directions that we can’t keep our thoughts straight. OK my children think that is common, but it is even worse here and now!
The Zone Leader’s Conference went great. We are getting to know the elders now and they know us. We are loving them and having fun with them. They were very happy today. The Mission President set a goal to baptize 200 people in the month of March. They all worked soooooo hard and today he announced that they baptized 201! It was Great!!! It has rained so hard that we all got discouraged because it was really hard for the missionaries to be out a lot of the time. We didn’t know how they could ever reach their goal, but as it turned out, there was so much flooding that many people were being put up in the churches all over the island. The missionaries went to the churches to help and to teach and LOTS of those people were baptized. Like 5, 7, 9 at a time. It was amazing. The Lord works miracles in His own way and our prayers were heard and answered!
After we finished up with the missionaries we went to the Service Center to keep working on our project problems. Elder Colson had a few things he wanted to change. We had put in the actual bid for the amount of money that we would need, but he added 10% to that. We have a credit card fee here of 4% that we didn’t know about so we would have been in big trouble right there on the amount of money we will be spending. We worked for 3 hours and then headed home. We had a meeting with our investigators and the Colson’s were having dinner with Elder and Sister Bean.
Our investigators called and had to cancel. Richard was called out of town and he wanted to meet with us, so we will reschedule. It was good to have a few minutes to relax and plan for tomorrow.

Elder and Sister Colson at our beach picnic.

Monday, April 1stI really wanted to sleep in today but it was not to be. We had to be at the Mission Office by 7:00 to take the money out to the missionaries. It was a good experience today. We were able to “Snicker” 12 MQ’s. That is the equivalent of one whole zone! Since we have 3 zones on the island, we had 1/3rd of the MQ’s really clean this morning!!! It is starting to happen, I just have to be patient and have faith. We saw some of the new missionaries today and two of them were sooooo homesick. I was glad that I was there to give them some encouragement and a mother’s love. One young man from California was really down. The language is hard for him right now and when I asked him how he was doing he said fine but he didn’t look fine. I just put my arms around him and gave him a hug from his mother. He didn’t cry, you can’t do that, but I know he wanted to. We saw that in Ukraine too and it about tears my heart out. He will be fine and I will try to keep track of him until he gets his feet on the ground here.
It was very quiet in Tonga this morning. Most, if not all, of the other church were having Easter Monday services. There was very little traffic so we were able to get a lot done pretty quickly. When we got home we picked the Colson’s up and went over to the school to work on the computer. Elder Colson is determined to find our project and help us get it submitted.
We think we found the problem. When Elder Colson saw the project number he knew right away that something was wrong. It ended in 11 and a project submitted in February couldn’t have the number of 11 when there are projects submitted all over the world, everyday. He did a little digging and decided that the church had not taken us out of the training program and put us into the actual system. So for 4 months we have been submitting projects and they go NOWHERE!! No wonder no one can find them. He got on his email and wrote to Salt Lake, told them what was happening and what he thought was wrong. It was Easter in the US today so we will have to wait until tomorrow to hear back from them. In the mean time he helped us fill out a worksheet that we didn’t know existed. I’m not sure why we went to that week of training at the MTC. There are two forms that have to filled out before we can submit anything in Chas and we have never heard of them. Someone really dropped the ball just before Christmas last year! It will take awhile to straighten this all out, but at least we are getting some help now and there is hope that we can get this project submitted. We want to use every minute of the time we have with the Colson’s to learn more about how to do all of this right. They have been so kind and so helpful!
While we were on the internet we got a couple of pictures from Bryan. It looked like they had a great feast for Easter too. It was good to see a picture of Greg and Zach. It looked like they were happy, hungry and ready to dig in. Thanks to the Webbs, Greggy is well taken care of. We are grateful.
We finished up our work about 4:00 and headed to the beach at 4:30. It was low tide but that didn’t keep us from having a good time. All of the senior couples went and we had a picnic. The Colson’s loved it. We didn’t swim but we walked out to the edge of the reef and watched the waves come crashing in. It was beautiful.
It was a big day. We went to bed really tired, knowing that we will have another big day tomorrow.
Sunday, March 31stWe went into Nuku’alofa to our new ward for the first time today. We went with Sister Mitchell. She goes to that ward too. It was a very good experience. We really enjoyed it. They had a great Sacrament meeting, great speakers and the Spirit was strong. They confirmed a new member to the ward, a young man who is Chinese. The elders said that he has a strong testimony that the church is true but he doesn’t speak a word of English so it is hard to communicate with him. We have two elders who speak Chinese so they translate for us. They have been doing a great work with the Chinese population here and there are quite a few members now. The President is trying to decide if he wants to start a Chinese branch.
Leani and her children came to church today. I sat by her during Sunday School. They came in a little late and sat in the back at Sacrament Meeting. Her husband, Richard, didn’t come. He stayed home with his daughter who had a high fever. We can understand that he wouldn’t want to come alone with 6 children and leave his wife home with their daughter but we were disappointed. It was such a good meeting, it would have been good for him to be there.
We had a lovely Easter dinner with good friends. After we ate we just sat in the living room and visited. The time flew by. Before we knew it 4 hours had passed. The Colson’s will be a great help to us in the work we want to do here. They have been doing this for the last 30 months, so they have a lot of experience. As specialists, they can do most of their work from their home in St. George and then they make a trip to the Pacific once or twice a year to train new couples. They are in their 70’s so they say that is it just perfect for them. When they travel it is pretty intense because they go to a lot of different islands but when they are home they are pretty free and it is not bad at all. It would be a good way to serve a mission.
We took everyone out to the blow holes to watch the sunset. The tide was out so the waves weren’t huge but it was still beautiful.

We took some beautiful pictures at the blowholes tonight.

Sunset at the Blowholes. It was beautiful!

Saturday, March 30thWe got up early because we needed a few things in town. The stores weren’t open yesterday and they won’t be open on Monday either. Monday is “Easter Monday” and that is still part of this religious holiday but a few stores are open on Saturday. We had to go or we would have stayed home. It rained hard the whole time we were gone. We needed to buy some basic food to put in the house that the Colson’s will stay in. We will have them to dinner most of the time they are here but they needed to have food for breakfast and lunch.
When I went to put the food in the house I found that the FM group had not made the bed. The sheets were there but I had to make the bed and clean out the sinks in the bathroom and kitchen. Alan swept all the floors and we turned the air on so it wouldn’t be so hot and stuffy when we bring them home from the airport.
I made some chicken crepes for our Easter dinner. We invited Sister Mitchell to come too. We didn’t want her to be all alone on Easter. I also made some chocolate chip cookies and we bought some ice cream so I think we are all set.
We went to the airport with the Szoka’s. They have use of a van and they don’t have to pay for the gas so they offered to take us with them when they went to put Elder Miller on the same flight that the Colson’s are coming in on. He was flying out to New Zealand. He works with the I-Tep teachers here and he has been here for 3 days. It was the first time we had met him and we had a nice visit while he waited for the plane to land. The Colson’s got off and then he got on. It worked out perfect.
The Colson’s are wonderful people, so easy to be around. Alan was a little intimidated at first. Elder Colson is a PHD in chemistry and he taught at Yale. He was on the High Council and in a Stake Presidency with Elder Holland while he was working at Yale. But he is just so down to earth and he kept saying, “You are our bosses, we are here to help you in anyway we can”. I really like them both!
They were exhausted so we just brought them home, showed them their new little house and let them go to bed. They will go to church on Liahona in the morning and we will go to our new ward.
Friday, March 29thAll of Tonga was shut down today. It was Good Friday and it is a very religious day here. We didn’t even see any little kids outside playing. We used the time to do some laundry and I spent a lot of the day cooking. I am trying to get everything ready for when the Colson’s come tomorrow so that we can just spend the time with them and not have to worry about fixing food.
Alan cleaned the bathroom and vacuumed the house. We are starting to get mildew again. It just won’t stop raining!! We will have to go through and wash everything again. It is wearing me out!
We watched the movie “The King’s Speech” tonight. I can’t believe that senior couples bring these movies over here. What are they thinking?? We watched it because I remembered that Judy said she had seen it and it was good. Well, most of it was but in two parts the language was AWFUL!! We had our windows open and you can hear everything here. I flew out of the chair and couldn’t get the sound to turn down fast enough. He was saying that word as part of speech therapy but still … It is a true story and very interesting history about Queen Elizabeth’s father. I learned things about the royal family that I didn’t know but the language ruined it. It’s sad. There was no reason to put that in there. It just makes me sick that they do that.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

When I went to make dinner tonight I found mildew in my pan!! It is growing everywhere!!!!!

Thursday, March 28th
We got up early and met Ana Ika at the mission home so we could head to the far east end of the island. It is about an hour drive from our house. When we got there we had to find the water man, but he came and showed us the project. This village really has it’s act together. They have two water stands and tanks donated by Australian-Aid, a water pump donated by LDS Charities, a pump house donated by European Aid and 3 beautiful solar panels donated by a Rotary Club in the states. They gathered money as a village and bought an electric pump as a back up pump. They have all of their bases covered and they always have water. It just takes a couple of educated men living in the village and a few relatives in the states to get things done. We were impressed!
We struck out after that. On the way home we were trying to look at two more projects but we couldn’t find the men in charge. Tomorrow is Good Friday and all of them were in town getting ready for the holiday.
We had to be back to the Nauvoo Stake Center by 12:30 to do a presentation to the new missionaries. We had 16 new ones come in today. They look like a great group. Those of Tongan decent, either from Tonga, New Zealand, Australia or the US seemed fine, but those white boys from the US looked like deer in the headlights. They put the Tongan “skirt” on them as soon as they get here and then do a lot of the training in Tongan and it is a real shock for the first little while. They are always thrilled when we show up and start speaking in English.
We went to the temple tonight. It had rained a lot today but it cleared enough that we were able to walk over and most of the way home before it started up again. My temple dress still isn’t here and now Alan has ordered white suspenders to wear with his pants. I don’t know why he bothered. They have one pair here and no one else ever uses them. It was a good evening.
Wednesday, March 27thWe went into the office for a little while to check email and pick up a few things and then we were out to see more projects. We are doing a lot of driving and we will be doing the same thing all next week. Alan was a little discouraged when we stopped for gas this morning and it is now up to $2.98 a liter! Our Mission President told him yesterday to charge one tank full a month to the mission, since we do so much driving for the mission. That will help a lot!
We weren’t very successful today, we only saw one project. We had a hard time finding people home. We went to one village and met the wife of a member of the Stake Presidency. He was at work so we waited there for him to come home and take us to the water tanks. They are very poor people and we watched his little children playing outside as we waited. They have a dog that just had puppies, 9 of them. It seems that every dog in Tonga is pregnant right now. They run wild so there are dogs everywhere. Most people have 6 or 7 of them and they all look like they are starving. Anyway, the mother dog was nursing her puppies and they were so cute trying to get some milk. When she had finished, one of the little girls went over, laid down and started to nurse from the mother dog --- and the dog let her!! It was the saddest thing I have ever seen. I don’t know if I was cut out for a humanitarian mission. It is tearing my heart in all sorts of directions.
We were able to have a great visit with Cade tonight. He had a fun birthday, centered around soccer and he seems to be doing great! We were thrilled that he wanted the picture of the temple of Tonga that we sent home awhile ago, so his mother printed it for him. He is preparing for a mission one day and with those pictures in his room it will help to keep him headed in the right direction. We are so proud of our grandchildren!
Tiffany told us that Greg called to wish him a happy birthday. She was surprised that he would remember but we weren’t. They were after all, good buddies in the pre-existence! That plus the fact that he has the family calendar with Cade’s picture on today.

The avacados here are amazing! I took this picture by the micowave so we could remember how big they really are.

Tuesday, March 26th,
Today is Caden’s birthday but not in America. We will patiently wait until tomorrow to call him. We are so grateful for that little future missionary in our family. He is setting a good example for all of us by the way he saves conference talks and hangs pictures of the temples in his room. We are very proud of him.
We were the only ones in the office today, everyone else had meetings elsewhere. Thus, we were able to get a lot done and I even got a few things on the blog! Wow, miracles never cease.
We went back into town this evening and met the missionaries. We have been assigned to a different ward and they meet in town. There is a couple there that they have been teaching along with the Jensens, who just returned to the states. President Tukuafu has asked us to teach them now. The wife, Lina, is a member but her husband, Richard, (I can’t spell his Tongan name) is not. They have two daughters that the missionaries have been teaching in Tongan. They both are over 8 and want to be baptized. Richard is learning all he can about the church. He was raised Catholic and his parents are not happy about him looking into another church. He is the oldest son and he feels very responsible to them. Still, he likes everything that he knows about the church and he wants to know more. We had a great visit with them and it felt SOOOO GOOD TO BE TEACHING THE LESSONS AGAIN!!! We didn’t realize how much we had missed that part of being on a mission. Richard is going to take some time over this Easter weekend and write down some questions that he would like us to answer for him. We will be meeting with them every Tuesday evening.
One very sad note, Lina’s sister, who was only in her early 40’s, died of a heart attack two weeks ago, leaving two children behind. A daughter who is 9 and a son who is 11. They are both members of the church. Lina and Richard are adopting them. To look into the sad eyes of those two beautiful children about broke my heart. Maybe I will be bringing some little ones home with me after all.
Monday, March 25thAfter our devotional at the Service Center I headed into the office with the Beans and Alan went out with one of the FM men to check the MQ’s. The first thing I did was email Elder Halversen about our project. I sent him the project number and we are praying that he can find it. What happens to a project when you push the “submit” button? It should go somewhere! I think ours ended up in space somewhere. Only I could accomplish that!!
We had a Welfare team meeting today and it was good to get everyone on the same page and coordinate all of our efforts. Anna is really making things happen. We have been able to visit 11 villages so far and we will go to 6 more this week. Then we should be well prepared for our visit with Elder Colson next week.
We found out today that we will have a long weekend this weekend. Everything in Tonga closes down on Good Friday and stays closed through Monday. We won’t be in the office again until Tuesday. We didn’t know this would happen and it really isn’t the best timing when the Colsons will be here on Saturday. Oh well, we will just have to spend Monday showing them around Tonga.
Alan came home from his trip through the zone quite depressed. They have all been deep cleaned, or so it was reported to us. They still look awful! We won’t be paying for that work until it is done right. He was also disappointed in many of the missionaries. They are living like pigs. Somehow we have to think of a way to motivate them to do better.
The Szokas did our FHE tonight. It was all centered around Easter. They did a great job. For treats we had avocado pie. It was interesting but not something that I would ever make. The avocados are on here right now and they are amazing! They are huge and sooooo good. We never see anything like them in America.
Sunday, March 24thIt was raining again today. Yesterday was another tender mercy for the senior couples. We all needed a day off and a little relaxation. However, it was a little hard for me at church today. The backs of my legs are really burned and sitting is hard. Also, I had to tell the Relief Society Presidency that we have been transferred to another ward. Alan came home from the mission office the other day and said that the Mission President had asked us to go to the ward that meets in town. There is a family that he wants us to teach and help get ready to be baptized. Also, the ward really needs a senior couple to give them some support. We are missionaries and we will be obedient, but I hate to be transferred!! I love the ladies in Relief Society and I love this ward. It will really be hard to leave them. The ward that we will be going to is a lot smaller and they don‘t have as much fun as we do. I am so grateful that we had this experience and that I got to know these people. Most of them live around us so we will hopefully still see them around the campus. We have already made eternal friendships but I know the Lord will help us make more in our new assignment.
The next sad thing was saying good-bye to our Sunday School class. We have finally got it to a manageable size and the kids are starting to really respond. We have come to love them and now we are gone. They were all so good to us today. Lots of hugs and sad good-byes. They have been a blessing in our lives. We hope they all go on to accomplish great things here in the islands. The Lord needs them to be faithful and strong.
We didn’t tell the members that we were leaving. There is a chance that we might be back one more week, but for sure in April we will be gone.
It was pouring when church was out. We got drenched just getting to the truck. We had driven over because we had to take our computer and the projector. Thank heaven, we would have drowned trying to get home. I had to take my shoes off just to get to the truck the water was so deep.
I had some home made rolls in the freezer so I made mini hamburgers for lunch. We used the minced beef and it really wasn’t bad with onions and tomatoes and lots of ketchup. In fact they tasted pretty good to us.
We went over to the Service Center in between rain storms and tried to “face time” with the kids.
We were able to get in touch with everyone but Bryan today. Some of the connections were better than others but at least we were able to talk to them and see most of them. We will try Bryan again tomorrow.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

 Saturday, March 23rd

            Most of the senior couples went to another island for p-day today.  We took a 30 minute boat ride to a small resort on the island of Pangaimotu.  For the first time in the last 4 weeks the sun was shining on a Saturday and we had a wonderful day at the beach. 
 This is the boat that took us to the island of Pangaimotu.

There is a small resort on the Island and that is where we spent the day.

We went to the “Big Mama Yacht Club” so we could take a picture of the big mama.

We were able to swim and snorkel.  I have only done that once before, when we were on our cruise, but Greg absolutely loves it so I wanted to give it another try.  Now I am hooked!!  What a fun day.  I guess I was out snorkeling for about 3 hours.  We saw so many beautiful sights.  We were able to locate all kinds and colors of fish, different types and colors of coral and interesting shells and formations on the ocean floor.  We started when the tide was just starting to come in so we were able to see a lot of things really close before the water got too deep.  It was an amazing experience and I have the sun burn to prove it!  Alan could only stay out for a little while because of his skin cancer problems but I had the time of my life. One of the senior couples brought an underwater camera and he took a lot of pictures.  He is going to email some to me that I hope to put on the blog.  I really hope to be able to do that again while we are here.

 We were able to snorkel around this ship and we saw so many beautiful things!

After snorkeling for about 3 hours we stopped for lunch.

I had fish and chips and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. The fish was snapper.  It is a white fish that is very mild and very good.  

This is an old resort and it is quite run down, but the beach is still very beautiful!  After lunch we walked around the island.  It is quite small so it only took us about 45 minutes.  We had to go part way in the water because the tide had come up far enough that the beach was under water. 

They used to have places for people to stay but they are very run down.  It was a great day trip, but I wouldn’t want to stay overnight.

We headed home about 4:30 in the afternoon, leaving behind a small island but taking with us a day full of wonderful memories.

When we got home we were exhausted.  It’s been years since I have been swimming for that length of time.  We did a load of wash, had a sandwich and were in bed by 9:30.  What a GREAT DAY!!

P.S.  Something interesting happened while we were out swimming.  The other senior sisters saw my back and were shocked at how bad it looked.  When I told them what had happened one of them said that what I had had done was acu-pressure.  I have never heard of it before but she had seen someone else who had had it done.  Finally I was able to convince Alan to take a picture of it so I have proof of just how bad it was, but not to worry, I have recovered and will be just fine