Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sunday, May 26th

I think our talks went well at church today. The Spirit was strong and many people told us that they felt it. That is what is important, not what we say, but what the Spirit testifies to them is true. We had 4 palangi visitors this week. Three men from Church Headquarters and one man from New Zealand. They came to talk with the Itep teachers here and in Vava’u. They are with CES. It was fun to meet them and talk to people from Utah. Although we have 10 student nurses and their advisors staying at Liahona right now. They are here from BYU doing service in the hospitals, so we are surrounded by Utahans all of a sudden.

Sunday School was a joy again today. Very special people that we are falling in love with. We met one new man in our class today. He is from Denmark and has been living in Tonga for 7 years. He is brilliant! But also a real talker. We will have to find a way to shorten his responses.

As soon as we got home from church we went right over to Liahona and called our kids in Smithfield. It was Bryan’s birthday and we wanted to talk to him. He and his family had gone to Ogden to decorate my family plot for memorial day and then they went up to Smithfield to the cemetery there. The whole family got together at our house again for another picnic and to celebrate Bryan’s birthday. Greg was there and Tiff’s family came down so we were able to talk to all of them, see all the grandkids and sing to Bryan. It was perfect. We are so grateful for Dave and Alisha hosting all the family picnics while we are gone. We love seeing our family together --- but we sure miss Kimi being there.

Speaking of Kimi, we have called her 4 times and have never been able to reach her. I’m sure she is alright or we would have heard differently, but I hate not being able to get in touch with her, especially now that the baby is getting so close to coming. We have got to work out a plan!!!

I cooked pork chops for dinner today and they were YUMMY!!! They are expensive but we can only eat so much chicken! I bought a package of 8 so we will be having them again. I will have to take a picture of them. They are huge and over an inch thick. They are almost worth what we have to pay for them.

We went to a fireside at the Nauvoo Stake Center tonight. President Hamula and President Tukuafu talked to the church members over 55 about going on missions. There are very few Tongan couples from Tonga that go on senior missions. There are 3 Tongan senior couples serving in our mission right now, but they are all from the U. S. There is such a need for couples in the different islands of the South Pacific, so the push is on. We went to support the cause and we were glad we did. They had us stand up as an example for the Tongans. They said, if they can leave their families and grandchildren, so can you! There was a lot of talk after the meeting and hopefully people will answer the call.

Mele is the lady who taught us the Tongan art of making Tapa. It is an amazing process that we were happy to learn about and experience.

When you buy a tapa that has red painted on it, it is really expensive. The red dye is very hard to come by.

Some of the artists here are so talented. Their work is BEAUTIFUL. I appreciate these tapas so much more now that I understand the process.

Saturday, May 25th

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRYAN!!! --- in Tonga anyway. We will call him tomorrow when it is his birthday in America. I still can’t get used to being a whole day ahead of America, especially on birthdays and holidays.

We did the regular Saturday chores this morning and then went to a Tapa making and painting class. It was really fun. We learned how the bark is stripped from the tree and pounded out to make a thin mat. We also learned how the dyes are made and then we watched a video about someone actually doing it. Next, we went into one of the classrooms at Liahona and did it ourselves. Everything except letting it dry out and making the dye. That takes days. Mele, the lady that taught the class, had some tapa cloth already for us to paint and we each got a piece to work on. We used sticks from one of the trees behind the missionary housing to make into painting tools. Alan sharpened ours and we dipped them into the ink and away we went. It was fun and they turned out pretty well. It was a great experience and we all learned a lot.

The rest of the day was kind of quiet. We stayed home and worked on our talks and our Sunday School lesson. I was able to reach Lina, the wife of the man and mother of the family that we are trying to teach the gospel to. She was very nice and it is always good to connect with her. They are going to the Catholic church this Sunday because it is “Family Day”, but she said that they would try to sneak away and come to church with us next week. I told her that we teach the Gospel Principles class and invited her and Lisiate to come. We’ll see.

We were able to talk to Greg for a few minutes this afternoon. He was at our house! We had forgotten about Memorial Day. The whole family will be home tomorrow, except for Kimi. We will call then talk to all of them and then call Kimi and Mike.

The Tongans make stencils that they use under the tapa cloth. They put the cloth on top and use a special dye to create a pattern. These stencils can be used over and over again.

When the Tapa cloth is pounded out and glued together, a special dye is used to make a patern on it.

Everyone got a chance to try our hand at pounding out the tapa. It is a real art and a good way to let go of some tension.

Alan took his turn letting his frustrations out. No wonder the Tongan people are so calm. Some of the women do this all day long.

Friday, May 24th

Steve was leaving to go back to New Zealand today so we had to go into the office a little early. We had another long, hot night. Alan’s leg has been bothering him this week and it was really painful for part of the night so he was tossing and turning. Then when he finally settled he started to snore because he was so tired. I didn’t have the heart to roll him over because I knew it would wake him so I was awake most of the night. That gave me plenty of time to worry about that stupid contract. I have got to relax. I’m sure that there must be someone that can help me get that done. If the Lord is going to call a housewife from Smithfield, Utah into the mission field and expect her to become an attorney, then he must have a plan for how it is going to happen. I’m kind of excited to see what that plan is.

When I woke up this morning it was really light in our room and I thought we must have overslept. I got up and went into the bathroom and looked at my watch --- 3:50 AM!!!!! There was a full moon and it was shining right in our window. MERCY, I need some sleep!!!

When the alarm went off Alan got up and got in the shower. I was laying on the bed doing my exercises when all of a sudden everything started to move. The whole house was moving, things were moving around on the dresser but nothing was falling off. It took me a minute to realize that we were having an earthquake. It wasn’t violent shaking like in America, but we were rolling all over the place. I got really dizzy so I stayed where I was and started counting the seconds to see how long it would last. Suddenly I realized that this was a bad earthquake and I needed to get to the door frame. Just as I got there everything settled down. I was so dizzy I had to lay back down. Alan felt it too. He said that while he was in the shower the tub was actually moving. Things in the bathroom fell off the shelves but there was no damage to our house.

On the way into work they reported that it was a 7.4 earthquake but on TV tonight China said that it was 7.6. That is a REALLY BIG QUAKE!! It was just south of Tonga and very deep in the ocean. That is what saved us. It was so deep that it didn’t trigger a tsunami. The first one hit at 6:15 AM and then about 10:15 we had another one. It was not an after shock, it was a separate earthquake, this time on the north side of the island. It was a 6.4 quake that was really deep too. We have heard that there was a third one but we didn’t feel it. It was also a separate quake in a different location. It seems that the Pacific is very active right now and we don’t have a well stocked emergency container!!! I may never sleep again!~

We met with Steve for about an hour this morning and then took him to the airport to catch his plane. He taught us a lot and we really appreciate his help, but I have to be honest, I was kind of glad to put him on that plane. He has really added to our already over the top work load and we are exhausted. Ana is buried with all the things he gave her to do. We will just have to rest up over the weekend and then hit it hard on Monday.
We did a little shopping and then headed home. After lunch I took a quick nap but Alan went out like a light. That’s good, he needed it. I went to Liahona to read our emails and post some info on the blog, while Alan went to check on some things with the FM.
It rained hard this afternoon which was good. We haven’t had rain in awhile and it cools things off a little, although the humidity tomorrow will be brutal. After dinner we went for a walk. There was a YSA Fireside going on at the gym. President Tukuafu and President Hamula were speaking. They just flew in from the outer islands this afternoon. They have been going non stop all week, doing zone conferences and then leadership training meetings every day on the other islands. Tomorrow they will be reorganizing two stakes and then speaking on Sunday at Stake Conferences. I am going to stop feeling sorry for myself and spend more time feeling sorry for them. WOW, what a demanding schedule they are keeping.

As I have been writing in my journal a dance has started up at the Stake Center across the street from Liahona. It sounds like it is going to be another noisy night.

Thursday, May 23rd

It was another marathon day at the office. We did more training with Steve in the morning. Today I took my computer into the conference room and we tried to get onto CHAS in there. It actually worked!! Well, it worked for 2 of us. The system wouldn’t support 3 computers so Ana turned hers off and just looked at mine. Then Steve casually said, “Sister Webb, I want you to write up the dentist project on CHAS.” That is the project that we are just starting to work on now. He hooked my computer up to the projector so they could all see everything I did on the wall. NO PRESSURE THERE!!! I usually write a rough draft before I ever put anything on CHAS, but I just did the best I could with such short notice. Thanks to Alan’s help spelling a couple of words, it all turned out great. I think my reputation of being an English teacher is still in tact.

We learned today that we also have a legal contract that we have to sign with the company we are buying the tank and stand from. This one is much more than an agreement, it is a 6 page contract that I have to fill out and submit to the church legal department. Where is Mike when I need him? Maybe I will send it to him and let him fill it out and send it back. Then the church legal department will be impressed!

At 12:30 we broke for lunch and Steve took us out again. We went back to Café Escape. He really likes it there. The food is good but it is also the only place where there is air conditioning. He has been dying in the heat we are experiencing. I don’t know what happened to the cool weather we were supposed to have but these last two weeks have been just like summer all over again. The humidity has been terrible the last few days and all of our clothes are wet again. Here comes the mildew!!!

In the afternoon we spent a lot of time talking about emergency preparedness. We went through the emergency container yesterday and it is a mess. It hasn’t been updated for a LONG TIME. It will take a lot of work to get it where it needs to be. First, someone needs to go in there and get all the mice droppings out. I choose not to do that!!! I will make the list of things we need to buy to restock it. I just hope we don’t have an emergency in the near future, since it takes months to get these projects approved and that would be an area project.

We told him we had to leave the office at 4:00 so we could be home by 4:30. Today is Gary’s birthday in America and we wanted to call him. 4:30 our time is 9:30 back home so we don’t like to call any later than that. We had a good conversation with him on the phone. We are loving the little phone. It isn’t expensive to call and we can talk just like we are next door. The time delay is the only problem but once you get used to it, it is not that bad. Gary sounded great and it was fun to catch up with what he is doing and how the family is. We are sad that we won’t be home for Brandon’s wedding. We missed Ryan’s wedding when we were in Ukraine. I am starting to see a pattern here, maybe if Gary and Peggy go on a mission Greg will find his eternal companion --- just a thought.

By the time we had dinner and got things cleaned up we were both ready for bed again. We didn’t sleep well last night. There was a dance at the church behind our house and it went until 11:00. I don’t know why they have them on a school night. There is nothing between here and there to absorb the sound so it sounds like the band is right outside our window. Then it was so blessed hot all night, we had to get up and turn the fan on because neither one of us could sleep. I am starting to get a sore throat. I can’t remember the last time I had a good nights rest.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ha'amonga, (Tongan stone formation). This is an ancient stone formation on the east side of the island. No one really knows how old it is or how it got there but it is a great tourist attraction.

Captain Cook's landing point, where Captain Cook landed when he discovered Tonga.

Wednesday, May 22nd

We got up a little earlier this morning to be ready for our trip to Lavengatonga. We met Ana and Steve at 8:00 at one of our chapels and then we all drove out together. Steve was a little upset that the town officer, the water committee, the Stake President and the Relief Society President were all going to meet us. He didn’t want it to be a big deal and he was afraid that they would bring us lots of food - the Tongan way. But Sione insisted that he wanted them all there because they are so thrilled that the project passed. We told Steve that this was a poor village and after today I think he understands why it was so important to us that this project be approved. He was impressed by the sincere appreciation of the people and he was able to see for himself how they have done all that they can do. He also saw the water tank and stand and there was no doubt in his mind that they need our help. It went perfectly. As we were ready to leave I wanted to take some pictures and then Sione said, “We know that the Lord has opened the windows of heaven and sent you to us. We can’t begin to express how grateful we are for what you are doing to help us.” It was so good that we took Steve out there. Now I think he trusts us and he could feel the Spirit that prompted us to go with this project. Now we have his complete support.

When Alan was talking to the water master, who is not a member of the church, he got really choked up and said that he just couldn’t find the words to say what he felt about the project being approved. Even though he is not a member of our church, he has been praying for help. Heavenly Father hears and answers all humble and sincere prayers. We are hoping that our work on this project will touch many hearts and open many doors to the missionaries.

When we left the project site, we went to the chapel and met the Stake Relief Society President. She was waiting for us at the church. She is a delightful lady and we found out that she went to school with Ana Ika. That lady knows everybody!! She speaks fluent English and she will be happy to translate our hygiene program into Tongan for us. Another Tender Mercy! I left the books with her and set up a meeting for next week where I will train her and then we can get started. She is such a wonderful woman, I know we will be able to work well together and hopefully this part of the project will go very well. We are using it as a pilot program for all of Tonga.

On the way back to town we stopped at a couple of other water projects so that Steve could get a feel for what the church has done here in the past. We also took him on a little sight seeing trip along the way. It was a good morning and I think he was very pleased with all that is happening here.

When we got back into town Steve took us out to lunch at Café Escape. Ana says that we don’t have to worry about him taking us out to lunch, “He has a much bigger budget than we do. His card is fatter than ours!” We had a lovely meal and then headed back to the office for another round of training.

We learned some interesting things this afternoon. Not only do we have to keep track of all of the money we spend on this project on our financial transaction site on the internet, but we also have to keep track of it on CHAS, the system that I can’t get on at the office because of the internet. That will cause me some headaches, but Steve promised again to really try to do something about it.

We also learned that we have to have the village sign an agreement with the church that they will sustain the project when it is finished. Well, we knew that, but what we didn’t know is that it is a legal contract, not an agreement and we have to have it approved through the church legal system before we sign it. No one ever told us about any of this legal stuff, and it is kind of important! How would we ever have known that if Steve hadn’t shown up this week? I am convinced that the Lord is walking right beside us every day. He loves the people that we are trying to help. This is His work and he is very involved in it!

By the time we were finished with the training at 4:30, Alan and I were both exhausted again. Ana looked like she had been run over by a truck and Steve was going back to the hotel to turn on the air conditioner and lay down. We still have one more day to go, I hope we all survive.

We had such a big lunch that we just had soup and a sandwich for dinner. I went for a walk while Alan did the dishes and then he came out and walked with me for a few more minutes. Our TV was off tonight so we couldn’t watch the news. We went to bed early and we were both fine with that!

Alan, Sione and Steve spent some time discussing the project at the site.

Sione led the way as we walked through the bush to get to the water pump. It was a pretty day, there was a little breeze and the mosquitoes didn't get to much of our blood.

These are all the great people from the village that came out to meet us. Sione was really happy with how it all turned out and so were we!

We met with the Stake Relief Society President at the Chapel in Lavengatonga. She is delightful and we should have fun working together.

Tuesday, May 21st

We had a mission Zone Conference this morning. Elder Hamula is doing a mission tour and he was the featured speaker at the conference. All of the missionaries on the island of Tongatapu and those serving in Aua were at this conference. We haven’t seen some of them for awhile and it was good to touch bases with them again. They filled the chapel and when they started singing I was in Tongan heaven! I love to listen to them sing. We started the meeting with “Called to Serve”. We sang it in English and then in Tongan. I still contend that Tongan is such a musical language. All the hymns are beautiful in Tongan.

Sister Tukuafu gave her farewell speech to these missionaries and it was very touching. She loves them like her own children and it is hard to say good-bye to them. President Tukuafu talked about the Holy Ghost and His role in missionary work. It was a great talk. We are glad that we will still be able to see him and hopefully spend some time with him while we are hear. Then Elder Hamula talked for 3 hours!!! Yes, he did a great job, but old people (and young people) can only sit for so long. We did stand up every hour and move around a little bit, but by the time he was done we were all ready to go home. That said, he is amazing and his presentation, which covered to many areas to mention, was informative, uplifting and spiritual. I’m glad we were here to participate in that meeting. The bishop of our Liahona ward was his translator and by the time the meeting was over he was exhausted! I felt sorry for him. 

One thing that Elder Hamula said that I don’t want to forget was that as he was shaking hands with each of the missionaries, us included, he could tell by the way we shook his hand and looked into his eyes, or didn’t, if our lives were at a point that we would be comfortable in the presence of the Lord. Because he is a special witness of the Lord, when he shakes our hands he is acting for the Lord and through the Holy Ghost the Lord can tell him who needs to make changes in their lives. Then he pointed out that no one is perfect, but that if our lives are not where they should be we need to make the necessary changes … NOW! We want to always be prepared to meet the Lord. I remember when I shook hands with Elder Robert D. Hales and looked into his eyes, I felt like he was looking right into my soul. Now I understand why.

After the meeting we came home, had lunch and Alan had a little nap. Then we headed into the office to meet with Steve Stebbings. He did a training session with us that lasted 2 hours. He did a good job but it was mostly the same stuff we saw in the MTC. They have just updated it so there were a few changes and now we know what questions to ask, so it was helpful. We spent quite a bit of time talking about the internet in our office and how it effects our work. His recommendation was, “We need to get it fixed or move this office to a better location.” YES!!!! We are hoping he can help us get some changes made. He saw first hand how bad it is and he doesn’t hold out much hope of fiber optics being installed in that building any time in the near future. Maybe if we work from the top down something will happen.

By the time we got home we were exhausted. We ate dinner, went to Liahona to check our email and then went for a short walk. There were 2,000 church leaders at Liahona tonight for a leadership training meeting with Elder Hamula. We didn’t go because Sunday School teachers weren’t invited, but we walked by and it was very well attended. I was kind of glad that we didn’t have to go. I don’t think I could have sat through another 2 hour meeting!

Monday, May 20th

I drove into the office with Gina this morning after the devotional. Alan had to stop at the hospital and talk to Sione about the wheelchairs in preparation for our meeting with Steve Stebbings tomorrow. When he got there, Sione wasn’t there so he had to go back on the way home. That meant that I drove home with Gina too. It has been fun to get to know her a little better. She shared some cooking tips with me today on how to fix Tongan food and make it taste a little more flavorful. She will share some recipes with me and I look forward to trying them.

When I got home I started cooking for our dinner with President Hamula. I made Fire House Baked Pasta. That is probably a one time thing while we are here. I couldn’t believe how much I spent buying the ingredients. I will make a list at the end of this entry. I also baked a cake to take as well.
Our dinner was at 5:30 and it was a delightful evening. The food was wonderful, we have a lot of good cooks here. President Tukuafu came and asked us to sit at the table with Elder Hamula. What an honor. Elder and Sister Kieli and Sister Mitchell were asked too. We had a wonderful dinner conversation and he answered all of our questions as well as asking us all about ourselves. He was easy to talk to and very appreciative of our service here. When dinner was over he spoke to us about some of his experiences as the Area Authority of the South Pacific. They were amazing. I wrote them down but it is to long to include here. I will write them up separately. When he was finished he talked with each one of us individually before he left. He has a huge week ahead of him and he needed some rest. It was a very special experience.

Fire House Baked Pasta (in Tonga)

Noodles -- $5.00
Chicken -- $16.00
Ham -- $16.00
Bacon -- $8.00
Olives -- $4.50
Green onions -- $3.00
Alfredo Sauce -- $14.00
Total $66.50 = about $50.00 in US money

Sunday, May 19th

We were supposed to talk in church today but the ward clerk called last night and changed it to next Sunday. The Stake had people coming to our ward today and they were going to speak. When we got to church there was only one of the three from the Stake that showed up. We never heard what happened, but it was a typical High Council Sunday, he had to speak for 35 minutes. The only problem was, he didn’t speak a word of English and we had 8 visiting palangi’s at church today. Thank heaven we have many members who speak English fluently and they spread out all over the chapel and translated. We learned that that is why people from the Stake don’t like to come to our ward, they don’t speak English. It all turned out well and he gave a good talk.

A young man from our ward is leaving on a mission tomorrow. He is going to Atlanta, Georgia. I was thrilled at how well prepared he is to go. He gave a wonderful talk. His testimony is powerful and he loves the Lord. He will be a great missionary. We saw Ana Ika, the lady we work with, sitting next to his mother. Come to find out, the missionary is her nephew and his mother is Ana’s sister. Small world! It seems that everyone in Tonga is related.
Our Sunday school class was a joy again today. The people in our class are amazing and they are willing to share their feelings on every gospel principle. Today we talked about missionary work and each one of them told us their conversion story. WOW! I am so grateful that I was born into a member family. Alan and I both wonder if we would have found the church otherwise. We had a great discussion, testimonies were shared and strengthened and tears were shed. It was a bonding experience for all of us. At the end two of them expressed how grateful they are for the senior missionaries that would leave their families and come to Tonga. They told us we are angels. I was touched, another tender mercy of being a senior missionary. We didn’t even get half way through the lesson so we will finish it up next week. Teaching this class makes me really look forward to Sundays. We have two class members who are working toward going to the temple. Since we have a year left, we hope to be able to see both of them fulfill that goal.

While we were in Relief Society and Priesthood meetings we were able to find out a little more about the visitors to our ward today. 6 of them are here to visit the temple and evaluate what needs to be done there. The two ladies are interior designers for the church and they came to see what needs to be up dated. Two are engineers and they came to check the electrical stuff and plumbing, and the last two are men that do an over all evaluation of the condition of the temple and make recommendations if something needs to be done. They will be here until Thursday. The other two visitors are students from the UofU who are here doing internships in social work. They are living with a couple in our ward and they will be here until August so we will get to know them a little better. It was fun to have so many people to visit with today.

Today is Father’s Day in Tonga. It’s kind of neat, they do it all in one month. Children’s Day or White Sunday on the first Sunday of May, Mother’s Day the next Sunday and then Father’s Day the next. They just celebrate all month and they are celebrating the family. Maybe that is why the Tongan people come into the church so easily, it is all about the family in their culture.

When we got home from church we met a missionary that is leaving for America tomorrow. He is going to COLORADO SPRINGS!! He is from one of the outer islands so we don’t know him but his name is Malachi Finau. We are hoping that Kimi and Mike will get to meet him while he is there and we will look for him when we get home and go to visit our new grand daughter!! He seems like a nice young man and he speaks English quite well already. He is going to the MTC in Provo and then out to Colorado.

Saturday, May 18th

We just stayed home and worked around the house today. Last week was so hectic that I had a lot of laundry that had to be done this morning and we did all of the weekly cleaning. Alan washed the truck so it will be in good shape for next week. We will probably be going out to see projects and will need to drive Steve Stebbings around, so he wanted it to look good.

We were so sad to learn of Sister Monson’s passing today. What a wonderful woman she was and what a great example of what a wife and mother should be. We will miss her and our hearts go out to President Monson and his family today. Even the Prophet can have a broken heart and we know this will be very difficult for him. We are praying for him and for his family, along with millions of others. We know that out pouring of love will be a comfort to them.

We went out for Chinese food tonight. Elder Bean had a craving for Chinese so they invited us and the Johnsons to go with them. We went to a nice place called the “Precious Stone”. The Beans have eaten there before and liked it so we decided to try it again. We sat at a large round table and there was a big Lazy Susan in the middle. Since it was so convenient, we decided to all order something different and share. We had wanton soup, spring rolls, Chinese vegetables, pork with mushroom sauce, beef with vegetables, sweet and sour chicken and beef with rice. Every one of them was good. We had a great time and went home stuffed!~

Alan had a fish burger, made with fresh tuna! He is in Tongan heaven.

We ate at Waves, a cute cafe right by our office. I had Fish and Chips.

We went out to lunch to celebrate our project being approved and Jeana becoming a part of our welfare committee.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Friday, May 17th

We got an email that Alan read when he went over to the Service Center to update the I pad last night. Steve Stebbings, our big boss from New Zealand is coming on Monday. He sent a list - two pages long - of things he wants to do while he is here. A lot of it had to do with previous projects that we will have no time to research before he arrives. Things that were done before we arrived and we have only heard about. Needless to say, I had one more reason for not sleeping well last night!

We had a meeting set up with Sione to come into the office this morning. He and Alan were going to see the man who will be building the stand and supplying the tank for our project. Sione was still smiling ear to ear when he came in. He didn’t tell anyone in his village about the approval but he told his wife. She was one of the election judges in their village. She whispered it to the town officer when he came in to vote and he told EVERYONE IN THE VILLAGE!! Sione told us that they are all so thrilled and excited. Most of the village just hung around the voting area talking about it all day long, especially the older people.

When they got back we had a party. I made a cake last night and we bought some ice cream so we could celebrate. Once again, Sione was overwhelmed. Alan said a few words about how happy we are the project can move forward now and then Sione gave a tender and humble reply. He once again said that this will save a poor village and that we were the answer to many, many prayers. He knows Heavenly Father sent us to help them and they are so grateful. How we love Sione. If meeting him and helping this village is the only thing we do while we are here, it will have been so worth it!!

When our celebration party was over we went next door to Waves, to have lunch as an office. We planned it to welcome Gina Nui to our Welfare Team. She is our new Employment Specialist and we are thrilled to have her. She really knows her way around a computer so she will be a great help to those of us who don’t! Plus, she is a lovely lady. She is the wife of Howard Nui, the Service Center Manager that we work with. We are hoping that when she complains about the internet maybe something will happen. We’ll see.

Elder and Sister Fellows left for home in Australia today. We will really miss them!

Thursday, May 16th

We are doing a Hygiene program along with our water project. It will be taught to all of the people within the Stake boundaries, not just the people of the Lavengatonga village. That is over 8,000 people but we won’t reach all of them. We are hoping for about 3,000. The challenge now is getting the program translated into Tongan. I wanted to start this a long time ago but couldn’t because we didn’t have any money to pay someone to do it, until the project was approved. Now we will have to sit around and wait until it is done.

Today is election day in Tonga. Every village is voting for new town officers. We are grateful that the town officer in Lavengatonga is running unopposed. He is a good man and we wanted to be able to work with him.

We had a meeting with Howard, the Service Center Manager this afternoon. It was about the Navy Ship that will be here in June. We need to all be on the same page when the advance team comes the end of May to finalize all of the arrangements for their 10 day stay on the Island. I knew this would happen. We went all that time waiting for something to happen and now everything is happening at once. June will be a huge month for us.

This afternoon it was hot again and I was simply drained. I don’t know if it was the heat or the relief of having this project passed, but today I have been exhausted! It could be the fact that I am not sleeping well. The Area 70 who is staying next door to us snores like a buzz saw! Everyone sleeps with their windows open and these houses are quite close together. It reminds me of when we went to Martin’s Cove and slept in tents that were maybe 3 feet apart. I’m a light sleeper and it was a chorus of snoring all night long. It’s almost laughable when the person living next door wakes you up because he is snoring so loud. Oh well, he is a great man and he has a lot on his mind. As long as he gets a good nights sleep, hopefully I can catch up on mine next week when they go home.

We went to the airport to see Elder and Sister Fellows off this afternoon. I am so sad. We love this good couple and we will really miss them. When we went to the temple tonight we really missed them being there. They were temple officiators in Australia and they have been doing the English speaking session on Thursday evenings. We hope they will be happy when they get back home. I’m grateful that we got to know them, they are so unique and lovely.

Friday, May 17, 2013

What a thrill to be able to tell Sione that our Water Project for Lavengatonga has been approved!!!

Wednesday, May 15th

The first thing I did when we got to the office today was to check on CHAS to see if there was any change on our project. IT HAS BEEN APPROVED!!! I was so excited that I wanted to scream and dance but Alan wouldn’t let me. I don’t know how he can just sit there and smile when this is sooooo HUGE!!! The only thing I can compare it to is having a baby. You go through all of this waiting and agony and in the end you feel such joy! I cried when I shared the news with the rest of our office at our morning prayer meeting. They are all thrilled too. Then we called Sione and asked him to come into the office.

Sione was a wreck when he got to our office. He didn’t know if the project had been turned down or approved. He didn’t have to wait long to find out. As soon as he came in I handed him the paper with all of the approvals on it. He cried, I cried and he said, "My heart has stopped beating!" when I hugged him he was trembling all over. We talked with him about the approval and he was just overcome with joy. They have waited so long for this help. As he left he said, "You have saved a village, you are the answer to our prayers. When I found you I found heaven." How can I put into words the joy I feel right now? Being an instrument in the Lord's hands is indescribable. What a privilege it is for us to be here serving this mission!

The rest of the day I was walking on air. I wrote to the kids and shared the news with them, along with a picture of Sione with us and the approval paper. How I miss our family today. When something this wonderful happens in your life, you want to be surrounded by the ones you love the most so you can share the joy with them. I guess this time an email will have to do.

When I went to Liahona this afternoon to work on the computer, we received an email from New Zealand with the formal letter of approval attacked. They also sent a schedule of reports that we will need to send to them as the project proceeds. Now the work begins.

Tuesday, May 14th

We found out today that Tonga had a 6.5 earth quake yesterday. We didn’t even feel it and neither did any of the other senior couples. We were told that it was VERY DEEP in the ocean but that is when they really worry about a tsunami. They kept a close eye on it and so far - no problems.

Still no word on our project. If they don’t approve it today, it will be another week before they even look at it. PATIENCE!!!

It has rained off and on for two days now and the humidity is back up. I thought we were going into the cool season. I had to wash today and even with a pretty strong breeze I couldn’t get things to dry. If this keeps up for a week or more we will be right back into the mildew and mold. Yuck!! I need a break from that, I am dealing with little tiny ants all over the house now. They are so small that it is hard to see them without my glasses. Everyone is complaining about them. We just go from one adventure to the next.

Alan went back out to the MQs this afternoon and I went to the Service Center to finish up what I couldn’t do at the office this morning. Then we had a quiet evening at home.

There was a huge dinner on campus this evening. It was a farewell for Elder Filianganofa and a welcome for Elder Tukuafu. All of the Stake Presidents and their wives were there, the Area 70’s who are visiting here, the managers from the Service Center and their wives and the Temple President and his wife.
We saw 3 roasted pigs being taken in and tons of other food. It was quite a party!

Monday, May 13th

We had a conference call with New Zealand today. Elder and Sister Reynolds called to discuss the humanitarian work we are doing. It was good to get to know them a little bit and they were very helpful with some of the questions that we had. Elder Reynolds is going to be really good at helping us get our projects approved faster. He has worked for the church at Welfare Square and the Humanitarian Center in SLC and he KNOWS PEOPLE! Sadly, even in the church that seems to help.

While we were talking to them I noticed that my computer shut down. It was windows doing an update so I didn’t pay any attention to it. Not that I could have done anything about it anyway! But when it came back up EVERYTHING WAS DIFFERENT!!! I hate it when Yahoo changes everything on the home page. I couldn’t find anything, all of my “Favorites” were GONE! No more tool bar! It was terrible. That pretty much stopped me dead in my tracks for the rest of the day. Even when I got to Liahona I couldn’t send my emails because I couldn’t copy and paste them onto the email.

With every trial there is always a blessing. Today I learned about ctrl-c and ctrl-v. I know my kids will laugh their heads off but they should be ashamed that they didn’t teach me that long ago. How did they expect me to know that????? My life could have been much easier all this time. Who knew?

With my new found knowledge I was able to get 1 email off today and then Poula came in and fixed my home page for me so now I am hopefully back on track. Thank heaven for Poula, he is so patient and kind.

Alan spent the afternoon working on the MQ’s. He will be so glad when these filters are all changed.
Sister Johnson taught the FHE lesson tonight. It was on Ministering Angels. She did a great job. She had some wonderful quotes and she gave us a lot to think about. She quoted Elder Dallen H. Oaks. He said, “Through the Aaronic Priesthood ordinances of baptism and the sacrament, we are cleansed of our sins and promised that if we keep our covenants we will always have His Spirit to be with us. I believe that promise not only refers to the Holy Ghost but also to the ministering of angels, for “angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost, wherefore, they speak the words of Christ,” (2 Nephi 32:3)
So it is that those who hold the Aaronic Priesthood open the door for all church members who worthily partake of the sacrament to enjoy the companionship of the Spirit of the Lord and the ministering of angels. ( Ensign, November, 1998)

I know that is true. I have experienced it in my own life many times. What a sweet experience it was to ponder on that great blessing tonight.

We did have a sad side to the evening however. Elder and Sister Fellows, the couple from Australia are going home. They have really been frustrated on this mission. He is 78 years old and they didn’t sign up for this mission, they did it because they were asked to come. The shop program, which he came to straighten out, is beyond repair for this year, out of money and no qualified teacher. He can’t see any reason to stay and his health has really taken a hit since they got here. They came one week before we did and I bet he has lost almost 20 pounds. He has diabetes and now they wonder if there is something else going on too. It is just best that they go home and take care of each other but we will miss them so much. They are such a lovely couple and we love their Australian humor. We were blessed to have them for as long as we did.
Sunday, May 12th

We had a nice Mother’s Day Sacrament Meeting today. We have such a small primary that they didn’t sing, but all of the speakers talks were centered on Mothers and they were wonderful. I remember when we were in Ukraine, that first Mother’s Day was really hard for me. Today was a repeat of those same feelings. I had a hard day. I missed my children, being their mother is the best part of my life. I always wonder what I ever did that Heavenly Father would trust me with His most precious spirits. I have decided that He sent them to me to bless my life and to help me, not visa versa. How grateful I am for each one of them, their spouses and the amazing grandchildren that have come into our family. It just keeps getting better and better! We have been so blessed!!!!!

Our Sunday School class was great again today. We are loving that experience! We did have one lady today that might be a challenge though. She is very knowledgeable in the gospel but her husband is brand new to the church. She wants to answer every question, read every scripture and she has a comment about everything. We have to find a way to let those who aren’t so sure of themselves be the ones to respond. They are the ones that need to grow and strengthen their testimonies.

When we got home from church we called the kids in Smithfield on Face Time. It was Health Days today and they were at our house having a picnic. What fun it was to see them all, talk to them and also see the yard, the house and even Judy Merkley. She came over while we were talking and we got to talk to her for a minute. She isn’t going to retire this year after all, “one more year” she said. I think I have heard that before! That little visit with the family really lifted my spirits. We will call Kimi and Bryan tomorrow.

After dinner we watched some movies, Kimi and Mike’s wedding video, Dave and Alisha’s wedding video and the family video that Kimi gave us for Christmas in 2003. We couldn’t believe that it has been 10 years!!! It was fun to see how much everyone has changed and how the grand kids have grown. When we saw Parx and Bryson on Face Time we couldn’t believe how much they have grown and we still have a year to go. It’s always the little ones who change the most but I wish they would stay little until we get back!!!

Our class room at the church is nice, with windows on both sides to create a breeze, but it can get very noisy with the outside noise. Especially the anti-mormon nieghbor who plays loud music all during our meetings.

Saturday, May 11th

We had a breakfast for all of the Senior Missionaries this morning. I was responsible for making the pancakes. They don’t have buttermilk here so I had to make my own but it worked just fine. There is always way too much food because everyone brings something, and then you have to try everything and it was all yummy. We ate too much and then were moving in slow motion for the rest of the day.

When we got home from the breakfast we cleaned the house and did the laundry, then took a nap. I never take a nap but all that food just weighs you down! I had a hard time waking up and getting going again. Alan went out to work in the MQ’s and I finished the housework and updated the computer at the Service Center. At least once a week we check Facebook to see what is happening with our friends in Ukraine. Kris had put a picture of Ken on there for his birthday. Seeing his picture totally undid me! I just sat there and cried as I got caught up in all the memories of our parents and how much I miss them. They feel so very close to us at times and we know they know where we are and what we are doing. How grateful I am for all of our parents, for all they taught us, for how very much they loved us and for the legacy they left us. I just hope and pray that we can do the same for our children.

When Alan got home he was really tired. I will be so glad when all of these filters are changed and all the smoke alarm batteries are changed. He is wearing himself out!

I fixed tacos for dinner and made a meatloaf for dinner tomorrow. When it had cooled off a little we went for a short walk. Alan’s leg was bothering him tonight and he didn’t want to go to far. We are worried that the operation he had didn’t really fix the problem after all. It doesn’t bother him all the time but when it hurts he is very uncomfortable. I hope he doesn’t have a bad night.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Alan took me out to dinner at the Luna Rosa tonight. We are celebrating Mother's Day a little early. It was hard to get a good picture because it was so dark and there was a huge spot light on the top of the building. I had to get behind a palm tree.

There was lots of atmosphere here, very tropical. I also liked the fact that it was so clean!

We had such a good time and a lovely dinner. It was way past time for us to have a night out, just the two of us.

Friday, May 10th

There wasn’t a lot going on in the office today, so we were able to catch up with Ana on the Welfare work. There is a navy ship coming next month, so we are starting to prepare for that. They will be here for 10 days and they have a full schedule outlined. We are excited about having that opportunity but nervous that our project will get through all of the red tape about the same time and we will be overwhelmed! There will be doctors and nurses on the ship that will do medical procedures right there on the ship and then others who will come out on the island and do some eye clinics and work in schools with hygiene and other needs. We hope to be able to spend some one on one time with them. The full time missionaries will be translators for them.

We called Jake this afternoon to talk to him on his birthday. He is VERY BUSY! But somehow he seems to be able to handle it all. We are so grateful for the wonderful husband and father he is and he is a pretty terrific son-in-law too!

Alan took me out to dinner for Mother’s Day tonight. Our stake was having a Black and White Ball in honor of the women in the stake so we decided to make a night of it. We went to a beautiful little place called Luna Rosa. A man from Italy came to Tonga, after marrying a Tongan woman, and built a restaurant just off the lagoon. It is beautiful, quiet and very tropical. We had a lovely dinner, I had steak and lobster and Alan had steak and Mahi-Mahi. It cost us a small fortune but we had such a good time that it was worth it, although when we go back I will have something Italian, steak isn’t his specialty.

Then we went to the ball. We were just slightly under dressed for the event, but missionaries don’t take clothes like that on a mission. The women were dressed to the hilt and some of the men were even in tuxes. It was a grand occasion and we had a great time. We danced and mingled with the members of our ward. We also met some important people, a member of Parliament and a Tongan Opera singer! The MC welcomed us personally and expressed gratitude that the Senior Missionaries would come to the ball. We were the only Palangi’s in the whole place. It’s funny, I don’t even think about that any more. We also met the nephew of another one of Alan’s mission companions, Sepa. Another Tender Mercy! He was sitting right next to me and when we started talking he found out that Alan had served his mission here. He said that his uncle served about that same time and it turned out to be Alan’s favorite companion. Evidently Sepa was a famous boxer here and he used to tell people that if they messed with Elder Webb they would have to answer to him. No one messed with Elder Webb. Sepa is in California now and his nephew is going there in a couple of months. He will tell him that Alan is back in Tonga. Maybe he will come while we are still here. It wouldn’t surprise me.

We didn’t get home until after 11 and we were exhausted, but it was a great night!

The man and woman on the right are in our ward, he is a Noble and does the Public Affairs work for the church. He works in our office building. The couple at the back are our bishop and his wife. They both work at Liahona so we see alot of them. The man in the front, on the left is Sepa's nephew. He was our "Tender Mercy" tonight.

When they said a "Black and White Ball", some people really went all out! This lady was a little over the top for me, but the sweet grandma in the wheelchair was darling. (That is one of our wheelchairs!)

They went all out decorating for this ball and they had a wonderful turn out. The Tongan people really know how to have a good time.

Thursday, May 9th

We had so much to do today we had to divide and conquer. Alan went out with the missionaries to replace filters and batteries in the smoke detectors and I stayed at Liahona to do the orientation for the new missionaries. Neither one of us went into the office today.

Since my presentation didn’t start until 11:25, I had time to do some laundry and then go over to the Service Center and finish up my monthly Family and Friends letter and get it sent out. I was also able to check on our project that is now sitting in SLC. Still waiting for 3 levels of approval there. It will be interesting to see just how long that takes.

I walked over to the Stake Center to do my presentation, just to find out that they were running an hour behind! Alan had the phone with him so they couldn’t call me. I walked home, had lunch and then walked back. At least I got some exercise today. The presentation went well I think. Of our 12 new missionaries, 10 of them are sisters. That will be interesting, we have not had this many sisters all at once before. There are 19 year olds in this group and you can tell the difference in age. I am thinking it is going to take a lot of patience to make this transition. A couple of them seemed and acted very young.

Alan came home exhausted but he was able to get one whole zone done. Just one and a half to go!! We have had a lot of activity in the neighborhood these last few days. We have two Area Authority 70’s coming to do Stake Conferences. Tonga pulls out all of the stops when church leaders come to visit so they were power washing everything again. One of them will be living right next door to us and the other one just 2 houses down. It will be exciting to have them here and hopefully get to meet them.

Once again there was a great ending for our day waiting for us, we went to the temple.


Wednesday, May 8th


It turned out to be a little frustrating for me today. It came up on CHAS that our project has been approved by the DTA and the Area Presidency. I was yelling and jumping up and down and there was no one to celebrate with me. It was so sad! Our project is now in SLC with 3 more levels of approval to pass before we can do anything. We won’t really party until it is all signed, sealed and delivered!

We left the office a little early to meet Ana Ika and go through the emergency container that is here in Tonga. It hasn’t been updated for years and we are worried about what might be inside of it and what condition it is in. If we had a disaster we would need to have it fully stocked with supplies. We were just about home when she called and had to cancel because she was tied up in a meeting. We will do it next week.

Then the missionaries called and needed mattresses. President Tukuafu is such a man of faith! We ordered these mattresses weeks ago and they have never come in. This morning the store called and said that they had come. The new missionaries come in today and now here they are, just in time. President keeps telling us, “Have faith, this is the Lord’s work.” I love that man. I want to live my life with that much faith.

The next problem was, Alan had just loaded the back of the truck so he would be ready to go do the MQs and then he had to unload everything so he could go to the airport and pick up new missionaries and all of their luggage. We went to the mission office and I asked the young elders to help him unload the truck. They were great and it made it easy. When he got back they loaded it up again so he is ready to go tomorrow.

While Alan made the airport run, I stayed home and made bread and chocolate chip cookies. We only have enough wheat for one more loaf of bread. We have got to find out where the Cahoons bought that flour! I also made chicken and rice for dinner. Yum!!
It was another full day!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Tuesday, May 7th
Alan walked down to Venisi’s house this morning and told him that his wife was ready to pack her bags if that toilet issue wasn’t solved TODAY!! When we got home from work we had a new toilet. It works great but we still don’t know if the problem was with the toilet or the line. I am praying that it was the toilet and we are done with this hassle! There is an Area Authority 70 coming to stay next door to us this weekend and I don’t think he will appreciate us using his bathroom 4 or 5 times a day.

I pretty much had the whole day to myself at the office today. The Beans had a meeting with the missionaries that are being released this week. They tell them about the educational opportunities that are available for them when they leave the mission field. It was at Liahona so they didn’t come in today. Ana dropped in for a minute but then she had to take someone to the hospital for x-rays and she never made it back. Alan left and went into town to pick up everything he needs to take care of the MQs this week and Ana Lupe took her son to the Dr. That left me all alone to answer the phones and take care of the walk in traffic. It worked out great, not many calls and only 2 people came in today so I had some time to catch up on a few things with no interruptions. Now if we only had an internet that would work! I was able to send one picture from my lap top to my computer at work and it only took 45 minutes. MERCY!! How can anything be this slow? I needed to print the picture off and I can’t do it from my lap top, so I had to transfer it to my office computer that is hooked to the printer. I am going to have the I tech guys hook my laptop up to the printer. This is ridiculous.

Alan got a lot done in town so that was good. He had such a bad day yesterday that I was worried about him.

Monday, May 6th

We had a bad morning. Apparently our toilet only works on Sundays and it didn’t work well this morning. It is so strange and no ones can decide if it is the toilet or a problem in the line. I really don’t care, JUST FIX IT!!!

When we got into the office Alan’s computer wouldn’t work and he had about had it. He was burning on a short fuse today and when we had our Welfare Committee meeting and Sister Bean had waaaaaay toooooo muuuuuch to say, I thought he might explode. But he got through it and we survived the morning.

When we got home we could tell that they had been to our house to work on the toilet but we couldn’t tell what they had done. It worked ok until we got home from FHE and then it wouldn’t work at all. Back we went to the neighbors!!! I’m slowly losing my mind, just in case anybody cares.

FHE was the highlight of our day. Sister Mitchell was in charge and she is the mission nurse. She planned a night of exercise so that we could all share what we do and give others ideas of what they can add to their exercises. It was fun!!! Sister Fakatau taught us how to line dance. She teaches classes when she is home in America. I loved it and the faster the beat the better the exercise. She would teach us the steps and then change the music to increase the heart rate. I could get addicted to that!! Sister Johnson shared some back exercises that her doctor gave her that I am hoping will help me too and Sister Bean showed us some Palates. It was a good night until Sister Mitchell brought out the huge pieces of cake and ice cream. Alan and I walked for half an hour before we went home and we still didn’t sleep well. Exercise that late at night and then all those sweets are not conducive to a good nights sleep, but I learned a lot so it was worth it.
Sunday, May 5th
The scriptures are fulfilled, angels have been sent to help us. For some unknown (to us) reason, our toilet started working again today. We prayed about it and today is Sunday, so it is all coming together. We know we are being blessed!

It was fast Sunday and today was another great one. The people in our ward bear such beautiful testimonies, I always come away amazed and up lifted. One man is preparing himself to go to the temple after living a hard life and the support the other ward members are giving him is wonderful to witness. There is such unconditional love among the saints here. What an example they are to us.

We taught our first Gospel Principles class today. There were 7 people in the class. Some investigators, some new members and some that are coming back to church after being away for a long time. We had a great discussion about the principle of honesty. They are willing to share their life experiences and testimonies of how the gospel has changed them. We are really having some great experiences. We love this part of our calling. We can feel the joy of doing the Lord’s work. I know we will feel the same way about the humanitarian work we are doing if we ever get to do anything!!!

The churches in Tonga a different from the ones back home. It isn’t one big building. Instead there is a chapel and then long narrow separate buildings that are for classrooms. They build them that way so there will be windows on both sides of each room and you can get a breeze to cool things off. The only problem with that is that the windows are always open and there are no curtains, so you can’t show videos and there is a lot of outside noise. Our class is going when the next ward starts their Sacrament Meeting. When they are singing hymns we can’t hear anything anyone says. There is a family that lives right behind the church that is not friendly to the Mormons. Today they played loud music all during our Sunday School time. It was really hard to deal with all that outside noise, but the spirit was stronger than the outside influences and we were able to teach and testify. The Holy Ghost is amazing!!

There is a couple in our class that have been out of the church for a long time and have decided to get their lives in order. They are really great people and they have a son that plays football for Utah State. I think he is #36 but I can’t remember his name. They are really sad about us losing our football coaches. Their son red shirted so he has one more year of eligibility but they don’t know if he will stay or not.
We called David today and had a great visit with him but we didn’t get to see Parx or Alisha. Parx was trying to go to sleep. We need to see our grandchildren so they won’t forget who we are!! How we miss them!

I cooked a fresh tuna steak for dinner today. I have never cooked tuna before but it turned out great. It really is a good fish, not like what comes in the can at all! We have three more steaks in the freezer so we will be having it again.

We watched the news tonight so we could see some of the church services where the children were involved. It was interesting. They had many children take part, like we do, only they were just the older ones. It was fun to see them all dressed in white. The Tongan children are beautiful! They did a good job and there was lots of music. It was interesting to see.

Today was Kimi’s anniversary back in Colorado, so we called and talked to her for a few minutes. She and Mike were on the road driving to Denver to hear his mother talk at the Sat. night session of Stake Conference. She was talking about being the daughter of a prophet. Boy, would I have loved to hear that. Hopefully Kimi and Mike can fill us in on what she said.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Saturday, May 4th
Today is Kimi’s and Mike’s first anniversary. Wow, that year went fast and so very much has happened. We are so grateful to have Mike in the family and can’t wait until our new grand daughter makes her grand entrance!

Our toilet is still not working!! This is ridiculous. We are running back and forth to the house next door and everyone knows why. How embarrassing! They came to work on it today and they thought it was fixed, but it wasn’t. By the time we got a hold of them again it was too late to do much. All of the stores in town were closed. I can’t believe that we have to go through the whole weekend like this.

We went into the fair this morning to pick up a few things. It was a mad house in town. I have never seen so many people!! We did not know about “White Sunday”. It is the Sunday in May that precedes Mother’s Day. The other churches call it their children’s day. It is kind of like our Primary Program day, only all of the children are dressed in white. They do the church service that day and then there are huge feasts prepared in the villages and they honor the children. They don’t really get presents, just candy and toys. I guess that, plus the fact that next Sunday is Mother’s Day was the reason for the huge crowds in town. In Tonga they celebrate Father’s Day the Sunday after Mother’s Day, so we won’t be going into the fair for a couple more weeks. I don’t want to go through that again. I hate crowds!
We had a beach trip planned for this afternoon but we missed it because we had to wait for the plumber to come. He was only 2 hours late!! It is turning into a really crappy situation!

Some good did come of it though, we were able to talk to Greg on the phone while were waiting for the plumber. He sounds good and he’s happy now that the weather is warming up and he can get out on the golf course again.

We are happy too, we had another great walk tonight.

When we went out to one of the schools I took this picture of their school bell. I'm not sure what kind of a cylinder that is, but they come out and hit it with a pipe and you can hear if for blocks.

Friday, May 3rd.
We had a really bad wind storm last night. It was so loud that we didn’t sleep well and when we got up we had a unpleasant surprise….our toilet isn’t working. It was having a little trouble yesterday but today it won’t flush at all. Now that is a problem, it is kind of a necessary item! Thankfully we have the key to all of the houses here so we were able to go to the house next door, where the Cahoons lived, and use the toilet there. But that is a pain so we called to have them come and look at it. They came while we were at work so we had to leave the door unlocked and I hate to do that. Everything was fine in our house except for the fact that the toilet only worked for about 4 flushes and then we were back to ground zero. Alan called again and this afternoon they came and ran a snake through the pipes to see if that would help. It didn’t, they will be back tomorrow.

At the office today I decided to try something different. I unhooked the office computer from the internet and hooked it into my laptop. It worked!! It is still slow and I got kicked off a few times but I was able to get quite a bit done today so I am HAPPY!!!

Alan went out to the West Zone with Sioeli, the FM man to check the MQs. He came back discouraged. They aren’t as well cared for as the ones we saw on Monday. We don’t know what to do to get these missionaries to take care of their MQs and we are tired of fighting them. We will pray for help.
Speaking of praying for help, Alan had an experience today that showed us that our prayers are being answered. It was very humbling. As he was driving down the road in the bush a palm tree fell across the road just as he got to it. Actually he was a little farther away than another car coming the other direction. Everyone got out of their cars and met at the tree. Sioeli, and the man from the other car moved the tree from the road while Alan picked up the coconuts. When they were done the man in the other car, who was quite shaken as the tree just barely missed falling on his car, said, “Now I know why I was saved, you are a missionary.” He isn’t a member of the church but he had great respect for Alan and hopefully that experience will help him to look into the church. Alan and Sioeli were a little shaken too. It could have been a terrible tragedy. I know he was being protected. I am so grateful!

Bryan sent some darling pictures of his family at Disneyland today. I am homesick for Disneyland and the grandkids. It looked like they were having so much fun! The look on Addy’s face was priceless, she looked soooooo happy!

I was able to talk to Odean on the phone today. It was so good to hear her voice again. I really miss seeing her each week. How grateful I am for good friends and their love and support. We really do feel of their prayers in our behalf. It means a lot to me!~
Thursday, May 2nd
In the office this morning NOTHING WORKED!! Elder Bean said that he was going to put his foot through his computer and I thought about throwing mine out the window! It took me a short 31/2 hours to send 1 email!!

After all that frustration I headed to see Ying and get a massage. She is very encouraging and she has really helped me. My pain has gone way down and some days I don’t feel it at all. I am starting to get the feeling back in my foot and lower leg. She says that the circulation is good so I think I will be fine now. As long as I know I have her here to help if it gets bad again. Maybe I will go once a month just to maintain it where it is now.

This afternoon we had to go pick up some sister missionaries and take them to the other end of the island to go on splits with other sisters. We are getting so many new sisters in the mission that President is trying this out to help the sisters that are training new sisters. Those that are training haven’t been here very long either so they need a little help from the really experienced missionaries.
We found out today that one set of missionaries in the east zone baptized 26 people during the month of March. The amazing thing about that is that they were ALL member referrals! The members in Tonga are great and they are fearless in sharing the gospel with everyone they know. They are bringing all of their friends and families into the church and then those people get excited about sharing it too. It is fun to watch it grow and see the joy in the faces of those who are finding the gospel.

We were able to talk to Tiff on the phone today and catch up on what is happening in Smithfield. She also wrote us a great LONG email that we can read over and over. Sure wish her brothers and sister would follow her example!!! On days like today it gave us the lift we needed. That, plus the fact that we went to the temple. Yes, the church is true!!

I thought I was so smart when I found this roll of Heavy Duty Handy-wipes. You can't buy these any more at home. The only problem is that they aren't even close to being heavy duty. What they really are is terribly flimsey!

Wednesday, May 1st
We were up bright and early this morning so we could take the money to the missionaries. I put the sweet rolls in the oven for a little while to warm them up before I frosted them. They were nice and warm when we took them to the Mission Office, but the elders weren’t there on time so they had cooled off before we ate them. They didn’t seem to mind but next time I won’t go to so much trouble!

We had a great time with the Zone Leaders from the East Zone today. Elder Fanua is a tease and he loves giving me a bad time. When we got to his MQ and I handed him his envelope (they have to open the envelope, count the money and then sign for it) it only had $20.00 in it. He got this look on his face and said, ‘there’s a problem, I didn’t get all of my money‘. I said, “yes you did, I just deducted money each time you gave me a hard time and that is all that you have left.” He is learning that you don’t mess with Sister Webb. We had a good laugh and I gave him his money back.

Elder Fanua and Elder Drake are doing a good job with their zone. We left snickers at 7 out of 12 MQs today. That is a huge improvement. Of course they knew we were coming but if they only clean them once a month, I can live with that. It’s a step in the right direction.

We were blessed this morning. It sprinkled on us a little but nothing to bad. This afternoon it poured and the wind is blowing so hard. I spent the afternoon working at home. I am putting reports of all the water projects that we inspected onto the computer. Then I take them to the office and copy and paste them onto my computer there so I can print them out and file them. Nothing like doubling the work, but we have to have some sort of a record

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Tuesday, April 30th

It rained all night and the wind blew non stop. The boys in the dorm must have shut their windows because we didn’t hear them at all this morning and that is unusual. I missed their singing.

We went into work in the rain and the storm continued all day. Tita, the lady from our church who does wheelchair assessments, came in to see us today. She is leaving for America next week and she won’t be back until August or September. Her daughter is having a baby in Denver. I wonder if I could go with her??? We will really miss her. She is the most dependable assessor that we have and she does such a good job of checking back to see how the wheelchairs are being used.

We were able to get in touch with Kimi this afternoon, finally! Mike sent a cute picture of her at her doctor’s appointment and we wanted to know how that went. It sounds like she has a dr. that knows what he is doing so hopefully she is in good hands. She and the baby are both doing great so one more month down and just two more to go!!

Since it was raining so hard I spent the afternoon at home. I needed to make some bread for us and I decided to make Taco Soup since it was a little cool today. That tasted really good!! Then I made some sweet rolls for the missionaries. We are taking the money out to the missionaries in the morning and we leave at 7:30. We go with the Zone Leaders and there are other Senior Missionaries that help us do the 3 Zones. I thought it would be nice to start out with a little treat since the missionaries won’t have had breakfast. It would be fun to have them hot out of the oven in the morning but I am not getting up that early. I will warm them up in the morning and then frost them. It should be good enough.
Monday, April 29th
I had a special experience at our Monday morning devotional today. The man who gave the

spiritual thought really touched my heart. His name is Ed. I don’t even know his last name but he works for the Service Center as the locksmith. He used to live in the United States but he was deported back to Tonga and told that he can never return to the U.S. Evidently he was in a gang and involved in some sort of shooting. When he came back to Tonga he joined the church and turned his life around. Now he is so trusted that he is the locksmith for all of the church properties on the main island. His devotional was about turning your life over to the Lord. Knowing his story I was really touched. We love him! That’s what I love about the people here. They are willing to forgive and then help others to move forward with love and support. It is wonderful to watch.
Then we went into work and met with the man we are trying to help in the Village of Hofoa. He was the one who took us to the school where there were so few books in the library and no computers. He stopped by to see if we had been able to find any surplus computers for his village. While he was there he started telling us about his family. His father was the village chief and also the preacher in the Church of Tonga. Our church was having some water problems and a member of the Stake Presidency had been fasting and praying for help. He saw the village chief ride by on his bicycle and the Spirit told him that that was the man who would help him. The chief did help him and they developed a relationship but he would not let the missionaries come to his house. He sent them away and told the members of his church not to talk to them. Then one day something happened to change all that. It was a rainy day and one of those terrible thunder showers hit where the roads turn into rivers in a matter of minutes. The chief was in his house with his oldest son and his wife when they realized that the one year old grandson was no where to be seen. This was the chief’s favorite grandchild and he went to the door just in time to see two sister missionaries scoop the baby up out of the water that was rushing down the road. He invited them into his home and everything changed from that day on. Soon the member of the Stake Presidency asked him to be baptized and he agreed. It was in the 1980’s and in that day the village chief was highly respected by everyone, especially his own family. He told his family that they would all be baptized and even though they didn’t know much about the church they obeyed him. The next Saturday morning his whole family, dressed in white walked down the road of the village, passed the Church of Tonga (where he was the preacher) to the LDS chapel where they were baptized. The chief continued to lead the choir in his old church because there was no one else to do it, and then he would attend his meetings in our church. He knew that there were several members of our church who were going to the Church of Tonga because their families had pressured them to come back. The chief went to them and told them that they had been baptized into the Mormon church and they were to go to church there. You didn’t disobey the chief so he was able to get all of the inactives back into the church. Also, many of the people in the village began to wonder why he had joined the church and that brought in a lot of converts.

The chief’s son, the man we are working with, is now the village chief and the Matapulu, or spokesman for the King. If anyone wants to talk to the King, they have to go through him or one of 4 other Matapulus here in the islands. They speak the language of the King, which is elevated above the language of the people. He told us that he could get us an audience with the King but we are not sure we believe that. It would be fun though!
We spent the afternoon working on our new credit card. Wow, it is a pain to charge anything to the church. You have to fill out forms and have three different codes and then at the end of the month you have to account for every penny. Charging things for the mission and for humanitarian makes it twice as much work and it all has to be done on the computer with different passwords etc. I am too old for this! We like to do our budget on a spread sheet with a pencil!!! I can’t imagine how Bryan keeps track of all the money he goes through with his business. I’m glad that I grew up in a different era.

We were able to talk to Bryan for a few minutes today. He and his family made it safely to California and are starting a fun vacation to the beach and Disneyland. We also talked to David. He and Alisha are safely home from Hawaii. He said it was a dream trip. Everything you could want a trip to Hawaii to be. We are glad they had such a good time.

It got really windy and stormy tonight --- so no walk. DARN!
Sunday, April 28th
As soon as we arrived at church today we were told that the Bishop wanted to talk to us. We knew that he was going to call us to a job in the ward. We met with him after Sunday School and he asked us to teach the Gospel Principles class. We are excited about that. It is made up of investigators and new members so we will enjoy getting to spend some time with them. Also, we are glad to have a calling that is on Sunday. That makes it so we don’t have to make another trip into town.

Our Sunday meetings were good but we are having a hard time getting to know the people in this ward. We don’t see them much, only on Sunday and there isn’t much time to visit. I am hoping to get a ward list so I can at least learn their names. They come from all over the main island and they are there one week and then they go to a Tongan speaking ward the next. It is really hit and miss. Alan says he would HATE to be the bishop of this ward, there isn’t a lot of continuity.

Our dinner with the Mission President was amazing! First of all, the food was wonderful. It is an organized pot luck and all of the senior sisters are such good cooks. I always find at least one dish that I want the recipe for. That is why I am putting a mission cook book together. I want to be able to bring all of these recipes home with me.

After dinner President Tukuafu talked to us about his experiences in Salt Lake City. He was called to be an Area Authority 70 back in December but he couldn’t tell anyone until General Conference. He said that it was the longest 4 months of his life. Then he had to sneak out of the mission and really out of the country without anyone knowing where he was going. Everyone here knew that we were getting a new Area Authority so everyone was trying to figure out who it would be. The last phone call he received before he boarded the plane was from the current Area Authority asking him if he knew who was trying to get out of the country without anyone finding out. It was pretty funny. He had to cut the conversation short so he wouldn’t miss the plane!

He and Sister Tukuafu also wanted some of their children to be there so he talked his youngest daughter into taking her younger brother to America so they could go to conference. They stayed with president’s brother there and President Tukuafu just happened to have tickets to the Saturday afternoon session. They didn’t even suspect anything was funny about that and were shocked to find their parents in SLC after that session.

He told us that the training with the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve was beyond description. He just didn’t have the words to express how spiritual and powerful it was. They train the new members of the quorums for 2 days before conference, all 400 of them! The leaders of our church are unbelievable! He said that at least 85% of the training was on missionary work. The church is flooding the earth with the gospel and it is really going to move forward at a fast pace now. What a thrill to be a part of that! I am so grateful for the gospel and that the Lord gave us this opportunity to serve another mission.

When we got home there was still plenty of time to take another walk. I love it!!!