Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Pharmacy employees moved all of the medicine into the middle of the room, so that we could begin painting the walls.

The man in the middle is the Stake President of the Harbor Stake. They are spearheading this project. The woman behind Alan is Mele. She is our champion and she is amazing! When she tells these men to jump, they jump!!

We had to get someone up on the roof to pull all of the weeds out of the rain gutters.

We started with taping paper over all of the windows.

Some of the men went upstairs to start sanding all of the wood. This is going to be a HUGE JOB!!

I spent all day Tuesday trying to catch up. I didn’t make it! I still have the finances for the month of October to finish and information for the Asbestos project to gather.

We spent most of the morning at the Central Pharmacy getting the project there started. We are excited to have this finally under way. The volunteers showed up 2 hours late --- Tongan time! --- but they did come. We had to run around town and buy tape and paper for them to cover all the windows and some sandpaper so they could sand a the wood areas. We got them started, took some pictures and then had to leave. Just as we were leaving, Sione Tonga, our champion on the Lavengatonga Water Project, called to tell us that they were starting to put the water stand up in Lavengatonga. We knew this was going to happen, but we didn’t expect it all to happen on the same day! We will go out there tomorrow to do some hygiene training, we can take some pictures then. There just wasn’t any time to drive out there today.

We grabbed a quick lunch down town because we had a home teaching appointment at 3:00 and then a meeting with the Tonga Trust Board at 4:00. That was an interesting meeting. The lady that is the Director of this Trust Board is in our ward. She is somewhere in her 80”s and we found out today that she is one of the wealthiest people in Tonga. She volunteers her time on this board to help the poorest of the poor in Tonga. We met with her, Elder Hamblin and President Tupou to see how we can all work together to be of service to the people here. We are trying to find service projects that we can do where the missionaries will be the man power. We have some good ideas but we will have to wait a little while to put them into action. She will be leaving for Europe and then America next week and she won’t be back until the end of January. She has groups all over the islands that are already organized to work with the poor. We are hoping to help them with hygiene training too. Using the missionaries to do service projects in the villages will help the non-members to see what the church is really like. We are excited about starting some of these projects.

We didn’t get home until after 6:00. We were beat!

On Monday I had a ton of things to do and I didn’t get to one of them! I spent the whole day putting a power point presentation together for FHE ---- and it wasn’t even our FHE! The Hamblins were in charge and they asked Alan and Elder Maile to talk about what it was like in Tonga 42 years ago when they were on their missions. We had pictures that we had taken on our trip around the mission when we first arrived, so I put them into a presentation for Alan to show and then talk about the changes.

  Dr. and Sister Williams are leaving this week so I also put together a power point presentation of memories of Tonga. Everyone sent me their photos and we were able to come up with some fun stuff. It turned out good, but I am not really that familiar with power point so it took me all day to get it done. I also had to make a new calendar for the month of November. So much for getting my work done. Now I am really behind!!

Sunday, October 27th,

We had our Primary program today and it was amazing! I was so impressed with how well the children did and how well behaved they were. They were very well prepared and the children love to sing so the songs were wonderful. They also had two solos and a duet. They have such good voices. All of the girls were dressed in white and all of the boys wore a tepenu with a tauvala wrapped around them. Other churches have a “White Sunday” in May, when they honor the youth. Our church has decided to carry this Tongan tradition on, only they have the girls wear white for the Primary Program and the boys all wear white shirts. All of the children had a part and they were mostly memorized. It really was great! I didn’t have the camera so I took pictures on the Ipad. I don’t know how to get them to the computer, so I will have to post them later.

Vincent and his wife weren’t at church today. We missed them in our Sunday School class, but we had two new people. I’m not sure of their names yet, but they are a young couple with a 9 month old baby, a little boy named Moses. He has the biggest brown eyes and he is darling!! I could eat these babies up. They make me miss our Grace so much!!!

Bistra and Paula, the young couple that live behind us, had their baby on Friday. They had a little boy. Because we are both coughing so much, we haven’t been over to see them yet, but I can’t wait to get my hands on that one! Maybe I can ease some of my need to hold a baby now. Kimi sends pictures every week, so I guess that is as good as it gets from this far away.

Saturday, Oct. 26th, 2013

We spent the morning cleaning the house and washing.   I am trying to get the germs out of the house!

 We went to the office in the afternoon and tried to catch up on a couple of things and I was able to load a lot on the blog.
On Friday Alan felt good enough to go into town with me to work. The internet was totally off so we didn’t stay too long. We did a little shopping and then headed home. He rested and I went to the office to do a few things. We have a huge week next week. Sure hope he is feeling better by then.

We had a Tongan Feast tonight. We were invited to the home of a member of the church who lives in the village of Ha’akame. He and his family fixed all of the Tongan food and the missionaries brought salads and desserts. We had chicken, fish, raw fish, octopus, ufi, and the best lupulu I have had yet. It was held in their back yard and when we finished eating our host and his wife sang a couple of songs for us. It was very informal but so much fun. It is such a treat to meet some of these local people and spend some time with them. I can’t believe how generous they are. Fixing dinner for 26 people and then inviting them back for more!

We were invited to dinner at the home of one of the members of the church, in a village close to Liahona. They had a beautiful yard and they fixed a ton of food!!

The Senior missionaries all gathered for the feast. By the time we ate, the tapa cloth in front was filled with children from the neighborhood. They sat quietly until all of the adults were fed and our party was over and then it was their turn to eat.

These are the ladies that did all the cooking for our feast. This is their kitchen and they used an umu.

Wednesday and Thursday Alan wasn’t feeling well at all. I went in to town to work on Wednesday and left him home to rest. He slept almost all day. Thrusday I stayed close to home and went to our office on campus. He came over for a couple of hours but that was all he could handle. He has been taking the cold medicine that Tiffany sent and that has really helped him, especially at night. He went out and slept on the couch because he was coughing and didn’t want to keep me up. He slept much better there and so did I without him tossing and turning. We have been married almost 40 years and that is the first time he has ever slept on the couch. It felt very strange!

My allergies are calming down a little thanks to the Tylanol Sinus that Mike was able to get for me at the PX in Maryland. He saved me!! Nothing else works. Hopefully I have enough to last me for the next few months.

We were able to call JOSH on his BIRTHDAY. How did he get to be 7 so fast??? What a cutie! His mother made him a Utah State birthday cake. It was amazing and he loved it. So did his dad and his Uncle Greg!

Friday, October 25, 2013


We had a devotional today with the South Pacific Area Presidency. It was broadcast to Tonga. Elder Pierson, who is a 70, gave the most amazing talk. I can’t stop thinking about it. Alan and I both think he could be an Apostle one day. He said that General Conference is not the church’s conference, it is the Savior’s Conference and it is true doctrine. Then he quoted scriptures from the D&C about ‘whether from my mouth or that of my servants, it is the same.” The Savior directs those who speak. He told us that Elder Scott has said the greatest blessings of conference come from studying the talks in depth after conference is over, and then integrating the concepts into your life. We should pray and ask that we might understand what the Lord is trying to tell us. Then we need to anchor the Key Principals we heard in conference in our minds. General Conference is direct revelation to the church and it is personal revelation to you. When you read the talks, stop and ponder them, look for the revelation.

Elder Pierson has started doing that already with this last conference. He saw it as a “VOICE OF WARNING”. He told us to focus on 5 priorities that will help us stay faithful through what is ahead. He had also been to special training for the General Authorities during conference time and I got the feeling that the brethren are talking about what is coming. At one point he said that there will be great trials and persecutions for the church, both from the outside and the inside. If we are not individually anchored in the gospel, even the “very elect will be deceived.”

1) Love the Lord with all your might, mind and soul. Develop a relationship with Him, come to know Him, strive to be like Him, keep His commandments.

2) Increase your personal strength in the gospel of Jesus Christ and your individual conversion to the Lord. That doesn’t mean strengthen your testimony, it means to be truly converted --- you as an individual. Don’t lean on your parents, your husband or wife or anyone else. You must know for yourself.

3) Share the Gospel through missionary work. Several of the Apostles spoke about this one. If members pray for people to teach and invite them to their homes, they will have a missionary experience but this process is not just about bringing someone into the church. It strengthens the individual and family that invited the investigator to their home. Parents and especially children, will see that prayers are heard and answered. They will come to know that God knows them individually and is always aware of them and what they are doing. They are never alone, He is always close by --- only a prayer away.

4) Really understand the Eternal Nature of families and the Devine Nature of individuals. The brethren kindly but firmly pointed out the importance of gender and the divine roll of women in the Lord’s plan. The Proclamation to the Family was issued several years ago and now it stands as a beacon to the world. It is the Lord’s plan and it is not debatable. It will not change.

(5 Study the Atonement! Come to understand the power of the Atonement to overcome all kinds of difficulties. It must be understood --- felt --- and personalized.

All of the talks that he sited were given by the First Presidency or the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The other talks are great and we can receive personal revelation through those too, but we need to really understand what the Prophet and Apostles are saying to us. (Those that have eyes to see and ears to hear. We have to put forth some effort to understand what the Lord is saying)

In the end he counseled us to put forth the effort to do all 5 of these things, because in the days ahead we will need the strength derived from doing so. He ended with, “The Savior stands at the head of this church. We need not fear, He will guide us through the troubled times.”

Still, we have to do our part! Faith without works is DEAD! In the end, we know who will win the war. The question is, what side are we on????????

Monday, October 21st

I got up at 5:00 AM to make sweet rolls for our puppet show cast and their teacher. We wanted to thank them again for all they did for us last week and wish them good luck with their finals. Today is the last day of actual classes at Liahona. Tomorrow they start their finals and then they will be taking the national test after that. It is a stressful time around here. I just can’t wrap my brain around the fact that these kids are getting out of school for summer break, and our kids are going into winter. It feels strange!!

We stayed at the office at Liahona today and we should have gone into town. Our internet was terrible and we didn’t get much done. Alan is coming down with a cold. He has a sore throat and he isn’t feeling well at all. I know we are starting into summer because my alageries are starting to surface. I have the dry cough and raspy voice. I had that all last summer, I hope that doesn’t happen again!! We are a real pair! But we aren’t alone. The senior missionaries are dropping like flies. Elder and Sister Dassler have been sick for 3 days, Elder Meyers was sick and now has a bad cough, Sister Meyers has hurt her knee and can’t walk at all, and the new dentist has pulled something in his back and is in terrible pain. This is no place for people to be ill. The elders are giving a lot of blessings. We don’t get good medical care here so we depend on the Lord and miracles. Sure glad that Tiffany sent some medicine in her package. We might need her to send more!
Our Sacrament meetings are something else. The Tongan people have no reservations about telling you exactly what is happening in their lives. Our first speaker is the mother of 6 sons and she talked about how she has cried over them, fasted and prayed for them, that they would make better decisions. She talked about how they are the “Trial of Her Faith”. She hasn’t seen one son in 3 weeks but he came to church today. In fact, they were all there to hear her talk. It was a miracle, an answer to her prayers and hopefully it will help them understand how very much she loves them.

The next speaker was a man that is very strong in the Tongan tradition that the man is the head of the home. He just came back from New Zealand where he spent 2 weeks with his brother. He said there was no yelling, no fighting, no doors slamming, just peace and love in that house. He asked his brother how he did that and his brother explained that he had to learn to be humble. He isn’t always right, his wife isn’t always right. They have learned to work together, help each other and to meet in the middle. When our ward member came home he wanted to change and have that kind of relationship with his wife. He found out it doesn’t happen over night. He had an argument with his wife last night and when he asked her this morning if she was still mad at him, she punched him in the face. (His wife was sitting right there in the chapel.) No one seemed surprised by this, just us. Then he said that instead of hitting her back, he humbled himself and walked away. His talk was about developing humility. I sure hope he keeps working on that attribute!!

We are still having a great experience in our Sunday School class. Vincint and Peau, his girlfriend, are coming every week and today they even answered some questions. She cried as we talked about the pre-existence and how we knew our Heavenly Father. He saved us all to come to the world at this time and he trusted us to prepare the world for the Second Coming of His Son. She has a very sensitive spirit and she wants so much to be married and work toward going to the temple. First we have to get Vincint baptized!!

We had our President’s dinner this afternoon. It was an Italian dinner. As usual, everything was delicious. We were hoping that we would have some lasagna left over, but no such luck. It was gone!! We have so many good cooks here. It is really fun to get together and have dinner. We are all looking forward to Thanksgiving!

This was a farewell dinner for the Williams. They will be leaving the end of the month. We will really miss them. He has worked hard while he has been here. I can’t even imagine how many teeth he has pulled ! He is such a tease and he has made life fun for all of us. She is a great cook, she cut everyone’s hair and she has helped out at the school. It has been a good experience for them. They both cried as they said their good-byes.

The Alands arrived in Tonga safely. What a great couple! We are going to love them. She is first cousins with Brent Dyer from Smithfield. Once again it is a small world!

The whole cast of our puppet show at the assembly at Liahona High School. They took a little time after the show to talk about the experiences they had had doing the show.

Haitelenisia 'Uhila is the English teacher who helped us with the puppet show. We call her Sia! She is amazing and we love her.

We had a new couple arrive today, the Alands. They are from St. George but he used to be a principal in Duchene, and she was a teacher there. They are ITEP missionaries and they will be working with the teachers here. We went out to the airport to meet them. It is always fun to have new missionaries. We have a great group right now but we will start losing one couple a month pretty soon. Dr. Williams and his wife leave the end of October and then the Beans leave in December. Both of them are being replaced so our numbers will stay about the same.

On Friday afternoon there was an assembly at the school. The principal had asked our kids to do the puppet show for the whole student body. They were a little nervous about doing it for their peers. It is meant to be done for young children and they were afraid that everyone would laugh at them. They didn’t! In fact, they were a great audience. They responded to all of the humor and the puppets responded to the audience reaction. There was some adlibing going on, but it was all in Tongan so we don’t know exactly what they said. The Liahona High School principal was sitting right next to us and she loved it, so it must have been ok. Once again it was a huge success and the cast came away feeling very good about their experience. At the end of the assembly, some of the cast members explained where they had been with the show and how amazing the experience had been for them. It was a perfect ending to their time at Liahona. They take their final exams in the next couple of weeks and then they will all graduate.

We are so grateful for their help with this project. The problem now is that we are getting calls from schools all over the island wanting us to come and bring the puppet show. WE WOULD LOVE TO!! But these great kids can’t do it again. There is no more time. They have to prepare for their finals. We are going to have to work something out for the next school year. We have to get this message out all across the island.

The kids in the cast and their teacher have all come up to us and thanked us for giving them this experience. We keep thanking them, they did all the work. But they tell us that they will always remember this experience. Some of them want to go on to be teachers now and other teachers at Liahona are talking about using puppet shows in their classrooms. YES!!! I feel sooooooooooooo good about how this all turned out!!

We took the kids to a beach on the eastern side of the island for lunch. We went to two schools in the morning and two in the afternoon.

After lunch Alan and I walked through a cave located on this beach. It is HUGE!!

The view from the beach was breath taking!!

The cast was happy and ready to go again once we got some food into them.

Our bus driver's name is Benny Tonga. He is such a fun man! Tongans never go anywhere without a way to make music. He sang for his lunch!

Thursday, October 17th

It was an exhausting day but probably one of the best days that we will have on our mission. We spent the day with the English Class from Liahona High School. We took 20 students and their teacher to visit 4 primary schools and do a puppet show for the students. The puppet show was all about how important it is to wash your hands before you eat and only eat food that has been washed and prepared properly. The kids in Tonga have never seen a puppet show. Even the high school kids had never seen one before I took them the puppets. They are the top students at Liahona and they did an amazing job putting the whole thing together. They built their own stage, decorated it and drew pictures of the inside of the stomach and what germs look like under a microscope. The students at each school, the teachers and administrators and the guests that came to watch it, all LOVED IT!! It was a huge success and the students who put it on had a great experience. There is a song about washing your hands at the end of each part of the show. They all came out and mingled with the audience and sang the song with them. By the time we left the kids all knew the song and they were showing us how to wash our hands.

We had some interesting experiences. One was sad. The principal of the first school we went to called me over when we were through and asked if she could talk to me. We were in a hurry to get to the next school but I stayed for a minute. She told me that our program was so important to the safety and health of her students, but that they don’t have a sink with running water at that school. I wasn’t shocked, we have seen so much here in Tonga, but I was heart sick. I told her we would be back and we will see what we can do to help. 167 children with no way to wash their hands after they go to the bathroom or before they eat. How can they possibly stay healthy?

At the next school the principal talked to the kids when we were through. He told them that he had set a terrible example for them. He never washes his hands before he eats. He told them that that would change as of that minute. He loves them and he wants them to be healthy and to grow up and lead productive lives. Then he thanked us over and over for coming and sharing such important information with his students.

At the last school we finished up the show and the principal once again got up to speak. He told us, and everyone there, that his students might see things on TV about good hygiene and that their parents may even talk to them about it, but that they would never forget what they had seen that day. “They have never seen a puppet show before and they will remember this message you brought to them until the day they die.” As we left, the kids all gathered around and started saying that they wanted to go to Liahona to school. It ended up being a great PR trip for the school as well as for the church. All in all, I don’t think it could have turned out any better. What a wonderful day!!!

We took our puppet show on the road, putting the stage up at each school and haveing a wonderful interaction with the students.

Starting from the left you have the mother, then Mary, the little girl who won't wash her hands, and the nurse that has to come when she is sick.

We did all of the shows outside to groups just like this one.

Elder Webb couldn't pass up the chance to play a little badmitton with the kids.

You can tell by the looks on the faces of these students just how much fun we had. It was like this at every school.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Wednesday was a busy day at the office. We are going to be out of the office all day tomorrow so we are trying to get everything caught up.

The Welfare Team is in the back. The Bishop is in the white shirt and the Town Officer in the black shirt. They are from the village of Ha'utu. The lady in the middle is the administrator of the Central Pharmacy.


  We went into the office in town this morning. On the way in, Ana called and said that she had invited the press to attend our meeting today and she wanted me to hurry and write up an article to give them about the projects we are doing. That was STRESSFUL!! I like to have some time to think about something that important and really work on it. I did it, but I have no idea what I said. Sure hope it was good!

At 10:00 the Bishop and Town Officer from Ha’utu and the head nurse from the Central Pharmacy came to the office for a meeting with us. 2 reporters from the paper were also there. The whole Welfare committee came to support us as we informed these guests that their various projects have been approved. It was a great morning!! Ana conducted the meeting, Alan told of the project approvals and then I told them a little about the approval process and how we were able to get their projects approved.

When the meeting was over, Jeana Niu brought in a birthday cake with the candles burning. It was a surprise for Alan’s birthday. He was shocked, he had no idea. We pulled it off without him having any clue what plans had been made. We even planned this presentation on his birthday. What a fantastic birthday present, 2 projects approved!! That just never happens. It will be a birthday he will always remember. Everyone joined us in singing happy birthday to him and then we shared his cake. It was a banana cake and it was really good! It was a very special morning.

This was a complete surprise for Alan. What a fun way to celebrate his 65th birthday!!

Ana had this cake made for Alan for his birthday. Everyone here loves Elder Webb!

Oops, I forgot to post this picture and I want you to see it. It is a picture of our ward watching conference in the High Council Room at the Stake Center. That is where they broadcast it in English. We were singing the intermediate hymn.

Monday, October 14th,

We spent the morning waiting for Sister Uai. We were to meet with her about the Hygiene Training for Lavengatonga, but she didn’t come to our meeting. I can’t understand why people don’t call when they aren’t coming to a meeting. It really messed up our morning. While we were waiting for her we spent some time preparing for Tuesday. We have a very important meeting set up for tomorrow.

FHE tonight was great. The Williams, our dentist and his wife, are getting ready to go home. This was their last FHE and they wanted to do a dinner and a service project. They treated all of the other senior missionaries to dinner. They made Hawaiian haystacks and had brownies and ice cream. We were all asked to bring 3 dozen cookies to the dinner. After dinner we put the cookies in baggies and then took them over to the boys dorm and the girls dorm. At both dorms the kids sang “Called To Serve” for us and then we handed out the cookies. It was so much fun to see the looks on the kids faces. They don’t get treats like that very often here. We had a lot of cookies left over so we walked over to the house where the family lives that has taken in the 18 adopted children. They were thrilled to see us too! They sang ‘I Know That My Redeemer Lives” for us and then screamed with excitement when we handed over the bags of cookies. What a fun and uplifting night.
Saturday and Sunday were a Spiritual Feast!! We were able to watch all of conference. We liked the way they did it this time much better than what they did 6 months ago. In April we watched 4 hours of conference back to back on Saturday and Sunday. This time they did it just like they do it at home, at 10:00 and 2:00 each day with Priesthood meeting on Saturday night. It was much better. The mind can only obsorb what the seat can endure!

I thought Conference was amazing. I have been praying so hard for my brother and every talk was perfect. Now if I could just get him to watch it and feel the Spirit. I know if I pray in faith and do all that I can do, the Lord will do the rest.

There were so many good talks, it was hard to pick a favorite, but I loved President’s Monson’s. I was so touched by his love for his wife and his determination to center his life on Christ and the gospel and endure to the end. I guess the older I get the more enduring to the end means to me. I hope I am strong enough to face the challenges that lie ahead and be a good example for my family. I pray that we can all stay faithful and live worthy to be together as a family in the Celestial Kingdom for all eternity. What else really matters??

This is what happens to your windshield if you park under a coconut tree during the windy season.

A man came to our office today to cut down one of the palm trees. We are heading into cyclone season and this tree could do great damage to our office. We was WAY up there!~!

This man cut all of the coconuts off of the tree and dropped them to the ground before cutting the tree down.

On Friday we went into the office down town. The parking lot was a lake! We had to park right by the door in order to get into the office. We met with another village leader today that wanted help with a water pump. This village has an old pump but it is still running. He wants a new one so that when this one dies they won’t be without water. They have no money saved for a new one, in fact they are 7,000 pa’anga behind in paying their water bills. There is no way the church is going to step into a situation like that. We felt so sorry for this poor town officer. He is a member of the church and he was just elected a month ago. He is trying to straighten out the mess that the last town officer left behind. We did some training with him and he is going to get his water committee organized and start collecting money each month. Hopefully he can make enough progress before they really need a new pump to have some money saved. It’s hard to tell people that we can’t help them but it is important to help them become self-reliant.

Sister “Y” is finally back from Hawaii!! I talked to her on the phone today and she will meet with us on Monday morning to get the Hygiene training going in Lavengatonga. FINALLY!!! I was beginning to wonder if it would ever happen.

We had a conference call with Elder Reynolds this afternoon. He seems really pleased with what is happening in Tonga, but he worries that we have too many projects going on at the same time. I worry about that a little myself. He wants to be sure that we can get everything completed before we leave next spring. Right now that looks like a doable thing if everything comes together as it should. That seldom happens in Tonga, but we have allowed for delays. By the time we got off the phone he was asking me to submit 3 more projects and write up a report on the meetings we have been attending with the government leaders here. When those phone calls are done, Alan and Ana just walk away smiling and I end up with days worth of work to do! Where is the equality in that??? I am supposed to train Ana so she will know how to submit projects in CHAS. She will be here when we go home and she needs to be able to keep the work going.

They have promised us that they will fix our parking lot. When it rains we have a lake!!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Today we had a special honor. Nita, the lady that we home teach, asked us to meet her at the temple this morning and stand in as her parents when she was sealed to them. What a special experience that was! The Temple President did the sealing. He knew Nita’s parents and was Nita’s mother’s Mission President. He told us that President Hinkley said that “almost everyone, if not everyone, in the Spirit World is accepting the work that is done for them here on earth.” We all knew that Nita’s parents were with us this morning. The Spirit was so strong and I was overwhelmed with a feeling of mother’s love toward her daughter as I knelt at the alter representing Nita’s mother. Love was expressed, tears flowed and a family was sealed for all eternity! It was a beautiful experience, reminding me how grateful I am that my family is eternal. I can’t imagine not knowing that they are ours forever. I love them all so much!!!

It rained really hard this afternoon. In fact, we got more than the total amount of water for all of October in one afternoon. Liahona flooded. It was a mess! It let up just enough for us to be able to drive to the temple tonight. Two trips to the temple in one day! It was a good day.

It rained so hard today that Liahona flooded in less than 15 minutes!

On October 9th, 2013, we received word that our Ha’utu Water project has been approved!!! YAHOO!!! We are so thrilled! That village and the primary school out there are in critical need of clean water. We don’t have to have anything built for this project, so hopefully we can get it done quickly. We will be doing Hygiene training along with it, so that will take some time.
When Ana came back from her Manager’s meeting at the Service Center, we had a staff meeting. She is so happy with all that is happening in the Welfare Department that she asked the Service Center Manager for money to take us all out to lunch. That was a good idea!! Everyone seems pleased with the work that we are doing and we are so happy to see so many people in Tonga be able to benefit from these projects. We know it will create a positive feeling for the Church here.
On Tuesday, Alan and I went to another Government meeting. It seems like once we started showing up at these meeting, now everyone invites us. The one today was with Lord Viea, the Minister of Finance, the Ambassadors from Japan, China, Australia and New Zealand and the Commissioners from France, Germany and Finland. There are no Ambassadors or Commissioners from America over here. Go figure! Half of the population of Tonga lives in America! Anyway, this conference was all about how to qualify to receive money from the Government through grants. We were just invited to the opening of the meeting. We don’t get our funding through grants that other countries give out. Once the big guns gave their speeches and the group picture was taken, we had some refreshments and left, along with all those mentioned above. We are happy to represent the Church at these events, but we don’t really do anything, we just flash our badges and shake hands with the people. Now they are very friendly to us and even come up to us and start up a conversation. Little by little the Church is starting to be recognized by the officials here. We would like to see Tongan’s, that live here and will be here for a long time, representing the Church at these functions but for now we will do whatever is asked of us to help pave the way. Pa’langis, especially Americans, are treated with a lot of respect here and we know that is opening a lot of doors for us.

They always make us sit on the front row at these meetings for the group picture. They are very respectful of pa'alongis. This meeting was sponsored by the European Union.

Our new water tower is finally being built. It will be much better than the old one. We can't wait to see it all come together!!

We went into Ma’ufanga on Monday. We were meeting with a man that is here from New Zealand. He wants to bid on our water pump and engine. He thinks he can beat the bid. He works for a company in New Zealand and he said that he will send it to us at his cost, free shipping in his container and all we have to pay is for the machines and the taxes. We’ll see what his bid is. We have already submitted the project so if it is higher we won’t go with him but if it is lower we are free to change contractors at this point.

We also went out to Sam’s Workshop and took pictures of the stand that they are putting together for Lavengatonga. It will be a lot better than the one that they have now! We’re excited!!!

Ana has a Managers Meeting tomorrow, so we met today to tell her what we are doing. From the Humanitarian Missionaries she will report:

1. The Lavengatonga Project is moving toward completion and we are now planning a closing ceremony.
A) The Hygiene Puppet Show for the Lavengatonga Project will go into 4 Government Primary school in
the Halaliku Stake on October 17th. It will be presented by students from Liahona High School.
2. Dr. Williams and his wife are in Vava’u this week doing dental work for the missionaries and prospective Missionaries. Our Dental Visits to the Outer Islands project will close on October 31st.

3. The Pacific Pharmacy Painting Project has been approved and we will start working on the Pharmacy the week of October 14th - 19th. (We can’t start this week because of General Conference.)

4. The Ha’utu Water Project has now been approved by the Area Presidency and we are just waiting for the final approval from Salt Lake City before we can begin.

5. The wheelchairs have been shipped and are due to arrive in Tonga on the 20th of November. Because it will take some time to get them off the dock and then it will be close to the holidays, we will schedule our training of assessors for January.

6. The Area Presidency has approve a $60,000 US for our Vava’u Hospital Project. That is over $108,000 Pa’anga in Tongan money. The Dr. at the hospital is putting a list of his priorities together that will fall within that price range and then we will order the equipment from New Zealand.

Ana said she will be going into her meeting with a big smile on her face. Things are going well in the Welfare Department! We knew it would be like this. We have worked for months and months to get all of the ground work done on these projects and now they are all coming together at the same time. It would be nice to spread them out a little, but we aren’t complaining. We are just excited to see them starting to move forward. We want to help all of the people we can while we are here. We still have a couple more in the works, so we should be busy for a good long time!

On Sunday we were worried that Vincent and his wife were not at church. They missed Sacrement Meeting because they got off to a late start but they came to our Sunday School Class. We talked about the Celestial Kingdom and I think we convinced everyone in the class that that is where they want to end up. Now we just have to help them receive all the ordinances and make the covenants that are necessary to make that happen. Vincent had a better --- softer look in his eyes today. We encouraged him to watch Conference next week and promised him that a lot of his questions would be answered if he would. He said he would and that he would be back in two weeks. We are praying that we can keep him on the right path and help him make the necessary changes in his life to find the happiness he is seeking. It is exciting for us to be able to do a little bit of missionary work.

Tonight we watched Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It reminds us of Kimi, because she loves that movie. It also reminded us of Ukraine. That’s where we were the last time we watched it. It’s a fun, uplifting movie. A good way to end the day.

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

We have seen a few cockroaches lately, so Alan cleaned everything last night and we sprayed with poison. I know that they are coming from next door. These houses are set up as duplexes and if the people in the house next to you aren’t very clean or careful, then you have problems. There is a man living next to us right now. He will only be here until next week, but he has lots of relatives over and lots of kids. They just don’t worry about things like cockroaches. I DO!!!!! Hopefully when it is cleaned thoroughly things will get better. We really haven’t had a lot of trouble until now.

Tonight was movie night. We had been watching so many old movies that people asked us to bring our movies over so they could have other choices. We brought Sea Biscuit and that is what they wanted to see. We all really enjoyed it. It was a fun evening. I made sweet rolls. It was supposed to be a celebration treat, but instead it ended up as a prize for being the biggest looser! What is wrong with those Aggies??? Who puts together a football team without a backup quarterback that is ready to go? Pathetic!!!! It was embarrassing. Everyone else was all decked out in their BYU shirts and we had to hang our heads.

Friday was a great day at work and a great ending to our week. We submitted our Central Phaarmacy Project on October 1st and it was approved TODAY!!, October 4th. That has to be a record for a project moving through the approval levels. Elder Reynolds, who works in the Area Office in New Zealand, is really helping us move our projects along. I don’t know what we would do without him.

We got a call from Sione, our Champion on the Lavengatonga Project, this morning. He told us that they had started working on the site in Lavengatonga. We picked him up from his work and drove out to take some pictures. We are really getting excited about seeing this one come together. We have been working on it since May!

We had Enrichment Night in our ward tonight. Peau, the young mother in our Sunday School class came. When we had a minute, she sought me out and told me that she and Vincent, her boyfriend, are going to get married next month. She is so thrilled! She said that Vincent loves our Sunday School class and that he is really interested in the church. We are hoping to get him baptized before they get married. She really wants to have a temple marriage in the future.

Also at the meeting tonight, Nita, the lady that we home teach, asked me if Alan and I would act as her parents when she is sealed to them next week. We will be honored to do that for her. She has been working toward this for a long time and we are thrilled that she would want us to be a part of it.

October 4th is my mother’s birthday. She would have been 100 years old today!! What a great woman, what a great life. I really miss her! Perhaps she helped to make this such an amazing day for us today.

We did exercises at our enrichment meeting.

Alan and Sione, our champion, at the site for the new stand and tank.

We laughed when the two boys were standing by watching the old man do all the work! They were digging the holes for the cement on our Lavengatonga project.

A picture of the Central Pharmacy before we clean and paint it.

This is where they keep the strong drugs locked up, inside the pharmacy. I have no idea what it looks like inside.

Tuesday and Wednesday were spent doing the mundane things, no need to go into details.
Thursday was a significant day. We have now been on our mission for 10 months! When I stop to think about how long a month is, I can’t believe how fast the time has gone. We are in the middle of so many important things right now and we still have other projects to submit. We just hope we can see them all through to completion.

Today is October 1st.

  WOW, another month is gone! Alan was reading something the other night and it said that in the latter days, the Lord would speed up time so the Saints would not have to suffer the evils of the world for a long time period. I believe that we are starting to see that happen.
We stayed at Liahona today. I went in to see Dr. Williams, the visiting dentist. I wanted him to check my teeth and make sure that I didn’t have any cavities and I really wanted them cleaned. He is a good dentist and very gentle. I have no cavities and now I am set until the end of our mission. The best part is that it is all free of charge. He is here on a service mission.

When I got back to the office we started working on the pharmacy painting project. I sent an email to Elder Reynolds asking him a question about the budget and the next thing I knew he was calling on the phone. He has decided that it is lots easier to just call and answer questions. In the end he said that we should over estimate the cost. It is always better to have to much money than not enough. We figured out what we needed and then added 25% to that.
Then we submitted the project. It will take some time for this one to get approved but Elder Reynolds said that he “loved” it, so we are hopeful that all will go well. If it is approved we will have 6 active projects that we are working on and we have 2 more in the works. He told us to stop working so hard. He wants us to have everything we are working on finished and closed before we leave Tonga. That is all very well and good but what will we do that last couple of months if we have everything finished? We are a little worried about that.

We had a pretty good earthquake in Tonga today. Alan and I were in the office when the earth started to shake and rumble. We looked at each other and said, “that is an earthquake!” Then all of a sudden a big jolt hit. I grabbed my desk and held on. It only lasted a couple of seconds and then there was more rumbling and shaking. In all it probably lasted less than a minute but it was a little nerve wracking. We haven’t felt one for quite a while now but as summer comes on and then cyclone season, they seem to become more frequent.

Alan didn’t have a very good day today. His stomach has been upset all day. He ate way too much rich food yesterday. He was very careful what he ate today and by evening he was feeling a little better. Hopefully he will have a good night and be fine tomorrow.
On Monday the 30th, we went into work at Ma’ufanga again. We really don’t like that office, but we need to be obedient and we need to be with the rest of the Welfare team, so we went. We still have our office at Liahona so we will only be in town a couple of mornings a week. I guess we can survive that.

A lady came to see us today that didn’t really need anything, she just needed someone to talk to. One of the missionaries we love told her to come and see us. We spent a couple of hours with her and it was such a sad time. She has children back in the states that are going through such a tough time. She is so far away and she feels so helpless. It made my mother heart hurt to hear her story and know that she can’t be with her children when they need her so desperately. We talked about the blessing of the Priesthood and Alan was able to explain to her how her children’s Bishop could help them and protect them. She is trying to get to America and bring them back with her, but that will take quite a long time. In the mean time she has got to trust Heavenly Father to help her. Before she left, Alan said a prayer for her and she is going to have her husband give her a blessing. We will pray for her and her family and hopefully everything will turn out alright. Ohhhhh, this can be a tough world, especially for people who make some bad decisions along the way.

FHE was interesting tonight. The Meyers were in charge of it. They have been here about 6 weeks. Alan told them to tell a little about themselves and then give a Spiritual thought. They told a lot about themselves and didn’t have a Spirituaal thought, but it was still very interesting. They are from Rexberg and it was fun to hear their farm stories. They hadn’t been married long when the Teton Dam broke. They lost everything and both of their parents did too. Elder Meyers told us about one rancher that lost 2,000 head of cattle. They found their bodies all over down river, even inside houses that had been flooded. I remember when that happened. I was in college and my mother gave all of my clothes away to the people who lived up there. When I went home for summer break I had no clothes left, but it was for a very good cause.

Sister Meyers had made cake and we had ice cream with it. Elder Meyers made some fresh salsa, so the treats were great. Alan ate too much.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Our Sacrament meeting was really good today. Brother Hamala spoke. We were surprised, because he spoke a couple of weeks ago, but the clerk must have been inspired when he called him on Saturday night and asked him to speak today. Brother Hamala had an experience this last week that he shared in his talk. He drives a big front end loader for a road construction company here. He took a load of dirt to a man’s house and drove to the back to dump it. When he got to the back of the little house, the front tires on the loader started to sink in some mud. When he put it in reverse the back tires sunk too. The tires are about 4 feet high and they were ¾ of the way down in the mud. Even with 4 wheel drive he could not get it unstuck. They worked for an hour, with chains and other big equipment trying to pull him out but nothing worked. He was so worried that he was going to lose his job. Finally he closed his eyes and said a prayer. He said that he had dark glasses on, so no one would have noticed what he was doing. As he prayed, he said he felt like he was in a little box. There was no noise, no outside interference, just him talking to the Lord. When he was finished he felt like he should try just one more time to put it in reverse and back up. This time the wheels didn’t spin. It just backed right out of the mud, no problem. As it moved, he heard a voice in his head saying “everything is going to be alright.” He was really nervous because he had several of his co-workers there trying to help him. He was waisting time, man power and desiel fuel. When the loader was back on the road his boss walked over to him and simply said, “go back to work”. He was quite emotional as he told the story and it was evident that it had really strengthened his testimony of the power of prayer. It was an experience that he will never forget.

Brother Hamala is in our Sunday School class and he has been working hard at getting back on solid footing in the church. He has made some mistakes in his life but now he is setting things right and I can see that the Lord is preparing him for leadership responsibilities in the future. He is very faithful about coming to church and now he is bringing others with him. He and his wife are the ones that brought the young mother and her live in boy friend to our class. She was there again today and he came with her. Our lesson was on the final judgment, which is a little deep for someone that isn’t a member of the church. Vince is a little hard to read. Sometimes he seems to be right with us and other times he looks around like he isn’t paying attention at all. Brother Hamala says that he hears everything and then asks a lot of questions when they are alone together. We are really hoping we can reach him and help him see the importance of joining the church and getting married to the mother of his daughter. They are both crazy over that baby and she deserves to have her parents married to each other.
We had our senior missionary breakfast this morning on the patio by the mission office. The weather was perfect. All of the missionaries came except Sister Kinikini, she had a shift at the temple. Everyone brought food, we had breakfast casseroles, French toast, biscuits and gravy, bacon, muffins, sweet rolls, fruit and juice. There was tons of food but everything was delicious and we had such a good time. We had 4 missionaries “drop by” and they ate up all the left overs. When we were through eating, Elder Maile showed us how to crack the top off a coconut. We all love drinking the coconut juice, it is so good for you and it really quenches your thirst. But here, the coconuts are young and fresh and if you take the top off you can get inside and scrape out the coconut to eat it. Once he showed us how it is done, some of the men wanted to try it. Coconut juice is not carbonated, but if you shake it and then pop the top off, it will spray out. Alan popped the top off of one and covered Elder Hamblin with the juice. It was really funny! Elder Meyers got his wife.

It is a lot of work for us to put these parties together, but everyone had such a good time they said they want to do it more often. They are all so willing to help that it makes it worth it. We are already planning an “umu feast” for October. That is when everything is cooked in an umu - a hole in the ground. It should be interesting.

The whole group gathered together for breakfast.

Elder Maile showed us how to crack the top off of a coconut. Using these knives can be dangerous!

Elder Meyer sprayed his wife.

Alan gave it a try too.

Once Alan got the top off, he had to have a drink.

Today was a CIRCUS!!! Ana came this morning with 4 boys and moved all the heavy stuff out of the office. We were trying to decide what to take back and what to leave here. It will be hard to work from two different offices. I need my files and I’m afraid I will never have what I need when I need it. By the time we got into town I had a head ache. We needed to set up an office there where I could use my laptop and I needed it hooked to the printer. Alan has the Humanitarian laptop and it needed to be set up too. We had to wait around for the technical staff to come and help us and the air conditioner in our office wasn’t working. By noon I was half sick. My head ache was getting worse by the minute. At 12:30 we left to come home and get something to eat. I drank a coke and that helped.

Maopa, the Home Economic teacher here, was having a fashion show today to show off the work her students had completed. I promised her I would go, so I did. It was good, and the kids had done an amazing job on their projects, but it turned out to be an assembly for the whole student body. In Tonga, the kids don’t clap to show their approval, they scream and yell --- at the top of their lungs! I thought my head was going to explode! When it was over, I went to the office, checked the emails and went home to lie down.

By dinner time I was feeling a little better. We went for a walk and the fresh air helped. I survived the day.

Maopa is the Home Ec. teacher. She is the one that did all the work putting this show together and teaching these students how to sew. We love Maopa!

I didn't get a great picture of this dress, but this young man is the one who designed it and made it.

Therre were lots of models, but this is just a sampling of what they created. It really was amazing what some of them were able to make. They have no patterns here, these girls made their own.

An assembly at Liahona is really differnt that what we are used to at home. They have to set up all the chairs, and then put them all away at the end. They don't have a big plush auditorium with padded chairs.

This is Fehei Fafita, the Liahona High School Principal. She is an amazing woman and she does such a great job with these kids. In Tonga it is the women who really lead out. She is determined to help these kids succeed in life.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Thursday was a busy day at the office. It is the end of the month and I had to do the finances. I hate that!! It is so stressful for me. It took me most of the morning but I got it done. The only problem is, Ana is moving back to our old office and she took our printer with her. Now I don’t have a way to print out my report. We will be setting up an office back at Malfunga tomorrow. We want to do most of our work here at Liahona but we need to be where Ana and the equipment is, at least part of the time. Ana was planning to move in October but for some reason she started yesterday while we were gone and she will be totally out by tomorrow. We love this office and want to hold on to it as long as we possibly can.
Lots of missionary couples at the temple tonight. It is wonderful to have so many here with us. They are amazing people and it is a privilege to serve with them.

On Wednesday the 25th, Alan and I were invited to attend a meeting for the Social Protection of the Vulnerable in the South Pacific. It was another meeting where many very important people were gathered. The Ambassador of Japan was the honored guest. Japan is the main donor for the project. The Ministers of Health, Finance, Education and Internal Affairs were in attendance. We have met with them twice in the last week. Now they know who we are and they come right over to us, shake our hands and express appreciation for our attending these meetings. We may not contribute a lot at the meeting, but we are representing the Church and hopefully giving these government leaders a positive impression of the work the Church does in Tonga. Sonny Kaufusi, a member of our ward, was the head facilitator for the workshop. He is over the Social Services in Tonga. This meeting was to draft a policy for the protection of the Vulnerable in Tonga, mainly the handicapped and the elderly.

Most of the meeting was done in Tongan, so it was a little boring, but we were able to help draft the policy and they used all of our ideas. (They think Palangis are very knowledgeable, wheather we are or not.) The minister of the Wesleyan Church was there and he did the opening and closing prayers. Sonny asked Alan to bless the food for lunch. The Minister was in our group when we were working on the policy and we had a good discussion with him. The people in Tonga feel very strongly about family, so it gave us common ground to build on. We were able to develop a good relationship with him and in the closing prayer he specifically blessed the “missionary and his wife.”

There was a dance at the church by our house tonight. The music was LOUD! They usually end at 11:00 but this one went until 12:00. (We found out later it was for a wedding.) I didn’t get much sleep. I can’t imagine how the families that live in that village survive, we live 3 or 4 blocks away.

On Tuesday morning we had 3 emails about our Ha’utu water project. Salt Lake had fixed the problem and Elder Reynolds sent it back so we could fix the budget. Elder Colson had also written to all the powers that be and said that it was his idea to put the extra money in the budger -- not ours. He said, “Lets just take that money out and pass the project.”

We redid the budget and resubmitted the project by 8:30 AM. We had 2 more approvals on Tuesday but we still need 3 more before it goes to the Area Presidencyt on Wednesday. We are afraid it won’t get done before the Area Presidency leaves for SLC.

We met with Mele, our Champion for the Pacific Pharmacy Painting Project. We should have all of the information we need by the end of this week. We hate to submitt 2 projects in the same week, but we have to get these projecys moving.

I went to Enrichment meeting at my old ward at Liahona tonight. The sisters in the ward made poolitahas, the traditional Tongan dress and they were having a fashion show tonight. We started this project before we switched wards and I wanted to see the result. It was a fun night. I loved being with those sisters again. We love our new ward but those sisters will always hold a very special place in my heart.

These are the ladies that made Poolitahas. This is the traditional Tongan dress. They are very comfortable and I want one!!

Via, the Relief Society President, made these with flowers from her yard, while we were watching the fashion show.

These sisters made these decorations out of pineapple leaves.