Friday, December 27, 2013


Our bishopric spoke in Sacrament Meeting today. They did a really good job, especially our second counselor, Lopeti. I have written about him before, he is the man that told his dad to kill him if he wanted to, but he was going to join the Mormon church. Today he talked about his mother. She died when he was 9 years old. The night before she died, she called him into her room and had him lay down beside her as she talked to him about what she wanted for him in this life. She was a member of the Church of Tonga, but she told him to find the young men with the white shirts and ties and name tags and get to know them. She wanted him to be like them and she knew that if he would live like they do, he would be happy. He talked about how grateful he was that she had put him on the right path before she died and that knowing that was her wish for him, helped him stand firm against his father.

We continued to talk about the prophets in our Sunday School class today. Alan is telling a little about each of our modern prophets. Our class seems to really enjoy hearing about them.

I put a roast in the crock pot before we left for church. It smelled so good when we got home but it was a little tough when we sat down to eat. It still tasted good to us. It is the first roast we have had in over a year. I put the rest of it back in the crock pot and cooked it for 3 more hours and it did make it a little more tender. It will be good for sandwiches.

We went to the Liahona seminary building tonight to watch the Church Christmas Devotional. We hadn’t been able to see it and we were thrilled that they were showing it here. We really enjoyed it. The music was beautiful and all of the messages were good. It was different this year with only President Monson talking from the First Presidency but we enjoyed hearing from other church leaders and Elder Nelson’s talk was really good. I enjoyed the way he used pictures and music in his talk.

They showed the devotional at 6:00, so we were able to go for a walk afterwards. It was a lovely evening and the stars were so bright. That is one thing that I have loved about being in Tonga, there aren’t a lot of external lights here and the stars are bright and beautiful every night. We also are looking at different stars, so it is fun to learn about which stars we can see here.


We had a major wind storm last night. It was noisy but we didn’t mind because it really cooled things off. We heard a lot of banging in the night. When I went outside there were avocados all over the ground. The noise was them hitting the roof of the house next door on their way down.

We stayed home in the morning to get the laundry done and clean the house. We didn’t want to get anywhere near town. There were lots of people who said that it would be a mad house today. We didn’t want anything to do with that.

In the afternoon we went over to the office for a couple of hours. We checked our emails and then I spent the rest of the time putting things on the blog. As usual, I am quite a ways behind.

Tonight we had another movie night. This was the last one before Christmas, so we watched “White Christmas”. I love that movie and enjoy watching it every year before Christmas. It made it feel a little bit like Christmas.

President Tupou, his wife and the Hamblins went to a District Conference in the Niuas. They were supposed to be back on Wednesday but the plane was cancelled. They only fly up there once a week so now they are having a hard time getting home. The only other option is to take the boat back. That boat is called the “barf barge” because everyone that gets on it gets sick. When you come back from the Niuas you are truly in the open Pacific Ocean and it is rough water. Even the Tongans get sick. They have been trying to avoid that option.


Thank you so much Alan!!! I was sick today. Alan shared his germs with me. He went into work and I stayed home. He had to meet with the two assessors that were coming to pick up the wheelchairs that were put together yesterday. They both came and brought trucks to take the chairs out. These two women are amazing and they will be such a blessing to the people of Tonga with this wheelchair program. They were so excited to be able to take the chairs out in time for Christmas. What a wonderful gift for those who will receive them.

I stayed in bed most of the day. My back was really giving me problems, to the point that I had to take a muscle relaxer. That put me under so I just gave in to it and slept for hours. Hopefully that will help my body to recover.

On his way home from the office, Alan stopped to pick up a new driver’s license. They are only good for one year here. When he got there, there was a long line. A very nice lady, that Alan didn’t know but she is a member of the church, saw his missionary name tag and asked him to go with her. She took him to another part of the office and he was able to get his license quickly. Without her help he would have been there a long time! Then he went to get his hair cut. I was going to cut it for him but with my back so bad he decided to go to a Chinese man that he had heard about. Alan really liked him and he did a good job, it is just really short!! Alan doesn’t mind. It is so hot, short hair is a welcome relief.

My back was so painful tonight that Alan called Elder Berger, who lives next door, and asked him to come over and give me a blessing. I am so grateful for the Priesthood and the power of the Priesthood to heal. Once I received that blessing, things started to change. I could feel the pain lessening and as the night went on I started to feel a lot better.

Alan went into town to our ward party. I hated to miss it but I just couldn’t go. I did get up and make a huge cabbage salad though. It is pretty simple so I could put it together quickly, The party started at 7:00 but didn’t really get going until after 8:00. They didn’t eat until 8:30. That is hard on Alan but it happens every time we go to a ward party. He kind of expected it. He had a good time with the people in the ward and didn’t make it home until 10:00.



Alan still isn’t feeling great, but he forced himself to go into work today. We needed to pick up the boys at the hospital that put the wheelchairs together. We have a lot of people that are waiting for a chair. We took them to our office and they were able to get 12 chairs assembled this morning. We will call the assessors tomorrow morning and get them out to the people who need them.

I worked on CHAS entering all of the information on what has happened this last month. You have to keep a journal on each project, so that is a lot of paperwork. It took me all morning to get that done.

I wasn’t feeling great today, mostly weak and no apatite, so we didn’t go to the office this afternoon. I just worked on the computer at home. It was Temple Night tonight but just as we were getting ready to go, Alan had a relaps with his stomach problems so we decided it would be better if we stayed home. We hate to miss a night at the temple, but neither one of us was feeling very well so we thought it would be best to not be around other people.

I asked a young man to take a picture with my camera when we did a group shot at the Service Center Christmas Party. It's kind of far away but you can see how many people work for the Church at the Service Center Here.

One of the ladies that works at the Service Center did a traditional Tongan Dance for us. Alan and Howard Niu were putting money down the back of her dress. That is the custom in Tonga.

Sela, he is the man in our Sunday School class, is really very talented. He played several instruments and also sang for us.

To show their creativiity, the 3 kings used table cloths as robes.

These shephards had real live sheep! They are some of our favorite FM workers and they were really good sports.


Alan wasn’t feeling great yesterday and last night he had a bad night. He needed to stay by the bathroom today so I went into work alone. The Breits are trying to find their way around with the students. There aren’t many coming into the office right now. We hope that it is just a slow time although we know that they are really going to miss the Beans. They did such a great job of helping them to move on with their educations. It will take the Breit’s a little while to get up to speed.

We are going to have this building remodeled over the Christmas break. We were hoping to get an office with a view of the ocean but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen. The Breits really want the conference room expanded and since he is an engineer he has figured out a way that they can make it happen. So we think that the new plan moves us to the other side of the building with a beautiful view of the warehouse next door. Sure glad that we are only going to be here a few more months. The office we are in now gives me the creeps it is always so dirty. I don’t even want to think what is walking around in here at night!!!!! I wish we could just stay at Liahona. We love our office there. By the time they get this all done and cleaned up we will be on our way home. We are just trying to make sure that the couple that comes to replace us -- if there is one -- has a nice place to work.

I went shopping with Sister Mitchell this afternoon. We have been trying to find a day when we could go see Sister Fahoko. She makes wonderful Tongan crafts and we both wanted to get a nativity set to take home. We had a great time in her shop and spent way more money than Alan thought we should but I found some fun things to bring home. That’s part of the problem, getting them home! At least these are not heavy, I will find a way.

We spent a nice quiet evening at home. Alan spent most of the day in bed. He is weak but feeling a little better.


While we were in the office today I was able to get a lot done on the reports that need to be filed and I started to write the success stories that everyone is waiting for. That will take me a little while to finish. I also started deleting some emails. I kept everything while the wheelchair training was going on but now I can get rid of a lot of that stuff and put the rest of it in folders. Computers are really amazing and we need ours but you can get buried in emails.

We are trying to put two dinners together for next week. We will have a dinner on Christmas Eve and another one on Christmas night. I needed to put the lists together so people can sign up for what they want to bring. We all need to eat and it will be lots more fun to be together since we are the only family we have here, but it is a lot of work to organize these meals. Sister Aland has stepped up and is helping me with the Christmas Eve meal. We are going to have a Mexican Fiesta. Elder Aland served his mission in Mexico so she has some fun ideas.
Ana left for Fiji today. We will miss her but she needs a vacation. We are excited for her to be able to go.


Ana is leaving for Fiji tomorrow so we headed into the office this morning to make sure that we were up to date on everything that needs to be done before she leaves. She is our right hand lady and we will miss her while she is gone. We are grateful that everything has slowed down for awhile. Things really come to a stand still in Tonga at Christmas time. There are people shopping, especially on Saturdays, but most people don’t have that kind of money to spend so it is more about trying to sell something than to buy something. What money they make they use to by special food for their feasts. They spend the last of December and the first two weeks of January eating! There is one celebration after another and they are all about the food. In a week or so you won’t be able to buy eggs so you have to stock up early. There is more demand than supply on a lot of items. We just hope we know which ones to buy and store. We are trying to plan ahead for our Christmas Eve dinner and our Christmas Dinner.

We gave Ana her Christmas present today. We had the Schneblys bring her some large print word game books. She really likes those - find the word ones. Tiff tried to get some to me but they never made it. The Schneblys were able to bring 5 with them. She was THRILLED!! You would have thought we had spent a fortune on that gift. And we were THRILLED to see her so happy. These people are not used to getting presents and to see the joy and excitement on her face was priceless! It made our Christmas.

In the afternoon we went to a Christmas party at Service Center. It was for all of the employees of the Service Center and the Senior Missionaries that work in the Service Center. It was interesting. The first thing we did was an impromptu skit. We were divided into groups and given items that we were to use. Each group received some letters that in the end spelled out Christmas. We also had to use a scripture and a song. Our group was first. Our letters were C and H. We used the scripture. “Be of good CHeer.” and then we did a cheer spelling out CHRISTMAS, certainly something to CHeer about. We sang the CHristmas Carol “Joy To The World”. We CHose to CHeer about CHristmas because CHristmas is all about CHarity if you CHoose to focus on CHrist. (guess who got to be the cheerleader!!) It turned out well and people seemed to enjoy it. Some were good, some were pretty sad but funny. Then they had some musical numbers, gave some awards to the workers and those who are retiring and then we ate a HUGE plate of Tongan food.
We were in charge of FHE tonight. We had asked everyone to bring 2 dozen cookies and a small sack of candy. We made 20 boxes of cookies and then went to the village across the street from the temple to do some Christmas caroling and give the cookies to the widows and the families that have lost a family member this last year. We gave out all 20 boxes of cookies and we handed out the candy to the children that we saw along the way. It was really a wonderful activity. We had a great time singing to everyone in the village, the sweet widows and families that we gave cookies to were really touched and grateful and the kids in the village LOVE us!!!

Our Sunday School class was really interesting today. First, while we were waiting for all of the class members to arrive, Sela told us about how his family hates him because he left the church he grew up in and became a Mormon. Then to add insult to injury, he converted his mother before she passed away. They want nothing to do with him and when his house burned down here in Tonga, they did nothing to help him. It was a sad story. He told us that just after the house burned, he went to America to stay with relatives there. In New Zealand, while he was at the airport, he had a 9 hour layover. He didn’t have any money and he was starving. A man from Samoa came up to talk to him and kept asking him if he was alright. Sela didn’t want to tell him what had happened but finally told him that his house had burned down and he had nothing. The man asked if he could help him but Sela told him no. As he got up to leave they shook hands and then the man was gone. He left $200.00 New Zealand dollars in Sela’s hand. They were supposed to be on the same plane, but Sela never saw him again on the plane or in the airport when he landed in America. He knows that man was an answer to a prayer he said in the airport when he asked the Lord for help. It was a touching story.

We talked about Prophets in class today. We asked our new convert if he believed that there was a prophet on the earth today. He said that he believed that Joseph Smith was a prophet but that he had never really thought about there being a living prophet on the earth today until he joined the church. He is just soaking up everything we talk about in class and it is making Sunday School a real pleasure for us. We can’t wait to get there each week. We love this young man and really want to help him develop a strong testimony by making sure that he understands all of the basic principals of the gospel.

We had some left overs in the fridge that needed to be eaten, so we had a simple lunch today. After Alan took a nap, we went to the office so I could put some information on the Blog. I am always so far behind on that thing it drives me crazy!! I won’t miss posting things on there when we get home, but it is fun to put lots of pictures on so I can share what we are doing and seeing with those who are still reading it. Alan didn’t have much to do, so he called his brother Gary. We missed talking to him on his birthday this year so he hadn’t talked to him in a long time. They had a great visit. I think it was good for both of them.

Since it is December we wanted to watch a Christmas movie tonight. We watched ‘The Christmas Wish”. I had seen it but Alan hadn’t and he really enjoyed it. I miss being able to watch all of the Christmas shows on TV in December. I love them all and I can watch them over and over every year. (All except The Christmas Story -- I hate that movie!!! But loved the lamp I made for Greg that one year. I wonder what ever happened to that thing???)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

I don't think I ever showed you a picture of the checker boards here. They make their own. They paint the squares in with a magic marker and then use bottle lids for the checkers. We see these all over Tonga and especially where the older men gather. In Ukraine we saw people playing chess, here it is checkers. Life is more layed back in Tonga. There is always time for a game of checkers. "No worries man."


We took Elder Berger into town this morning. We went to the fair and then to a couple of stores. There were a million people in town today. We couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Next week will be even worse because of Christmas. We won’t be shopping next Saturday! We had a great time with Elder Berger. He is a true Idaho cowboy and it was fun to hear his stories. He loves horses and he used to break and train them. He and Alan could sit and talk all day. We need to have him over for dinner.

We did the laundry and cleaned the house and then we went to movie night. This week we watched “Little Lord Fauntleroy.” It was delightful. We had a lovely evening with the other senior couples. We had it at the Edward’s house this week. Sister Edwards is still in a lot of pain from her fall this week and it was more comfortable for her in the chair in her living room. It was more comfortable for the rest of us too. I liked it!

Friday, December 13th:

Today is Friday the 13th, Zach turns 13 today in the year 2013. That is pretty exciting, 13-13-13. That is triple the luck for us. I love the number 13. It has been a very lucky day for me. An Amazing daughter and two precious grandchildren are born on the 13th, plus, we are about to have our 13th grandchild. Also, both my mother and father were born in 1913. They would have been 100 years old this year. It is a great number!!

We called Zach today, even though his birthday isn’t until tomorrow in America. It is really fun to talk to the grandchildren now that they are getting a little older. They have lots to tell us and we can carry on a great conversation with them. When we were in Ukraine they were a little young to do that. We always find out about what is happening in sports when we talk to Zach. He knows it all and grandpa loves it!

One thing he told us we didn’t like hearing and that is that Amberly isn’t feeling well again. Evidently whatever it was that was bothering her before Thanksgiving is back. They still don’t really know what the problem is, so they are back to square one. We are hoping and praying that the doctor will find the problem this time and know what to do to fix it. We worry when we know that she has not felt well for such a long time. We love her so much and we want her to be healthy and back to her happy active self again.

We gave out 7 wheelchairs from the new shipment today. When the boys from the hospital came to get them we made them bring the evaluation slips with them. Then we made copies so we can keep them in a file here at the office. We need to know where every wheelchair is going or they won’t send any more to Tonga. We are trying to fix all the problems that they had with the last shipment so that won’t happen. There is a desperate need for wheelchairs in Tonga!

It was a HOT day today but there was a nice breeze tonight so we went for a walk. The two wards that meet at Liahona were having their Christmas parties tonight, so it was a quiet night on the campus. Ours isn’t until next weekend.


We drove out to Lavengatonga this morning to see if the water is hooked up and we are ready to do the closing ceremony tomorrow. It isn’t and we aren’t! When we got back into town we called Sione Tonga to find out when the water will be hooked up. He wasn’t in the office so we met him near the police station. It is easier to talk to him in person than on the phone. He was really upset. He had been working all morning to try to get the water hooked up because Ana was pressuring him to have it done by tomorrow. The Health Department has to send a man to the village to check the stand and tank and hook up the water system from the pump. There are only two men in Tonga that are qualified to do that and the one that was scheduled to go to Lavengatonga fell from a tower in another village yesterday and was badly injured. That will put our closing on hold for awhile. Sione was worried that we would be mad about that. We talked to him for quite awhile and told him that everything was fine. It took a minute, but we got him to calm down and hopefully all will be well now. We will close the project sometime after Christmas.

We had a conference call with Elder Reynolds today. We look forward to those calls because we really like Elder Reynolds and he is a great help to us, but I also dread them because I always have a list of things to do before we hang up. Today was no exception but I was expecting it. I have a lot of final reports to write now that all of these projects are coming to an end. We will start working on the emergency container as soon as Ana comes back from her Christmas visit with her family. He doesn’t want us to start any projects that we can’t finish before we leave for home. I can’t believe that we are talking about that already! They have put in for a couple to replace us but as of yet there is no news on a replacement.

We ended the day at the Temple. It is the first time since we arrived in Tonga that we have been in the temple without the Beans. We really miss them!!!


We spent the day in the office again today. I worked on CHAS putting in the final reports. After working for about an hour on one project, I needed some information from another site. I forgot to hit “save” at the bottom of the page and lost everything I had entered!!! No way to retrieve it!! SO FRUSTRATING!!!

I went to see Ying today. I haven’t had a massage in over 3 months and both of my legs are going numb. Two of the wheelchair trainers are Doctors and they both said it is my sciatica nerve. I thought maybe she could loosen it up a little. I am trying to do exercises and stretches to help it and to have better posture. I need to get up and walk around more. I sit at a desk too long at a time. I also need to drink more water and to walk more. Hopefully I will have time to do that now.

When we got home I made a tin foil supper. That tasted mighty good! Then I spent the night catching up on my journal.


We spent the day at the office today trying to catch up on everything that we have had to let slide these last two weeks. I have to write up reports on all of these projects when they are finished. Now the Area wants News Releases because the Public Affairs people in Tonga aren’t getting the job done. I was really mad about that on Friday. I asked them to have the news paper and the TV station there to see the wheelchairs being given away and they didn’t do a thing. We didn’t have time to even think about it and I was not happy that they did not support us.

We had really good WiFi at our office today so we called Kimi on Face Time. We were able to talk to her for almost ½ hour without any problems. She put Grace on a blanket on the floor and we just watched her play. It was the first time that we have had such a good look at her. What a cutie!!! She loved her grandma and grandpa. She looked right at us as we talked to her and reached for us. Oh, melt my heart! I can’t wait to get ahold of her.

When we got home I baked some cookies to take to the RS activity. We had a Christmas RS midweek activity. It was all decorated with small Christmas trees, lights, nativity sets and even snow globes. If it hadn’t been a hundred degrees in the room it would have really felt like Christmas. I just can’t get used to having Christmas in the middle of summer. Some of the sister and the Bishop shared their memories and traditions of Christmas. Christmas is very different here. They don’t exchange presents, they get some candy or fun treats and then have a special family dinner. They plant crops so that they will be ready in time for Christmas and raise a pig for the feast.

Via told us about how it was at her house when she was growing up. On Christmas Eve they would gather together as a family and her dad would make big woven baskets and then fill them with the very best of their harvest. They would take the baskets out to their Auntie and to all of the widows. Via used to get mad and say that if they sold that produce at the fair they could afford to buy some new clothes for Christmas. Her dad taught her that it was more important to give than to receive. That they were taking care of others for the Savior and he would only give the very best. He also taught them that if they learned to do as the Savior did they would always be blessed. Then on Christmas morning they would get up early and fix a huge breakfast. Her mother would put out plates all over the table and they would fill them with the wonderful breakfast foods. Then they would deliver them to the neighbors and the widows. Once again Via would complain. It was her Christmas too and she wanted some of that food. He dad reminded her that the Savior needed her to be His hands here on earth and that he never thought of himself, only of others. (the blessings came when the neighbors brought plates of breakfast to their house too.) These were powerful lessons that she is now teaching her children. It is the Tongan way and a tradition in this culture. We could all learn so much from them!!! The best part of Christmas was the feast that was prepared by the whole family and shared by the whole family, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandma and grandpa and all the brothers and sisters and their families. Christmas is a family day in Tonga and it is centered in the remembrance of the birth of the Savior.

We shared the cookies that everyone brought and had HOT CHOCOLATE!! I thought I would melt, but I have to admit, it tasted good.

Monday, December 9th

We went to the Liahona Devotional this morning. The Beans were asked to come and say good-bye. The Service Center presented them with a large round picture of a Tongan follie. It is beautiful, but to big to put in a suitcase and to late to send it home. We will help them if they need us to and be sure that they get it home.

Then we headed to the airport to see them off. That was a sad experience. It is always hard to say good-bye to good friends and we don’t know when we will see the Beans again. They live in Washington State but they do come to Utah to see Sister Beans’ parents who live in St. George. Hopefully we can meet up with them then. Alan had a hard time. The Beans going home has made him homesick. We still have a lot to do and we don’t feel “done” yet, but it really does make you stop and think about home and family. We will work hard for the next 6 months and be ready to go home in June.

FHE tonight was done by the Maile’s. She is a kick. She hates lessons so she did a quick, and I mean quick, spiritual thought and then we played Fruit Basket. That is a fun game, but not really a good one for senior couples. Especially if they are competitive. Sister Edwards ended up on the floor and she hit a chair as she went down. It knocked the air out of her and really hurt her back. Elder Breit and Dr. Lorenz also ended up on the floor, trying to sit on a chair that was already taken. (One time I was on the bottom of that!) It was fun, we laughed a lot and learned a lot about each other, but it was a little to rough. Some people will be paying for playing that game for a few days.

We started the planning for our Christmas Eve Dinner and our Christmas Day Dinner. We are the only family we have here so we will spend those special days together.

Elder and Sister Bean when they were given a Tongan picture at the Service Center devotional. The people that the Beans worked with in Tonga LOVED them!! What a great couple.

Friday, December 20, 2013


We stayed at Liahona for church today. The Beans were speaking at their last Sacrament Meeting and we wanted to support them. They also taught their last Sunday School class. It was fun to be back in the Liahona 1st Ward. I love the people in that ward and I really miss them. The Beans did a great job, both in Sunday School and in Sacrament Meeting. The Breits also spoke in Sacrament meeting. It was a good meeting and we were glad that we decided to go. We hate missing church at our own ward, but this was the right place to be today.

We had the Beans and Sister Mitchell over for dinner today. I made a big meatloaf and had baked potatoes, a salad, cucumbers and onions and hot rolls. It turned out great and we had a wonderful visit. We can’t believe that the Beans will be leaving tomorrow. The last year has gone by so fast. We have become close friends and we will really miss them.

Just as the Beans were leaving to go meet with the Mission President, Dr. Lorenz, the dentist here now, came over with a huge piece of cake. We sat back down and had MORE dessert with him.  In Tonga it is all about eating and you can always eat a little more!  Dr. Lornez will be leaving on Tuesday.

I almost forgot to post the picture of this land crab that we found at our front door one morning during the wheelchair training. He was a big one and quite agressive if we got to close. You really don't want to get caught in those pinchers!!


We were exhausted and just wanted to stay in bed today, but Steve Spencer, one of the trainers, had to be at the airport at 8:30 am. We were up bright and early, went to the Friendly Islander to pick him up and then we took him to the airport. It is about a 30 minute drive. On the way we found out that Steve is a cowboy poet. He lives in Eden, up Ogden canyon now but he grew up on his grandfather’s ranch. He recited poetry on the way to the airport and it was really fun. He has a great voice and he is a great poet. When we got to the airport there was no one there. That is a bad sign! The flight had been cancelled but they didn’t send out emails. The next flight would be at 11:30 at night and that cancelled out all of his connecting flights. We headed back to the hotel.

He was traveling for the church, so he was able to contact Church Travel and they got him on the same plane that the other trainers were leaving on. He switched from Air New Zealand to Fiji Air and they made connections for him. We left them all there together because they were going to turn in the rental car at the airport. We headed home!

We did the laundry, took naps, got food ready for dinner tomorrow and went to movie night. We watched “The Preacher’s Wife”. It is old, but a great Christmas movie. The couples have a lot of Christmas movies with them so we are going to have movie night every Saturday in December.

Alan with Steve Spencer. It is wonderful how in the mission field you can meet people and in a week become close friends. We grew to love this man and so did the people in Tonga.

We had a good turn out for the training, 14 assessors and 8 technicians. On Friday, 12 assessors and 7 technicians received certificates. We now have people on Ha’apai and Vava’u that we know and can trust to give out wheelchairs on those islands. We also have so much more help here on the main islands to get wheelchairs where they need to be. We are thrilled with how it all turned out. The trainers got frustrated along the way, but they came to know and love the people and that calmed them down a little. It just isn’t going to be like it is in America. They need to come here with an understanding of that.

These are the assessors and the technicians that received certificates on the last day of training.

On Friday, we had the privilege of giving out 22 wheelchairs, 2 walkers and 1 cane. That is what this job is all about! It is such a sweet experience to see people who are in such need, be able to come, be assessed and then leave with their own wheelchair. Most of the ones that came where older people, those who had been in accidents or those who have had a stroke. Only a couple that came had limbs amputated. The people who are severely handicapped cannot travel on public transportation and their families don’t have the money to own a car or call a taxi. They will be assessed at home and the wheelchair will be delivered to them. That is the blessing of having lots more assessors. We can now reach many more people.

This woman has a 2 week old baby! Her husband left her when she had to have her leg amputated. Now she will be able to get around so much easier and she will be able to take care of her new born son.

This is the sweetest lady we will ever know. She smiled from the minute we met her until we put her in the car to leave. She was so grateful to have her own wheelchair and to be able to get around. She has not been able to go to church because she can't walk. We love her!!!

On Thursday, the most interesting part of the training was when the assessors and technicians actually took the wheelchairs out and experienced for themselves what it is like to be in a wheelchair, how hard it is to get around on bumpy terrain, how hard it is to get a wheelchair up a ramp and how frightening it is to go downstairs and upstairs in a wheelchair. That was a real eye opener for them. Some of those being trained have Diabetes, Ana Ika for one. They all said that they will do anything to stay out of a wheelchair. Hopefully it will help them to change their diets and to exercise more.

it is difficult to get aroune in a wheelchair on uneven surfaces and in bad weather. We had a little of both.

Going up and down stairs is difficult and you have to have someone you trust to help you.

Getting up those wheelchair ramps is not as easy as some people make it look. You have to have a lot of upper body strength.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, December 4th, 5th, and 6th:

I took charge of all the food. We fed 37 people a snack about 10:30, lunch about 12:30 and another snack about 3:30. I spent most of my time preparing food, delivering food and then going to get more food. The hardest part was carrying it back and forth across that huge parking lot! I bet I walked it at least 25 times a day.

Alan was the “go to man”. Whenever the trainers needed something, Alan took care of it for them. Everything went well --- except for the fact that Tongan’s have no concept of time and Americans are slaves to their schedules. That was not a good combination. We spent quite a bit of time trying to keep people calm and happy.


There was a devotional at Liahona this morning. We asked Howard Niu if we could use the chairs in the Service Center for our training --- and he said “NO”. I couldn’t believe it!! We only asked to use the chairs with the broken backs, but he wouldn’t let us take them. Now we have to start over and the training starts tomorrow! MERCY!!!!!

We went into the Central Pharmacy and picked up some pallets and plastic water packs that we can use for foot blocks. When we got to work we put the pallets on folding chairs and decided that we will have to make that work. We are out of time. We spent the rest of the morning getting everything set up.

We went out to lunch about 2:30 pm. The Schneblys took us to Friends. We had a meeting while we waited for lunch. Hopefully everything is ready to go. After lunch a young man walked up to us and asked us if we were Greg Webb’s parents. I knew I knew him, but being in Tonga, I couldn’t put a name to the face. It was Taylor, one of Greg’s mission companions. He is a lawyer and he came with his law partner who is a Tongan, to see where the Tongan’s father was born and died. It was such a surprise to see him. I almost expected to see Greg walk around the corner. That was an amazing experience. We have only eaten at that café twice since we got to Tonga. To be there and see and visit with Taylor was a blessing. He is married to the daughter of one of our good friends, Mike and Cindy Budge.

I’m not sleeping well. The days are long and hot, the nights are long and hot and I can’t turn my mind off. To many things to think about!


Monday was a holiday in Tonga. It is the day that they celebrate the birthday of King George Tupou the 1st. His real birthday is on Wednesday, but they have done what we do in America and turned it into a 3 day weekend.

We didn’t get a holiday. We needed to start setting everything up for the training. They brought a lot of their stuff with them, but we still needed to make a couple of trips to round up needed supplies. Lots of the stores were closed but the ones run by the Indian people and the Chinese were still open.

 We got a lot done but there is plenty to do tomorrow before we will be ready. We were in town until after 5:00 then grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed to FHE. The Beans were in charge of FHE tonight. This was their last one. I hate to think that they will be gone in a week. They talked about some of their favorite memories of their time in Tonga. Most of them were centered around stories that the students they were helping told them. A couple were really powerful.

One young man, who is now a member of our Bishopric, told them about how harsh his father was when he was growing up. He would hit his wife and beat his children. When Lopeti decided to join the church his father went ballistic. At first he was afraid of what he might do to him, but then he felt peace and no longer cared. He knew that what he was doing was right. Lopeti went into the kitchen, got a machete, handed it to his father and said, “You can kill me if you want, but I am going to join this church.” His father didn’t hurt him and shortly after Lopeti was baptized, his father died. One year later he appeared to Lopeti, dressed it black. He told him he wanted to be baptized. Lopeti got right to work and was baptized for his father shortly there after. Once again his father appeared to him, this time dressed all in white. He thanked Lopeti and told him he loved him. Lopeti is a man of great faith now and he and his wife have adopted many disadvantaged children here. They are helping them to get an education, to learn about the church and to get a better start in life.

The other story that they told that really touched me was about a young woman named Mele. She lived with her grandmother, who was in her 90’s. This sweet old lady was a very faithful member of the church. One day she told Mele that she would die soon. She asked her to go on the bus and bring her uncle home to her. Mele left for a couple of hours to find her uncle. When they returned they found the grandmother laying on her bed, dressed in her temple clothes, her hands folded on her chest, dead. In Tonga someone who is a member of the church and endowed needs to dress the deceased in their temple clothes before the burial. She didn’t have anyone in her family that could do it at that time, so she did it herself. It was a touching FHE. We all have met people that we love here that have similar stories.

After FHE was over we found a solution for the benches we need for the wheelchair training. The trainers came to FHE and we were able to put some wood on top of two chairs that they think might work. We will be glad to have that problem solved.
Sunday, December 1st.

Our wheelchair trainers came to church with us this morning. It was Fast Sunday and Elder Schnebly wanted to bear his testimony. He served his mission in Tonga a couple of years after Alan was here. He had a hard time trying to find an opening so he just went up and sat on the stand to wait for a turn. Our Fast Sunday meetings don’t have a lot of dead time. They are really good.

Our Sunday School class was great today. We have a new member in the class. His was baptized this last week. He lived in America and got into some trouble there. He was deported to Tonga and now is trying to put his life in order. He hung on everything we said and asked some good questions. It will really be good to have him in the class. We loved teaching a new member again.

After church we headed home so I could put another Thanksgiving dinner together. The Schnebly’s and Blake had to travel on Thanksgiving and didn’t get a turkey dinner. I heated up the left over turkey, made some more dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy with a salad and all the trimmings. I even made some rolls. The house was hot, even with our little air conditioner and fan going, but the food was great and they were really surprised. They loved it and I was glad that I went to the trouble to do it for them. They came at 2:30 and didn’t leave until after 7:00. That is just a little too long! Especially when we had all those dishes to do. We are tired already and the week hasn’t even started yet.


We went to the fair this morning and were pleasantly surprised. The ship has come in and there were a lot of new things at the fair. We were able to get jam, rice and lotion that we haven’t seen in a long time. Alan also picked up a couple of books to read. Hopefully someday soon he will have time to do that.

We went to the airport a little early so that we could stop by Lavengatonga and check out the new sign and see if the water is hooked up yet. Oh Mercy!!! They spelled the name of the church and the name of the village wrong on the sign! And these people are Tongan. The water isn’t hooked up yet, so that will give us time to get the sign fixed before the closing ceremony.

We picked up the Schnebley’s and Blake Powell at the airport and took them to their hotel, The Friendly Islander. It is only a couple of blocks from our office so it is really convenient. They seem like very nice people and they are very generous. They asked if they could bring us anything and I said, “chocolate chips and walnuts.” They brought the huge bags from Cosco! She also found some word puzzle books at the dollar store that I wanted to give to Ana for Christmas. I am really excited about that. We just dropped them off and let them rest. That flight is a killer!! They will come to our house for dinner tomorrow.

This sign says that the new tank and stand are a gift from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day. They also spelled the name of the village wrong. It is all one word, Lavengatonga, not Lavenga in Tonga!! Really??!! The sign maker lives in Tonga and is Tongan.


We had the handover ceremony for the wheelchair shipment today. At 9:00AM a representative from the Ministry of Health, Elder Tuku'afu, representing the church, and the Administrator of the hospital all met at our office to participate in the ceremony. Alan conducted the handover and Elder Tuku'afu did the actual handover of the chairs to the Ministry of Health. The newspaper and the TV station were both there. Alan and Anna were both interviewed. Ana’s interview was on the Tongan news and Alan’s was on the English news. He did a great job of representing the church. I was so proud of him.

I took care of the food and the reception that we had for all of the dignitaries afterward. It all turned out very well and Elder Tuku'afu said that he was very pleased with how it went. Once all of the ceremonial things were over the work began. We had 12 missionaries show up to help us unload the container. Then the wheelchairs were stacked in the warehouse. It took 2 ½ hours and it was probably 120 degrees in that building. Alan and Elder Bean told the boys where to stack the chairs and I kept a count of everything so that we would know if all of the chairs we ordered were delivered. The sweat was running down my face and it was bright red. That kind of heat can kill people!! The boys just laughed and told me I was part Tongan. They sweat like that and carry towels to wipe their faces. I am going to carry a towel from now on.

After lunch we went into town to rent a car for the Schnebley’s. We will have it delivered to their hotel. The car rental place is right by Café Escape. It was so hot that we decided to go in and get a milkshake to split. I ordered a banana shake and then watched them make it. They used banana syrup to flavor it and mixed it with milk. They put it on the shake machine and that mixed it and made it frothy, but there is no icecream involved and I was surprised that there were no real bananas. It was cold and tasted ok, but it wasn’t what we were expecting for our $7.00.

We spent the afternoon finishing up the details for the Schnebley’s visit. I hope we are ready. I haven’t slept well all week worrying about this training. I will be glad to get it started.

At the wheelchair handover ceremony, Elder Tuku'afu handed the wheelchairs over to the Ministry of Health, represented by the head doctor from the hospital.

These are the missionaries that came to save Elder Webb's back from breaking. They unloaded and stacked 270 wheelchairs in a little over 2 hours.

By the time we were finished, this entire room was stacked from floor to cealing with wheelchair boxes.


Happy Thanksgiving!! Being in another country on Thanksgiving really makes you realize how much you have to be thankful for. We take so much for granted! As we have seen how other people live, in other parts of the world, we have begun to realize that we have so much more than we need. People who live a simpler life seem to be happier. Not burdened down with trying to acquire more “things”. They are content with what they have and who they are. Especially the Tongan people. They don’t try to be better than their neighbor or have more than others. They are more concerned with helping others and making sure they have everything they need. We have learned some powerful lessons from the people that we love here. Once again, our mission is a gift from God to us. I just pray that we will have a mighty change of heart and remember the lessons we have learned as we have served our brothers and sisters in Tonga. Still, our greatest blessing is our family and we are so grateful for them. I don’t know how we could do this without their love and support. We feel of their prayers everyday and know that they are being answered as we see tender mercies in our lives and in our work everyday.

Our Thanksgiving Dinner turned out GREAT! Even though we had a few hitches along the way. We went to set up the room for the dinner and it had been double booked. We reserved it a month ago but there was a meeting that lasted all day, going on in there. The principal of the high school let us use the teacher’s lounge and it was even nicer. It is a bigger room that has just been renovated. The air conditioning works really well in there, so we were very comfortable.

The food was amazing. We have such good cooks. It was a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings -- with a Tongan touch. The Tongan yams are purple, so they looked different but they were delicious. We had plenty of turkey and even enough left overs for people to take some home. It was just about perfect, except we really missed our family!!!!! We fed 37 people, had time for a nap in the late afternoon and then ended the day with a trip to the temple. You can’t do that at home but it was a very special way to end the day.

On Thanksgiving Day we had a great feast. We had turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, yams, rolls, vegetables and assorted desserts, even pumpkin pie! Of course in Tonga we were able to add fresh fruit. YUMMMM!!!


The Ha’utu water contract has been approved by the attorney in New Zealand. We made copies of it today and had it signed. That is a relief. The engine and the pump have already been ordered, so we had to make sure that the contract got approved and signed. We kind of did that a little backwards but oh well, hopefully what the Area Office doesn’t know won’t hurt them.

We are still trying to get everything ready for next week. We found out today that the wheelchairs will be delivered tomorrow -- Thanksgiving Day! It isn’t a holiday in Tonga. We will unload them on Friday. We will get some missionaries to help us.

Sam, of Sam’s Workshop, called to tell us that the Lavengatonga project is done. He has completed his work and the sign is up. Now all that needs to be done is for the village to hook the water to the new system and we can have the closing ceremony. He told us that he was a little disappointed that more of the villagers didn’t come out to see the work being completed. Only the town officer and the water master came. I guess usually the village people come to see what is happening. But that didn’t happen this time.

We came home at noon. I had to start working on dinner for tomorrow. I have been drying bread for two days for the dressing, but there is so much humidity that I can’t get it like I want it. I am also making the pumpkin dessert and I wanted to get that made tonight. Sister Edwards, who has only been here for 2 days, came and said that she wanted to contribute. She will make a tropical cake. That will be great. I really like the Edwards already. They will be very supportive of all we do and they are fun people . Another great couple! We have been so blessed.

I knew that Kimi would want to see what I found in the bathroom today. I didn't blow this up, I just got up close when I realized that it was not moving because of the stuff I spray every week. I didn't even scream when I saw this thing. Not because I didn't want to, but because it scared me so bad it took my breath away!!!


Another day at the office working on the training. There are so many details to take care off and so many things to arrange. We are still trying to find benches that will be the right height and some kind of foot blocks that will work. Everyday we get more emails with new instructions of things that have to be done before they arrive. I could go CRAZY!!! I hate this last minute stuff. I wanted all of this done a long time ago.

This evening the Breit’s arrived. They are the couple that will replace the Beans. We went out to the airport to greet them. Elder Breit got off of the plane ahead of her and walked into the airport. She was the last person off the plane and she looked tough. She walked with her head down and her hand over her eyes. It took a long time for them to get through customs and when she came out, she was in a wheelchair. I walked over to talk to her and she was trembling. I put my arm around her and tried to find out what was wrong. She said that she didn’t feel well, but as time went on, it looked like she was having a panic attack. She has been emailing the Beans and she was not happy about coming to Tonga. They were called to serve in New Zealand and she had no desire to visit, let alone live in a 3rd world country. She had really worked herself into a state of fear and it took us a while to help her calm down. By the time we left the airport she was doing a little better. The Beans had them over for dinner and they said that by the time dinner was over she was feeling much better. Hopefully she will adjust and be able to enjoy her time here.

We are really going to miss the Beans!!!!!!!

Elder and Sister Breit with President and Sister Tupou. Sister Breit did much better after she had been on the ground for a little while.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


I went into the office this morning and Alan went to the airport to meet the new senior couple that arrived today. There is so much that needs to be done this week to be ready for our wheelchair training next week that I had to miss meeting the plane. Alan was really impressed with this new couple. I can’t wait to meet them.

I had a huge day at the office. Ana is sick and she couldn’t do much today, even though she came in for a couple of hours. I spent most of that time trying to stay away from her! I can’t get sick now!! We were finalizing the list of participants for the training and trying to get everything done that the Schnebly’s have sent us. So much for asking them to tell us what needs to be done a month ahead so this wouldn’t happen.

After work we met the Beans at the Twin Towers store and picked up the turkeys for our Thanksgiving dinner. Villi, the man that runs the store met us and gave us the turkeys at a HUGE DISCOUNT. They cost $84.00 each and he cut the price to $54.00 and then gave us one free. Not only that, he threw in 3 hams!! We will use those for our Christmas dinner. That was very generous of him. The Beans said he did the same thing last year for the senior missionaries. That costs him a lot of money but he says it is his gift to us. We will all support him as long as we are here, so hopefully it will pay off for him too.

We didn’t have FHE tonight, we will all be together on Thanksgiving so that will be it for this week. I have spent a lot of time planning and assigning things for dinner. Being the District Leader is a very time consuming job, and this week we just don’t have the time. Thank heaven we have great people to work with, who are very supportive.

Sunday, Nov. 23rd

We didn’t have our Sunday School Class today. The young mother, Peau, won’t be coming to our ward any more. She has left her boy friend and moved home to live with her parents. He has changed completely since his mother arrived from America. He started hitting Peau when she didn’t do what he wanted her to do and thank heaven! she had the good sense to leave him. She will take care of her baby on her own. She will be going to New Zealand to get a job and provide a life for both of them. We will miss her but she has promised to stay close to the church. We think she has learned a powerful lesson and now she knows what kind of a life she wants.

We spent our Sunday School class time talking to one of the members of our ward. He is here as a special agent and he was telling us about his investigations into corruption among some high level government officials here. It was sad to hear. We saw so much corruption in Ukraine, I hate to find it in this island kingdom too.

I called Odean when we got home from church. It is her birthday tomorrow but she will be spending that day with her family. It was so good to talk to her again. I really miss her!! I look forward to our weekly lunches when we get home again. She is a very special friend!

We were also able to Skype some of our kids today --- and it worked!! Yea, the internet is getting better. Of course there are no teachers here anymore and it was Sunday, so it remains to be seen how it works when school is back on. Amberly is still not feeling well and they don’t know what is causing her stomach aches. We are worried about her. Her name is on the prayer roll and we are all praying for her, we know our prayers are heard and will be answered.

There was a Relief Society Fireside tonight. Sister Mitchell and I went. It was all in Tongan so we didn’t understand much, but we could still feel the spirit and the music was amazing. The Tongan Saints are so grateful that we support them and they treat us like royalty. By the end of the meeting we had head sets and a translator. We were the only palangis at the meeting, but everyone came and thanked us for coming.


We thought that all of the kids would go home with their parents yesterday after graduation --- wrong!! This morning at 6:00 the boys in the dorm started screaming and laughing. They must have been watching a rugby game on TV. By 6:30 we gave up and got up. So much for sleeping in. It rained a lot yesterday and cooled things off a little. In the night it got hot and humid. We were hoping for a cool Saturday and a morning that we could sleep a little longer. Oh well, we got the work done before it got to hot.

Yesterday at graduation Ensimore, a lady that works for the FM, told us that they had come to our house and taken our standing fan to use at graduation. She said that they would bring it right back. We are sure that she must think the FM bought that fan and put it in the house, but they didn’t. We bought it and I can’t live without it!!! They didn’t bring it back and by the time we got the housework done this morning, I was dying! Someone had better bring it back and FAST!

Tonight was a once in a lifetime experience. We were invited to a Tongan family celebration. A young man received his Master’s Degree this spring. His mother threw a traditional Tongan celebration for him. His father is a pa’langi and he lives in America. He didn’t come to the party. The mother is Tongan. The mother’s relative, an uncle to the young man, represented the mother’s family. The father’s relative, an aunt, should represent the father’s family. In this case the auntie had to be a pa’langi. The father didn’t have any relatives living here, so his cousin, a man we know at Liahona, asked me to stand in as the Auntie. I agreed and we went to the celebration.

We sat at the head table and I sat next to the uncle. When they were ready to start, the young man, Andrew, walked in. He was dressed in a tradition Tongan tavala, a mat that wraps around a man’s waist. It was beautiful and then there was a mat-train hooked to the back of it that was 100 feet long! It took 8 people to carry it. He walked to the other end of the room and sat on a tapa mat. Then they did a full Kava ceremony. Alan loved that part. He never got to see one of those while he was here on his mission and he was excited to see how it was done. They make a drink called Kava from the branches of a Kava tree. They pound it and then mix it with liquid in a big Kava bowl. When it was ready they served it to the honored guest and then to other men who wanted some. It was interesting.

Then next part involved me. They brought in a HUGE -DEAD - PIG! ( the estimated weight was 800 lbs) It was placed in the middle of the room and I was to walk up to it and touch it. The stomach was cut open and the liver was sitting on top with a branch sticking out of it. I touched it up close to the head. Everyone started clapping, like I had really done something important. Then I returned to my seat. When I got back they told me that the pig now belonged to me. I could do anything I wanted to with it. (It was half cooked, and dripping blood on the floor. It had been in the Tongan heat - who knows how long. I didn’t want to do anything with it!) I told them I would like them to divide it up between the members of the family. They were really thrilled with that.

After that part of the ceremony we ate dinner. It was a Tongan Feast. All Tongan food. I have never been so grateful for the Tongan root crops. They don’t have a lot of flavor, but I knew that they were safe. Because we were at the head table, we were served. I had to ask the uncle what I was eating. There was sea weed, clams, raw fish, pig, lupulu, ufi and Tongan yams. I tried a little of everything, but stayed mostly with the ufi and yams. We had a big bowl of watermelon and pineapple on our table, but the table was right under a light and there were termites flying around the light. When they got too close to the heat, they died and fell on our table. (this was happening during the opening ceremonies and we couldn’t move the table until that part was over.) The waitress came and took the fruit bowl away because it had dead bugs in it and she never brought a new one back. We were counting on that being a big part of our dinner!

During dinner there was a band playing so loud that you couldn’t talk to the person next to you. It made for a great headache by the time the night was over. Once people were through eating, some started to dance. We danced a couple of times and then we planned to leave. Silongo, the man who invited us said, “No, you can’t leave yet, there is more to the ceremony.” We stayed about another half hour waiting for it to wind down. The MC took a microphone up and we thought it would be the conclusion of the evening. Wrong! He started to sing. He had a beautiful voice but now he wanted to do a whole floor show. Most of the people were not members of the church and some of them were pretty happy by this time. After about 5 songs, people began to leave. Silongo went and talked to Andrew’s mother and then things started to happen. She and some other women brought out a lot of gifts that we assumed were for her son. They brought out two room sized mats and a huge tapa cloth. The tapa cloth is made by pounding bark into a thin mat and then hand painting it. They are very expensive. Next she brought out 3 king sized quilts. One had the Tongan Crest on it. They were amazing! She was speaking in Tongan, so I couldn’t understand anything she said --- until she said, “Sister Webb”. Then everything was gathered up and brought to me! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I was totally speechless and I started to cry. All I did was sit at the head table and touch the pig and they gave me thousands of dollars worth of gifts. It is the Tongan way.

I tried to thank them, but they just kept thanking me. They helped us get everything outside and into the car. All the way home I felt so guilty. Those gifts had to have cost a fortune. The pig alone was $3,000.00 pa’anga. I was told that Andrew’s mother has some money, but still, the relatives are all expected to contribute to things like this and then they give it to a total stranger. It just isn’t right. I can’t even imagine what the whole night must have cost and it is all just for show. They gave the uncle a huge basket filled with all different types of alcohol. Probably 8 or 10 bottles of very expensive “Hooch!”. He also received a mat and a tapa cloth. I didn’t sleep all night worrying about these poor people and what they had to sacrifice to do that. Alan didn’t sleep worrying about how much it is going to cost to get that stuff home! I won’t be taking all of it home. It is just too much!


This is what a Tongan feast looks like. The green stuff at the top is sea weed. I thought it would be soft, liked a cooked weed, but it is solid and crunchy. I didn't really like it. We have pretty well tried everything that is put before us. Some things we really like but others we can live without. I'm missing Cafe' Rio!!!

This is the half cooked, dripping blood pig that was the center of the ceremony. That is his liver with the branch sticking out of it.

It took 3 men and a dolly to get the pig into this celebration.

The lighting was terrible at this celebration so this is the best picture we got. This is Andrew with his mat and 100 foot long train. We felt sorry for him, it was sooooooooo HOT!!

This quilt is my favorite and probably the one that I will bring home. It is hand stitched and calm enough to use. I don't want to bring one home and then leave it in a box in the closet.

This quilt was done on a machine and it was very colorful.

The Tongan Crest is a little overwhelming in our tiny bedroom!

Even though I cherish the memories of our children's High School Graduations, I didn't love them. I loved this one!!! You could feel the Spirit in every thing they did and in everything that was said. What a difference!!

This is Beth, the top student or "DUX" at Liahona High School this year. In her graduation speech, she talked about the sacrifices her parents had made to help her get an education. Her dad got up every morning to go out and fish so he could make enough money to pay her school fees. Her mother took in sewing to help with her bus fare. She lived with a teacher at Liahona during the week and only went home on weekends because they couldn't pay for the transportation. She studied hard to make all of their efforts worth it. She wants to go on and be a doctor --- after her mission. She is AMAZING!!

Beth and her mother. Everyone loves Beth! She was given many gifts, even the mats she is standing on are gifts to her for graduation.

We went to the Emerald Cafe to have our farewell lunch with the Beans. The food was great, the company was the best, but the reason was sad. We will really miss the Beans!


We made a quick trip to the office this morning to check the emails. We got our contract back from the attorney in New Zealand!! YEA !!! Now we can get the Ha’utu water project under way.

At 9:00 we headed over to the gym to Liahona High School Graduation. It was a wonderful experience. There were only 130 graduates and the whole graduation was over in 1 hour and 30 minutes. They had one valadictorian, which they call a “Dux” in the Tongan language. She was one of the girls that helped us with our puppet show. The first runner up also worked on our show. She was recognized but she didn’t speak. Elder Tukuafu gave out the diplomas and gave the graduation address. There were prayers at the beginning and end and the ceremony and Heavenly Father and the Savior were talked about and thanked throughout the program. Elder Aland was sitting next to me. He was a school district superintendent and he said that of all the graduations he has attended, this was by far the best. We decided that it was because you could feel the spirit throughout. The graduates sang two songs and that was basically it.

When the program was over, everyone gathered outside and then people started piling lays on each graduate. Some were made of flowers, some of candy and some of money. It was fun to watch and be a part of. We are really glad that we were here for one graduation.

Next we headed into town to meet with the Beans and Ana to have lunch in honor of the Beans. We went to a Chinese restaurant and the food was really good. We will really miss the Beans when they go home but we still have two weeks with them, so we are trying not to think about it.

After lunch we went shopping so we don’t have to go back into town tomorrow. Then we spent a quiet night at home. It felt good to just stay home!

Witness the amazing transformation of the Central Pharmacy in these before and after photos. Yes, it was worth all the hard work!!!

Now those Tongan men have a nice clean place to play checkers!

What a huge difference a coat of fresh paint can make!

This cooler door was really GROSS!! But we left it in such good condition.

Wow! A nice clean place to store the supplies!