Saturday, December 21, 2013
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.