Monday, January 20, 2014

Jan. 4th, 2014

We were planning on a calm Saturday. It rained most of the day yesterday and all night. It slowed up a little this morning so we quickly did some laundry and ran into town. We always need a bunch of stuff by the first of the month and from what we hear next week will not be a good week to shop. All of the other churches in Tonga spend the first week of the new year celebrating Christianity. They have church meetings everyday and big feasts. Every family in the church is responsible to bring food to the feast and they have one everyday. The first week of the year is a good time to restock the coffers of the church and the ministers. It is a very expensive week for the Tongans and a very good week for those who sell food. It will be interesting to see this as we go into work each day.

We had a new dentist and his wife arrive today. Dr. Coons and his wife. They are from St. Anthony, Idaho and they will be here for 3 weeks. He has been in the Rexberg Temple Presidency and now that the temple is closed they have come here to serve for a short time. We just barely met them and they seem like wonderful people. They are exhausted so we got them into their house, right next door to us, and we will visit with them tomorrow.

We walked over to the office here at Liahona to check our email this afternoon. It was a sad experience. Lowell Bair passed away this morning. I loved that man and I was really hoping that he would still be around when we got home. He, on the other hand, has been ready to go for a long time and I am sure that he is happy to be out of this world and on to a better place. He missed Margine terribly and he hasn’t been well since we left. It has been a long hard struggle for him and for his sake I am glad that it is over. Alan is afraid that he might haunt us. He asked both of us to speak at his funeral and we had promised him we would do that for him. I am sorry to not be able to keep that promise. I have sweet memories of times spent with Lowell.

Alan is feeling a little better today so we decided to go for a walk this evening. We walked around the campus once and then ran into Sister Mitchell. She was out taking picturs of the sunset. (you could spend a lifetime taking pictures of sunsets and sunrises in Tonga.) She walked around once with us and then we came to our house to have some freshly cut sugarcane. A man whose garden we visited yesterday gave it to us. We also saw the Alands out walking and they stopped by to try some too. It is interesting and fun to experience tasting, but it really isn’t all that good in the raw form. The Tongan kids love it though and you see them chewing on it all the time. Once our little tasting party was over, we just sat and visited in our living room until almost 10:30. The time flew by and it was fun to spend a little one on one time with the Alands. They served a mission in Russia so many of our first mission experiences are very similar. Elder Aland had some heart problems in Russia, so they had to go home early. He had heart surgery and then they decided that they wanted to try another mission. They are an ITEP couple here, working with the teachers at Liahona. They are great! He was a school administrator in the Roosevelt, Utah School District and now they have retired to St. George.