Monday, March 24, 2014

Sunday, March 2nd

I didn’t get much sleep last night. It was a long, loud night. It rained really hard off and on but not constantly all night, but the wind was sooooooo bad. Everything was really loud and things kept hitting our house. It was a little unsettling at times, but we never did feel like we were in danger. I just kept thinking that we didn’t have anything in the emergency container and what if we needed chain saws etc. I spent most of the night worrying about what the people of Tonga were going through. We are so protected at Liahona. The power was off all over the island, but we have a generator so we were fine. This morning we could see lots of branches down, lots of avocados and bread fruit on the ground and we are sure that there was a lot of damage to the crops on Tongatapu.

  Ana called at 7:00 to tell us that she was alright. She lives in a low lying area of the island but she did not get flooded. There were lots of families staying in the church last night and our church was cancelled today. She told us that the cyclone was circling around and would come back and hit us harder this afternoon.

We decided to go to church at Liahona, they were still having their meetings. We went back to the ward that we attended before we were asked to go to church in town. It was so good to see the people again and they are all so loving towards us. One of the young women that was in our Sunday School class, that we adopted as our Tongan- Fijian daughter, bore her testimony today. She is going back to Fiji to take care of her parents. Evidently they are both very ill and since she is the oldest child, the responsibility falls to her to take care of them and work to support the family. She is the only one in her family that is a member and it has been her dream to go on a mission. We pray that dream can still come true for her. Maybe her mission is to convert her parents. We were so glad to be here to be able to see her again and say good-bye. We will stay in touch with her.

Sister Fafita, who is the principal at Liahona, bore her testimony today and I was so impressed. When they got up this morning they found a palm tree that had fallen across the road where they live and it had taken out all of the power in their area. She told her children that they would have to hurry because that meant that they would have to walk to church. They probably live about as far away from the church as from our house to LEE’S grocery store. As they started their walk, she told her family, “we are leaving the world behind and Coming Unto Christ.” What faith and dedication. Not only is it a long walk but it was still really bad weather. She is such an amazing example to the students here and to all of us.

Elder Edwards taught the Gospel Doctrine class today. He is a retired seminary teacher and he has all the seminary movies. We talked about Abraham today and he showed two short video that I had never seen. They were wonderful and we had a great discussion. I didn’t realize how much I miss the Gospel Doctrine class.

Elder Edwards is here on a CES mission. He travels the South Pacific working with the Seminary and institute teachers. There was a World Wide Broadcast yesterday for the Seminary and Institute teachers and it was done by Elder Andersen. He filmed our mission prep class singing “Called to Serve” while he was here and he used it in that broadcast. I can’t wait to see it! Elder Edwards said he talked about the cyclone that hit Ha’api and then compared the youth to the trees in a strong wind. When a cyclone or other strong winds hit the trees, they have to put down deep roots to survive. He said that the advesary is just like the wind. He is constantly hitting our youth with temptations and unless they put down strong, deep roots in the gospel of Jesus Christ, they will not be able to withstand the constant onslaught of temptations. As trees grow to stand tall and strong in the wind, something happens inside the tree. Somehow the internal part of the tree is tempered and strengthened. So it will be with our youth, as they stand tall and strong for truth and righteousness, their Spirits will be tempered and strengthened. We will all need that kind of strength to get through the ‘Latter Days”.

We got home from church at noon instead of 2:00 so we had some time before we could break our fast. We wanted to call Greg again but there was no internet. Sure hope he had a good birthday. I was going to bake a cake for him and eat it in his honor but it was just to hot to turn the oven on!!

The second part of the cyclone seems to have missed us. Howard Niu is in the ward that we attended today and he said that he heard it stalled out over the ocean and then turned and went another direction. Another Tender Mercy from the Lord. A lot of prayers were heard and answered today!