Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Monday, April 7th

Ana is in New Zealand, so we are alone at the office this week. As soon as we walked in the door the Town Officer from Ha’utu called Alan and wanted him to meet him at the bank. The village is opening a special savings account for their water needs in the future and he wanted Alan there to see that they were actually doing it. Alan decided to deposit the extra money that we saved out to buy them diesel fuel into that account. They can buy diesel from now on with the money they collect from the village each month. When he was done there, he drove over to the Central Pharmacy to see how they are doing. We know that they are having trouble keeping mold and mildew off of their cooler doors, so he wanted to take a look. They looked bad, so we will buy some special cleaner that hopefully will help. I sent the camera with him so he could take pictures, but he didn’t. I guess that is what I am good for, but I wasn’t there!

I stayed at the office where I didn’t accomplish much. I wasn’t under a lot of pressure today so I just took my time working on a couple of projects and some things for the senior missionaries. We have a new couple coming this week and we need to make sure their house is ready and then put some food in there to get them started. I also spent a little time reading about General Conference and about what is happening in Ukraine. We have a lot of things to get organized around here in case we take some trips to the outer islands, but I just couldn’t get with it today. It felt good to relax for a change. I have been waiting a long time for a day like this!

When Alan got back we started calling the kids. Conference was over at home so we were able to connect with Tiff and Jake and Bryan and his kids. It was fun to see them all and have a short visit. It was dinner time at home so we didn’t talk to long, just long enough to get the latest info and see those gorgeous faces!!

I was able to get some more on the Blog today, I might actually catch up on that thing. I have been behind since we left America!! I will be glad to get home and not have to worry about it anymore, although I do enjoy going back and reading about some of the things we have done. I’m glad I kept up with it. While I was doing that, Alan went over to the library and got another book. He is reading about two a week now. He reads a lot more when we are on missions. We never go to bed at night without taking a book to read. It is much better than having a TV in the bedroom.

FHE was really interesting tonight. The Vai’nuku’s came and talked about their experience in Ha’api when Cyclone Ian hit. They are the senior missionary couple that were serving there at the time. They are now serving on Tongatapu. Their home in Ha’api was severely damaged by the cyclone. They had put together a slide presentation of what it looked like on the island after the Cyclone. Elder Vai’nuku said that he couldn’t film it as it was happening because it was so dark and foggy you couldn’t see anything farther than a foot to 2 feet away from you. He expressed how grateful he was that it happened in the daytime. If it had come at night, many people would have been killed or injured. It was a miracle that only one life was lost. He said that the first part lasted for 2 hours and 45 minutes. That is a long time for winds of that strength to batter an island. Then there was a period of calm. The winds were gone, the sky was blue and everyone thought it was over. He and his wife went from the church to their house, about ½ block away. They started to access the damage and suddenly it got dark and the winds started again. They ran to the church and he truly thought the wind would just carry him away. They made it safely and this time it was much worse than at first.

Thankfully the second round only lasted for 45 minutes. He said that if it had lasted as long as the first one, there would have been nothing left standing on the island -- maybe the church --- but even it would have been severely damaged. As we watched the slide presentation they had put together, tears streamed down their faces. The expressed their love for the people of Ha’api and how hard it was to leave them in these circumstances. They told us how terrified they had been and how this experience has changed their lives. They will now be better to one another, be better parents and grandparent. They are so grateful for the protection they received and they know the Lord was watching over them. Elder Vai’nuku said how grateful he was for this mission experience. He is doing things he has never done before, washing, cleaning, cooking and scrubbing floors. He used to go to work and come home, never fully appreciating all his wife did for him. The Spirit was really strong during their presentation. What a wonderful humble couple these two are. They are a blessing to this mission!

Sister Vaiu’nuku prepared the treats, only they were not treats. She brought a full Tongan meal!! She loves to cook and she loves to share. It was a great evening!