Sunday, April 6, 2014

Thursday, March 27th

When we got into the office this morning, Sister Tupou was there waiting for us. President Tupou has not been feeling well this last week. At first he thought he must have sprained his ankle but then his other leg started hurting too. He has been in bed for a week and now he is in such bad shape that he can’t walk. Sister Tupou came to get some crutches for him. He needs to get out of bed and start moving. We sent two different kinds of crutches and a walker to him. Alan also told him about the Chinese Master and his son. He has had this problem before and massage really helped him. We are worried about him. This is no place to have a serious problem.

Today is CADE’S BIRTHDAY!!! We tried to call him and talk to him but we had a really hard time. The internet connection was not stable and we kept losing him. We didn’t get to talk to him for long and we felt really bad. We look forward to calling and talking to our grandkids on their birthdays. We will make it up to him soon.

We didn’t stay at the office long today. Ana wasn’t there and we had a conference call with New Zealand at 1:00, so we left a little early to give us time to get home and eat lunch first. Our conference call was interesting today. We talk a lot about the new houses that need to be built for the people that have lost everything. The ones that the Tongan government wants everyone to build are so small and they don’t have a bathroom, a kitchen or any electricity. They say that once they get a shelter like that built for everyone, then they will come back and add on to it later. The church does not like that idea. The Area Presidency said today that we need to do better than that for our members. Originally we were going to try to build the same thing as everyone else, but it just doesn’t meet the needs of the people. We are trying to come up with a basic house that is cyclone resistant, that will be the model for future needs, when other damage is done in the South Pacific. We think we have a good plan now and the Area Presidency will present it to the Presiding Bishopric when they are in SLC next week. If they agree, we will start building in April.

I came out of the meeting today with a renewed gratitude for the Church and the Lord’s plan here on the earth. I know the Lord loves all of His children, but His church has a plan set up to care for them in times of emergency. It is very comforting to know that when things are bad, the Lord will reach out to help quickly, not 3 years down the line. I am so grateful for my membership in the Lord’s Church!

When that call was over we headed to Ha’utu. We needed to talk to the village leaders about setting up a separate savings account for the money they are collecting so they will have money saved when they need to purchase new equipment years from now. It is part of the training we do with the villages. We were meeting with the Water Master and the Town Officer. When we got there, the village chief was there as well as the Wesleyan Minister. Alan and Ana had a good visit with them. I spent most of the time in the car. They met in the town hall and there are no chairs. They sat cross legged on mats on the cement floor. My hips are already killing me, I wasn’t going to make it worse. They met for almost an hour and when it was over, Alan could barely walk. Not a good situation for two old palangis! Two of the men we met with are older than us, but they have been sitting like this their whole lives and they don’t even think about it.

When the meeting was over they came out to the car and brought me gifts. A large Tongan plaque and a beautiful Tongan fan. The also brought out 3 baskets full of food. We were embarrassed, we still had the back of the car full of the food we received yesterday. Good Heavens!! We are having a hard time finding people to give all of this stuff to. They cut a whole bundle of bananas off the tree, bring out a basket full of coconuts and another one full of papaya. Then they add apples and oranges that they buy at the market place. (because we are palangis) It is just to much food!! Ha’utu is so grateful for what we did for them that they just keep giving us things. We love them, but we hate to have them sacrifice so much for us. They have done enough.

We missed going to the temple tonight. We stayed home to watch the Nukuhetulu closing ceremony on the news. We hate missing the temple session, but we want to see the coverage the church gets on these water projects. We never know what they are going to say ahead of time. We got good coverage and Alan did another great job on his interview. He really represents the church well at these events. He should have been an actor, he looks good on TV.