Sunday, November 25, 2012

Howdy palongi's,
     This has been a good week.  We had five new elders come to the mission and only one completed his mission, so we grew by four.  At this rate we will be loaded up by next July.  Elder Riley from Reno, Nevada was released after serving 25 months.  He ask to extend his mission by a month so he could baptize a few more people he was working with, so he baptize 5 people his last month and taught 26 lessons in one week.  Amazing!  He is a ZL and worked hard his whole mission, quite the man.
      The incoming elders were scheduled to arrive together, but when they flew from the MTC to San Francisco, the elder who was from Fiji and returning here to teach, was stopped by immigration because he wasn't allowed to land in New Zealand.  The government of New Zealand won't allow Fijian's to even land at the airport and transfer to another plane without having a visa. All other countries don't need a visa.  Anyway, the other four flew on, and Elder Singh was picked up by the missionaries serving in San Fran and spent the night with them.  He then flew down to LA and got a flight to Fiji straight through, arriving a couple of days late.  He did get to experience Thanksgiving there in the U.S., so something good happened. The other four elders, one from Papua New Guinea, and three from the U.S. got a thanksgiving dinner with the Pres and us of chicken and mashed potatoes with gravy.  We also had dressing and fruit--the best we can do here in Suva.  I heard one of the couples in Labasa had a turkey which cost them $157 fj and it was about 10 lbs.  She also got pumpkin and pecans from the US, and made pies to the tune of another $75.  I guess it was worth it to them.  I think we had it pretty good here, but Mary said she really missed not having the grand kids around.  For me it was the best American dinner I had in a long time.
     One of the new Elders lost his debit card to the ATM machine because he couldn't remember the pin number from that morning orientation.  A second new elder had his backpack stolen in San Fran and it had all his camera, and personal money, and study material from the MTC.  I guess everybody leans a few lessons while traveling in this world.  The elder who got here late had his mother make him a curry dish and bring it to the mission office because he missed it so much at the MTC.  Of course, parents cannot see there sons while on their missions (against mission rules and also in the handbook), so they just dropped it off and didn't even say hello to their son.  Everyone got a taste of the curry dish, and Elder Singh finished it.  He had a big smile when he left for Seaqaqa in Vanua Levu, a long ways from his family.  Later on we found out that his father, who is in the stake presidency here, was the first branch president in Seaqaqa, and people just loved him.  So I'm sure the elder will get man more curry dinners.
     This next week will be busy because we're having the mission Christmas dinner, and Elder Hamula of the Seventy's is going to visit the mission.  All the couples are having a fireside with him, and giving him a potluck Fijian dinner.  I hope nothing makes him sick! We'll let you know.
Elder Riley, Elder Whiting (our medical missionary), and Sister Klingler

Pres. Klingler and Elder Riley.  He didn't want to leave, but the pres . made him go

Elder Ravutaumada and Chlarson (the white elders are called palongi's in the Fijian culture)  in front of their flat in Lami

The Lami flat --notice the canon, used to keep the ZL's away

Mary tried to open this coconut with a hammer, ended up having to pull the husk  off  with a  plier, and then using a hammer--what she won't do for some coconut!

This is a flat of three sisters serving in Makoi--wonderul and happy  ladies--love them
        HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO JUSTIN AND JENNY!   We wish we could give you a hug and kiss, but we'll save them up until we get home.  We love you all, and hope you have a good Thanksgiving.  There are a ton of things to be thankful for, and our family is right up on top of the list and friends are a close second.  Love ya, Bubu and Tutu

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Here's how Elder Hogge's week began.  The Elders brought in this you think someone can  repair it?

This is an example of one of the better roads in Suva we take to  go to the Nasinu  sister's new  flat . We had  some help  this week as we were trying to figure out how we would ever find time to make drapes for all the windows in their flat.  We washed the old drapes from their last flat and hung the 12 panels in the 3 bedrooms. Then Elder Hogge saw a big box downstairs in the storage room and pulled it down.  Inside were 24 beautiful drape panels and half of them even had the rings we needed to hang them.  They were some drapes that had hung in the last mission president's home, but had been stuck in storage for the last 18 months after  new drapes had been hung.  Heavenly Father really sent us a tender mercy, knowing how impossible it would have been for me to sew the needed 29 drape panels to furnish the flat.

This last week was an Indian holiday called Diwali.  The women buy new clothes  and the  life  of  Rama (a diety in their religion) is celebrated.  The loud fireworks started a week before and we had noisy fireworks every night.  The night of the celebration everywhere in Suva people were doing fireworks and many hung lights on their houses. 

Our landloard and his wife brought each of his three renters  a  dinner.  We had potatoe and peas curry, little 4" type tortillas (called something else) pumpkin curry, and a tomatoe and onion salsa type dish

We went over to his house and saw 2 beautiful rice artwork on the porch .  His daughter took rice and dyed it different colors using ground up colored chalk and water.

This second one was interesting, I asked about the patterns in the corner, and she said that the  "swastikas" are a religious symbol meaning light in their religion.  I thought how interesting that Satan took a symbol that was positive and used it to represent such evil when Hitler used it. 

The girl in the right of the picture is about 12 and all dressed up for  Diwali

This is our landlord and his wife, with elder Hogge

This little girl is dressed in the traditional clothing that many  of the women  were  wearing on the day  of the celebration, we've been told that some of these type outfits cost $200.00 dollars Fijian.

The lights that some of the homes were decorated with.

The treats they brought us, some were sweet, and some were  spicy  and  made  of  vegetables

Elder Hogge and I took a trip up to Nadi and Lautoka this weekend to check of several Sister's flats and take them needed supplies. I had him stop  by the wter for a picture and  when I went to take the picture a guy in the boat stood up and yelled Bula!  Fijian's are happy fun loving people and friendly even to strangers.

We had two spots where we had to wait while the traffic came through one lane and then we took our  turn  so we could all get to where we were going to.

This is hard to see but it's a track where small trains come and pick up the sugar cane that is loaded on small flatbeds.

This is downtown Nadi, and the tree is one of the biggest Fragi Pani  trees I've seen thus far.

This is the huge mango tree by the Sister's flat, and  they gave us a few  to take home.  I love to make crepes and  put the cut up mango with some whipped cream over it.

A beautiful flowering tree across from the sister's flat

We had a little free time today and drove around an area called Denarau, which  caters to the  rich tourists who visit .  This is the golf course, and for the first time we actually saw 2 sets of golfers.  The last time we came it was raining hard and there were no golfers to be found.

This was a beautiful spot on the side of the road, that had a stream and small  grave yard  for a small  village nearby,  it looked so peaceful.

There were workers in this field and many flatbeds loaded with  sugar cane

This is what the coconuts look like here.  First they are green, then turn a golden yellow

Elder Hogge is thoroughly enjoying a day he can wear his shorts and bula shirt.  He worked hard at the Lautoka  sisters  jummy rigging a small faucet to a large adapter hose for their washing machine.  He was able to cut the ill fitting washer down until it created a seal, he amazes me with his ability to fix things.

This is a place where we do a pit stop (ie the only decent bathroom for miles)  Younger people take an  hour hike to see a dig sight where human remains, pottery etc were found and is believed to be one of the first people who inhabited this island.

I know my family members will laugh, but I made Richard stop and let me walk along the  beach to look for shells.  The joke was on me, when I discovered mostly broken pieces of coral and very few shellls

Some swimmers who were taking a swim, I think I've mentioned before, Fijians don't wear  swim suits, they just jump in with the clothing they're wearing, which is more modest anyway.

The bounties we received from our trip.  The landlady for the Lautoka sisters insisted we sit and rest on her porch while we waited for the sisters to come.  She gave us the item on the plated called evi.  It has the texture of a chestnut, is a starchy food and tasted okay.  When we about to leave, she insisted we take the rest of the evi, which I did knowing I wouldn't be eating it, but in an effort to not offend her generous hospitality.  We saw this coconut lying on the road by the golf course at Denarau.  I decided to take it home and see if I can take a hammer to it and crack it open.  The husk turned from a golden color to brown and if I can peel it off, it should have a brown coconut shell underneath the husk.  There were a bout 15 other coconuts all over the grass where we drove around so I figured they wouldn't miss this one coconut and would appreciate  my saving this coconut from becoming road kill! The last two are the beautiful mangos the Nadi sisters gave us.

I've got to go cook some dinner for my tired hungry husband,  and get some sleep before it's Monday morning and life gets crazy busy again, Bula Vinaka Everyone love Sister and Elder Hogge

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bula Vinaka everyone, we hope you are all happy and well.  I'm grateful to be well again after being sick enough to stay in the flat one day last week.

It's been another crazy, busy, great , week.  I noticed on my list of arriving missionaries that we had a couple, the Updikes coming in this week and since President Klingler and his wife were gone to a meeting for Mission Presidents all this week and the AP's hadn't come into the office, I called Sulu (who works downstairs in the service center, since they process seniorsnow.  She told me that President Davis (temple president) should be taking care of them since they will be working in the temple, plus managing temple patron housing.  So I relaxed and didn't worry any further about it.  Then the AP's told me this story.  We have 2 Nadi Elders who are assigned to meet incoming missionaries on the other side of the island and help them catch the flight that takes them to our side of the island.  No one had communicated with them about meeting the Updikes, but the morning they arrived the Elders had a strong prompting to go to the air port, which they did and were in time to find the Updikes and help them catch their flight to Nausori.  The AP's weren't sure what was going on over here and took the precaution of driving to the Nausori airport in case someone had forgotten to arrange to pick them up, and as they entered the airport they were releived to see President Davis (temple president) driving past them with the Updikes in their car.  Elder Hawk said "I'm glad the spirit told the airport elders what to do", and we all had to agree.

Richard went the extra mile this week for an Elder from Fiji who had been called to serve a mission in the Phillipines.  He didn't have the means to buy a suit and after Sister Klingler checked her supply of suits that are left behind by Elders heading home to the states, and not finding anything near his size, Elder Hogge generously took on the challenge of finding and paying for a suit coat for this Elder.  He went to 3 different thrift shops (not his favorite thing to do), but with some persistance, he was blessed to find a jacket that fit the elder so he could go to the MTC properly dressed.

I had an encounter with a "new food" this week.  Elder Estill an AP offered me some sour sop.  It looked like a long stringy piece of cotton that was drenched in juice.  I took a taste and immediately scrunched my face up with new understanding of how this nasty fruit got it's name it was sopping wet with Jjuice that was extremely sour!  Yuck.

Sister Taito who manages the distribution center came over to visit me and try and order some supplies using my accout number.  Our order for Book of Mormons and other supplies we sent in August still hasn't arrived due to the church deciding that flying supplies was too expensive so they switched to sending it by boat.  All I can say is it must be taking a long time to fill the boat and start the trip!  When we found some items she needed to order I said "so do you want this?" and still looking at my screen I hear her say "un uh" so I started
to move to another part of the screen when I realized that she was saying yes.  In fiji they say un uh for yes un huh for no.  So I have to keep reminding myself to listen more carefully.

Elder Hogge went with Bishop Tilley this week to nine missionary flats to install smoke alarms and he shared this experience he had with Elder Hogge.  Bishop Tilley serrved a mission here in Fiji 30 years ago.  At that time, all the elders walked or rode bikes which took many hours of travel to meet their appointments.  One day he taught a lesson on one side of Lautoka and had a second appointment on the opposite side of Lautoka.  When he closed with prayer at his first appointment and stepped outside he asked the Lord to help him get to their second appointment that was many miles away.  He felt impressed to pray for this, and that it was important to be on time, and to keep this appointment.  They walked down the dirt road that fed into a main road.  It was dark and their was no traffic.  They waited for a few minutes and some headlights appeared on a nearby mountain road.  The driver stopped his car, and asked the Elders if they needed help and they told him where they needed to go.  The driver replied that he was going right by the area they needed to go to and gave them a ride.  They arrived on time to their appointment and found eight families instead of one waiting for their message.  All of them wanted Book of Mormons and a short time later, they baptized all eight of these families.

I took a lot of pictures this week, hope they give you a taste of what Fiji is like.
This is a burn, neighbor piles wood, green clippings and burns them, we rush in flat shut all the shudders in hopes of keeping the stink from getting into our furniture and clothes.

view from our driveway

We're allowed to eat anything growing in our backyard the ladyfinger bananas are almost ready

Baby papaya (they call it paw paw, maybe it will  bear fruit by the time we leave

Yeah, we have 2 eggs plant bushes!

Richard dropped me off at immigration, while he went shopping for  the suit coat for the elder.  It's across from this shipping yard.  Maybe one of these containers has our Book of Mormon order from August!

One of many buses we see everyday.  The green material drops down  to protect  passengers when it's raining

City worker they have wheel barrels to carry packages for you or  do road work.  All the streets are hand painted and  when they need the black top torn up to do pipe work a group of men take turns using a sledge hammer.

Lunch with the Wells

The sister's new flat Sister Vosaniyaqona, Lavaka, Nauer

One of the biggest round abouts in town

We love these big trees 

the guy in this picture helps you see how  big the tree is

I've almost finished this box and won't be buying another.  The cereal is kind of like  raisin brand flakes shaped into cubes

One of the many colorful houses in Fiji

Mokoi Area Sisters- Sister Lawenitotoka, Fanene, Maile

cute pink house next to the sisters flat

they paint these posts to try and keep the black mold away

A mature paw paw tree

Even the jungle growth is pretty

The Nausori Airport where the Updikes did get picked up

selling fish by the road next to our church

We have a truck that was damaged in August by Elders it has been in Lautoka until this week and was brought  here but no work has been done, or parts ordered.  Richard and I think that by the time they repair it it will be covered in vines like this truck!

Our clothes rack is great for drying clothes since it rains so often

This chair is one of the pieces of furniture we are storing from the AP's flat.  I think it's found a new home.

last weeks car we returned to the rental place 

this weeks car

A boat we go by dailyon our way to work.  What do you think boys, could we put that  rack on and make it a  wakeboarding boat?

This is an interesting flower, it is a long white pod, then bursts open and the petals droop

A pretty large tree we see on the way to church
Take Care everyone, love Elder and Sister Hogge