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|