Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bula Vinaka, We hope you all had a good Christmas. We seniors decided to go to a beach near the Pearl (a resort) and had a swim (our first since coming to Fiji) on Christmas morning.  It was a warm sunny day and the water felt great.

Some of us swam and got a little sunburned.  

Others sat on a blanket under the palms and enjoyed the shade.

Fijians don't wear swim suits but just go in the water in whatever they are wearing.

Going in the morning was good timing because more people began to arrive just as we were leaving.

Some people dug a pit to begin cooking their food lovo style, while others brought ready to eat food.  

L-R Elder Whiting, Elder and Sister Wells, Sister Tennis Elder and Sister Hogge

I had to capture this dressing area.  I brought some dry clothes to wear  on the hour drive
 back to Suva.  When I shut the door I realized there were several large holes in the walls,
 but figured if anyone decided to peak they would just get a scary eye full of an old woman!

Later in the afternoon we went down to the Whiting's and Whiteheads place "the deck" for  a Christmas dinner.
Sister Whiting gave us each a small gift that had small treats like in a Cracker Jack Box and included a party hat.

We had a white elephant gift exchange after Sister Tennis told us about the  one  they did back home and how
someone got a real ugly vase and how over the years it would keep showing up as a gift.

Then the last ones to open their gift was brother Tennis and  surprise it was an ugly vase from our flat, that we
wrapped up as our white elephant gift!  Everyone laughed and now the ugly vase tradition continues.

The Fijian's love to decorate for Christmas. I took my camera downstairs and captured some of the decorations.  They used paper from the shredding machine to make snow.

lots of sparkles and lights 

tinsel, and red and green balloons

here's the mission office simple decorations.  I used some scraps of colored paper to make a chain and
brought a small decorated tree we found in our flat and we bought one string of lights to go along the edge of the bar.

Some of us went to the movie on Saturday Les Miserables (3 hour movie,sad story)
and then we had  lunch at Tappoo City mall that has eateries
This is a view of the harbor from the 3rd floor window.

After lunch we headed up to Singatoko, when we stopped for gas I took the following two pictures. These two houses are next to each other on the same street and are a typical example of the contrast of homes you see in Fiji.

The truck we drove was the one that was in the accident in August.  It was supposed to be done Thursday, then they said come in at 11 on Saturday.  They then asked for another hour and when they finished hooking up the wiring and tried to turn on the air conditioner it started smoking!  Elder Hogge and I needed to get it to the elders that day, and it was getting late, so he told them he needed the truck now and told the elders they would need to have the air conditioner worked on when they get back to Lautoka.  The drive up without air conditioning was a trial, but we
made it in time for the elders to leave and get back to Lautoka before it got too late.  We rode back with the AP's who
had returned from checking out a remote village that's a three hour drive into the mountains on a rough dirt road from Singatoka,  President Klingler wants to reopen the area, because there are 70 members in a branch there who are attending church regularly and more wanting to be baptized.  The village is excited about the possibility of having elders in the area again. There's no electricity or running water and the elders will have to bathe in the cold river.  As you may have guessed, many of our adventuresome elders think it sounds like heaven and hope they'll get assigned to go there.

This dog belongs to the landlord of the Elders in Sigatoka.  He's one of the healthier dogs I've seen.
Some dogs roam around on the streets and get hit by cars.  We see some dogs limping who have  injured legs
 that have healed wrong.  I don't think there are many people here who can afford to take them to a vet.

This is the surprise I woke up to Sunday morning.  We had a heavy rain storm and 1/4  of the floor was covered with
water.  I'm getting pretty good at sweeping it into a dust pan and dumping it into a bucket.  It looks clear when it's on
the floor but when it's collected in the bucket I can see that some of the dirt outside is also coming in, but
as the saying goes... into our lives a little rain must come.

We hope you will all have a HAPPY NEW YEAR and the righteous desires of your heart.
Love Sister and Elder Hogge

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