Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Yandra Vinaka Friends and Family,  Mary and I took a drive around all of Fiji this past week, playing Santa Claus little elves.  We took all the Christmas packages from the missionaries parents and delivered them to all the missionaries that are on Viti Levu (the big island), and it also gave me a chance to check on the damages to any flats, or problems that occurred during the cyclone Evan that passed through.   There was lots of trees down and flooding that happened, but all the missionaries are safe and happy.  There's lots of service work to be done now.
Some of the villages are still without electricity and some without water, but that will be ending soon.  A lot of resorts have backup generators, as well as some stores and gas stations.  The missionaries all think it was exciting and now they are "camping out" in the bush.  They all have resilient spirits.  These first few pictures show only a little of what happened.
This shows our back yard and how the wind stripped the palms on one side of the trees.  Also, we had a huge shade tree that snapped like a twig, and if you look close, you can see the trunk left where it snapped in two.  A big old bull frog used our porch to stay on until the wind subsided.  We called him Fred.

These are the two Mango trees that is at the sisters flat in Nadi that Mary got big mango's from the last time we were there.  I think there are some earlier pictures on our blog with her standing in front of them.  She and the sisters are very disappointed now.  Those other trees are at a park nearby.

We also got together with another senior couple and bought some farm grown prawns from Navua, and then had dinner together.  As you can see, the men get to prepare the prawns before cooking, and the wives got to cook them.  They were so good, we are going to do it again soon.  I think all boy scouts should learn to shell and cook these critters, right Hunter?

Here I am at the Sigatoka Elders flat, two of the tallest and strongest Elders in the mission.  Boy can they eat!  Elder Diloi is on the left and he's from Fiji, and going to the U.S. to play football in January when he;s released (6'7"and about 390 lbs).  Elder Heath if from Utah and played football and basketball in Logan.  He is a rookie here (6'7" and 250).  Both are great missionaries, and have strong testimonies of the gospel--I love to hang out with these Elders.
Typical way of transporting furniture in Fiji. Do you like the all pink bed and mattresses?
Here we are at the sisters flat in Latoka.  These ladies don't have running water yet, and their electricity has been shut off for about 4 days.  They haul water from the church and hand wash everything.  The Elders are the ZLs of the zone.  They all are from Samoa, Kiribis, New Zealand, and Fiji.  All know three languages.  Below is Mary's beloved bread fruit that she always talks about.

I've got to have my hot bread--it's now my staple here.  We stayed in a small town in the only hotel available named the Tavua Hotel.  It was clean and mostly bug free due to the geckos that stayed with us. Mary struggled some, but I loved it, and would do it again in a second.  She's a trooper!  I had to treat her to a decent breakfast, so we ate at a resort about  a 45 min drive from Tavua, the place is called Wananavu (means awesome), and you can see why.

Some of the villas at Wananavu.

The scenery was awesome (wananavu), so were the employees.  We will be back again.

As we traveled around the island, the mountains and rivers were inspiring so we took our time traveling. Reminds me a little of fishing on the Green River.
This is our church in a small village--isn't it great!  The Elders who cover this area sleep in the part on the left, and serve three other areas besides.  This is just off the main highway so everyone can see it and visit.  They have about 40 active members from that village.

The Stream is nearby this chapel located in Korovou and sits on top of a hill overlooking all the area.  This is a ward and has over a 100 active members.  The scene below is from this vantage point.  The church is growing fast here and we are loving it.  People are not afraid to open their mouths about the gospel, and it shows.
We hope everyone stays close and united.  May the Lord watch over all of you my good friends, and loving family.  Vinaka,  Grandpa

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