Sunday, February 10, 2013

L-R Suda, + daughter (name ? Richard calls her Snow White, she loves Snow White)
Suraj (landlady) and her granddaughter Sym and her husband.

It's been a wonderful week.  Monday, we were invited to dinner along with the Howard's by their  landlady Suraj and her family.  Elder Hogge and I signed the rental agreement several months ago with Suda (their daughter in law)  They were in Japan at the time visiting their son and his family)  Sym had to show me her drawings from school.  She goes to a Japanese school and is learning to speak Japanese.

Sister Howard was showing them something.  Her husband is hard of hearing but won't get a hearing aid.  
That sounds a little like another senior Elder I know who has sleep apnia but won't do anything about it.
We arrived there on time at 7pm and all talked  and had a drink made from fresh Cuquat.  Sister Jackson had given a bag of them to me, I tasted it (very sour) and got rid of them., but the drink Suraj made had a little sugar and it really was a nic refreshing drink.  At 8pm Suraj asked if we were ready to eat, she heated a few things and we ate.

This Is the many dishes we had  L-R Okrah (a favorite of Elder Hogge's [not!]  a salad,  a dish called bitters (our hostess said it is bitter but it is very good for you [I was glad to be told in advance, so I didn't take too much on my plate] A bigger bowl of Chicken Curry which was mostly bones and cartilage with a little chicken {the trick was to gracefully load my fork with the bones from my mouth and place them in a neat pile on my plate} Covered pot was steamed rice and a great buffer for the spicy hot dishes, Clear bowl was Dahl soup ( I mistakenly said Dalo soup but she corrected me (a little like potatoe soup but spicy hot)  The pumpkin was the favorite dish of all us Palangi's (the spices were nice and it was tasty) Roti (a homemade tortilla type food that you break and use to eat the dishes with and sop up the sauces with plus it also helps buffer the spiciness of the food. This family is so nice and they told the Howard's when they get home at night and they smell something good cooking just come over and eat with them (I think they're a little relieved that they'll be leaving in several months for Labasa but there are many Indo Fijian's living there so I think this was a good introduction to the type of dinners they may be invited to up there.

Funny story:  We had an Elder coming from the New Zealand MTC who doesn't have his visa yet for his assigned mission and will serve temporarily in our mission.  The MTC had his last name as Tupua, so I made a name card for our board.  A second printout came with his last name as Cirinawasaliwa (I typed this new name on a thin strip and taped it over his card).  We had a welcome dinner for him, and I casually asked him which last name he goes by and he said "Tupua" but that Cirinawasaliwa meant ocean drift. (President Klingler cleverly made two letters, each  with a different last name and his assignment, so I could grab the correct one to hand him as he headed out with his new trainer.  The next morning I had to smile when I found his card on the board with the incorrect name hanging where someone tried to remove it from his card.  He is from Fiji and I had to kindly but firmly tell 3 friends that dropped by the mission office earlier that day that Elder Tupua is now on his mission and isn't allowed to be be visited by family or friends.

Tuesday we did a farewell dinner for Elder Haris (picture is at the bottom, someday I may stumble on how to move pictures around but I'm pressed for time so you'll have to put up with the way they are).

The Lord blesses us with the things we need:  Elder Smith and Marsh are assigned to an outer island called Rotuma.  They only get electricity a couple of hours in the morning and a few late afternoon by the generator on the island if all goes well.  The boat to their island only goes over there once or twice a month, and the stores sometimes run out of food before the boat comes again.  So when they asked if they could have a small fridge Elder Hogge didn't have the heart to say no; even though  it's highly likely they won't be able to really preserve any food, but maybe they can have a cool drink.  They also requested a washing machine which I'm sure will be a great labor saver and doable if they time things right when the electricity is available.  These Elders were asking if we could possibly spare some baptism clothes they needed and could keep.  I suggested that for the children a jumpsuit would work well, and just as I said that in walked a sister from the Service Center and said "I have this jumpsuit that my daughter wore when she was baptized and she's now ready to let it go, so I want to donate it to the Mission.   After she left, I told Elder Smith and Marsh see the Lord is already helping you to get the baptism clothes you need for Rotuma.

Speaking of blessings, Avenish our landlord called and asked if we would like some new  air  conditioners?  Then added would you like an extra unit put  in your living room?  We of course said yes.  It's been very hot and sticky and when we had 20 seniors over to our flat for FHE it was so hot and our fans couldn't pull the cool air from the bedrooms out into the living room very well.  I think the fact that Richard's unit was making a terrible sound and  probably woke our Lanlordand his family up when he ran it helped him to make the decision to replace them.  Hooray!
The trial came when the workers installed them.  I stayed home 1/2 day Thursday and Richard dropped me at the office, then stayed with them at the flat all afternoon.  On Friday he said "it will probably only take them a couple of more hours and then they'll be done' and left for the office.  At noon he came home and I went to the office.  At 2:330 pm he called and in a serious voice said There's been an earthquake in the Solomon Islands and a tsunami is heading towards the Fijian islands, tell the president.  The AP's jumped into action and called everyone.  We had a concerned parent from the states call.  We heard that all the shops in Suva were closing early and  our air conditioning workers had to go.  On the other more vulnerable side of the island Lautoka had been given an evacutation/get to higher ground order.  We waited and watched knowing that we were on high ground next to the temple.........and nothing happened.  The effect of this earthquake had no effect on us which was a big relief.  So the following pictures are when I was home with the workers, the TV was out of commision and I decided to go outside in the yard and take pictures.  With the Cyclone we had earlier I noticed our neighbor had cut down some of the large trees in his yard.  Cut them into 5 foot logs and had string up.  I saw these workers and asked what they were building? they said a wood house and allowed me to take some pictures.
The blessing and lesson Our neighbors who are building the house have a large family and the mother who is named Va saw the large empty boxes on the driveway from our new air conditioning units.  She asked if she could have them, which we were happy to give to her.  She said she wanted to open them up and use them for the floor where some of the children sleep.  The cardboard provides them some cushion because they can't afford to buy the foam mattresses that many of the people here use to sleep on .  It's pretty humbling to realize how spoiled we are having a bed with a mattress to sleep onl

Sister Jackson's Basil

These plants look like pretty flower Christmas trees

Dalo big leafed plant in foreground, that is a starchy root staple here.  If not prepared right
it can make your throat itchy when eating it and the person preparing it has to be careful peeling it or their hands will be itchy.  The small tree in background, Casava and tastes pretty good when cookeded like wedged potatoe fries.

We went to Rupts Big Bear to order drapes for  an Elders flat  (I finally realized  that I don't have the time or energy to sew drapes after a full day of work so I pick out the material and have them sew them).  I seldom get to shop, so I told Elder Hogge I wanted to go down stairs and found a salesgirl who showed me how to put on a Sari properly.  They're on sale and I thought it would be fun to wear one for the next Diwali and then bring it home for the dress up box for my grand children to enjoy.

Hey Justin and Lindsay, check out our double bloom red Hibiscus 

The view from our driveway as we head out

A second way to wear it

These two clouds didn't show as colorful in this picture, as they were lower one was a pretty peach color, top white

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Elder Harris Dinner, before heading home to Australia.  President  Klingler was pushing  2 big suitcases up a path  and  hit a hole, he fell forward, tried to catch himself with his hand and hit his head and scraped up his glasses so he was a bit bunged up for a while.  We also have a senior couple the Muirs leaving next Tuesday.  At dinner Friday we told them our Godzilla the gecko story and also Sister Browne's story how she had a glass of water by her bed reached over and was about to drink when she felt something tickle her lip..... you guessed it a tiny gecko was swimming in her glass.  Sister Muir then shared how in October she got a chocolate candy bar in a package from her family.  She had 2 bites left and sat the last bite on the bar trying to make it last a bit longer, went and did something, then came back and there was a gecko with it's eyes closed, licking her candy as if he was savoring the experience.

We've been so blessed this week.  The Whitings who work with us in the office need to be out of their flat next week (the owner has sold their flat) They had a flat lined up, but the landlord decided Friday he didn't want to rent to them, because we can only commit to a month to month renting contract.  So they were feeling pretty low.  Elder Hogge had looked at a larger flat that might work for the Elder's,but doesn't have air conditioning.  They looked at it, liked it, and with a little  work and a new air conditioner, feel it will be good for them, for the last 6 months of their mission. The bonus for us is it could also be used for Elders since we can unplug the air conditioning unit an use it elsewhere.

I'll close with a story of a young woman in our ward, who is leaving soon for a mission.  She has been a member for a year and shared her conversion story.  She was asked by the missionaries teaching her to read the Book of Mormon and then pray to know if it was true.  When they met again with her, the Elders asked if she recieved an answer.  She said no, and they asked if she felt peaceful after praying or anything like that she said no;  but I did have a dream.  In it I saw a Pilangi (white person) and a Fijian young woman under a lamp post.  The Fijian woman was me and I had a name tag on like you missionaries.  They told her that was her answer.  She quipped to us " I just wanted to know if the Book of Mormon was true, and I find out I'm going to be a missionary before I'm even baptized"  She will be a wonderful missionary.  

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