Friday, March 29, 2013


We got out of our car Friday morning and there was a group of  Cathoic  paritioiners going down the street singing a hymn in Fijian the one word I could make out was Gethsemane, , it was a nice way to start our day.

Annie and Tom Shery have gone home, they were assigned to the west side of our island and then finished inTaveuni,.  They will be missed.  They have a wonderful blog  if anyone wants to know what Fiji is like visit their blog at

Last Saturday March 23rd a gang of we seniors headed for a fishing adventure at  Brother Magoon's  Lagoon.
Yes, we got stuck in some soft dirt (there are ditches filled with sea water on each side of the road).
When we women saw it was going to be a man's job to get the van out, we walked up the road to
 where the house was and  left the guys to get it out of the mud.

This is a fascinating thing you see in Fiji, these are small  Mulberry trees the green is the branches with leaves and  the tangle of brown sticks are roots that grow from the branches down to the water source.  

When we arrived Sister Magoon had prepared a big breakfast  of Lemon tee, homemade Roti,/ jam and butter
paw paw, small pieces of cake with passion fruit jelly and icing. and some unique but tasty tuna sandwiches (had greens, carrots, tuna, coconut)  It was a nice feast before we went to fish. 

As we walked down to the shore Richard asked Brother Magoon if the pink house (last picture) was where he was born, and he said "no I was born in the sea" and laughed.  Then explained that a while back there was an earthquake near here and said that the land near the shore dropped 4 feet, then he pointed to the gravestones in the water and where his house used to be.  

Gravestones now under water

Matthew Brother Magoons grandson shows how the kids in Fiji swing from the palm trees

Elder Hogge and Elder Magoon

Sister Magoon, and I in their front room, I noticed all the family pictures
and she  loved to telling  me about each of her children and grandchildren.

Brother Magoon pointed to the point (behind Matthew) and told me as a  kid he and his siblings used to take their  clothes off, hold them above their head and walk through the dense growth of mulberry trees, then put their dry clothes on when they were on the other side.

We all walked out quite a distance from the shore (water very shallow with tide out)
 while the small boat  let out  sections of the net, then we all pulled a rope that gathered the fish in

Elder Hogge the maverick in our group, wanted to do his own thing.  He tried standing still until a
 fish came between his hands and tried to catch it with his bare hands, but alas it got away... and it was this big.

Matthew had the right idea, he relaxed in the boat while we fished.

These are two of the most unusul things we caught on the first round.  On left is a box fish it  had a tough
 fibrous  flat belly and two sharp horns (above it's eyes in the front and two sharp horns near it's tail).
You can see why the guy on the right is called a puffer fish.  When caught he puffs up to look bigger to the
fish trying to eat him.  When they first picked him up (belly side up) it looked like we had caught a golf ball!

Big fish a mackerel maybe, two thin fish needle nose plus some small  silver fish.

close up of the partially submerged head stone

Yes grandma held the box and puffer fish.

A better shot of the box fish  with it's four sharp horns

This baracuda was the biggerst catch of the day on the second round of net fishing

We even caught a good size gold fish.

This lagoon was the funnest  place to find seashells too.  I found some small sand dollars, a
nice change from the bits and  pieces of white coral one usually finds.

The gang, back -Hogge, Osborne, Whiting Wells, Updike, Magoon, Whitehead, Laura (E Whiting's sister) Jarman
front-Tennis, Sister Magoon (boy can she scale fish fast), Updike, Whitehead, Jarman

The fabulous fishing crew

We pulled the net onto shore on the second time and all these little silver fish
were flipping around trying to escape being cooked and eaten for lunch!

We brought dry clothes along to change into after using some rain water collected in a barrel to rinse off.  The problem with changing in the bedroom, was that the window shutters were open, and anyone near the house could see in.
So I stood in the corner between the windows and quickly changed, knowing that if anyone chose to peek in;
 they would get the shock of their life, becauseseeing an older woman'a body is pretty scary.

Some of the older boys climbed a coconut tree and and dropped four of them to the ground.  They used a cane knife to chop off the top, and we each passed around the coconuts for a refreshing drink while lunch was being prepared.

Brother Magoon has been ill and has lost a lot of weight; so when we asked if he could take us fishing, we only expected to fish, knowing that the work is getting to be too hard for both he and his wife.  In the gracious Fijian tradition, they insisted on cooking us lunch.  We had some dalo, eggplant (grayish color, okay, but not my favorite) dahl soup, fried small fish and pieces of fried Baracuda (good eating but lots of bones), chicken curry, rice, and tang to drink.
It was a great day, and a rare treat to experience fishing the Fijian way.

It's Friday the 28th of March, all of the service centre is off today and Monday.  Elder Hogge is out delivering supplies to the flat and President Klingler took his wife grocery shopping, so I have some time to share a few of the experieces we've had lately with people who come into the office.

Violet (a Fijian woman about 45 years old  came in asking why the Family History Centre (the woman who opens it wasn't there).  She shared with me that her grandmother was a member of the church and how she and her sister would ask her why she wore the funny white underwear.  The grandmother told the two girls, someday you will wear them (garments) too.  She met Sister Tui Sasa when she went to do some research on early Villages that she was researching names for in her work and Sister Sasa (the little lady who comes in our office to get lollies) told her about our beliefs.  She said it's funny, I came to do Family History, but now I'm more interested in studying (having discussions with the sister missionaries). She called the Samabula sisters and asked if they could teach her now rather than the time they had set for that afternoon. They quickly dressed and came to the office, and used the copy room for the discussion with the door closed. Violet shared with me that her sister, who now lives in Australia and was Catholic, called her and told her that she had joined the Mormon church.  She said "see you're the one grandma was talking about, but I think they both are because Sister Fanene said Violet has set a baptism date in April.  I hope we can attend her baptism.

Brother Faliagi sprays for bugs in some of our missionary flats that have been having trouble with bed bugs.  He shared how he used to carry two large cans to spray for bugs and walk to an area where he had appointments that day.  His used to play rugby, and is short but strong.  He said I'm not wealthy, but I want to help the youth here who want to go on missions, so I give them a job so they can earn the money they need for clothes for the  MTC.  He told us Filipe Loloma (the young man I was so impressed with when we went to the youth dance, because he asked every girl there to dance, even a young woman with a club foot) has received his call and will be serving in the Phillipines.  Brother Faliagi said "Filipe has really changed, he used to get into fights with other kids in the village, but his attituede has really changed since he joined the church".  I had to agree, because he always has a big smile on his face and is so loving which makes sense, since his last name means love.  What i didn't know was that he and his father haven't been on good terms since he joined the church, but Brother Faliagi has wisely encouraged the father to counsel his son before he leaves on his mission, reminding him that it's the father's place to counsel his son, in an effort to bring them closer together before Filipe leaves for his mission

My world here in the mission field is small (the four walls of the mission office most of the time, but my testimony of how the Lord is aware my needs has grown.  Sadly, we have a new Elder who arrived here March 5th and is going home today.  I knew that he was struggling when his mother called and spoke with President Klingler and I heard him counsel her that it's normal for missionaries to get homesick.  I felt like he would be okay because when he arrived he had told us that the other missionaries had been surprised at how much life experience he had.  He knows how to run a house, pay bills, keep the computer going while his parents traveled for business.  I was encouraged when he helped me figure out how to find and use an emailI I had created earlier and now use to send new missionaries a pamphlet and letter instead of typing letters, labels, and using Fiji's "snail mail" system. Yesterday when President and Sister Klingler flew to the west side of the island, the Whitings were gone on a trip with his sister who is visiting, and Elder Hogge was out of the office    I got an email asking me to scan this elders passport so church travel could arrange a one way flight home for him, I felt sad and stressed, We have a different printer that is complicated  and difficult to use.  I tried to find the notes I took from the one other time I've done a scan on this machine and couldn't find it.  I tried to just do it and it didn't work, so I prayed that the Lord would help me.  Elder Moaalii and Tausinga walked in and I asked if either of them could help me and Elder Moaalii said "I think I can "(he's 27 has a little more life experience than some of the elders).  He did all the steps I did but hit a button which I hadn't done and I was able to get the crucial piece of information to church travel so they could ticket a flight for the next day. 

 I am so grateful for the  the Lord's tender care.  Life isn't easy but I'm glad I had the opportunity to come to this earth, to gain a body, to enjoy the beauties of the earth,  the gift of families, the people around me, who strengthen me through their example, the things I am learning while on my mission among the people of Fiji. I'm grateful for the atonement of my Savior Jesus Christ and hope that you will take time to ponder about this great gift that our Savior has given us this Easter Season.

Mothe  Sister Hogge

Thursday, March 28, 2013

18 March 2013

Another week has flown by and it's Monday and I didn't get to blog Sunday,so I'm attempting to write a little before the next wave of missionaries come in the office.  Monday is their P-day so I only have bits of time to actually accomplish something but it's great to see them and visit with them. Elder Hogge is on a trip to Savusavu and Labasa to find and finalize contracts for missionaries that will be heading there soon.  A decision has been made to not rent the Purple palace (the flat with the deep ruts in the driveway and too many non functioning bathrooms, and beautiful view of the sailboats).  He flew out Sunday and called me Sunday night with news that the flat the Elders found is good and he will be doing the contract.  Monday he will take a truck and drive up to Labasa where he hopes to find another flat, inspect the other flats of missionaries there, then will drive back to Savusavu, and catch a flight home on Tuesday afternoon.  (he didn't make it back until Wed because their was a mechanical problem with the airplane so they put him up in a hotel and gave him a dinner and breakfast allowance)

The Samabula ward is a half block down from the Mission office and just up the street from where we live, so I caught a ride with our neighbors the Jackson's and went to their ward Sunday since "my driver" (Elder Hogge) is gone.  I sat by the Wells (our best friends).  The bench was so close that my knees almost touched the bench in front of me and it was hard to cross my legs or stretch them out.  The benches here are heavy, made of wood with a flimsy foam cushion on them and moveable.  When the members cleaned the chapel, they move the benches and didn't space them well for Sunday.  In Relief Society I recognized Sister Lal, she's the only counselor to Sister Irava (our RS President in Nasinu 2nd Ward).  I asked her what are you doing here? and she said" I just moved and I'm in this ward now".  We will really miss her.  She is such a strong, spritual woman and one of the few who express themselves often in Relief Society.  

 I brought a picnic cake I baked yesterday to share with the missionaries.  I set it out in the copy room and menitioned to the 12 or so missionaries that were there that they could help themselves to the cake.  A feeding frenzy ensued but it felt great to know they liked it.  It is the second cake I have baked in my crazy oven that hasn't burned and considering we are beginning our 8th month here, you can imagine my excitement on getting it right.  Sister Klingler was in the office and she even had a taste and said she wanted the recipe, yes!  With everyone milling around Sister Klingler looked around at the Elders and said "you're all getting a haircut today, right?" And a few mumbled yeah... Then I caught Elder Smith's expression...he was touching the side of his head toughtfully (he had obviously had a hair cut recently and wears his hair quite short because it's curly) I looked at him and said maybe that means you'll have to shave your head! he laughed.  

Then President Brewer and his wife walked in, they're over the new mission of Vanuatu/New Caledonia (islands that used to be part of our mission).  They have been on their mission about the same time as us 8 months and are a great couple.  Elder Tennis from downstairs walked in and it was old home week, He and President Brewer are both educators and Elder Tennis was the replacement principal at the school Elder Brewer had been principal of before leaving to  run another school.  Who would have thought they would cross paths again in Suva, Fiji.

With Richard out of town I'm getting spoiled by the Senior Couples.  The Jacksons invited me over for dinner along with the Howards on Sunday.  She is a great cook and I enjoyed visiting with everyone.  That night, I watched a CD called 17 miracles and is about the Willy handcart company.  I love my husband, but I think his trip provided us each with the gift of a little time to ourselves which is kind of nice.  Tonight I'm invited to the Wells for dinner and tomorrow Richard will be back.

Last week we were invited to the Wells for dinner and to play some games.  Joyce is adventuresome and bought some Dalo leaves and prepared some fritters with chopped dalo in them.  She said she had tasted a piece of the leaf raw and it stung her lips and they were tingly for quite a while.  I told her I had heard that you have to be careful when preparing and cooking dalo and if you didn't peel the bulbous root well, and cook it thoroughly, your throat can feel irritated and itchy.  So we all carefully took a bite...and the fritters were great, what a relief. 

I also made a juice drink out of some  qumquat fruit I found on the ground at the Mekoi sisters flat.  We have been served this juice several times and if you taste the fruit it's tart but with a little water and sugar it's quite tasty.  We have been dubbed the ghost busters because we were sent to investigate some unusual things that have been happening at the Mekoi sisters flat.  Sister Maile went to shower one morning and the hot water turned on by itself, she ran out and found Sister Fanene and when they returned the cold water was running and the hot water was off.  Sister Fanene was transfered and Sister Lavatai became the new companion. Time passed by and now there have been more unexplained things like lights going on in their flat before they enter at night and strange noises.  Elder Hogge and I went out and stayed overnight, Elder Hogge slept in Shirley (our small compact car) and I slept on a foam mattress on the floor sandwiched between the two sisters.  All went well and we thought we were done, but they called a week later with the lights going on before they entered incident and they said they found out from a neighbor that there was a fire in their flat earlier and someone had died.  The flat has been rebuilt on the old foundation, and has some updated materials, but if the Sisters don't feel safe, then the work doesn't progress, so some Elders are moving in and they will move to the Elders flat so hopefully the work can move forward. Elder Hawk one of our AP's told us that we have been averaging 15 baptisms a month which is pretty exciting.
Sister Raloka arrived on a different day then the 15 other missionaries that came this month
She is from Levuka and we met her parents when we were over there on the Ovalau island looking for  a flat.

This is what greets you as you walk into the mission office.  Elder Hogge had  6 dressers ordered for various flats.  I had
to smile when I noticed how each missionary who came in had to check themselves out in the mirror.

Two more by the Missionary birthday board, new arrivals chart and  departing chart that Sister Whiting  keeps track of.
All the orange (leave in 2014), green (leave in 2013) and blue (leave in 2015) cards I create ( picture and names on them when they arrive, when they head home, magnets on the back) so we can move them around when they get transfers.  

The Wells asked us to help them and other seniors in their ward do a  musical number  for their ward talent night.  We  all laid on the edge of the stage, had the top half of our heads covered, had faces drawn on our chins, and our bodies covered with a blanket and sang row, row, row, you boat as a round, and take me out to the ball game.
It was corny but we had fun doing it.

Above is a young men's group doing a dance.  One guy used a plastic chair and flip flops
 to beat the music and it sounded like a drum.

back to the office and the last dresser.  (Some day I will learn how to move  pictures around but not today!)  The purple  dividers are behind my desk.  The AP's are behind there and President Klinglers office is through the door.

We had our Konica printer  (black) die on us, so the Service Centre sent up  a Gestener (white) for us to use.  Everything is done a bit differently on it , so I'm writing a lot of "how to" notes for myself since I'm technologically challenged when it comes to figuring new stuff !  I have to scan someone's passport and send it to church travel so they can arrange flights for our missionaries who are traveling home.  The old printer will probably sit where it is now for some time,
as everything here seems to get done on "Fiji time" (very slowly)

This is Sister Howard who bravely went to the practices so she could  perform with the RS Sisters.  She's  also recently  braved going to Nacivikoso (the remote village on top of a mountain that Elder Hogge went to a while ago and stayed overnight) .  When they got to the village ( using a slightly better dirt road then the last time her husband and brother Yee went )and it started to rain hard.  Pres. Yee said "we'd better go now or we may not be able to get back out for a few days".  A Fijian from the village jumped in the truck to help them find their way and the road was as slick as butter.  Elder Howard said he just had to keep turning the wheel  and not use the brakes.  The Fijian started yelling "let me out, let me out", and Sister Howard  wisely chose to close her eyes and pray, while they slid down the mountain. 

A huge anchor on the lawn, we were stuck in traffic so Elder  Hogge just  grabbed the camera and shot without  looking.

Sister Vuikendavu (the mother of our language tutor (Lokahi) at BYU) came by the office selling honey.  As you can see, this was once a pop bottle but is now a handy container for honey.  The turtle behind it is my bula purse that I added for a splash of color.  We heard that Lokahi is happily married and his wife is expecting their first child soon.  Sadly, Sister Lokahi had woven a tradition mat and made some clothes for the baby, but when they left town for a few days several months back, someone broke in and took everything.  Her husband wisely said we have our health, and they are both trying to move on , by helping a sister with her honey business who lives on the other end of Viti Levu.

Laura, the sister of Elder Whiting is in town for a 10 day visit, before she swings by Hawaii (business part of the trip).  She told us the funniest life experience story she had, in her younger years.  She was eight months pregnant and got a phone call that her husband who worked in construction had fallen off the scaffolding and shattered both of his legs.  He had to have a body cast from his ankles up to the middle of his chest and had recently gotten out of the hospital, when his parents suggested they all go up the canyon for a much needed break.  She, her husband and his parents slept in the trailer and the two older boys slept in the Van.  Late that night she sat up and was trying to quietly look at her watch...her mother in law sat up and asked "how far apart are they" (knowing that Laura typicallty went into labor pretty fast), and she said "three minutes"  Mom sprang into action raced out to the van and pushed the boys off the seats while still in their  mummy sleeping bags, she and her husband got Laura and their son body cast and all into the van and away they went.  When they got to the hospital they left their son in the car, and raced Laura to the delivery room where she had the baby, as some hospital staff members who knew her husband well because of his recent stay, and  helped himout of  the van.  When they went to pick up the boys, they found them still in their sleeping bags hopping around the camp site because their clothes were in the van!  What an experience, we were all laughing uncontrollably by the time she finished her story.  I'd better get back to work, but we want to wish everyone a Happy Easter.
Love Elder and Sister Hogge

Sunday, March 10, 2013

What a week this has been.  Our 16 missionaries arrived.  Sister Tugaga (NZ) in middle  was the only  sister missionary.   Two Elders from Australia, 1 from New Zealand, 1 from Fiji (some of our Fijian missionaries go to the Provo MTC to learn the Fijian language.  The rest are from the US.  

I've had quite an adventure at immigration.  I had to submit a 90  visa  for an  Elder serving here temporarily, and the completion of the work permit stamp for the 16 new missionaries.  Talai works at immigration and is LDS.  When I dropped everything off she said she would email me when everything was done.  What a treat not to have to go down there multiple times to inquire if things are done. These flowers were blooming outside of immigration.  Their leaves are like lilies and the bloom like a morning glory with streamers.  Truly unique, like each of our grandchildren.

A sister made this woven star for Elder Cory Chlarson who left this week.  The red and blue colors are  made  from  foil  potatoe chip bags.  I really liked the little turtle with his name on it.

Elder Hogge has been extremely busy ordering tables chairs, fans,  microwaves, ktchen set-up, dressers  etc.  He managed to borrow the Howard's truck for two days and we were waiting for furniture to be delivered on Friday.  Rupt's called and said they wanted to deliver on Saturday.  He explained our office was closed, but they insisted.  When we got the call they were at the mission office, we were about 2 minutes from meeting up with the Seniors for lunch.  Instead we met up with the Rupts delivery men only to find that some of the order was missing.  We delivered what we could and Elder Hogge will be trying to get the rest of the things delivered to the two flats on Monday.  

Sister James is Vegetarian and requested mashed potatoes.  Someone got creative
and formed them in the shape of Joske's thumb a famous mountain here.

These are workers who are battling the mold that gets on the sidewalks/ black top
by poserwashing it and letting it dry when it's a sunny day. 

President Klingler, Elder Chlarson, Sister Klingler

S Hogge, Sister James, E Hogge

Our co workers in the office Elder and Sister Whiting & Elder Chlarson
 (he was assigned to Rotuma earlier in his mission It's a remote island and food being delivered there is irregular)
He got pretty slender and was assigned to Lami to finish his mission).

A traditional leigh that the AP's Hawk and Stock presented to the departing missionaries

Saturday, we stopped for some chicken bites at  SFC ( a  mock up of  Kentucky Fried Chicken) Then we
headed to make some deliveries at Navatayuba. It was a rocky rough dirt road, but an nice church has been built there.

Elder Ruben and Heninger's flat

The church building

Elder Ruben  

We had two couples over for Taco's on Sunday.  Is that big green thing in the back a  pear?   No, it's one of the many varieties of delicious avacado's that are in season right now.

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We've had quite a few challenges this week, and have felt grateful for having made it through  everything we've been faced with.  I am really proud of my husband and his desire to do his best to take care of the needs of the missionaries.  I feel very humble when I see how many times the Lord has helped me, and truly can say that He has been mindful of me,  and helps me when I must do something that I don''t know how to do, but have a deadline to accomplish.  

We love you all and hope this week will be a little calmer for you and for us.

Take Care Everyone  Love Elder and Sister Hogge