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

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