Sunday, March 3, 2013

BULA EVERYONE! and that includes all those chickens we saw in Savusavu and Taveuni  this past weekend.  I did something wierd and can't figure out how to caption the above picture.  We met up with 2 senior couples on Sunday in
Savusavu and had dinner at the Captain's cafe L-R front Elder Hansen E Ledoux, E Hogge E Wells, R-E Terry S Terry, S Hogge, S Wells.  The Terry's live up north in Labasa on this island and the Wells flew in and had the Terry's drive them around to all the villages they needed to visit to do audits.  We all went to the branch in Savusavu on Sunday, I helped in the primary (Sister Gade asked to speak with me privately and asked if there was any way I could help her get the primary songs CD) [costs $2.00 here] She had asked through church leadership and has waited over a year for it.  I knew the Elders would be coming to Suva for a Zone meeting and sent it back with them.  It was a small task for me, but for this sister who only has electricity in her home from 6-10 pm each night  and many tasks to accomplish during that time it was a biggy.  I suggested she bring the small CD player she has on Sunday, and play the CD when the children come in as well as during an activity and the children will learn the songs in no time.  They have a primary manual and pictures and a range of children from nursery 1-2 children to 8 years olds 3-4.  Some of the children filter in during the class time so running the primary in a small room with different age groups is a real challenge, but I know the spirit of the primary songs will help to strengthen this branch. 

This is the Elders flat that is used when the elder4s are in Tukivesi , a small  village that is a bit of a drive
on a very rough riding dirt road.   It has a table and chairs, 2 beds with sheets, and a bathroom.
The second bedroom is used as an office by President Malaili who is the Branch President.

Sister Hogge, Elder Hogge, Elder Ledoux, Sister Malaili President Malaili,  his sister

Crossing this footpath is a bit tricky with a deep canal and one log giving a bit because it's rotting.  Another village we visited was Nabua where we met President Joeli Kalougata who was traveling with his family in a boat to be baptized and  the boat capsized, and everyone in his family killed but him.  He was 13 at the time and is a man of great faith.  His story is in the October 2004 Ensign so please look it up.  All of his children moved to the US and married after their missions.  They want to come to Fiji and take their mother and father to live with them in the US.  President Kalougata is reluctant to leave the village until their is someone who can step into his position of leadership and help build the church in his village.  He said it took many years to convert village members from Methodist to LDS. 

The elders said to yell if I wanted them to stop to take pictures,
so of course I yelled stop when I saw some  flowers I haven't seen before

 ON TO TAVEUNI....  this tree is also in Suva, but I have wondered why part of it's leaves are purple and the rest green.  I asked a local native while we waited for the Sherry's to pick us up and he said the purple leaf part is the younger part of the tree and green more mature part.  Our 1 1/2 hour ride on the boat was noisy because it had a diesel engine.  We got brave and bought a potatoe filled roti/some curry spices in it on the boat, and it was pretty good.

Elder Gardner, Mayberry, Abplanalp, and Eli
I really admire these elders, because they keep smiling, even when food and resources are limited.  They have a small fridge, but when you only get electricity for four hours a day (if all is going well) it's hard to
even chill down a drink!  Taveuni also doesn't get certain foods on a regular basis,
so if you see something at the store you want, you'd better get it now or it may not be available later.

This flower was hanging down from a tree we sat under while we waited for the Sherry's to pick us up. 

The Sherry's flat is beautiful, wood floors, a woven cieling (pretty, but it 's a nice hiding place for bugs). They have a fridge that's gas powered and a generator as a back up when the solar power isn't working.  They are due to be released from their mission on March 22nd. Sister Sherry is a good cook and fixed us some delicious lunches on Monday and Tuesday.  It was a welcome break from the bread and peanut butter half sandwiches we have when there's no place to eat out open.   Luckily our hotel offered a continental breakfast pawpaw or juice and a delicious muffin.  We ordered a ham and cheese omelet (thought it might be good to get a little protein to carry us through a long day of traveling back to Suva) on Tuesday.   

Sister Sherry put out an email to all the Senior Sisters asking if someone wanted to buy a large woven mat. This grandmother (L) wanted to earn money so her grandchild could go to school.  The young woman on the Left is her
older grand daughter who will soon be leaving on a mission.  Sister Jackson, our neighbor in Suva wanted the mat, so we rolled it up and wrapped it in a garbage sack and took it back with us when we flew back to Suva. 

Elder Sherry by church in Tukivesi, open air/half walls and front door. 

This is one of many lava flows we saw in the deeper crevices along the road .
When it rains hard it turns into a small stream flowing down to the ocean. 

small pool and ocean front at our hotel

view from behind our hotel.

These blooms fell from a tree and smelled delicious.

Fruit bats hanging in the tree by hotel.

One of the landlords we spoke to about a new flat we need loves to garden and took us through his garden to see the flat. We went by this cute little one day old goat.

View of hotel from the jetty.

Hunting for a flat in Navuna.  Inside the flat was an old display case full of Cowrie shells.They're very shiny, but these have a bit of dust on them. 

And of course there's usually some ducks hanging around.  The landlord said his neighbors think he's crazy because he loves to garden and called it his "Tree of Life Garden"  He has 6 different types of avacado trees, and 7 different types of mango plus a lot more.  When he plants something new in his garden he heaps coconut shells and husks around them and they eventually turn into compost instead of burning them like most Fijians do.  It would be so nice if more Fijians composted instead of burning, but alas this is Fiji.

A flat that is used part time by the elders and is next to the church in Quelini (pronounced Ga lean e)
Found a lot of mud wasp nests that we need to hire someone to remove.

This is the tallest Dalo plant I've seen, about 8 feet tall. Sherry's told us that the bigger Dalo you see growing along the road isn't edible, but the smaller sucker plants are separated and replanted for food by the native people.

The LDS church next to the flat in Quelini

The flat, that is often used by the RS sisters when the elders aren't in the village using the flat. 

I thought maybe there might be some post cards in the two islands we visited since they have
some pretty coral beds around them, but this shot from the airplane will have to do.
I did buy one postcard of the hotel we stayed at and it cost $2.00! 

I walked by the bathroom one morning and found this centipede that had crawled up out of the drain in the bathroom. I told Richard to put his foot next to it so you can tell how big it is before he captured and killed it.  I had begun to relax and go to the restroom at night with no shoes,but am now slipping on my thick sole rubber shoes since these guys can sting you.

When we got back we discovered we had three new elders that I didn't get advance notice about.
They are doing the traditional cookie dunk and eat it in one bite tradition that President and sister
 Klingler hav starte .  Elder Hogge is busy doing dishes.

The house building next door is coming right along

This is a Pomelo I brought back from Taveuni,
 a little like a grapefruit with a twist and a lot bigger!

Saturday we were invited to join some senior missionaries for our first snorkeling experience. 

We fit 10 of us in a small boat, and I marveled how one of the two men who drove the boat
stood up the whole time, he saw me taking a picture and of course posed for me.

L-R S&E Osborne, visiting couple Rasmussen's, Sister Whitehead (her husband doesn't do water )
Elder Whiting, E&S Hogge.

We walked along a small wooded path for about 40 feet to a small dock and saw this boat, half filled with water.  We all  started laughing, and were relieved when they loaded us on the Talinyah, (white boat in the background).

Sunday we had a wonderful testimony meeting.  A young Indian sister received her mission call to the West Indies (Carribean Island area below Florida) she's the first sister from Fiji to be called there. A young elder will be leaving for his mission Saturday and our bishop had us all stand and sing God Be With You Til We Meet Again...a truly tender experience.   Monday we have an intake of 16 missionaries arriving so there will be many meals to cook, paperwork to finish, cars and flats to prepare so that the work can move forward, as we all strive to strengthen Zion in Fiji.  

To our children, son in laws and daughter in laws, stay strong in the gospel and continue to teach your children about the gospel of Jesus Christ.    To our grandchildren, we love you so much, and want you to know that the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true.  The Book of Mormon is true and a second testament of our Savior Jesus Christ.  Remember to follow the prophet, follow the prophet, follow the prophet, he knows the way.
To all our friends and extended family members, we love you and think of you often.  Thanks to everyone who has written or emailed us and those who have sent packages, they really help to lift our spirits when we are feeling low.  You are in our thoughts and prayers.  We are so happy to be doing this work, and hope you will make this a good week in your life by the things you do and say that make your family and those around you feel loved.

Love Elder and Sister Hogge   

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