Sunday, May 26, 2013

We traveled to Kuku and passed this crazy house.  I think someone has a secret wish to go to sea.  It's a homemade house and to the left of the truck bed is a pointed structure fashioned to look like the bough of a ship.

From the other side is a tall structure on the right horizontal structure (behind the small shed)
on the  left of the picture another square structure and small pointed bough 

Elders enjoying the potatoe barat the Trainers meeting. Two Elders on the right are Elder Palmer and Tremea little did they know they would be in a car accident on Saturday.  Elder Tremea kept his sense of humor....right after the accident he jokingly said "is my face okay?" They certainly received a tender mercy from the Lord last night.

On our way out the door for work, I noticed this big rainbow in the sky after a quick shower.

Happy days!, Elder Hogge gets to break in this new truck for a month, before a new couple the Walkers arrive.  The will be taking it up north to Vanua Levu where they will be serving at Savusavu

This is a new flat we found for the Edwards who will be here for 3 months  before going to Kiribati. The two single (widowed) sisters who will be filling the spot the Whitings are currently doing in our office (financial secretary and nurse)will move into this flat after the Edwards leave.  The Whitings head out in August so there's lots of changes happening in the months ahead.. 

I found this cool yam at the store yesterday.  Back with skin, front a bright purple flesh but tastes great.

We dropped the Elders off at church this morning after our visit to the hospital for exrays.

New flowers for the week.  I see them blooming along a fence at many homes in Suva

Where the car  hit the truck

Where the pole hit.  We were grateful it was by the back seat and not the front where the Elders were sitting.

Right next to the wrecked cars was the big Rewa river and a small boat

next to the river is a large park where the young men go at night to play rugby.
Bula Vinaka friends and family:

Last Tuesday, I went to help prepare a big lunch with two other sisters for missionaries who came in for training, and when I returned to the office was surprised when Elder Hogge said "while you were gone I did the blog for this week"  and I thought, great! not realizing when I opened our blog it would be the shortest blog we've ever done.

We hope all you mothers had a good celebration for mother's day in spite of the big challenges some of you had with sick kids, sick moms etc.  We love and admire all you do to take care of your children and husbands and want you to know that we love you, and appreciate all you do.

Here's a few of the highlights, and low points of our week:

Last Sunday we had 2 stake speakers.  One was Lai who works in the Service Center and installed some new shelving in our office recently.  He has 7 sons and 2 daughters and said sometimes his house is so noisy that it's like a fish market!  Everyone laughed (Fijian's have a sense of humor that is a bit different from ours) He spoke on obedience and shared how one of his son's has been a challenge to raise and teasingly said to him one day "If they ever allow us to sell our children, you're the first!"  He saw one of his companions from serving a mission in Fiji and how his life is growing dim as he has become less active, then shared his gratitude for a friend of his named Manwell who moved to the United States, but gave his name as a referral when he was a young man, and how that had made all the difference in his life and closed by saying that referral is why I'm here today and bore his testimony.

The second speaker also spoke on obedience and how he was asked to speak here today.  He arose at 6 am, walked a half hour to the river and saw his brother in law.  He asked if he would swim across the river to fetch the small boat he needed to cross, but his brother in law said he was sick, so this meant he had to walk back to his house, put on some grubby clothes return, and swim to fetch the boat himself.  By the time he made it to where he needed to catch a bus and change back into his Sunday clothes he thought for sure he was going to miss the bus, but it was late.  When he got off the bus he had to walk some more and it began to rain hard.  He took a taxi the rest of the way and when he got out he had exactly $5.00 which was the cost of the fare.  I had to admire this man who had such a positive attitude in spite of the difficulties he had in just trying to get to church and fulfill his assignment.

There's been a few late night calls this week.  Elder and Sister Whiting took Elder Ruben into the hospital with a lot of pain from a bad sinus infection at 1 am in the morning.  Last night, I took some pain medication to help me sleep and heard Richard stirring at 11pm.  Two Elders in Nausori were returning from a discussion, and with no warning a car hit them broadside and both cars continued to slide across the road until impactiong a pole.  There is only a clinic in Nausori and the War Memorial Hospital is pretty old and used mostly by people who are terminally ill and go there to die.  After spending a long time at the police station, they decided to go home and get some sleep and then Elder Hogge and I got up early Sunday morning and took them to be checked at a Private Hospital that opened in the morning.  We were glad we went early as we were first in line and avoided having to wait with the many other people that began showing up in the waiting room.  Elder Palmer and Tremea are okay and we are grateful they were in a truck.  They said that the place their car plowed through usually has people waiting around for a bus quite late at night, but last night there was no one waiting for a bus.  The other driver was drunk, but trying to tell the police that his car had bad brakes.  We're grateful they're okay and no one else was hurt.  Sadly this truck was due to be inspected Monday and then trade in for a new truck, but now it will take a considerable amount of time before it's decided what to do about the situation.    

Well, after having two senior couples over for dinner today, I'm ready to relax a bit before it's Monday morning once again.  Have a good Sabbath tomorrow.

Love Elder and Sister Hogge    

Friday, May 17, 2013

Well, I got a call late Thursday night, and it was the Suva ZL's
calling to report an accident they had.  They were parked at 
the roadside with the flashers on, and a city bus backed into
them.  They will be without a car for two weeks, a small 
price to pay for not having anybody hurt.  

This is the longest blog you'll see from me.  Mary said
it was my turn to blog, and all I've done this week is
put out fires, so life is still good.  Love Ya, Grandpa

Sunday, May 12, 2013

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all you mother's out there
Is this picture to help you remember the good old days when your mother would tell
you to drink your Ovaltine?  No, Ana a member of the church who cleans our office
promised to make us some jam.  She used an old Ovaltine bottle which is huge and made
some jam using a fruit called wi.  Luckily the AP's are familiar with it and hopefully will help us consume it.  

Our intake of 14 arrved safely and they are singing while waiting for us to put the finishing
touches on the dinner we prepared  Tuesday night to welcome them.

Sister Ongesel and Jonathan are from FSM (Micronesia) and very close, when  they got their  assignments and
realized Sister Ongesel would be heading up north to Vanua Levu while Sister Jonathan will
stay in Suva (she's serving in our ward area) there were some tears as they realized they would be apart.

This picture is hanging in our couch area of the office and when  our new couple the McFadden's
arrived Brother McFadden shared with us that he had served his mission in the pacific and opened the  island
up north called Taveuni for missionary work.  He saw the picture and told us about the artist who is a good
 friend of his. This painting is an early painting by Clark Price who did this self portrait of himself
teaching the people here in Fiji, after her served his mission here.  Elder McFadden served in Samoa, Tonga another small island and Taveuni   None of us knew this until they arrived on Monday with the other 14 missionaries. He and his wife headed up to Taveuni on Wednesday so the Kennerly's can return to their assigned area in Ba.  I always
find it interesting how the Lord provides such unique experiences for his missionaries.

I captured this flower on my walk  up to the office on Friday.  Richard had to rise early and  drive the Kennerly's truck back to the other side of the island (a four hour drive) and leave it with the airport elders.  He had the AP's reserve a flight so he could return in plenty of time for our farewell dinner for 4 missionaries who have completed their missions.  He got to the airport 10 minutes before they closed the desk and everyone got on the plane.  Then came the now familiar announcement "I'm sorry but there will be a delay, due to mechanical problems with the plane".  They returned, disembarked, and waited and hour, loaded up again, taxied down the runway and...the pilot stopped abruptly, more mechanical problems, taxied back to the spot he had just left.  Needless to say, when Richard told me  that morning he would be back about noon, I called him and got a "this phone has been diverted message" (something was also wrong with his phone) and he didn't show until 3 pm I was worried.  Luckily I had little time to dwell on it with the work I had to do in the office, and missionaries busily packing and repacking their suitcases most of the day.  Luckily he walked in the door just before Sister Whiting and I headed over to help cook dinner, and the rest of the evening went well.

Sorry for the shiny spot but I took a picture of the picture up on our new arrival board

The McFadden's on the left.  She was a bit nervous and we tried to share any information that would be
helpful, without sharing so much that she would feel overwhelmed. Taveuni is a beautiful island, but small and without
many stores or restaurants, so you have to give yourself time to adjust to a new way of life.

We had the traditional demonstration of how to eat Sister Klingler's cream puffs.  Elder LeDoux  (New AP on the left) heard about earlier missionaries and one of them holding the record of stuffing 6 in his mouth, and it was game on!

We girls got a nice fluffy one and had fun stuffing our faces

Elder Hansen, Moaalii, Inukihaangana (Inu for short) all had  a go at it

LeDoux broke the record with 7, and we all thought he might choke, but somehow he made it after gagging a few times.

Sister Michael has a sweet spirit and testimony.  She struggles a bit with  English  but speaks 4 other languages

Elder Hansen, a really good Elder and one of the few who knows how to clean a flat.

Elder Inu island ancestry, raised in the US

Elder Moaalii, island ancestry raised in the US

This week we got a piece of mail for George Bourget.  It was from  a religious ministry about a religious event  coming up here in Suva.  I kept puzzling over it, when Sister Whiting said that name sounds familiar, went over to our historical
pictures of past mission presidents and their wives and found George Bourget who served in 1978-81
I think the pastor of the church has a very outdated mailing list.

One of our senior couples went on a get away trip up to Taveuni for a week.  The food was great and they came back relaxed, and refreshed, but they did have a little plane trouble.  As they got in the air the propeller on their side of the plane stopped working.  They returned back to Taveuni, and you guessed it,  the flight was delayed a day.  Sister Tennis said the pilot explained to her that if they had been in the air for a while (at least half way to Nadi) and this would have happened, the plane has a wide enough wing span that they would have just glided into the Nadi airport, which I thought was a comforting thing to know since we do fly on these small planes quite often.

That's the news for this week, we love and miss you all Love Elder and Sister Hogge

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Bula! What is this?  A very interesting fruit called a custard apple (imported from Australia)  The outside peels off and there are segments with a soft sweet exterior (custard like texture around a large seed).  Similar to Pomegranates.  Sister Klingler bought some as part of the meal we served to Brother Rasband and his wife who stopped in for a one day visit along with brother Hamula.

These bushes are in our yard and some are a bright red color,   Even they bloom at this time of year.

We had to stop at Courts to pick up bikes that we delivered to Rakiraki and Ba  Elders last weekend.  
We parked by the delivery trucks and I tried to capture how deep of a slant we were on.  

This is the Rakiraki Elders flat.  

Kitchen with well functioning water system and gas stove...looks pretty good

We saw this interesting display as we entered Ba.  This is the small trains that  used to be used to transport  sugar  cane.  There are still a few around, but you see more large trucks that now transport the sugar cane for processing

Bure on left and older 1950's style truck to transport sugar can.

We traveled back to Rakiraki to stay the night at the  Rakiraki Tinoa Hotel.  Nice hotel  for such a small  town, and the food was okay (frozen breaded fish that was heated up along with frozen fries)  but when you consider it's eat here or have crackers and peanut butter in your room, it was a pretty good meal!  These orchids were blooming outside.

Richard thinks I'm crazy for taking a picture of this small cemete, but it shows some of the challenges people have in Fiji.  The two dark gray graves were once light colored cement boxes (now covered in mold).  The one to the left has been tiled so it looks nice longer.  The one draped with material is more recent and the loved ones don't have a lot of money, so they decorate it in colorful cloth, and it's left over the grave until the material fades in the sun.

This is the other (red bush) that is now in bloom.  Fiji has so  much  variety of  plants and many beautlful colors.

We went to the temple Thursday.  It was the first time in a while that we weren't asked to be the witness couple.  It was nice to just sit near the back and enjoy the session.  There was also enough couples for the prayer circle.  When we came out, we  captured the temple with a beautiful sunset as a backdrop.  It was a great way to end our day.

Elder Hogge took me along to do some errands, and while he was in courts picking uup some items
 I took a picture  of this interesting orchid that was blooming in someone's yard.

We dropped some bikes off to the Navua Elders and I saw this cana  and had to  capture it.  

Elder Gatoloai and Elder Golson (his helmet looks Egyptian doesn't it?)
 He's just goofing off and hadn't adjusted it  to fit his head yet.)

After work, we headed down to the wharf,  one of the bed frames got bent in a flat in a remote area of
 the Northern island of Vanua Levu, so Elder Hogge is unloading it.

A lot of boats were in the wharf.  This family sitting on the ground are having  a snack before boarding the  boat.

We went to Victoria's for dinner and the fish and chips were excellent, I ordered a mango  smoothie
that was so delicious and they even decorated it with a beautiful flower,  cool!

Today we had a great testimony meeting.  One father shared that he got home from work, ate dinner and wanted to crash for the night.  His wife and daughter were in a corner of the house with the light on and he said "hey, lights out"  to which his daughter quipped, "and God said let their be light!"

Elder LeDoux who is our new AP and one of the two Elders who took us around when we were up north in Savusavu told us about the sister who had a stroke who we met while up there.  The members had been receiving money to arrange   for transport to church on Sunday because they live a long way from the church building and no one has cars (the transport support was denied for a time, due to a misuse of funds in that branch)  When her sister and family heard that support money would no longer be provided for transport, they decided not to go to church.  This sister walked the whole long way (3-4 hour walk) by herself  to church in spite of the difficulty she has walking, due to one side of her body being affected by the stroke she suffered.  I am humbled by the great faith of this woman.

We are gearing up for the next intake of 14 missionaries and a new senior couple(the McFaddens) that will arrive on Monday.  Last week, I was so grateful when I came back from doing errands with Elder Hogge, and saw that our second visa approval letter had come.  We are usually waiting and hoping to hear from immigration or have to go down and wait an hour to ask if they have the approval letter yet, which I scan and fax to SLC so they can finalize flight plans for the missionaries.  The Lord has really  blessed us with a worker at immigration named Talei .  She is LDS, and gets things done on time  for us, which is a big help with so many more missionaries now coming to our  mission.

We've also had an increase in the number of temporary Elders who are heading to another mission but haven't received their visa and are temporarily assigned to our mission.  Suva is a hub for many islands wanting visa's because we have a good number of Embassy's here.  Elder Vanisi arrived Monday and will fly out next Monday for Guam if he gets his paperwork from the Embassy on time.  President Klingler said he didn't mind babysitting him but said getting a 90 day visa which costs $190.00 for a few days of proselyting seemed a little steep.  I suggested maybe we could keep him busy in the office and didn't hear anything more until Elder Vanisi arrived on Monday.  After a visit to the Embassy, President Klingler said "Well Sister Hogge, do you have something for Elder Vanisi to do?"
Luckily I did, I have two letters I create for the next batch of 15 missionaries we have coming in July and the missionary's name has to be copied and pasted  in 3 places on the Bond letter and 6 places on the second letter.  Elder Vanisi is from Tonga and doesn't speak English fluently, so I showed him how to cut and past and sat near by tosupervise.  I am happy to report that I am now caught up on some of the more tedious letters that needed to be done for the next batch of missionaries who will be coming in July, Wahoo!

This week the Edwards arrived (a couple who will serve here several months at the college, then move on to a remote island (Kiribati) several months, then Samoa, and Tonga.  They have a great attitude and will do well.

We also got word that two single sisters (widows) who have been good friends over the years will be coming to serve in the office with us.  One is a nurse and the other will do finances when the Whitings head out the first of August.

The McFaddens (couple coming next Mon) will spend one day with us.  Do the temple and welcome dinner with the other missionaries and then head up to Taveuni (small island) up north.  A couple serving in the other side of our island in Ba (the  Kennerly's)  were asked to go to Taveuni and cover that area until the McFaddens came.  The anticipated three week stay turned into 6 weeks due to a delay for the McFaddens arrival.  This was tough for Kennerlys, since they only brought enough clothes for a short stay. It was a lucky break for us, since Elder Hogge had a lot of hauling to do to get bikes to Elders and furnish flats for the new missionaries.  We were given permission to use Kennerly's truck which helped us get things done on time.  Now they are anxious to return to Ba, which means Elder Hogge will be driving it over to Nadi and leaving it with the airport Elders for the Kennerlys and catch a flight back in time to be at the farewell dinner and testimony meeting that night.  We have four special missionaries heading home that we've come to love and admire; Elder Moaalii, Hansen, Inukihaangana (we called him Elder Inu for short) and Sister Michael (from the Marshall Islands).  If it sounds like we're crazy busy, we are!  Serving a mission has been one of the best decisions of our life, and we are grateful to have the privilege of meeting so many wonderful people.

Mothe everyone., Love Elder and Sister Hogge