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

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