|Here is something that's different here in Fiji. They put cement Telephone poles|
right in the middle of the sidewalk where pedestrians walk.
|This is the same flowering bush that I took walking home from work, but this was at the|
restaurant where we seniors got together for lunch on Saturday.
We also had brother Inoke (who is in the military) leave recently for Aphghanistan for a year. Both of these brothers have families with older children and I can only imagine how hard it is for all of them to be separated for that long. They are both stalwart men in the church, and their strengh in our ward will be greatly missed
Many older parents and grandparents here have children who serve missions in the states, then stay and work, get married and become citizens to have a better life. They are happy for their children, but it's hard on those left behind.
Brother Joeli came in the other day. He is the man who as a youth lived on one of the Lau islands (very far out) His father used to read the Bible to his family, but wouldn't let them join the Methodist church because they didn't do things like Christ did in his time. When he heard about the church from a friend they were all eager to join but there were no missionaries on their island to baptize them. The three children and their parents were on a boat heading for Suva where they could be baptized. A Cyclone hit and sunk the boat, and Joeli saw a man clinging to 2 clumps of coconuts. He gave him one to float on and Joeli's mother saw him, swam to him kissed him and told him to hold onto the coconuts and swam to try and find other family members. It was the last time he saw his mother father and two brothers. He had a married sister who lived in Suva that he lived with, but struggled with the great loss of the rest of his family. At that time President Davis, who knew about this tragedy asked his missionaries to try and find Joeli, but to no avail.
Years later after some years of struggling, Joeli did join the church, married and had a family and lives in an island North of Suva. He became a President of the branch in his small village. He has two sons that served missions, moved to the US and have families. His third son is attending Hawaii BYU, and his daughter is preparing to leave on a mission, soon. Joeli's sons in the US keep telling their parents to come to live in the United States with them, where they could have a better life, and know their grandchildren. He said one day he will go, but right now, he can't leave the members in their village, because there is no one who could replace him if he left. Strong, faithful leaders are also few in numbers in Fiji so I admire his faith and dedication to the Lord. A sweet addition to his story is that President Davis who was a mission president here in 1972-75 is currently serving as Temple President here in Suva. Joeli came to the temple and walked up to President Davis and asked him "do you remember me?" (Joeli is now in his 50's and President Davis an older man and 28 years had passed) He said "I'm sorry I don't" he told him his name and President Davis and he hugged each other and the tears began to flow. Both of these men have such great faith, and I marvel how the Lord puts people together after the trail of their faith.
Elder Hogge says it's time to go, so take care and know that we love you, Love Elder and Sister Hogge