Sunday, September 29, 2013

Bula Vinaka everyone, we hope all is well with you.  These are a few more pic's from our trip to Wannanavu (means awesome and is one of Elder Wells favorite Fijian words, so Terry's had Elder Hogge make a missionary badge for him that they presented to "Elder Wannanavu"at dinner while we were all staying at the Wannanavu Resort) Yes, evenrn bougenvilla can be beautiful on an island.  Elder Hogge took this and he really doesn't like them because of all the scratches he's received from their big thorns when he trimmed them in Arizona.   

Next two pictures are the view from the deck where we had dinner and breakfast

There are a group of island in a U shape that can be seen from the deck where we ate our meals.

Yes, I love flowers and though this one was interesting with it's veregated leaves and small blooms

We were in downtown Lautoka which like most towns here have old dirty uneven sidewalks and alot of soot on the buldings, then I saw this charming little plant growing out of the border of a yard and had to capture it. I guess it's trying to tell us bloom whereever you are planted and in whatever circumstance you are in.

When we parted ways with the Wells and Terry's we got the last room at the waterfront hotel.  These huge masks (5 ft long) were hanging on the wall just off the reception desk when you first walk in.

I saw these historical pictures in the hall and was quickly taking a picture of some of them and the way Lautoka used to look, when a middle aged Fijian man came up next to me and said "wow, these pictures  show the way Fiji
used to be...this one is my favorite (a picture of Fijian women on a ship bare chested and with grass skirts on)
and I said I bet they are, a bit sarcastically.

In Lami we stopped to buy some bread, and I had to take a picture of the pawpaw (papayas)
next to the bananas they were the size of a football! The people often put plastic down and spread out what
they are selling.  We also see small wood fruit stands out in remote spots along our route with fruit or veggies stacked in heaps with no one there selling it.  The Wells said they stopped onc, and there's a sign with the cost and they trust you to take what you want and leave the correct amount of money on the table.

I had to go to immigration which is downtown and near the bus station terminal.  It's another dingy, dirty area but I was amazed to see this pawpaw tree loaded with the most papaya's on a tree that I've seen since we arrived.

The waterfront downtown Suvaand Lami Mountains in the background

Elder Smith and Saumaki were given a special assignment to go to the small island of Matuku.  The islanders have been asking for missionaries to come and these two will try it for a month and then report to President Klingler whether or not there is enough work their to make their staying worthwhile.  Suva is the big island behind Elder Smith.  

They had to take some new foam mattresses, a first aid kit, some medications, and a cane knife
 (the only tool most Fijian's men have) and they will be traveling on a boat for 3 days to get there.

Richard had a lot of things to deliver to Elders on the other side of the island, so we took trip two the next weekend.  I asked him if there was enough room for my small suitcase and he said "sure".  I discovered my seat had to be
moved forward to fit everything in and was a bit cranky when I saw the upper part of my seat was bent forward,
so Richard said just move your seat forward and then you can lean it back a bit.
Needles to say I was in a better mood as we made a few deliveries and I had more leg room.

One of the many types of water plants you see here in Fiji. This was growing in the ditch along the Navua Elders flat

We stopped at the new flat Airport Elder Johnson and Gadd have.  It was really nice pretty floor tile and the bath room had some beautiful ocean blue tiles.  I asked to use the restroom and burst out laughing when I told the Elders their flat had won the award for having the lowest toilet I've ever used.  I think they installed the toilet then laid the tile flooring and I kid you not as I bent to sit down I wondered if I was ever going to reach it!

Outside of the flat

We stopped at the Lautoka Elders flat and I saw this beautiful double bloom that I had to capture

After our weekend trip, it was time for Family Home Evening at the Hogge's.  We had 3 kinds of soup, salad, fresh fruit, ice cream and cookies for dessert.  We asked each person attending to come prepared to share a favorite scripture and tell us the significance of it to them.  The things shared were tender and we felt a sweet spirit.  It helped us to know and appreciate each other  more.  It was a wonderful way to complete our last FHE assignment while here in Fiji.

Along with flowers my second love is shells.  I had to take a picture in case some of these don't make it home with me.  Elder Tennis went snorkeling and found the lavendar striped (pincussion type shells) and gave them to me.  They're fascinating and I hope to find out what they're called before I leave.  They are fragile (Slightly thicker then an egg shell) and will have to be left here.  The Nautilaus I bought at Savusavu in a little shop where a women goes to remote areas and finds them.  It only cost me $10.00 which is about $6.00 in Fijian, and I will be praying hard that they won't confiscate it from me.  It's fragile too so I hope put it in a small and carry it in a cloth bag that will also hod my purse.

We've had some health issues with some of seniors.  Sister Howard got a bug bite that turned into cellulitis (a  bad  infection that suddenly made her leg swell)  She and her husband came to Suva and she was in the hospital on heavy antibiotics that cleared up the cellulitis but made her throw up a lot and swear she will never let them give her again.

Sister Leishman called saying she was having extreme back pain and when Sister Limburg checke her record it only said she had hearing loss.  She said she had an extensive medical record, fused disc and other surgeries so we looked up her record again and discovered her husbands medical record was with her info and vice versa.  She will be flying to Suva this weekend for an MRI because she experiencing numbness in one leg.

Sister McFadden has been struggling to get some needed meds and just received them when she began having trouble with her liver.  Sister Limburg said that's serious and if it get's worse could mean she and her husband might have to go home.

Yesterday some of the seniors went snorkeling at the Pearl and said the water was choppy and some of the guests were throwing up on the boat.  Some of the rest of us had other plans and just met up with them for a nice lunch at the Pearl.  It was out first time there.  As we were getting into our car Elder Christiansen asked Richard (the only person along with any kind of medical training to look at his arm.  He had gone snorkeling and had a wierd loose skin lump below his elbow the size of an egg.  I guess we'll find out the details on that tomorrow.

I'm very grateful to have my health and hope to be able to finish our mission without anything serious problems.

I just heard that President Volovolo passed away this week.  He served in the temple with  Sister Maiwiriwiri and Tilly.  I went to deliver some mail out in the lobby and saw them sitting quietly talking.  I greeted them, sat down and asked if they were talking about President Volovolo's passing and asked if they knew what had happened.  They said he had gone up to Labasa to do some surveying with 2 other men, and when they finished, he told them he was going down to the river.  One of them suggested he wait and take a shower when they got back, but he insisted on going to the river.  When he didn't return one of them went to look for him and as he reached down to scoop some water to cool his face
saw him floating face down in the water.

Sister Maiwiriwiri explained that this brought back a lot of sad memories of her husband's passing.  A group of them were on an outing and her husband and a young man went for sa long swim in the ocean and the young man got a cramp in his leg.  Her husband grabbed him around the chest and started swimming back, but began yelling for help from someone on shore.  Wen help arrived, and took the boy from him and started swimming back, he began dropping under the surface of the water and drowned.  as the other man swam with the boy to shore.  Sister Maiwiriwiri was on shore and saw that something was wrong with her husband and had literally watched him die.  She was beside herself with grief and only consoled later when an Elder Johnson serving in her ward, came to her and told her the spirit told him to tell her that her husband was needed on the other side of the veil.  This helped her to begin to accept her husbands death and the next day, this same Elder shared with her that he had a dream the night before about her husband and had seen him teaching people who were wearing the traditional clothing of the early Fijians (green skirts made of plant, and with black on their faces.  This Elder testified to her that he knew what he had told her was true, and I felt blessed that Sister Maiwiriwiri shared this with me.  I took hold of her hand and thanked her for sharing that with me and she pulled my hand closer and kissed it.  I have always felt that Sister Maiwiriwiri was s special woman and recently learned that her three sons are in various church leadership positions in the areas they live in .  She has a thin build and  short wavy hairy and is of Polynesian decent.   It's moments like these that make serving a mission worthwhile, in spite of the trials, sacrifice and stressful times that are also part of  a mission experience.

October is already upon us, I've made chart of the Missionaries with birthdays this month and tomorrow I will be going to immigration once more with 16 new lodgings for Work Permits.  Have a good week and know that you are loved and cherished sons and daughters of God.

Elder and Sister Hogge

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