Sunday, November 24, 2013

What a Week! ...We've had a lot of rain storms and two big pot holes showed up, in front of our driveway.  I had to capture the workers creativity.  They filled them in with dirt(not too effective) and stuck a palm frong in one of them to warn drivers, probably because they didn't have any floresent cones and it was quiting time.

Elder Webster and Ruben displaying yarn decorated mat a member made for Elder Ruben
who will finish his mission in January unless he extends for a month).  Which reminds me of a wonderful opportunity we had the Friday before last.  We had become good friends with our guard Tai Tusi the past year and then he got transferred to another assignment several months ago.  We made a stop at the Elders flat who teach in his area and gave him Tai Tusi's name as a referral.  last week the Elders called and invited us to join them for the first discussion telling us Tai Tusi's  wife, mother, and father would also be there.  His father became interested in hearing more, after a BYU humanitarian group had been working in their village (helping to install a toilet with a small shed to house it),for people who didn't have any indoor plumbing in their village.

Tai Tusi lives in a small one room house, but I loved how a small bench had been built on the porch so you could sit down while removing your shoes before entering the house. On one end of the room, there was a large colorful cloth strung on a cord to keep personal items and rolled up sleeping mats out of view.  A large woven mat was on the floor and a second nicer mat with colorful yarn (similar to the one above) was laid on one side of the room where we were invited to sit.  Fortunately it was a cloudy day and a lovely breeze was blowing the whole time we were there.  I must admit sitting cross legged on the floor was a challenge for both Richard and I and I had to change positions often.  It's an insult to extend your legs in front of you so that the soles of your feet are in view of your host, so I occassionally stretched my legs by facing my body towards Richard and put the soles of my feet against his side.  Richard was good at making conversation and putting everyone at ease.  Elder Owens spoke Fijian so fluently and his companion Elder Utai who is new to the field did well at contributing to the discussion.  Elder Owens asked Richard to share how the Book of Mormon had influenced  his life and I bore my testimony of how I knew the Bible and Book of Mormon are true.
I shared that both our parents were dead, but I knew I would see them again and that hey too would see their  loved ones again if they continue to make live the principles of the gospel that our Savior Jesus Christ taught us.

After our discussion, they told us they had prepared some food for us and the women (still sitting turned toward the wall and pulled out some dishes that were neatly stacked behind a shelf on the wall, with a cloth skirt.  They laid down a swatch of gingham cloth, two large tin bowls filled with water to wash our hands and a new wash cloth to dry them.  They set out a plate of cold  cooked Dalo slices (marbled green or purple in color) and a second dish of thinly sliced carrots, ota and other veggies with a coconut sauce that was pretty good and helped to moisten the starchy dalo.   They talked with us while we ate and we each took small portions so they there would be some for them to eat later.   It was a beautiful experience, and one we were grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of.

We came home one day, and there were the men working on the house.  We asked them if it was a house
or a  church and they said it's for a family with three children  who will soon be moving in.

Elder Mabunga came in all decked out in a garland and head piece that the members in Savusavu made for him  President Savu (not Suva!) who takes care of the temple grounds was visiting so I captured both of them.

We were headed to the temple and I decide to do a "Lexie type picture" to show you what the women wear.

Well on to what made these last two weeks so busy and gave Elder Hogge dish pan hands.
Nov 11th Watlings from England arrived (senior couple assigned to work in the temple)
Nov 13th Elder Haimin and Mabunga temple session and farewell dinner
Fri Nov 15th Zone conference at mission home lunch for 37 Didn't get approval letter needed for 14 missionaries due to arrive following week (1st time that's happened) and we were informed half of them temporarily assigned to 7 different missions in the US, other half still at the MTC.
Mon Nov 18th informed 7 MTC missionaries arrive today do orientation in the afternoon
Tuesday Nov 19th  zone conference/19 to feed for lunch + three missionaries arriving from New Zealand MTC  One is the son of a member of the church who works for the Immigration and is a big help to me.  Other two sisters are temporarily assigned to our  mission while they wait for a Visa for Vanuatu Mission, orient them
Wed 20th We office staff,  orient the 7 missionaries in the Mission Office
Due to President Klinglers stressing the need to send the other missionaries now because of  a time sensitive last step we do to complete the visa,,SLC notifies us 6 more missionaries arriving on Thurs Nov 21 (good news!) but challenging since there's another zone conference going on with 37 for lunch to feed .  This group joins the zone conference.
Friday Nov 22 Mission Leadership Council  Meeting scheduled, bumped to Saturday. Office does second group orientation and we get word that one more missionary is coming on Saturday.
Saturday, we do an orientation + prepare lunch for 26 The Smiths who we knew in Cooley Park Ward are in Fiji and join us for lunch.  That afternoon we once again orient the one missionary.   Add to that President Klingler having to interview all missionaries attending meetings and new missionaries arriving it's really been quite a week.
Time to close,  hope all is going well with you back in the good old USA or where ever you may be

Love Elder and Sister Hogge

Elder Hogge felt something tickle his neck one day and found this on his collar!

Smith's and family drop by on Saturday for lunch

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bula Bula everyone, how are you?  We are busy as usual so I'l give you a quick run down on what we've been up to.  This is lunch after a Sister's special training meeting with lots of pawpaw, salad, and chicken casserole with special sauce.

Elder Collins carved this coconut palm trees pumpkin for our office to have a little Halloween theme

When our two office sister's arrived, they elected to have the AP's to go pick up packages..
.a wise decision as this is one days worth of packages. 

We used to stack the packages in the corner by the window until sister Klingler had some men come and have us tell them what we needed and made the shelving and bar space to accomodate our ever increasing number of packages.  It's great to be able to put them up on the shelf and have the added space below to spread out paperwork.

We had a farewell dinner and testimony for the Whiteheads November 1st, they will be greatly missed.

Sister Limburg-Newsom, Elder and Sister Hogge, Elder and Sister Whitehead, Sister Klingler-President Klingler

While Elder Hogge went to Nausivikoso with the AP's I joined the Seniors for lunch at a resort that's about an hours drive from Suva.  Elder Tennis drove the van and we fit 5 couples and ourselves in and had a fun visit on the way up.

I even had time to capture the water lilie.  I've tried before but couldn't get Elder Hogge to slow down to take the picture.

We ate outside on this huge table made of a thick slab of Mahogony Wood

Elder Wells is sporting one of the nicest Bula shirts I've seen here.

One thing Coconut trees are is resilient.  This tree was likely blown over in a storm
 (horizontal growing trunk)  then rallied and began growing vertically towards sun.

These blue crabs were in a tank (similar to the live lobsters at Red Lobster) and when
 I took their picture all raised their claws to defend themselves from the lady with the camera.

Simple elegance, this pretty plant with lime green leaves was growing in a rusty barrel in the grounds of our church.

It's Diwali time again.  It landed near Halloween this year (date changes each year) and Avenish and his family brought us a feast.  L-R Roti, potatoe curry, spicy hot tomatoe and onion type sauce, pumpkin curry, her and spice treats (box) and sweet treats (most of them deep fried).  My favorite was a coconut filled pastry.

The brightly colored rice artwork on the two porches

Arsenal of fireworks!  Avenish said they buy about $500.00 worth of fireworks this year.
Luckily, this year we haven't had as many nights of fireworks after Diwali, like we did last year

Avenish and wife

Senior couple and next door neighbors the Jacksons.  While we were all outside watching firework
Richard was inside talking with Avenish's father.  He had a special prayer room
 he wanted to show him.  

These are our new upstairs neighbors.  Dad's name is Lackland (goes by Lach) and his four daughters.   The girls mom Wendy got the three older girls these dresses that they wore to school on Oct. 31st to ease the fact that kids in Fiji don't dress up for Halloween and then they were able to wear them again for Diwali. They're from Australia but have lived various places all over the world.  Lach works for the Australian Embassy.

Another pretty dress worn by young teenager who was a guest at the celebration

This is a new flat the missionaries found for Elder Hogge in Lami.  It's a pretty town that's located on a narrow strip of land with a pretty view of the ocean.  Very few flats are available to rent in this area, so we feel very blessed to have found it.  I loved the pretty white poinsettia bush growing in the yard that helps me to feel the spirit of
the Christmas season that is fast approaching.

This is a Fijian laundry room, now all we need to add is a washing machine and we're set.

Wood floors and newly painted walls is a bonus, but we'll have to hire someone to install screens on the windows.

This is a small vegetable garden out back.  The shed with bricks on it to keep the roof in place is a common site in Fiji

Today at church we had our primary program.  We only have about 15 children but they sang the songs so beautifully.

We began with a congregational hymn of In Our Lovely  Deseret which said" In our lovely deseret.  Where the Saints of God have met.  There's a multitude of children all around.  They are generous and brave; They have precious souls to save;They  must listen and obey the gospel's sound. Hark!Hark! Hark! the children's music-Children's voices, oh how sweet. When in innocence and love, Like the angels up above.  They with happy hearts and cheerful faces meet.

It set the tone for a beautiful spiritual feast. One little Indian girl whose name is Laruni Manwelli touched my heart as I watched her cheerfully sing each song, expecially the one which says "he gave me my eyes that I might see the color of butterfly wings" and I thought of how blessed my grandchildren are to have the gift of sight.  I am grateful this little girl knows that she will someday be able to see.

Then the tears began to flow for both Elder Hogge and I when this same little girl stood up on the stool by the pulpit and sang a primary song solo.  She has been  given a beautiful voice and sounded like an angel singing.

Well Elder Hogge is getting restless, so I'd better close.  Much love to all our family members.  You are always in our prayers and in our heart.  Love mom and dad, 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

An outing to Nasivikoso!
I got to go back to my favorite village, Nasivikoso, up in the highlands in the interior.  In a previous blog or two, you have seen me go there and even stay overnite in the Elders flat.  It's just like camping with a village full boy scouts of all different ages, no running water, no bathroom (bathing in the river), and no electricity.  This trip was to install a solar unit the will give the Elders a small portable fridge, a couple of fans, and a light at night.  It was an early Christmas for them.
I took the AP's to help me, and I'm glad of that, because I got a flat tire and their help was very welcomed.  They even got up on the roof of the flat, and screwed down the solar panels, all without falling through the roof.  Of course, I had to bring up all the tools and ladder to do everything, but it was fun.  Even the AP's had some fun.  It was during the dry season so no water was running over the bridge of the river, and the roads were passable.  The next time I go there, I can get a cold drink of water, and cool off by the fans.
This is the finished installation, easy to install and easy to remove

The AP's thought I fell asleep while placing the jack under the truck.
I won't confirm or deny

Natural environment to play and do crazy stuff

This villager was intelligent enough to make a sled, and use
it for doing his daily chores of getting firewood.  The oxen
don't move very quickly, but the slow and steady get the job

The supervisor is watching these young bucks every
step of the way.  Reminded me of when Justin and Rob
were home

You can see how low the water is,  but it's still a beautiful setting

I miss you all--keep the faith,  Dad