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

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