Sunday, December 29, 2013

Bula Vinaka!

Well we're starting a count down now,  2 2/3 weeks left on our mission.  I think Heavenly Father didn't want us to be bored, as we just got word that 8 temporary (visa waiter) missionaries are arriving Tues Dec 31st to help us start the new year right.  I'm hoping to get the last three approval letters for the 17 missionaries due to arrive 2 days before we leave this week, and Sister Klingler (went to her son's wedding in the US) and the new office couple are arriving January 6th so I'm gearing up to train Sister Terry but not overwhelm her.
Add to that moving to a different flat which has been more of an adjustment then we thought it would be, but we're hanging in there and hope to finish strong.  We have a portable scale from the office that we're going to use to weigh our luggage tonight and make sure we're under the 50 lb limit.  If we can make arrangements for a rental car this week we'll be set for our trip to New Zealand with the Wells before we travel home.

We hope your Christmas was a good one, here are some highlights from ours:

Sister and Elder Wells planned a special FHE Dec 23rd English Christmas Dinner (in honor of the Watlings our new temple couple from England)  President and Sister Davis offered their home to hold it in.  We had Chicken, a sausage dish, Yorkshire pudding, cauliflower in a creamy sauce, breadsticks and a salad.  For dessert we had Trifle.  Each couple came prepared to share a memorable Christmas and Elder Watling ended with some spiritual thoughts.  

Sister Davis had a lot of candles around the room, and a traditional tree in the corner

I had to take a picture of this little guy, I haven't seen a dark brown Gecko with gold dots up his back before.  

We went shopping at Vinod Patel and I had to capture this funky St Nicholas playing a saxaphone figure!

Fijians loves trees with sparkle

This is Sister Tago she's been here for a medical concern for about 10 days and knows how to merge letters,so I had her do a bunch of letters for March which will help Sister Terry stay on top of the paperwork for the March intake.

Christmas Eve Sister Limburg and Newsom planned an evening visiting the Old Folks Home with the missionaries from one of our smaller zones in Suva.  I went around and took pictures before the program began

Sister Trammell and two residents who are here due to mental limitations

They were in their seats 1/2 hour before we were going to start, so the missionaries went around and visited.

When we did the nativity, we were told two residents wanted to participate and represent Joseph and Mary, but when we began draping the costumes on them, this lady jumped up and I said "do you want to participate?"
she nodded and we had two ladies be our shepherdesses.

Sister Lavaka sitting by the man who wanted to be Joseph, he had about 3 teeth in his mouth but the most wonderful smile and cheerful countenance.  When I escorted him to the front it was obvious he had suffered a stroke and had to use the wall to balance the hand and foot on one side of his body that didn't function well, 

Sister Faasalafa and resident

Elder Moka and Fijian woman who portrayed Mary

2 residents and Elder Hancock

Younger man on right was funny.  We have a couple - the Petersons who brought chimes with them and the missionaries played them.  They practiced in back of the residents while we set up and sang the first song, then I went up and asked them to go to the front of the room so we could see them.  This guy picked up his plastic chair and followed Sister Peterson to the front, plunking his chair right behind her as she led the music (I think he really liked the chimes and wanted to be close to where they were being played.  Sister Peterson took it in stride.

Sister Trammell offered to take my picture, now if I can just get back up off my knees.


Wisemen - Elder Lauti, Tremea, Arthur

Mary Joseph and baby Jesus

This was a wonderful surprise I discovered on top of the gate of our new flat.  I recognized that it was a Christmas Cactus because my mother used to have one in her TV Room.  Christmas morning we were invited to a breakfast at the Collins and while we waited in the rain for the Wells to pick us up, I saw that it had bloomed.  Richard told me to wait until later when it was sunny to take the picture, but I'm glad I took it then because later the blooms closed and a day later they were willted down and preparing to drop off.  It was a sweet reminder of my mother and the biggest Christmas Cactus I'll probably ever see in my lifetime.  I'm sure it got it's name because it blooms at Christmas time. 

The Collins had a feast of egg casserole with cassava, and waffles with yummy toppings of whip cream, frozen blueberries, jams, raspberry whip cream and fresh fruit.  We sat and talked for hours and heard some crazy stories from Elder Collins (a definiteDaniel Boone type guy) about his adventures killing grouse and cottontail rabbits with a sling shot and a bobcat with a tire jack while on his mission....a local paper printed the story which got back to his mission president, and he was called in to have a a serious discussion with his mission president.  

Our landlady surprised us with a nice Fijian meal at lunch time and gave us two silky sulu's as a gift.
L-R Breadfruit, dalo, fried fish, top green veggie is Ota and the lolo (coconut sauce made everything taste good)
Wells invited us over for dinner and a game and we had cheese enchiladas and a salad.  It was a nice relaxing day.

Well, we had a meeting with Zone Leaders Friday and Elder Hogge turned our copy room into his loading
dock of water filters that are due to be changed in all the flats at the first of the year.

I stayed busy labeling bags to be used for wet baptism clothes.  We hope to eventually supply all the mission zones with them, but it's a slow process.  I bought everything Vinod Patel had (16 ) and that covere one of our 5 zones.  So it will be a slow process as they only get a small supply in 

December Birthdays 

When we came these cards only went to the silver border and now is spreading across the 2nd board

Elder Heath enjoying the sweet comfort of our office chair

Bright orange closets in the master bedroom.  A king size bed that's comfortable and helped my back feel better.

Big bathroom/shower/laundry/drying rack room

Elder Hogge's suite (he snore's and I'm a light sleeper)

dining room/living room

A pretty big pantry considering I didn't have one in the last flat

The sink area is small, the oven is nice and big, the kitchen
table  is used to prepare  food . 

We want to wish you all a Happy New Year and are excited that we will see you who live in Arizona soon.  
Love Elder and Sister Hogge 

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