Thursday, June 26, 2008

Jack's Diary

Sunday, June 22, 2008
We Attended church for the first time in New Zealand. The branch is small but has faithful members, the majority being Tongan. It was interesting to see the Aaronic Priesthood boys wearing skirts and one brother wore the same with bare feet. Others were in flip/flops. Judy played and I led the music. I am not comfortable leading but I guess I did alright. I chose a hymn for priesthood that none of us really knew so that was interesting. We spoke just long enough to introduce ourselves, followed by a sweet Tongan girl who spoke English pretty well. Her parents also spoke but only in Tongan. Sunday school was taught by a bright young Philippine Sister who did an excellent job. It was nice to see someone stick to the lesson as provided by the church. She read the questions in the manual, we then read the scripture reference, and then answered and discussed the question. Great method I thought. We covered a lot of material that way. Those uncomfortable with speaking English read their verses in Tongan. We are told they all understand it. We followed in English. I am a slow reader and always finished my verse faster than the Tongans did in their language even though they appeared to be speaking very fast. I guess their language has more verbage than ours.
This afternoon was also very interesting. The CES couple came to help us get started with our teaching seminary. We are three weeks behind in the Old Testament lessons so we are going to have to catch up with the schedule. Not having been very interested in the Old Testament, I find it interesting that we start our teaching career with that book of scripture.
It has been raining all day and with metal roofs it sounds like a high powered fan running all the time. We have a dehumidifier in the place and the previous couple left us copious notes about the operation of the flat. They said they never figured out how to run it. We just turned it on, how much trouble is that. Two other things were accomplished today. We hooked up to an internet phone service that lets us talk to our family real cheep. I also got the printer running.
Last night we were told of a meeting with the new mission president to be held on July 4. He is from England and his name is President Jolly.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
It has been an interesting week. I have not been able to log into my bank in the us as I had to change emails and cancelled the old one. The bank is still using the old one and I keep trying to change my pass word and it sends it to the old email rendering me helpless. We solved it today by using Judy’s name and personal information. We started teaching seminary this morning. The children are wonderful and they are all Tongan. They can walk from her to School.
Last night we visited the home of Pres. And Sister Kinikini. I had made up a branch roster and wanted him to tell what each person’s calling was. They served us a wonderful cup of hot chocolate (Milo). They have some trouble with a leaky roof. Water is coming out the ceiling light fixture in the dining room. They have just one light each in the living room and dining room hanging from the ceiling. The house reminds me a little of the one I lived in when I was 2-8 years of age. It has a coal stove which to me did not put out that much heat even with a red hot fire inside. Maybe all the heat was at the ceiling as they were at least 10 ft. high.
We have done some shopping. Judy bought two flees e jackets to wear indoors and I bought a sweater. We also bought a headset to use with our skype phone service. Judy bought some cough syrup at a pharmacy down town and it cost $18.50. We hope we just bought at the wrong store. It had super service with people coming up to us asking if you needed help. Haven’t seen that in long time.
Teaching from the Old Testament has been great so far as I am reading new material to me. I of course have heard the stories and read about them as a youth in some books my parents bought when I was a child. I have also read portions in class, etc. I think a general authority did me a disservice years ago when he said; “I read the Old Testament once and have since repented of it.” That gave me an excuse not to read it either. We started in Joshua this morning after reading it yesterday. Catching up is making us read whole books at time. Today I read Judges and Ruth. That will be our lesson tomorrow. Judy will give the background for the book and I will relate some of the stories and hopefully what lessons are learned from them.
I have caught Judy’s cold and have been suffering with a runny nose all day. We spent most of the day in the flat reading our scriptures for tomorrow. I read all of 1st Samuel today. It is supposed to be a 7 day class but to catch up we will hopefully cover it tomorrow. I also studied the driving manual as it is important that I get it to avoid being sued if I have an accident. We can legally drive for a year on our US license but we are vulnerable to suits in accidents even if it was not our fault. In the morning I have to give a little lesson in our district meeting out of preach my gospel. We did take a walk for exercise and went to the store. It started to rain shortly after we left the flat and we were able to take refuge in a bus stop. Today it rained intermittently. Last night we had thunder and lightning with some heavy rain fall. It is funny to hear the weather people on TV here describe the weather. I will try to right some of it down. We are expected to have more falls (rain fall) tomorrow and then Saturday is supposed to be nice.
The first few days here we had a lot of moisture on our windows. Yesterday we used a squeegee to take off the moisture and then for the first time used our dehumidifier. It has collected over a gallon of water since then and the flat is more comfortable. We can also see out our windows. The church provides all the household goods and we pay the rent, electric, and phone. That will be close to $1,500.00 NZ or more. We also pay rent for the car and the fuel. Insurance and repairs are covered by the church. We have a 2007 Toyota Carrola. It has a backup beeper to warn when we get too close to objects. I have had better luck driving in that I stay mostly to the left now and I don’t use the wiper control for the turn signal as often. Just wait until Sister Hoagland starts driving. That’s another thing. We still haven’t got Elder and Sister down when we refer to each other.


Jen said...

I was reading your blog and Taylor came in and said with excitement there is papa!!

Lori Bitter said...

Thank you for including us on your updates. It is great reading. Lori