Friday, July 18, 2008

Zone Conference in Blenheim

Last night we returned from a trip to Blenheim which is 4 hours from here to the northeast end of the island. We attended a zone conference Thursday morning with President and Sister Jolliffe and we were happy to see a couple, the Pearson's, we met at the mission office. He looks after all the mission cars and bicycles. We stayed at Bro. and Sister Hansen's flat. They are a New Zealand couple from North Shore City near Auckland. They are delightful and were complaining how expensive the south island is compared to the Auckland area. They claim that food is half the cost there. They heat with a wood stove, which is much cheaper than electric heaters. It cost the Pearson's $325.00 to heat their flat and they are not there at all during the day. They live outside Wellington.

We got our first bill from the mission office where all bills are paid, and our electric bill was 129.00 for 11 days. The flat was vacant for three weeks before we got here but the hot water heater was on. The good thing is that the divided the month equally and we only had to pay 11/30 of the bill.

We made a short stop and a Dairy (convenience store) where we bout 4 ice cream bars for $14.40. They were very good. Here are Elder's Finau, Hoagland and Wilson. We were not far from Blenheim here and soon came to miles and miles of vineyards. According to the Hansen's this area grows more grapes than France and California. Hard to believe.

We were just about ready for bed when we got a call from the elders who were too crowed at the flat the local elders have. Four of them came over and slept on the floor. They are really great young men. The white elder is from north of Chicago, the one in pink from Tonga, the one with packaged pancakes in his mouth is from the Tongan community in Auckland, and the one in the foreground is from Kiribati.
Oh yes, they had not eaten either so sister Hansen had to feed them. She had a lamp roast in the oven she was going to use for guests on Thursday evening. She used that and left overs from our dinner.
After our wonderful meeting the missionaries found three local boys using the basketball hoop in the parking lot. There became an instant game. President and Sister Jolliffe did a wonderful job for their first meeting. There were no plans for food so we ended up with pizza for lunch.

Our travel was rather fast. We only stopped twice on the way there and we did not stop going home as it was 3:30 when we left Blenheim. Driving at night on the NZ windy two lane roads is not fun. We took this mid morning shot from the car . We did not take many scenic photo's as a result. The last few miles into Blenheim was very different as on the north you see mountains like Western Oregon while on the south it looked like Eastern Oregon rolling hills. Blenheim gets more sun than any other area in the country (300 days a year). So it is a much dryer area.

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