Sister Hoagland turned 6? on Saturday and we found a wonderful place for dinner. It was at the Kings Gate Hotel where on Saturday's they have a buffet. The food was as good as I have found anywhere and the price was reasonable. Really, everything was first class from the linen to the prime rib. The only thing I noticed was that there was not as much choice within each category, with the exception of meats. New Zealanders are definitely meat eaters. One person said that NZ eaters consider a vegetarian diet meat with extra vegetables. Not only do they use beef and pork, but lamb of course and domestic elk and deer.
We take walks for exercise and today we took this picture of some nice homes not far from the flat. It was a beautiful day as you can see but on the cool side. I washed the car as well.
Spring is not far away as evidenced by this early blooming Rhododendron.
Sunday was the week that we travel north to Westport to speak in sacrament meeting. They have a very small branch with some faithful members. We will participate with them in an open house for their building as it is now 10 years old. Below is a sister who is from Colorado. Her children are all grown and active in the church.. Her first husband died. She and her husband met on an LDS centered dating site. They are Bonnie and Peter Stack. Unfortunately, Peter "lost his testimony" about 18 months ago while he was still branch president and no longer attends. He even avoided meeting us when we came to visit. He is Maori and unfortunately right now it isn't "cool" to attend church in New Zealand. Sister Stack is wonderful and serves as the primary when children come to meetings. There are two grandchildren from one of the Brothers and two other girls who come once a month as they live 1 1/2 hours away. They have not been baptized yet because their father objected. He was not living with them (divorced) and just passed away this week. It sounds a little funny but the girls were there Sunday and are excited that they can now be baptized.
We had a wonderful drive back to Greymouth and took our time around all the curves in the road. This is the scene at one of those curves. The river below is only 1/2 mile from the ocean.
We had an interesting seminary lesson this morning. The lesson was on Psalms, with our emphasis today on what a Psalm is and how it relates to our current hymn books. We also played some music for them with different emotional themes, such as a march, sacred, sad, happy, etc. We taught how we need to select the music we listen to so that it is always uplifting and not degrading. Then we tuned into BYUTV and played a portion the July 27 broadcast with the Osmond family. They had never heard of the Osmond's and were very impressed with them and of course the choir. They asked what that big thing behind the choir was. We explained that it was the organ. We then went back to let them listen to the organist play. They could not believe the console with its 5 ranks of keys. Then we told them about the foot peddles and they were blown away. These children have only been out of Tonga for 3 years and here in Greymouth there is nothing like the organs at temple square. The Togans are humble and have so very little but the families are so strong and love one another. Their whole lives are rugby and other sport and food. There is one thing they know how to do, and that is eat. They have showed up the last two days with potato chips. Their meals are not the most nutritious and they may eat only once a day, but when they do eat they eat big. We haven't told her yet, but one of the girls as broken two of our chairs. See gets so enthused about things that she jumps in her seat and separated all the legs in the dining chair and when we replaced it with a folding chair she bent the seat frame so it points toward the floor. I have one more chair that I think might handle her. If that doesn't work I am going to have to speak to her. She is such a sweet girl and I think she would be mortified if she new what she had done. She called us Sunday morning at 8:00 am before we left for Westport to tell us she was praying for a safe trip.
We found snow!
8 hours ago