We wish you all a very Merry Christmas. It is hard for us to think it is Christmas. With it being light until after 9:00 pm and the cost of electricity here, we have not seen a Christmas light. The decorated trees we have seen are all artificial and they use much gaudier materials than I am used too. We have to speak in church in Westport this Sunday so I have been working on a Christmas talk which has been helpful in getting into the spirit.
We spend two hours each week at the library down town doing community service. We enjoy the experience, except it is a little hard these days reading the dewy decimal system on the bottom shelf. Here is a picture of the staff we work with every week. We have not figured out why Ollie is the only one that uses a name tag. One of our most interesting projects there, was removing all the historical photographs from plastic sleeves. They covered from the late 1860's thru 1990's. It was a great history lesson of the area.
Saturday we attended the baptism of one of our English students. When we first met him the only thing he would say to us was, "I speak Tongan." He could speak some English but was self conscious about it. He is doing very well, and will have a better opportunity than his parents.
Here is another report on the Kinikini tomato plants. We have found only one tomato so far and very few blossoms. We were just told by a local that they do not produce edible fruit until the end of February.
On our P day we took the ym/yw to Hokitika Gorge. We thought they would enjoy the beauty of the place but I don't think they noticed. Instead I think they just wanted to find a place to jump in. It was a cool, rainy day, but that didn't make any difference. This first picture is after those who brought a change of clothes had changed. We and the Elders only got wet from the rain. Sister Hoagland did bring some towels which helped to get them home.
These soggy girls were waiting to get changed behind a bush.
Sister Hoagland and Sister kinikini on the swing bridge. You may notice that Sister Hoagland is hanging on with legs spread with help from Sister Kinikini. We were so thankful for her driving the kids in her van.
The first one in was Ana in blue who was pushed by her brother. I am standing on some big rocks above where they went in. I was not agile enough to get down to the beach area. Not long after this the sand was flying too.
Here is part of the trail to the rocky spot. Part of the trail is very difficult, but we made it.
This is our second trip to the gorge and this is the second time we met visitors from Germany.
This couple were from Chile. We have yet to see anyone from New Zealand there.
Ana is not doing a dance, she was regaining her balance on the swinging bridge. It moves up and down and from side to side.
Here is Elder Bair with his new companion Elder Tamale who is just new from home in Auckland.
We took this picture of the Kinikini's after Sunday dinner. George, on the left, is working hard to get his permanent work permit so he can bring his family.
We put up our tree on the 13th.
This is only the third time we have gone out to eat. This turned out to be a wonderful place as all the hotels in town were booked for dinner with bus tours. Sister Hoagland had a delicious chicken dinner. I asked Sister Hoagland why we were eating out and she said this was our Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner.
I had the ribs, which were fantastic. What you see now on our plates is what we took home. We had two great meals for Sunday. The plate on the edge of the table contained the bones from the ribs.
I did a few things & answer a few questions.
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