Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New Zealand Language

The Elders and I were invited by Sister Royal to bless a friend's house who thought it had an evil spirit. It turns out Sister Royal had also invited a Maori to come and do their traditional ceremony. It was kind of interesting to see what he did. First he went around the yard sprinkling water from a plastic container, repeating something in Maori. Then he came in the house going to every room with the same procedure. I offered a simple dedicatory prayer for the home and occupants. He repeated several times to the women who lives there that she must now have a positive attitude while living there. That is the same as our asking her to have faith, which is surely more powerful.

This is evidence of what happens to some Maori's who join the church. If they are true Latter Day Saints they replace inappropriate traditions with LDS traditions. Those who are less active usually will not give up their old Maori traditions, but just add the LDS traditions to their lives. It is not long before they rely more on their old familiar traditions and forget the LDS. We felt good about the experience as the woman who's house we blessed has invited the Elders to return. They have also offered to help put in the lady's garden.

I havn't said anything about the way the New Zealand people speak. On our way to Greymouth, we took the ferry from Wellington to the south Island and then the train here. While on the ferry we bought lunch and I bought a little packet of catsup. Not being familiar with this type packet, in trying to open it I was sprayed with catsup all over my tie and suit coat. the tie being made for missionaries had no problem but my suit coat needed to be cleaned. We had no knowledge of where to take the Coat for cleaning so we went to a commercial laundry for help. She said to me, (I will try this phonetically) take it to Alexander's meens weeaah stoah. I had no idea what she said as she did it so fast. She gave directions so we found Alexander's men's wear store. All E's are pronounced long with no short E's. get is geet, weather is weether, weddings are weedings, twenty is tweenty, etc. Try it and you will have some good fun.

There are some other words that they pronounce differently too. In the word frustrating they emphasize the middle syllable (frusTRAting). Same with the Subaru car (SuBAru). We heard a public service announcement for cervical cancer where they used the long I (CervIcal). They also have a hard time with French words like fillet (fill-it) and debut (dayboo). KFC had a special shortly after we arrived for a fish fillet box. We went to the drive up microphone and ordered one and the girl had no idea what we wanted. Finally she said, oh, you want a fill-it box. We have Filipino's, Tongans, and English in the branch who do not speak that way. There are only two sisters who speak with the local "acceent". As a result we are not as used to NZ "acceent" as we could be and still find it fun to listen to.

Speaking of frusTRAting, at this point in time we do not have a functioning Elder's Quorum or mission leader, while there are brethren called to those positions. We also have a counselor in the presidency who is not functioning. I finally went to the branch president with the suggestion that he shake things up. Here are those suggestions following the guidelines outlined by our mission president. Release the second counselor, make the first counselor branch clerk as well, since he is doing most of that work. Make the branch clerk asst. clerk and SS president. We have two wonderful young men (George & Tau) who are hoping to be, but not yet, here on a permanent work visa. I suggested we use them as the new Elder's president and mission leader. Initially I did not put names with the new callings, but as the president filled them in, we seemed to have the same inspiration. I also suggested that George teach the institute class as two of the three students don't speak very much English.
Most of our walks have been around our immediate neighborhood. It is getting a little old so we drove to the church about five minutes drive and parked the car and walked down to the beach from there. We had never been to this part of the beach and were happy to see there was some sand too. While you can see blue sky, it was short lived. We have had overcast sky's all week. Most of the country is suffering from heat.
We saw more of the mountains during the winter than we do now. As you can see, the island takes a turn west from here.
Right next to the beach is this wonderful park and behind us is another Rugby field.
Below is Shakespeare St. We walk along it quite often. It parallels the main road into town so it is not as busy. You will notice the cloud over the hill. Often in the morning heavier clouds wrap around the top making a very interesting look.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

This week

This week we have been working on starting a institute class. We have three who have expressed interest, two of which may have to return to Tonga before the year is up. We still have to decide on a topic. Ana Langi wants one on the B of M because she missed that course in Seminary.

I took this this morning on our walk. We get blasted in the US for our environmental pollution, but the rest of the world is still using coal for heating. I don't think this fire was for warmth but to heat water for showers. In the winter it is not good to go out when everyone gets home from work, because the first thing they do is light their coal fires, which when not at their hottest are very smoky.
For those who have been following the tomato plants, here is the latest. We are now seeing some tomato's, but the foliage far exceeds what the Kinikini's were expecting. If they ripen they should have a lot of fruit.
This week I took my camera on our walks to get some shots of the flowers we came across. These marigold's are a couple of doors down from our driveway.
Here we are, on our walk.
This plant is everywhere, and is called an agapantha.
Do not know what this pretty yellow flower is.
Nor this one.
Dahlias and Hydrangeas are in bloom at this time. We have seen a lot of both, especially hydrangeas
More Dahlias.
Today we drove out to Inchbonnie to see Doug Thoms who is living with his daughter out there. It is 50 minutes east of Greymouth. The last part of the drive is in a beautiful valley with green mountains surrounding flat green dairy farms. Ten years ago it would have been all sheep. I have reported on Doug before, he having lost his home closer to Greymouth. He hopes to get a place for him and his wife in Christchurch, but are having difficulty. Most of it being the fact that he has a couple of dogs and cats that he won't give up. He has not been in good health lately and has been quite depressed.

There is some good news however. His daughter Sharlene has a boy 8 years of age that the Elders are teaching. She brought herself and her three children to church on Sunday. She is not a member, but her oldest daughter is. It was the first time I had met the daughter. She was not home the last time I was at their place. They stayed for a short time at primary. If they come again, that will be a sign of real progress. I had intended to ask Sharlene about her feelings about the church, but she was off with her family fishing. She used to be a member and has some word of wisdom problems.
Sharlene lives on a dairy farm. Sorry to get their laundry, but I couldn't get on the other side of the fence. This is their back yard and I think it looks west. The whole valley is like this with cow paddocks everywhere. That is their herd in the background.
Before we left Doug Thoms he told us of a shorter way home, but maybe not as fast. He said it was a beautiful drive with a good portion on gravel road. He was right, it was beautiful, even though the other way was pretty also. The gravel portion was mostly on the banks of Brunner Lake.

This is what we saw from the road most of the time, but there were a few places to see the lake. Last part of this road was more scary as we met the only moving car we saw on the road. It was going very fast around a corner and if he had lost control on the gravel we would have been toast. A little farther along I even lost a little control because of very loose gravel. Most of the way I drove 35 to 40 k's an hours because of loose rock.
We did not get to the Thoms place until around noon, so when we left we were pretty hungry. Sister Hoagland had a day old "Subway" sandwich and I had a nice fresh one made before we left the flat. She orders the foot long and only eats half and saves the other half for later. We stopped here in a place called Mitchells for lunch on the banks of the Brunner Lake. You may see the town of Moana on the far shore.
This view was to the right of the above shot. I have no idea what direction anything is here.
The Mitchells Lodge is for accommodations for those who come to this side of the lake. It must be a weekend get away as there was no one there today, Friday. Behind the Lodge is Carew Falls. There is a trail to the falls, but we did not have the 1 1/2 hours to take the walk. Maybe some other time.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Supliment to last post

This is a picture of the bush we had to drive through to and from the glaciers. We noticed a caution sign on the side of the road which read, "caution searchers." We had no idea what they were searching for, maybe pot holes in the road, but there were at about three different areas a person on each side of the road, walking at rather fast paces. We didn't learn for a couple of days later when some tourist hiking in that area had found a car in the brush 800 meters up a gravel road from this highway 6. They thought nothing of it until they were at their motel that night and heard of a missing women. She was found 10 days after she went missing.

A water fall at Fox Glacier.

People at Fox Glacier. Kind of small next to the glacier's size. I presume they had learned to stay away. There is great pressure behind the glacier and it can just explode we are told. They claim to be the fastest moving glaciers in the world too.
A water fall at on the other side of the river at Fox glacier.
A water fall at Franz Joseph grlacier.
Another look at Franz Joseph.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Franz Joseph & Fox Glaciers

With one exception, we had a much better week in our teaching. We were able to teach everyone except Mele, who's father has a conflict with her piano lesson. Her mother will not be back from Australia until the middle of February.

When we first arrived in NZ our mission president said to be sure to visit the glaciers while we are in Greymouth. They are with in our branch boundary, but two hours drive away. We waited until this week to do that, hoping to have better weather conditions. It was a good decision. We made some visits to members on the way down, so we did not get there until after noon.

You will remember the color of the water at Hokitika gorge, and it is apparent that all these mountain streams have the same color. Even our shower and sink turn this color before we clean them up. It is a beautiful water color but does little for the sink and shower decor.
A mountain and river scene just prior to arriving at Franz Joseph.
This is the village of Franz Joseph, the location of the Franz Joseph Glazier. We had a sandwich across the street from this building, where you can book flights on helicopters to view and even land on the glaciers. The least expensive was a 17 minute ride to just the one glazier for 145.00 each. While we were at lunch the helicopters were going and coming behind this building. We saw one land and take off twice while eating.

This was our first view of the Franz Joseph Glacier on the trail. The parking lot is about 1 1/2 miles east from the main highway. Then you walk about 8 minutes through the bush to get to the river and then walk on the river bed to get closer to the glacier.
These stacked rocks are a real attraction. These glacial rocks don't make really good looking stacks like those that have been in a river for years. Most of the tourist of course are from out of country. We over heard one tourist say they were going to Australia but were told by Australian friends that Australians prefer going to New Zealand, so they came here. The New Zealander's prefer going to Australia. Go figure. One reason is inter-country flights are outrageous. It is cheaper to fly from Christchurch to anywhere in Australia than to fly to Auckland.
Sis Hoagland came only to the end of the trail because we had to cross this creek to get to the river bed. I felt really out of place as I was wearing my missionary clothes with a tie, etc. It was also very warm, so I was uncomfortable too. I did not go more than a quarter of the way because the walking was not very much fun on the rocks.
This is the Franz Joseph Glazier. You can see people much closer on the right. I just did not want to walk that far. I'll never know what I missed. We are told that the glacier used to fill all this area and a quarter mile behind me in the 1750's. I find it amazing there are glaciers here at all with the climate we have here.
Here is a shot of the river coming from the glacier.
It was a beautiful trail up to the river entrance. I thought these tree roots growing into the rock were interesting.
Now we have moved on to the larger of the two glaciers, Fox Glacier. It is 11 kilometers south of Franz Joseph and 4 kilometers from the main highway. This was our first view. You will remember that last week I told of a death of two young men who got too close. You will notice I took my tie off for this hike!
These next two pictures are looking back on the trail we had to walk to get closer to the glacier.

More stacked rocks and a look at the glacier.
You will notice people walking on the glacier. I don't know where they landed, but I understand it is a great experience to see all the beautiful formations that the pressure and melting make on the top of the glacier. You must have a guide to do this.
Here is the face of the glacier. On both sides of the river coming from the glacier you will see some collapsing of the wall. On this side is where the two young men were killed. They recovered the last body two days after this picture was taken. The parents of these young men were on this trip and saw the collapse but did not realize their sons were there. The son who was just recovered had the keys to the rental car and the rental agency charged the family $2,000.00 to recover the car back to Wellington. Caused quite a stir in the news, but a good Samaritan covered for them. You can also see some people down there getting a closer look. It will give you an idea of how big the face is.
This is the creek we had to cross to get to the roped off end of the trail. This was as far as Sister Hoagland went. She enjoyed watching the people cross. There seemed to be many ways to do it.
Here is a rock slide you pass on the way in to the glacier.
A final look at the mountain with a lake in front.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Happy Birtday Quinn & Elliot

These are Jeff & Fawns boys, Quinn & Elliot. This was taken a month of so ago when they were packing to move. We have it here so you know who we are singing happy birthday to.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

This week in New Zealand

Things have slowed down a bit with vacation time at its height. The members are finding other places to be when we are scheduled to see them. Judy has added one more piano student, who is a member of our "dry Mormon" family. The father is using the excuse that there is too much gossip and hypocrisy in the branch. He works with the men in the forest and they all know each other very well. It is hard for people to make changes when they see others who are members in good standing who are less than exact in keeping of the word of wisdom, etc.

Sister Hoagland and I watch the news while eating dinner every day. We are quite amazed at the number of accidental deaths in this country. The population here is just above that of Oregon, and they had 365 deaths on their highways. Two people were killed at the Fox Glacier when they went across safety lines to get a picture and the face of the glacier collapsed on them. A pro Rugby player died in the surf (undertow) near Auckland, two people died in a jet ski-jet boat accident and a 9 year old girl was run over by a boat while water skiing. Those are just the ones I remember from last week. I guess we should not complain about all those pesky safety rules. One lucky fellow was picked up by a fishing trawler after 3 days floating on his jet ski after it stopped running.

There is a school teacher on vacation who is residing a shed in his back yard. It is only 20 feet from our front door and he hammers like the inexperience carpenter he is. You know, his hand almost next to the hammer head and short swings at the nail. It was driving me nuts so I offered to help, which I should have done anyway, but he said he was running out of wood. They are very nice people with 4 children, four dogs and some birds. She is from South Africa but I don't remember where he is from. They have lived in NZ thirteen years and Greymouth for eight. It was kind of funny the way we were talking over the fence like "Tim the Tool Man" and his neighbor. He finally handed over a block of wood for me to stand on.

There was an awful noise coming from one of our wheels on the car while driving Thursday afternoon. I immediately changed direction and headed for the Toyota dealer. We walked home from the dealership and they told us just before noon Friday that the left wheel bearing had gone bad. No car until Monday as they have to order the part. I called our mission office and our fleet manager said this was a first for him. I reminded him of the size of the missionaries we had to transport to meetings on these curvy roads. I didn't tell him that I have learned to take the corners at pretty good speed.

We are having some warm weather, and no one should think it is hot, but that is not what people feel here. On more than one occasion while doing business down town, we heard complaints about the heat. It didn't get above 75 here but over 100 in Christchurch. We greeted a lady, saying, "Lovely day" and she grunted, "I don't like it. I hate the heat." I think perfect weather for west coast people is 60 and sunny. This is a whole different climate here than the rest of New Zealand. I guess that's what makes the "Bush" the "Bush."

Our Elders left for Westport on Wednesday (remember we are a day ahead of you) so they are not here to help us get around. We were going to speak in Westport this Sunday, but the Elders will have to sub for us. I have been doing some organizational things while we are without transportation. I have made up a list of sacrament speaker topics, made a speaker schedule and some other things.

We have gone to a two hour block as per the instruction of our mission president. His rationale is that too many children of the leaders are becoming inactive and he wants them to spend more time with family and not over burdened with more than one calling. We are not to staff the Branch's like we were a ward. For example the president could have only one counselor, and same with the Elders Quorum, etc. Anyway, I have taken some time to write suggestions for the members to help make the transition to the shorter schedule. Some of the suggestions cover problems we had with the old schedule like, parents, see that your children are where they are supposed to be for SS & Primary. It took the whole back side of the program.

We are off to visit another member in the hospital. It is a short walk from here.

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Years Day

This week was not particularly productive for Sister Hoagland and me. It was vacation time for members and so our usual classes and visiting were not available to us. It is not that they were out of town, they just would not be home even though we had made arrangements to teach. It is a lot easier when they are in school. We also miss seminary, which we can't wait to start the first part of February. We are also looking into starting an institute class.

Monday is our "P" day and the Elders came to wash their car, we have a hose, bucket, and other equipment. They also help me with my car. While I was preparing them breakfast, sports fan, Sister Hoagland was showing the Elders on line news clips of Utah's win in the Sugar bowl. Elder Tamale got very excited as one of the players they interviewed was from his Tongan ward in Auckland.
On New Years day some of the members met at a city park for a picnic. It was a real fun time. Four Tongan families and a couple of Maori families came plus the Elders and us. Sister Kinikini saw the Elders on her way or they would not have been there. This companionship is really hard working as you can see from this picture, they were the first to leave.
This is Sophie Clough with her new baby. You will remember she was in the hospital having this baby when we were caroling there. They live about 45 minutes north east of town on a dairy farm. She has only been to church once since we have been here. She wants the baby to be blessed but did not come to church Sunday.
We have a non-member family who comes to most of the activities and most of their children attend church regularly. The old brother with sunglasses below is the father of the mother and a member living in Australia. He got up in fast meeting Sunday and challenged his daughter and son-in-law to be baptized. Called them and others to repentance. They are all related in some way and he being an older Tongan he is respected and can get away with this kind of thing. For example, he told the brother on the left, who is in the branch presidency, to shave and loose some weight. President Kinikini was asked to translate the challenge to his family but the rest was done in Tongan and Elder Tamale told us the next day some of what he said.

We hope to have their son Sam in seminary and the older daughter, Ofa in institute. Their primary age children love Sister Hoagland. She seems to question the church the most and is greatly influenced by the father who has some problems. Part of it might be the imperfections he sees in the members, as he works and socializes with them.
The social dynamic is interesting. These next pictures point out how the Tongans eat and socialize separately. Here are the young and single people, me excepted, together. I wandered from group to group.
Here are the women together. Sister Kinikini's sister is on the right visiting from Tonga. Sister Scott is standing with the hat on. She has her special needs sister living with her (in green). We also had one Tongan family from Christchurch there. One concern we have for them is their diet. They and their children frequently have boils, which must come from the fat filled diet.
Here is the men's group in the gazebo. The one leaning on his elbow is Fatui Tau, the son-in-law in the story above.
Evan the children eat and play away from the parents. They do not supervise their children's play.
And here are the young ladies of the group. As you can see they are not Sun worshipers. I have a picture of all of them huddled under that tree, getting out of the sun. It was only in the low to mid 70's. They seem to take the cold much better.