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.
We found snow!
8 hours ago