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.

1 comment:

Jenni said...

It makes me laugh about the weather! I could see being hot in 90 degree, but not 70 degree weather:)