Thursday, March 5, 2009

Branch Conference Week

We saw one of our hosts at zone conference feeding stale bread to the birds, and as we have bread go bad so fast here we have been doing the same thing. Here is a mother and baby sparrow. They come in a group of about 15 to 20 at a time.
Sunday we were happy to see Scott (baptized last Saturday) and is whole family come to church. The Elders taught mom and dad in the gospel essentials class. The father, Leslie, has expressed some real interest in joining the church but mom may not be as committed. They are a work in progress.

We are loving our Seminary experience. This week we are teaching the final week of Christ's Mortal life. I read in last months Ensign Magazine that Pres. Hinckley, in encouraging people to read the scriptures regularly concluded by saying, "I hope that for you this will become something far more enjoyable than a duty; that, rather, it will become a love affair with the word of God." That has surely happened to me. While my reading has been a necessity in order to teach, it has really developed into a love of the word of God. With the increased practice of reading the scriptures my faith, understanding and love of the gospel has grown.

This week is our branch conference week, with family Home evening on Monday evening. President asked me to give a short lesson. It is always fun to party with these beautiful people. The Tongan's are all related in some way except the Toli's who are just long time friends with Aho Langi and family. We had Philipino, Moari, and English members there as well. This is part of the activity Sister Iraia put together for the adults. She had them pulling faces and in the end she pushed over the Sister on the left and they all went down. Big Tongan laugh's.
Here is the outside activity for the children.
This little doll is Mele Langi, who was named after Mele Toli. Sister Iraia is standing with her back to us.
Here are our newly weds, Tama'a & Puta Langi, the branch YW/YM presidents.
They love to have their picture taken. This is Tama'a holding Puta's niece Meleane and the Toli's Lamai.
The sunset from the church after the family home evening. One of the many motels in town. They call it a hotel because it has a bar and a very nice restaurant.
These girls wanted their picture taken too. Moni on the left is 15, Lisa, her cousin is 18 and returning to Tonga in a week, and Tupou 13.
Wednesday the MIA had "New Beginnings" night. Moni is the only member in YW, but everyone pitched in. Tupou comes as well but is not a member. Here they are waiting for two more boys to come before we start the program. The guys wanted to stand so they were sure to be seen in the picture. Ana on the left was in Seminary last year but is now 18. Pone is on the back left (16), Puta, and little brother Sione (13).
Samu Tau with mother, Noila, and his sister Tupou. They both come regularly to seminary. What sweet, lovable youth. Their oldest brother is a professional Rugby player in Australia and is the only member in their family. The Father resists membership but allows full activity of his children.
We had to say goodbye to Elder Bair on Thursday. He has done a great work here and we will miss him. I forgot I had slacks on when I put on my suit coat. Too sporty for a missionary.
Saturday we will have a social dance so we will report on that next week.

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