We had a special sacrament meeting Sunday. Puta Langi married Tama'a in November and this last week they were able to bring Puta's 5 children to live with them. These children have been living with Grandma in Auckland until Puta was able to bring them here. They are such beautiful children, ranging in age from 3 to 12. It so happened that Puta and Tama'a were assigned to speak Sunday and between their talks they surprised us with a song sung by them, their children, and grandma. Grandma set the 3 year old on a chair in front and facing them. That little guy directed the group flawlessly. Poor Puta just wept and there wasn't a dry eye in the congregation, including 6 visitors from the US. They sang in Tongan, "Help me dear father to freely forgive."
Tuesday we were taken to dinner by David Bell, the CES administrator from Christchurch. After our Chinese dinner, he gave us his training until about 8:00 pm. He visited our seminary class in the morning. Wednesday afternoon I accompanied the Elders to two missionary lessons. We have some hard working missionaries.
Puta's mother, Tama'a, Sister Hoagland and our institute student Mufi enjoying the Pacific Islanders Day program at the elementary school in Cobden. While there we talked to the Principal and set up tutoring for our Tongan children. That should be fun and hopefully helpful to the kids.
Here are our branch men and students taking the food from the in the cooking pit called "umu." They cooked chicken, pumpkin, sweet potato (kamara), potato, cabbage, mutton, but no pig.
While they waited for the food to cook the young men played rugby. Facing us is 14 year old Sione and on the left is Tim and Poni.
Here, some school children are learning to shred coconut. They had little island themed activities all around the school.
Here is a class just waiting to start a project. In the middle is our Lesili. Next week we will show pictures from the entertainment portion of the day.
Our Grandson, Jeremy is home for a couple of weeks from the air force. He had his 19th birthday while home and was ordained an Elder last Sunday. Here he is with his step sister, Katelyn, 14.
Jeremy with his step brothers Elliot and Tyler.
Here is airman Hoagland at home in Tualatin. He will spend the next two weeks in Utah with his Sisters and mother then on to his permanent station in Mountain Home, Idaho.
Here is our little Taylor trying to see the bump on her head after colliding with her brother.
Our seminary students arriving late again.
This is the home of the Wilson's. Sister Wilson is a less active who's teenage children the Elders are teaching. Because there is no man in the home they have me come with them.
Here we are sitting with Sister Kinikini's sister just before she and daughter Lisa returned to Tonga.
Last Saturday we attended a community activity some 25 k's from Greymouth. Here they are throwing lolly's (candy) to the children.
We came because we heard there was inexpensive food available. Here is my steak sandwich. A nice piece of steak between two plain pieces of white bread. YUM!!
They had walking, running and cycling events as part of the day's activities. All who enter are eligible for prizes by drawing. There is a large amount of prizes donated and range from small to new bicycles. While there we met a couple of the women who exercise with us at the gym each morning.
On our way home we took a tour of a small town called Blackball. It is an old mining town up the Grey river valley. Our first stop was at the cemetery.
They do not have pubs here but the equivalent is the hotel. They were stopped from calling this hotel the Blackball Hilton by you know who, so now it is formerly the Blackball Hilton.
As we got back to Greymouth we stopped at the bridge to see if one of our students was fishing. He wasn't but here are Aho and his best friend Manase. Aho has to fish to feed his family. Manase must have got tired as you can see his rod and bucket a little ways forward.
The Kinikini tomatoes. We have enjoyed a number of them now. We have a 1/2 dozen ripening in our kitchen now.
This is what Sister Hoagland got for her trouble at the activity. Sand fly bites are awful. They don't bother for the first day, but then for the next three days they really itch and some blister and weep.
This is my bite and my wrist is swollen.
Here it is again after four days.
Together we can feel unified and directed.
2 days ago