Friday, April 17, 2009

Easter Sunday we drove to Westport where we spoke in church. This was a first for us here in that there was some vandalism at the church. Someone threw a rock threw the chapel window and glass was everywhere. They decided to meet in the primary room for sacrament meeting and not use the chapel until the police took a look. We had 17 in attendance with some visitors from Christchurch. We spoke on the atonement and the resurrection. Sister Hoagland did a wonderful job.

We have a two week vacation from seminary and we really miss our kids. We are continuing with institute with Mufi and Ofa. We are teaching the Book of Mormon and loving it. We are continuing to look for more students.

This weekend is our "video conference." The district primary president e-mailed us a conference activity packet to be used during the conference. We have so many children for such a small branch. Sister Hoagland and I spent some time this afternoon making copies and customizing the packet for each families needs. We visited every member this week, inviting them to conference and giving them the branch conference schedule. We had very few at the conference today. Hope for better in the morning.

Wednesday evening we, with the Elders, drove 30 minutes south to Hokitika to have a family home evening with two of our great single sisters. Sister Kathleen Scott has been a member of the branch for years. She works for the ministry of education and visits class rooms and gives seminars for teachers throughout the south island. Kathleen served a mission in California and she now teaches our youth Sunday School class and attends the temple on a regular basis. A Moari by ancestry, she is a real support to the branch. She attends all branch activities, no matter what it is.
Here Kathleen is helping with the soda after our "helping hands" activity last month.

Astra Pagaddu is a 25 year old nurse from the Philippines. She works at a nursing home in Hokitika. Her mother and three siblings are the only members in her family. Her two brothers have served missions and her mother has worked hard to provide for their family. She worked two years in Dubi as a tutor for a German family to provide for her family. The children lived with their grandma. Astra is wonderful and serves as the senior primary teacher. She will only be here until the end of the year.

Astra is second from the left in this picture.

We are looking forward to the first visit of our mission president, President Jolliffe and Sister Jolliffe next weekend. We are working hard to clean up the flat so all is ready. I have cleaned the outside windows now three times, as we live close to the ocean and the salty air and rain cloud up our windows. The windows inside were not too bad with the exception of bug spots. They have not invented screens for widows and doors in this part of the world, and without good insulation we need to open doors and windows on sunny days.
I was able to wash the windows Monday just before we entered into 4 days of rain. Sister Hoagland has been doing her part as well, working hard on the kitchen.
On Thursday, we had to say goodbye to Elder Tamale, who flew off to the north island. He is the happiest Elder in the mission. You always knew when they were here because you could hear Elder Tamale laughing or singing. They are having real success having developed many investigators. We hope to have a baptism this week.

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