Please pretend this picture is further into the body post. This is what you may get at a Tongan pot luck. These fish were caught in the Grey River at Greymouth.
The miracle of the Internet has made the far away part of a senior mission almost a non issue. We spoke with our son and his family by free video phone after church Sunday, received video from our daughter, Jenni, via email as the children colored Easter eggs. We viewed a lot of conference including the news conference for Elder Anderson and knew before Jeff about our new apostle. We received a DVD from our daughter Julie Tuesday that showed our 10 year old grandson, Colin, in a school play as scarecrow in "The Wizard of Oz." On top of that the Lord has blessed us beyond measure.
We have been working with this "dry" Mormon family (the Tau's) for quite some time. We teach two of their children in seminary, one in institute and even one is in the class we are helping at Cobden school. We also made some visits to Fatui, the father, when he was slightly hurt in a car accident. Up until last week, he had refused to have the Elders teach the family the missionary lessons. We were told Wednesday in district meeting that they were taught a lesson Tuesday evening. Our prayers would surely be answered if this family could finally be baptized. Especially the children. Samu and Tupou attend seminary and Samu has a keen interest in gospel art. We ordered the new book form of the gospel art kit for him. He likes to draw copies of the paintings.
Good Friday is a national holiday, so the branch organized an activity primarily for the children.
Above is the big guy, Sione, who is father to two of our seminary students and Muffy an institute student. He is also Nuku's father. They call him Apolo because he was born the day the Apolo astronauts left for the moon. His van shown here was imported from Japan as a used car and when it backs up it says something in Japanese.
Here we are all lined up waiting for the prayer so we can start the fun. It is about 10:30 am in the morning. There were 37 children there including 10 visitors. I was looking at a plane that had taken off from the airport that was pretty high up and still had its landing gear down.
This is part of the chicken and sausage provided by the members. It took two hours to cook it all as they only had one barbecue grill. We had buttered bread for the sausage. Some native New Zealander brought the only greens.
Early on we had a chocolate Easter egg toss as you see the children picking up their share. They were the small wrapped in foil kind that required some unexpected cleanup.
The men love ping pong and spent awhile with this activity.
The rugby players took a short break while the youngest children took a turn at cricket. For some inexplicable reason we did not get any pictures of rugby which went on from beginning to end. The above green was quite brown when the day was over.
There is some evidence here that these people are not sun worshipers. A short time after this picture the Sister in black had a large table umbrella beside her. They were not there for the sun, but for a view of the activities.
Here are Fatui Tau and Manase Toli cooking chicken. I do believe that is the rugby ball in the reflection of the window.
I spent a good deal of the first couple of hours helping Brother Iraia trim back the bush. He was concerned that it was taking too much of the church property. He also has views which he openly expresses in prayers, testimony meeting, and personally, about the way the members take care of the building and other things that I hope do not result in confrontation.
This is Inchbonnie. We drove out to Inchbonnie late Thursday afternoon to see Sharlene Thomas and family. Their son Scott was baptized last month. They have not been to church since. She reported that Doug Thoms her father has finally found a place in Christchurch. They are living in the back of a house that has been divided into two apartments. He was shocked to find that the branch president lives in the other half. Sharlene's husband works out here on dairy farm and his work load has been reduced so he is working on a fishing boat out of Greymouth. They can live rent free on the farm until things improve in the price of milk. They don't milk at all during June and July, so it will be until at least August before things improve for them. They hope to make it for Easter Sunday.
On the way to Inchbonnie.
This is Lake Brunner in Moana on the way to Inchbonnie. You see our first signs of fall as the tree on the right turns color and the first snow on the mountains to the east. We had very cold evenings Wednesday and Thursday. I had to bring in the propane heater as my hands were getting very cold as I was reading.
These Lilies bloom very early fall. It was a pleasant surprise to see them in various parts of town this past couple of weeks. Notice the angle of the satellite dish on the house. It is aimed at just above the horizon and Australia. Some are mounted on very tall poles to clear trees.
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