This has been a fun and exciting week for us. We have found another Sister who was on the lost sheep list, had three baptisms, and a wonderful branch activity in honor of our Mission President and his wife, who came for their first visit to Greymouth Branch.
Murray Paterson is 55 and on medical disability. He has a form of leukemia and has lost a leg from complications. He has been attending for over a month and has been participating well in priesthood class. Because we are so far from the zone leaders, I was privileged to do his baptismal interview. It is wonderful to see people change their life styles and accept the gospel. He should be a strength to the branch.
These two beautiful children were re-baptized because there was not record of them being baptized on the church rolls. Their families were not able to find any record either so it had to be done. Lesili is 11 and Hola is 10.
The baptisms were held on Saturday late afternoon and immediately following we had our branch activity. Above Moni and Tupou, two of our seminary students are dancing with Tama'a, their young womens president. The girls also take piano lessons from Sister Hoagland.
This is the entire young women group from the branch. Polohiva on the left is twelve.
Here is a group of our primary boys learning the "Haka," a Moari war dance. On the left is Sister Morgan, who is teaching them the words and movements of the Haka. This picture is in the multi-purpose area of the building where they are just learning.
In this picture they have come out to show the other program participants what they have learned. We loved them. Taufa Kinikini is in the middle and has just turned 9, and was the lead dancer.
Here they are doing the performance. They were a little intimidated and failed to do as well as during their rehearsal, but never the less a BIG hit. Front row left, Richard 7, Taufa 9, Salesi 8,
David 6, back row, Lesili 11, Lopeti 11, Maui 11, and Nuku 10.
Here is Sister Morgan with her two daughters, Memphis and Milahn singing a Moari song. The girls were baptized last month and are contributing to the primary. They sing and read and are a big help to Sister Hoagland. We were pleased when President Kinikini called a new primary president whom we have great confidence that she will carry on when we are gone.
We spent some time every night this week practicing for the activity. I took up the challenge to learn a Fijian dance with the priesthood brethren. They were already familiar and I never quite got the hang of it to perfection but it was fun. Here we are at practice. We had the older guys on the left and the younger on the right.
Here we are lined up ready for the final performance in our costumes. The skirt like apparel is called a "Tupenu." The one I am wearing we had Sister Kinikini buy for us when she went back to Tonga a few months ago. I was concerned about wearing a floral Skirt, but when I saw what the others were wearing I relaxed considerably. The little boy running around is one of 4 three year olds in the branch.
Here we are practicing one part of the dance. In this part we make fast movements to the music up and down and left and right. Quite a site.
Here I am just before my Tupenu fell to the floor. Fortunately I was in a spot where most people did not see what happened. Sister Kinikini was there quickly to tie it back on and get me back into the dance. One of my mission highlights.
Here are our seminary boys, Poni and Tim with Elder Vaioleti enjoying the dance as the audience gave appreciative screams, laughs, and applause. As you can see I am back in action between Tim and Elder Vaioleti. The boys had just returned from Christchurch a half hour earlier where they had a school rugby match. They had to drive through the mountains to get home and there was lots of snow up there. They said they stopped and had a good time having a snowball fight.
Three or four weeks ago the Elders went to Westport to speak and took this picture. Elder Vaioleti is a convert of a few years and has a beautiful testimony. He is very soft spoken and it is hard for us to understand his English, but his spirit shines through. Elder Schipper is from South Jordon, close to the new Oquirrh Mountain temple. They have been blessed to finish the work of some great missionaries that preceded them.
President and Sister Jolliffe came with their 17 year old son, following a couple of days vacation visiting some attractions on the west coast. They are not social butterflies so we only saw them at our activities and meetings. Each time, leaving before we knew they were gone. We didn't even get any pictures of them. They gave great talks in sacrament meeting today and we were grateful they were able to come.
We found snow!
8 hours ago