Saturday, August 29, 2009


Our hard working missionaries have had two more baptisms this week. They took place rather quickly as the young men were moving to Nelson that very night. Elder Hoagland had the pleasure of interviewing these fine young men and they both had a knowledge and testimony of the gospel. They had been attending our meetings.

Their father had just received a job offer in Nelson and he was ready to go right away. They wanted to be baptized and the father was very supportive. President Kinikini was out of town and he is the only one with the key to the font water supply and heater. The missionaries did not let that stop them and used the fire hose to fill the font. It was a very cold baptism. They were also unable to locate the baptismal clothes so they made "lava lava's " out of torn up sheets.

In some ways it was like watching Laurel and Hardy. They had one towel that was damp for the three that were in the water, and Elder Schipper didn't have a change of shirt. We live close by so Sister Hoagland went home and got towels and one of Elder Hoagland's shirts for Elder Schipper to wear. Earlier in the day, they came to the flat and said they had a dilemma. Elder Vaioleti had taken both of his suits to the cleaners and did not have a suit to wear. Fortunately one of Elder Hoagland's suits was just big enough. We didn't think it would fit him in the shoulders, and he has very muscular (Tongan) arms. If he doesn't do a muscle man pose, the suit should stay together. He looks a little better than if Arnold Schwarzeneger had tried on my coat.

The district asks to have branch histories written every six months. Elder Hoagland has been doing that for the past year, but wants to train someone local. Ana (Mafi) Langi has expressed an interest in learning so we had her over and discussed all the events we wanted to put in the history. We asked her to take the list and write something about each event. It will be interesting to see what she comes up with.

Our new member, Murry Patterson, was ordained a priest a month or so ago but had not as yet had the chance to exercise that priesthood. In our district meeting Elder Hoagland asked the missionaries why he hadn't blessed the sacrament yet and they said he didn't feel ready. We asked them to go help him learn it and he gave a beautiful blessing on the bread today. Everyone was very complimentary to him.

We are pleased with our attendance at church as well. We are consistently having 60 or more in attendance. This is not a reflection on us, but they were only getting 30 to 40 when we first got here. We need to put up more chairs because families who were a little late had to sit apart. We had a new investigator family of four had to sit on two sides of the chapel.

The Elders are flying to Auckland for a funeral tomorrow. A man who helped raise Elder Vaioleti passed away this week and our mission president is flying them there and back for the funeral. They fly to Auckland tomorrow via Wellington and then return to Wellington that night and stay with the AP's, then fly home in Tuesday morning.

Friday, August 21, 2009

birthday and anniversary

The past month Elder Hoagland has been one of the walking wounded, fighting a cold. Sunday he thought it was finally over and after church it hit even harder than before. He still taught seminary and institute, but hardly left the flat. Wednesday he began his second round of anti-biotics. While he is finally seeing some improvement, it looks like Sister Hoagland is succumbing to the same affliction. Round and round we go.
We have not been able to work at the school this week and miss the children. We were told a story by the teacher last week about 6 year old Osiki (Os-Ka) Langi. He and his siblings came to the school in March or April when they joined their father and his new bride. On his first day at school the teachers were trying to find out his surname. After some time he said his name was Osiki Hoagland. He had been to primary and learned Sister Hoagland's name. They had to go to the office to get his name. The teachers thought it very funny as they knew the Hoagland's.
On Friday the 14th we went for a rare dinner out to celebrate our 45th wedding aniversary.
At institute we offered our students ice cream after class. We are still learning some of the Tongan ways. They both asked if we had some white bread to go with their ice cream. We did not, but they took what we did have. The two of them consumed a liter of ice cream, plus bread and bananas.

Friday night we invited our seminary students to another birthday party for those who have birthdays in August. On the left is Sam, who turned 15. The Elders came as well and brought an investigator. Martin is in the middle and is 23. He is making some big changes in his life and hopes to be baptized next week. His family has become interested because they have seen the changes he as made. He has been at church for the past two weeks and like Murray has been participating in priesthood meeting. These men will make a great contribution to the branch.
Here is Tupou, her brother Sam, and Sione having fun.
Moni is using an ice cream container for her share. She added chocolate sauce orange pop and later bananas.
This is Nuku who turned eleven this month. We have been helping him with his reading. While the teenagers were listening to music from the Internet, Nuku had discovered the magnifying glass. He was everywhere with it.
After everyone had their fill, Tupou and Moni helped Sister Hoagland clean up. Moni is a very good island dancer and the hospital called the high school today and said they wanted her to come and dance for a group there. They paid her $100.00. She donated $50.00 to a Maori organization and spent the rest on food for her and her friends. Easy come easy go.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Freshened flat!!

On Tuesday we traveled to Hokitika to work on our lost sheep list. On the way we detoured to Kamara to visit Sister Linda Powell. She just had her third daughter, Melissa. They knew the baby would have have a cleft lip but did not know how far into the mouth it would go. They were happy to find that it was limited to the lip. Because of this condition the family had to travel to Christchurch for the delivery. They were asked to come a week before the due date. They stayed at the Ronald McDonald house next to the hospital.
Clark Powell works for an electricity provider, and has his sick leave built up and he is able to us that to be home for a few weeks to watch the other children.
We have signs of spring coming with some magnolia trees blossoming and Camellia bushes flowering.
We had some excitement at the north end of the bridge over the Grey River. A large rock slide closed the street for some time. They have moved the rocks to make a protective barrier. Who knows when they will permanent fix at the site. The white box on the boulder on the right is a microwave oven someone left to be taken with the rocks.
While we were waiting for the seminary class to come we spotted this sunrise over the hill in front of the flat. Note the way the fog wraps around the hill.
Thursday we had a district meeting at the flat with our zone leaders in attendance. Following the meeting we fixed french toast and bacon for them. Left to right, Elder Teripai, Elder Schipper, Elder Stanford, and Elder Vaioleti.
Thursday afternoon our YM/YW came to the flat to earn money to go on the branch temple excursion. This flat has been used by senior missionaries for at least 10 years, and the walls needed some cleaning. Mafi Langi has her name on the back of her shirt. She is a counselor in the YW and one of our institute students.
Sione Langi is 14 year old seminary student. This morning in class he asked why we claim to be the only true church. It was a perfect question asked at the perfect time as we were studying 1Cor. 15. There are three doctrines taught in that one chapter that are pretty exclusive to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. First; that all people will be resurrected (vs 22) not just the righteous. Second; the doctrine of baptism for the dead (vs 29) who have not had opportunity in this life. Third; We will be resurrected to celestial , or terrestrial bodies. The difference being that most Christians believe in heaven or hell but we believe in kingdoms of glory based on faithfulness.

1 Cor 15 is a wonderful example of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints containing the "Fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ". We explained that we teach all the doctrines taught in the bible, while others taught only the ones they understood. We understand them all because of the restoration of the gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith and the doctrines remain pure through living prophets and apostles today. That was what Paul was doing in his day. Trying to keep the doctrines pure. Some had forgotten already the blessing of the resurrection made possible by the Lord Jesus Christ. He was teaching them this basic doctrine that had already been lost to some in the church.
Sister Hoagland is standing in front of our pantry while the kids pose for their picture.
Sister Langi married Puta last November and she is here with her step daughter, Polohiva who is twelve. That is quite an undertaking to bring up 5 children who are not yours.
Mafi, Moni and Tama'a Langi. When they were through the flat felt clean.
We provided potato chips and "fizzy drinks" for them before they left. There were eight of them, and they went through 4 backs of chips and 4 liters of pop. What a great experience working with all these kids. We love them!!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Zone conferece week

Zone conference was held on Wednesday of this last week and we drove up on Tuesday afternoon to inspect the missionary flats. We have found mold in all the flats, including our own. I was surprised to find it in Blenheim and Nelson, because they are the sunniest parts of the country. The worst was in Blenheim where they had cinder block outside walls in the bathroom.

Zone conference was shorter this time. We had three workshops on how to teach more effectively. Both President and Sister Jolliffe are excellent teachers, and gave us wonderful advice in teaching to the needs of those we teach and how to use the scriptures more effectively.
We once again stayed with the Venables. Sister Hoagland took this from the Venables patio Wednesday morning. We were home alone with Sister Venables most of the evening as the father and son had cub scouts and their daughter is in a community play, "Annie." Ashley is very small for her age (11 this month) but reads above their testing chart.

Visiting alone with Sister Venables, we were able to learn more about her family. She was raised in her early years in South Africa. They moved to England where her father was a very successful business man. She had her own horses, etc. She spoke of her mother's death after she was married and a very interesting story about her father's remarriage to her mothers good friend. This women had been in an abusive marriage and they had assisted her in leaving her husband and helping her move to England, where they had provided her with a home to live in. The arrangements had been made prior to Sister Venables mothers passing, and her father had carried out the plan following hear death. Eventually they returned to South Africa, where they are trying to establish a new business.
Friday was my birthday and our seminary students came over for cake and ice cream. Because their parents were busy, Moni brought little LouAnn with them. She is a delight, but for some reason was not interested in ice cream and cake this evening.
We were pleased that the Elders were able to stop by for their share of the cake & ice cream. That is Toupo hiding behind the comforter in the left back. Sione is also camera shy as seen here and in the following picture.
On the left you can see our family pictures and also our heat source. It costs about 90.00 to 100.00 a month to heat our kitchen and living area. We do not heat the bedrooms or bathroom. Energy is very expensive here. The LPG fuel heats us up faster in the morning and is less expensive.
With me here is Tim (Peki) who was being the typical teen listening to his ipod and texting most of the time. That is our entertainment center behind us. A very small tv and the scriptures. We use the cd player for our seminary video lessons.