Sunday, September 27, 2009

School Days

This was the last week of the term for the New Zealand schools. It means that for two weeks we will not have seminary or school classes. Our seminary students left yesterday for Hamilton to attend the temple with other members of the branch. This is the first time for most of them to do baptisms for the dead. They were so excited. Even Sione got his hair cut for the occasion.
We took some pictures off our daughter Jenni's blog so we can show off our twins on the first day of preschool. They will turn 4 on October 4th. Taylor looks like her mom and Jesse must look like some one on Rob's side of the family. We think he will be tall like his uncle Jeff Allen.
Friday was the last day before term break and at Cobden school they have assemblies for groups of classes. This was for class rooms 1 thru 4. These girls were singing a song about a giraffe. Our Lisa Tau is on the left in yellow. Last week we had a picture of her in pink with the babies.
The students were all given free books after the assembly from the government. This is Clark, who can light up your life with his smile.
Conner is always anxious to read to us.
Veronica is cute and petite. My camera battery went flat (dead) after Veronica or I would have taken several more pictures like this.
This term the students have been studying Egypt. This was Mrs. Kitchin's treat for the children. Egyptian bread, figs, dates and grapes. The drink was to represent beer which was a staple drink for the Egyptians. She used "ginger beer," a soft drink, instead. Our Tongan's students from church had started their holiday early so they are not pictured here.

Mrs. Kitchin asked all those who wanted a drink to hold out their cup.

Mrs. Kitchin sharing the "beer".

Here is Clerk leading the class in a game of what am I looking at.

Charleigh received two or three awards in the assembly that day, so I took her picture. She got one for making the most progress in reading.
This is Jaese, who is being the class clown. He is one of the "special" children in the class.
Speaking of special, here is our Zach on a family walk. His dad, Rob, is so loving and caring when it comes to Zach. Zach has discovered how to call us on video skype and has done so on several occasions. Last time he had the twins with him and we were in the middle of a district meeting with the zone leaders in attendance. He even figured out how to do a conference call which we have not figured out how to do. That's what happens when you have no fear of clicking on a button you are unsure of.
We didn't know that we were going to have an entomologist in our family. Taylor has found an interest in bugs!!
Our daughter Julie came for a visit and joined them in their walk. Back Row, Julie and Jenni, Chase, Jesse, Zach and Taylor in front.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Some baby pictures

We are so pleased with the progress of Murray Paterson. He has been attending regularly and this week President Kinikini and I visited him and he accepted the assignment to Speak this coming Sunday in Sacrament meeting. We also had 4 investigators who returned to the meetings this week.
We were crossing the river on a Saturday and saw this beautiful sunset. The town closes down after 6:00 pm so we were able to stop on the bridge and take this picture. We will miss the beautiful sunsets here. They are much more intense and colorful during the winter season.
After doing the business of the clerk on Sunday the 13th I came out to this scene. They were standing the 3 month old Tau baby next to the Kinikini's 14 month old taking their picture. As you can see we are having beautiful weather, much better than last year at this time.
I came in and took my picture as well. Selene Tau on the left and Lou Ann Kinikini on the right. On Sunday we had to see President Kinikini concerning some recommends for temple ordinance workers. As we were about to leave I looked in the rear view mirror and saw little Lou Ann walking down the block nearing the end. I asked president if he knew wear Lou Ann was. You should have seen him run.
After these first pictures they started getting creative. They have the babies sitting on Iraia Langi's shoulders. He is three. Lisa Tau is the pretty little girl in pink. We had her in our school class for awhile until she moved to a more advanced room.
Here we are with our institute students, Oafa Tau and Mafi Langi
Toupo Tau is next to her big sister, Ofa and Moni is holding their little Sister, Selene.
This is the current excitement in Greymouth. They had a small slide this winter on the south end of the bridge. It left an over hanging bunch of rocks right next to the road, so they are working the way over to get rid of the danger.
After this is done they have a much larger slide on the other side of the Grey river to take care of. We showed that slide a few weeks back.

We have learned that we will not be replaced here in Greymouth. They have a couple which they are assigning to the Westport Branch who will be here in November. This is a small branch with the active members in their late sixties and early seventies. The report is that they are very concerned as to what is going to happen. They are pretty set in their ways and are afraid the couple will come and shake things up! We certainly hope they will make a big difference as there are a good number of less active members there who need fellowshipping.

They will have a much different mission experience than we have had. More actual missionary work. They will not have seminary and institute classes to teach, English and reading, and music lessons. We have also worked with the less active. They will have a wonderful experience finding investigators to teach and baptize. We have left that kind of work to our wonderful Elders here.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

September Zone conference

It was a hectic day at church on Sunday. Elder Hoagland had to speak and teach the priesthood lesson. Sister Hoagland was involved in the primary program date mess. It has been rescheduled twice already and when we got to church we found that most of the children would not be in town for next weeks program. The last change was because the president's son's and one other boy were going to be playing Rugby. One family had already change plans to visit their dying grandma and had rescheduled flights for the new program date. Others also would not be there so now, after many angry moments among the members, we have a new date the end of October. All is well in Zion.
On Saturday we went to one of the many rugby fields in the area and watched the Kinikini boys play. It was a beautiful shirt sleeve weather day. This is the under 11 all-star team in red and white for the west coast playing a team from Christchurch. West Coast lost 48-0.
This is the under 9 teams representing the same areas. Taufa Kinikini is running with the ball just in front of the man in the middle. At Sundays game it was announced that he was selected to the all South Island team. He is the one with the big trophy last week. His older brother, Mau i, played on the under 11 team but was not as successful. His mother reports that he has eaten himself out of shape. He does make a mean cup of "Milo," a favorite, chocolate flavored, hot grain drink. It is also full of sugar.
This is our next door neighbor, Nori. When we arrived she came a day or two later with a little welcoming treat. This picture was taken from our driveway over a short fence, looking into her back yard. She owns her side of a duplex. She is a lovely Catholic lady who loves to work in her yard. She has recently been slowed down with some back pain which she hopes to have surgery on asap. With Socialized medicine it will take some time.
Spring is almost here. These camellias are at the Nelson branch grounds. I think we had the best weather for this zone conference than any other. We had our meeting in the space between the chapel and cultural hall and the two little wall heaters never got us warmed up. There must have been too much cold coming from the chapel. It was by far warmer outside. Our meeting was on how to plan your day most effectively. The Jolliffe's are very good teachers.

We had some time to talk with the Jolliffe's this time while the companionship's were off doing some planning exercises together. He talked of some of his work at home where he worked for the church managing several farms in the U.K. and was also on some boards of church owned companies in Europe. He said his board work was very interesting as some of the company managers where getting into trouble with the governments. His job was to get them into compliance with the countries regulations. He said they hated to see him walk into their offices because they knew he was going to stir things up.
This is an informal picture of the Nelson Zone. Our two Elders from Greymouth are in front left. There are three Tongon's, Three English, Three Australians, and three Americans in our zone.
This picture represents the timber industry here in N.Z. There was very little timber in this country some time back and it is all the result of tree farming. So far they are actually cutting these trees down for timber and planting more. That is the industry our Tongan's are involved in right now. Of coarse there are "tree huggers" here are trying to put a stop to that with carbon offsets, etc. These trees would not even be here if it wasn't for the lumber industry.
We pass many of these hills with sheep on them on the way to Nelson.
Another sign of spring, calves from the dairy industry.
On our way home we stopped at the swing bridge over the Buller River. I paid for the Elders to cross the bridge and while taking some pictures of them I was bitten by a sand fly the became infected. Friday I had to get a prescription for an ati-biotic. As they say, no good deed goes un-punished. This is a picture of a couple riding down a cable. A very fast but short ride.
Here are Elder's Schipper and Vaioleti on their way back from their walk. There is a really beautiful view from the middle of the bridge.

They also have a jet boat on the river here.
The children at the school we go to everyday are studying Egypt. This is their version of how the Egyptians were dressed for burial.
These two children are both in our class and are autistic. We couldn't get this little guy to stop smiling.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Blenheim Trip

Sister Hoagland has been very busy this week preparing children and their mothers for the primary program coming up next week. It was moved up three weeks because of our temple trip. One family is leaving a few days early and leaving 4 of their children with another family with five children. It was decided that she couldn't get 9 children dressed in time for meeting. They all dress up in Tongan dress for the primary program. Last week they had 25 children in primary. She had some big time help this time when Sione Langi, all 6'4" 350 pounds of him, helped keep the children in line. The highlight was the big smile on his face when the children sang.
Rugby youth game have come to an end and the awards have been given out. Taufa Kinikini is holding his mvp trophy for the under 9 class. He just turned 9 in July.
Maui is holding his sportsmanship trophy for his under 11 team. Maui is now 11. He just got his hair cut so he looks a little different than he did before. He looked a lot like Wayne Newton with longer hair. He was a little offended when we showed him a picture of W. Newton. He said "he is white."
Here are the boys with their little sister LouAnn. Notice the wood pile where the tomatoes were last year.
Our new primary president's family moved into a little house down the street from us a few weeks ago. They are right up against the hill and this time of year they do not get sun. We have offered our clothes line, so they come by on occasion to put up their wash. Little Corianna will be four in December. She is a delight when she comes and peeks through our window to see if we are there.
Every six weeks we drive to Blenheim to inspect the Elder's flat. This is the sunniest city in New Zealand according to the chamber of commerce. They are a few weeks ahead of us in spring
This little park is just outside the downtown center. Next time we come through these flowers should fill the bed.
Blenheim is very big wine country. These vineyards go for miles.

The vineyards have replaced these sheep paddocks, and the farther you get from town you get to see the sheep paddocks interspersed between the vineyards.
The following pictures are on the road to Nelson and Blenheim. We turn off to Blenheim about an hour from Nelson. This is the Buller River just north of Merchison. We are starting to climb in altitude here.
Before Merchison, we have to drive through the Buller Gorge which takes about half an hour. It is a very windy road with a great deal of foliage on both sides. While you are not far from the river, you do not see much of it.
It is an 8 hour round trip to Blenheim so we took these pictures on the fly. It would have been nice to stop and turn around where the lighting would be much better. Tourists don't have the option to wait for the lighting to be just right.

There are several one way bridges on the way and here we stopped for a car coming across and were able to take this picture of the Buller River.
We are so blessed to be teaching seminary and institute. Our institute class is studying the Book of Mormon and our last lesson was on Mosiah 1-3. A most beautiful scripture which teaches so much doctrine. First, that when we serve our fellow man we are serving our God. Second, With all the great work we are capable of doing and many do, we will always remain "unprofitable servants," being indebted to the Savior, for ever and ever. Third, so great will Jesus suffer for our sins, that He bled from every poor. Fourth, Christ's suffering atoned for those who died not knowing "the will of God." Five, Little children who die before they are accountable receive atonement through the blood of Christ. Sixth, "The natural man is an enemy to God," and, "those who put off the natural man becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ." These beautiful doctrines contained within these chapters, are also beautifully explained. Too much for one lesson.