A couple of weeks ago we visited a family that lives a considerable distance from Greymouth and discovered they were in some serious need of assistance. Because Elder Hoagland is the branch clerk, we went with the Relief Society President to buy food for the family. There is no bishop's store house on the south island. All our members, with the exception of the Relief Society president are poor with little in reserve. We have been trying to encourage President Kinikini to teach the principles of self reliance. Some are using the church for their rainy day fund. They will splurge on something and then come and ask for help with rent or utilities, etc. This latest situation was not similar, in that they had used up absolutely everything in the cupboards.
We had seven visitors at church on Sunday. Two were from Auckland, two from the Mohave Desert in California, and three young surfer boys from So. Cal. We were particularly impressed with these young men. One had been in country 8 months earning some money, but mostly surfing. His brother and a friend joined him recently and they have been traveling in a van around the country surfing. The impressive thing was, they came to church with white shirts and ties, participated in priesthood meeting, and took this occasion to pay tithing on their meager earnings . They have stayed in town for a few days and yesterday we learned that they were out door knocking with our Elders. We are using them as an example in seminary of how we should live when no one is watching.
Sister Hoagland had a little surgery today to remove a sebaceous cyst. It has been growing on her arm for about three months. It became very sore and annoying. She now has 9 stitches on her wrist. The dark spot in the middle was where one doctor a couple of weeks ago lanced it, but that was very painful and useless.
We joined a gym about 10 months ago, which has been very beneficial. We do know that it takes more than exercise to loose weight. Elder Hoagland has developed a very hard but still large stomach on this machine.
The gym has a collection of home made and branded machines.
First repetition I don't look to bad but by the tenth I am gritting my teeth. There is no heat in the building and in the dead of winter the metal handles are like ice.
A little gym humor.
Sunday was our primary program. The children did great. On the left is Astra Pagaddue, a single sister from the Philippines, Primary 2nd counselor, and Cora Kitchin, also from the philippines, President. Sister Kitchin is married to the presidents counselor. Her little girl, Corianna, is in pink on the front row. Some of the boys are going to be very big men. Iraia, white shirt in the middle is three. The boy on the right in green and yellow (Richard) is seven. We printed a copy of this picture for all the parents to have.
Monday was a holiday here, and we had a pizza party for the primary children. 15 children showed up and four mothers and one dad. Needless to say, we had to go and get more pizza. They went through 8 pizzas and 4 liters of ice cream.
Here is Ha'angana Tau and his mother Noila. Noila is also the mother of our institute student, Ofa, and seminary students, Tupau and Sam. We hope some day their father will allow them to join the church.
Hola Langi and her mother Manui. Hola is one of Sister Hoagland's piano students.
Manui (76) had all 5 of her children there. Ola on the left had her three boys there and is pregnant with their forth. Osika on the far right is in the school class we help. He is is need of help with his abc's so we hope to work with him and some others during the last portion of our mission.
Our area president, Elder Baxter, was released as area president due to ill health. He had to return to church headquarters for surgery. We ask for your prayers in his behalf. Elder Tad Callister has been called to replace him. Elder Callister spoke in conference early this month and gave a powerful testimony of Joseph Smith and his teaching of the Godhead. We recommend it to all.
2 days ago