Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Zone conference

We had the pleasure of attending a program at the Regency Theater in town to raise money for thsumami relief in Tonga and Samoa. Our people performed their Pacific Island dances along with many other acts. It went on way too long as they did not want to turn anyone away who wanted to participate. It started at 7:00 pm and was still going when we left at 9:30. We had just returned from zone conference so we were a little tired anyway.

Last Friday we drove again to Blenheim to inspect the flat of the Elders there. For the first time we have two Tongan's working together in our zone. They are two great young men and their flat was well taken care of . One of them has just learned to drive in NZ and has picked up a limited use drivers license. They are doing a lot of walking.
We see the spring colors coming to the upper Buller river region as we drove home from Blenheim.
Sunday E Hoagland drove to Westport to speak in church. After meetings they all gather for a light meal to send us on our way home. Sister Thea Williams is the Sunday School teacher, President Van den Bosch is branch president. Sister Van den Bosch is to his right. She teaches Relief Society and plays the organ. Brian Anderson is counselor to Pres. V. There were three primary boys at church, one a visitor. Taking pictures while people are eating make for real bad photo's, sorry. Sister Hoagland stayed in Greymouth to see her student play for sacrament meeting for the first time. She also wanted to help with the primary program which is this Sunday.
Elder Hoagland took Tim Kinikini with him. He is sixteen and everyone thought he was a new missionary in our branch. Reg Barrell is the Elder's quorum president and branch clerk. The boys are his grandchildren and their mother is less active. Tim told me on the way up that he would like to go to the US and play American football. If anyone knows of a coach that needs a big, strong Rugby player for his HS team let us know. Tongan's are big, strong and fast and the most tender hearted souls.
This week was zone conference and we stay with Rob and Sarah Venables. Rob is in the district presidency. They are gracious hosts and Sarah fixed a shrimp and fish spaghetti dish on this occasion. They have a lovely new home and their children are delightful. Josh is 7 and Ashley is 11. While Rob and Josh were at cub scouts, Ashley killed us in a game of scrabble. She read all of the "Twilight" series when she was 9 & 10. They are just 4 years in country from the UK and Rob is an executive at the "Sealord" plant there in Nelson.
At zone conference Sister Jolliffe taught a class on presenting family home evenings. Here she is demonstrating on Elder Tukuafu some of the fun dress up activities. She was almost too short to place the lamb hat on Elder T's head.

We have been excited about the prospect of having another couple in our zone serving in Westport. Sadly we learned that they will delayed because of visa issues. New Zealand has been getting tough on immigration since the change in government here. It could be two to three months before they are able to come. We thought we had given our last talks in Westport but maybe not.

We are still enjoying the October conference. It was filled with so many wonderful talks. I loved Elder Oaks talk where he taught that God's love for us does not excuse us from following his commandments. Even though He loves us, we are still accountable for our actions. Likewise, even though we love our children, we cannot excuse them when they fail to live the standards of the gospel of Christ. "If you love me you would accept my bad behavior" does not wash. God does not look upon sin with the least degree of allowance and neither should we, loving them not withstanding.

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