Sunday, November 8, 2009

Seminary recognition day

This week was highlighted by our seminary activity in Nelson. The district went all out to provide a quality experience for our students. We were invited by the Venables, our hosts when we are in Nelson, to join them and others for a barbecue on Rabbit Island, a wonderful day park by the sea. We came up early Friday so we could visit some other sights in the city as we only have one more trip before our mission ends.
First we hiked up a rather steep hill to what is allegedly the sight of the center of New Zealand. How it is at the very top of a hill on the edge of town is a little suspicious, but it provided a beautiful view of the city and surroundings.
The trail to the top was paved, but mostly gravel and dirt. This gives an idea how steep the trail was.
This is a view of the down town.

This is a view to the north.
This is looking west.
Sister Hoagland at the center of New Zealand
Elder Hoagland at the center of New Zealand.
At the bay front in Nelson

Friday evening we enjoyed a barbecue with the Venables, David Bell, the CES director for Wellington and the south Island, and the Martins, friends of the Venables.
Joshua Venables and David Bell lighting the fire.

They cooked hamburgers, sausages, and small ribs. We also had a wonderful salad, and other condements.
Sisters Martin and Sarah Venables on the left, Joshua V., and D. Bell, playing a little cricket.
Ashley Venables with her friend, and brother Joshua on the trampoline in their back yard.
Saturday began the seminary program. First up was a scripture chase for all the students. They had three teams answering 17 questions. The kids had a good time as teammate's trying to win. Following scripture chase, they were provided a wonderful lunch then the fun began. They were taken to a public park where small fees were paid for them to use one of three activities. First was a three story water slide or miniture golf or bumper boats. Most of the older kids chose the miniture golf. Above President Kinikini is ready to tee off.
This is president Presad of the Blenheim Brach. He has a wonderful family with two very polite young sons. They are Fijian Indians who are working on a vineyard owned by a member of the district presidency. All the farms around Blenheim had to convert from sheep to vineyards a few years back. They could hardly make a living on sheep but are fabulously successful with the vineyards.
Tim Kinikini and the oldest Presad boy.
Following golf they went and roller skated. This was our youths first effort at skating. Most never got the hang of it. Poni in the middle is being assisted. Tim did manage to stay up but it was not pretty.

Here are Poni and Moni hanging on to stand up.
After the fun, back to the church for a pizza feed. From here we were dismissed to go to where we were staying to dress for the recognition service. There was one graduate and several course completions recognized. Our Moni was assigned to give one of the talks. The evening was not over as we all went bowling to cap off the day. Sunday we attended the Nelson Branch services. It was the first time we had been a in branch where they had most of the positions filled, like a functioning Elders quorum. Following services they provided lunch and then we returned home.
The following pictures are of the country side just south of Nelson. It was a beautiful drive home even though it takes 3 1/2 hours.

As we stopped to take pictures we had some interested by standers. The one on the left soon got bored and left.
Closer to Greymouth we saw the fog over the hills. It is a very common occurrence in the winter season, so we were surprised to see it at 4:00 pm on a nice spring day.

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