Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Zone conference

Another very interesting week. The mission has prepared a Christmas Fireside for the missionaries to present in their wards and branches. It involves a dvd presentation along with narration, and singing by primary children. They were delayed in distributing the program to us and we have to present it this Sunday so we and the Elders have been doing some scrambling. Monday and Tuesday Sister Hoagland was rehearsing some primary children to sing a special number prepared for a small group of children. While she was doing that I was having fun watching the Aho Langi family put together their little pool. A very optomistic enterprise for this year as it has been stormy most of the time.
Here are Lesili, Meleane, Mele, and Silisi holding the pool canopy.
Aho had a little hand pump, but it did not work on this pool so he is having to use lung power. We all enjoyed watching. Manui Langi is going to make Sister Hoagland a Tongan skirt and me a matching shirt.
More fun
The Langi's have a piano in their entry hall. The Tauli's gave them their piano when they left for Australia months ago. Lisa Tau, Hola Langi, and her cousin Katalina Langi are practicing their song for the fireside. That should bring at least three families to the program.
We helped the children in room two make chain and santa decorations for their classroom. It is good to see that in some places in the world celebrating Christmas in schools is not illegal. While Elder Hoagland hung the chains, the children sang Christmas Carols.
This was our last Institute class, as Mafi (left) left for Tonga with her family. They will be there for Christmas and return just in time to say good bye to us. We are in our Greymouth Institute T Shirts. Our names are on the back. Quality control had left the building when they did the names, as ours came out HoaglUnd, and Ofa's came out OSA.
Wednesday afternoon we made the three hour drive to Christchurch for Christmas zone conference. On the way we drove through Inchbonnie to see a less active family. We had not been able to locate them by phone as it had been disconnected. We got there just in time as she is leaving her husband and moving with her children to Christchurch. We took this picture just before we arrived at their house.
Our trip over Aurthur's pass was a very wet one. The advantage to that is you can see waterfalls everywhere. The most spectacular we were not able to capture because there was no place to stop to take a picture.
The rain was coming down in sheets. It is a case of the mountains not letting the rain get over the top as it was overcast but not raining on the east side of the mountains.
If you are interested to see what this area looks like without the rain, check out last December's post when the skies were much clearer. Go to the Archives, click on the arrow for 2008, and then December.
The Elder's had some business in downtown Christchurch and we saw this man riding a bike with a Cockatoo on his shoulder's. In the evening we had dinner with President and Sister Jolliffe and the three other couples who serve on the South Island. President Jolliffe is not a fan of picture taking so we had no pictures of the occasion. While the menu was in English, we did need some interpretation. Sister Hoagland had mushroom and spinach wellington with potato rosti, pear and rocket salad. Elder Hoagland had ribeye with tongue "n" cheek pie, onion rings and herb butter. Shared side dishes included; fries, broccoli, brown butter and almonds, rocket avocado and bacon salad, asparagus, cucumber and feta, macaroni cheese gratin.

We arrived at the restaurant at 8:00 pm seated at 8:30, served at 9:30 and left at 10:30 pm. Our accommodations where with President and Sister Ormsby. President Ormsby is Pres. Jolliffe's second counselor in the mission presidency. The restaurant was on the east side of town and the Ormsby's live 15 minutes west of the city limits. We were a little anxious about finding the place and with good reason. The road he lived on was poorly labeled and his house had no number. It being in the country there were no street lights. After missing the turn to his road, we were fortunate to find some one at 11:00 o'clock to guide us back to Adam road. We thought they might be looking for us so when we saw this car pull away from the side of the road we thought is was them and followed them into their driveway. Hope we didn't scare these people too badly but they were able to confirm we were on the right road. A short ways later we did found President on the side of the road waiting for us.

President Ormsby is a young man who is a partner in a large law firm in Christchurch. They live on an 11 acre ranchette with their 2 1/2 year old daughter Sarah. They are expecting another child in a few months. Sister Ormsby is American and they met when her family came to live in Christchurch. They stayed for only one year but Sister Ormsby was at the University here and stayed to complete her work when she met Brother Ormsby. We had a wonderful bed and Sister Ormsby fixed a sumptuous breakfast we could not eat as we were still stuffed from the night before. Fortunately there were four other Elders there to take up the slack. We did have some of the water melon and strawberries.
We gathered at the stake center at 8:00 am for our trip to Hanmer Springs, where we were going to hike up the Jolliffe pass. There, President Jolliffe was rededicating the south island for the preaching of the gospel. As we approached the town we had to cross a bridge where they were preparing a group for bungy jumping.

Unfortunately for us older couples, they left us in their dust, as we couldn't keep up with the young folks. We also took the wrong turn so we missed the dedication prayer. Here are Elder and sister McIntire as we made our way back down the trail. The trail was not this good for very much to the trek.
After everyone was back down from Jolliffe Pass, we had a wonderful presentation by a Maori brother. He spoke of the early history of the church with regard to the Maori and also some of the customs, and in this case some chiefs apparel. It was very interesting because he spoke of much of what had gone on during the same period my grandfather Louis Hoagland was serving here. First in the early 1890's and then in 1918 when grandfather returned and proof read Elder Mathew Cowley's translation of the Book of Mormon. For that little effort his name was listed as one of the editors.

During the program, Sister Ormsby sang a beautiful hymn for us. They bought the cd player at her feet just for this occasion. I noticed the price tag on the box as $299.00. Little Sarah is in the pink rain coat on Sister McIntire's lap. Following the organized program all of us who were finishing our missions had the opportunity to bear our testimonies. A very special opportunity as it was like being in the sacred grove.
We all had to have a picture of the Jolliffe's in front of the Jolliffe saddle track sign.
Here are all the south island missionaries with our NZWM caps on our head. It could have been a better day (it never rained but a rather constant sprinkling) but we still had a great time. Pres. Jollife is on the far left and Sister Jolliffe is in the second row. Pres. Ormsby his holding his daughter who is without question a daddies girl. Sister Ormsby is on the far right. If there were a truer example of latter day saints, I do not know where you would find them.

It was just under a two hour drive. The coach was quiet and smooth and comfortable. We watched a dvd entitled "The best two years." We have seen these Elders and Sisters for the last time. It was fun to see some of the missionaries we have worked with in the past.

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