There hasn't been nearly as much missionary service the past couple of weeks. Cleaning and getting ready to close this flat has been interesting. Cleaning ovens, the shower, windows, etc. We have also been sorting things to keep and what to get rid of. We have also given away some of our personal items to the members. One of my seminary students got my suit. The sleeves are a little short and the legs are a little long. he still looks good in it. He wore it last Sunday.
We have been able to visit some of our outlying members to say good bye. It has been a blessing to associate with the wonderful members of the Greymouth Branch. This evening I got to practice a Samoan dance with the brothers in the branch. We will perform the dance on January 1 at the branch social dance. It will be our last activity here and our family members will be here. We leave tomorrow afternoon for Christchurch to pick up the family. We are sooo excited.
The Saturday before Christmas we joined some of the Tongan's for a barbecue. Here are the sisters with a couple of children. Ola, in front is pregnant and a little off her feed. We had chicken, and sausage. I don't remember a vegetable this time.
Elder Palanite was honorably released from his mission the Monday before Christmas. As his plane left Hoketika at 7:30 am we opted to stay home. He lives in Auckland and we hope to see him before we leave. Our new missionary is Elder Kaufusi. He is also Tongan. He is very quiet and a real contrast to Elder Beckwith, who is very outgoing. We have spent quite a lot of time with them this past week.
We traveled to Westport for the last time on the 20th and spoke in their sacrament meeting. It was a very small group this time as many are out of town for the holidays. They had some visitors, or there would have been only six members there.
The 21st was our last day of service at the district library. Above are three of the librarians. Two others were already on holiday.
This was taken during an early morning walk. We have had rain and overcast sky's way to much this summer. We are hoping for some good weather for our tour.
This is a vegetable garden spotted on the walk. Things are very late here. The Kinikini's tomatoes are not growing very well this year.
We had some interesting things happen this Christmas week. Wednesday I had to throw out the old washer and dryer as the washer quit working and the dryer had a sign on it saying it did not shut off on its own. We never used it. President Kinikini drove me to the dump and while there he found a washing machine tub that worked perfectly for an above ground umu (oven). His friend built the box with pallet lumber and roofing steel. They filled it with dirt, placing the tub in the center and covered the dirt with rocks. A wood fire was started with some rocks in side as well as steel plates to retain the heat. After the wood had burned down, they placed chicken and vegetables in the tub on top of the rocks and steel. They used a barrel lid and some blankets to cover everything and then put the box lid to close the umu. The chicken and vegetables we cooked in about 50 minutes without open flame. Oh so tender.
Meanwhile, we built another fire to cook a pig. We volunteered to pay for a Christmas pig. while the fire was burning down we went to the pig farm to find something to cook.
We were met by this wonderful rooster as we drove into the farm yard.
They had penned the potential dinner prior to our arrival. We are now picking just the right one.
I did not take pictures of the hammer hitting our pig on the head or the knife through the neck into the heart. It is a lot of work to prepare the pig for cooking. The hair and first layer of skin is burned and then scraped off. It is also gutted.
Here is the little pig ready to be cooked.
While the work is going on, others are having a good time. Here are Taufa and Lou Ann in the pool.
Sister Kinikini is preparing some cheap cuts of lamb.
Elder Hoagland got a brief turn at the rotisserie.
Elder Beckwith and Elder Kaufusi enjoying the smoke in their lungs and eyes.
While things were cooking we took the opportunity to visit other members who were doing the same thing. There were more Tongans at this house and they had 3 little picks a cooking.
Dinner is served.
The family got a basketball stand for Christmas and this is part of the after dinner activity. The elders showed up after eating at a couple of other places first.
8 hours ago