Sunday, March 18, 2018

Beauty and Power

Just when you thought it was safe to go out .... the heat and humidity stick around for another week.  We drove the entire island on Monday ... and I do mean entire!  We first took a couple of missionaries to the dentist and a doctors appointment then headed to the heel (remember the island is shaped like an elf's shoe) then up to the top of the ankle, then into Nuku'alofa proper (the tongue of the shoe), then up to the tip of the toe, then back to the ball of the foot, and finally back home.  It was an all-day long adventure starting at 700 a.m. and ending around 10:15 p.m..

Our favorite sunset watching place is down at the Houma
Blow Holes.  It's also a great place to see the waves crashing
into the shore.  We wondered what it would have been like
 here during the height of Gita.

One of the interesting phenomenons that happened was the 89 deg F temp on both the East and West sides of the island with the central part being in a downpour dropping to 77 deg F.  We rarely see that much variation in temperature from night to day let alone during the day.  We frequently vary 3-4 degrees total night to morning.

We've been out until around 10:00 p.m. every night this week so far (it's Thursday now).  Wednesdays usually turn into one of our longer days as it's the missionaries P-day so we start early taking them to the dentist (only as needed and we do have a great dental clinic staffed by senior missionaries from the U.S. and Australia)) and then don't get many calls until the end of their open time.  We always try to see them on the day that they call and rarely have to make them wait until the next day.  We think it's best and may give them some comfort so they can sleep.

Old pole left in place ...
note all of the wires.
It's also a great reminder as we travel that there are still many people and areas in Tonga that are working hard to clean up and restore electricity.  One of those areas it the North side of the Eastern part of the island.  When we first drove through there shortly after the storm we noted that every telephone pole was either severely leaning, uprooted or snapped in half.  The old wires are still down all over the place in a jumbled mess.  I'm not sure they are even going to clean them up.  Perhaps they'll become the property of whoever finds a use for them.

Home on the East side of the island
still awaiting cleanup.
They are just now getting to that part of the island replacing poles so the electricity can be restored.  We have several missionaries serving there that have been unable to communicate much with their loved ones at home as well.  Whenever we drive through we try to connect with them but they are frequently out working in the community and we fail to make the connection.  It must be especially difficult to have a missionary serving there but we can say that they are all safe, well fed and working hard with those they serve.  We hope there is some comfort in that message.

Service project to clean up and burn
leaves and branches.

More of the same.

We did have one missionary in the hospital this week to receive antibiotics for an infection in his foot (his parents already know so if you haven't heard ... it's not your missionary).  It seems to be all cleared up now but the sores can take a while to completely disappear.  It was just a puncture wound from some wire but there is so much bacteria on almost everything with all the pigs, dogs, chickens and cats roaming free.  We spend quite a bit of time visiting them when they are in the hospital to make sure they are getting the care they need as well as making sure they get fed.  Sister Kapp makes sure they always get their food when under her care.  She really loves the missionaries and does so much to make sure they know they she cares.

Dinner waiting on the cabinet
for the Elders.  Love how the
machete is stuck in the can!
We are also covering all of the islands now (200 + total missionaries which should keep us busy) as Sister Makai has returned to the U.S. for a month to visit her loved ones.  She normally covers Vava'u since she and her husband, President Makai are housed there with about 48 missionaries.  We can't see them when they are on other islands but Sister Makai did leave some medical supplies with the zone leaders and Lepeka will let them know what to use after she does a telephone assessment.  We are going to Vava'u in a couple of weeks to make the rounds and replenish the supplies.

We are excited for General conference next weekend, it is one of our highlights now.  We love to listen to the messages and learn from modern day prophets and apostles.

Our Sacrament meeting topic today was on President Ucthdorf's October 2017 talk "A Yearning for Home"  (I've added the link so those that are interested can listen or read it - I highly recommend it).  Perhaps we are just more sensitive to the topic as we were so far away from our loved ones.  Not because we don't feel welcomed or loved here but just because home is always where the heart is.  I think I have also become more aware or my heavenly home as well and my desire to be worthy of returning there has increased with my understanding.  It requires continual faith and effort to improve but I so look forward to the day when I will be reunited with loved ones who have passed on ... many who gave so much of themselves to improve my lot in life.  I want to be worthy of all of the sacrifices made in my behalf.

Hope you enjoy a few more photos and a video from around the island.

Spontaneous dancing at the airport departure gate.  I especially
love that he grabs his walking cane at the end of his dance.

One of our favorite restaurants was destroyed in the cyclone.  It just reopened
with new signage and the same great menu.  Fish and chips here are the best!

You can see these can bins in almost every village but we've never seen them
picked up so we're not sure they are recycled but at least they are ready.

These stands are where they put their weekly garbage for pickup.  They put
them up like this to keep the pigs and dogs from scattering them far and wide.

Everybody loves ice-cream!

Even these two little guys!  (P-day for Elder Andersen and Elder Mataele).
They liked their brief respite from the heat in an air-conditioned car too.

Timote Kau headed to Fiji for a few days.

Sister Kau and Sister Kapp