Sunday, January 14, 2018

Splish Splash!

Rope swing out over the ocean.
Summertime arrived in full force this week as the heat and humidity combined to make our A/C mandatory (either that or melt).  It's been much closer to what we remember when we first arrived a year ago.  Lepeka usually starts her exercise routine at 5:00 a.m. each day but she started at 4:30 Saturday morning and was drenched with sweat when she returned from her 4 mile walk/run (then she does her yoga and weights).  I on the other hand survived sleeping until 6:30 a.m. without any sweat (thank goodness for A/C).  If you do communicate with Lepeka, please don't encourage this getting up at O'dark thirty behavior ... it's not what normal people do (6:00 a.m. is early, 4:00 a.m is insane).

One more swing just before letting go.
All of the local swimming holes and beaches are full of children looking for a way to cool down and have some fun.  We stopped to take a few photos of these boys playing on a rope swing as they took turns playing up to the camera.  You can see that the water isn't very deep where they are playing but that didn't stop them.  I had to leave as they each kept trying to get higher and out-do the last one.

This wasn't the tree I mentioned, it was
much larger and it was too dark to take
a photo.  We ran across this one the next
day just West of Liahona.
We also experienced quite the little micro-burst of wind and rain as we drove back from the other side of the island on Wednesday evening.  The rain was so hard we could barely see the road in front of us and the wind was howling and lasted about 15 minutes.  About halfway home traffic came to a dead stop on the main road as a tree had blown down and it lay across both lanes of traffic.  There was limited space on the shoulder to get around it one car at a time for traffic coming both ways.  Everyone was courteous and we eventually took our turn.  One thing that you really grow to appreciate here is that almost everyone is a courteous driver as far as letting others into the flow of traffic and taking turns.

As we were driving back from the other end of the island on Saturday night we saw a white owl as it flew across the road not far in front of us.  There was no way to get the camera out that quickly for a photo so you'll just have to take our word for it but it was really pretty and something we hadn't seen here before.

Menu at Vaiola Hospital Cafe
The REAL Sub sandwich shop
 For those of you that wanted us to try the Chicken Bend Ova from the menu we shared last week ... sorry, we haven't made it back yet but we did see a few more interesting "food" signs and thought we'd share those.  Remember that prices are in Tongan Pa'anga which is about double the US dollar so if you cut the price in half you can compare the cost.

You've gotta love the Yummie Treats sign that advertises their Submarine Sandwich as the real thing ...  none of these fake sub sandwiches sold here!  They also have french fries, juices and smoothies (you name it).

It was a relatively quiet week for us on the medical front, transfer weeks are usually not as busy as others.  I guess it's because so many things are up in the air for the missionaries as they settle into their new surroundings or new companions.  We also love meeting the new missionaries as they arrive full of the Spirit and ready to teach.  This group was about half the size of the last 3 groups so it was a little easier to manage (10 missionaries).  We did however,  receive 12 missionaries on Friday that are awaiting their visas for the Philippines.  We think we're getting  more tomorrow.  They can be here for anywhere from a few days to several months before their visas go through.

The yard care business is a family affair as these two little guys clean up the
grass clippings from the sidewalk in front of the mission office.

There was a change in the mission office staff this transfer and there are now four young Elders serving there instead of just two.  They will be handling the mission finance and fleet maintenance as well as the regular duties of taking care of the logistics of moving missionaries, managing the internal processes, and whatever else the mission president needs them to do.  They stay pretty busy in the office.  Elder Mortenson who has been in the office for 8-9 months has gone to Ha'apai as the zone leader.  He will be missed but the new group headed by Elder Rosales who has a few months under his belt will do well.  We get to know the office Elders pretty well when they serve in the office.  The three new office Elders are Elder Teutau, Elder Pakalani and Elder Betten (no photos but they are on the mission FB page).

There was one additional major change in the mission leadership this transfer as two new APs (Assistants to the President) were called, Elder Bingham and Elder Takelo.  They are two really good Elders and will serve the President well.

And finally for this blog, we had the most precious packet of mail arrive this week from our ward (for Christmas) but even though it arrived late, it couldn't have come at a better time.  It was a packet of Christmas cards created by some of the Primary children in our ward.  Lepeka and I were grinning from ear to ear as we felt the love contained in each card.  It was such a thoughtful thing to do and we are so appreciative of the efforts that went into making this happen as much as the cards and messages themselves.  I've included scans of each of these precious cards below for all to enjoy.