Sunday, January 29, 2017

Shoveling Sunshine here

Well, today (Saturday) was our P-day and it finally happened.  Becky convinced me to get up with her at “Oh, how lovely was the morning o’clock” and go walking to watch the sun come up.  I have to admit that it is pretty pleasant out at that time of the day here in Tonga.  I must have been quite a sight as the birds all kept whistling at me.  The roosters were also crowing at every turn.  We have about a one-mile lap to walk around the campus and it’s very clean, weeded and neat.  Some other couples got up and started walking around 6:00 am just as we were finishing our walk so Becky did an extra lap without me (3 was enough for me).

I was able to send out a few email and text messages today and it is strange to get a reply marked “yesterday” to an email I just sent out.

Today was also our first day driving ourselves around.  Driving on the left side of the road is strange but not as strange as being a passenger in the left seat (no brake pedal).  I did most of the driving today but Becky did get behind the wheel a couple of times and we both seemed to live through it.  We did take one scenic tour (not on purpose) but quickly found our way back to something we recognized.  There’s not too many places to actually get lost on an island this size.

Finding some of the MQ’s (missionary quarters) can be challenging as there are no street signs or addresses here.  Most directions are something like … turn right down the second lane past the building with the blue roof.  I am trying to document with GPS coordinates and photos in the contacts but most missionaries don’t have smart phone.  I couldn’t do without one so we paid for our own.  We are having a great time and I haven’t been able to wipe the smile off of my face.  I actually chuckled out-loud as I was praying yesterday morning (maybe a bit irreverent but I think God understands my joy).

Our apartment is the right side of this duplex.  The driveway is
shared by three families as there is a small home behind ours.
The place is beautiful and our apartment has all the comforts of home (at least for the most part).  We are right behind the Temple on Liahona campus, just as we thought.  The mission office is across the street as well as a Church distribution center (limited material).  Still working on internet connectivity at our apartment but we should have it in the next few days.

We do have cell phones now, a car, and our Tongan driver’s licenses.  There was only one question on the drivers license test, “Do you have 60. Pa’anga?”  (About $30 each) …  We both passed  We have a fridge, stove and microwave (we’re still working on a toaster).  Our office is right across the street so it’s very convenient.

Becky is already taking care of her nursing responsibilities and has treated several minor injuries and illnesses.  I wouldn’t expect anything less of her.  My training will start next week when the person I report to gets here.  He is located in Auckland New Zealand.  It may take us a little while to figure out how we can best fulfil our individual responsibilities while working together but we are confident we can do it.

Our ward just prior to sacrament meeting. Probably 75% HS students, on-time,
and very quiet and reverent.  The singing is amazing!  Everyone sings and the
room fills with music and the Spirit.  Not extremely loud but just very full.

Kumala and long beans are two food staples here.

The beans are cut to desired length and cooked as normal.

Kumala is like a potato (in flavor) with just a hint of sweetness.
They are kind of dark purple  when peeled and cooked
(see next photo) and a little bit drier than a potato.

Two coconuts (with straws)
Uncooked kumala (top right)
Kumala peeled and cooked (bottom)


  1. Looks like you're adjusting well so far!

    1. It really is an easy adjustment as the people are so accepting and the food is good too. The other missionary couple are here are great and we have lots of interaction with school staff and church employees.

  2. Sounds like you are settling in!!. :)


    1. We really are so far. I just need internet at the house and we'll be set!

  3. Replies
    1. The photos don't even do it justice. It is very clean and pretty here.

  4. Holy cow, I wish I was there. It looks and sounds amazing, but not as amazing as walking 3.25 miles with Brooke on a tread mill inside a sweaty building with HGTV playing.

  5. My girls are very interested in the food you are eating. Maybe we'll have to try kumala next! (If I can find it!)

    1. There is a Tongan store in Lindon that occasionally has kumala. I can try to find an address for you and email it to you.

  6. Hi! I found you through Erin Adams. Erin and I are married to cousins.
    My parents just got their mission call to Tonga! They report to the MTC on April 3rd.
    It looks like a wonderful place!
    Do you have A/C in your apartment?
    Also- do you sleep on a queen or king mattress?
    Funny questions, haha.
    Let me know... thanks!! :)

    1. Malo e leleie Shannon! We're excited to hear about your parents mission call. We can really use senior missionary couples here. To answer your questions, yes, we have A/C in our apartment. This is the hottest time of the year here but we haven't been too uncomfortable for the most part. We are definitely comfortable in our apartments. I think all of the senior apartments have queen sized beds. It's funny you ask those two questions because we thought we were the only weird ones asking those type of questions. If you can send us your parents phone number (or email address) we can communicate directly with them and answer any other questions they may have as well.

      What are their names? What is their mission assignment? They will absolutely love it here!

  7. What a gorgeous place, and it sounds like you are both happy as clams! We love you!

  8. You are right Peggy, it is a gorgeous place and we are very happy. We do miss our friends ... but you can apply for a free ticket to Tonga at (18 month commitment required)

  9. I want my free ticket soon! Leo will work another year and then we want to get going! We love reading about your experiences. Oh, the fruit bats! I might have been screaming like a girl.

    1. We did take the photo from inside the car. However, they really don't seem to bother people at all. we have seen them flying around but mostly just hanging in the trees and then only in a few places on the island. Hope all is well with you and Leo!