Sunday, February 19, 2017

Vowel Mouthed

One of the few street signs.
Say that fast 3 times!
We are starting to know our way around much better now that we've been here a while so I decided to start learning some of the names of the roads from the map like, Hala Aviavahamama'o - (Aviavamama'o road) one of the main roads I use to get around Nuku'alofa).  I thought this might help me as a referenc point from time to time.  As I was explaining this to one of the locals who works here on Liahona campus he said, "You already know more road names than I do, we don't use them here".

We received a text message today from an elder with 8 vowels in his last name (7 A's and one U).  He is on one of the outer islands and was sent some meds 2 1/2 weeks ago.  He told us they just arrived today.  He is doing well so no worries but we have to find a better way to serve them in the future.

We had a very spiritually uplifting week.  So many times we ended up exactly where we needed to be  at exactly the right time.  We noticed this as we started our inspections of MQ's (missionary Quarters).  We have an area that takes in about 9 MQ's we are now responsible for inspecting for cleanliness.  It's great since it gives us a chance to make sure they are maintaining a healthy environment as well as getting to know them better.   We have some Blow-pops and Jelly-bellys for those who keep the MQ's clean.  Most of them do surprisingly well but there are a few that need more training.

We think we get the best of both worlds, we get to interact with many of the locals as we go the meetinghouses to look for opportunities to improve Technology self-reliance as well as meet all of the young missionaries and feel of their wonderful spirit.  There are some great young men and women serving here in Tonga.  They all seem to be trying so hard to stay close to the Spirit.

We also had the opportunity to team teach the Gospel Doctrine class this week.  It is a bit challenging for me to understand all of the different english dialects coming at me ... New Zealand, Tongan, England, Spanish Fork, etc.  Becky helps keep me on track if I mishear or don't understand someone.  I am really enjoying being with her pretty much 24x7, and at least to this point she hasn't voted me off the island.

I wish I had photos of our experience this week as we assisted one of the couples on a welfare mission.  They had set-up a diabetic screening clinic for one of the wards.  It took us about 2 hours to do the screenings and when we finished and went out to our car, the locals opened our back seat doors and literally filled it with fruit.  Papaya, watermelon, coconut, pineapple, apples, and oranges.  We had to give most of it away to other senior missionary couples so it wouldn't go bad.  It was all delicious!!

One of the few times since we've been here that Becky and I had a scheduling conflict sent me about 15k west to Malapo.  They had a computer issue we've been working through with them and I set up a time to meet the ward clerk after he got off work.

Viliam, Evani and Ien.
The best 9-10 year old friends Blow-pops can buy.
I got there a few minutes early (surprise) and was greeted by three boys (around 9-10 years old) running through the unlocked rooms and playing with the chairs.  I signaled to them with a gentle no nod of my head and they immediately stopped.  As I stood there waiting outside buy the clerks door, one of the boy brought me a chair and signaled me to sit.  I appreciated the gesture so I did.  He immediately got three more chairs and all three boys sat with me.  One on one side and two on the other.  As I tried to make conversation with them using the broken Tongan I do know, they just looked at me like, "what planet are you from"?

I think they got a kick out of my effort so I decided to get them each a Blow-pop out of the car.  Of course, they seemed to really like that and sat there quietly eating the suckers.  One of them saw my phone and wanted to see photos of "Amelika".  I started looking but found I mostly had pictures of a parade (clowns and floats) and some of wildlife in Alaska.  I hope I didn't skew their view of "Amelika" too much!

We  have had so many "chance" encounters with people who either had connections in Utah or a need for something we just happened to have.  It is really out of character for either of us to stop and introduce ourselves to others but Sister Kapp made friends with Sister "K" (below) waving through a fence.  By the time we got around the end of the fence and actually met her it seemed like Sister "K" and Sister Kapp were long lost friends.

We had a great experience with Elder Renlund which I'll post in a separate blog next.  We love you and miss you.  Thanks for the kind thoughts prayers offered in our behalf!

Elder Hutchinson and Elder Faleao from Brigham city and  Provo respectively.
Elder Hutchinson or "Hutch" (6'5") played basketball for Casey Blacker's
sophomore team at Box Elder a few years ago and knows Casey and Sadie well.  
Another just by chance meeting - Ola Vaitai - piano teacher at Liahona, she is
looking for some simple arrangements of Jani's music for her students to learn.
Sister "K" - Naasipa Kalonihea... I wonder why they called her Sister "K"?
Just by chance we ran into this young lady who we found out served with
Dusty in Oregon.  She told us how much she loved serving with Elder Clark.
Hospital Radiology waiting room (covered but outside)
Saturday morning just before opening at 9:00 am


  1. Replies
    1. Tell Casey he is a celeb to Elder Hutchinson. He has such high praise for Casey's coaching ability.

  2. We love your blog and your smiling faces! Our prayers are with you.