Sunday, March 26, 2017


I spent most of this week a little bit under the weather (please don't tell my mom - she'll worry).  I'm feeling much better today.  I have access to a great nurse who had me on the mend pretty quickly.  She tells many of the new missionaries that it may take a little while for them to acclimate to the new surroundings, new food, high humidity and lots of walking (I guess it applies to me as well).  She gives out TLC with her meds and the missionaries all love her.  I think I've mentioned that several of them now affectionately call her "grandma".

L-R, Sister Ramsay from Tonga and Sister Paletu'a from NZ
Such a great Spirit and personality about these two.
The missionaries are absolutely amazing!  They are so committed to serving the Lord and most try really hard to follow the rules to invite the Spirit into their lives in everything they do.  We had transfers earlier this week and I am amazed at how quickly new "life-long" friendships are cemented, even as they long to stay close to their previous hoa's (companions).  They are quickly out and about in full force after moving and unpacking.

We love having the missionaries over for dinner (or lunch) whenever possible and we occasionally get some drop-ins from missionaries in our area.  One drop in visit happened during this past week after Lepeka had just baked some chocolate chip cookies (CCC's).  Sister Paletu'a wasn't feeling too well but did feel well enough to eat a grilled cheese sandwich (since she hadn't eaten lunch yet) and have some CCC's and several glasses of milk after which she said she was feeling much better.

Sister Paletu'a asked Lepeka how to make the cookies so we invited them to come over on their p-day to bake cookies if they would also sing for us (which they agreed to).  They came prepared to bake but were also fed spaghetti before the "Becky Crocker" lesson (several dozen cookies).  Sister Paletu'a also wanted to learn to play the ukulele and they loved our version of Ofa i 'Api (Love at Home), so I taught her the cords and she was strumming away in no time with the biggest grin on her face.  They were so happy and grateful and said this was their favourite p-day ever!  Oh, they also sang for us, you can see it on youtube by clicking here.

On Friday, we also saw a "tapa cloth" laid out for drying and decorating.  They gave us permission to take a photo even though it isn't finished.  They use the tapa cloths for special occasions, weddings, funerals, etc.  They are made from the bark of trees and you can hear the thud, thud, thud as they beat the bark flat and then pound them together to make large mats.

There is a really neat web site where you can see in detail (photos and description) the process they go through.  It is very educational and worth a read if you have a few minutes (com'on get yerself a little culture).  You can find it by clicking here then just scroll down to be amazed.  It's not a long read but very interesting and the photos are great (especially if one of your kids need to do a report for school).

We'll keep adding missionary photos to our "Missionary Photo" page (you can click the link above).  They are posted with permission from each Elder or Sister and they seem pretty excited to pose for us at the drop of a hat.

We have been given the assignment to present Family Home Evening for the Senior couples on Monday night.  We all get together for a lesson and this is our week so since Lepeka is baking more cookies, I guess I'll get the lesson prepared.  Lots of rain the past two days ... did I mention that I LOVE the rain?!?!


L-R, Elder Mataele, Elder Sopu, Elder Tua'ona, Elder Lasike,
Elder Talisa, Elder Purdy, kneeling in front Elder Takapu.
Taken on transfer day March 20, 2017 at Longolongo MQ.

At dusk in the field across from Liahona campus, just after Rugby practice.
They all started posing and waving as we stopped to take the photo.

Trimming the hedge along the fence behind our apartment with his machete.

We don' need no stinkin' tie downs!

Tongan Military marching in the hot sun in full uniform.

Rain water capture system at one of the MQ's.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Stripling Warrior

Bent Palm tree across from the
meetinghouse in Mu'a.  It seems
to be getting lower all the time.
(Sisters Pauni and Moeata)
We frequently bring missionaries to the walk-in dental clinic on Mondays. This provides us time to visit and really get to know them better.  This week we took two sister missionaries, and after their dental appointment on Monday, they sang a Tongan hymn for us.  I had to record it.  It is being sung by Sister Pauni (left) and Sister Moeata (right) currently serving in Mu'a.  The song is Hymn #15 from the Tongan hymn book "Ko Sisu ko e Maka-tuliki"  (Merrily Merrily over the Sea) and can be viewed on YouTube by clicking here.  It was all impromptu, one take and it's worth a listen and maybe a share ;-).

We have had opportunities to go on teaching visits with the Elders.  Sometimes it is obvious that people are just looking to belittle our religion.  We do our best to teach the doctrine, bear witness of the truth and pray for the Spirit to touch them.  We are amazed as the Spirit leads us to say and do things that may be out of character for us.  I have become pretty outgoing on occasion as we meet and greet members and investigators.  That is not something that comes naturally to me until I get to know people, I'm usually pretty reserved.  In fact, Lepeka has turned to me on several occasions and asked, "Who is this guy?" (referring to me).  I just smile at her (she is getting the same way but don't tell her).  "We love being busy!

The young missionaries are so bold as they proclaim the Gospel to the world.  We know they are in tune with the Spirit.  We continue to have special experiences here as we serve.  I think the grandma/grandpa thing is pretty real as we relate to the young elders and sisters.  There are several now who call us grandma and grandpa Kapp.
Another wounded "Stripling Warrior"
ready to return to action (slight ankle sprain).

Sister Kapp is so good with the young missionaries, they all love her.  She bandages them up and I provide the lolly's (Blow-pops).  I think my medicine actually cures most of them but I continue to let Lepeka think it's her medicine.

Transfers coming up next week and seven new missionaries are coming in.  One Elder and six sisters from what we can see.  It will be interesting to see who goes where.  We have developed some great relationships and we're looking forward to getting to know the next group as they move around, some possibly coming from other islands we haven't had the opportunity to meet yet.

Three more senior couples left this week.  We have about five senior couples who are leaving in March or early April.  We are only aware of one couple coming to replace the depleted ranks.  We look forward to meeting them and have been able to communicate via email with them.  If you know any retired parents you would like to send away for 18-23 months, This is a great place where you wouldn't have to worry about them. Kind of like a retirement home but with daily activities that will keep their minds and body active.

For those of you following our blog ... I know it's compelling, you may remember our flat tire experience (it's in the gang wars post if you didn't get a chance to read it).  Well, it took about five days to get our repaired tire back and I had just left it in the back of the van.  I finally got up my energy on Monday to change it back so they all matched.  Everything went well until Saturday night when we headed out for an appointment with the Elders and realized it was flat again (same tire but this time in our driveway).  Lepeka let our appointment know we might be a few minutes late and I got busy changing the tire.  I took about fifteen minutes and we were back on our way.  I hope this doesn't become a theme.  At least I had a short sleeved white shirt and was able to avoid getting it dirty.

One of my favorite photos of Dad.  It captures
so well his personality and love for life.  I miss
this man and hope to live worthy to be part of his
and mom's eternal family.
Sorry to those who didn't know my dad but I needed to add my thoughts to this blog as we marked the tenth year anniversary of his passing the week (Pi day, Mar. 14, 2007 or 3.14).   I feel his presence in my life often not in spirit but in memories and the strength of his testimony in me.  I hope to be able to become what he dreamed of for me.  I know what "WWJD" means to everyone but I occasionally slip in the name Jack.  I think he always tried to what the savior would do as well.   Outside of Christ, he is my hero!  His obit can be viewed here.

I know why Nephi started out by saying he was born of goodly parents.  I certainly feel the same way.  What a tremendous blessing that has been in my life.  I will be eternally grateful to mom and dad for the unconditional love they have always shown me as they taught me correct principles and provided such good examples of service to the Lord and their fellowmen.

Please keep the comments and email coming, we cherish each one and read them frequently.  It makes home seem much closer.  We've been able to chat with a few of you on the phone and that really lifts our spirit as well.

I've tried to add a couple of video files at the bottom.  Hopefully, they will work for you.  Our connection is so slow here that it is almost impossible to test.

God Bless!

More of one of the Kuli gangs.  They barked a bit but wanted no part of this
big puaka.

L-R, Sister Kapp, Elder Kapp, Elder Hutchinson and Elder Faleao
Just before transfers.

Riding in the back of an open truck is commonplace
(much like when I was a kid).  Most loads are unsecured
using real live Tongans as bungee chords.

Age doesn't seem to matter either.

Road sign for Fefē ho Lotō (see below for other side).

Same sign other side.

Afternoon rainstorm on Saturday.  It lasted about 15 minutes
then went away.

Ants carrying a monga monga (cockroach).

Sunday, March 12, 2017

We ain't got no mayo

Last year at a restaurant in Salt Lake City, we placed our order and I added at the end of my hamburger order, "No mayo please".   To which the waitress replied, "Sorry, we ain't got no mayo".

We ain't got no Mayo!
This is the jar Lepeka made
into Miracle Whip.
We left it at that and my order arrived just as ordered, without mayo, so I guess they did have no mayo.  Anyway, the phrase has stuck with us as one of the fun phrases we use occasionally when something gets confusing, or when we say something wrong in another language.

They do have mayo here and we have found almost everything here that we are used to in the U.S. (maybe not the name brand stuff).  One of the few things we haven't been able to find anywhere is Miracle Whip (so no potato or pasta salad etc).  I found a few different recipes on the internet.  Well Lepeka got brave and decided to try and make some at my request, so we rounded up most of the ingredients and she gave it a try.  Success! And now yes, now we ain't got no Miracle Whip (I think?)!

We have become much braver now eating out in several restaurants frequented by the locals.  We really enjoy our interactions with them and it is rare that we don't get in to a conversation with someone about their connections to the LDS church or Utah.  Two of the restaurants we have visited are shown below.  Sabrina's is in downtown Nuku'alofa and Fatulele Business (restaurant) is in Nukunuku right along the main road.  Both have 5-star food in our book!

Sabrina's Restaurant just prior to the
midday lunch rush.  It gets packed
with additional seating outside in front.
Sabrina's Chicken and Mānioke (tapioca)
kind of like a potato. The chicken tastes
like .... well chicken (covered with a
sweet chili sauce).

Fatulele Business Owner (and member)
Uelenitoni Ma'u (his wife Patiola is the
chief cook and bottle washer).  There is a
pool hall in the back with three tables.
DVD's can also be rented for TOP 50
sentini (about $.25 USD)
Menu at Fatulele Business
(written for the Palangi's)
Price is in Pa'anga, $7.00
pa'anga is about $3.50 USD.

Yes, we also ain't got no bananas.  Our neighbor, Elder Va'enuku, decided that we needed some bananas so he cut us a "bunch" and hung them by our back door.  They have been made available to all of the senior missionaries.  You just rip off how many you need.  They are a little smaller than the Costco bananas we are used to but they pretty much taste the same.

The Va'enuku's are just are finishing up their second one year mission here and plan on coming back for a third after a two month hiatus to see the family.  He has three sets of twins in his family, the latest being born about 2 weeks ago.  They now have 65 grandchildren.

Lot's of photo's this week.  Not so much boring monologue (you're welcome).

L-R, Elder Kapp, Elder Yuan, Elder Tua'one, Sister Kapp
at Fatulele Business  for lunch.

Washing the jalopy in our finest duds! (not on Sunday)

Sister Kapp doin' all the hard work.

Elder and Sister Kapp at Abel Tasman's Landing Place on the tip of the toe.
If you look at a map of the island of Tongatapu, it looks like an elf's shoe.
It's how we refer to the general locations ... i.e. heel, instep, toe, etc.

One of the Blow-holes popping off (in Houma - the ball of the foot)

More Houma Blow-Holes

Sunset driving home one night - taken through the windshield.  We were too
tired to stop and get out.

Same night, another location taken while I was driving by Lepeka

Some of the Senior Missionaries at Halafuoleva beach.
Our first time in P-day clothes, our sixth week here.

At Halafuoleva beach - some of the locals having fun.  A few of the Senior
missionaries ventured down and nearly were knocked over by the waves.
I didn't get any photos of them.

Another shot at Halafuoleva Beach.  We had a clean-up project prior to our
Hot dog roast (you have to be careful because that can mean something totally
different in Tonga).  We were assured the Hot dogs came from Cost low.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Gang Wars

We had many interesting experiences this week.  On Monday, all of the missionaries (including the seniors) participated in a service project cleaning up two of the main roads into Nuku 'alofa.  This was done in preparation for the funeral of the Queen mother (see last week's post).   It was their P-day but no one complained.  They just all pitched in until the job was done.  All of the missionaries met afterward for water It is impressive to see such a large group working together.  (photo of young missionaries at bottom or blog)
A large spider just outside the 
Missionary Quarters and part of
 the kuli gang (dogs) after they 
dispersed the spider just adds to
the drama).

On Tuesday, we were driving through Vaotu'u, a small town along the South West coast of Tonga, when we noticed two rival gangs (the Puaka and the Kuli) approaching each other and we thought surely there was going to be trouble.  There is only one road through the town so we thought we might end up right in the middle of things.  Just as we got to the supposed battle front both the puakas and kuli turned and ran away at the same time.  We were grateful to avoid the conflict.  We weren't fast enough to get a photo to share and ... just for the record ... Puaka are Pigs and Kuli are Dogs.

L-R, Filite and Hounga - Our flat tire guardian angels
After the Pig and Dog "gang" incident, we went to drop off some medication for an Elder who wasn't feeling well.  On our way back, we discovered we had a flat tire.  I got out and started looking for the spare tire and the jack and just as I discovered them (about 1 minute) two men showed up to help us.  One was driving behind us and asked if we were alright.  The other was his friend from across the street (the only house close by).  We discovered  that one of them was Wesleyan Methodist (Filite) and the other belonged to the Tongan Church of Christ (Hounga).   Filite told us that all we needed now was a Catholic and we'd have all the major christian religions on Tonga covered.

Changing our flat tire.
We had a little trouble with the jack in the muddy ground so Hounga went to find a better and more stable jack.  While he was away getting the jack his wife (Lia) showed up and invited Lepeka (Becky) to join her on her porch while we fixed the tire.  Hounga wouldn't let me help him much so I wouldn't get my white shirt dirty and he quickly had us back on our way.  We had prayed that morning to keep us safe and guide and direct us on our way.  We hadn't expected to need help but it was immediately there when we needed it.  We also had a truck full of men ask if we needed help while Hounga was away.  I'm sure they could have lifed the car while we changed the tire.  We're looking for a way to thank this good family and will stop by their house next time we are in the area.

This photo was taken about 10 minutes prior to 
the beginning of the meeting.  The stage in the 
back filled up with students as well.  They are so 
respectful and courteous (as well as reverent).
On Friday we had the opportunity to speak to the Liahona student body (High School ages).  We were told there are about 1300 students enrolled in school and most were in attendance.  Becky was to be the keynote speaker and talk about becoming a nurse and her life experiences in nursing.  We put together a short PowerPoint presentation to view about her experiences and how she chose that as a profession as well as the required schooling, licenses and positions along the way.  She did a great job.  

Meeting Agenda
The students filed in and filled the room from the front and sat quietly waiting.  Most were in their chairs about 10 minutes early (this was the first period of class for the day).  These kids are so amazing and so courteous.  Sometimes we feel like a king and queen over here.  It is a little bit humbling to speak in front of so many people.   Now they all recognise us wherever we go on campus or in our ward.

I found out the night before that I was also to speak to add a few words of encouragement.  I took about 5 minutes and she did a great job of keeping the interest up as she spoke.  Since it is an all LDS school, we were both able to share our testimony of the Gospel with them as well and that didn't feel awkward at all even though we were in a school environment.

We have found a little place downtown called Sabrina's where we love to eat.  Last week we were taking two missionaries back to their quarters after a visit to the Hospital for a couple of stitches, we realized they had missed their fofanga (evening meal provided by a ward member).  We told them we wanted to make sure they had food and asked them where they wanted to eat.  They guided us to Sabrina's.  Lepeka and I had already eaten but we bought them food and it looked so good we went back earlier this week (and again today - Saturday).  We can both eat a nice meal for about $8.00 US. We have had the chance to talk to many people while there and they make us feel very at ease.  

Safety is not an issue here with the locals in fact, after we drove down a small dark alley surrounded by trees in an unfamiliar place, I didn't think anything about asking a man carrying a large machette directions to the nearby Missionary Quarters.  We laughed afterwards and realized how comfortable we are now here.  We would not have even turned down the road when we first arrived in Tonga.

We always seemed to be at the right place at the right time this week taking care of injured and sick missionaries.  We are fortunate that there haven't been too many serious injuries or illnesses to this point.  I think most of the missionaries do a good job of following the rules.

We feel so blessed and protected.  We hope our hard work lets the Lord know how blessed we feel and how thankful we are to be serving here in Tonga.  Our testimonies have been strengthened and we certainly love the Lord.

God Bless!

The little boy next door "Paula" playing in the rain.  He kept running under the
carport then back out to jump in the puddle of kick up some water.  We sat on
the back porch and watched (under cover of course).  I think Lepeka wanted to
join in but I held her back.  You can see how heavy the rain gets here.
Sister Kapp in her Keikei belt.  It goes over the skirt and is
hand-woven by locals.  She wore it to church today.
The young missionaries on Tongatapu after a  service project.  
There are many more on the outer islands as well.  
We should meet most of them as they transfer  around.