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.


  1. B E A UTIFUL belt mom K. Goes very nicely with the outfit. Seriously, you look great. Love you both. Almost broke my phone trying to kill the spider �� on the first picture. Love getting to hear ���� your voice daddy!!! It is one of the few bright spots for the year.

    All my ❤️ love ❤️,
    BRUCE your girl

    1. Hopefully, there are many more bright spots awaiting. I'll be more careful with the bugs. I don't want to be responsible for someones broken phone. Love right back at ya Bruce. Give all the boys (Dallas included) a hug from Grandpa!

  2. That is a huge spider? How was it connected to the gangs? Interesting experience - Love, Shari

    1. I added to the caption. The spider just adds drama. The gangs were actual pigs and dogs. Luv ya sista!

    2. Oh,gotcha- I am a little slow sometimes. Love you too!

  3. You are inspiring so many of the youth in Tonga! Several of them probably now want to become nurses and computer nerds! :-). Thanks for the update!

  4. What wonderful opportunities you have to share your wisdom and bear testimony of Jesus Christ! So inspiring.

    1. I hope to do much better when we return from Tonga as well. Give that hubby a hug from the Kapps!