Sunday, April 9, 2017

Th' th' th' That's All Folks!

Uma feast between sessions of conference
Due to the time (and date) difference, conference weekend was April 8th and 9th here in Tonga.  Conference was recorded (or downloaded) for all the Stakes to play this weekend.  It just so happened that it was President Tui'one's birthday as well and we were invited to the mission office to watch conference.  Between sessions there was an 'umu cooked feast for lunch (prepared by the mission staff, President Tui'one and Sister Tui'one).

An 'umu is an earth oven, a pit is dug, then a fire built in the pit.  When the fire starts to smoulder the food is placed on top of green vegetation that protects the food and provides moisture.  More hot rocks may also be added, then covered with more vegetation and a layer of earth.  This will cook for several hours (all day in some cases).  You can see the delicious result just waiting to be carved and eaten.  We also had 'ota (raw fish), uli ( kind of like a potato), lu (much like spinach), pork ribs, barbecued chicken, kele moa (chicken curry), tossed salad and other Tongan dishes we are still learning, plus a good old spiral cut ham from Cost low (our version of Costco).  At the end of the feast there was red velvet cake for dessert.  Needless to say, after all of the amazing Tongan food, there wasn't much room for cake!  Of course, we did get to sing Happy Birthday to President Tui'one as well.  Sister Tui'one gave him the option of 45 or 54 for the top of his cake.  He stated you could just add the 4 and 5 and make 9. We have really grown to love President and Sister Tui'one and their family!

Lepeka wanted me to use this photo so
you could see her Harry Potter broom
and see that they are not just for travel.
Tongan brooms are made from the coconut palm frond.  First you gather several palm fronds then the leaves are separated from the spine by scraping with a knife.  Once you have enough of the spines you gather them in a cluster around a stick and bind them tightly around the top with a tape that is similar to electrical tape.  These brooms are used as rakes as well and do a great job since the spines are very stiff and durable.  Each broom can take 4-5 hours to make and sells for $10. (TOP - about $4.50 USD).

What a wonderful spiritual day this past Wednesday was for us.  We were invited by the mission president to attend the Temple with about 24 Missionaries (all of the zone leaders in the mission).  It was my first time going through listening in Tongan since I was ill when Lepeka went before.  It really makes you concentrate and feel the Spirit.  I'm glad I've been through enough times that I could rely on my memory where needed.  Lepeka took one of the names that Diana gave her through for her endowments.  We hope she spoke Tongan.  She didn't pick up the card with the name after the session, but found out from Diana that the patrons at the temple had also sealed her to her parents the next day.  What amazing people!  We prayed for each of our children and grandchildren by name and hope you feel the calming Spirit in your lives. Please know how much we love you all.

We were asked to sing one of our songs in the mission office meeting this week so we sang 'Ofa i Api (Love At Home) with ukelele accompaniment.  They asked us to sing again this week but it looks like the meeting has been postponed indefinitely.  The President wasn't in the meeting when we sang our song, so all we can come up with is that he heard the recording Sister Tui'one made and decided he didn't want anymore singing by this dynamic duo!

As far as our missionary callings are concerned, the missionaries have been pretty healthy the past two weeks although Sister Kapp has had a cold and sore throat for the past few days.  She never complains or lets anything slow her down at all.  We also had some good success working with Stake Presidents and surveying stake centers.   We have lots of issues with computer equipment and one Stake president joked that he would like to take care of things his way (he's about 6'5" and 350) but he knows it needs to be done the Lords way so he'll be patient.  He's working on calling a Stake Technology Specialist and I'm going to do my best to get them trained ASAP!

We really do miss our family and friends but know we are being blessed for our service. We pray for you daily and hope you feel the blessings from the Lord in your lives.  He is aware of each of us individually and wants to pour out His blessings.  We do love you all.

This is at the airport. If you click on the photo you can read that it is a luggage
wrapping machine.  Basically to wrap boxes with plastic wrap.  The machine
must have been broken so the man you see here was doing the work (only $5 TOP)

An interesting tree in the middle of a cemetery, somehow it seems to work.

Internet support tech troubleshooting the phone line outside
the church building in Pelehake.  No safety equipment and
the ladder looked pretty unstable especially in the wind.
He didn't want me to help hold the ladder and he survived
but it took him about 4 hours going from pole to pole to
finally locate and fix the problem.  Pelehake now has internet
for the first time in about 6 weeks.  There is also a short video
clip below (if it works) you can see the bats flying as he works.

L-R, Elder Vave (on loan awaiting visa to Zimbabwe,
Brother Tu'poumalohi (Elder in training),
Elder Bingham (he wants royalties for the photo)

Never mind the photographer.  I thought I was taking 
still photos but the result is still pretty fun to see.  Yes Bats!

Working without a net.


  1. Love your blog. Spiritual, uplifting and delightful!!!

    1. I am enjoying reading your blog as well. You're getting pretty good with the formatting as well. Glad you're enjoying the Marshall Islands. So close but yet so far. 'Ofa lahi atu!

  2. In my youth I remember watching my dad, Vern Farson climb the electric poles with the spikes fastened to his shoes and a belt he used to wrap around the pole and he could really shimmy up the pole quite fast. Electricians today use the bucket lifts. I'll pas on the uma. The rest sounds good! The nurse has to have help too. I'm praying for you both love mom

    1. When he went up the first pole it was so shaky that I was sure he was going fall. He did start using a belt once he got to the top of the ladder but even that seemed pretty iffy. It would never work in the good ol' U.S. of A. Lapeka is pretty much back to normal today so all is well.