Saturday, May 20, 2017

1 Nephi 3:7

Data cabinet.  This is typical of most of the installations.  One of
the other issues not shown is that the glass front is covered with
a sticker preventing the ability to see the lights on the equipment
Some of the concerns others have had about Lepeka and I having different mission calls is that that we will either neglect one or that we will burn out.  While it is true that at times we do have to focus more on one than the other and we do seem to fill our days from dawn to dusk and beyond, we have been amazed at how things continually work themselves out.  If we have something scheduled, the missionaries seem to be okay.   When they are sick or need immediate attention, our schedule is flexible.  We are continually reminded of the scripture in 1 Nephi 3:7 (click here to read it).  What a great promise and we rely on it daily here on our mission.

This was mostly a good week for the health of the missionaries.  We had a few calls earlier in the week with mostly more of the same; sprains, boils, diarrhea (thank goodness for spell checker) and headaches etc.  We also have had a virus going around which landed on some of the missionaries but it seems to be controllable and most are over it in 1-3 days.  Most of them are troopers and seem to want to get out and work in spite of being sick.  We love our interactions with the missionaries.  It is fun to learn about their lives and what led them to serve a mission.  There are some heart-warming stories and accounts of tremendous faith as they serve here, some far from home and basically alone with respect to family support.   Even the ones with great family support can get a little bit lonely from time to time and we hope we bring a little bit of "home" to them and that they all feel of our love and admiration for their service.

Friday and Saturday were very light for missionary calls giving us some time to focus on the technology side quite a bit.  In fact, as of this writing at 5:00 P.M. on Saturday the only medical calls were follow-up calls Lepeka always makes.  The day is far from over but not one call yet ...  knock on wood - tuki i lau papa (my translation not theirs).  This meant we were able to get some documentation completed and teach several tech sessions to individuals with various levels of knowledge, from not much at all to I've done most of this before.  Everyone seems to be so excited to learn.  The challenges are mostly systematic here and will be interesting to work through at the least.

Satellite system equipment in one of the
Stake Centers ... complete but never hooked up.
We are also part of a slight change in the support model for meetinghouses in Tonga.  We (the FM team is including us in the discussions) are in the process of identifying someone in the FM group that may have some technical ability and/or interest to assist in the process of equipment installation, maintenance and issue resolution.  Once this person is in place we will work to train them on as many of the meetinghouse technologies as possible.  If all goes according to the proposed plan, they will install equipment, resolve issues, inspect contract labor work, and make sure the follow-up on all of the items listed above is complete.  It will be a long process to get to where we want to be and there will probably be many twists, turns and adjustments as we all learn but I am excited for the first step.

Earlier in the week, we had a meetinghouse technology task on one end of the island (the toe) and a medical issue on the other (the heel) with several stops along the way.  We try to organize our days as best we can but some of the medical things just pop-up when they want to.  Lepeka does a good job of prioritization and looking for the best routes.  We seem to drive about 2000 miles per month (on the average).  That represents lots of driving on a 24 mile long island at average speeds of 20-25 mph (30-40 kph).  We have lots of time to talk and plan our work so we are more efficient when we have time in the office or at a meetinghouse.

This week is Father's day in Tonga.  I'm not sure why it's different here but it is.  In fact, President Tui'one is from New Zealand and they celebrate it next Sunday there prompting him to say, "This Sunday is Father's day in Tonga, next Sunday is Father's day in NZ and then it's Father's day in June in the U.S. ...  I'm one lucky man!"  He has a great sense of humor and is a very humble spiritual man.  He and sister Tui'one treat us really well and we love serving here with them.

The weather this week has been close to perfect (especially today)!  It was also a great shopping week as Lepeka found Crystal Light lemonade mix, Golden Island pork jerky (Korean barbeque recipe), Double Stuff Oreos and the Costco Ghirardelli chocolate (triple chocolate) premium brownie mix (there's already a pan of them fresh out of the oven on the cabinet).   She cooked me a Ribeye steak and baked potato for my Father's day meal tonight.

Here are a few more random photos from around Tonga with descriptions  ...  hope you enjoy!

Village Mission Clinic & Pharmacy.  This is one of the few Pharmacies in Tonga.  
It is pretty small but is has a beautiful peaceful setting.

Small open air store onsite at the Hospital in Nuku'alofa
We ate some breakfast here (2 small tables).  

Elder St Claire (Arizona) and Elder Tua'one (Florida) on P-day May 8th 2017.
They were playing volleyball with the locals.  Volleyball used to be banned
but the ban was lifted.  We have had a broken foot and several ankle sprains
in the past month.  

This is a photo of Lepeka, Sione and his mom.  Sione has a bad cut on his arm
and Lepeka helped get them to the clinic to make sure they were getting the help
they needed.  Sione is now attending church regularly and hopes to be baptised soon.

Waiting for the pineapple to grow.  Not many are actually grown here and they
can cost up to $10. (USD) each for a decent sized one.  

They trim the sides of these tree back by climbing on the top of a truck, then
having the person in the truck drive around the tree as each area is trimmed.
The center is (inside all of the leaves) is pretty much branch and leaf free.  It
would have made a great treehouse tree when I was in that mode.

Almost all of the loads in the backs of trucks are unsecured.  Fortunately,
they drive so slowly that they never seem to loose anything.

One of the nearby schools just before session starts in the morning. You can
see the uniform they wear at this school.

At the Airport.  Senior volunteer Dentist and his wife (Brother and Sister Preston)
as they head home to Arizona after 10 week stint (approximately).

Brother and Sister Tiltons - They live in Tonga and are part-time ward church
service missionaries.  They were flying back to the U.S. to see their new grandbaby.

Airport greeting committee as you exit the secure area.  They were there
singing when we arrived as well.

Signs posted around the Hospital are all done just like this.  As you've seen before in our
blog on "Hand Hygiene Happens Here"  There is a definite need to improve the Hospital
cleanliness but they are at least working on it and have asked for Lepeka's input.  Some areas
are much better where the nursing staff are responsible for the cleaning


  1. Elder and Sister Kapp,
    So good to hear about your week, (Happy Belated Father's Day - ummmm, ribeye)! I always learn so much from your weekly writings.
    Thank you for loving our son.
    Big hugs,
    Heidi jo and family

    1. Sorry, I have been helping a Tonga Farmer here with some computer work and didn't realize I was still logged in as him.

      You have a wonderful son. Thanks for sharing him with us and the people of Tonga. we are better people for having him in our lives.