Sunday, May 7, 2017

Is it a Green or an Orange?

A Green Orange?
We purchased several limes this week from a local street-side vendor.  We had purchased a few about a month ago but they were small and not very juicy.  These looked so large and juicy and we were excited to finally have some good limes.  We discovered when we cut into them that they were actually bright orange inside and were in fact, oranges and yes they are ripe when green here.  By the way - they are juicy and delicious!

As it turns out, we are used to seeing an orange with orange skin in the U.S. but the color of the skin depends on where it grows. Orange trees grow well and produce fruit in temperatures ranging from about 60 to 85°F.  In more temperate climates, the green skin turns orange as the weather cools down.  This is because the green pigment chlorophyll is removed from the fruit, similar to what happens when the leaves of trees turn brown in the autumn.  However, in tropical climates, like Tonga, it is always hot so the chlorophyll is preserved and the skin of the oranges remains green (isn't this blog so very educational?).

L-R, Sister Vakalahi, Elder
Johns and Sister Peterson.
Can't bear to look.  Actually,
Lepeka is protecting her face
from the metal ring shavings.
We had a good time with a couple of the sisters one day this week as one of the Elders was kidding around with Sister Peterson and he threatened to keep her MTC CTR ring.  When she got it back, she slipped it onto the WRONG finger and couldn't get it off.  She had tried for a few days to get it off but ... no luck. Her finger was starting to swell so after many different home remedy attempts including, dish soap, baby oil, Vaseline, ice, and even the string trick.  Being very careful, we tried to break it off with pliers and cut it off with a small hacksaw blade but these little rings are tough.

Passion fruit given to us by
Sister Tau'tua
(mission finance clerk)
We were finally able to catch Elder Johns (a missionary dentist that lives next door) and he was glad to help out a Sister.  The ring was sacrificed but the experience gave more meaning to Choose The Right (finger).  The sisters were all smiles and we had a good time laughing with them as we got to know them a little bit better through the lengthy process of actually getting the ring off.

We also had our first passion fruit.   You just cut the top off and eat with a spoon.  They are a little bit bitter-sweet but both Lepeka and I enjoy them.  We have a bag full on our counter ready to eat along with some more avocados ready to be turned into guacamole.

Lobster at Chef Zero
We had our Senior Missionary dinner on Friday night at one of the local restaurants so I decided to try my first Tongan steak.  It was okay but pretty gristly and a bit overcooked for my taste.  It was still very tasty and I enjoyed eating a vegetarian animal.  Lepeka had the blackened Tuna and a small salad.  A typical lettuce salad is something that we have not found here yet.  The Tuna was delicious as it was fresh (of course).  One of the couples ordered the Lobster so we had to take a photo.  As he was eating his, one of the claws caught his finger and he needed immediate medical attention (a bandaid).  Obviously the lobster wasn't as happy about being dinner as he was in eating it.

Senior missionary couples dinner at Chef Zero along the water front.  Some of
the couples are not called as missionaries and are actually working here in Tonga.
We enjoy our association with them as well.
Sione Lauti and his son at one of our
computer classes. 
We are teaching a computer class to a few people in the community.  It started as Sioni Lauti wanted some training as an Assistant Technology Specialist for his ward.  It turns out he was a football player at Ricks college during the time that Lepeka was there in  the early 1970's.  There is lots of interest in learning some computer skills but not much motivation.  When we do find someone that follows through, we want to make sure we help them as much as possible.  Who know's he could be a future Stake Technology Specialist.  We now have four people that attend this beginning class we teach on our P-Day.  We're also starting to teach some of the Stake Technology Specialist and love working with them.  The Stake Presidents are very supportive and anxious to get some help in their stakes and wards.  I wish I could bring a couple of my IT friends here for a month to get a few things straightened out but I do think we're headed in a good direction.

The highlights for us here are getting to know people ... missionaries and locals.  We feel like kings and queens here as everyone wants to help us.  When we go to buy our 5 Gallon water jugs, none of the young ladies want me to carry the jug to the car and often just push me to the side to carry it out for me.  Hurts my pride a bit but at least I don't have to feign a bad back and they can pick it up and carry it to the car without even breathing hard.

All is well here.  We are having the time of our lives serving the people of Tonga.  Even so, we miss our family and friends so much ... so don't forget to write!  ;-)

This sign is a little bit hard to read but evidently Mon - Sat 8:00am - 6:00 pm
does not actually include Saturdays as we discovered this tailor shop is
closed on Saturdays.  But they are fast, so we love them anyway.

Balloons are used to decorate cars for special occasions.  This is for a wedding.
A few hours later we saw these cars parked in the Temple parking lot.

A young boy serving some table scraps to his pigs.  The fence you see is around
the house.  We are driving by on the road (you can see the edge of the car mirror).

The pigs here will actually go out into the ocean at low tide to search for food.
You can sometimes catch them swimming.

Simi We'eleli (Jim Wheeler) in training as a young child.
School crossing guards can be young children.  This is along one of the main highways.


  1. We love reading your blog and hearing about all your fun experiences! The pictures are fabulous.
    Peggy and Leo Gustafson

    1. Thanks Peggy, it's so rewarding to serve here. I'm sure that is the case for other missions too but we can't think of any place we'd rather serve our mission. 8-)