|Missionary Flippers (or Flip-flops to us). |
I don't want to hear about wearing out
a pair of Doc Martin's. At least they
have good foot and arch support.
Young Elders and Sisters in Tonga are AWESOME! Now that is an over used word in today's lingo so I want you to know I am using it in the vernacular of yesteryear when awesome really did mean AWESOME! I am constantly amazed at their commitment to the Lord and to preaching the Gospel as well as their dedication and willingness to serve their fellowman. They constantly look for ways to serve from major service projects to simple acts of kindness.
They work through the challenges of working closely with a hoa (companion) not with just a different personality but often times from an entirely different culture. We have many missionaries from Tonga who serve close to family and friends but always strive to keep the rules. We have missionaries from Europe, New Zealand, Australia, the United States, and the islands of Fiji, Kirabati, and Hawaii just to mention a few. This can lead to some interesting differences but they always do their best to work through them.
|Kapa pulu is often on the typical|
The locals are always willing to share and to give the missionaries their best. I have tried everything above now but the missionaries also get served horse, dog and bat meat on occasion. Most of them graciously accept and try the food. I'm not sure I'm up to the horse, dog and bat yet but my defenses are weakening and we still have 18 months to go ... who knows?
They also walk all day long .... in flippers! No one ever complains (at least to us) In fact, even the flippers in the photo were still in use. We told the young Elder (from the US) that he needed to get some new ones. He just smiled and said he would. We always offer to give them a ride when we see them walking down the road but they seldom accept as their schedules are built around walking. We have given a ride to missionaries at 6:00 pm headed to the next town (about 3K away) going to a meeting and then would be walking back home later that night. This is after walking all day ... and again, in flippers. I drive most places with limited walking and my feet are always tired at the end of the day.
|Elder and Sister Groberg after the devotional.|
We had a great conference both Sister and Elder Groberg spoke and gave great messages. Sister Groberg spoke about the many changes that have occurred since they served here as the mission president some 50 years ago and how each missionary should do their best to maintain the beauty found in Tonga. Elder Groberg spoke a little bit in English and the rest was in Tongan. He talked about some of his mission experiences and how important it is to stay close to God and to listen to the Spirit. We actually understood some of the Tongan. We are learning it word by word, phrase by phrase. Not like the young missionaries who seem to learn it instantly.
On a lighter note, Lepeka and I watched the movie "The Other Side of Heaven" shortly after we received our mission call last year and decided that was probably not the best endorsement of Tonga for new missionaries to watch. We did enjoy the movie but it did give us cause to pause and think about ... well ... "The Other Side of Heaven".
|I'm not going to try and list all of the missionaries but you may see yours somewhere here|
|360 degrees of missionaries shown in these two photos from the plaza panorama style (after Elder Groberg's devotional)|
|Missionaries in the chapel just prior to the Elder Groberg devotional.|
This is just the missionaries from serving on Tongatapu and 'Eau
|My attempt at a selfie trying to capture Elder Groberg in the background|
Photo bombed by the infamous Lepeka and Elder Enos (Hawaii)
It's okay ... she's a keeper!
|We're to the right of the flagpole (2nd row-ish)|