Sunday, August 13, 2017

*** Disclaimer

Full moon behind cloud cover in Tonga on
August 9, 2017 (Dad's birthday)
Well it was bound to happen sooner or later.  I think I may have gone over the edge and Lepeka wasn't able to save me.  She just keeps shaking her head and covering her eyes with her hands.  I think she's worried I might try to actually sing this somewhere.  I've assured her that posting the lyrics here is as far as I'll take it.  The good part is that they can't prune me from the family tree (though I wouldn't be surprised if someone has researched this from time to time).

***  DISCLAIMER  ***
This is just some fun lyrics I wrote (since I couldn't get the tune out of my head) after listening to a Simon and Garfunkel YouTube clip of the classic song "The Sound of Silence".  This is their reunion version from 2009 and it's worth a listen.  This coupled with our Mission President's family getting ready to have three missionaries out at the same time (one in Fiji - comes home in Dec 2017, one currently in the Provo MTC  and his twin sister just opened her call to Tahiti this past Tuesday).  My version of the song is all tongue in cheek and not intended for a Missionary farewell.  I hope no one is offended.  You are welcome to stop reading here ....  Now I know you can't stop.

If you have never heard the tune perhaps you can have your parents (or grandparents) sing this to you.  You may have to work the meter of the words around just a little bit but I made them work so it can be done (i.e. make Australia a four syllable word and Pitcairn three syllables as in: Pit caw urn - and yes, Pitcairn is a real place).  The text in black is not part of the song, it's just instructions.

The Saints of Zion
LDS Missionary Parody
(sung to the tune of Simon and Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence")

Hello Bishop my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again.
Since I fin'lly caught the vision.
Submitted papers for my mission.
Now I’m waiting by the mailbox every day - so I can say,
Come join the Saints of Zion.

I was nervous as could be. Everyone kept telling me
I could end up in Siberia,
Japan, Brazil, Shanghai, Australia.
Even Utah … they say, “This is the Place” - it’s my home state.
To join the Saints of Zion.

Still not knowing where I’d go, I opened up the envelope.
Quickly scanned to see where I would serve.
Never heard ... some place called Pitcairn? look it up (spoken in the background)
But the Spirit pierced my heart in such a way - I’m bound to say
Come join the Saints of Zion.

Mom and dad abandoned me, At the Provo MTC.
Eating food until I thought I’d explode.
Quoting scripture in a prophet-like mode.
And the language that I learned was new to me, not A, B, C.
Moru na ney te Zion. (made up words - don't lose any sleep over them)

Now my companion and I pray, That we will be safe every day.
As we walk and knock on every door,
Asking people if they’d like to hear more.
About the vision that restored the truth to Earth ... And brought new verse .
Book of Mormon (spoken in background)
Come join the Saints of Zion.

I’m up early every day. I exercise and read and pray.
May the Holy Spirit reach you.
Hear my words that I might teach you.
Prepare for the judgment foretold by the prophets of old … now we’ve been told.
Come join the Saints of Zion.
Come, come ye Saints of Zion.

Okay, enough silliness now. This week was a good week. I think we made more progress on the Technology front than any previous week. We still have a long way to go but at least we seem to be moving forward now. A few weeks ago I wasn't too sure. The Stake Technology Specialists are starting to call us with questions and actually reach out to us rather than us having to initiate contact with them over everything. They seem to have good questions and are genuinely interested in learning. There are also other potential support changes that could help.

Meeting at Liahona with Steve
one of Gary and Diane Kapp's
The photo on the right is of one of the men (Steve - last name escapes me at the moment) sent to discuss a "go forward" strategy for possible implementation of a private Church network in Tonga.  It's very preliminary but at least it's a start.  He lives in Provo and used to be in Gary and Diane's Stake/Ward.  He still lives just down the street from them but is in an entirely different Stake now.

The missionaries are also enjoying good health almost across the board. What illness does exist is just a few minor upset stomachs and some diaharee, diare ... well you know. Lepeka continues to put a lot of focus on prevention and most seem to be trying pretty hard to follow her guidelines. We have Zone conferences coming up this week again so she will see how they report their progress. Let's see how you measure up:
  1. Drink a minimum of 6 glasses of water per day (approx. 1.5 liters).
  2. Personal hygiene (using an antibacterial soap daily shower).
  3. Cleaning up your leftover food properly (fridge or dispose - never left out).
  4. Quarters cleanliness (sweeping and wiping surfaces daily).
She provides a little more explanation with the missionaries (bugs are a pretty big problem over here).  We have to be mindful that the dogs are not vaccinated or dewormed so they all have fleas and mites.  Most MQs are fenced well enough to keep the dogs out of the immediate area if the gates are closed and screens for the windows and door.  Missionaries seem to like to feed the dogs their leftovers thus frequently creating a garbage pile for all kinds of little varmints.

We also like to reinforce President Tui'one's message to follow the mission rules!  It does seem that most (not all) injuries occur when someone is pushing the envelope.  Volleyball was a big culprit and it was an approved activity. Several blisters, ankle sprains, and even a broken foot. I guess that's the price of wearing flippers (flip-flops or whatever name you call them by). We're hoping these injuries taper off soon and we do remind them ... it's not to be competitive (yeah right).  We think their hearts are in the right place so we're not too hard on them.

L-R, Elder Akoteu (California), Elder
Lavaka (Tonga),  Elder O'Reilly
(Washington St),  Elder Kau (Tonga)
We do love the missionaries (Elders and Sisters)! What's not to love they are in the mode of service and not in the "me" mode so that's very refreshing.  We hope they can maintain that after their missions.  We miss the ones that leave but enjoy building the relationship with the new ones that come in.  If one of the missionaries get sick they all say, "Have you called Sister Kapp yet?"  They can't stay home unless she sees them.  We're frequently out early in the morning and late into the evening taking care of the bumps and bruises, tummy and headaches, but most of the afternoons are open to work on the technology side.

Earth Umu at Ancient Tonga
This is used for faster cooking
Real ones are just holes in the
ground lined with rocks.
We went to a place this week called Ancient Tonga in Nuku'alofa for some Tongan culture presentations and enjoyed learning more about the customs, food, dress, flora and fauna.  We prepared our own meals wrapped in banana leaves and placed in the Umu (earth oven). It was actually one made of iron surrounded by dirt so the food would cook more quickly but the effect was the same.

We have a few pictures to share from our experience there as well as a cute video of some piglets playing (or fighting), Lepeka pounding Tapa cloth from the bark of the Mulberry tree,  and some baby chicks thrown in for Lindsay.

Ofa lahi 'atu!

Video of cute little piglets playing (or fighting).
Video taken in Kolonga Tonga.

All dressed up and nowhere to go.  This is us with the Waddoups (Idaho).
They go home in about 4 weeks.  Each outfit is used for specific occasions or events
The one I'm wearing is typically for a funeral.  It would be worn with a black shirt.

Lepeka using a tin can as a veggie peeler.

Herbs and natural remedies (Tongan Medicine)

Lepeka pounding Tapa cloth from the bark of the Mulberry tree.
The mallet has 4 sides with graduated depths of ribs.  The deeper
ribs are used first to spread the bark as it is pounded.  The flat side
is used last to smooth it out.  Bark can be pounded to 4 or 5 times
its original width.  Pieces are then glued together to form large mats.

Lepeka pounding Tapa from the bark of the Mullberry tree.

Chickens at feeding time.  They were fed the coconut
we scraped when processing the meat of the coconut.
It would normally be used in their own food.

Still shot of the chicks and chickens at feeding time.  They seem to love coconut
scrapings - who knew?  The little ones don't stray too far from mother hen.

Weaving for mats is common.  The smaller the weave the more valuable the piece.
These can be used for ceremonial clothing wall or floor mats and/or given as gifts
on special occasions.

Now for a few random pictures for our blog journal.

Lepeka looking over the medical supplies.  This cabinet is in our bedroom and
contains things from Aspirin to Zicam and not much in between.  Actually, it is
pretty well stocked for the things she regularly needs to care for the missionaries.

Thayne Andersen's brother Martin and his side-kick Fred visit for Sunday dinner.
They are in Tonga filming a documentary on the Saints of Tonga.  I'll provide
links if and when it becomes available.

Fourth and final home finished by the Youth groups that came to serve in Tonga.
It takes each team of about 12 youth and their leaders about 2 weeks to build
from start to finish.  They do have a few skilled and paid workers helping as well.

First Marshmallow Creme we have found here.  Happy Rice Crispy treats to me!

Lepeka with Monte's dad, he just received his new artificial leg and is up
and about and grinning from ear to ear.  Monte is the young man who had
 a  stroke and is now working with a senior missionary here who used to be
a speech therapist.  Quite a coincidence if you ask me (there are no speech
therapists in Tonga).


  1. The videos wont play and say invalid parameters. Love so much all that you post. Missions are great for learning about other cultures and people. Sometimes they help us understand God's love for all mankind so much better. love you , mom

    1. I asked Cody if he could come look at your computer to see if something needs updated. I have tried them on a couple of different computers here and they seem to work.

  2. Replies
    1. You may relate to it more than most. The place you served was pretty exotic in my book.

  3. It was great to meet you and now to see your blog Kenny. Make the most of all the time you have in the beautiful great Kingdom of Tonga.

    1. And you can now honestly say that someone in Tonga loves you! Glad you made it home safely.