Monday, February 22, 2010

The Week of Seventeen!

This past week was a busy one for us. The title indicates that we were able to visit in the homes of 17 this past week and leave a message. We were busy and enjoyed it. One gentleman we met, has not been active for many years. Someone suggested that we visit him and so we found his address from somewhere and dropped by. He was glad that we did. Elder was able to leave him with 2 commitments. He has an amazing life and his life has been spared many times. He wasn't sure why but Elder told him why he thought he was still here. His wife passed away several months ago.
The above picture is our luncheon after this past week of District Sunday. Our visitors, 9 in total, came down from Nelson Sunday morning. Our Branch almost doubled in size. It was really nice to have 5 in Primary to sing and learn. In the picture you can see the Grandma of the du Feu family, Sister Bonnie Stack holding their little girl, David who is 11, the two older du Feu sisters, their mother Janice, and Sister Lyn Maugham of our Branch. Brother du Feu also brought his 2 young sons, George and Farrel. It was so nice to have young ones at Church. Merle played with them and they can't wait until the next time they see "Elder Grandpa". It was really fun.

Above you can see one of the waterfalls that appeared with the rain on Wednesday and Thursday. This is coming back from our District Meeting we had in Greymouth with our young Elders. They are really teaching us and helping us know what to do.
Above is one of the ladies we are getting to know, Wendy Barrell. She is with her darling dog Sadie. Wendy is an original West Coaster. She is such a nice lady and we have had some great visits with her. Her husband is Reg. She is the Nana to Kahn and Levi. We really enjoy our visits with Wendy. She has a beautiful garden of flowers and vegetables. She suffers with arthritis and has had 2 knee replacements.
This is one of the many beautiful sunsets we enjoyed this past week. It looks correct to me to have the approaching car coming down the right side of the road. I have even been able to drive a bit during the last few weeks. I am not ready for the long stretches yet but I do alright coming home from the beach each evening. The cool water really seems to help Merle's feet.
One day we were out for a visit about 1/2 hour from town and we were early for our next appointment so we stopped and snapped pictures of the beautiful flowers and shrubbery. This day we also drove up one of the "mountains" and were amazed at the view and farmland below. From the roadsides you see a lot of brush and not so much of the fields. This is such an amazing country, so rugged and beautiful.
On Saturday there was a priesthood service activity. Above are who showed up; Elder Archibald and Reg Barrell and Chaz. I took the picture. I also wheelbarrowed the all that stuff behind them. They crawled among the shrubs and plants and gathered all the deadfall and loaded it in the wheelbarrow and I wheeled it to the pile. We worked hard but it was such a beautiful day.
The Tasman Sea was angry when we drove to and from Greymouth this past week. Sometimes it is tranquil but often times it is angry. I love to watch the waves. We should have stopped at Punakaiki this week as the tide was in and the sea was angry. I am sure we can find it one day when it is not raining.
The picture below is in Karamea. We drove up to visit with Maraea and had an enjoyable visit. Karamea is only about 15 minutes further up the road so we continued on. What a beautiful place. It is almost at the end of the road and so pretty. They can grow lots of tropical plants and fruits here. This was one of the large palm trees. Sorry, I am in the shade which felt so nice. It was quite a warm day and the sun seems quite intense.
Below, is our guest, Flat Stanley. We are taking him visiting for Daniel Hoffman. I hope he enjoys his time with us. Behind him you can see the beautiful view from our trip over Karamea Bluff. If you look really far back you can see the sea. We have had a great week and have been very busy.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Rest of the Week

On the left is a picture of the blossoms found on the tree below. Almost every tree blossoms here. It is so beautiful. Different ones keep blooming. It will be sad when fall comes.

At the left you can see one of the many interesting bugs found here in New Zealand. This one did not bite me as many others have. I think that I am fresh blood. I have bites all over my ankles. They don't seem to bother Elder Archibald, and I think it is because of the oil I rub on him each night. The bugs are about the wildest things we have seen here. They do have birds that are unusual. I have only seen deer raised in paddocks.

This next is a picture I took from the car. This tree is so pretty. It has beautiful pick blossoms. We have seen this tree often as we have journeyed between Nelson and Westport.

Next is the first place 1/2 marathon finisher. On Saturday they held the Buller Marathon. It was the worst weather they had had in 28 years. Some of the racers said when they were dropped off in the gorge it was just like being dumped in a swimming pool. They had over 2 inches of rain in less than an hour. We spent the day at the square watching the runners and walkers come in. They entered through the Memorial Gates. The oldest to complete the marathon was an 88 year old gentleman. He pushed a stroller full of rocks so he could maintain his balance. After most of the marathoners had completed they had a mini-marathon for the youngsters up to 12 years old. They were able to come in the same gates as the marathoners. This activity really brings the community together. It is international--a couple from Australia, a few from USA and Canada, and a few from Europe. They had 300 more entrants this year than last.

Last evening we went to visit a couple that we met on the street. When we passed them in the afternoon the wife kind of smiled and said "Good morning." We are slow and kept walking but as we were talking about it realized that they must of known we were LDS. Do you think the badges gave us away? Anyway, we saw them later at the grocery store and so I got brave and visited with them. Elder with pen in hand got their names and address and phone number. We asked if we could come and visit them and She said yes if you bring a vacuum. Last night we went to visit them. They had known and loved Elder Hudson when he was in Christchurch as their neighbor. They got married last month. They have an adorable 2 1/2 year old and are expecting a new addition in April. The little girl took to me and we had a great visit. I wish we had pictures.

Nelson Zone Conference

This past week we journeyed with our Greymouth Elders to Zone Conference in Nelson. It is such a pretty drive. It was very nice to go Nelson and meet with the young elders and the mission president. In the picture I will try and name the Elders. Front row: Elder Barker(Utah), Elder Tamale(Auckland but originally Tonga) Elder Beckwith (Adelaide, Australia),Elder Hudson(Scotland), Sister Jolliffe(Mission President's wife from England) Me. Back Row: Elder Kaufusi(Tonga), Elder Tuipuloto(Sydney, Australia) Elder Mactavish (Temple View, NZ), Elder Haynes(Sydney, Australia), President Jolliffe. We had a wonderful Zone Conference. Our Zone is the smallest in our New Zealand Wellington Mission. 2 sets of elders are in Nelson, one set is in Blenheim, us in Westport, and a set in Greymouth. We are quite far apart. We travel to Greymouth, an hour and half away for district meetings once a week. It is almost 3 hours to Nelson and the same to Blenheim. President Jolliffe is a great man. He presented wonderful material to keep us enthused. Our mission theme for 2010 is Mission of Miracles. We had inspirational presentations from him and his wife. The Zone Leaders Elder Barker and Elder Tamale had us role playing situations. All went well and we and the president and his wife acted as investigators as the young elders taught us.
Here is a picture of our Greymouth Elders. Elder Beckwith is full of enthusiasm and energy. He is from Australia. He has been out since end of July. Elder Kaufusi is humble and hard working. He has a strong testimony. He is quite quiet but loves the people. We have watched him with little children and he plays in the hot sun with them and little ones no matter how grubby climb on his lap and he enjoys them. He goes home in May and we will miss him when he leaves. Tonga will receive a very nice man when he goes home.
Here is a picture of the Tongan elders in our Zone. Elder Tamale, Elder Kaufusi, and Elder Tuipulotu. Only one goes home to Tonga, the other 2 to Auckland and Sydney. At conference when just the 3 were together they conversed in Tongan. It was fun to listen to them. Elder Tuipulotu is just a greenie--came out in January group.
Here we are doing what Elders do best. Having a meal. A couple of sisters from Nelson Branch prepared us a very lovely meal. We surely enjoyed it. There was roasted chicken, potatoes, salad and Maori bread. That is a great bread. For dessert there was chocolate cake, ice cream, and fruit salad. The picture below shows the elders cleaning up and serenading us with music. All are very willing to help. We found it very encouraging to meet with the young elders because they are so full of testimony and enthusiasm. They are an inspiration for us. We loved the conference.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Kia Ora

It is nice to have internet finally at our flat. I will try and describe what we have been doing in this beautiful country. The above picture is of Nelson. We have been there twice and are becoming a little familiar with the area. It is an absolutely beautiful city. It is built on and around hills. Besides driving on the other side of the road and doing round abouts clockwise, it is an easy city to get around. Elder Archibald has done a fantastic job of driving.
There are interesting bugs in this country. This one did not bite. The worst bugs I have found are the sand flies. Their bites are vicious and as itchy or more so than mosquitoes at home. The mosquitoes here are about 3 times larger than any I have seen at home. This bug was found outside the new flat of the Elders in Nelson.
All the trees are in blossom right now. This one was on the boulevard going to downtown Nelson. I wish the picture was as beautiful as the trees were. They were lining the grass way between the traffic. It was amazingly beautiful.
This picture is outside one of the flats we looked at. In the picture are Elder Barker from south Jordan, Elder Archibald, and Elder Kitekeiaho from Auckland. We wish we had secured this flat as it was gorgeous but they did secure one very nice that we had looked at earlier. It was such a beautiful day.
In the center you can see Kahn doing a back flip onto the beach. He is extremely athletic. He is one of the 2 boys in our primary., He surveyed the area before the flip which surprised me and his mother. He must have been hurt at sometime because he didn't inspect the area. I believe he is made of rubber. This day was family day at the beach. This beach is only about 10 minutes from our flat.
This is the Clough Family from Ikamatua. They work on a dairy. They have a lovely family. Bradley is the father, Sophie the mother. Gabriella is Bradley's sister and going to Christchurch for school. Rueben is the oldest. Owen is with Elder Kaufusi(from Tonga). Little Bear(Cooper) is on his mother's knee. Elder Beckwith from Adelaide is behind Bradley. We have really enjoyed our visits with this young family. The Woods(Rex and Collette) met this family 7 years ago when they were here on their mission. However, they were way south in the Invecargil area. Missing from the picture is Hana the daughter but we have her picture later. These lovely people belong to the Greymouth Branch. That is 1 1/2 hours from here in Westport.
Here is Hana, the beautiful daughter. When she came in from school this day it was like a magnet drew her to Elder Archibald. She had been so sad when she missed us last week. She is 6, almost 7. We had a great visit with her when she came home from school. When we left she and the rest begged us to come back and we assured them we would.
This is Ian Williams, with his Chooks. That is NZ for chickens. Merle(Elder Archibald) had a hard time deciding what chooks were when we first heard them talk about the chooks. Here most chickens are free range. Today we were at Ian's neighbors and they told us they call the young ones chickens but after a certain age they are chooks. We are certainly getting a vocabulary education while we are here. Ian is the son of a very active member of our branch here in Westport. When we went to visit on Friday we had a great visit. It is nice to be in the country. At the end of our visit we invited him to Church on Sunday and much to our delight he was there. His dear mother was just thrilled. When Elder Archibald said "We'll see you in two weeks." He responded okay. He works every other Sunday. We will visit him when he gets off shift work. The people here are so friendly.
I am not sure what the above plant is. I think it is a hydrangia(not sure of the spelling) At home they really have to be babied and are usually house plants. I have seen them a lot around Mother's Day. Here they grow wild and beautiful. They are around the roadsides and up driveways. This is truly an amazing country. We love it here. We are busy and happy. We miss our family but have faith they are well taken care of. We so appreciate their support. We also appreciate the support of our good friends. Take care and know we love you. The title of this week is the greeting you hear everywhere.