This week we were a bundle of emotions. We had a beautiful day in Karamea on Monday and then on Tuesday we were told by one of the less active members that she was not interested in our message. We just wanted to shake her and then give her a hug and let her know she was loved by us and Heavenly Father. Kind of like you do to your children when they choose wrongly. We visited with others through the week but didn't have the enthusiasm we usually do.
The sea above kind of describes our emotions. The sea above is the Tasman Sea at Punakaiki. We saw this on Thursday after we had District Meeting with the Elders. After our Meeting with the Elders we stopped over to inspect their flat, which they had done very well except for the oven, which we helped them fix. Then we went over to the Kinikinis. What a beautiful family they are! They just hugged us so hard and tried to convince us to move down to Greymouth. We can't do that, but we can go down to Greymouth to visit on some Sundays. Elder Archibald thinks that the 2nd Sunday of each month would be a good time to do that as Westport Branch has one or the other of us speaking the 2nd Sunday. I had my turn in February.
The picture above is at Punakaiki. They call it Pancake Rocks. Can you see why? It looks like you should be able to pour yummy syrup over them and have a huge Pancake Breakfast. Last Thursday when we were coming home from Greymouth, it wasn't raining yet and the sea was wild. So we decided to stop and take some pictures. As you walk from the road to the rocks there is a jungle of New Zealand Flax. You can hear the roar of the sea but can't see it. These are weird formations but very interesting. It wasn't high tide so we were unable to see the blowholes. It is supposed to be really awesome when the weather is stormy and the tide is high. We will get raincoats and do it again sometime.
Above you can see one of the tidal pools where the water comes in. I was fascinated watching the water. There is something hypnotizing about watching the motion of sea water. You can kind of see the flax in the foreground of the picture. As we got back close to the car the rain started. Seriously, it has rained all but one of the days when we have gone down to Greymouth. I guess they call this the "Wet Coast" for a reason.
On Saturday there was a District Picnic held in Murchison. It was a great day. They had all kinds of fun, old-fashioned activities. It was such a beautiful day. Murchison is about 1 1/2 hours away from Westport. Nelson, Blenheim, and Greymouth had about 2 hours to drive. Above you can see the children participating in a 3-legged race. It had been years since I have seen this race. You can see the mist just lifting from the valley. We left Westport in sunshine but up the Gorge it became misty, kind of like in Brigadoon.
Above you can see the Elders as they participated in the Sack Races. They were the funniest to watch as they were so competitive. Some of them jumped out of their sacks. I think they look like kangaroos here. It was a great race. I am sure many of them were sore the next day.
Another activity was water balloon volleyball. I had seen an activity similar to this when we went down to Andrea and Gene's just before they left on their mission and the kids and grandkids did this. Here though, they had a net which the Elders held and the 2 teams on each side tried to launch the water balloon to the other side without getting wet. It got really complicated when they put 2 or more balloons in the blankets. They had a mens division and a womens division. It was great fun and the cool water felt good.
Another activity that they had was the tug-of-war. This is a picture of some of the children. They also told the elders they needed a female on their team so they came and got me. Well, I couldn't refuse because I am a missionary. We had 9 elders and myself on one team and I am not sure how many on the other team--lots. We only won 1 out of 3. The Tongan women are strong and good sports. I felt muscles the next day that I didn't know I had--at least for a few years. But It was good fun.
Above is a picture of some of the beautiful people from the Greymouth Branch. The little girl is LouAnn Kinikini. In the back is her cousin, Ana and her sister Moni. This is in the shade. There were benches along the side of the beautiful recreation center. At lunch time they brought out tables, then loaded them with sandwiches, and fruit, and slices(cakes or other bars). They cooked sausages at the barbeque on the one end of the building. After lunch there was rugby, soccer outside; and basketball in the building. This was a successful District Activity.
During the day I met a Sister West from Nelson. She knew Grandma and Grandpa McMurray when they were here in the early 50s. I was also able to visit some more with President MacDonald who knew Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma taught his father when she taught at the school near Blenheim.
It was a great week, but full of ups and downs.