We can tell that each day is getting shorter as it gets dark by 5;30 p.m. It also does not get light until around 7:30 a.m. We have also discovered that it is the north of our flat that gets the sun. We are having a hard time getting our directions straight, that is especially difficult for Elder Archibald. He always used to give directions by north, south, east and west. Sometimes it seems that down at this part of the world the sun rises in the west and sets in the east.
A couple of weeks ago it was time for us to make the rounds and do flat inspections again before the end of this transfer. We picked a nice day to start. We had had some snow falls in the mountains around us and the above picture shows heaps of sheep in a paddock with snow in the mountains behind. This is on the way to Blenheim through St. Arnaud. Rainbow Ski Area is just beyond here. As you can see, the hills are green. Last time when we drove this road the hills were brown like a desert, but we have had rain over the mountains on the east side and it is greening up. It is very beautiful.
In the above picture you can see two of our very fine elders. Elder Hudson left Blenheim this transfer. He was excited to go as he had been in Blenheim since before Christmas. We had grown quite attached to him. He is a great elder. He has gone to the north island as a Zone Leader. His companion is Elder Kavaefiafi, a Tongan from Sydney, Australia. He too is a fine elder who has been out since the January intake. He came out with Elder Palsky, who is Tamara's son.(That information is for all the McMurray relatives following this blog.) We look forward to meeting the new elder in Blenheim. This picture was taken after we had done flat inspection. It was the P day and they were ready to go do emails and some activity. After we had done flat and vehicle inspection in Blenheim we journeyed to Nelson to do the same. Their flat also was great. That evening in Nelson, we were able to meet with a gentleman who had heard our call for help in finding a suitable flat in Nelson for the Elders. He is a member who lives in Temple View, on the North Island. He owns 2 properties in Nelson and one was just perfect for the Elders. Brother Tahere is a returned missionary. He said he knew how elders lived and was glad we did inspections, although he said it does not always look that nice. He said, "They are busy young men with something more important to do that clean." We laughed and said we agreed but there needed to be order sometimes. We were able to get the ball rolling to secure it for the Elders. It will be able to keep them warm during the winter months and it is centrally located so both sets of Elders in the Nelson area will not have far to go to their area. We considered that a great answer to our prayers as we have been hunting for several months for a warm flat in the Nelson area. The elders can start moving this next week.
Later in the week we journeyed to Greymouth for District Meeting and their flat and transportation inspection. We were so impressed by the elders this time round as each of their flats were very well cleaned. Above you can see the beautiful day we had in Greymouth. You can see Elder Archibald, Elder Fullmer, and Elder Sacco. It is always nice to have a sunny day in late autumn/winter.
Trevor Yeatman is one of our friends and investigators. He lives in Granity with his wife Sue. He is standing by his Powertiki. It is a device that they use for fishing. It has a timer and line and you can aim it out into the body of water and it goes out however long you have set the timer for. 35 minutes goes out about 2 kilometers. There are hooks along the line. After a while you bring the line in and you may or may not have fish on the line. I am not positive how it works but the people who have them think they are marvelous. This couple are retired farmers from the Christchurch area. We got in the door through the farmer connection. We have really enjoyed getting to know them and sharing the gospel with them. They have become good friends.
A week ago we had an Apple Festival at the meeting house. Each dish needed to have apple as an ingredient. We had deviled sausages with apples; sausage patties with apples; I made an omlette; salad with apples, avocado, corn, peas, and light dressing; apple cake; apple pan dowdy; and apple cobbler. It was quite good. Two of the ladies had gone to district conference a day early and picked apples to share with the branch. It was a very nice day to share with friends. In the above picture you can see Maraea, Thea with her back to us, Joy Anderson, and Jonny and Beverly VandenBosch.
This transfer was a little sad because we also had to say goodbye to Elder Sacco. He has been in Greymouth for 2 transfers but he got word on Monday that he would be going to the Dunedin area. He had really grown to love the people in Greymouth and liked the ruralness that is in our district. You can see him above in his new suit that he picked up at the Oppy Shop for $4.00. I had madly hemmed the pants so they would be ready to go. You can also see him with Elder Fullmer. As we waited for his flight to come I overheard the elders talking and saying that one thing a mission prepares you for is a divorce--you just get to love the people and the work and your companion and you are sent away. I told them--no it just shows you how you have to adapt and learn to love and work hard. In a marriage you are sealed together and the experiences of a mission teach them how to work with differences and learn to love each other through good times and bad. I also told them to remember how much it hurts to leave those you love and when they are married they must work hard so that the marriage stays good and there is no divorce.
We had about 6 hours before the new missionary came in so we went to Lake Kaniere. It was not far from Hokitika. We took a leisurely drive around the lake. It was a misty day and we saw heaps of rainbows. Along the drive we came to this beautiful waterfall. It is called Dorothy Falls. This picture is taken from the bridge. Then we walked along the short footpath to the base of the falls. The pool underneath was golden in color. Then we continued our drive around the lake and then into the open grassland. It was spectacular. Because it was a cloudy day we were not able to see the Southern Alps. They are covered with snow now and on a fine day they are supposed to be magnificent. I am sure one day will be fine to see them.
Yesterday we were getting water at the Church because Westport water is not good to drink. As I was bringing some water out to the trunk I saw a couple taking a picture of the Chapel. So of course I visited with them It turns out that they are a couple returning from a mission in Perth, Australia. As a young elder, 47 years ago he was in New Zealand on a mission. He was able to open up Westport. He had served in Nelson a lot and in New Plymouth. They were doing a 2 week tour of New Zealand on their way home by the 23rd or 24th of June. We visited with them. He had played basketball with the mission team in the 60s and the mission team had defeated Team New Zealand as they prepared for the Olympics. They had only 6 missionaries that toured the area. They had interesting stories and we had a great visit with them. They were leaving to eat and we invited them over for a meal. They were able to use our internet and make some connections and then were on their way. They were Elder and Sister Miller from Sandy, Utah. It was sure nice to visit with another missionary couple.
Today we had 19 people in our congregation. It was sure nice to see the chapel getting fuller. We will keep working and doing out best. We want our family and friends to know how much we love and appreciate them and all they do for us. We love you.