Monday, August 16, 2010
Last week we were able to have a new adventure. Elder Hamula of the Area Presidency was doing a mission tour and our Zone joined with the Christchurch Zone. It was great. We were able to go to Christchurch via Arthur's Pass and come home via Lewis Pass. It was a beautiful day when we left for Christchurch. We stopped in Greymouth for Merle to get a haircut. We stopped along the way to take pictures.
Arthur's Pass used to be more winding than it is now. They built this viaduct so the road would not have to wind via switch back up the mountain side. We stopped near the top so I could take this picture but I had quite an adventure to get to where I could take the picture. I opened the door to get out and there was a Kea at my feet. I screamed, and slammed the door. Then the Kea lit on the bonnet of the car and trotted up to the windshield right in front of me. I was a basket case and my dear husband was laughing. Then he got out with the movie camera to take pictures of this brave bird.
This is the car next to us and Merle followed the Kea and another fellow as the Kea explored the parking lot. They are persistent, smart, and tough birds. Their beak is a hooked beak and their claws are enormous. They have been known to tear a car apart as they go for the rubber--around the windscreen, and the wipers and rubber underneath the car. Last night there was an article in the newspaper about how clever these birds are. A psychology researcher studied the birds and found them to be great problem solvers. The Kea is a New Zealand alpine parrot. They are quite beautiful. The have a beautiful red under their wings. But as you know I would only watch them from a distance.
The day before we left for Christchurch it had snowed a metre at the top of the pass. It is so beautiful. This picture was taken along the way. The snow is right at the tops of the mountains and there are ski hills back there. We saw many cars coming out from a grand day of skiing. I know my brother and his son would love to go there sometime.
As we drove along and were coming down the Christchurch side of the pass we saw people out building snowmen. I snapped this one. He had a tie and a cap and a black nametag. I thought it looked like a missionary snowman and the next day the Greymouth Elders showed me their snowman they had made. I was right--it was a missionary snowman right along the road.
We arrived in good time to the Ormsby's. We were blessed to stay here for 2 nights. Because we were a little early we decided to see if we could find the Chapel and how long it would take us to get there the next morning. It was about 25 minutes from this lovely place to the Stake Centre in Christchurch. The Ormsby's live on an acreage in West Melton. It is a beautiful home. The Ormsby's are a lovely family. They have 2 children, Sarah who is 3 and Jaden who is 13 weeks. It was lovely to stay with a family with children. Sarah latched on to Elder Archibald and took him around their home and told him stories and played games with him. Then it was my turn. She had trouble saying our names so when she wanted us she would say, "Missionaries, Missionaries!" Then whatever she needed. I went to her room and she showed me all her pictures in her Disney Princess Room. Then she read me stories. She didn't want me to read to her, she wanted to read to me. She told the parts of the story that she liked and skipped the rest. When I tried to read she said "No, I will read and you listen!" We had pasta for supper and she loves pasta, but not vegetables. She wanted more and more pasta but only got one serving of seconds until the veggies were eaten. After tea we had scripture reading--Sarah reads one verse each night and she is getting to recognize some of the words like "and it came to pass." She kissed us good night and said she would see us in the morning.
Here is Sarah. She is helping me get ready to go to the Zone Conference. She was very curious about what we were doing. I could hear her from the other room saying to her mother "What are the missionaries doing?" She came back to check and I had a shadow while I finished getting ready. Then we were off.
Beside the Stake Centre is a park called Mona Vale. This is it. The Church used to own this land too but sold it to someone who established a park here. It is so serene in the middle of the city. We were the first ones at the chapel and so I did a bit of wandering. It is just ending winter and so there are not many flowers out but the river is so pretty and the trees and shrubs have new buds on them. There are benches to sit on and beauty to partake of. It was breathtaking.
This is a picture of Elder and Sister Hamula. They live in Auckland now with their 2 youngest children--Jared and Joseph who are 15 year old twins. He is in the Area Presidency. It is a treat to learn at the feet of a general authority. At Zone Conference Sister Jolliffe spoke about her favorite song "How Great Thou Art" and told how much she appreciates the "little bits" that are in the world such as birds, and flowers, and songs. She told of an experience she had when they first got chooks. She had a coop for them and at night they would go out to gather in the chooks. The chooks weren't ready to be gathered and it took them hours. Then after they had had them a while she went out just before dusk and the chooks had gathered themselves in the coop. They were ready to be gathered. She also spoke about clay. You can work out the mistakes as long as it hasn't been fired. Isaiah 64:8 "But now, o Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand." She reminded us that it won't be until judgment day that we are fired. President Jolliffe spoke a little about obedience. He told the missionaries that he was so glad that we are obedient and that we would be blessed because of that obedience. Sister Hamula spoke next. She spoke of the importance of showing gratitude. Gratitude alters the experience. She remembered fondly of an experience she had with President Hinckley when he came to Arizona for a visit. He got up to express thanks and didn't just do a blanket thank you. He expresses thanks for all parts of the meal--the bread, the meat, the salad, the flowers. As he expressed thanks for each bit he said a little about it like the bread reminded him of his mother's homemade bread. She suggested we make a log of what we are grateful for and spoke of Elder Bednar's talk about having a Prayer of Gratitude. We had surely been fed this morning.
Elder Hamula was our next speaker. When you see yourself as unable to do something then you can't do it. That is so true. He reminded us not to be an Eeyore. Do not forget the miracles that have brought you to where you are in your life. He asked "Do you see the land you are called to serve in as a "Land of Milk and Honey" or do you see it as "full of giants". We need to be as Caleb and Joshua. Stories in the Bible have spiritual relevance to what we are doing today. He told us of the need to be obedient with exactness. We need to be humble and realize who knows best. Be mindful of "Well, we shall see." Lucifer is always watching to see if we can be taken down. We learned that it is through diligence and obedience that we gain knowledge and intelligence. We learned many things this day. All things we teach hinge on the Plan of Salvation. After we had been spiritually fed for the morning we were physically fed.
Here you can see the line of Sisters and Elders for the food. A Maori couple had prepared the meal and had steamed it in baskets--called a hangi. It was good. There were almost 40 people to eat. That is way different than when the Nelson Zone of 10 meets.
It was nice to see some other sisters. Here is Sister Tauiliili from Samoa and her companion Sister Bwebwetara from Carabas. Sister Jolliffe and Sister Hamula are also in the picture. Sister Tauiliili knows our nephew Nathan Tanner. She says her brothers taught him how to speak "real Samoan". She spoke very good English.
After the very good meal we had a Zone Picture taken. I will include it in the next post as the President hasn't sent it yet. After the meal Elder and Sister McIntire and Merle and I met with Elder Hamula. He just wanted to get a feel for what we were doing and how we felt about our mission. He was very interested in my connection with New Zealand. When I told him I had a scanned copy of my grandfather's missionary journal he got excited and asked if I would be interested in sending him a copy. He said some people are putting together a history of the Church in New Zealand and are wanting as much information as possible to make the history authentic.
That evening we were able to attend a fireside. That too was was excellent. We were exhausted when we arrived back at the Ormsby's. We followed President Ormsby and so did not have to figure out how to get back to his place we just followed. It had been a great 2 days.
When we got ready to leave the Ormsby's we saw this bird that had made a nest in the middle of their lawn. It was kind of like a Killdeer but larger. If you went to go towards the nest she would act like she was injured and lead you away from the next. Also, it didn't sound like a killdeer. There are many, many birds in New Zealand. It is an awesome country.
Above are winter flowers for our Chapel. Nature is truly a manifestation of God's great creations.
At home you hear talk of mold but I had honestly never seen any in homes, just what grew on old food in the fridge. Here in New Zealand it is a real problem. When we do flat inspections we check for mold but I had never really seen any that I recognized. Now my eyes have been opened and I see it everywhere. We even had some growing in our cupboard above the stove. There is no fan there and the steam rises up the cupboard. We have cleaned it and now it is good. When we did our flat inspection in Blenheim the last time we noticed mold growing in a bag of flour. Then we got to inspecting closer and there was black mold on the wall where they hung their clothes to dry before they got the drier. There was even some in the bathroom on the ceiling and walls. Well we put our work clothes on and the elders put their work clothes on and we went to work. Now the Blenheim flat is mold free. Hopefully, it stays that way. After working Elder Archibald cooked pancakes for Elder Hill and Elder Kavaefiafi. He even did scrambled eggs.
After breakfast, we departed and headed for an adventure on our way home. We went to Havelock and drove the Queen Charlotte Drive in the Marlborough Sounds. It was so beautiful.
Merle had a treat this day as I did the driving and he was the tourist. We traveled this road through the sounds from Havelock to Picton. Sometimes we could stop and look around. We saw the port at Picton where ships come in and out of. This is also where the ferry comes connecting the North Island to the South Island.
This is the map of our drive. After we drove this we headed South to Blenheim and then on to Kaikoura. We had never driven this way before and wanted to see new country. At Ohau Point there is a fur seal colony. For miles along the road there are seals resting on the rocks. I am not sure how they get on top of some of the rocks. Also, some of the inquisitive pups have started swimming up the Ahau Stream to a pool at the base of a 30-metre waterfall while their mothers are out at sea fishing. They are so fun to watch.
Then we journeyed on and came over Lewis Pass back to Westport. It was a fun day of work and sightseeing. We were going to stay somewhere overnight but we were close enough to home we just drove on home. We are sure blessed to be able to serve in this beautiful land. I can see why grandma loved it so. We were in her stomping grounds today.
At the end of July our small branch held a Mid-Winter Medieval Festival. We were to all dress in costumes such as what they wore back then. We were also to bring a plate. My costume box is non-existent here in New Zealand and I wracked my brain for what Merle could dress as. I finally came up with an idea, but it included my clothes. He would have a large shirt over some tight pants like the pages dressed in the Medieval Times. He had problems with the shirt as it buttoned on the opposite side to what he is used to. I had seen pictures on the internet. That night as he was getting ready, I laughed until tears ran down my cheeks. He was so cute. I thought it was great and he was such a good sport.
However, one of the sisters thought he reminded her of Shrek. Notice, the broomstick. That is his horse and he is ready for the jousting competition. The children really didn't get the jousting, they just wanted to whack each other with the noodles. We had also bought a piece of foam and made 5 swords. They were the hit of the evening with the children and they were not lethal.
We had many games for the children. Above, you can see them getting ready for the wheelbarrow race. You can see Levi, Kahn, Lydia, Thea-Rose, Bailey, Nathaniel, Amelia, and missing is her partner Jake. The children had so much fun and when the adults did boring things like singing and visiting the children went outside and played their own games. All the children went home that night and told their parents how much fun they had had at the Church.
Here I am with Thea Williams, who is the Activities Chairperson. She couldn't stop laughing that night. She had planned such a fun activity. She said that perhaps she could never take "President Archibald" seriously again as she would forever picture him in costume. In fact she woke up the next morning giggling at the image.
The above picture might be another reason she was giggling. You can see "Shrek" and Sir Reginal. Reg went into the grocery store where his grand-daughter works and went up to her till. She was so embarrassed that she knew this man. Gina has it recorded on video. What a grand pair to participate so fully in the evening.
Above is on picture of many of the group. for my memory there is on the front Thea Rose, Thea, Bonnie, Joy, Bev, Maraea, Levi, myself, and Kahn. On the back there is Ann, Steve, Peter Stack. Jonny, Brian, and Elder Archibald.
We had such fun together this night. We sang old songs, played games, visited and ate. To go into the eating portion of the evening we played the Grand Old Duke of York--kind of like a folk dance we do at home, the Virginia Reel. Some people had even gotten recipes of food from the period--steamed pudding, something with cabbage and mashed potatoes, drumsticks, and mutton. There was other normal food as well.
It was a grand night. We had 3 less actives and 7 non-members in attendance. It is helping to grow our small branch.