Friday, September 27, 2013

Fun Outing with Couples–September 28, 2013

Our weather has been rainy and rather dreary for the last few days, and it was a wonderful surprise to find that we were going to have a lovely, blue sky Saturday and that a goodly number of the couples were free to enjoy Fiji together today

We left early and there were four couples who went out to Pacific Harbor to snorkel and then two more couples met us there for lunch.  Fun day.  The day was lovely, but there was a bit of wind causing choppy seas.  Choppy seas + boat + me (and a couple of others) = sea sickness!  But even being slightly queasy couldn’t take the lovely out of the day.

The boat was full, there were quite a few families staying at the Pearl who also went out.  We sat down across from a cute little girl and her mom from Australia, here to celebrate her school holiday.  She had her hair braided in a gazillion braids with beads and she said it took 3 ladies about 3 hours to do it.  We didn’t even ask the cost, but she was darling.

Mom and daughter jumped right in with the rest.  There were so many people that they divided the groups up into three smaller groups, each with a guide.  The water was beautiful.  A few of us less enthusiastic water babies stayed in the boat and watched the rest.  They said it was wonderful.  Dew took his underwater camera and we can’t wait to see how the pictures turn out.

Back to the hotel and we gathered to have lunch.  The hands down favorite of the group was fish and chips, and they were yummy.  After lunch the rest of the group drove back to Suva and we went on towards Nadi.  Right after we came we found a dive/surfing/fishing resort that looked interesting.  Only problem was it was on a road that went straight up to the top of the mountain and then straight down the other side to get to it.  Since we are now the proud drivers of a four wheel drive truck we decided to go see it.

The truck made it up and down the hills with ease and when we got to the Waidroka Bay Resort we discovered several cars already there.  Guess we were the only scardy cats who didn’t dare take a car straight up and straight down  We found it to be a lovely little resort and they told us it was “very quiet” which it would have to be that far away from everything.  Might be fun to stay there sometime.  Back to Suva.

My internal clock has been telling me that it’s fall and time for the leaves to change and the temperatures to drop.  Down here on the other side of the world it’s spring and spring doesn’t look much different from winter here.  But as we drove out today we noticed that there were a number of trees that had turned orange and were dropping their leaves!  Remember this is spring and it shouldn’t be doing that right?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Random Thoughts–September 22, 2013

I know that most of you think that all my thoughts are random – and they probably are.  But this week I have had more than my usual number, and so I share.

Abbie went into the MTC on Wednesday and we waited to hear what her thoughts were in her first letter.  And what a letter it was – she packed a lot into just four days.  First she managed to find Ame in that mass of humanity and got the little bag we sent with him.  Pretty amazing that they were able to make contact.  I was so excited to hear it.

And we were touched that she was so excited and raring to go.  How cool is that?  Watch out world here she comes!

We taught our workshop on Saturday and it was exciting to see one of the sisters come out with her eyes shining and say, “Wow, I know now what we need to do!  I can put my schooling on hold for a while and I can work on a little business I have started – making gourmet cupcakes and help support my family!  Self reliance – yip!

And she told us that Cupcakes Wars had made it to Fiji, and that they love Red Velvet Cupcakes best of all.  She then went on to tell me all the creative things she has done to make her cupcakes.  Cream cheese is very, very expensive and she has figured a way to make cream cheese frosting using yoghurt.  And she tells me she loves the Cake Boss and Cupcake Wars.  It really is a small world isn’t it?

We spent the last couple of weeks working on a brochure for a company that one of our members works with.  They gave us a terrific deal on the river run we went on and we both took lots of photos.  They planned to use them to make a new brochure and we volunteered to do it for them.  What a learning experience!  It went to the printer on Friday – watch for us on a brochure in the near future!

And yesterday we were out just enjoying Fiji and we drove down a very narrow track, towards a large rock peak that we have looked at and have photographed.  It sticks up and looks like a huge shaft of rock jutting into the sky.  As we drove up this narrow track with sticky muddy puddles along both sides (once you started up it there was no turning back) I noticed that they had put dead branches into the ground and strung the fence wire along them.  So what’s so amazing about that?  Well those dead branches were growing leaves!  How amazing is that, You won’t see that in Utah!

When we finally got to the end of the track – and it just ended, out in the middle of nowhere – we managed to turn the truck around.  (Yes, we are now driving a Toyota 4 Wheel Drive truck – how I miss Little Red) we stopped to ask what the name of the peak was.  Several ladies told us and we discovered that it wasn’t Mt. Korobaba as we thought, but some other un-pronounceable name.  Mt. Korobaba is the mountain the Service Center employees are planning on climbing in November and someone in our apartment thinks he might like to try as well.

One lady said “you know, the one Sir Edmund Hillary climbed.  No, we didn’t know about that so we had to come home and look it up.  The peak is called “Joskes’ Thumb” and Hillary attempted to climb it during his stay in Fiji during World War II, but was unsuccessful.  It does indeed look like a huge thumb sticking up. 

Oh, and we have had problems with our lights going out, just ours, the other two apartments were fine, and we have also smelled a “burning wire” smell off and on.  Well this morning the smell was strong when we turned on the washer and when we checked out the power box one of the breakers was smoking.  At the same moment the landlord drove in.  Perfect timing, now maybe we will get to the bottom of our problem and won’t have to re-set our alarm clock every day.  Not to mention the possibility of a house fire.  Blessings, blessings, blessings!

Amazing Little Family–September 22, 2013

Sometimes you meet people and you just click!  It has been that way with a cute little family here in our ward.  She is a former flight attendant and he is a former Rugby player.  She used to fly into Hong Kong and we share a love of that beautiful city. 

She gave up a high paying, glamorous job because her boys came first.  Mother’s everywhere think alike! 

They have had problems with their landlord and have been living the last few weeks without electricity, and looking for a new place to live.  They said they thought it was a blessing, because they discovered the joy of reading and books and quiet time together because of it.  They don’t think the TV will be as important now as it used to be.  But they will be glad to only have candle light dinners on special occasions and not every night.

They have two boys and we see them quite often.  They are busy raising their boys, earning a living, trying to get additional education and all the other million and one things families everywhere do, as well serving in the church.

We have learned that there are wonderful people everywhere we go and it’s like that little saying:

Some people come into our lives and leave footprints on our hearts and we are never quite the same. 

This little family has certainly left a few footprints on our hearts.

And as we get to know the students at the Institute and those who come into our office better we are finding that there are more and more footprints being left on our hearts – and we realize that we really won’t ever be the same after this adventure.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Success Story–September 17, 2013

Being a senior missionary is a rather interesting assignment.  Although everyone thinks that we are out tracting our little hearts out with the young elders and racking up baptism numbers right and left – the opposite is mostly true.  A great number of us work in small offices, sitting behind small computers and doing what we have been called to do.

Success never come easily at the best of time and is often rather hard to measure and to recognize.  That is what made this last week so special.

We had a darling sister at our first workshop.  She is just one of those super people that you fall in love with immediately.  She has a wonderful smile and such a wonderful spirit about her.  One of the things we teach them is to be able to tell about themselves and their talents and abilities in 30 seconds.  She said she memorized hers so she would have it whenever she needed it, and she called it her “power statement”.

Long story short, about two weeks ago Fiji Air advertised for applicants to become flight attendants.  There were about 5 young people who were interested, but only one followed through and got everything required ready and in on time.

Last week she came in to the Institute and asked Elder Tennis and Jackson to give her a blessing as she was off to the west to interviews.  They were happy to do so and one of the things that they told her was that she would feel the hand of the Lord as she went.

Well she was worried about the swimming test, and didn’t consider herself a strong swimmer so she went to the pool before she left to practice.  She said that a woman came in and jumped in the pool and began to slowly swim, using such controlled movements and breathing that it caught her attention and she began to follow her lead.  She said that this practice session led to her being able to finish her required swim.

Next came a test where applicants were shown a picture and asked to talk about it.  Hers was a picture of geese flying in V formation.  How many times have you been in a class where this was talked about?  She was able to talk and talk and give a wonderful explanation of why geese fly in that formation and how it allows the leader to fall back and rest while another takes the lead.  And they were amazed and kept asking “how did you know that?” 

And she used her “power statement” when asked to introduce herself.

And she made cut after cut after cut, and passed test after test.  And today she found out that she got the job, pending that she passes all of the training yet to come.  Not bad, from 300 down to the last 12!  And she said that all along she was at peace and knew that whatever happened would be for her benefit and everything would work out.

Success?  We think so!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Office–Where We Actually Live–September 15, 2013

The whole reason we are here in Fiji is to work with the Perpetual Education system.  And it involves lots of office work, meaning that we spend lots and lots and lots of time at our office.

When we arrived the previous Jacksons (Ya, it’s a bit confusing having the Jacksons replace the Jacksons) had spent most of their time at the ERC Office which is close to downtown on Berry Street.  They had just moved into the Institute building two months before we arrived.  They brought with them what could be spared from the ERC and it had just pretty much been dumped into the office.

So as we arrived and began to settle in it was a perfect time to spruce up the office, and we could innocently ask for things like drapes and places to put things.  And so we did…

And the result was that we got new curtains, where there had previously been none, and the old computer desks that were falling slowly apart were taken out and a nice big wall to wall shelf was added to hold our student computers and we got a new desk so that Fokie has space as well. 

As I walked into the office the first time my mind went into “remodel” gear immediately.  I haven’t watched all those HGTV shows for nothing.  And today it’s much, much better organized and a better place to spend all those hours.

We share space in the Institute Building with Elder and Sister Tennis and there is a stream of students in and out all day, everyday.  And it’s a fun place to work.  There is a pool table which gets used everyday, a ping pong table that goes up and down quickly, a classroom, a lounge and a kitchen.

And we are beginning to learn the regulars and to enjoy seeing them each day.  Although they do seem to come and go on a regular basis.  And each week the missionaries meet for their weekly meetings so we get to see them as well.  And they are always good for fun, like the day we needed the trap door in the ceiling put back in place and all it took was one small elder on one large elders shoulders to accomplish it.

They have pizza lunches in the backyard, and the students love to eat anything that isn’t nailed down.  Don’t like the sandwich Shirl packed today, no worries, there is always someone willing to eat that peanut butter and jam sandwich!  Such a fun, fun place to work!