Saturday, June 28, 2014

Handover Ceremony at Nasinu Prison–June 28, 2014

Just when we thought we had seen all there was to see in Fiji…we went to prison.  Literally. 

Last week the Stanford’s asked if anyone was interested in helping them with a welfare handover ceremony at the prison on Saturday morning.  We volunteered.  And so early Saturday morning found us trying to find one of the prisons here in Fiji.  It only took a couple of wrong turns and asking for help a couple of times and we found it.

The Church welfare was donating hygiene items to the prison. Usually the put the items are put together in kits, but the prison wanted the items separately so that is what they did.  We delivered a truck load of toilet paper, bars of soap, coconut oil and other supplies.  And of course no handover is complete without treats.

We went inside to the mess hall and set up the goodies on a table.  This is a prison for first offenders and while we set up they all sat quietly at the tables.  And all of a sudden they started to sing…hymns.  Wow, their voices were wonderful.

This was an interdenominational group handover so a Baptist minister spoke, then the stake president for that area spoke, and then Elder Johansson, our new Area Seventy spoke.  And he hit it out of the ball park, so to speak.

He told them they sounded like angels and asked if they had noticed that every time the Lord spoke with men the angels sang.  Wow.  And then he told them that this was a place where men go to repent for things they do wrong in the community, but to repent of their sins they go to Jesus Christ.  It was a wonderful, short, hit it on the head message.

After the ceremony pictures were taken and then they made short work of refreshments.  It’s funny, as they stood up for pictures I told Sia, who was sitting next to me that they looked like they should be coming in to get a PEF loan to go to school!  Maybe someday!

This was a rare experience, one that not too many foreigners get and I am glad we took the opportunity.

President and Sister Klingler’s Farewell–June 27, 2014

The farewells are almost over.  The ward held their farewell party for President and Sister Klingler on Friday evening.  It was another evening of joyful entertainment.

This time the groups did island dances.  The Primary set the bar very high with their Hula dance from Hawaii, the YSA men were very traditional with their spears and war clubs, the Relief Society looked wonderful and those sisters still can swing it!  And of course you were waiting to hear how the High Priests could out do their “Bunny Hop”, well they managed it.

All dressed alike in their yellow sulu’s they did a Rotuman dance and the two gray haired white guys almost managed to keep up…Almost.  Their dances go down in the “Did you ever think your Dad would do that?”  category.

Fun evening!

And Saturday morning President and Sister Layton arrived, and Saturday afternoon President and Sister Klingler flew out.  Here’s to new beginnings and fond farewells!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

High Priest Group Party–June 21, 2014

We were invited to the High Priests Group party, and in my mind we would have a BBQ with chicken and fresh corn on the cob, and tomatoes and homemade ice cream and….oh, sorry I lost my mind there for a minute.

Back to Fiji!  The High Priests group had a party, and it was very fun.  It was supposed to start at 4 pm on Saturday, but was slid back to 5.  Five o’clock at the Samabula building always means there are volley ball games going, missionary comings and goings, and various other ward things going on, so we weren’t too surprised to see a group of men, women and various youth and children at the ward.

It was held in one of the school class rooms.  It was of course one of the last meeting President and Sister Klingler would attend, so it was a bit of a farewell/HP party.  After we ate, we were divided into two groups and played a game, led by the bishop.  We had to give clues to some biblical characters in three words or less.  Funny the words that were the best.

Then the two groups sang a song each.  Love when they just sing from their hearts.  Then Sister Klingler had brought carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and ice cream.  It was tasty!  But the best part was to watch how gradually, little by little, first one little kid came in and grabbed a plate and went to work on the left overs, and then another, and then another and before you knew it everything was cleaned up.

And they loved the dessert and not an ounce went to waste.  In fact, I didn’t eat all my ice cream and one little girl came up and asked if she could have the rest of mine.  Sure!  So she patiently spooned it into her cup and ate away!  (Hate to admit it, I just sat there in amazement.)

It was a short, sweet party and thoroughly fun.

Jump to Sunday morning.  The bishop wanted a ward picture with the Klinglers before they left and asked everyone to come out on the lawn after Sacrament meeting.  It was exactly like herding cats, but finally they were all arranged and in place and Dew and I took a kazillion pictures and a couple actually turned out well.  What a great lookin group!




Samabuala 1st08

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Elder Wakolo’s Last Farewell Breakfast–June 13, 2014

Ya, another!  I am sure that the Wakolo family is about ready to just be on their way.

The office staff planned one last breakfast for him and they told him that if he complained that – “we don’t care!”  They have loved using that phrase over and over again.

It’s funny how different cultures do things.  I took cookies (what?  you don’t have cookies for breakfast?) in my Mrs. Fields metal tin that I have been guarding ever since we got here.  Love the tin!  So as I put it on the table I said, “don’t let anyone take this, I want it back!”

And of course you know what happened, it came up missing.  We had to do a bit of sleuthing, but we found it – down at the Berry Street office.  So we made a dash down to retrieve it before it went home with someone – never to be seen again.

But the funny part was that everyone brought way too much and there were loads of left overs and it’s always fun to watch the Fijians leave a celebration with plates loaded to the max.  They eat and then take what is left home with them!  Nothing is ever left over!

Oh, and we took in a temple session with a group of YSA’s and the officiator was a YSA and so was the Sister in charge.  It’s neat to see how much they love the temple here.  And they are all beginning to feel how much they are going to miss it when it closes in October for 14 months of renovations.  It was a good evening.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Wakolo’s Farewell at Samabula 1st Ward–June 7, 2014

The days are counting down for the Wakolo’s.  And Saturday evening was the farewell party for them at our ward.  All the organizations were asked to present an “American” dance. 

The Relief Society did all their practicing during the day so I wasn’t able/made to dance with them.  They did a western line dance.  The Primary sang a song with actions about Rainbows and were wonderful.  The Young Women and Young Men and YSA’s all presented theirs and were good as usual, but the highlight of the evening had to be the High Priests and the Elders Quorum. 

The High Priests, led by Elder Jackson and Wells did the Bunny Hop.  And they maintained that it went for 5 minutes, not the 3 minutes the label said.  It was great – and I was later told that this was the first time the High Priests had taken part.  Wowsers!

And the Elders did YMCA.  Ya gotta love that no matter how many times it’s done.  And they did a great job.

Dinner was served and we were all on our way home by 6:30pm.  Great party.  But I have to admit that of all the places we have been and all the people we have met these Fijians have the most fun of any group of Saints we have met.