Wednesday, January 6, 2010
December 2009 Report
It has been a busy, different 6 weeks. Our December was definitely different than any we have ever experienced. It began the first weekend of December with our big Fiji Zone Conference with Elder Callister our Area President and Christmas celebration. It was overwhelming. Sister Erickson and Sister Seare made 150 Pillow Cases for all the Missionaries for their Christmas gifts. In addition we made 14 Christmas Table cloths and 7 other table cloths. In the course of our 4 day conference we prepared 3 major meals for 90, each in a different location. We also supplied them with 2 snacks. Our big Christmas Dinner was a lot of fun with all the missionaries. It was followed by a talent show that was so much fun. On the Sunday night we had a Missionary Christmas fireside with many musical numbers, naration and of course the Nativity. It was awesome. The missionaries were amazing. The spirit was strong and everyone performed their best. It was a great event.
The rest of December was pretty much business as usual until Cyclone Mick hit, practically blowing us off the island. We were without power for 4 days and Sister Seare spent most of that week in bed with the flu for the 3rd time since we arrived here. We had one of our elders in the hospital 2 different times with several other trips to the ER/Clinic on many other occasions. Infection grows like crazy here, The warm humid climate is a breeding ground for fungus and bacteria.
By Christmas weekend we went on a much needed vacation with some of the other USA couples. We are all about the same age and we had a great time together. On Christmas Eve we went to the Hard Rock Cafe then went back to our room to play games. On Christmas Morning we got up early, walked the beach as far as we could go. Had a good breakfast all while Fijiian Christmas songs filled the air. The Missionaries in that part of the Island had a Lovo with is like a Luau, fiji style. We had Chicken cooked on hot coals wrapped in leaves with squash and snicker bars for dessert, compliments of the senior missionary couples.
We spent the afternoon laying out by the pool, bobbing in the ocean and then returned to the HRC for dinner. We spent the next two days doing absolutely nothing but relax. It was a great way to spend Christmas. We didn't even have a chance to get homesick although we would have loved to have spent Christmas with all the kids.
Over the Holidays we were able to talk to all of the kids, grandkids and Parents. It was a good Holiday season although very different than at home. Although it felt very different being in Fiji at Christmas the spirit of Christmas was definitely present. Things were very simple and non commercialized. Very little gift exchanging. We have to admit we missed the shopping and gift giving but there will always be another year. Thanks to all of you for all of your notes and thoughts during the season.
January is here now and we are ready to go again. We just said good bye to 6 elders that we have grown very close to since we got here. 2 more elders go home next week. We will loose about 20 by may. With all the elders going home it really shifted things around with almost every companionship involved in transfer. We have a new AP, and several new zone leaders. It is hard to see the elders go but it opens the door for many more elders to rise to the top and see how they so naturally fill the slots of the leaders that went home. We love our missionaries and love serving them. Although at times it gets a little crazy, we will be forever grateful for the experiences we have had with them. It is so amazing to see the difference in the maturity level of the elders going home and the new ones just arriving although it doesn't take long for most of them to catch the spirit and rise to the calling.
President and Sister Ostler are amazing. They have to juggle so many things at one time i don't know how they do it. They have many challenges that other Missions don't have. Our mission includes 4 countries. 5 languages and the only way to get from place to place is either by plane or boat. Just prior to this last trip the left on they had logged 75,000air miles which included 150 trips. I think they are in the air more than they are on the ground. I don't know how they keep up with everything. We realize how much they depend on us to help keep things running smoothly here in the mission office. The Lord definitely has a hand in helping us all do what needs to be done.
Our experiences just keep coming. Every day is a new adventure, we never know what we will deal with in a day but we are learning to just jump in and do what needs to be done. It is so wonderful to feel the hand of God in our callings.
The end of January Elder Christopherson will be here to visit. During this past year this mission has been visited by 2 apostles, Elders Scott and Christopherson, President Uchtdorf and Sister Liefert or the General Primary presidency. The people here are humble and feel blessed to have been visited by so many. It has been an honor to be apart of all of it.
Fiji has it's problems but the people are faithful and are gaining the knowledge slowly but surely. It will be interesting to see how much the Church here changes here in the next 20 years. The young people here are being trained well. Most of them attend the LDS Primary School then the LDS Church college. As many as can go to BYU Hawaii and many serve missions. They will be strong leaders in the years to come.
Life is good. We love the Lord and love serving Him. We appreciate all of you for your love and support. Your prayers are felt. Take care!