From Nadi to Wallis to New Caledonia!
We were in the office only two days then flew with the Ostlers and the AP's to Noumea, New Caledonia. We wondered if we would ever get there. We flew to Nadi Wednesday morning. We were supposed to fly to New Caledonia at 5:00pm but our flight was cancelled due to mechanical problems so we stayed the night in Nadi. We finally got on our plane after waiting in the check in line for 2 hours. Instead of going straight to New Caledonia we flew north 1 hour to Wallis, then another 3 hours back to New Caledonia. We arrived in NC about 18 hours later than originally planned.
Although late, it was more than worth the wait!
New Caledonia is a beautiful Island. Noumea is a beautiful City. It is French and everyone speaks French. It is totally different than Fiji. The streets are wide, smooth and they drive on the "Right" side of the road. They even have freeways! The city is clean and modern, cooler and beautiful.
We attended Zone Conference and had the opportunity to put the missionaries names with faces. There is very little illness in NC compared to Fiji and Dave does not have to deal with their cars or apartments so we have had very little contact with the missionaries in NC. It is like they are in another mission. President Ostler speaks French so it is very beneficial to the members and the missionaries here. There are only 27 missionaries here so it is a very close group. The spirit is strong and they are a great group of elders and sisters.
Saturday morning after having breakfast we spent the morning exploring. We caught a little shuttle train into the city. It made had a 15 minute stop when we arrived in the city. We got shopping at the open market and missed our trip back to the Hotel. We spent a couple of hours walking around until we could get hold of Elder and Sister Mautz (the senior missionaries on NC). They picked us up and took us back to the Hotel. It was a fun day just walking, talking and shopping. In the afternoon we visited the Aquarium and Saturday night we met with all the Missionaries for games and socializing. It was so wonderful to get to know them.
We attended Church on Sunday. It was another wonderful experience of witnessing how the spirit speaks to us in the same way no matter what language we speak. One of the members that speaks English volunteered to interpret for us during Sacrament Meeting. We were so appreciative to him. In Sunday school we were on our own. The Old Testament is a language all of its own when taught in English so you can imagine how difficult it was to understand what was being taught in French! A sister interpreted for Sister Ostler and myself in Relief Society. It was a beautiful lesson on the "Life of Jesus Christ".
We loved New Caledonia and feel a little jealous that we don't live there. However it also made us think about all the things we love about Funny Fiji! The other night we were talking about the experiences we have had in the past 10 1/2 months, and the things we have learned. We would not trade this experience for anything in the world. When we first arrived in Fiji we wrote home that anyone who thought we were in Paradise either had never been to Paradise or had never been to Fiji. A good friend responded to us telling us that by the time we go home Fiji will be "our" Paradise. As we were talking the other night we made the comment that Fiji was becoming Paradise to us. It is amazing how our experiences soften us.
We have done so much and learned so much but we still feel that there is still so much for us to learn and to do in the next 7 months. Our love for the Lord grows everyday as does our love for each other. We love serving together for the Lord. One of the most valuable things we have learned after so many years of spending our lives together but "doing our own thing" is that we have become "WE" not "I" and "you".
We love all of you an think of you everyday. We have missed important things at home but the blessings we have felt far outweigh the things we have missed.
Life is good!
Life is good!