Following Zone Conference we just drove around Labasa then went back to the Grand Hotel where we played games and waited for President and Sister Ostler to join us for dinner. The next morning, Saturday, we drove through the middle of the Island to the other side which is Savusavu and to a village named Nabua. It was a beautiful drive. Savusavu is the resort area for the upper Island. You may have remembered when we went there last fall. The Village we went to is on a beautiful beach. We loved the drive there and back. The next morning was Sunday. We went with the Ostlers to a small branch in Naduna for Sacrament meeting. Church was held on the outside porch/carport on the side of a home. There were only about 30 members there but the spirit was so strong. Our favorite part of the meeting was watching the young Teacher prepare the Sacrament table prior to the start of the meeting. He put the table cloth on the little table with such preciseness then arranged the 2 sacrament trays just as meticulously. He covered the sacrament with another cloth making sure that every corner was lined up covering the Sacrament. He treated the Sacrament with such respect. I was touched to tears watching him. It was just as touching to watch the Young Priest bless the Sacrament then to have the same young Teacher pass the Sacrament to each of us. It was one of the most special meetings we have ever attended. Everyone spoke Fijiian but the message could be felt strongly through the Spirit. We learned a valuable lesson that day that the Spirit talks to us in one language that can be understood by anyone no matter what language is spoken by the people. President Ostler spoke with the help of an interpreter. He delivered one of the most wonderful talks we have heard him give. What a blessing to have this special experience.
Right after Church we flew back to Nadi where we stayed for the next three nights. Zone Conference was in Nadi on Tuesday so it gave us Monday to have a little R & R. We stayed at our favorite hotel, the Radisson and enjoyed the day relaxing on Monday. We attended Tuesday's Zone Conference then visited the Hospitals in Lautoka and Nadi. What an eye opener. Wednesday Morning we drove back to Suva. Thursday was spent showing the Fullers Suva and visiting the two hospitals in Suva. Friday was our Zone conference in Suva. We ate dinner with the Fullers that evening along with the Stenlunds and Sister Erickson. They flew out of Suva on Saturday morning. We had a wonderful week. We learned so much and thoroughly enjoyed our trip.
We were in the office only two days then flew with the Ostlers and the AP's to New Caledonia which is where we are today. We wondered if we would ever get here though. 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. We then flew another 3 hours back to New Caledonia. We arrived here about 18 hours later than originally planned. Although late, it was more than worth the wait! New Caledonia is a beautiful Island. It is French and everyone speaks French. It is totally different than Fiji. The only reason it is in our mission is because Fiji is the closest Mission. The streets are wide, smooth and they even have freeways here. The city is clean and modern, cooler and beautiful. We attended the Zone Conference here 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 here. It is like they are 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.
Yesterday Dave and I spent the day exploring. We caught a little shuttle train into the city. We had a 15 minute stop in the city. We got shopping at the open market here 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 this Island). They picked us up and took us back to the Hotel. It was a fun day just walking, talking and shopping. Saturday we met with all the Missionaries for games and socializing. It was so wonderful to get to know them.
We attended Church here today. 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 learn when 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 have loved New Caledonia and feel a little jealous that we don't live here, 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 "me 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!
Nurses, You gotta love em!