Monday, September 2, 2013

Adjusting to life 'i Tonga

We have now been in Tonga for one a week. Let me see if I can give you a little taste of what it's like. We wake up to dark skies (the sun doesn't come up until 6:30). We grab our head lamps and head off on our morning walk. There are no hills in Liahona, so we walk around the road that circles the Liahona school campus, which we found is exactly one mile around. It is 1/10th of a mile from our house to the gate at Liahona. We have been walking just two laps, but will start to increase that next week. So, our walks are typically 2-2/10th miles. By the time we are headed home the sun is beginning to come up. If there are clouds in the eastern sky, as we walk back towards our home (which is east of the Liahona campus) we see the temple spire silhouetted against an orange/red sky at the horizon, but pale blue above. The mornings are usually calm with a breeze developing in the afternoons as the temperature rises, and the temperatures this week have been lovely.

We make our oatmeal, sometimes with apples from New Zealand chopped up into it (Garth likes dried fruit in his), sometimes fat, little apple bananas (YUMMM!!), or papaya, a little brown sugar and cinnamon....a great breakfast. We are in the office by about 8:30. The rest of the office staff begins to arrive shortly after, we have a little prayer meeting and find out what everyone is doing for the day, and then we don't stop until 4:30 or 5:00. Then we run errands, visit with others, or go on visits with the elders.

We're adjusting to Tongan “nature,” too. The spiders are HUGE!!! Thursday evening I went into the laundry room (which is in a separate room attached to the house, but you get to it from outside, right next to the kitchen door) and on the wall was a friend who had come to visit. The spiders are not dangerous, but they are BIG!!!! I hollered at Garth, who came and said he killed it by hitting it with the broom. I asked him if it was really dead, and he said that he was sure it was, because he'd knocked it off the wall. Well, I was pretty sure that he hadn't killed it, and sure enough, when I went back to put the clothes into the dry, there it was just below the window. No more laundry for me that night. I left the door ajar hoping he would find his way out during the night. The next afternoon as we were walking up to our house, there it was on the outside wall of the house. There were some workers uncrating a chest freezer and one of them kindly picked it up and threw it out into the yard. Yuck!!!

The roosters around here can't tell time very well. They start crowing from about 2:00 a.m. until about 7:00 a.m., and then they must take a nap.....because we don't hear them again until 2:00 a.m. the next night. But, we're getting used to them. They're not waking us up nearly as much anymore.

And then there are the dogs. At least once a night the neighborhood dogs decide to battle it out. If we're lucky it's before we go to bed. Often, though, they decide to discuss their differences in the middle of our much needed beauty rest.

And let's not leave out the cockroaches. We found two very large critters in the middle of our kitchen floor, and Garth kindly took care of them for me. I opened up my silverware drawer and found a smaller one looking all together too comfortable. I hollered at Garth to come get him, but the dang thing decided to make an exit before Garth could get him. Then Garth told me I was going to have to learn to take care of them myself, or it was going to be a long two years.'s going to be a long two years because there is no way...NO WAY....I am going to pick those things up, even with a paper towel. NOOO WAAAYYY. 

But there is so much beauty. We drove to the blow holes just as the sun was setting. One of our favorite places to visit.

This past Friday we went with the Assistants to visit a lady they have been teaching. Friday's visit was their third lesson. She is a wonderful lady named Singa. The spirit was present so strongly. The lessons were taught in Tongan by Elder's Napa'a (one of the assistants) and Faleta (who is leaving tomorrow for Eua). Elder Toki (the other assistant) translated for us. After the elders were finished teaching they asked if Garth and I would like to share anything. I tried to share my thoughts in Tongan and did it very badly. The wonderful thing about the Holy Ghost is, though, that no matter how much I butchered the Tongan language, He was able to touch Singa and let her know that what I said was true. The Holy Ghost is the teacher – not us. We are just facilitators. Garth was smarter than me and spoke in English, which Elder Toki than translated to Tongan for Singa. He was able to better express his thoughts than I was. But, it's all okay. Someday (soon, I hope) I'll be able to say exactly what I want in Tongan. One of the things Garth and I talked about wanting to do while in Tonga was to help the missionaries with their lessons. I'm so excited that we were able to start doing that our first week here. I am loving being a missionary and sharing the Gospel!!!!
me, Elder Makasini's "auntie", and Singa

Tonight (Sunday) we had a chance to share the Gospel again. We did a musical fireside. Elders Makasini and Kaukava arranged it along with the ward mission leader in the ward they serve in. It was great. Sis Tupou and I sang a couple of numbers, Pres and Sis Tupou, Paul, Garth and I sang a song called “Thy Will Be Done.” Thomas and Jesse sang, “If The Savior Stood Before Me.” The 'Itaihau brothers sang two numbers in Tongan – they were phenomenal. Sis Tupou and I played “I Am a Child of God” piano duet...that was fun. Elder Makasini played the piano while Elder Kaukava sang “He Will Carry.” They did a great job. Sister Nikua, a sister missionary here, sang a medley of primary songs. Everyone did a great job. There was a couple who joined the church about 9 years ago, who shared their testimonies, and Garth spoke. The chapel and overflow were filled, and there were about 30 investigators there. We had such a great response I think we're going to do another musical fireside at Christmas. 
Elder Makasini and Elder Taukava

Still loving Tonga :)


  1. Sounds wonderful, Sandy - - -even the "critters." Thanks for sharing with us. Prayers!

  2. Oh MY! Bugs are the very reason I didn't go to BYU-Hawaii. I hope the locals can give you some advice!