Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas Day from Tonga!

This Christmas afternoon and evening was spent at Otuhake Beach with the missionaries as well as President and Sister McMurray and their son and daughter, the Garretts, the Sings, the Woods, and the Heimulis. What a great time Elder Hawley had golfing in the sand with pandana tree sticks while I went shell collecting. The Sings and Heimulis were in the ocean relaxing and the young missionaries were into frisbee football. Weather was perfect, in the 80's and cloudy. Huge ocean waves were curling and breaking against coral reefs some 100 yards from shore. Then they'd roll into the sandy beach in 1-2 foot swells. Sunset was glorious.

Sister McMurray told of President David O. Mckay when he was in a boat out in the water near the islands of Tonga as the sunset covered the entire sky reflecting into the immense ocean around him. As magnificent as it was, his comment was that God's greatest creation was man. President Shumway further explained a bit about the heavens and the stars here in Tonga. The sun travels almost from a north-west to south-west direction and the constellations seen in the north on the Mainland are upside down here. It can drive you crazy with no mountains to measure the direction and no northern star.

Silent night, Holy night

All is calm, all is bright.

Sleep in Heavenly peace.

The stars are brilliant tonight against the velvet black sky as we walk to our home past the lighted temple, the jewel of the Pacific. Since it's rededication, Tonga has prospered. Of course, King George is credited with all improvements but we know the true source. May our Savior's light shine forth upon each of you, penetrating the darkness to bring our precious children and grandchildren heavenly peace and joy this Christmas season and in the coming year.

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