Saturday, March 21, 2009

South Pacific Area Principal's Conference 2009 in Tonga--Roast Piggy and Lupulu

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Elder and Sister Hawley, Elder and Sister Sing, Dr. John Bailey (Dean of Dept. of Education) from BYU-Hawaii, and Elder and Sister Carlston (mission couple ITEP Coordinators in NZ) in front of our ITEP office on Liahona High School campus.  John is BYU-Hawaii ITEP director born in New Zealand and the Carlstons from USU are recently retired--all a joy to work with. Elder and Sister Hawley, Elder and Sister Sing, Dr. John Bailey BYU-Hawaii, and Elder and Sister Carlston the South Pacific ITEP Coordinators from NZ pose in from of our ITEP office and newly displayed sign.Lutimela Ahokovi, newly appointed principal of Pakilau Middle School  wears black out of respect for her grandmother who passed away in New Zealand.  The higher the mat is worn, the closer to the relative.  Elder Hawley and I will work closely with Luti and her teachers.Lutimela Vito QaQa (principal from Fiji)  and on the right, Inoke Kupu--our stake president and S&I Country Director for Tonga:Vito (Principal from Fiji) and Inoke Kupu (our stake president and CES country director) smile greetings Elder Sione Fineanganofo Area Authority Seventy looks on as "Chief Samoa" principal studies the Technology Assisted Language Learning (TALL) program: ElderThe South Pacific Area Principal's Conference group 2009 in front of Liahona High School includes principals from all the South Pacific Islands and training personnel from New Zealand, BYU-H, Australia, and SLC.  A few principals and area personnel were unable to be there for the final afternoon picture: 048Siniua Hoeft principal of Ha'apai Middle School on island of Ha'apai and Lavenia Fonua from Tongatapu, principal of Havelu Middle School.  Elder Hawley and I will work closely with Lavenia and her teachers:One principal of Ha'apai and Lavenia Taufalele  on the right is our principal in Havelu Middle School on Tongatapu Linda Havea from island of Vava'u, principal of Saineha High School  and Lutimela Ahokovi from Tongatapu, principal of Pakilau Middle School:Linda and Lutimela our principal at Pakilau Middle School Sione Tafuna with 2 students is the principal of Liahona High School:Sione Tafuna is Liahona High School Principal An evening celebration for everyone included a piggy roasted over a fire on a spit.   The sweetened glazed skin is crisp and considered a delicacy.012 Folau Kioa is 2nd ward high priest group leader and vice-principal at Liahona High School.  He proudly displays the main course.  Moane Kupu, Inoke's wife oversees the meal:Kioa displays the glazed/roasted pig as part of the feast for Area Principal's Conference.  Moane Kupu in the background is Inoke Kupu's wife. Kalina Kioa, Folau's wife helps with the meal preparation.  She is Stake Primary president and member of our Liahona 2nd ward:Sister Kioa, a member of our ward and Stake Primary President

Kalina Kioah's son, 16 year old Asieh, surprised us one Sunday with dinner:   lupulu and Hawaiian yams!  The traditional Tongan feast is cooked in an umu or underground oven overnight.   We enjoyed this favorite dish called lupulu--canned corned beef and onions marinated in coconut milk and wrapped in taro leaves called lu. We learn more about the neighborhood, the faculty families, and Tonga from the kids!Lupulu, Hawaiian yams, and Hawaiian Papaya Lovely Liahona High girls entertained the  group with their dancing:Liahona students are entertainers at the celebration 016 Another beautiful sunset from Liahona Campus:031

Friday, March 6, 2009

Tonga on Market Day (Saturdays)

Kids enjoy the swimming hole next to the Purple Store:127 The Purple Store is known for its great NZ ice cream--Passion Fruit is especially good!The Purple Store The storage containers from the ships have arrived at the Purple Store. There were 9 huge containers this day!003 We were at the "Twin Towers" store when Elati Maile, an employee, rushed right up with a basket for me to carry groceries. He proudly stated, "I'm a Momon!" The people is are so kind and gracious on this island. This store features large frozen bags of turkey tails! No, we didn't buy them. Vegetables and fruit were plentiful for the first time in weeks at the outdoor/indoor farmers market. Tongans have their own small farms and raise their own vegetables and fruit. They eat lots of root vegetables such as tapioca, taro, breadfruit, and a variety of yams with little seasoning. Leafy green vegetables are often difficult to find.052

051 Vegetables and fruit are sold by the pile. This is the farmer's market indoors. Their green beans are yummy!049

048 We buy quite a few vegetables from this Chinese girl: Cucumbers are always good, eggplant is the first we've seen and Chinese spinach:050 These fans are made from the coconut leaf, and the several kiekie on the tables are handmade and worn over the skirt for women. Yes, I'm planning to buy one to wear for Sunday and special occasions:kie kie are worn over the skirt for women.  The fans are made from coconut leaves. This sister is making a broom:047 These kinds of brooms are used in the homes and classrooms:054A Tongan uses a child's dress to cover his head---anything works I guess. :) When they're out in the sun we see shirts, towels, baby clothes, anything attached onto the head as a cover to keep the sun off their faces.057 Our favorite bakery is Cowley's: Our favorite bakery is Cowley's The missionaries shopping across the street in a tiny American store where we look for treasures from the mainland such as pasta and spaghetti sauce. It was a rare treat to find some dried pinto beans that day!059 Home from the market, Elder Hawley changes into his P-Day clothes and goes to retrieve a coconut on the Liahona High School grounds. He threw it into the tree--see it above his hand--to retrieve another but missed: )077The Chinese pink takeaway store is across the street from campus. Surprisingly, you ask for it and they have it--from an umbrella to Cream crackers (like Saltines that stay crisp); or "cough candy" (cough drops) to a loaf of bread. How about that car? It reminded us of Cason's!091 Looking into one side of the pink takeaway store:099 'Line Kioa is one my cute Valiant Primary girls at the Pink Store:096 White plumeria flowers from our backyard tree in honor of Brenda's birthday. The smell is as enchanting as the flowers!084

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Tales and Photos of "Heaven on Earth"

Saturday was P-day and after 4 hours of market time with the couples, we left for a beach party celebration in honor of President and Sister McMurray’s birthdays, a day apart. If you’ve seen the LDS Friendly Islands portrayal, President Nau was featured in it. He and his wife Winnie were given about 89 acres of prime beach property from the King of Tonga 9 years ago. President Nau visits regularly with the new king—it seems they’re cousins.

He gives celebration feasts on his beach for the General and Area Authorities when they come to the islands. And there we were in a tropical island paradise. We could feel the spirit of it as we entered the beautiful place on a beach front surrounded by ocean, coral reefs, sandy shores and jungle covered cliffs. No wonder they named it “Heaven on Earth."

President and Sister Nau put on a great feast for us with enough food to feed 100 people. There were 19 there, including 4 missionaries from the office, and 5 of President and Sister Makemali’s family! It was the Tongan way of expressing gratitude for the missionaries and all they do for Tonga.

Story 1: With the help of 8 of his men, they’ve spent years clearing and improving the area by planting coconut trees, palms, pandana trees, banana trees and other tropical plants and flowers. Up beyond the cliffs he has a Noni fruit tree plantation and about 70 acres of pasture with 40 head of cattle. We were where there once was thick wild jungle all along the beach front property as they began the arduous job of cleaning out the unwanted foliage and stacking it all along the beach in an extensive wind-row between 6-8 feet high. The intent was to allow it to dry and be burned. Then one morning his men went out to work and called him on the “mobile” phone and said, “You must come here right away!” When he arrived at the work site the entire beach coastline was pristine clean. He looked out to the sea and there was no debris anywhere. It seems a storm had blown in during the night and the wave action had cleaned the beach of the foliage hauling it out to sea beyond the coral reefs. He raised his arms in gratitude and said, “Oh, thank you Heavenly Father!”

Story 2: President Nau then related another story to Elder Hawley that happened when he was working on his plantation. He and Elder Hunter (perhaps President Hunter but not sure) had driven out to observe the planting of new trees. The men were all carrying buckets of water for the new plants and the work was tedious and hot under the blue sky. Then Elder Hunter said, “This will not do.” The men were big and strong with sweat pouring down their bodies. President Nau described them as standing like the armies of Helaman with bandanas around their heads and leaning on the long spades as a prayer was given in which Elder Hunter pleaded for rain to water the plants. Then President Nau and Elder Hunter walked back to the vehicle. Just as they got inside and shut the doors, the skies opened up and it poured rain out of a cloudless sky watering all the plants. Smiling at President Nau, Elder Hunter gave him a thumbs up and off they drove.

President Nau invited each of the missionary couples to plant a coconut tree on the beach which we did. As Elder Hawley and I planted the brown coconut with a long green sprout coming from it into the sand, we were to say to the plant, “Grow well and we will return.” (Sister Heimuli said that the spouted ripe coconut is especially good to eat as it has a marshmallow like taste.)

The beauty of the place and sacred power of the missionaries and the people there truly made it a Heaven on Earth as we gathered shells, listened to stories, and to the roar of the ocean waves crashing into the coral reefs and flowing onto the sandy beach.005

President and Sister Nau (Fineaki and Winnie) welcome us to their resort: President and Sister Nau welcome the missionaries to their Heaven on Earth

Carving the pig--fish and chicken was also plentiful; a cooler is quite a prize to acquire on this island:016

Happy birthday to President and Sister Makemaili (McMurray). Winnie made the cake:029

President and Sister "Makemaile" planting a coconut at the beach.035

"Grow well and we will return!"046

A beautiful ocean to enjoy. Coral reefs in the background.049

Four hard-working office elders able to relax for a few hours:043

Elder Hawley and friend fishing for the souls of men:Elder Hawley & Friend fishing for the souls of men

Waves crashing against a reef at Heaven on Earth:064

The sandy beach along "Heaven on Earth"Just a bit of the beach at Heaven on Earth Resort

President Nau shares stories with Elder Hawley: President Nau shares stories with Elder Hawley


073 Coconuts are piled along the sandy paths: 078