Friday, June 19, 2009

Of Sailing Ships and Faithful Saints

HAPPY FATHER"S DAY!  How blessed I am to be married to Elder Hawley--a loving husband, father, and priesthood holder.  This blog is for you, our four sons, and all the exemplary fathers in our lives.  We are so thankful for our earthly fathers and Heavenly Father.  I think of hymn 84, Faith of Our Fathers as we honor the many fathers who have prepared the way for us.  We love you.

SHIPWRECK:  TO THE RESCUE—Elder David S. Baxter is the Area President of the Pacific.  We senior missionaries were invited  to President and Sister Shumway's home (President and matron of the Nuku'alofa temple)  for a fireside with Elder Baxter.  He shared wonderful stories with us of the faithful people of the South Pacific and of President Monson. 

It seems that in a meeting with the brethren, President Monson spoke of a painting  he viewed in a London museum called Shipwreck by Joseph Turner.  It depicted people battling the waves  in their small boats to rescue the men at sea in a terrible storm. Then, President Monson looked directly at each of them and asked, “Who have you rescued personally recently?”  We should all be engaged in rescuing others.  Elder Holland was reminded of one Sunday when he was 10 years old and his bishop, Sunday school president, and elders quorum president came knocking at the door.  His father answered the door with a cigarette in his hand.  They told him the Lord was calling him to teach Sunday School for the 10 year olds.  He thought for a moment and then said, “Well if I do this when will you want me to start?”   He took his Camel cigarettes out of his shirt pocket and threw them into the fire.  Elder Holland’s mother in the kitchen dropped her dishes in astonishment.  The next Sunday, before he taught the class, he went to church early to pay his tithing.  The bishop may have thought he was getting a Sunday School teacher, but he also got  a husband, a father, a patriarch, a family.        [Joseph Turner's Shipwreck:]                                                     clip_image001Elder Baxter then said, “ Don’t write people off.  Get down on your knees and pray over every person.  Never think,  “There is no hope." The Lord is more concerned about your future than about your past—not where you’ve been or what you’ve done but what you’ll be in the future. 

As members of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, we all need to have that same perspective.  How can we help those  sons and daughters of God, men and women who need to be rescued?   We need to be in those boats; whom have we rescued lately who was lost? 

At the market one day, Elder Hawley discovered a beautiful tapa cloth painting of an outrigger  battling the waves, so much like the sea here.  It reminds us of President Monson's story:clip_image001[1]

PAPUA, NEW GUINEA:  102 PEOPLE and 11 CANOES: Elder  Baxter told of a remote branch in Papua, New Guinea where there are no proselyting missionaries.  One Sunday after their meetings, 102 people climbed into 11 canoes and journeyed 4 1/2 days on the ocean to so they could attend at least one district conference meeting.  They were their own missionaries and had brought  investigators  with them so that the missionaries at the conference could teach and baptize them.  Before they returned home, 18 were baptized and confirmed.  It is one of many pioneer stories of humble, devoted people on the islands throughout the South Pacific.  And sometimes we moan and grumble about an hour’s worth of travel to get to the temple?   

More than merely a mode of transportation, these canoes doubled as homes for the members during the trip. Photo below: Courtesy Pacific Area--See Church Newsclip_image002

Elder Baxter calls the South Pacific a “heaven kissed part of creation” with people living in the most humble of circumstances; they pray for miracles and miracles occur.  It is a gift for Elder Hawley and I to serve here and feel their devotion.  We hope you’ll be able to feel the spirit of this place and its people and their love for the Savior as we share our experiences with you.  


Elder Baxter attended a District Conference in Australia that included an area 900 miles north to south and 600 miles east to west  from Adelaide to Alice Springs.  That is a lot of outback!  He related the story of Gary Bird, the first aboriginal member of the LDS church to give a talk at a district conference.   He would say  a sentence or two and then take a very, very---long---pause, speak another sentence or two and again take a very, very--- long---pause.  This continued throughout his talk.  He concluded by saying, “Thank you for hearing my voice.”  Later, he told Elder Baxter that he must think first before he spoke.  It seems to be the aborigine way.   (My, if more of us would do that!)  

Gary Bird and his passengers left Alice Springs after the meetings to return home. They were traveling in an extremely remote area  when his truck broke down.  He and the other members of his branch with him decided they’d  have to push the truck home; he was concerned because he also had a badly sprained ankle.   So, he prayed for heaven’s help.  And, he received that help.  They got out and began to push the truck and it moved forward like a boat floating on the ocean rather than an old truck on a desert road.  They guided it all the way home as if they were pushing only with their finger tips.  Yes, people out here have that kind of faith!  

Friday, June 12, 2009

Tongan Classes Celebrate Their Culture:

It's end of term and students  in the Tongan classes at Liahona are being judged on their craft projects and dances.  Sione Tafuna, principal of Liahona High School, demonstrates that up to 6 sticks from the Tongan broom could be used to discipline students once upon a time.  Brooms are made from the ribs of  coconut tree fronds.Principal of Liahona HSShort brooms are for indoors, and....Short Tongan broom for inside sweepingLong brooms are used for sweeping outdoors.  They are attached to the pandana stick with a bicycle inner tube.  Works well!089Wooden Tongan head rest/pillow (center) and map of Tongatapu: Tongan pillow; map of TongatapuTa'ovala, a woven waist mat, is worn by men and women as a sign of respect095 Kiekie (kee-eh-kee'eh) is a handmade elegant work of art worn by women over a long skirt:073093071083Fans for the hot summer daysFansTalking chiefs are men who represent others in ceremonies.  This talking stick would be for the village noble or talking chief who speaks for the king in each village.  This Liahona student carved the stick:Talking stick An octopus lure: (President Monson tells the story)085Handwoven basket and hair pins:087 Elder Hawley and I enjoyed the students performing Tongan their dances at Liahona.  Stunning costumes are handmade.  The girls lavish their arms, legs, and hands with a generous amount of coconut oil before performing.  001 Tapa cloth dress pounded from mulberry leaves: Tapa Cloth Dress026

Vika, the Liahona Middle School principal is a delightful, beautiful dancer! 

 017028These guys are good!  033 036 038040 These beautiful girls were featured in the Tongan Chronicle.  The fresh leaves are smoothed with coconut oil to make them glisten! 056061 Creativity at its best!

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Of Missionaries, Miracles, and Devoted Dentists

Meet Elder and Sister Garrett,   faithful LDS missionaries who have worked  miracles in Tonga:  Miracles like small bottles of meds that never seem to run out when there's  a need and the supplies haven't arrived; like saving the life of a sister from Vava’u who collapsed and quit breathing but was revived with Sister Garrett’s CPR; or answering the calls 7/24 and driving into the bush to minister to sick missionaries suffering from boils, dengue fever, and other tropical ailments. You see, there is very little medical help on the island except for Dr. Ana, and the hospital is archaic. When the missionaries call all hours of the night, Sister Garrett will ask, “How sick are you?”   The standard replies from Tongan missionaries are “Really sick!” “Really, really sick!!” or “Really, really, really sick!!!”   Elder and Sister Garrett have become loving grandparents providing cheerful comfort and healing for these young missionaries and others on the island.                   [Photo from our yard one Sunday May 31, 2009]002Sister Garrett experienced a miracle herself when she slipped on a banana peel—yes, that’s right—during a youth talent show at the Navu tennis courts. She has a chronic back condition and there she was in severe pain, in a critical situation and unable to move.  In fact, she wondered if her hip was broken.  But, the Garretts know that the first half of any healing or surgery is to receive a priesthood blessing.  Elder Hawley and Elder Garrett  carried her to the car, drove her home, and gave her a priesthood blessing. She was healed almost immediately. Some details are too personal to share, but know this:  The Lord does watch over his missionaries!                                                                                                  Elder and Sister Garrett prepare to leave for a Wake:Elder and Sister Garrett (medcal nurse for missionaries) When Sister Ten Hoopen arrived to serve as a health missionary,  Sister Garrett suggested she buy small plastic Ziploc bags to use as containers for prescription pills.  On market day when Sister Ten Hoopen couldn’t find them at the Chinese store, she explained to the clerk what was needed.   The clerk exclaimed, “Oh, you want to buy Garrett Bags!” and got some for her. Yes, we’ll miss these two cheerful, caring servants of the Lord as they return to their families in Salt Lake City.

Last Sunday we were at  the potluck for missionary couples in the home of President and Sister Makemaile.  Sister Shumway, the temple matron,  gave beautiful leis to the Garretts.  Later, as we walked home, Sister Garrett placed her lei on me saying it would bring me luck.   And that's the way they are.  163 About a month ago Elder and Sister Garrett invited us to help with missionary house inspections on the island to check for order and cleanliness inside and out.  The challenge for the missionaries here is to create a Celestial Home to invite the spirit.  Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God."  D&C 88:119

The missionary houses  in Tongatapu have no hot water, stoves, or washing machines, and the young sisters and elders rely on the members to feed them.  Following the directions to inspect the missionary homes was a challenge especially after the hurricane, but we enjoyed the humorous instructions to find their places: "Turn right at the Mango street sign:"Turn left at the Mango Tree sign Or "Turn left at the church with the purple fence:"Turn left at the Church of Tonga w/purple fence Elder Garrett claims to have cleaned more toilets here than he did in the military as he trains the young missionaries,  and he loves it when they smell more like Wellington toilet cleaner then cologne!Water filter Neighborly pigs led us to the next inspection:Pigs "We are the armies of Helaman!" say the elders when they pass inspections:Elder in front of his clean missionary house Proud missionaries have a celestial home Check out those mosquito nets:Inside missionary house:  one room plus small bathroom for toilet and shower Celestial Homes inside and out!Missionary House Missionary house The young elders from the office came to say goodbye to the Garretts and hello to Elder Hawley:012Elder Atetele and Elder HawleyFarewell time at the airport with Sister Sing, Sister Clayton, Sister Pulsipher, Sister Hawley, Sister Garrett, Sister Vuki, and Sister Ten Hoopen on June 2, 2009.   It was a chilly winter evening clear down to 70 degrees!   Sister Sing, Sister Clayton, Sister Pulsipher, Sister Hawley, Sister Garrett, Sister Vuki, Sister Ten Hoopen 008 Elder and Sister Garrett, God be with you 'til we meet again.    Ofa atu!--Elder and Sister Hawley

Meet the Pulsiphers--A Family of Miracle Workers:  This family of doctors and dentists are a great example love and service to the Tongan people.  David and JoAnn Pulsipher lived in Apartment 24, our place, when they served their mission.   They continue to come back each year for a month or more to give free dental work for the Tongans.   Dr. Pulsipher stays close to the Lord,  and he shared with us about  a dream he had one night this week.  It answered his concern about replacing a tooth for Dr. Ana, a wonderful Tongan female practitioner.  He awoke and told his wife about the solution and then wrote down the details.  The next day he used a  procedure on Dr. Ana that has never been done before, and it worked beautifully.    In fact, it was so successful that he is now writing a paper about it  as well as sharing the information with others.   

Joann, his wife, is a delightful and talented woman.  Her warm sense of humor and tales of Tonga are entertaining.  She taught school here and has been a wonderful help in our office.  Joann is  an expert on Read Right strategies for students who cannot read and I'm very interested!   Another miracle worker and a new friend.

Dr. Pulsipher and two students prepare to for another busy day at the health clinic on Liahona Campus:  (A long line of people come early to wait patiently until it's their turn.) Dr. Pulsipher with helpers Paul, Dr. David Pulsipher, Joann Pulsipher, their grandson, and their son Dr. Daniel Pulsipher, a practicing dentist in CA and former U of U place kicker star:The Pulsipher family of dentists