Saturday, August 1, 2009

Farewells and Reunions

Friendships:  Our lives seem to be built around farewells and reunions. President McMurray shared his thoughts that when the veil is parted, we’ll  want to especially greet our  family and then  those whose friendships were built on gospel principles--those special to us through serving missions together or bringing someone into  gospel.   For now,we reluctantly say farewell to our friends Elder and Sister Heimuli, who radiate a deep love for Tonga, especially the youth at Liahona High School and Saineha High in Vava'u.   Elder and Sister HeimuliSister Heimuli, born and raised in Hawaii, has a happy laugh that ripples throughout her conversations.  She smiles with her voice and eyes. To be around her is soothing, like a lighted candle in evening or a cool, bubbling brook. Her beautiful Hawaiian hands move gracefully to serve, to reassure, to touch lightly on the shoulder.  She thoughtfully explains  Tongan ways, unafraid to be who she is and what she represents.  And, she and I like cats!  Sister Heimuli took care of the yellow striped tabby—the little missionary kitty. I’m glad Sister Gordon who is moving into their little house near us likes cats, too. [Sister Heimuli at Heilala Lodge]Sister HeimuliThe Keleti Resort is perfect for  a Friday night date.  [Sister Heimuli and Elder Hawley enjoy a scenic walk to the beach]Sister Heimuli and Elder Hawley  at Keleti BeachOur Liahona Student 2nd Ward held a farewell dance and celebration for Elder and Sister Heimuli.  062009 At one point Sister Heimuli was invited to sit in the center of the room (Elder Heimuli had the flu).  It was such a lovely thing  to see the bishop’s wife, Ola, dance a Tongan farewell for her: 076The youth one at a time placed  leis on Sister Heimuli with a kiss, until they were layered right up to her nose.  She in turn placed her leis on members of the ward and kissed each goodbye. 088101

1 comment:

Brad Martin said...

I served from 03-05 in Tonga. I miss those people so much. had a dream in tongan last night that made me so happy yet so sad. I know couple missionaries don't get "the full experience" as the elders do, but take advantage of every moment you have out there, do it for yourself and for every palangi that is stuck here in amelika wishing he could be back in tonga. i am bookmarking your site and will definetly come back and read more when i finish with all of these tests. Thank you for posting pictures and for being willing to serve in Tonga. It really is the most amazing place in this world. Brad Martin