Saturday, September 19, 2009

Shapers: Liahona Stake Pioneer Day in Tonga

The Kioa family recently welcomed two of their children home from missions in California. Malakai’s mission president called him the "shaper" as he trained the elders there. I like that word! Even as our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents sacrificed much to shape our generation, we are the shapers for this century linking the past with the future . We must be today’s pioneers firm in the Gospel through the lives we live. We are the shapers not only of our own future, but also for our children, our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren in the generations that follow. We each can make a positive difference in the days ahead, and in joint effort with the Lord, we can be shapers to help build the kingdom of God here on earth.

Malakai and his sister Sela receive a joyous welcome home after serving honorable missions in California. What a dynamic duo these two are!Elder and Sister KioaSenior Shapers: Some of the Senior missionaries were blessed to meet with Pres. Hamula of the Pacific Area Presidency: Elders and Sisters Ka'ili, Sperry, Hawley, Elder Hamula with President McMurray (back), Claytons, Sings, Gordons, Tau'a alos, TongasMissionary Couples with Elder Hamula, 2nd counselor in the Pacific Area Presidency from NZSeveral of these pioneers were here when the first wards and stakes were organized in Tonga. It was a cool winter day this early August morning.111Brother Pope a former BYU professor was one of the early missionaries here. He later became the Liahona High School principal. He met Mary and they adopted Tongan children and have lived here ever since.136 Families from the surrounding villages gathered for Pioneer Day August 25th to celebrate the missionaries coming to Tonga to preach the Gospel. 116115 Inoke Kupu enjoyed the festivities; he is the Liahona stake president and our CES country director as well as ITEP coordinator; Keith Vaitai is a sweet Primary child. 207Tamaline Kaufusi and Moana Kupu (Inoke’s wife) smile greetings.Tamaline and Moana Although the Liahona students were on term break, several our 2nd ward families enjoy the festivities.2nd ward Lots of smiles and laughs during the extemporaneous poetry competition about Pioneers:140 Basket weaving competition with half a coconut palm leaf:Basket weaving contests

147 Kioa brothers weaving baskets in record time:150 152 154 And the winner is---155 Priesthood Power! (Tuwai Latu, Elder Hawley, Inoke, Roy)177182 Inoke Jr. entertains some of the 2nd ward Primary children:188 Primary children from one of the village wards perform while members provide the music: 194 195 This village group of Relief Society sisters tell the story of the pioneers with their hands: 200206 YM and YW honor the pioneers through song and dance:208 Baby and Gordon enjoy the celebration!212 Our Primary kids enjoy line dancing in preparation for their quarterly activity:JJ and Keith Willing teachers join in the fun. (Mounga, back right, is a student at Liahona.)061 We are the pioneers of a new century. What will be written about us? How are we shaping our legacy? It is our responsibility and opportunity to gain a strong testimony and understanding of the Restored Gospel that we may strengthen those who follow.067

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Pathway to the Nuku'alofa Temple: garnished with flowers and sunsets

Robert Frost's poem, "The Road Not Taken" is even more meaningful as Elder Hawley and I serve as ITEP missionaries in Tonga.  With gratitude we see that the Lord watches over us in every little thing and guides us as we walk the road less traveled by, "and that has made all the difference."  Frost's  poem concludes with these lines:  Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

An exquisite sunrise begins our morning walk on Liahona campus:001The Flying Foxes--a protected species--are coming in to feed:  They're fruit bats and only the Royal family are allowed to hunt them--a delicacy.  It's head has the look of a fox and they compete with the bees in the morning for berries, nectar, etc.  Fascinating!  Sometimes they sound like cats fighting in the evening--don't like each other.   054  High up in the palm trees they hang upside down to eat:007 008 This one is different--most of the bats are a velvety reddish brown:012An early morning walk down the lane to the church cattle ranch surrounding some of the Liahona campus:016036 The flowering plumeria tree loses its leaves in winter (May-September in Tonga) but blossoms valiantly appear on bare branches;  the Christmas poinsettias are in abundance.  Plumeria i Winter and this is the trees that drops it's leaves but still blooms We do love papaya for breakfast with a squeeze of fresh lime on it:011

"In-- my neighbor's garden, the flowers are blooming.  'How do you do,' they say.  " "How do you do today?' " . . . 015 In a village next door to Liahona, we admire a beautiful flower garden.  These two lovely sisters are going to help us plant one.099 102 101

023 The leaves from the Pandanus  tree hang out to dry and will be woven into fine mats or kiekies for the women to wear:Hang leaf out to dry for making matsBanana tree blossom near mission office 018 President and Sister Makemaile live in the  mission home just a short walk from the temple.  The beautiful noni tree with orchids growing around it is a favorite.  Pres. and Sister Makemaile's mission home 007 This rare palm tree with 2 crowns is a short walk from the Liahona campus:025The Navu stake house is across the street from Liahona campus:Navu chapel across the streetAn Eternal Pathway:  Our pathway leads to the Nuku'alofa Temple.  These things we know to be true--that we have been given a certain amount of time and opportunity on this earth to be molded like the Savior.  We are, indeed, Works in Progress.  And what better place to learn and experience our eternal purpose, than in the greatest university on this earth--His holy temple.  It is the conduit that can move us forward in  becoming more like the Savior.  How thankful Elder Hawley and I are to live here on the Liahona campus where we may walk the path to enter His Holy House.  007 No earthly kings we serve,  but King of kings o’er heaven & earth!

Come, O thou King of Kings!  We've waited long for thee, with healing in thy wings, to set thy people free.  Come, thou desire of nations, come; Let Israel now be gathered home. 

Hail!  Prince of life and peace!  Thrice welcome to thy throne!  While all the chosen race their Lord and Savior own, the heathen nations bow the knee, and every tongue sounds praise to thee.  ----Parley P. Pratt, Hymn 59                                                   004As we walk through the temple gates back to our Liahona home, we feel gratitude for the road we have taken.Navu Chapel at sunset