What a joy it is for us to serve as senior couple missionaries in Tonga. When President Uchtdorf spoke to us here he said, “God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the call! You are an extended arm of the quorum of the 12 apostles and the Lord will bless you to magnify your sacred calling. Always try to live up t0 this wonderful assignment.” The he added, “Read what your name tag says about you. Your name and then Jesus Christ are the most important things that go together.”
This Thanksgiving we share with you some golden moments we’ll tuck away to remember with gratitude. Each of us can take time to pause more often and express gratitude for the beauty around us. We each can unclutter our lives to enjoy the simple pleasures that cost so little.
Primary: A favorite song the Primary children sing begins this way: All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful, The Lord God made them all. (Picture following Sunday Primary program: ) Malakai Kioa, a recent returned missionary, teaches the Valiant Primary boys and they do sing valiantly!We loved having Britt and Yvette visit us with an added bonus: school supplies from McKay’s Eagle Scout project for Havelu, Pakilau, and Eua middle schools. Malo aupito, McKay! Blessings flowed with President and Sister Uchtdorf ‘s visit to Tonga : (Entrance to the airport)President and Sister Uchtdorf and daughter are welcomed at the airport: Elder Hawley, Sione, Inoke and Elder Checketts await their arrival at Liahona: Liahona High School rolls out highly valued tapa cloth to welcome President and Sister Uchtdorf to the island: Pres. and Sister Uchtdorf enjoy time with students and teachers during a walk-about on Liahona Campus. With great emotion he expressed his love for the people here, for their goodness, their smiles, their laughter and their beautiful voices: Gift of tapa cloth art within tree trunk: Tamaline, a lovely mother of 5 feels blessed to enjoy President Uchtdorf’s visit to the campus. She teaches at Liahona High.There is a great spiritual feeling prevalent among the people of the island as they prepare for a servant of the Lord to arrive. They did all they could to please. A stunning island cultural celebration of song and dance was held at Liahona for President and Sister Uchtdorf: This young boy slipped his lei over my head following the cultural dances. It’s a lovely tradition they have--to give away their leis:President and Sister Makemaile (McMurray) enjoy the celebration:
BEAUTY of the BLOW HOLES: Nothing in the world can compare to the Blow Holes in Hoema, Tonga just a few miles from Liahona. Roaring ocean waves explode against the reef sometimes up to 90 feet into the air for miles along the shore. (We were thrilled to share the beauty of Tonga with Neil and Jeanene.) This young boy from the village of Hoema calls to the ocean to bring in the large waves (note the ledge before and after the wave in the 2 pictures): He dives into the waves: Pathway to a secluded beach near the blowholes: From the cliffs at the Land Bridge we see a powerful ocean: Huge “waves” burst onto the reef at sunset (Keleti’s beach): President and Sister Fehoko (Tina and Steven) are founders of Old Tonga. President Fehoko is a renowned wood carver in the South Pacific and Sister Fehok0 can weave or design anything, including those beautiful Tongan nativities: My Other Side of Heaven: Albert and Mary Pope welcome the senior missionaries for Thanksgiving to their home and beautiful beach (Laulea) near the village of Fatumu:Our Thanksgiving at the Popes: Elder Hawley carves the turkey and Elder Sing makes the gravy. Ahh…such exotic flowers Mary grows in their yard: 3 water birds enjoy the waves! Flowers from Mary’s yard:
At a dinner fireside for senior missionaries, Pres. Makemaile greeted us with smiles and said, “Isn’t it great that after having a challenging week, the Lord sees fit to bless us with those special little moments in our lives?” The last minute date night at The Friends Cafe became even more fun when President and Sister McMurray and Danny unexpectedly joined us on the outdoor patio for lots of laughing and good company under a tree of red blossoms. Yes, we feel gratitude for those cozy moments that nourish us.