Monday, April 30, 2012


This month, one of our missionaries finished his mission, and 5 more were transferred, so we have some new missionaries in our Hawkes Bay Zone that I'd like to "introduce" to you.  We miss our elders that leave, but our hearts get filled right away with the new arrivals.  This is one of the most fun parts of our mission...we just love these young people so much!
Napier District:  Our new ZONE LEADERS:  Elder Heinricks (Alberta, Canada) and Elder Haiane (Australia). They are so enthused and will be great leaders.
Hastings District: These are the two Elders from Waipukurau...Elder Norford (Australia) and Elder Siale (Tonga). Elder Seneviratne was transferred to the South Island (he trained Elder Norford).  Elders Norford and Siale started their missions in NZ on the same day, and they meet with us in the Hastings District.
Hastings District:  And UP from the South Island arrived Elder Ragan (Clearfield, Utah), who is our new District Leader...he could pass for 14!  He and Elder Hogge (Alpine, Utah) also started their missions in NZ the same day.  Elder Hogge, so far, has spent his entire time in Hastings, so we don't think we'll have him for much longer.
Flaxmere District:  Elder Pae'a and Elder Hunt, both from Tonga.  Elder Pae'a's companion, Elder Vaioleti was transferred down to the Wellington area to be a new District Leader.  Elder Hunt is not a new missionary, but I don't remember where he was previously.
Napier District:  District Leader (Elder Tamale, Tongan, but now from Hamilton, NZ) and new companion, Elder Eneri (pronounced "ennedy), who is from Kiribis.  I guess the sun was too bright...caught 'em both with their eyes closed.

So that's our six new elders:  both zone leaders and then one from each of the companionships shown.  We still have two sets of sisters (Sisters Tito and Temakau in Napier and Sisters Itaia and Hemi in Flaxmere).  We also have Elder Barnes (District Leader) and Elder Salaivao in Flaxmere and Elders Fukofuka and Hingano in Hastings.  When we have our next zone meeting, I'll get some pictures of our whole group together (20 of us, which includes Elder Farnes and me).

ANZAC DAY - 25 April 2012

ANZAC Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, originally commemorated in 1916 by both countries to honor the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought in World War I.  Today the holiday honors all those servicemen and woman who have served their countries during war times.  It is celebrated every year on April 25 to mark the anniversary of the first major military action fought by the ANZAC in WWI.

This year we were honored to be invited to an ANZAC celebration at the Flaxmere Marae, known as the Te Aranga Marae, which has its own Facebook page if you're interested in seeing more pictures.  The party we attended was given by a landowner who was thanking his many seasonal fruit pickers (over 300) from the Solomon Islands, Indonesia, and Vanuatu (a French republic in the South Pacific).  It was such an entertaining afternoon with cultural performances by all the countries, plus Maori entertainment and songs to honor the military, followed by another huge feast (hangi).  Here are a few pictures featuring some of the wonderful sites we saw that day.

This is the Te Aranga Whare Nui.  The "wh" is pronounced like an "f", so Whare (fah-ay) means building, and this is the sacred building, so "Whare Nui".  This building is used for formal greetings, special meetings, funerals, and weddings.  When a Maori dies, the family never leaves the body until it is buried, so everyone who wants to can sleep in the Whare Nui until the funeral.  If too many people are there, just the close family members sleep in the Whare Nui with the body of the deceased, and the rest sleep in another building at the Marae (which the whole area is called).

The above pictures were all performances from the Indonesian workers, such a variety.  The third performance was amazing...this is a man doing an Indonesian ballet.
This is the group from Vanuatu, and the Vanuatu workers got a lot of laughs from this dance.  These performers were "horses" being attacked by a "boar", and people from the audience were waving money for them to "fight".

These two pictures are performances from the Solomon Islands; they were really a happy group who loved performing for all of us.  Lots of picture-taking and cheering from everyone.
And these are 3 LDS women who perform regularly together.  They did a number of military songs, including some songs popular in the United States during World War II.  They have beautiful voices, and both Elder Farnes and I have been invited to sing with them when they go to nursing homes to perform!
This is another great couple we've met while we've been here, Sue and Tom Curtis, who live in Hastings and are in our ward, Hastings First.  They are the kind of member missionaries we all love because they do all they can to fellowship and befriend.  They had us over to dinner the other night to meet with a man they are helping to return to the Church, and then they invited us to attend this ANZAC celebration because Tom works at this marae and is on the board of directors.  He is their chief horticulturist.  Sister Curtis is having a birthday party for herself on May 12 and inviting her closest friends she has known for years, some of them since she was a child...and she has invited me, too.  I am so honored, and I know we will all have a wonderful time.  This party will probably be featured on one of our future blog entries.


These are some good friends of ours who got married on Saturday, 21 April 2012.  They have been partners for a couple years, have a little boy Thomas, and are expecting a baby girl in May.  It is not uncommon for couples here to become partners for long periods before they decide (if ever) to get married, but it was a happy day for these two young people and their families.
This is the backyard setting for the wedding in Bridge Pa, home of the Tuimaseve family.

President & Sister Tuimaseve - he is the President of the Waipukurau Branch and a member of the Hastings High Council; Sister Tuimaseve is the RS President in Waipukurau and one of the counselors in the Hastings Stake RS Presidency.  They are incredible people!  Larissa and Wiremu live with them, along with their little boy Thomas. 
This is Wiremu, the handsome groom.
This is the happy couple as they welcomed us to the Korongata Marae for the reception and hangi.

Only ONE of the tables holding the incredible feast.
And this is little Tai Nui, one of the guests who "adopted" me as his nanny (grandma), and I loved it!!!


Just for fun, we want to show you a few more unique signs that we have seen in New Zealand.  They're quite clever.  The first is a sign outside a storage company where you can rent units to store "stuff".  The second is a sign we see on the highway when we go south to Waipukurau (why-poo-koo-row...last syllable like "ouch" sound, all syllables with equal emphasis).

We say "icy"; they say "frosty"!

"Effluent" just sounds so much nicer....

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Sister Kezerian, our Mission President's wife, told us that most of the towns in New Zealand have clock towers, so here's a picture of the one here in Hastings where we live. Right in the center of town is a large fountain, which is divided by a railroad track. The clock tower is to one side of this park-like area.

Here's Elder Farnes with the "lost sheep" he is trying to shepherd back into the fold. Behind him is the base of the large clock tower. It's our Preparation ("P") Day, which in the mission field is our day off, so we can dress casually and do a bit of sight-seeing. We also go on walks most every morning, so we dress casually for that, too.

Lest you think Elder Farnes has learned to walk on water while we've been here, he's standing on the railroad track that goes through the fountain pool. This was in the morning, so we knew he was safe...the train goes through about 2:00 pm and again around 6:00 pm.

This "globe" hangs in the town central park, too. As you can see, it looks like pretty nice weather, but fall is here now, and we are getting lots of rain. Even though we won't see snow, everyone tells us it gets pretty cold. Last Sunday, April 1st, we went OFF daylight savings time because our daylight hours are getting shorter. And now the United States is on DST again, so in addition to our being a day ahead of you, we are six hours behind you. If it's noon here, it's 6:00 pm in Utah, but we're a day ahead of you.

While on our walk one day, I saw a few girls waiting for their school bus and asked them if I could take their picture because I liked their uniforms. One girl was pretty hesitant, but the others said, "Oh, you have to be in the picture; this is going to the United States, and we'll be famous!" Well, before I could take the picture, several more girls joined in. The schools here all have uniforms, and part of the uniform is sandals, which is a step up for the children because, most of the time, they wear flip-flops or go barefoot...even when it's cold.

A little humor from a sign we saw in Hastings main street, Heretaunga Street. Wow! Did you know you can buy a mother and get one free?!

This is a PASTRY from a grocery store here in Hastings...would you buy something called "Fly Cemetery"? It's got a crust on it with raisins inside, which here in New Zealand are called "sultanas". We took the picture, but we did NOT partake! Also, we're still suffering from sticker shock...the cost of food (and everything else here) is astronomical. One piece of this "fly cemetery" is $6.75!


First of all, we really want to thank all of you who have emailed us, sent us cards, written us notes from Relief Society, kept us in your prayers, and enjoyed our blog. We are loving our mission, as you know, but we do miss home, and it is SO good to hear from you. Thank you all for means a lot to both of us.

Quite a few have asked us what our "typical" day here is like in New Zealand. That's not as easy to describe as it sounds, but I'll do my best. We were called as "member and leadership support" missionaries, which we found out in the MTC means "anything our mission president wants us to do"...and since we've been in the mission, it's also just about "anything we want to do". The latter is because President Kezerian trusts his senior missionaries a lot and lets us use our own discretion to get involved in whatever and wherever we should be helping. So here's a list of some of the things we're doing:

1. Working with less-active members (who, generally, are a lot less than "less" active): this a large part of our work and probably also the most difficult, although we love it. We have met very few less-active people who do not have testimonies of the Gospel. They still love the Church and believe that it is true. Most of their problems stem from hurt feelings, succumbing to addictions, or simply getting out of the habit of coming to Church. They are always very nice to us, and we are overwhelmed by how everyone welcomes us so warmly into their homes. The reason it's hard for us at all is that the progress they make is so slow; but we can't give up because we just want them to receive the blessings we feel will come into their lives if they return to Church activity. One of the most successful "tools" we use is holding Family Home Evenings with their families...Elder Farnes brings his ukelele from his first mission to New Zealand 46 years ago, and we sing hymns with them, play games, and teach a gospel lesson. It's a more relaxed atmosphere, and the families really enjoy it and ask us to come back weekly in some cases. The children pull on their parents' heartstrings, and that makes the family desire to go to Church together.

2. Working with the young elders and sister missionaries: We do a variety of things with the young missionaries from mending their clothes, inspecting their flats, taking them to appointments if biking is too far, helping with transfers, and even giving medical advice and counseling. We do belong to a district that has four elders plus us in it, and we meet for about 2-3 hours every Wednesday morning for district meeting...where we take a "back seat" because they need to learn leadership skills. The district leader gives us various assignments, which we carry out; but he's in charge, not us. We really love these young people and enjoy watching them grow into their responsibilities. Every six weeks, as missionaries are transferred or finish their missions, we hold a dinner at our flat for our district. Inspecting the missionaries' flats is a time-consuming project because they are spread all over Hawkes Bay, so it takes us a couple days to complete the rounds, which we do every six weeks. And since the missionaries, church-wide we're told, are not the best at cleanliness, we've also now been asked to do surprise inspections, too. In addition, Elder Farnes inspects the cars, but there are only 3 in our area. Fairly often, the young missionaries ask us to accompany them to visit various families that they feel need an extra boost of encouragement or have problems the missionaries don't know how to handle.

3. Helping in the wards: occasionally we're asked to teach a class, which we love to do; and if speakers don't show up for sacrament meeting, we often become the standby speakers. It's also very humbling to see how we're respected in all the wards and branches we attend. The person conducting always acknowledges our presence, and we try to shake as many hands as we can before the meetings start and participate in Sunday School, Relief Society, and Priesthood meetings. We also go to as many ward and branch activities as we can to get to know people and make ourselves available to families with less-active relatives. We are invited to weddings and funerals, too, even though they don't know us personally ...they feel honored if we attend, and we feel honored to be included.

4. Teaching new investigators: primarily, we're supposed to leave the proselyting and teaching of non-members to the young missionaries; but occasionally, we get requests from people who want the senior couple to teach instead. Right now we are teaching two non-members, and it's going really well. One has committed to be baptized on April 28th, and the other one will be baptized soon, too. Her sister is already a member, and she's quite excited about the Church and is coming to all the meetings. Elder Farnes won't be doing the baptisms because both of these converts have family members who can perform that ordinance. We'll just be there to share their excitement. In our zone, we go to all the baptisms, once again because it shows the new members our support.

5. Firesides: we're also doing more firesides, mostly in wards who are anxious to hear the story of how this former Catholic nun became a Latter-day Saint missionary. I still have the slides of the ceremony of Investiture, and they pictures and story seem to fascinate people. There are non-members who attend these firesides, too, but they will never be offended by anything I say because I loved the Catholic Church and appreciate the foundation I received there.

Well, I think that's about all. Because of people's privacy rights, we are not allowed to post names or pictures of those families we are working with, so that's why I don't go into any real details; but we are having some incredible experiences that will affect the rest of our lives. We love the Gospel, we know it's the Plan of Happiness, and we love sharing it.