Friday, March 22, 2013

At the Outdoor Market!


This is Sister Nicholas and her daughter.  She is the wife of the first counselor in the District Presidency here in Port Vila. She has a wonderful garden and produces some of the best vegetables.  Elder Hinton was formerly a horticulturalist with Utah State University.  He says the Nicholas' have some the best soil in the islands.  We always start at her stall in the market.
The cucumbers, the carrots, and the beans are from Sister Nicholas.

See how big the cucumbers are compared to Clyde's sandal.
Sometimes there are smaller crabs at the market. 
These seem to be lobsters  They cost about $17.00 and $28.00.
These are live chickens at the market.  There are three in this temporary cage.

And - the best for last -

BATS - they sell bats at the market.  We can only assume the people must eat them. 
What a delicacy!!!!

This fat fellow was about the size of a rat.  It costs about $5.00!


Port Vila Vegetation



Crazy root systems!

 People take cover under the umbrella trees.

Trees are overtaken by vines very easily.

There is an occasional pine tree - and they tend to grow very tall.

A papaya tree!                           

 Did you know that bananas grow upwards?






Sunday, March 17, 2013

Nambatu - Chapel Number Two


Clyde sitting in the chapel.  This is the largest and nicest LDS building in Vanuatu.  It houses the Port Vila District offices and the first and second branches as well.  There is also an outdoor baptismal font.  We teach classes here and meet with students.  We use the Family History room.
Some Primary children after church.
 The outdoor baptismal font.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Downtown Port Vila


When the cruise ships are in port, main street is all about the tourists!

There are totems all over Vanuatu!


Friday, March 8, 2013

Mission Experiences


We want to share some of our missionary experiences.  There have been many already.  We have met some wonderful members.  Those that are actively involved have strong testimonies.  They love their families.  They are indeed Heavenly Father's children.
As to our specific calling in the Perpetual Education Fund, initially it was a little discouraging.  There is so much that these people need and so many obstacles.  The goverment here only educates through the sixth grade.  After that the students need to pay for secondary schooling.  And - they apply for the secondary program and are assigned to a school.  The school could be anywhere in the country, on any of the islands.  So - families or at least the mothers and the children have to move.  There are some more expensive private schools here in Port Vila, but they are out of reach for most of the people.  Consequently, many of the people have only a sixth grade education.  Thus part of our dilemna!
Another frustration has been the number of older members that want schooling now.  Some of them have been waiting for the PEF program to come to Vanuatu.  They see it as an answer to their prayers.  Again, these are dear people.  However, the PEF only covers ages 18 to 30.  There are some rare exceptions but not enough to begin to help all of these people.  And - some of these older saints have even less education.  For example, Beatrice is forty two years old.  She has a third grade education.  She has no teeth at all.  (It is hard enough to understand these soft spoken people when they have teeth,)  She wants to be a manager.  Many of these people want to be managers in a store or hotel, etc.  They see it as the avenue to a better life.  Beatrice is coming to our Planning for Success workshops regularly and always has her homework done.  What can we do for her?!

Here is Clyde working in our apartment. 

What you see in the upper right hand corner is the extent of our kitchen.  The large object under the counter edge is our filing cabinet.  On the left of  the picture is an extra single bed.  The table and chairs we brought in off of the deck.  Otherwise there was no place to work.
This is one of our bright hopes.  This is Spencer.  He is a recently returned missionary from Santa Rosa, California.  He has grade twelve and wants to be a teacher.  He wants to go to BYU Hawaii.  There is a program called I-WORK that is available only for Pacific Islanders.  First the student must get accepted to BYU-H and then they can apply for this grant.  It pays for everything whle they are in school - tuition, books, housing, meals, etc.  In return the student works at the Polynesian Cultural Center.  This is funded by a group of private donors!
There are several other students that we have high hopes for their success.  I will try to get more pictures and will post their stories as well.  We know that we are where we are suppose to be. The gospel is true!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Mele Branch


This is the Mele Branch where we attended chuch today.  It is a ways out of town.  The building consists of one open room with stacking chairs.  It is used as the chapel and activity space.  On either end of the building are two small rooms that are classrooms or offices as the need arises.  The small, separate building on the end houses the restrooms and a very small kitchen space.

After Sacrament Meeting, different groups reconvene outside.  The Primary is under a tree.  The Young Adults and the youth Sunday School classes meet in other areas.  The Gospel Doctrine class stays in the building.  The next hour all of the Priesthood classes and the young woman are outside.  The Relief Society stays inside.  In case you think the women are lucky, keep in mind that the building has no air conditioning.  This is standard for the branch buildings.  However, Mele Branch does not have any fans either.  The building is very hot and humid.
This is one of the outside classrooms today.

Of course, this only works, if it is not raining.  When it rains, it really pours.  So - everyone must stay inside the one, small building.
This is a little boy waiting to go home at the end of the meetings.  Notice his hair.  This is completely natural.  Some of the native Vanuatuans have blonde hair.  It is still curly tight but blonde.
The members in this little branch are very friendly and many have strong testimonies.  The problem is that the strength does not come in families very often.  There are some wonderful families - a member of the District Presidency and a High Councilor, for example.  However, this little branch has been without a branch president for over two years now.  There is just not a worthy family to fill the shoes.  Yet, they are dedicated and the building was full today at the appointed hour.  We all visited softly patiently waiting for someone with the right authority to start the meeting.  Today it was the Elder's Quorum President.  The district leadership individuals not at the branch today.