Sunday, January 26, 2014

Wonderful Senior Couples

      The other senior couples certainly make life far from home much more enjoyable.  The other couples help with details when needed.  They can provide much needed advice.  One of them will always know the best place to shop for whatever.  They have great counsel.  For example;  "If you see something at the market that you want or especially like, buy a bunch.  That item may never be in the market again here in Vanuatu.  It may have been a fluke."
 Elder and Sister Hinton - Humanitarian Missionaries and Sister Wallace- the mission nurse!
 Sister Brewer- the mission Mom and Kelu and John Bennion - physical facilities and distribution.  The Bennion's are from Fiji and work for the church full time.
 Elder and Sister Chynoweth were the office couple.  They worked so very hard.  I immediately bonded with Sister Chynoweth.  She was my sister away from home.  She was so thoughtful and considerate. 
       This was one night out with the Chynoweth's.  The place was called the War Horse and is very western.  We found out that the woman that owns it is from Colorado.  She got most of her d├ęcor off of E-Bay.  This is Sister Wallace, Sister Chynoweth, Sister Hinton, and myself!
Sister Chynoweth and I in the Mission Office.
      When there are visitors from other islands, we usually go out to dinner.  This night we were together at a great French Restaurant.  The food is really good, but quite expensive.  Clyde and I always order one meal and split it.   
      This evening the Jolley's were in from Malakula, and the  Duke's were brand new to Vanuatu.  We had a wonderful dinner and then decided to try a group picture.

   John Bennion loves to sing. Some of the better restaurants have live music some nights.  John loves to sing with the fellow at the Melanesian Hotel.  We like to go hear him occasionally.  We don't usually have dinner - sometimes just dessert.  This night the men were all looking at pictures of the native bungee jumpers on Pentecost Island.
 Then John sang for all of us - and everyone else too.  He had a great reaction from the crowd.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Few Short Hours in Fiji

      Last September when we returned from Michael and Lisa's wedding, we had an unexpected eighteen hour layover in Fiji.  It was not over night - very early in the morning until late that night.  The airlines bused as all to an island resort and gave us rooms for the day.  It was beautiful.
      First of all- at the airport, we met up with some members from Vanuatu.  They had been to Fiji to go to the temple.  It was good to see some of our 'new family' again.
      After busing to the dock, we took a ferry to the island.  There were many of us.  At the resort, we were greeted with fresh pineapple juice.  We all lined up, and they had us rooms very quickly.  Because we are 'old', we got a semi-private bungalow close to the main building.  The resort was quite extensive.  Some of the people were a ways away.

      The pool area was beautiful as was the beach.  There were several destination weddings there that day.  We just relaxed.  We walked around and took in the sites.

 The sunset was spectacular.  We sat outside and enjoyed it as long as possible.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Hide-Away Island

       Hide-Away Island is another island off the coast of Port Vila.  It isn't very big, but it is surrounded by a Coral Reef.  There are some accommodations and a restaurant.  There is a dive shop.
We have been wanting to get out there for quite some time.  Again, you take a water taxi.
       Well, guess what Santa brought us for Christmas.  Clyde and I got snorkel fins and masks.  We tried them out in the swimming pool.  It takes a little practice to get used to using them.  So - the first Saturday in January, we went to Hide-Away Island.  It was a very hot day,  but we went in the morning.  It turned out just perfect, because it was less crowded then.  By noonish there were many tourists arriving.

       Yes, we were kind of geeky looking.  My swimming suit is horrible.  It doesn't fit at all, and it is so old.  Clyde's is old, too.  Oh, well, there were lots of older people there.  We fit in!

      Of course, we could not take pictures of ourselves in the water.  Thank goodness!  These are just representational of the experience.  Actually it was really fun.  The coral is amazing.  There are many kinds and colors to see.  The water is quite salty.  We tried very hard to not taste it.

      Please notice the rough coral beaches.  There really is not any sand.  The coral is sharp and, if you fall you can get really hurt.  Never go barefoot!!!!

       After coming out of the water and changing our clothes, my hair was lovely!

The Edward's - Our Friends in CES

      One of the truly wonderful things about serving a senior mission is that we meet and work with such outstanding couples from all over.  The Edward's mission is very different.  After many years as a seminary and institute teacher and director, he retired.  They are on a mission serving the south pacific islanders.  They travel to each of the church schools and spend several months at each school.  They are strengthening the teachers and administrators at each site.  They are especially qualified for this assignment.  We thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them.
      Now, there is no church school in Vanuatu.  However, with the huge push for education for the members, the Edward's came here for one month.  They mentored the seminary and institute teachers here.  It was an invaluable service.
      This is the restaurant run by the students at the Hospitality school.  It is kind of like the old Tastry Restaurant at South High School.  We had an appointment with the school director, so we took the Edward's along and had lunch.
      This particular day was their wedding anniversary.  We took them to Iririki Island for lunch.  Iririki is a resort that covers an entire island in the Port Vila bay.  It has accommodations and restaurants and activities.  We had never gone over to the island, so this was a first for us.  To get to the island, you take a water taxi.  This not the water taxi.  This is a $4,000,000 yacht that belongs to an Australian gambler.  Our landlord knows this fellow.

Happy Anniversary, Elder and Sister Edward's!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Odds and Ends

      Hooray - we found one somewhat normal Christmas tree.  We were at a very nice French restaurant for the farewell dinner for Elder and Sister Wallace.  They have returned to Utah after having assisted with the opening of the Vanuatu Mission.  They were great people.  

      There are always new things at the market.  The cabbage are the size of basketballs.  They do taste pretty good.
       There are the ever present geckos - everywhere - inside and outside.

      Clyde is a pretty good barber - thanks, Milt.  He has done the elders and some of the sisters.  He has only done the senior couples.  The younger elders take care of each other
      One of the things that we do here is give English tests.  The students that want to apply to BYU-H must pass an English test.  The students that apply to go to the church schools in Samoa, Tonga, or Fiji must pass an English exam.  Yes, English is very important.

      This is an old tree on the campus at USP.  It grew all gnarly.  It has been severely cut back, but they left this much.  Clyde says this is the Vanuatu version of Delicate Arch in Utah!