Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Cooking Lessons (carrot cake) and so much more

31 August 2017

Three weeks ago Jackie and I went to a village, Nabua. It is about 45 minutes away and in a remote part of this island. We always enjoy worshipping with the Saints there. They make us feel so welcomed. Several of the sisters asked Jackie if they could come to our flat and do some baking. Of course, Jackie said sure. Then we went to another village nearby, that is a 40 minute walk for them to attend church. For one family with little children, it is very hard to make that walk, so we went to see them and visit with them. One of the sisters in the village invited us to her home for juice.

These are pictures are of the cooking lesson, carrot cake. They all seems very excited to bake. They don't have electric ovens in their homes. Their cooking is done outside in an oven that gets its heat from wood. They get to "camp out" every day.










We have been busy the past several weeks, particularly this week. Monday, August 21st, we went to Vunavesi to deliver bibles to those in the village. We delivered 80 bibles to the villagers. We still have 10 more that are on back order that we will deliver when they arrive. They are so appreciative that we got these for them, we found that the Methodist church charges $20-$25 for the bible and we got these through the service center for $3.70 each. The Methodist minister saw the bible several weeks earlier and was amazed that we "used the same bible he did." We pray that there will be many that will have a desire to learn more about the church. If someone is interested, the elders will help them get a Book of Mormon or even a triple combination if they desire. We found out that the 1st counselor in the district presidency is going to try this in another village.












Tuesday, August 22nd, we went to Rabi, an island off the eastern end of Vanua Levu. It is a 45-50 minute boat ride between islands. The drive is 45 minutes on pavement and 90 minutes on dirt roads. The "dock" for the boat is in 2 feet of water that we have to wade in to get in the boat. The boat is a 16' fiberglass small boat. If the wind is blowing it is a rough crossing. We were fortunate enough to have a relatively calm going both ways. Jackie and I have been told by the elders that we are not allowed to stay on Rabi. Not because it is a violation of mission rules, there is no place to stay except the beach. We were ready to leave at 2:00 pm and our boat captain was to be back for us at that time. He was nowhere to be found. By 2:45 pm we're getting nervous and finally call him. He stayed on our island and was not coming to pick us up. The elders then spent another hour trying to locate the boat owner of another boat to take us back across. We arrived on our island almost 2 hours later than planned. But we finally arrived home just as the sun was setting.


Friday, August 25th, Jackie helped organize the first relief society activity that the branch has had this year. Today was a cooking lesson; chocolate cake, tie-dyeing shirts, and dance instruction; country line dancing. She made chicken salad, which was very different than what they usually eat. They all tried it but I don't think they will ever make it.

Sunday, August 27th, We had a baptism of a young lady from Tukavesi. The family was in Savusavu because her mother is expecting and they came here for the hospital. The mom and dad were just baptized 2 months ago. The father baptized his daughter. It was a very beautiful sight to witness. This family walks for 45 minutes every Sunday for church. They are great examples to us for the sacrifice they are willing to make.












Monday, July 31, 2017

Supplemental Post to July or 1st Installment for August

This is a supplement to the July blog, but because it is being done in August, I guess I should call it the 1st installment of the August Blog.

We have had 20-23 students that have volunteered with HELP International. They are an organization that send young people, usually college students, to under developed nations to help with the schools, hospitals, villages, and in any other way they can. We had about 14 last year. They come and work for 6-12 weeks. the last of these will be going home for this year on Friday. They are so helpful with many of the things Jackie and I have been doing; tutoring, activities for the youth, teaching self-reliance classes to villagers so they can qualify for and receive a grant to start a business in their respective village.

We had a farewell celebration for them last night. With every celebration, there was food provided and some entertainment. Then it is just "party hardy". Everyone danced, the old and the young. These videos are of some of the dancing done last night. The little boy, Manueli Nabose, is the cutest and his personality has been emerging for last several months. He is only 3. He seems to add a move or two with every celebration. Hope you enjoy as much as we did. Even Jackie got involved. I also danced but there was no one filming so the evidence is very thin.

Love, Kurt and Jackie.

                                                              Manueli Nabose (3 yrs)

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Jackie and H.E.L.P. people (age ???)

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Makalesi (neighbor and 13 yrs)

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One More by Manueli

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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Winding Down but Keeping Busy

Wow! We have passed out one year mark on our mission. It really seems to go fast. Looking back over the past 12 months has made me realize that the scripture Jackie and I choose as our "mission scripture", was perfect for us. Mosiah 2:17  "And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."

As we have served here in Fiji, we have grown to love the people here. Especially those in the branches and groups we work with. We travel one direction 75 km and the other direction 20 km. We have 4 branches, Tukavesi, Nabua, Savusavu and Nuku, (a 45 minutes boat ride to the island) and 3 groups (small group of saints in a remote village), Dreikeniwai, Tacilevu and Vunavesi. Our assignment is to visit each of these branches and groups as often as we can. If we visited each area it would take us 7 weeks, over 500 kilometers (300 miles) to complete the circuit. That would usually also mean speaking in sacrament meeting 3-4 times. I know that every missionary says this, but we have grown to love the Fijian people, particularly those we have worked with in the Taveuni Zone. The people in the towns that we do business with are always so helpful in finding what we are looking for. We get lettuce and English cucumbers from Grace Road Kitchen. It is a Korean owned and operated enterprise. They have their own farm with greenhouses, etc. to supply vegetables to the public and the resorts. Jackie has become very friendly with the ladies working there. The one running the kitchen is from Southern California.

We go to the gym nearby and exercise. I noticed today, more than before, that there are three roosters tied up in front of the store. Can you say "watch roosters?". Not sure why but they sure are noisy.












We had a chance to "get off the island". Well, for a few hours anyway. We we invited by the H.E.L.P. International students to a 4th of July celebration on the island of Nawi. It sits in the middle of the Savusavu Bay about 300 yards from the pier. It seemed like a lot farther away than that. We sat, relaxed, read, walk on some sand and rocks and judged a cooking contest. They all leave in August.









We are still waiting for word from the mission president as to when we will leave Savusavu for Suva. We want to spend 4-5 days being tourists on that island before we go to New Zealand on November 7th. Then from Auckland to SLC on November 20th.

We love the people and the work but most of all we love the Savior.

Kurt and Jackie

P.S. Last night was the finale of the Savusavu Hidden Paradise Carnival. We had several branch members participating so we went there around 5:00 pm. Nothing was going on at that time so we had dinner, Chinese, and I put the "doggie bags" in the truck. We walked across the street and up behind a building to the park where all the action was taking place. We hadn't been there 15 minutes when one of our neighbors, an Indian lady, came up to us to tell us that someone had backed into our truck whick was parked on the street. Sure enough, there it was, damaged so the drivers door wold not open. I could be opened from the inside. There were several witnesses that gave me the license number of the car and that it was from one of the resorts on the island. Police had been called. 2 1/2 hours later, I had been to the police station, talked with the driver of the other vehicle, talked with his supervisor, exchanged phone numbers and I had listed by demands of the resort fixing the truck and if it needed to be in the shop for a period of time that they would provide me with a rental vehicle. The supervisor had to talk to her supervisor but she was more than accommodating. I need to get an estimate and they need to get permission from the general manager of the resort.




Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Backup the Video Use

Apparently I don't know how to download videos for the blog or I just take too large a video. Sorry for all the confusion. I will do better these last 5 months. I am sure we will have some more celebrations with dancing, etc.

Bula vinaka, from Fiji.

Kurt and Jackie

President Layton's Farewell Celebration on Vanua Levu

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Savusavu Branch Dance #1 for the celebration. These are the young adults, YW and YM of the branch. These people are great dancers. They truly love to party and everyone dances. From 8-80, it doesn't matter, they all join in and sometimes even when they aren't part of it.

Savusavu Branch Dance #2. The video was too large to post. I will try an email later.


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These two girls are Young Women age. The one on the right, Makalesi, is the girl Sister Roberts has been tutoring since last Novemeber. The other one is a non-memeber but Makalesi's friend.

Daisy, Jackie and Luisa in the green dress is her mother.


Daisy is the cutest little girl. Jackie tutors her older sister and she entertains Kurt. She just think he is her grandpa. She is so confident with what she does, she acts like she is much older. She is really only 2. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Video of the Tapa Pounding

Because it seems that the video didn't download for the previous post, I am posting it again. Hope this one works.

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Tapa (Fijian paper) and Masi (printing)

Making of Tapa (Fijian paper) and Masi (printing)

We went to one of the villages and found several different ladies in the process of making Tapa, Fijian paper. It is quite a step, by step process and it takes many hours and several different skilled ladies. I hope this blog will be informative and interesting as I explain this process.








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Video of the 1st stage of pounding the Tapa "paper"








#1 They cut branches, about 3-4 feet long, from a tree. They must be collected a day or two before hand. (I do not know the name of the tree). Then they cut the bark off and unroll the material inside. They might get a piece that is 2-3" wide. They soak this material in water for a while. Then they start pounding it with a wooden mallet that produces a very thin "paper" of about 3-5" wide. This might take as much as an hour to get one piece.

#2 They take several pieces of the flattened paper and continue to pound it on the edges of another piece and soon it becomes one piece of twice the size. This goes on for several hours or days, to get something large enough for their purposes. They have to also connect the ends and join them in the same way. Eventually they might have a piece of paper 5-6' long and 2-3' wide.

#3 Then the printing process begins. They make the colored dye, brown, black, etc. from the dirt or by cooking down plants into a black mixture. This is the "ink" they use. They use stencils they have made for the designs or may use a stick/brush to write on the tapa.

When they are complete, they make it into a wraparound skirt or sulu or a piece to make a wall hanging. They might weave other dried plants into it or colored yarn. They may make a tapestry that can be framed and hung on the wall. They can be large or small, but they are always given with love and are considered a great gift. The sacrifice in time and labor that it takes, might be several weeks, by many different women and girls. They usually make one of these as a farewell gift to visiting dignitaries or special visitors. We see these made for elders and sisters when they are returning from their missions. Even though they may have been in several different areas of the mission, their last area is the one that usually makes the Tapa/Masi for them. They present it to them in a celebration and feast before they leave.

You will see these in different gift shops around the islands for sale, especially to tourists. We see these when the cruise ships some into Savusavu. They are very plentiful in Suva, at resorts, and other areas that are visited by the tourists. The workmanship is amazing.