October 19 – 25

We started the week with a private concert, thanks to our talented YSAs. A group stopped by the Institute and started jamming just for fun, then decided to pick songs to practice and perform for us. Could a mission ever be more fun?!

It all started because Siti (red shorts) wanted to get together and sing before leaving for his mission.
It all started because Siti (red shorts) wanted to get together and sing before leaving for his mission.
Sean and Siti were amazing!
Sean and Siti were amazing!
David and Manny were so good, we decided need to have a talent night so everyone can hear them.
David and Manny were so good, we decided we need to have a talent night so everyone can hear them.

Dr Rick and Ann Nielson are volunteers from Canada who will be here six months testing eyesight and distributing 6,000 pairs of eyeglasses collected by the Lion’s Club. In an assembly at the LDS College (high school), the Nielsons taught students how taking care of our eyes helps us see clearly, how living the gospel helps us see clearly spiritually, and that without the gospel, our vision is limited. The students loved their presentation, and are excited to be tested.

We invited the Nielsons for dinner, and had a wonderful visit in our flat.
The Nielsons also came to our flat for dinner.  It was fun to get to know them, and learn even more about our eyes.  Their message: wear sunglasses and hats!

At a ward YSA fireside on Friday, we were part of a panel of married couples answering questions about dating and marriage.  It was a geat evening – laughing one minute, and listening to tender stories the next. The common thread was how much happier we are when we include the Lord in our relationships.  After the discussion we had fun playing the game where one person describes a picture they see to a partner who draws it.

When our picture turned out well, the comment was "That's what 38 years of experience will get you!"
When our picture turned out well, the comment was “That’s what 38 years of experience will get you!”

Saturday our stake had a huge RS fair which included a formal ceremony to “handover” items made for the hospital Oncology Unit. Sisters decorated classrooms at the Primary school and sold homemade crafts and baked goods. Our Self Reliance missionaries also set up a table to invite people to participate in that program.  Hundreds of people came, including Fiji’s Minister of Education, the Minister of Health, and the Minister for Women, Children, and Poverty Alleviation. When those ministers saw the Self Reliance materials, they were so impressed they asked if they could take all the materials (booklets for each of the twelve principles). Elder Johansson will deliver more to them later. Now that was some “handover!”

Self Reliance missionary, Sister Smith, and stake RS president Sister Shaw, gathering up booklets for the Minister of Women, children & Poverty Alleviation
Self Reliance missionary Sister Smith, and stake RS president Sister Shaw, gathering up booklets for the Minister of Women, children & Poverty Alleviation
The ceremonial handover of colorful cushions, pillow and mattress covers sewn by the Relief Society sisters.
The ceremonial handover of colorful cushions, pillow and mattress covers sewn by the Relief Society sisters.
Sis. Cama made these beautiful trivets by wrapping Viovio (Panadana leaves) around sticks from sasa brooms.
Sis. Cama made and sold these beautiful trivets by wrapping Viovio (Panadana leaves) around sticks from sasa brooms.

The LDS Primary School was a busy place Saturday! The moment the RS Fair ended there was a baptism —

Sereana, a wonderful YSA from Kiribati, after her baptism.
Sereana, a wonderful YSA from Kiribati, after her baptism.

As soon as Sereana’s baptism ended, we started our YSA sports day!

Sack races were a scream!
Sack races were a scream!
Can you even have  a sports day without rugby?
Can you even have a sports day without rugby?
The games only stopped for popsicles, a picture, to be reverent during another baptism, and...
The games only stopped for popsicles, a picture, to be reverent during another baptism, and…
...and to sing "God Be With You" to Onesina, Jimmy, Tu'u, and Ephraim, who will be leaving this week.
…and to sing “God Be With You” to Onesina, Jimmy, Tu’u, and Ephraim, who will be leaving this week.

That’s what we call a SUPER Saturday!

We were introduced at the Suva Fiji Stake Seminary graduation Sunday night, and graduates were invited to attend the Institute of Religion (YAY!).  It was wonderful to hear the graduates bear their testimonies, and to see them wearing these beautiful traditional kukui nut necklaces —

Some graduates were also presented beautiful salusalu leis.
Some were also presented beautiful salusalu leis.

After the graduation, we hurried back to the LDS Primary School (which doubles as the Suva North Stake Center) to greet YSAs after an EQ Fireside, and listen as the YSAs practice songs for our upcoming stake conference. It was the perfect way to end the day.

It was an amazing, busy week! As we catch our breath and get ready to start another, we’ll heed the counsel we heard yesterday: “Let us all press forward, eh?” Great counsel for “us-gang” and “you-gang,” don’t you think?

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