What a wonderful week!
It was like heaven having our daughter Nicole here with us. Some YSAs made it even better by serenading Monday afternoon. Sosi and Tawetia have such beautiful voices! Sosi played the keyboard and the two of them harmonized without written music, using nothing but the lyrics on a cell phone. What amazing talent.
Then, of course, there was a great display of talent playing billiards with Filipe, Nicole, Elder Whitehead and Sosi. Joyze and James even joined in.
It was also fun to frost Christmas cookies to share with our neighbors, Avinish and his family. It didn’t seem right to celebrate Christmas without cookies!
Since it already seemed like Christmas having Nicole with us, we went ahead (true confessions) and opened the presents she brought us from our family. One gift was a collection of wooden puzzles. Talk about talents — we discovered that Tetika is a master at putting puzzles together!
Nicole also brought 204 white handkerchiefs for the Young Single Adults to take to the temple rededication. We put them in envelopes, and will hand them out at our next Family Home Evening January 3. We can’t wait!
Wednesday we closed the Institute for Christmas break, and went on a hike to Colo-i-suva with our Institute counsel and friends: David, Jeanette, Nicole, Divani, Gabby, Lini, Elder Whitehead and I, Joey and Sean. We met on the temple grounds, took a bus, had lunch, then made the hike and had a blast. Here’s the before and after…
Thursday we left with Nicole to spend Christmas at the beautiful Warwick resort. What a beautiful, peaceful place! We were serenaded again – this time by a choir singing “O Holy Night” in Fijian. Another choir came and sang to us on Christmas day. At each place setting when we ate on Christmas day, we found a traditional “Christmas Cracker,” filled with a small toy, a joke, and a paper crown to wear during meals. The crown actually reminded me that we celebrate Christmas day to honor the King of Kings. We found a quiet corner, read Luke 2 together, and following our family tradition, wrote what gift we would like to offer the Savior during the coming year. Instead of tucking the notes in a special box, we adopted a tradition from another family, and used a white Christmas stocking. We are so used to snowy white Christmases in Utah and Wyoming, it was definitely a different experience for us — but the purpose of the day was the same. We also read an article together called the “Three Levels of Christmas,” reminding us to not leave Christ in the manger but to be grateful for all He did during His life on earth. It was nice to be able to contemplate the reason for the season without all the hustle and bustle.
Sunday was our last in Tamavua 2nd ward. We will really miss the wonderful members there, and are sad that Pres Qaqa and his family moved in just as we are leaving, but we look forward to being a part of Suva 3rd ward for the next six months.