Hooray, classes started again! It felt so good to see students we love come back, and to see lots of new faces. We are just about at capacity, though – don’t know what we would do if more enrolled. The Elevated Learning Assessment that is now required for institute graduation has given us blessings and challenges. It will certainly provide our students with a greater opportunity to think about what they are learning and how to apply it.
Friday was our 39th wedding anniversary. So here we are, standing with a palm tree in the background just like we did 39 years ago on the grounds of the Los Angeles temple (just looking a tad bit older!). Just so you know, my white hair is turning out to be a real blessing. We point to it when we tell people our last name. They always chuckle…and remember our name.
Friday was also the day that our sweet Mela Qaqa left for her mission to Korea. She cried ( we all cried!) as the class sang “God Be With You.” Lini, who had been leading the music, stopped and just put her arm around Mela as we sang – it was a touching scene.
Saturday night was movie night. Those who stayed outside in the heat playing volleyball came and joined us later to cool off and get drinks. The house was packed!
Elder and Sister Knight donated a game called “Suspend” to the Institute. The YSAs played it for the first time Saturday night, and loved it! They even played it backwards, trying to remove all the pieces without making them fall.
Remember the puzzles? You think they’re done with the puzzles?!? We may be going for a Guinness world record for number of times a puzzle can be put together. We just hope the pieces hold up as long as the YSA’s interest does.
We went with the Knights to deliver an open house invitation to Avinish, our landlord. Turns out that because he owns two businesses downtown, he already received invitations, but at least now he knows we would personally like him to come see the temple. The Church has really done a great job advertising the temple open house.
Everyone is busy preparing for the open house and cultural celebration with choir & dance practices, security training, and beautifying Church property. YSAs have now been invited to join the 12 – 18 year olds in the dances for the cultural celebration the night before the temple rededication, so it looks like we may need to adjust our institute activities to help make that happen. It’s an exciting time!
Fiji’s Prime Minister has even accepted an invitation to come see the temple. He is very interested in family history, and has already taken a tour of our family history center. A book of his genealogy and a history of religion in Fiji has been prepared to present to him when he comes for the open house.
We visited the Nausori ward today. They meet in bare, upstairs rented rooms near a nightclub, but the Spirit there was wonderful and their testimonies strong. In fact that same feeling was in all four buildings we ended up visiting today. We are thankful to serve such faithful, loving and happy people! We feel like we are the students, they are the teachers. This mission has certainly elevated OUR learning, and we are grateful for it.