Imagine a SF 49ers vs Oakland Raiders game being played in Canada. But make that the New Zealand Chiefs and Crusaders rugby teams playing for the first time ever right here in Suva. Both teams have some Fijians players, so just about every Fijian in the country watched it live stream or in the stands. Restaurants and stores were packed and roads were closed so crowds of people could walk to the stadium. It was like Cheyenne Frontiers Days, but by the beach. We joined a group of senior missionaries and sat in the stands in pouring rain.
Fortunately the rain let up right after the game started, and didn’t start again until the last few minutes of play. We went home soaked, but it was fun to be a part of history. What an experience!
A highlight that evening was a halftime performance of the traditional Meke. Don’t know why the New Zealand teams didn’t do their Haka for us, but when the game was over, we all sang the Isa Lei song for the teams.
Meanwhile, back at the institute, we are trying to get a head start on course completion by encouraging students who need to do make up work to do it now instead of waiting until the end of the semester. Lupe and Tetika were the first to turn it in — we love these two!
Helping in the kitchen (and a priesthood blessing from Elder Whitehead) helped Sumeet overcome discouragement as he waits for his mission papers to get through some glitches so they can be sent from here to Salt Lake. Tuesday Jeanette and Lini baked with him. I am so grateful for their help — and so are those who come to class. You can never have too many refreshments!
We did some major Spring cleaning of our cupboards this week and Rachel was a great help with that, too. Don’t know what we would do without her. Plus, she’s really good at taking on Elder Whitehead at Jenga. We leave the game out during the week and have a little competition going to see who can break the record for making the tallest stack.
We had some really rainy quiet days this week, but then good days, too. It is such a blessing to get to know the young single adults who come to the institute. For some, it is their home away from home during the day, which makes us feel like family. We worry when we don’t see them, but are so happy when we hear of those who have gotten jobs or are in school. We especially hope to see their faith in the Lord grow. It’s fun to see the love and concern they have for each other.
Sunday we attended the Naulu ward in Nausori. What a great ward! Naulu will be our last ward assignment before we go home– it’s hard to believe. It is an English speaking ward, but about half of the testimonies and prayers we heard were in Fijian. The amazing thing is that the Spirit is the same, so we’re fine with it. We have had some ups and downs this week, but still feel incredibly blessed. This mission is truly “wananavu!” (awesome).