Everybody loves a parade, and they sure put on a big one today for the Hibiscus festival. Float after float of beauty Queens and their teams all dressed in matching colors, balloons galore – it was quite the spectacle. In our neighborhood, Hindus had a parade of their own.
This week they celebrate the birth of Krishna. FYI: Don’t know if you can see the Fijian flag on the hood of the white truck above, but because so many Fijians showed pride in their country after the Olympic rugby win by displaying the flag, the Prime Minister announced this week that Fiji will keep its flag’s current design (He wanted to change it).
Not to be outdone, we celebrated the Olympic win with cake (and we ate it, too). Otherwise it was a very quiet week at the Institute: school break and the Hibiscus carnival downtown kept lots of YSAs busy. Many were also busy being ordinance workers for extra temple sessions scheduled for visitors from off island.
When I walked Monday morning, I saw a large group of people sitting on the ground in front of the Service Center near the temple. They had all kinds of bags with them spread out on the lawn, so I asked them what brought them here. They were from the island of Taveuni and had traveled through the night by boat, arriving at 6:30am. They were here to spend the week in the temple, and were on the grass because Temple Patron Housing hadn’t open yet. Many came to receive their endowments, and a number of families came to be sealed in the temple. Our temple missionaries told us it was an incredible experience for everyone. A few of the YSAs who came with their families from the island of Kadavu spent a couple of hours with us at the institute. It is humbling to be with people who sacrifice so much for their love of the Lord.
Monday night we had a wonderful visit with Elder and Sister Callister, the Greenburgs (our assistant zone leaders) and Shavers (temple missionaries). The Callisters will be Seminary and Institute Coordinators in Lautoka, on the west side of Fiji. Their first week here has been a little bit of a challenge because of training glitches (didn’t help that it rained every day and was g-l-o-o-m-y), but they will be great! Elder Greenburg’s Family Home Evening message to us was that he had expected that because of our age and experience, serving a mission as a senior couple would be easy. But it is work, and we have challenges, but they help us grow. Sister Shaver shared a quote from Pres George Q. Cannon, saying that we aren’t meant to go about day by day like a door turning on its hinges without any feeling on the subject. The Lord has more in store for us, and will gladly bless us if we will but make the effort to turn to Him and follow His example. The best part is that He even helps us make the turn! I am so thankful for heavenly help. We spoke at the Suva Stake Institute enrollment fireside Friday night, and that was the message I shared with them. Two more days and we begin our last semester of institute!