Dear Family & Friends: We are having so many new and exciting adventures to tell you about. We get up around 5:45am and go as fast as we can until bedtime, learning our new responsibilities and having a peek at this BEAUTIFUL country. We hope in this blog we can express how blessed we are to testify of Jesus Christ and serve Him in this amazing corner of the world! HAERE MAI* to our blog, we're glad you are visiting us!.....(*This means 'WELCOME' in the Maori language)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Last Sunrise From Our Balcony

This was one of the last sunrises we enjoyed from the balcony of our flat.  It was a beautiful view of the Auckland skyline, and a totally different type of scene from any other place we have lived.  At the bottom we can see a glimpse of the harbor and remember our excursions there.  We will have wonderful memories of this beautiful place.

View from the Sky Tower


A Night Out With Elder & Sister Halverson

We waited until just a short while before our mission was over to go to the top of the Sky Tower.  We had a lovely dinner in the revolving restaurant, enjoyed the view, and tried to fix it all in our memories when years later when this will all seem like a dream.

Monday, June 10, 2013


Second Place
Auckland Photo Contest - 2012

This week is the one year anniversary of one of those 'what was I thinking' moments, that at the time, I couldn't believe I did.  They say confession is good for the soul, so here is my closely guarded secret, that for the past year I've only shared with a few.

Shortly after we arrived in New Zealand for our mission in 2011, I was delighted to hear of an annual, month long photography festival.  There were special events, classes, photography shows, renowned photographers from all over the world presenting classes and lectures on all aspects of photography, throughout the Auckland area during the month of June.  

As part of the festival there is one day designated as a contest day.  Any one can enter photos relating to the theme, 'My Day in Auckland'.  The main requirement is that the submitted photos must be taken only on that day.  Since it was a Saturday, Jeff and I decided to explore downtown Auckland, and of course, I took my camera.  It was fun to see multitudes of photographers everywhere we went, taking photos for the contest.  At the end of the day, I decided to enter a few of my photos, and as I expected, I won nothing!
Fast forward to the next year when I started receiving emails announcing the events for the festival coming in June, 2012.  I clicked the link to the festival website and looked at all the winning photographs from the last year.  I noticed many of them were not typical photos of the beautiful scenery and sights of New Zealand, but often included people in compositions that were more unusual or even quirky.

The day of the festival photo contest I was up earlier than Jeff, and as I walked past the bedroom door and glanced in, I saw Jeff in bed, with his feet sticking out, and beautiful blue sky above his head.  I immediately had this composition come to me, with his feet in focus, (showing the havoc New Zealand weather had on his skin), and the rest of him in soft focus.  I hurried and got my camera and got the shot.  I thought it was a funny photo and on a whim, asked him permission to include it with the other two photos I was going to submit that I really liked and hoped might catch the judges' attention.  

I didn't think anymore about it until a few weeks later when I received word that I was awarded second place with this photo over around 1500 other entries.  First I was shocked, then I was pleased, and finally I was horrified!  Although there is nothing revealing or wrong with the photo, this certainly is not a very dignified pose for a missionary!!!  To add to my dismay, the photo and my name were published in the newspapers and on the web.  I held my breath for about a month afterwards, waiting for someone at church, or our other missionary friends, or some one at the church area office building where we worked, to mention they had seen the photo, but if any one did see it, they never mentioned it to me.

At the time, I did tell a close friend and photographer who lives in the Auckland area.  About a month ago she sent me a copy of the brochure used to advertise this year's festival, and sure enough, they used my photo.  Sigh!  Luckily Jeff is a good sport and was not too concerned about the whole thing.  


There now, I feel much better with that off my chest.  By the way, below are the other two photos I entered in that contest:


Sunday, April 21, 2013


 We were so excited When Rich sent us back to Tahiti to train our DPAs on how to use Newsroom.  What a perfect way to end our mission!

 After we finished our two day training, our wonderful DPAs had us sit up front, along with Rachel who also joined us for our training.  They all filed past us one by one and each gave us a gift and thanked us for serving them. 

 Here is Frederick and Manea who were so gracious and appreciative of our help and service.  I will never forget our first trip to Tahiti when Frederick met us at the airport with warm greetings and flower leis at 1:00 AM, only to drive us five minutes to our hotel to make sure we were safely settled.

 After opening gifts and taking photos, they sang a beautiful farewell song to us.

In between training sessions we took another trip to the Tahitian Pearl broker and purchased pearls for our girls and the Starleys.

We also had time to visit and have dinner with Rachel's brother and partner.

 Here we are enjoying some down time by the hotel's pool.

 There are 'characters' even in Tahiti!

What a wonderful trip!  
(Notice the curly hair)

And a beautiful sunset over Moorea to remember.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Last FHE

Charity Never Faileth

Here is one of my favorite photos from New Zealand.  This little boy, wearing his red gum boots, was helping to paint a school.  A large group of members of the local LDS Church, (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), spent a Saturday painting and sprucing up a local school.  There were old people, young people, families and teenagers all involved.  We attended and I took many photos.  This little guy was very serious about his work!

I have given the Church permission to use many of my photos as stock for their various websites and publications.   They added the quote and posted this one on the facebook page.

Here is the original:


Friday, April 19, 2013

Hamilton, New Zealand Temple

After our last zone conference, we stayed until the 'golden hour' and this day it was beautiful, with a never ending display of big, puffy clouds plus intermittent rain showers that would part to reveal the rays of the setting sun.  So typical of NZ weather.  Here are my last photos of the Hamilton Temple.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Our Last Zone Conference

This was our last zone conference.  President Porter was our mission president when we started our mission and President Lekias was our mission president when we left.  Elder and Sister Nelson were our good friends.  We went out to dinner often or stayed home and played games.  Sister Nelson and I took some exercise classes together and one line dancing class and we also went to 'Rock the Ballet' together.  Zone conferences were held in several different locations and we could choose the one we wanted to go to.  Most often we would go to Hamilton. 

We would go to zone conference in the morning, then a session at the temple in the afternoon.

And then stop at Pokenos for ice cream on the way home.  Our favorite flavor is Gold Rush!

Watching the Olympics

One evening we gathered at Elder & Sister Halverson's flat to eat pizza and watch the Olympics.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hunter Family

I have taken so many photos on our mission and I wanted to take some family photos for Rich as a small way of saying "thank you" for making our mission so memorable!