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)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

SCHOOL FACE-LIFT ALSO LIFTS SPIRITS

Sunday, May 29, 2011




NORTH SHORE, New Zealand - Why would a Glamorgan Primary School student give up her Saturday morning to help paint another North Shore primary school?

According to 10-year-old Sophie, who joined another 200 volunteers to paint Windy Ridge Primary School on Saturday (21 May), she took part because "it's fun to paint" and she "enjoys helping others."

Sophie and her fellow volunteers took advantage of sunny weather to paint a classroom block and spruce up the school grounds at the Glenfield School.

"This project was a great plus for our community," Windy Ridge Primary School principal Brenda McPherson said."
The budget constraints are a major concern and the maintenance work done today will save the school approximately $5,000. Those funds will now be used for the students."
Volunteers came from the local school area and the North Shore Mormon community.
Sandra, an Albany Latter-day Saint, said that a lot gets accomplished when there is collaboration between community groups.
Member of Parliament for Northcote, the Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman, dropped in to offer his thanks and encouragement to the volunteers.

Other elected officials from the area, Grant and John Gillon, also visited to lend their support. John Gillon blogged about the community service day here.

Ms McPherson and others from the school community provided a sausage sizzle and other refreshments during the morning.

This was the third attempt for organisers to complete the project. Rain postponed two previously scheduled events.

"Mormon Helping Hands is a worldwide and a local effort organised by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," said Stephen Dil, a spokesperson for the Church. "We join in with other faiths and organizations to do good in the community."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Colorful Characters

We managed to arrive in NZ just at the beginning of a 4 day holiday weekend, so we were on our own to begin exploring.  We drove to a popular farmer's market and spent the morning looking at tons of familiar and unusual vegetables and food, and some fun and interesting characters as well!!



The View

Our flat is on the third floor of a nice apartment complex and about a 10 minute walk to our office.  We were lucky to take over the flat from the missionary couple we replaced.  It was furnished with everything from bedding to dishes, really everything we needed to begin living in New Zealand.  It's not fancy, but perfect for our needs.  We woke up to this view out our window the first morning in our new flat!  Now before you get too jealous, I conveniently left out the roof of the bowling alley that is right below this view!!!!!! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

We've Arrived!!!

After 15 grueling hours cramped in tiny airplane seats, we arrived in New Zealand......... and mysteriously, we lost a day!  We left on April 18, and 15 hours later we arrived on April 20.  How exactly does that work?  (Yes, we know, but it still is strange!)
The airline restrictions are one check in bag and one 15 lb. carry on.  Are they kidding???  Most people couldn't cram everything they would need in that amount of luggage for a 2 week vacation, let alone for 18 months!  And we didn't.  Karen used her carry on for her camera gear, and then we paid 'an arm and a leg' extra for 2 extra bags!  Here we are with 18 months worth of junk, and below that is our first view of beautiful Auckland.

     

Monday, May 23, 2011

MORE Preparation!

During the week of April 11 through 15, we spent a wonderful time at the MTC, (for our friends of other faiths, this is the Missionary Training Center where we learn more about being effective missionaries), and we really got in the spirit of missionary work.  It was inspiring to see several thousand young men and women so enthusiastic about serving the Lord in all parts the world, and trying hard to learn so much in such a sort period of time before they go.  As we were walking from class to class, we would often be stopped by several who wanted to practice their newly learned language skills on us.  In class we were taught by both young, recently returned missionaries, and couples in the 70's, who were home after serving numerous missions.  All were inspiring!  Here we are standing in front of the much photographed world map, pointing all the way around to the other side of the world in New Zealand, where we will be living and serving for the next 18 months.

There were 40-50 senior missionary couples at the MTC the week we were there, and of all those couples there were only 3 couples preparing to serve out of the country.  We felt like a pretty small group!  We were divided into districts, or small groups, for most of our training. Here is our group:


We met and shared experiences with many wonderful people during this brief time.  At lunch on the first day, we sat across the table from a handsome senior couple and Jeff recognized him immediately.  He and Jeff were in the same fraternity at BYU and he had dated my dear friend and roommate.  We enjoyed revisiting our college days as well as sharing our excitement, anticipation and fear of our upcoming missionary experiences.  Now that we are both settled in our various corners of the world, we are keeping in touch and are now sharing our new and wonderful experiences.  Here is their photo:

(Sorry for the quality of the photos - these were taken with a little point and shoot)