Sunday, December 13, 2015

December 13, 2015

I had just finished my blog, and somehow it was all erased! It's too late to write it all again, so this will be a short version. 

Christmas has come to Auckland, and we found it on Franklin Street! Everyone decorates their homes here and it was fun bringing the Sisters. The downtown Skytower lights up in Christmas colors, making a festive backdrop. 

Sister Trull and Sister Nakibae are enjoying the lights of the season!

This is my favorite! I always wanted a surfing Santa, ever since John Glenn Elementary's "holiday" program featured a "Surfing Santa" theme! Notice that he is wearing sandals?

All the missionaries went to the temple this week. They get to go once a year, so Craig and I went to Hamilton the night before our day to go.  Like other temples, the NZ temple is decked out in beautiful lights. People come from all over to see it.

It was a highlight of our mission to be in the temple with the hard working, wonderful Elders and Sisters. We love the Spirit we felt with them! 

Since the next day was our p-day, we drove an extra mile south of Hamilton to Rotorua, a town on a lake with lots of geothermal hot spots. There are also hot springs, mud pools and lots of other exciting things to do there.  With our limited time, we took the cultural route and visited one of the Maori village shows and dinner. It was great and the food delicious. I loved the Pavlova the best, of course!

Craig was chosen as one of the Chiefs. Here, the warrior is making intimidating movements to them to determine if we are friends or foe. If he thinks we are foe, then they will kill and eat us! 
Here is the Maori chief looking out over the crowd. I think he's hoping he can eat us!

The Chiefs are learning the Haka. They are a little slow, but doing their best (for white guys).

This is a face only a mother could love! Thankfully, all the facial tatoos at this village are makeup! 

This couple are singing a love song. Afterwards we got to see the Haka. Sitting on the front row with the Chiefs, I was sure they would spit on me, because they get so worked up, but all was good!

We had a couple of hours on Saturday to look around the town and loved this rose garden!

Next to the rose garden is the Government Garden with lush grass, perfect for a game of croquet. This group is part of the Croquet Club and they play on Saturdays. In the background is a beautiful iconic building that used to be a famous bathhouse, but now houses a cafe and the Rotorua Museum. 

Craig got a try at swinging the mallot, but never did get that ball through the hoop. It must be harder that he thought! The ladies were very nice to invite us back to play with them sometime! 

Because it was cloudy/rainy, we had a poor view of the Rotorua lake, but it is a big part of the town landscape. 

There are about 18 lakes in the area, and this is one of three we had time to drive to. They were all beautiful and pristine. We had so little time to do much and will have to come back to Rotorua.

We made it back home in time for the ward Christmas party. They know how to do it right with this creative and classy stage provided by a member who is a truck driver. The evening started on "island time" (one hour late) and soon all the chairs were filled. There was singing, jokes, skits, great food and a fun dance. The DJ did a fabulous job keeping the tunes going and everyone hopping! 

Craig said it was the best Christmas party he has been too. It really was a good time by all!

Last week was spent mostly spreading some Christmas cheer with a message, treat and the video, 
"A Savior is Born". If you haven't seen it yet, do so on It's like a video Christmas card! 
We love our regular lessons with different members, and the temple was fantastic! 

We had a short companion study with our Zone Leaders, and Elder Martin got to give Elder Ward his "leaving the mission pep talk". He is bold and direct when he tells departing Elders and Sisters how they need to take advantage of all they have learned on their missions and to go home and DO THE HARD WORK! Take a hard major, hard classes, do more than they think they can, because they are not the same as they were before their missions. They need to invest in themselves and their future. 
This message is welcomed and hopefully, heeded! 

We hope you are enjoying December and leaving time to do some special events with your families, centered around Jesus Christ, and the true meaning of Christmas! Go caroling, volunteer, give service to a neighbor, have fun shopping, do some baking, enjoy your family! The month is half over already!

Happy birthday to our darling granddaughters, Lindsay and Lauren who are turning 16!!! this week!
We can't believe it? For their party, instead of gift-giving, their friends came over and they put together 100 breakfast and lunch snack sacks for the Ronald McDonald house for families staying there. Talk about a good service project! We are very proud of those two! 

Enjoy your week. We love you all and miss your association this time of year!
Elder and Sister Martin

1 comment:

  1. Your granddaughters are a great example to us! What a fabulous birthday service project.