A Baptism and Turtles

We attended our first baptism on our mission yesterday as one of our Institute students (Kala) got

baptized.  We visited the prayer meeting for the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) guides one morning before they started work and told them about Institute.  Kala started attending and this week announced
that she was getting baptized and invited us to attend.  What a wonderful event that was!  Unbeknownst to her, the other guides (about 60 of them) prepared a special musical number and sang for her in her baptismal program.  The love they had for her was palpable!   Her Tongan name is Vaikakala which means water blossom.  She was absolutely radiant yesterday and felt fortunate to have been there.

We taught Seminary again this week for Sister Daniel.  She was at a doctor's appointment with her daughter who had to return early from her mission in Louisiana.  She has Lyme disease and some autoimmune issues that have really been terrifying for them.  We

enjoy this after school seminary group of students.  Here is a picture of C.E. and Jay doing a project in class.  

We enjoyed teaching our institute lesson on Wednesday and Janice really impressed the students by cooking fresh Norwegian Waffles for them complete with sour cream and raspberry jam.  We even had students come into the room who were not students - drawn to the room by the aroma of cardamon.  We are looking at only a couple more weeks of lessons before the semester break.  We have enjoyed teaching the Principles, Doctrines, and Teachings of the Book of Mormon.  We do not know what we will be teaching next semester.  I guess we will be surprised!

Almost every morning (barring jellyfish) we swim at the beach just down the street from our apartment.  More often than not we see a friendly sea turtle swimming around us munching on seaweed.  They have even come within two feet of us before swimming away.  They average about 2 or 3 feet in diameter and seem to adopt a "we won't bother you if you don't bother us" attitude.  It always makes our day when we see one surface and give us a once

over before moving on.  Not surprisingly, our craft time this week has been focused on turtles.  Janice is doing a fantastic wall mural in our living room with her vinyl cutter.  She still has some waves to add but here is a sneak preview.  By the way, Malama i Na Honu means "Save the turtles."

I finished my first-ever underwater painting of a sea turtle.  I think I will title the picture "Righteous Dude!"
While obtaining a set of Church keys for seminary, I noticed a fellow with climbing gear scaling the coconut trees in the parking lot in the Sugar Mill in Kahuku.  He was cutting off the growing coconuts and dead fronds so they would not fall on people.  He looked quite comfortable 40 feet up a tree although I would have been somewhat frightened with the sway of the tree in the wind.

Culture Nights


Our Wednesday Institute Class
We have had a wonderful week.  The Institute program continues to grow and we have a lot of fun after the lesson as the young people play games, sing, and visit.  It does keep us up fairly late but it cheers our heart to rub shoulders with them.  Janice got a ukulele and so we bring both of them to Institute.  Not too many other places in the world where you can just put a couple of ukuleles and a guitar out and a sudden spontaneous concert pops up.

Friday and Saturday nights were Culture nights for the different BYU Hawaii national clubs.  We loved it!  It was especially sweet to see one of our friends from Samoa, Noel Fuamula.  We
were so excited to spot her during the performance.

Samoan Siva During Culture Night

We continue our routine of swimming every day in the ocean and bicycling around to the office.  It keeps us flexible and certainly gives us a chance to interact with the beauty around here.  The flowers, the animals, and the smiling people have really made us feel good.  

We certainly love our Tongan ward that we are assigned to.  We are teaching the youth Sunday school class and liked the look on their faces today when Janice pulled out several plates of homemade cookies.  

Heliconia in our yard

With Our Friend Noel!

Close the Fast, Taco Tuesday, Stake Conference Lunch, . . .

 It seems like everything here is driven by food.  Perhaps it is the universal language of love here.  We were in charge of the monthly pot luck called "Close the Fast" which was a great feast with many dishes of casseroles,

Our table at Close the Fast
meats, and rice, along with a variety of salads and desserts.  We ate at the staff dining area behind the Gateway Buffett in the Polynesian Cultural Center.  

Janice and I had the privilege this week of teaching both the Wednesday and the Thursday institute lessons because Brother Meyers was out of town attending a training.  We worked extra hard on the lesson to make sure that it was interesting.  Our self assessment was that it was pretty good but that is probably inflated somewhat.  We mainly wanted to make sure that the young people would come again in spite of us.  We did have a wonderful moment after our Wednesday night lesson when one of our soft-spoken and shy students had a chance to play the guitar and sing for us and a few students.  My oh my, what a surprise it was when he not only played well but entertained us almost professionally with several popular songs.  I know the young ladies in the group were suddenly a lot more interested in him!  He left that night with his head a little higher and a little more outgoing.

We continue to keep to our tradition of enjoying Taco Tuesday.  We found a taco truck in Hale'iwa that has a deal on Tuesdays of 5 street tacos for $8.00.  We took Elder and Sister Johnson (the ITEP Coordinators) with us and not only enjoyed the meal but witnessed a spectacular sunset.

We find ourselves surrounded by beauty everywhere we go.  We are trying hard not to take it for granted but to relish every stunning sunset and beautiful flower we see.  Most of all, we are immersed among an amazing amalgamation of people not only from the Islands but from India, Mongolia, Thailand, China and the Mainland.  They are warm, friendly, and most have a broad smile as you pass.

This Saturday, we actually had a little bit of down time.  We attended a gathering of Senior missionaries at Kokolilo Beach just south of Laie.  It was beautiful.  Janice and I swam for a little bit but mostly enjoyed visiting.  We came home and as Janice started a project cutting some vinyl wall art, I got out my oils and worked on a painting.  I had been

wanting to paint our temple here since we arrived.  It is just up the street from us and we see it every day.  My painting ended up a little stylized without buildings around it but capturing perhaps and earlier day here in Laie.

Janice and I spoke in our Sacrament meeting this morning.  Our Tongan ward is so kind and accepting of us.  We are so thankful to be assigned to them by our Mission President.  We also attended the Stake Conference lunch for Laie YSA 2nd Stake.  They had two sessions of conference with lunch in between.  We took advantage of the opportunity to mingle with them and passed out invitations to attend Institute. Of course, we could not escape without a clamshell full of food for each of us.

We are so happy here serving.  It makes a difference to us to make a difference here!

Called to Serve!

Isaac Receives His Call
The big news this week was that our oldest grandson, Isaac received his mission call to the Guatemala City East Mission.  He will start the MTC on May 16th.  We are rejoicing that he will be serving at the same time that we will be.  The cool fact is that he will be in the same mission that our youngest son, Adam served in.  He was the last Lloyd from our family to serve besides us.

We had a great week.  As usual, we start everyday with a swim in the ocean just down the street from us.  It is wonderful to swim around in the waves and move our joints in the cool ocean water.  We have made a goal this coming week to snorkel a little.

We have been staying after Institute so the young people can socialize.  With the ping pong table, foosball table, and the board games it provides a great opportunity

Watching the sunset on North Shore
for them to be in small groups and laugh a little.  As we were leaving one night this week at about 10:00 pm, we were greeted by a young man from India that saw our nametags.  His name was Shan Arumugum.  He asked if we knew an Ammon Lloyd.  When we told him that he was our nephew, he waved his arms excitedly and told us that he served with Ammon on his mission to India.  He was so happy to think that perhaps he could reconnect with him again.  It is indeed a small world.

We also had our first experience taking tickets at the Luau in the Polynesian Cultural Center.  We dressed in our matching Samoan clothes and I checked off names as they came in.  Janice got to hand out leis.  It was pretty fun.  Janice and I got to eat at the luau when we were finished.  It was good to get to know the Grahams and the Kirtlands who also helped us.

 A funny thing happened on Thursday after Seminary.  We typically are in a rush because our weekly seminary class ends at 6:00 PM.  We usually hurry home to grab a quick bite to eat before scurrying off to institute class to help Brother Meyers.  When we got home at 6:15, our electronic door lock for our house would not work.  We could not get in.  So we took a quick drive to McDonalds to get a burger and then zipped over to start institute by 7:00.  After we got the rolls passed around, Janice leaned over to me and said, "So, what's your plan?  Are we going to sleep on the street tonight?"  I drove home immediately, took an air conditioner out of our window and asked the Samoan family across the street to lend us one of their little girls to pass through the window to open the door.  They were so kind and were glad to help us.  I think we owe them cookies!

We have been helping out a homeless man who has been sleeping on the sidewalk down the street.  We avoided him for a couple of weeks until I spotted a young lady marching over to him with a plate of food from their dinner.  I thought, "If she can do that, I must also."  Janice ordered him a camping chair from Walmart.  I gave him a pair of pants and a shirt.  We also put together a hygiene kit with soap, a razor, a washcloth, and some trash bags.  He is wearing my pants and sitting regularly in Janice's chair being much relieved from the hard sidewalk.  He is even waving at us once in a while.

We love our mission!  We love working with the young people in Laie Hawaii area.  Once in a while, a young person will take the opportunity to talk with us like they might with their parents if they could and tell us their ambitions and dreams.  We simply have to listen and tell them that God will bless them for the good choices they are making like attending institute.  It puts a spring in our step to think that we made a difference that day!