James Christmas

 We have had a blast with James the past couple of weeks.  We have done a lot with him and we still have a few more days left.  We will share the pictures to follow of his adventures.  

It is Christmas day! We started out at 8:00 AM this morning attending our beloved Tongan ward for the last time.  They had a wonderful Christmas musical program.  They are such wonderful singers.  We truly felt serenaded by angels today.  All of the people in the choir dressed in white.  

After our session at church, we had our traditional Christmas breakfast with blueberry muffins, eggs, and sausage.  It was nice to have James here to share that with.  We then opened our stockings from Santa (probably the latest we have ever done so since we have been married). We opened our presents, video chatted with our family in Wisconsin, California, Washington, and Oregon.  Tonight, we had a mission dinner with all of the missionaries in our mission!  We finished by singing Christmas songs accompanied by ukuleles.  We are so blessed to be here and love this opportunity we have been given to serve here.  While we miss our family and friends intensely, our hearts are filled with gratitude to make a difference here as we helped establish and institute program in Laie.

James with William, the Fijian Warrior

Two Ulus!

James at the night show Ha, Breath of Life

With Josh Button

We are still amazed at the beautiful plants in our yard

63 degrees! It finally is cooling down.

Crooked coconut trees near our new apartment in Ha'ula

James' hat given to him by his friend Kap (yes - this is a Kap Cap)

The Dog Days of December

 We are thrilled that the weather has changed here and cooled down a few degrees.  The trade winds have come and it makes the heat a little more tolerable. 

It does make the palm trees sway and the rain a little more intense when it comes - but hey, winter weather here sure bea
ts winter at home.  Today, I went out to the car and found a stray dog in the middle of the road relaxing.  I think he had the right idea.  Perhaps I should try that for a while. 

We had our big closing social this past Thursday. We fed about 60 kids kalua pork, rice, chips, macaroni salad, and ice cream with toppings. It was a lot of work but so worth it.  Here is a shot with one of our favorite student couples, Cynthia and Jerry.  They were married in July and are expecting their first child in April.  They are both studying accounting. 

We were honored during our mission Close the Fast potluck last Sunday.  We were sung to (Aloha oe) and given tons of leis.  We will miss that monthly activity.  

The big news of this week is that we got a new car.  It is a brand new Ford Escape Hybrid.  It operates like a Toyota Prius and alternates between electric power and the gasoline engine.  We picked it up yesterday and on the trip back home from Pearl City, it got 51 miles per gallon. 

We used a few scraps of lumber, some brick wallpaper and some paint and came up with a fireplace for our apartment for Christmas.  We needed someplace to hang our stockings!  

Institute Classes Done for the Year

 We taught our last Institute class as missionaries this past week.  We have loved this opportunity to rub shoulders and discuss the Gospel with these young people.  We hope we have made a difference in their lives.  The way they are living their lives gives us great hope in the future and a confidence that the Kingdom of God will be in good hands wherever they settle down to call home.  

Some students from our Institute Class

We had our first wedding.  A young man stationed at Schofield Barracks from the Tri Cities Washington area (Pasco) and a young lady from here but is Samoan were married yesterday.  He will be deployed soon and works in Army Intelligence.  They have both served missions in the Philippines.

Trevor & Lila

We attended the Christmas tree lighting for BYU Hawaii this last week.  There we met a delightful family from Australia (but of Polynesian descent).  We were particularly touched by this big uncle tenderly caring for his nephew while his mother and father were busy visiting.

The baby's name is Levi


We continue to enjoy trying new places to eat.  One of our favorite places is the food trucks in Hale'iwa.  Hale'iwa is about 10 miles away on the northwest side of the Island.  It is a pretty drive.  We like to eat at a taco truck there for taco Tuesday and at a shrimp truck whenever we have an excuse.  They make the best coconut shrimp we have tasted here.  We also try to take in a sunset while we are there because they are so pretty.

Welcome sign for Hale'iwa along the road.