Sunday, 23 November 2014

This is our first blog from New Zealand

Today is Monday, November 24, 2014.

We spoke in sacrament meeting on Sunday November 9th and had a great time visiting with friends and family.  Reed's mother and all our children and grandchildren stayed for the whole afternoon and then we were set apart by President Waddoups at 7:30 p.m.  We said our goodbyes to most of the children and grandchildren which was a little tearful and hard.

We left SLC an hour late at 6:30 p.m.  Luckily we had plenty of time to catch our Air New Zealand fight which left LA at 11:00 p.m.  We arrived in New Zealand on Wednesday, November 12th at 7:45 a.m. after a twelve hour flight from Los Angeles.  We just flew right through Tuesday.  We were met by Dean Westerlund who we will be working directly with here at the Area Office.  It was so good to finally meet him after all the emails we shared over the last five months.

They showed us to our apartment, flat, which is very nice.  We are on the fifth floor, top floor, everyone calls it the penthouse floor.  We have a nice view, two bedrooms and two bathrooms, a washer and dryer, a very tiny kitchen area and lounge.  Big enough for two and any visitors who may come our way!

 This is our living room and kitchen all in one.  they call it a lounge here.  You can see towards the back of the picture, the fridge, stove, small counter space about 2 feet, sink, dishwasher, cupboard.  That is the entire kitchen with about 3 feet of tile then carpet where the table sits.
 This is the other direction looking from the kitchen area into the lounge.  There is a balcony that runs along the whole outside of the apartment (flat).
 This is the bedroom we sleep in.

 This is the view from our balcony.  We have a swimming pool but it is not heated.  Reed went to swim one day and came right back.  Way too cold!
 This is the store that takes about four minutes to walk to.  This is from the walkway we have to take every day to get to the outside doors.  It is a very nice store and has any kind of food you want, except some of the cereals and canned soups we are used to.
 This is looking the other direction from the walkway.  That is downtown Auckland in the background and a health center in the foreground.  We live on the fifth floor, which is the top floor of this complex.  We have to go to the fourth floor to access the outside walkway and this is where we took these pictures.  There are elevators but we prefer to use the stairs.
 The picture on the left is from the street called Anzac.  Our apartment is the top left looking straight on.

Below is Nada standing in front of the door we use most to get to Anzac Street.  We walk to work every day down Anzack Street, then turn onto Burns then onto Huron Street.  It takes us about 12 minutes to walk to work every day.  We go home for lunch most days as well.  We are getting our walking in!  The apartments are called Shoalhaven.  Most of the senior couples who serve at the Area Office live here.

We work in the Area Office on the ground floor with the Welfare and Self-Reliance teams.  This is a new position so they had to create space for us.  There is another senior missionary couple in our office who are the Welfare/Humanitarian Missionaries. 

Everyone has been very helpful and welcomed us with open arms.

 This is where Elder and Sister Spencer sit.  As you can see, we are right as you come into the main doors of the Welfare, Self-Reliance, Education Office.  They brought in these desks and computers for us.  This is a secure building and you have to have cards to let you into all the different areas.  It is painful if you forget your keycard!
 Renee Soloman works with the Self-Reliance team.  She is of Samoan decent and very fun.
 This is the Welfare Area.  Dean, standing is our direct supervisor.  Luisa and Elder Winters are sitting.
 Dean Westerlund is the Education Manager here in the Area Office.  This is his work area.  He has been here a little over a year.  This is a new position at the Area Office and a new type of  mission.  We are all learning together.  He is also a Stake President.  He asked our Mission President, President Balli, if he could call us to his stake so we are in the Panmure Stake, Saineha (Tongan speaking) Ward working with the Young Single Adults. 
We have attended an activity with them and taught them on Sunday.  Great young people and so friendly.  We are blessed.  It is about a 30 to 40 minute drive to church depending on traffic.

This is Luisa Vaifale, the Welfare Secretary.  Elder Winters, in the background, and his wife are the Welfare Senior Missionaries here.  Their Manager and the Self Reliance Managers are all out of country or at a retreat.  The Area people cover many  countries so they are gone a lot of the time.

The weather has been a little cool for Nada but Heavenly for Reed.  It has rained quite a bit which the locals keep saying is unusual for this time of year.  We live twelve minutes away from the office and walk to and from work every day.  We have supermarkets within walking distance and are just starting to explore other areas. 

We work every day from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.  We have had training in PEF and Self Reliance and met some of those missionaries leaving for other countries.  We are trying to learn and create at the same time.

We only live a 20 minute walk from Takapuna Beach and have walked along the beach a few evenings after work.  It is beautiful and peaceful!

We have our apartment all cleaned the way we want it and furnished for the most part.  It is like starting out as newlyweds all over again.  They furnish the bare essentials and then reimburse you for certain things you feel you need to have.  Buying spices, flour, sugar, etc. and the containers to keep them in is like starting all over again.  You forget how much it costs but is kind of fun to get new things.

Well that about catches everything up for now  New Zealand is a beautiful clean country.  We are enjoying ourselves and working hard.  Thank you all for your support and encouragement to get us out here.  We will try our best to do what the Lord wants us to accomplish.  We know hello in Tongan, Malo a Lelei.  That is about it for now.

Love Reed and Nada aka as Elder and Sister Spencer


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