Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Kia Ora, today is Thursday, February 12, 2015, and we have been in New Zealand for 3 months now.

Boy have we been busy.  We keep thinking we are going to blog more often but time just gets away from us.  Reed has been coming in a lot of mornings between 7 and 7:30 a.m. while I finish up my walk and get ready for the day.  Usually we arrive at 8:00 a.m. and leave around 5:00 p.m.  Some evenings we stay longer just because it is quiet and we can get a lot done when no one else is around. 

On Saturday January 17th we left the flat at 5:55 a.m. to head to Hamilton to attend an 8:30 a.m. Temple Session.  There were 180 people in the session.  It was so nice, there was a gentleman in our ward that is deaf that received his endowments and was sealed to his wife.  He was so excited to be there.  He is so friendly and happy all the time at church.  He communicates with sign language that he and his family mostly made up.  It was wonderful to be a part of this day with them

After we finished at the temple we drove into Hamilton and visited their History Museum.  It was very interesting.  They had a lot of Maori Ceremonial Cloaks that two families had made.  They were woven and had a lot of different kind of bird feathers woven into them.  We did not have our camera with us so we will have to visit again so we can share the beauty of these cloaks. 

We met a couple by the name of Julia and Eric Wilcox.  They saw our name badges and stopped us to talk about the church.  They are active members in a little town south of Hamilton.  They asked if we would have lunch with them and we had a nice visit.  We found out brother Wilcox has cancer and had just come from a treatment.  We wish them the best of luck.  Nice people!  It is amazing how many people stop us to talk to us because of our name badges.

On Friday, January 23rd after work we went with Elder and Sister Wilkins to Kennedy Beach.  It was only a 20 minute drive from our flat.  The tide was way out and we explored some tide pools and just enjoyed the fresh air and scenery.  We packed a picnic and just ate there on the beach.

 To get to the beach you had to walk down 120+ steps.  During World War II this area was Castor Bay Battery where the New Zealand Army camouflaged barracks and guns to protect New Zealand from any attacks by sea.
 We saw some starfish and other little fish in the tide pools.
 There were quite a few different colored starfish along the rocks where the tide had gone out.

 We walked to the farthest rock shelf that was not covered by the ocean.  .

The beach is on the right and we had to get a little wet to get all the way out to this farthest rock shelf.  On the other side of this formation the drop off was quite deep into the ocean.
The tide came in very quickly.  All the rocks you can see to the shore were covered within 20 minutes.

We saw this Kingfisher up very closely.  It was a beautiful evening.  A nice way to unwind from a busy week.

On Saturday, January 24th we went with Elder and Sister Winters to the Auckland War Memorial Museum.  It is free to Auckland residents which we qualify for the next two years.  They had some interesting planes, memorabilia, displays, etc. One floor was dedicated to World War I and II.  One floor was dedicated to Maori Culture and the other floor was for nature.  They had skeletons of animals and taxidermy ones.  They had information on volcanoes and cyclones and weather patterns.  Quite interesting.   We spent a couple of hours and when it is rainy and cold we will go back again to see the rest.

 They had a Maori traditional house and were restoring the carvings all along the walls.
 Reed and Nada standing in front of The Spitfire that was used during World War II.

 Reed standing next to a Great White Shark.  Much better to meet it here than in the ocean!

They had these little green geckos in glass aquariums.  We have not seen any while we have been out hiking or in the mountains  We would like to see one not in an aquarium.

New Zealand has done a good job preserving the history of their country and making it available for people to enjoy.

That evening we attended the Saturday session of stake conference.  They had the Samoan ward provide the music.  It was so beautiful.  The men sang the prelude music and it was like being back in our ward in Samoa.  They harmonize and sing loudly.  It just fills the whole chapel.  We then attended the Sunday session at 10:00 in the morning.  It was nice to understand everything that was being said.  It is hard to attend church every week that is all in Tongan when you don't speak the language so it is nice to every once in a while hear it in a language we understand.  President and Sister Going, Temple President and his wife, spoke and our Mission President and his wife, President and Sister Balli spoke.  It was a very nice meeting.  The theme was "Hastening the Work, Going to the Rescue."

That will be it on the blog for today.  We have a lot more to write about but we will do a separate blog.  We hope you enjoy learning about New Zealand and seeing the beautiful things it has to offer.  We are well, busy and doing our best to help the Lord's Work move forward.  Have a great week.  More later.  Love Elder and Sister Spencer.


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