Thursday, 12 November 2015

On Monday October 5th we made a trip to the airport to pick up Elder and Sister Wood and Elder and Sister Simmons.  They have both been serving in Tonga and are coming to New Zealand to have their exit interviews before they go home.  We picked them up in the early afternoon and asked if they wanted to go to the hotel or do a little exploring of New Zealand.  They wanted to tour so we headed to the Waitakere.  There is so much to see and do in the Waitakere but most tourists don't head out there.  We wanted them to see some different things.

Nada, Suzie and Bob Wood, Elder and Sister Simmons eating fruit infused ice cream.  They loved it!

Next stop the Gannett Colony at Muriwai Beach.   It was very windy and a little cool but so beautiful.

One of the reasons they nest here is because of the wind current when they are teaching their new baby birds to fly.
The Gannett birds mate for life.  They start arriving back in August and come to the same exact nesting spot with the same mates.  They are happy to see each other because when they fly to Australia during the late Summer, Fall and Winter they separate until they come back here to mate again.

Muriwai beach is beautiful.  It was high tide and with the wind the water was quite rough.

We had never seen this blow hole before.  We had never been there during high tide.  It made an awesome sound when it shot up.
Nada and Reed with the Tasman Sea and all the Gannetts in the background.  You can see we were still in our missionary attire.  We were doing our missionary work, taking care of our ITEP couples!
You can see the Gannett birds on the tops of the two main ledges. 

We took them to the Parry Kauri Park.  This Kauri tree is 800 years old.  It is hard to believe how big they are until you stand next to one.  They were very impressed.
This is the Silver Fern which appears on a lot of things here in New Zealand.  They are actually trying to change the official country flag to have the Silver Fern on it.
There are wild Calla Lilley's growing all over the place right now.
We headed back because it was getting dark and everyone was getting tired.  We stopped in Waiwera (there are some very nice natural thermal hot pools here) for dinner at Woody's.  It is a small café and bar with great food.  The owner, Woody, waited on us and cooked our food.  We heard he is retiring and will close down in about a month.  Too bad, his food is very good and reasonable.

On Tuesday we had both of their exit interviews with Michael Carthew calling in via Polycom and Aaron (the director of all S&I and Church Schools here in the Pacific) came in for part of both exit interviews.  We then took them to the airport to get a rental car because they are going to go south for a few days to tour together.  This is one of the perks of being the ITEP Coordinators.  Doing the training, exit interviews and spending time with these wonderful Senior Missionaries.

Reed and I stayed out in South Auckland after we dropped them off because we were doing a Young Men/Young Women workshop on Education in the Otara Stake.  We went to the Self-Reliance Service Center in Manukau and visited with the Mickelsons and Moses and worked for a while.  Then we headed to our workshop at 5:30 p.m.

Reed did a great job.  It was a Samoan language unit.  The kids asked some good questions as did the leaders.  There were quite a few parents there as well.  Hopefully they will help each other get some study groups and language groups going.

On Friday, October 9, 2015, we arrived at the airport at 7:30 pick up Elder and Sister Edwards who are going to be our TVET couple at Saineha in Tonga.  This was the first time we were late.  Their plane arrive half an hour early and they got right through customs.  They said they had said a little prayer and then there I was at the sliding doors to the airport.  We felt bad.  They were fine but we felt a little bad.  We trained for a few hours that day and took them to their hotel at 1:00 p.m. 

On Saturday we trained from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m with Ameet who is over all the TVET for the Church Schools.  Elder and Sister Wood showed up to get their luggage we had been storing for them so they were able to meet the Edwards and we were able to say a final good bye.

Saying our final goodbyes to Elder and Sister Wood.  We will really  miss them.  They are headed to Australia to stay with a daughter and grandkids for a month then heading home to Utah.

This is the map of the Pacific Area with all the different countries and missions it includes.

We took Elder and Sister Edwards to the airport about 3:00 p.m. on Saturday.  They wanted to see the New Zealand MTC so we drove them there on the way to the airport.  It is in a nice location and sits on a hill overlooking the Manukau Bay and city.  We had a busy but great weekend.

We hope you enjoyed seeing some of the great things we get to do as Area ITEP Coordinators and as Area Education Specialist Coordinators..  We have made a lot of  early morning trips to pick up new missionaries and a lot of afternoon trips to take them to the airport to head to their countries for their missions and to head home when they have finished their missions.  It has been great to see both sides, the new ones and the ones who have finished with  honour.  We feel so blessed.  We work hard and have learned to enjoy every minute of free time to explore this beautiful country.  We love the Gospel, we love being able to serve our Father-In-Heaven and we love all of you. 
Until next time.  Love Elder and Sister Spencer (aka Reed and Nada) 


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