Saturday, 6 August 2016

Today, Wednesday August 3, 2016 is my (Nada's) birthday.  The day started out with calls from our wonderful children and emails from some of our grandchildren.  They are the best!  We went to the office and they planned a wonderful morning tea for me.  There was a great variety of food there.

Reed gave me a Silver Fern necklace and you can see the yummy food on the table.  Dallas' wife made me German Chocolate Cupcakes because he knows I love German Chocolate Cake.  They were delicious.

Our wonderful children sent me this beautiful bouquet of flowers and box of chocolates.  I had a wonderful day.

Reed took me to a movie and wonderful dinner at Portofinos.  I carried the flowers home so I could enjoy them and you can see after I took them out of the paper and put them in a vase they started opening right up.  I had a wonderful birthday.  Thank you to Reed, our children and I received cards and emails from a couple of sisters.  I am blessed!
Friday, August 5, 2016 Renee, Nada, Ariel, Louisa and Sister Preator spent most of the morning cutting up fruit and vegetables for the refreshments that will be served after the devotional today.

Nada had to run home and get her good knives because the ones in the kitchen at the Area Office are very dull and not very high quality.  They really made a difference!

Nada and Louisa putting the fruit platters together.

The Area devotional was to introduce and welcome the new member of the Area Presidency, Elder Craig A. Cardon and his wife Deborah.  From left to right, Brent Buckner our DTA, Elder S. Gifford Nielsen first counsellor in the Pacific Area Presidency, President O. Vincent  Haleck, Craig A. Cardon second counsellor and Sister Cardon.

Sister Cardon spoke for a few minutes and told us a little about them and their time as Mission President in Rome, Italy.  She talked about how she recognized that she could not do it alone, she needed to depend and trust in The Lord to get her through raising their 7 children at that time and being the Mission Mom.  She says it was a valuable lesson she learned then and continues to trust and depend on The Lord in all their callings. 

Hans, Hatu, Alfred, Richard, David, and Randall, all employees, sang "I Need Thee Every Hour" and did a great job.

Elder and Sister Cardon got up together and Elder Cardon paid her the most beautiful compliment about how she despises contention and avoids it always.  He shared a nice testimony and expressed their excitement to be here and serve with the wonderful people in the Pacific Area.

I played the prelude, opening and closing hymn and postlude.  I have been able to share my piano playing talent a lot here on this mission.

Elder and Sister Cardon stood at the front of the room and shook hands with everyone in attendance.  It was nice to meet them and get to know them a little more.
Saturday, August 6, 2016, we decided since we only have 10 Saturdays left before we go home we need to do a little exploring when possible.  We headed to Hunua Ranges Regional Park which were about an hour drive from our flat.  First stop was Hays Creek Waterfall.  Nada is looking down from the top of the falls.

Reed walked down the road so he could get a picture of the river and Hays Creek Waterfall which you could not see from the top.

We then drove to Hunua Waterfall.  It has been raining all week so the water was running pretty fast and was a little muddy.

When we first arrived there were a couple of young men and us at the waterfall.

Nada crossing the bridge over the river to get to the other side.  It was only 10 degrees Celsius and raining off and on.

The Hunua Waterfall from the other side of the river.  When it is warmer people swim in this pool at the bottom of the falls.  Right now it is over the banks because of all the rain.

You can see how brown the water is.  It was a beautiful little area.  We had no idea this was even here.

We took the lookout view trail so we could see the waterfall from a higher view.

Everything is so green.  We love these Fern Trees.

Nada on the lookout trail.  The hikes here are always through beautiful foliage and the trails are well taken care of.

We took another little detour to get a different angle.  The wind was blowing the mist from the waterfall and it was getting us wet and cold.

We decided to stay for a while and eat lunch in the car.  As we finished lunch the sun came out and there was blue sky so we walked back down to Hunua Waterfall so we could get better pictures.

Reed posing and getting as close to the water as possible without getting in.

Looking down the river to the bridge.  When you cross the bridge there are a few different hikes you can take through the Hunua Ranges Regional Park.

As we left there were a lot more people coming to explore.  It was a very nice day even with the rain and wind.  There are so many beautiful places within a short distance from where we live.  We are going to try to explore as many of these waterfalls as we can over the next 10 weeks.

We stopped at Martha's Backyard on the way home after our hike.  It is about a 35 minute drive from our flat.  This is where we shop to buy American products.  We can find things here that we are familiar with from home.  Everything costs about 3 to 4 times more than what we pay for it in the US but sometimes it is just worth it.
We hope you enjoyed learning about what we did for our first week of August 2016.  We love New Zealand.  There is so much to do here and it is a very beautiful country.  We will really miss it when we leave to go home.  We feel truly blessed for the opportunity to serve here in the Pacific Area Office.  We get to meet and serve with so many wonderful people.  We stay very busy and are grateful when we have time to explore this beautiful country.  Heavenly Father has created so many beautiful places.  How blessed we are.

Until next time, Love Elder and Sister Spencer (aka Reed and Nada)


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