Friday, October 14, 2011

From MTC to Suva, Fiji

Is it required of all missionaries to stand in front of the world map at the MTC and point to their mission?  Probably not, but it seemed like a good idea.  There it is, east of Australia, north of New Zealand, and west of Tonga -- the Fiji Island group!

 We were introduced to Fijian by our tutor, Elder Vuikadavu, a native of Fiji who is going to school at BYU and working at the MTC.  A smiley, spiritual, wonderful guy - he helped us begin to see that Fijian is a beautifully complicated language which we're glad we don't have to have command of to do our mission work.  We know the people will appreciate all our effort to speak in their language but allow us to depend on English -- the official language of the islands.  Our mission includes many other countries and languages across a broad expanse of ocean.  Languages spoken in addition to Fijian include: French, Bishlama, Gilbertese, Rotuman, Kiribati, Tuvaluan, and Lifou.  The only languages taught at the MTC are Fijian and French so missionaries going to other language islands must learn to speak after they arrive.

We flew all night to Aukland and awoke to this beautiful sunrise . . .

We then flew to Nadi, Fiji and later in the night arrived in Suva where the Church has a complex of buildings which include the beautiful temple, mission home, patron housing, mission office, distribution center, and "service center" which manages all the Church business and buildings in the mission area.

 The temple and Suva itself is on a peninsula with ocean views on each side of the temple. Across from the temple is patron housing and out our window we look towards the ocean.
Down the same street on the right is the Church sponsored elementary school with a little over 100 students (the Church also sponsors a middle and highschool).
 Pretty nifty to go to a school where you have a banner declaring; "I Am A Child of God".  And these beautiful happy children certainly radiate their divine nature.
 She has on her school uniform (common at most schools and distinguished by colors).  Barefoot is the norm.  Below is the principal of the school.

The mission staff has been generous with their time and training.  While doing errands we stopped at a large open market with hundreds of vendors and an endless variety of local fruits, vegetables, and imported goods including fabulous Indian spices.  The bananas are cute little sweet treats and the pineapple is fabulous!
 The currency is the Fijian dollar and the exchange rate is very favorable (.56 cents of US currency buys $1 of Fijian money).  Since Fiji was formerly a protectorate of Britain, the money reflects it's roots and the British Queen Elizabeth.
 We will finish our training and other preparations in the next few days and then be off to our first assignment on the northwest side of the main island in a town called Ba.  In the meantime we love being near the temple and learning from those around us here.  A highlight for Tom has been adopting the common Fijian and missionary daily dress of a nice skirt (called a "sulu" in Fijian) -- it's all he'll wear while serving.  And we both wear sandals without socks to keep as cool as possible in this rainy warm climate, particularly as we head into the hot summer months ahead (seasons reversed here from America).

"Moce" for now! ("good bye" in Fijian, pronounced something like "mowthey")


Ditto Family said...

I'm lovin' this post!!! So fun to see where you are at. Dad, you look smokin' in your suva! Mom, love your shirt that you are wearing at the MTC.

This post sure makes you feel not so far away. Keep them coming!

Matt said...

Love this pictures....looks amazing! You two look great.

Leah said...

Who knew you'd BOTH look so good in a skirt. Love you guys!

emily a. said...

I never thought I'd see the day when Dad's skirt would be longer than Mom's. Love it. Did you get Madera's, Dad? They served me well on my mission too the few weeks it was cold enough to wear them and not my Chacos.

Seth said...

awesome. love to read more, you know, when you have time!

Sierra Parke said...

Just stumbled accross your blog while I was reading Emily' glad to hear you are getting settled in and enjoying your new home for the next little bit. From what I hear from Emily, you'll make great missionaries! Oh, and I love your shirt Annie!

Robyn said...


What a remarkable opportunity - for you and for the the Fijians.

But too bad you have to stare at that ocean all day and can't surf :)


Jade said...

Bro. and Sis. Sherry, I'm so glad you have a blog. Thank you for the update - it's wonderful to hear how you are doing and see your surroundings. David and I are looking forward to the day we can serve together (and legitimately be companions).

AimeeMorse said...

As I read your post last night, my eyes filled with tears. The children are so beautiful, and I can't imagine my own children living in such humble circumstances. I was quickly reminded of all that we have to be grateful for, and how blessed we are to be living in the United States. You two are really amazing, and just know that we love you!!!

sixmoores said...

See Tom in his sulu, made my day!

Love you guys! Glad you are blogging so we can follow along.

nancy moore

Julia said...

Tom and Ann, I love that you are sharing your mission with us on your blog. What an amazing experience to share together. My husband look forward to the day we can serve together. The people of Fiji are so blessed to have such humble servants such as you for a time. I wanted to get you my mom's e-mail address. She is the easiest to keep contact with.:) Her e-mail is:
I know that she would love to hear from you! Thank you for your service and example to us all! Take care-Julia