Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Day On and a Day Off

It was a tough job but someone had to do it!
 An hour's ride on a speed boat and we arrive on Rabi Island where Gilbertese is  the native language but gratefully they also speak English.  Smiling faces welcome us when we visit this remote and minimally developed island that makes Taveuni seem like a "modern development."
"Main" and only street
The LDS Church has an active but small congregation there and we love to meet with them and help where we can. Their rented meetinghouse may not look like much but their dedication and faithfulness outshine many.
This was a good day for the toilet, which had recently had a coat of latex paint added to cover its age -- and it flushed!  The next time we visited, the tank had fallen off the wall but the bucket was full of flush water.  It's always BYOTP ("bring your own toilet paper"), since paper is a precious commodity.  And just in case you forget it's an LDS Church, there's the handy "no smoking" sign for a friendly reminder.

Ready to learn and share their progress, Annie met with these wonderful women to exchange ideas and share experiences and materials to enrich their teaching with youth and women. Tom met separately with the men to help them better understand finances and church administration.
While we met with leaders, the captain of the boat was out on the reef edge spear fishing.  Won't his family and neighbors be happy with this catch!
Note to self: bring suit and snorkel next time!
We need to be honest, not all days are spent in such challenging missionary service.  Every once in a while we plan a really fun outing and get to join other senior couples for an excursion.  This is one of those days; it followed a pretty intensive weekend of leadership training so we were ready for some diversion.

Our uptight guide ~ obviously, ulcers are not a Fijian malady
Beautiful pristine waterfalls cascade off the mountains into the sea on the eastern side of Taveuni.  Too many to count, and seen only from the sea, we headed out to take in the sights and capture a few to share.

No sharks in sight so we jumped in the warm clear waters
 The water was stunningly beautiful and our mid-day hike to Lavena Falls was worth every step. We always hate looking like tourists, but . . .

It would be easy to get lost in the incredibly lush growth of vines, trees, bushes
and steep mountain sides.  Taveuni is truly the "garden island".
So many unique creations of nature to discover

Between swimming in our clothes and being caught in the rain, "wet" was the word.
Good thing all the water in Fiji is warm so you never really worry about it.
Lavena Falls cradled in a volcanic amphitheatre
Just a short swim up the river and we'll be there.  Looks placid here but as you
approach the falls the current is pretty stiff!

Should any of you visit this pool, please take your diving mask and try to find
Tom's wedding ring.  Somewhere between the current and the falls (and a shrinking
finger?), it sadly it did not make it to our 41st anniversary. . .
. . . but we're still happily married!
Nature provided our lunch of papaya and coconut and our guide prepared it with knife, rock, and smile.  Fijian trout swarmed and snatched any morsel we tossed their way and we trust the local crab got his share.

We're told that this is the filming location of "Return to the Blue Lagoon"
These little ones don't have to "return," they live here
Shall we make reservations for you?
It was a blessed day
"Now the day is over;
Night is drawing nigh;
Shadows of the evening
Steal across the sky.

Jesus, give the weary
Calm and sweet repose;
With they tend'rest blessing
May our eyelids close."


Dede Johnston said...

Annie and Tom,
Thank you so much for your latest posting. I love the photos of Taveuni and reading about your work there. And, the water falls... and blue, blue water; how beautiful. Will you be spear fishing now on Squam :)?

Blessing and love to you both,

The Boys Club plus a girl! said...

It has been such a blessing to read your posts. Thank you for sharing. We love you both and are so grateful for your example and the example of your Figian friends and wow what scenery. gorgeous

Hugs to you!

The dye's

The Boys Club plus a girl! said...

It has been such a blessing to read your posts. Thank you for sharing. We love you both and are so grateful for your example and the example of your Figian friends and wow what scenery. gorgeous

Hugs to you!

The dye's

Ken said...

Looks like paradise.

We've enjoyed having your granddaughter Cali in nursery.

Can't wait to have you back!

Leah said...

Was that song made for that trip or what??? So perfect. This post has me dying for a visit. That turquoise water with the falls, amazing! I can't believe those fish are that big too. I love those parrot fish, they're so pretty. And mom, how did you enter the white t-shirt contest and still stay modest?

Ditto Family said...

a really wonderful post!! I was thinking the same thing about the white t-shirt contest : ) Dad, love your short hair. The sun looks good on both of you!! The blue water is to die for! And that church building looks like a leap up from the one we saw on the interior of the island.

Ditto Family said...

Just watched the video -- super impressed. Johnny lives on even in Fiji!

Matt said...

Will you guys stop it all ready with that water? Holy cow....amazing. What a way to celebrate your anniversary too!

emily a. said...

This post was pure heaven. I cannot get over the water, it's so beautiful.

I do have to wonder though why you swim in your clothes so often? I'm guessing you don't always know when to bring a swimsuit or not. And Dad, that broke my heart reading you lost your wedding ring. So, so sad. Ryan's dad has that connection to the jeweler in SLC if you want to check them out for a possible replacement ring.

I'm getting SO SO SO excited to see you both soon! said...

John Denver, good friends, skimming the water with the dolphins and the lush greenery of God's own Fiji. No better way to spend another cold and snowy day in Provo, Utah. Thanks so much for sending this. I love you two.

Vicki Rinne said...

Tom & Annie, Great post & photos, as usual. Fun to see the other missionary couples too. I'll be thinking about that toilet next time we are asked to clean the church bathrooms.

Vicki & Heikki