Gae and Terry Pearce are on an 18-month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. A 'mission' for the LDS Church is voluntary service usually done by 19 to 23 year old men and women, single senior sisters, and senior married couples. This blog is the story of our mission in New Zealand.
The big news for this episode is that Gae can do the splits! As we were walking through our parking garage on the way to work on October 4th, there was a nearly invisible patch of grease or oil near the refuse bins. On her heel strike, her right foot started slipping and just kept going until she executed a full split with legs front and back, torso nicely vertical. Unfortunately, despite being graceful, she tore her hamstring. Not completely torn through, thank goodness, but she has been very sore and her leg has been very colorful. She can’t sit for more than a few minutes. She worked for half days three days this week and will gradually work up to full time again. Terry is very grateful that she has been cheerful since the accident. We have had an outpouring of love from home and from the employees and missionaries in the office. She should be mostly better in about 4-6 weeks.
Sister Julie Beck, Relief Society General President, and Sister Mary N. Cook, first counsellor in the Young Women General Presidency, are currently on a tour of the South Pacific including Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Tonga, and Samoa. Along the way each has many meetings with Church members. The Directors of Public Affairs in each country have set up the meetings. Our Public Affairs group has been supporting their trip. Gae managed the calendar as various meetings were set up, changed, or cancelled. Terry assembled a package of briefing documents for each meeting, and wrote or rewrote several of them. The Sisters are just wrapping up in Australia and the Area President, Tad R. Callister, attended some of the functions and reports that everything went ‘super-duper’. It amazes both of us how much time and effort go into making all of this go smoothly.
We have seen so many glorious sunsets here.
We enjoyed an evening of home-town entertainment with the Albany Singers. This is a non-auditioned community choir, and the music was lively. We enjoyed ourselves. We went to dinner first at a Japanese steak house (chop-chop place) with two other missionary couples, which turned out very nice. New Zealand seems to have a few quite good restaurants and many uninspired (or worse) eateries. There are not too many in the middle quality range.
Photo for Kids Helping
Terry has written several articles for the web site, but it is very hard to get newspapers to publish things about the Church. He is still working on getting more into the papers. His article on the Mormon Helping Hands in Hastings was put into the Pacific insert, a local section that is added to the Ensign for residents of the New Zealand.
There was a major earthquake in Christchurch two months ago. Both of us have done quite a bit of work supporting public affairs in that area. Terry wrote an article that he particularly liked, and it was put on the New Zealand and Australian websites. He also rewrote an article about 72 hour kits that turned out well. The article was enhanced by a graphics designer, Aaron Hall, and turned out like this. Christchurch has had over 2,000 aftershocks and it has been quite nerve-racking for people living through it. Most of the structural damage was from soil liquefaction, which is also a potential problem in the valleys of Utah.
We did take an overnight trip to Rotorua. Paul and Terry read about opening day on the Ohau channel. It is a short channel between Lake Rotorua and Lake Rotoiti and is always packed with fly fishermen on opening day. If the smelt, a tiny bait fish, are on their spawning run through the channel it is common to catch trout up to 18 pounds, and for each angler to catch many large fish on opening day. Alas, the smelt were not yet running but we did manage to catch one fish each. Paul caught a 7-pounder and Terry caught one that was probably between two and three pounds. Terry’s first landed New Zealand trout, at last!
We all had a great time on the Rotorua trip. We stopped at a roadside café, actually part of a farm supply store, which certainly didn’t look too promising. We ordered cheeseburgers and they were served with the cheese fried separately and stacked on. The cooked cheese looks like a piece of grandma’s crocheted tablecloth. It is crispy and full of little holes, and is really a taste and texture delight.