Gae's first photo, from hotel

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Gae Wins!!

When Terry wrote the previous blog, Gae was dismayed that her bowling victory was not the banner headline. Hear ye, hear ye: be it known to all that the senior missionaries went bowling as a family home evening activity about two months ago. Gae beat Terry. Gae beat every other woman. Gae beat every man. Gae won. See photo. Terry is not bitter… not much anyway.

Gae has fully recovered from her ‘split’ injury (see previous post, not bowling split). It took many weeks to get well and she had to spend a lot of time in the flat resting and healing. We are grateful to all our friends and family for many kind words and prayers.

Our work in Public Affairs has been very interesting and very busy. We have the privilege of regular association with four general authorities of the Seventy. Elder Tad R. Callister is the President of the Pacific Area. Elders Brent H. Nielson and James J. Hamula are his counselors; they all reside here in Takapuna, New Zealand. We also have frequent contact with Michael A. Roberts, who is the priesthood advisor for the National Public Affairs Council in New Zealand and for the Auckland Multi-Stake Public Affairs Council. We feel it is a rare privilege and a blessing for us.

For the last week and a half, Terry worked on a 20-minute video of Elder Callister about the importance of Public Affairs in the Pacific and our goals for next year, to be presented to the Australia National Public Affairs Council at their annual meeting. It was a very condensed schedule due to Elder Callister’s travel schedule, but everything stayed on schedule and the video turned out well. Next, the video will be edited slightly for use by all of the Public Affairs councils in the Pacific. Terry had lots of help from our Public Affairs team (including Gae), the videographer that works in the office, and from a very good video editor, Mike and Michel Ramirez, respectively. Michel is Mike’s daughter. It was very interesting work - Terry and Gae’s first experience on professional video production.

Our New Zealand Auckland Mission held a mission-wide zone conference three weeks ago. Richard Hinckley, of the Seventy and Gordon B. Hinckley’s son , spoke. He is very spiritual and gave a very engaging talk about “be attitudes” additional to his father’s. He also talked about his mother’s passing and gave insights into his parents’ lives. He called for questions from the missionaries and answered them with wisdom and humor. Gae and I felt spiritually filled after the meeting.

Gannets at Muriwai


We have been visiting the gannet colony at Muriwai, about 40 minutes away from our flat.  Terry took these photos showing gannet nesting areas.  We have not seen any eggs or chicks yet, but they should come soon.  We’ll keep checking.  Muriwai is a very nice beach on the west side of the North Island.  The waves on the west side are much stronger and Muriwai is a famous surfing beach. 

Gae at Muriwai Beach

Gannets at Muriwai, surfers in background
For Thanksgiving (not a Kiwi holiday) we enjoyed a family home evening barbeque with the senior missionaries, the Area presidency, and the mission president. Gae bought and marinated some steaks that turned out tender and tasty. Each couple brought a dish to share and we enjoyed salads and desserts galore. Not as good as Thanksgiving at home, of course, but better than sulking in a corner. Gae made baked beans. The canned beans here are in tomato sauce and have an interesting flavor so Gae started with dried beans. We couldn’t find navy beans so we used some white dried beans. They were soaked overnight, cooked for hours before the party, but never really got soft. So we had semi-crunchy (but delicious) baked beans. We kept them cooking in the crock pot for an additional 24 hours but apparently whatever kind of beans these are do not get softer. It is hard to cook when the ingredients are off-kilter.
We are busy and happy. We miss our family and friends at home; we have difficult days because of this. Amazingly, we have passed our six-month mark and we are counting down our last year.