|Last Goodbye at the Mission Home - How blessed we|
were to serve with these wonderful people!
Talofa Lava Family and Friends,This will be my last blog for Ellsworths in Paradise, as we have returned home after a restful 10 day trip through New Zealand. Our amazing family had our home cleaned and put back together, with Christmas lights up, homemade cookies on the counter, Christmas music playing and a yummy dinner prepared. Annie and Chad moved into Amy and Chad's pool house so the house has been relatively quiet. They will never know how much we appreciate their hard work and support!
|California Redwoods in Rotorua, NZ|
The dramatic change from hot and humid to cold and dry, left me with a terrible cold/flu that I am just barely getting over. (I generously shared it with Brent, and he is just starting to feel miserable.) I dont' think I've been warm since we got home. A trip up north to see Shane's family is temporarily on hold until it warms up.
Life has pretty much been a whirlwind since returning home, as we needed to buy a car, sign up for Medicare, get our phone service, TV service, computers, etc. hooked back up, all in the middle of Christmas activities with the family. I have felt disconnected with our dear friends in Samoa, as I had little time or energy to check FB or write letters. Our son Jason, and his family left this afternoon so I finally have a little time before my sister arrives on Friday to get this blog done.
|Peti, Patty, Myra, Brent in Auckland|
Just a quick note on our trip to New Zealand. Our dear
friends, Peti and Myra Satiu, were wonderful hosts at the beginning and end of this adventure. We left most of our luggage at their home in Auckland so we would not have to drag it around with us. We stayed with them our last night, went to church with them, where we were asked to bear our testimonies in Sacrament Mtg., and then spent the rest of the day trying to get all of our bags under the weight limit. We appreciate the delicious meals, the tour of Auckland, their great hospitality and willingness to dispose of all our excess! We were so grateful for their help at the airport as we were getting ready to fly home. It was quite an ordeal trying to check our extra bags.
For the next eight days we traveled through both the North and South Islands of this beautiful country. Some of the highlights were the geothermal parks with bubbling mud pots, multi-colored pools and geysers, the California Redwoods, Milford Sound Cruise, "Lord of the Rings" country and the spectacular scenery. My favorites were the Pukekura Gardens in New Plymouth and the Hamilton Gardens in Hamilton where we strolled through the most amazing flowers I have ever seen.
|Brent at a thermal pool|
|Brent, Patty Tracee & Lee Soti|
the journey back at the Satius.
It is like being in a time warp coming home. In some ways it feels like we never left, but then we pinch ourselves and remember the incredible experience we had in Samoa. In no way did we anticipate that a mission could be so fun or so much work. Because we were always so busy the time flew by. It was a privilege to work with the young elders and sisters who had been called to serve there. They will always hold a dear place in my heart. Neither were we expecting that a mission would be a place to make so many wonderful new friends. We are planning a cruise together in the summer of 2018, and also get togethers as time and distance allows.