Tonga Tales

Tonga Tales
Elder and Sister Wally Smith

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Tonga Tales July 9th. 2012
Goodbye to Tonga
After The Grand March
Flowering Trees next to our Home
            This will be our last Blog from Tonga.  In just a week we will get on a plane and fly to New Zealand to give our mission report at the area office.  Then after a couple of days we will be headed back home.  We will miss Tonga, most of all the Tongan people who have been so friendly, helpful and who have helped us to learn so much during the months that we have been here.  We will leave a part of us here.  When we left Utah 18 months ago, it was hard, but we knew that one day we would return.  Who knows if we will ever come back to Tonga?
Acient Tongan Arch
          We thought the last two weeks would be relaxed.  We would complete all our classes by the 29th. of June and the students are out for the break. (Like our Christmas break at home.)  But is seems the bishops, teachers and school leaders want one more presentation, workshop, fireside etc. before the Smith’s leave. We have given several, but I think we are finally finished, at least the prep part.

Beach by the Land Bridge

Last week about 2,000 Tongan youth from the stakes here on the main island met for a three day EFY.  Sister Smith and I presented one of the workshops.  We were asked to talk about Education.  We knew that we would have about 250 in each workshop and that we would present the workshop four times.  I must admit, we were concerned about teaching a group that large.  How do you keep their interest?  We prayed a lot about it and came up with a plan that really worked well.  First we taught them a cheer.  On signal I would lead the boys and they would shout out “I can be”, and  then Sister Smith led the girls and they would say What I want to be.” We used a power point  presentation with music, videos and pictures to hold their attention.  Toward the end, we showed them a video of radio control planes crashing into the ground.  Then we asked if any of them thought they could fly a radio control plane.  Several volunteered and we had them come to the front and they all tried and all failed to fly my radio control simulator.  The simulator was shown on the screen, so the kids could watch these students attempt to fly and fail.  Then I showed them how to fly the plane. That led to a discussion of why I could do it and why the others could not.  Of course the point was, without an Education, you cannot do much of what you want to do, but with an education “ you can do what you want to do.”  We think the kids got the idea, as several of them repeated the cheer when they saw us after the workshops.
Start of the Grand March, we are directing the Prince

            This week we also attended the Marriage Ball for the Crown Prince (Tupouto’a) and his Bride. (Sinaitakala)   The plan had been for Teri and I to teach them to so the Waltz and Foxtrot so that they could start the dance after the Grand March.  As it happened they were out of the country and only came back the same day as the ball, so we were not able to teach them the dances.  So when the time came for the grand march, Teri and walked up to the Royal Couple, bowed and asked them to come to the dance floor to lead the Grand March.  As the Crown Prince he led the march, but it was my responsibility to tell him when to turn, where to go, to control the speed. Etc.  Teri and I walked right behind him so that I could talk with him as we walked.  As it turned out there were so many people who joined the march as we went around the room, we soon could not move.  Then when it came time to dance, the Prince and the Princess left the floor and it became the responsibility of those of us on the floor to get the dance started.  The Prince is about 6 foot 4 and the princess is as tall as I am.  What an experience. 

              We will miss Tonga,  most of all we will miss these great Tongan people.  We have learned so much from them.  They have been so loving, helpful and friendly.  They have a faith that puts the rest of us to shame.  When we left Utah, we were sad to leave those that we love, but we knew that we would be back in 18 months.  We know that when we leave Tonga we will most likely never return.  We look forward to seeing our children, grandchildren and friends, but we are sad to leave Tonga.
Scattered across this Blog you will find some of our favorite places in Tonga


Rocky Coast
Blow Holes

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