Potpourri in Fiji…

Over the past several weeks we have been involved in numerous activities and projects. This post will try to share a few of our interesting activities.  Here we go: Church and baptism in a Fijian village On Sunday, June 30th we were invited to attend a church meeting in the village of Marata which is made up of five small villages.  The membership is so small that it is defined as a unit, smaller than a branch.  Usually on Sunday meetings in a village like this the members sit on the floor for their meetings but on this Sunday they brought chairs because they did not want their visitors to be uncomfortable (and because we are old).  It was one of the most spiritual meetings that we have attended in a very long time.  We were asked to talk and bear our testimonies and we were very happy to do so.  The meeting was in Fijian but we gave our testimonies in English.  Even though there was a language barrier, you could feel the spirit that was present that the special place and event we were apart of.  After the Sacrament Meeting, there was a young man (14 years of age) who was baptized and after the opening remarks and talks on baptism, the members escorted the young man down to the river where the baptism took place. We had never seen a baptism in a river before and it was very special not only for the young man but also for the village people.  It was the first baptism of an LDS person from that village.  Here are some pictures of the Marata village, church meeting and baptism.  The first picture is the road to Marata and you can see the village ahead, it lies on the side of a mountain (Fijian mountain). DSCF6680   DSCF6657 DSCF6664 DSCF6663 DSCF6665 DSCF6667 DSCF6672  DSCF6675  DSCF6648DSCF6649DSCF6652 DSCF6677DSCF6654DSCF6656     DSCF6660   DSCF6661

Senior Missionary Farewell Dinner When a senior missionary couple leaves the mission and returns to their home, we get together and have a farewell dinner.  This is a special time as we talk about their experiences and the couple talks about what they are planning when they get home.  This particular farewell  was for Elder and Sister Terry who were the mission office couple.  The are returning to St. George, Utah.  The Terry’s are the couple that is sitting at the far end of the table.

Terry's Farewell Dinner 2015   This next picture is Elder and Sister Terry and Fiji Mission President and Sister Layton Terry's and Layton's 2015

Celebrating July 4th in Fiji… Obviously the country of Fiji does not celebrate the 4th of July as we do in America but the couples who are serving from the US did get together and had a 4th of July picnic.  There is a beautiful park by the sea wall that is very picturesque and we had a great time.  This past several weeks we have had new couples enter the mission and this was the first time we all got together to socialize and have some fun.  The couples are from Star Valley, Wyoming, Cheyenne, Wyoming, St. George, Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, and Cedar Falls, Iowa. After our picnic the tide was out so we had an opportunity to take a walk on the ocean floor and look for treasures of the sea.  We did find some interesting sea shells and watch some mud crabs and other sea creatures work their way on the ocean floor. Sorry about the shadows of the picture but had a Fijian lady who was not to familiar with how to take pictures… DSCF6716 Here Elder Martin (Salt Lake City) is looking pretty dapper..

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.Sister Martin, Sister Allredege (St. George) and Sister Decker talking about something but they are about .5 km in the ocean.

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Four sisters and Elder Martin looking for treasures…                                                                     DSCF6719

In the background is the sea shore where we started walking on the ocean floor.

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Well, we only have a few weeks left in this beautiful country and mixed emotions about leaving this beautiful country and wonderful people. We are anxious to come back and see our children and grandchildren but sad to leave this beautiful island.  Our mission ends on July 19, 2015 and we are going to take a holiday to Australia before we return.  Our plans are to be in Australia for about 9 days and then return to Fiji and spend a couple of days touring the Yasawas and Mamanucas which is a string of islands on the western side of Fiji.  These islands are the islands that everyone sees when they market fiji for tourism purposes.  White beaches and blue waters of the pacific.  We will take lots of pictures but want you to know that it is not the real Fiji.  The real Fiji is in the villages and highlands of this beautiful country. Until we blog again, have a blessed day and check in later for the next experience…glad you stopped by…

Administrative Roundtable…

As we have served in this beautiful country and have been with these wonderful people, cried, laughed and have been apart of their world for the past seventeen months, we have learned a great deal.  Not only have wee been able to share some of our experiences as teachers and administrators but have also been taught by some of the most dedicated educational professionals we have ever met.  Our students are absolutely sponges when it come to learning.  One example is the Administrative Roundtable that we initiated.  While we have been here in Fiji, the administration of both the LDS Church College and LDS Primary School have changed. The administrative teams have done a tremendous job is setting goals, vision and trying to unite the faculty where they are all moving in the same direction. As with any organization as a new administrative team takes over, there are periods of adjustments and changes that take place.  The LDS Church College has a principal whose this is her first principalship experience, a vice principal with only two years of experience and another vice principal with two years of experience.  The LDS Primary School has a brand new administrative team with a first year principal and first year assistant principal.

As part of our Professional Development of working with administrators we have established an Administrative Roundtable which meets once a month for a period of two hours and we talk, discuss and exchange ideas about administrative practices, problems and concerns. We meet at a local restaurant where we moderate the discussion and exchange ideas with the administrators.  This has proven to be a time when the principals treasure coming together and talk and socialize in a way that unity in LDS Church Schools can be created. We host this roundtable and provide the meal for the occasion.  Fijians are like any other educator, when you introduce food into the meeting they will come…they did come and they have learned many things about running a school and the important things about being a successful leader.

We are happy that we could be apart of this experience!

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2015 Monthly Administrative Roundtable Meeting  

Teaching on our mission…

As we get closer to completing our mission we are finishing up teaching a few courses at both the LDS Primary School and LDS Church College.  We have completed a course called Effective Pedagogy and SIOP (Shelter Instruction Observation Protocol).  Both of these courses are connected to effective teaching practices.  SIOP is more geared to English Language Learners.  We also have completed the Leadership and the Principal course which was a fun class.  The students eyes were opened as to what needs to be done for students to have a meaningful educational experience in the 21st century.

As we write this blog, we are completing an Introduction to Special Education course and finishing a Student Teaching experience with eight students.  During our mission we will have taught seven courses and have had ;numerous professional development experiences with the faculties at both campuses.  Our teaching experiences that been very interesting, fun and challenging.  Our students have been very eager to learn and understand and gain new strategies of how to teach and prepare.  We have been able to provide practical experiences and new learning concepts for them.  It has been very rewarding to see the faculty put those new ideas into practice and watch them have success in teaching.

Here are some pictures of our classes…

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SIOP Spring 2015

Our Effective Pedagogy and SIOP students

Admin 2015 Class

Our Leadership and the Principal class.

 

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Part of our Special Education class…

We have been so blessed to get to know and interact with these educators who are making a difference for their students everyday. They are eager to learn new ways of teaching and their love of teaching is very evident.

 

Finished Two Classes…

This past week we concluded two classes for the teachers here in Fiji.  One of the classes was a SIOP course that helps teachers look at their teaching strategies.  It was an eight week course and very interactive.  The students (faculty from both and primary and college were actively engaged with teaching and demonstrating the effective components of teaching.  A wonderful class for these teachers who have not had many opportunities to share with their peers and to learn from each other.  We have tried to engage the faculty with each other and form a Community of Learning.  The feedback from class members was very gratifying for us as we tried to show new ways of learning for the faculty. DSCF5619

DSCF5622 DSCF5623 DSCF5624 DSCF5625 DSCF5626  The second class we taught was a beginning course in administration, called “The Principalship.”  We had many faculty who took the class to find out what administration was all about.  They were interested in what the principal does during the day.  After the class was over, comments like, “now I know why I do not want to be a principal,” and “that was really interesting but no I do not want to be a principal.”  However, many of the class members who had no interest in becoming an administrator commented that by taking the class they had a better understanding on what the position was like and thought it helped them to become a better teacher and employee. Ah, that was music to our ears…   SIOP Spring 2015 These classes were wonderful to participate in and we hope that learning took place and hopefully we will see some differences in the classroom as teachers try to techniques in their teaching practices.

Mother’s Day…

On Mother’s Day weekend three senior Elder’s surprised their wives with a few days at a resort.  We all went to the Warick Resort along the corral coast.  It is about a two hour ride down the coast and a beautiful ride along the ocean.  We arrived on Friday and left on Sunday (Mother’s Day).  The scenery was beautiful and the people were fun and everyone had a great time.  It was good to get away and relax with our wonderful wives.  Here are a few pictures of the resort and the fun things we did.

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On Sunday morning we got up early and walked along the beach for about a mile and enjoyed the morning breeze, the quiet and picked up many sea shells.  It was truly a wonderful Mother’s Day.

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It was one of those weekend’s that you do not want to forget.

Time is getting short…

Since we are leaving Fiji in August, time is getting short so we decided to walk around central Suva on a Sunday afternoon when there are far fewer people.  These pictures show some of the old English Architecture that this city has as well as some of the modern buildings that have been completed while we have been here.  We also took some pictures along the sea wall that runs about 8 kilometers (approx. 4.8 miles).  That is one of the beautiful rides we take here in Suva. For nine months we were assigned to go to church near central Suva and we drove the sea wall road every Sunday.  It wasn’t the fastest way but it was by far the prettiest.

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On this Sunday, a cruise ship was docked at the harbor.  We think it was from Australia…

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When leaving central Suva and going down the sea wall road, there is beautiful scenery and a beautiful park that many Fijians use during the weekend.

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That is our Sunday afternoon trip in Suva, it is a beautiful place and we have enjoyed the view and the people.  We will miss Suva and the Fijian people when we leave.

This entry was posted on May 17, 2015. 1 Comment

Principal’s Conference…

In early March we attended the Area Principal Conference in Auckland, New Zealand.  This is the second year that we attended. The Area South Pacific Church Schools principals attended a week long conference with many speakers.  The countries attending the conference were from Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and Kiribati.  The South Pacific Area Office is in New Zealand so that is why we were in New Zealand.  Most of the time the senior missionaries were in the conference with the principals but then there were times when we separated and had sessions just for the senior ITEP (International Teacher Education Program) couples.  Our sessions centered around what we were doing in each country as well as receiving information from BYU Hawaii.  The ITEP couples are all adjunct professors from BYU Hawaii.  Here are some pictures of out conference…these are principals and church leaders who are responsible for educating the children of the South Pacific church schools.  At the present time there are over 6500 students in the church schools of the South Pacific.

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This year we used one of the days to tour Auckland and see a wonderful museum and had an opportunity to have a cruise around the harbor and surrounding area of Auckland.  It was a wonderful day and evening.  Here are some pictures that we took during our tour and cruise in Auckland.  We were on the boat call the Ted Ashby which provided a great deal of information about what we were seeing.

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These next pictures are of a Russian billionaire’s boat that has been in Auckland for about a month.  It costs the owner about $3000 per month for the boat slip.  The owner flies in from different parts of the world and then takes a cruise.  It must be nice to have that much money to travel the world in a boat like that.  They said that there is a crew of 40 that man’s the boat at all times.

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The boat is so big that it has smaller boats housed within the larger boat so the owners can have their personal boat when they wants to be by themselves.  Must be nice…the owner of the boat owns an oil company in Russia.

The next set of pictures are just scenes as we toured the harbor.

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After we toured the harbor we went to the Auckland Maritime Museum and had a tour mostly of the boat and ship industry.

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After the tour we went to a museum conference room and had a discussion centering around the maritime industry and how it impacted the education pro  gram in South Pacific Schools.  Very interesting how the participants connected what they saw with the theme for the schools this year which was to “Embark.”

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After we concluded our museum tour and discussion, we went for dinner at Elliott Stables.  This was a very unique place.  It was a remodeled horse stable in the middle of Auckland.  It has over twenty different restaurants and a central eating area.  You go to which ever restaurant and order and give them your table number and when your order is ready they will bring it out to you.;  They had an international menu as you can imagine with over twenty restaurants.

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After dinner we walked back to the harbor were we caught a fairy boat that brought us back to the other side of the harbor were we were staying on Takapunta Beach.  We had a wonderful day and a great experience.

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This entry was posted on April 5, 2015. 1 Comment