G.P.S. (Government Public School) in Ha’ateiho

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This is what is left of the school in the village just down the road from Liahona.

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Two of the buildings were destroyed, and a third lost its roof.

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Air conditioning, Tongan style.

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Classes have been suspended. (But some schools are holding classes outdoors.)

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Things haven’t been cleaned up because the administration and teachers are dealing with similar issues at home.

 

 

As of Tuesday evening – most of the island is still without power. The roads are clear Crews are out in force working on the power grid. The missionaries are EVERYWHERE. Last night we saw several zones out at the Royal Tombs, near downtown Nuku’alofa. I’m sure the dead people were grateful for the clean-up of debris on the lawn.

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If any could find it in their heart……….

“When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? …Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:38 & 40).

If you would like to make a contribution, in any amount, to help those with critical needs, you can be assured that 100% of the money will go directly to the benefit of the Tongan people. They need clean water, dry clothes, and food to feed their families.

Sister Hudson will give money to the President of the Liahona Stake and to the President of the Eua Stake. They have already expressed to us that there is a great need to purchase food, water, fuel, clothing, and other basic necessities.

The word is that there is enough food in the bush for most Tongans to survive on the basics for the next three weeks or so. Then, the fruit and vegetables that have been knocked to the ground by the wind will be gone.

By the way, we have already seen a marked decrease in the number of dogs and pigs on the island. Whether these were killed by the storm, or whether they have ended up in cooking pots, we do not know.

Venmo is a wonderful way to get money to family and friends.  It is an app that is very safe and easy to use.  You look up the app on your computer or smart phone, and then sign in with various safeguards in place. You are then good to go. You can get money to anyone who also has an account. There is no service fee, and it is lightning fast. We use it often. It is self-explanatory. If you have any questions, or need help setting up the account, please email us at JanWHudson@gmail.com.

Jan’s name on Venmo is Jan-Hudson.

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What the Tongan people need the most is for people like you to not forget about them.

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We want to acknowledge all those who have already made significant contributions. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your kindness and sweet spirits. We’ll try to post how your generosity is being spread out all across the island and kingdom.

Tomorrow (Monday) Elder and Sister Va’enuku are taking monies that have been deposited to Jan’s account, along with meals they have prepared, and are purchasing additional food to be distributed to the members. She cried when Jan told her about the great generosity that is allowing them to share so much more than could on their own. The other day we saw them leaving the neighborhood with the trunk of their car full of aluminum pans filled with delicious meals. Today they did the same.  Your contribution assures us that many families will not go hungry tomorrow night and for many nights to come. God bless you.

 

Jan sent this email to the kids. I’m posting it just to share with so many who have asked how they can help:

Sunday, February 18 (6 days post-cyclone):

Today, as we sat in church, we listened to the mighty songs of faith sung by the students and ward members who live here, and we stand all amazed at the joy and optimism that is in their eyes and in their voices. I wish I could describe the overwhelming feeling of gratitude we have in our hearts that so many were spared their lives during the cyclone that blew through Tonga last Monday. The Liahona Campus looked like a war zone, and much of the island still does. Metal roofs are everywhere, wood, trees, stores, and rubbish lie in piles wherever you cast your eyes.

As I walk around campus, there is evidence of the thousands of man-hours that have been given in service, as students and countless others have cleaned up the downfall and picked up debris and rubble. Much still needs to be accomplished, and many have lost their homes. Still, they smile and express gratitude for all they have. They help one and other and they leave no room for despair or bitterness in their hearts.

Our dear friends are doing wonderful things to buoy the spirits of the missionaries, and others are providing amazing and selfless services in other ways. One senior missionary is constantly cooking and taking meals to those in need. The people being helped are not necessarily of our faith, but simply are those who need love and support….as well as a meal.

I am more than willing see that 100% of anything that comes my way goes to those in need. I have a Venmo account (jan-hudson) which you could use if you are so inclined.

Malo aupito.

 

Sacrament Meeting – February 18

(The man in the right photo (with the REALLY white teeth) is our shift co-ordinator at the temple. He says it should open on Tuesday.)

We had only one hour of church today, so everyone could get back to the tasks at hand of sorting out after the cyclone. The students are helping on Campus – and it is looking really great (except for the buildings that were damaged.) The vegetation should come back quickly.

Semisi Finau on the left – he is our “dental tech” who regularly saves the day for us in the clinic. He and his wife and their six kids sat on their porch in lawn chairs and watched the storm (so he says). I think what they really did was peek out their door, that was cracked open an inch or so. Before the storm, he put plastic sheeting up over his windows facing east. Then, when the storm came, the wind blew hardest from the west!

As we met ward members before the meeting, we would ask: Fefe hake? and they would invariably respond Sai pe, malo. They have an incredibly resilient spirit.  The students  in our ward all live in the dorms. We are inviting all of them to come to the clinic while school is out. So far this month, we have been able to provide almost a thousand procedures for our patients. It is really nice having three dentists, and three assistants (our wives) in the clinic. We also have Sister Evans, a senior missionary who arrived two days before the cyclone hit! Her I.T.E.P. position is in limbo since the school is closed. So she is coming to the clinic to help out up front.

This little girl on the right has been in to the clinic twice – two quadrants done! She is EXCITED to come back and see us next week.

No matter that their fale might have been damaged or destroyed, or they might be living with relatives. They all have an incredible attitude. We met the owner of Oholei Resort, on the eastern end of the island (that got hit very hard). His is the resort where we have gone several times  for the Umu and floor show. He said he had only damage to the trees – his buildings survived. (Which is remarkable, because they looked a bit “flimsy.”) As we talked to him, he simply said: “God is great!”

The student on the right is from P.N.G., and we have done some cliff-hanger dentistry for him. He says he feels great. Miracles never cease. He is most interested in computers, at school. I find this remarkable, because New Guinea only recently emerged from the Stone Age. The glory of God is intelligence, or light and truth! He joined the Church five years ago, and is the only member in his family. But they wanted him to get an education, so they sent him to Liahona.

Many of the men, women, and boys were wearing the tupeno, with the ta’ovala and kafa. They always wear their Sunday best, but not in response to any dress standard or external pressure, but out of respect to the Lord. The girls mostly wear their very long, thick, black hair up in a bun, or in braids. They do this out of modesty.

 

It was probably one of the best Sacrament meetings I’ve ever experienced. Most of the time, in Tonga, Sacrament meeting brings tears to my eyes, and today was no exception. We began by singing “O My Father.”

Everywhere we go in Tonga, people are so happy to have their photo taken.

As we were singing “in my first primeval childhood was I nurtured near thy side,” I looked around the room and I saw the image of God  reflected in the faces of all those in the congregation.

 

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Then we sang: “when I leave tis frail existence, when I lay this mortal by, Father, Mother, may I meet you, in your royal courts on high? And I thought that Heavenly Father is as likely to welcome us home with “Ofa lahi atu . Sai aupito!” as He is with “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

Then we sang “I Stand All Amazed,” and I thought about these people singing their hearts out, in spite of the fact that nearly everyone in the congregation has suffered as a result of the storm.

“I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me. Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me.”

This is Fehi, the school principal, with her husband Fifita. He is in the stake presidency. They lost the roof to their house. They said it was very well constructed, but the contractor who put it on saved on tie downs, and only used them on every other truss. So the roof came off, but in once piece. It is lying on the ground down the road from their house. They will put it back on.

“Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me enough to die for me! Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me.”

The Tongans really have their priorities straight, and they don’t let little things like cyclones get in the way of what is really important in their lives.

The man on the left s the Young Men President. I don’t think any of them mess with him.

As an intermediate hymn we sang “Called To Serve.” Suffice to say, I have never sung it as we did today! It was indescribable. The Liahona First Ward has sent the standard for the Church, in my mind.

“Called to know the richness of his blessing, sons and daughters, children of a King. Glad of heart, his holy name confessing, Praises unto him we bring.”

This is Peni Tonga and his wife Sylvia in the upper right photo. His daughter Dorothy, who volunteers in the clinic, (lower left photo) has been at home all week helping with the clean-up. PNG students in the lower right photo  None of the students from PNG had ever been through a cyclone. Most of them said they were really frightened.

As I have seen these people out in the community, providing service to their friends and neighbors, I know that it has gladdened my heart.

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I love wearing my name badge, and being a part of something so magnificent. Going to Costlo yesterday, and seeing a video playing on the big screen above the rows of food, with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir praising God, gave me goose bumps.

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Store employees told us that the owners are Catholic, but they hire Mormons and play church hymns – I am sure they feel the Light of Christ.

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This is Fehi with some of her students.

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We’ve finished about half of their mouth(s) – they are excited to come back for more. (It’s refreshing to see patients who actually WANT to come to the clinic!)  🙂

We sang “Onward, Christian Soldiers!” as our closing hymn. Again, unbelievable. The Tongans add little trills, and notes, to many of the hymns, and they sing as a choir would. They follow the chorister (who should be directing the MTC!), and Dorothy Tonga plays the piano magnificently.

“Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before. Christ, the royal Master leads against the foe; forward into battle, see his banners go!

Like a mighty army moves the Church of God; brothers, we are treading where the Saints have trod. We are not divided; all one body we: one in hope and doctrine, one in charity.”

This is the young man who was in House #5 on campus, when a tree blew down and hit his roof. It opened up just enough of a hole for the wind to get in under it and blow the entire roof off. Neither he, his wife, nor his 4 children were injured.

“Onward, then, ye people; join our happy throng. Blend with ours your voices in the triumph song; glory, laud, and honor unto Christ, the King. This through countless ages. Men and angels sing.

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before!”

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Hope still exists in the world. This is the Kapps’ home, next to ours. These two little palms needed rope to keep them up, before the storm. They blew down in the wind. Afterwards, Kenny straightened them up, and now they are standing on their own. I think there is a message there. Ofa atu to the wonderful people in our ward, and to the people of Tonga.

Visiting the Missionaries – Saturday Feb. 17

The missionaries are out in force, providing service in the community. These three came into the dental clinic for some R&R.

I put them to work.

We went with the Kapps (Mission Nurse) out into the villages to find the Elders and Sisters and give them some provisions. It is REALLY hot and humid!

If they are lucky, they’ll get a hot lunch!

Some of their M.Q.s are still drying out, or are without power, so they have moved their beds to the church buildings. They sleep outside, but it is cool in the evening. (And they use bug repellant!)

Classrooms at one of the ward buildings.

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People are still staying at church buildings, while they assess the damage to their homes.

Some of them have lost their homes, but they all have a great positive attitude.

I’d Die for Tonga!

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This concrete slab used to be a home.

Cleaning up the debris from the home, and salvaging what they could, was the project of the Zone for today.

Avoiding a sunburn is a high priority.

The missionaries are in great spirits, and working hard. They tell me they drop into bed at the end of the day!

They are all bundled up, because of all the scratchy branches, and debris. It is really hot, though.

The Kapps always have goodies in their car for the missionaries. Especially water – Sister Kapp is always telling them to drink more water! She keeps a case of bottled water in her car, and if she sees missionaries walking along the road (which we always do when we are out and about) she stops and gives them water.

This is the foundation of a home that the missionaries have cleared of rubble.

 

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The Zone.

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This is one of the THREE fire stations on Tongatapu. There is one on Ha’apai, and one in Vava’u.  (5 stations in the Kingdom). Let that thought sink in for a while.

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This is the marketplace on the wharf, in Nuku’alofa.  It is usually the busiest place in town on Saturday. We went there to see if Peni Tonga had his kabob stand up. Not so much.

We are told that Tongans who live in the bush, or harvest their food from the bush, will be in a world of hurt in about three weeks.  Just about the time when people forget about Tonga. (Although I believe there are relief planes and ships coming all the time to Tonga – the help from abroad has been much appreciated).

The bush has taken a real beating.

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But……………..the three-headed coconut survived! God is great.

 

 

It was a good day in the clinic.

We had something truly wonderful happen to us in the clinic today. A young man from Papua, New Guinea came in for a check-up. It was the first time he had ever been to the dentist. He was 17 years old, and had been a member of the church for 5 years. He had grown up in impoverished circumstances, in a traditional tribal village. He had never eaten a hamburger and french fries, had never tasted a bar of chocolate, and had never been served processed food by his mother. In fact, he had never tasted ice cream.

Instead, he had eaten fresh vegetables from his garden, fruit from the trees, and fish from the sea.

If one wanted to find a test subject, whose body had never been subjected to the corrosive influences of the outside world, he would be it. Here was a once in a million (once in a billion?) opportunity to see what would happen over nearly two decades, if a strict regimen of healthy lifestyle choices were undeviatingly maintained.

Guess what? His B.M.I. was probably < 20, his skin was clear, his eyes were bright, his intelligence was evident, and………………..he had 32 perfect, pearly white teeth!

The moral of this story is…………..stay away from the lollies (and move your family to P.N.G.). Okay, that might be extreme, but Big Macs, soda, and Hershey’s Kisses? Really?

3 Nephi Chapter 8 *

And it came to pass in the two thousand and eighteenth year, in the second month, on the twelfth day of the month, there arose a great storm, such an one as never had been known in all the kingdom. And there was also a great and terrible tempest; and there was terrible thunder, insomuch that it did shake the whole earth as if it was about to divide asunder. And there were exceedingly sharp lightnings, such as never had been known in all the land. And there were news reports of a great and terrible destruction in the land of Samoa.

But behold, there was a more great and terrible destruction in the land of Tonga; for behold, the whole face of the land was changed, because of the tempest and the whirlwinds, and the thunderings and the lightnings, and the exceedingly great quaking of the whole earth; And the highways were broken up, and the level roads were spoiled, and many places that had beforehand had only the occasional pot hole became rough.

And many great and notable villages, such as Ha’akame, Lomaiviti, Neiafu, Vaotu’u, and ‘Ahau were sunk, and many, such as Mailetaha, and Pahu, and Hala ‘o Vave, were shaken till the buildings thereof had fallen to the earth. And Nuku’alofa remained; but the damage thereof was exceedingly great, as was the damage at the Liahona Campus.

And there were some who were carried away in the whirlwind; and whither they went no man knoweth, save they know that they were carried away. And thus the face of the whole island became deformed, because of the tempests, and the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the quaking of the coral.

And behold, the cinder block walls of Facilities Management were rent in twain; they were broken up upon the face of the whole earth, insomuch that they were found in broken fragments, and in seams and in cracks, upon all the face of the campus. And corrugated iron siding materials littered the grass.

And it came to pass that when the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the storm, and the tempest, and the quakings of the island did cease—for behold, they did last for about the space of three hours; and it was said by some that the time was greater; nevertheless, all these great and terrible things were done in about the space of three hours (roughly between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m.) —and then behold, there was darkness upon the face of the land. And it came to pass that there was thick darkness upon all the face of the land, insomuch that the inhabitants thereof who had not fallen could feel the vapor of darkness. And the darkness did not cease until around 6 in the morning. (When the sun came up).

 

*   It was a Book of Mormon experience.

Less Than 72 Hours Post Cyclone

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_b852This is the entrance to the Facilities Management building. We don’t know why it took such a hit. It was constructed no differently from any of our homes on campus.

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This is the hallway at F.M. leading to Ennismore Hafoka’s office (The F.M. Manager).

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It might be difficult to get into Ennismore’s office, at the moment.

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Ennismore’s office is not usually this cluttered.

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The main office at F.M.

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F.M. currently has no roof – and it has rained every day this week.

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F.M. at the Liahona Campus.

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This is the F.M. building, down by the High School Music Room.

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This used to be “inside.” It is now “outside.”

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This is the music room.

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You can see why Liahona High School has suspended classes indefinitely.

The bush next to the campus.

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At least, now you can see the temple from our back yard.

This palm was not cut down with a chain saw. (It was cut down by the wind.

We had an unexpected visit to our clinic by the missionaries. They stopped into say hello. The missionaries on the island are all out in force, helping in the community. (President Tuione has temporarily suspended the dress code.)

 

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We put them to work. I think he wants to be a dentist!

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I think the hats are a nice touch.

Just to reiterate, we had a Category 4 Cyclone less than 72 hours ago.

According to the “book,” – With a Category 4 Cyclone, catastrophic damage will occur. During a Category 4 hurricane, winds range from 130 to 156 mph. At these speeds, falling and flying debris pose a very high risk of injury or death to people, pets and livestock. Most mobile homes (read: Tongan homes) will be destroyed. Some frame homes may totally collapse, while well-built homes will likely see severe damage to their roofs.

A Category 4 hurricane will blow out most windows on buildings, uproot most trees and will likely down many power lines. Power outages can last for weeks or even months after storms of this level. Water shortages are also common in the aftermath of Category 4 cyclones, potentially making the affected area uninhabitable for weeks or months.

F.Y.I. – Wind speed at Liahona during the height of the storm was 233 kph  /  144 mph.

Also F.Y.I. – all of the above has happened on Tongatapu.

However, we consider ourselves very fortunate. All the missionaries are safe, and most church buildings remain standing. No report of any members perishing. Flooding is less than expected. Cost-Low has a good stock of food (Many Tongans live off what they can harvest in the bush). Water and power remain the big issues.