Monday, May 1, 2017

A New Day

This week has been very interesting as we received word that Elder O'Neal's dad passed away Wednesday morning. He had been weak and sickly for years but there was no indication of his time being that short even the evening before. He went to bed as normal and just didn't wake up. Great way to go if you ask me but rather difficult for his daughter who lived with him and cared for him. Our hearts go out to all to all those who are traveling and present for the funeral and good-byes. We are comforted by the thought that the end of this life is not the end of life and families can be together forever.
     Our week has been full and fulfilling as usual. The memorial service for Frank has been scheduled for Sunday so we spent one day traveling between Whitianga and Coromandel to be sure everyone in the branch and at the Care Center were informed of the meeting. While in Coromandel, we noticed a bit of an oddity:

A phone booth- with a real pay phone inside! No, we did not try to make a call but we have heard that, in some areas, this country is still considered somewhat "third world". I guess this is the proof.
     We also took this picture of another phenomenon, the terracing of hills all over the countryside:

This is caused by sheep roaming over the hills for centuries. They always try to walk horizontally so they don't have to go uphill. Until recently, most all of the farmers raised sheep but now there's a prevailing opinion that cattle is a better cash crop at least on the north island so there aren't so many.
     Then, at the community garden, there was a weird palm-type tree with huge red flowers.  I had no idea what it was so I finally asked the garden manager. He took me to the tree and pointed up past the flower to the fruit:

Bananas! I know I'd seen a banana tree in Hawaii but that was over 20 years ago. And they are not supposed to grow here. The gardener told us these were cast off trees that were brought over from someone's home and burned in a pile and this little grove grew from the burn. Tenacious little trees! And the bananas are almost ripe so we can so take some home. Just another week in paradise.
 Kia Ora, Elder and Sister O'Neal

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