Monday, April 24, 2017

It is a wonderful world!

We had a wonderful lunch last Saturday at the Genghis Kahn Mongolian BBQ with some of the Senior Couples that serve in the New Zealand Auckland Mission area. Pictured are Elder and Sister Briggs, Elder and Sister Freeman, and Elder and
Sister Smith. Like I said before the food is very international here.
We really love the ice cream here and in the Mongolian BBQ they served it with pancakes with lots of toppings which we couldn't resist. We can feel those pounds just pouring on.  
We were able to take part of our Preparation day after seeing sick Missionaries to take a drive around the north end of the Manakau Harbor which boarders on the Tasman Sea. Yes we have the Pacific Ocean on the east side of New Zealand and the Tasman Sea on the West.
This last Friday we had to go to Zone Conference in Whangarei once again. We decided to spend some time up there so we stayed over a couple of nights and this is us having dinner Thursday with Elder and Sister Stahle and Sister Graham.
We were welcomed to the Mission along with some of the other new Missionaries with a rendition of the Mission Song. During part of it they scared us a little. I kind of knew something was going to happen when the Elders were looking a little sheepish.
Saturday morning we visited Whangarei Falls again with Elder and Sister Stahle. It is more fun when you share with others the beauty of nature the God and Christ put here for our enjoyment.
Everything around us testifies that there is a God and his son Jesus Christ. Nothing this beautiful could have happened by chance. Of course I am speaking of Sister Bartlett. She will not get a chance to edit this before I post it.
On the 6th of February 1840 the Waitangi Treaty was signed between the Maori's of New Zealand and the British Empire. Since the Maori's were comprised of many tribes each with a chief or ruler they had to have many of them sign the treaty. These long boats were part of the ceremony on that day and are made from a large Kauri tree which was about 10 feet across.
This the Waitangi Treaty house where the treaty was actually signed in 1840. Many of the Chiefs did not really know what they were signing even though the treaty was translated into Maori. Several of the words had no good translation in the Maori language. It caused some contention when the British flag was raised instead of the flag the Maori's had chosen to represent New Zealand.
The area around Paihia, New Zealand is called the Bay of Islands. We hopped on a boat at Paihia with the Explorer company and toured these Isalands by water. The Stahle's researched this and took us with them.  
That is our boat in the background. It actually has several levels including an inside so you can get out of the rain, which started shortly after the trip started. It only lasts for a short time and then there is sunshine. There are about 141 islands in the Bay of Islands, a few are inhabited but most are to small. 
I caught this sail boat just between these two islands. There are sailboats all over which seems to be a favorite pastime for those who are able. It would be a wonderful way to see these islands.  
This is a lovely picture, and the island in the background is lovely also. As you can tell it was a bit nippy but at this point not raining.    
They told us we might see Dolphins and we did! There we people in the water snorkelling and these dolphins are curious animals. I do believe the put something in the water around the boats to attract them. This picture is a bit blurry since I blew it up from another picture. At certain times of the year they also have orcas in this bay at lease it shows them in some pictures.  
There were so many Islands and we would love to send all the pictures but you would not have time to see them all.  
The most famous island in the Bay of Islands is the Hole in the Rock. We understand that they can actually sail through the hole if the conditions are right. We had fairly choppy water so we were not anxious to go through.   
Our tour included a stop for dinner at this spot named Otehei Bay on one of the many islands. We took a hike to the top of one of the hills around the bay and took a few pictures.  
This picture is at the top of the hill overlooking Otehei Bay. You can barely see our yellow tour boat in the background. Sorry you have to look at me also. At this point we had been sprayed by ocean salt water and were feeling a little crusty.  
This swordfish sculpture was at the wharf where we boarded our tour boat in Paihia. There are also fishing boats to take people deep sea fishing. Perhaps we will try that one of these days. The Stahle's spent about 10 months in Niue Island which is part of our Mission. They told us if you take a fishing charter there it costs $600 and all the fish you catch belong to the charter and then you buy the fish from them. Maybe we will just fish off shore.
Sister Bartlett loves some of the traditional thing the people wear to church. This young lady is wearing a traditional Tongan girdle around her waist called a Kiekie. These are traditionally woven from leaves of the Kiekie plant. These are worn on semi-formal occasions (church). On more formal occasions both men and women can wear the Ta'ovala which is a heavier solid woven mat tied around the waist. We have seen them mostly at funerals. This post has many pictures but it is only a few of what we have taken. We have tried to bring our experiences to life for you. We enjoy working with the people here. We can't pronounce most of their names but we hope to get better as time goes on. We had a fun Family Home Evening with the whole Ward which also included a pot luck dinner and a movie. Of course it was Moana. Most of the children had already seen it but they loved the songs and mostly the screaming which they did enthusiastically.  Until next time Kia Ora (a traditional Maori greeting) from Elder and Sister Bartlett.              

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Flu Shots are almost over!

We have about 180 Missionaries spread from Auckland clear up to the Northern tip of New Zealand. We are going into flu season in New Zealand since we are just opposite what happens in the Northern Hemisphere. Sister Bartlett has to schedule all of these Missionaries for their flu shots in three differently locations on 7 different days. When you get a bunch of Missionaries together who haven't seen each other for a while and they want to visit and update each other. They just don't want to leave, but we give them a Lolly and send them back to work. We have a very diverse Mission, with Missionaries from all over the world. We have them from the United States, China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Africa, South Africa, Australia, Tonga, Samoa, Tahiti, Figi, Korea, Canada, Ukraine, India, and some others. It is interesting that they all speak a little English but they teach in English, Tongan, Samoan, and Chinese. What an international Mission this is.  
I have a connection to this Mission that I wasn't aware of. President C. B. Bartlett served as Mission President here from 1902 to 1905. He is not closely related but all of the Bartlett's supposedly come from the same ancestor in England many centuries ago. Well someday we may make the connection.
We were able to visit the Auckland Museum for a little bit this week since we didn't get much of a preparation day. Of course we were able to see a Maori cultural show while we visited. The highlight of the show is the Haka which they performed. They explained they do many of their dances as exercises and to prepare their young men for battle.  
We especially enjoy the wood carving that is prevalent in their culture. I am sure that each of these things has a meaning to them as they decorate everything with carvings. We noticed how this is very similar to the Totems of the Indians on the American Continent.   
We didn't get a chance to go on the guided tour of the Auckland Museum so we don't know the significance of all the carvings done on their homes. This was a great example of that carving.     
They also decorated their long boats with many ornate carvings. I don't know how they had time to do all this carving when they had to either catch or hunt for food. I guess if you all work together you can accomplish much.    
We were finally able to see a Kiwi clearly. Unfortunately it was not in the wild nor was it alive. We did see the one at the zoo but it was so dark and you couldn't take pictures. This one stood real still so we could get a photo.    
There were a few Bartlett's who have lived here in New Zealand. There we some on their Memorial wall who were New Zealand residents who died in one of the World Wars. They are about to celebrate what they call Anzac Day which is like Veterans Day and Memorial Day all rolled up in one. I guess Anzac is a bay in Turkey that a New Zealand regiment recovered from the enemy in WWI. Big celebration I have heard. We shall see.  
Twice a month we are able to have Family Home Evening with the Senior couples in the Mission and the Area office. The Champlins are the Area Public Relations missionaries. They created a short tribute to all the Senior Missionaries in the Mission. It is always hard to see Senior couples go home. We don't have enough Mission Leader Support Missionaries for the Mission. Get busy all you Seniors out there and request New Zealand. You may get it and get to serve in this beautiful country among these beautiful people who love the Missionaries. That is about enough for this week. We don't get much of the news but we have heard there is flooding here in New Zealand from a cyclone that hit the island. We have seen a lot of rain but no flooding here where we are. I believe the bad weather from the cyclone has mostly past but we do have a few more days of rain forecast. Our heads are still above water.  Love you all, Elder and Sister Bartlett      

Saturday, April 1, 2017

It is wet here!

We are starting to settle into this new Missionary life. I am even getting more comfortable getting around. There are only a couple of freeways (Motorways) that run North and South and none that run East and West since the island is long and narrow. It also seems like whenever we want to go on the main Motorway it is crawling. To many cars with only one person inside. They do have a light rail system but it doesn't go from here to the Mission Office in Takapuna (which is North Auckland). The problem is that there is a large body of water called the Auckland Harbour that gets in the way. So mass transit is out of the question to get back and forth.  By the way Auckland is not only the name of the city centre but also kind of like a state back home. Like we live in Papatoetoe, Auckland, New Zealand. 
It is really beautiful out in the country when we do get out there. Lately we have been trying to schedule Flu shots for Missionaries so it has been hectic. When we are traveling around Auckland we sometimes have to stop and eat. When we were getting out of our car in near one of the Missionaries flats a person stopped his car and introduced himself as a member of the LDS Church and said hello. We asked where to get a bite to eat and he told us of the Paradise Restaurant. So we came all the way to New Zealand to have Indian food. 
Sometimes when we are out it gets so crazy and we forget things. In this case Sister Bartlett forgot and left her purse on the back of the car. Luckily it caught on the bicycle rack and was drug along behind the car. I couldn't figure out why everyone was honking at us until one car pulled along side us and said there was something dragging behind the car. Needless to say Sister Bartlett had to buy a new purse, luckily nothing was lost but her cell phone cover was very damaged.
It rains like crazy when it rains. About every week it forms a pond out behind our flat (apartment) and the ducks show up and swim around until it goes down. Believe it our not we have to conserve water because the high rainfall washes so much silt into their water systems their water treatment can't handle it anymore. What a paradox. We always have these large black birds that scavenge for food but when the lake forms we also get ducks, seagulls, and some other unidentified bird. Yes it is deep enough that the ducks swim in the pond.
When I fix a bike I take it for a little ride to make sure it shifts properly and that the brakes work. This is one of those pleasant days when the sun is shining. I am learning more and more about bikes as I fix them. The Bike Barn has been very helpful and often give us fenders they have taken off other bikes they have fixed because we are the only ones who use them.
It is a little bit different here than it is back in the US. First of all they don't refrigerate the eggs in the market. All of the eggs are brown which was unusual to Sister Bartlett. Hamburger is "mince", all the weights are kg (kilogram) and all the volumes are litres.     
We were shopping the other day and there was a moving ramp in the shopping mall. We wondered how the shopping cart would do on the ramp. Surprisingly the card didn't roll down the ramp. There must have been some sort of braking system that worked in conjunction with the ramp. Amazing technology.     
Sister Bartlett sure likes the store windows around Papatoetoe where we live. There is more Indian ware than Polynesian at least in Papatoetoe downtown. This is actually in a mall with a Kmart and a Countdown grocery store. 
They sure enjoy displaying items from Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. This statue at the airport states "borrowed from Middle-earth". We still haven't seen any of those sites. I think Hobbiton is the best site on the North Island.    
We did have occasion to visit the Auckland Zoo for part of our Preparation day on Saturday. I really enjoyed how the zoo is designed. You really feel that you are in the wild with the animals, as you can see in the pictures. Some of them are really curious and do a little photo bombing.  
 Nothing like hanging with the Monkies. Cute couple hey! I meant the Monkies.  
The giraffes were very curious and they like to stick their neck out.     
We did actually see a baby giraffe but he is so small in the picture that you can't hardly see him.    
The scariest part was being with the Tigers, but they were pretty tame. Isn't photoshop wonderful.     
Not everything is photoshopped as we were in the Emu and Wallaby exhibit, the only thing separating us from the animals was that small wooden railing. When we first walked up the emu was standing so close you could pet it. Wanting a handout I presume.   
For our son Jarom mom just had to get a picture of the cute tiny penguins which are only about a foot tall. Much smaller that the ones he saw in Argentina.       
For our grandchildren we did get a cool picture under their metal elephant or as one of our grandsons say elfanent.  
For some of our grandchildren we go a picture of this dragon. If you don't think it is real just look closely at the child about to be eaten. Our granddaughter Kate will have to tell you what variety of dragon this is. She is a dragon expert.      
In closing I think that I did mention the flea bites that many Missionaries get while on in New Zealand. They say it is not if you will get a flea bite but when you will get a flea bite. We looked online for some of the ways people say to keep them away. This one is for our Son-in-law Raymond from South Africa who extols the virtues of Vegemite or Marmite. Yes they say it is a deterrent to flea bites, so we are trying that. My own theory is that the Vitamin B in it deters the Fleas. It is also is made from yeast and others feel that is the deterant. We will let you know. So far we have avoided the bites without it. We say farewell to all for now.