Over the Labor Day weekend we went down to the Taranaki District with another Senior Mission couple, Elder and Sister Olsen. We stayed at a lovely Bed and Breakfast on working dairy farm, and enjoyed exploring the area.
|Us with Elder & Sister Olsen at Waitaha Villa B&B in Rahou, NZ|
|Cows getting milked|
|Moyra, owner of Waitaha Villa B&B|
Some of the trip was mission work as Elder Gary Olsen is the mission doctor, and was making the trip to check out the medical facilities in New Plymouth to know what resources were available to the missionaries in that area when he needs to make to recommendations for care. For our part, Larry and I did a family history presentation in a combined Priesthood and Relief Society class for the Waitara Branch. The presentation was very well received, getting people there excited about the 15 in15 goal. The Branch President there has asked us to come back again in a few weeks to do a hands on training for how to use FamilySearch.
Apart from mission assignment, we also had an opportunty to explore. Being a holiday weekend, the Pacific Area Office was closed on Friday. So we drove down that day and took some time to visit Pukekura Park. It was absolutely stunning.
On Saturday we took a drive up to the base of Mt. Taranaki and got to see Dawson Falls.
On Monday Larry and Elder Olsen went ocean fishing and brought in a great cash of fish that was very tasty.
While they were out on the water, Sister Olsen and I went into New Plymouth where we visited a museum, did a bit of shopping. We enjoyed each other's company and had a lovely walk along the beach boardwalk.
Other high points of the trip were some great beaches, a light house, and sunsets at the end of the day.
On the way back we stopped in Hamilton to meet with the Hamilton Mission President and his wife, President & Sister Rudd, and then got to do a session at the temple. Larry and I had met the Rudds early on in our mission when we went down with the Winters, so it was great to connect with them again.
|Us with President & Sister Rudd from our visit in December 2014|
This meeting was also important for the Olsens since they sometimes need to confer over the phone about health issues that come up with missionaries. One thing we have definitely learned is that trusting relationships can be maintained through phone and internet, but in the beginning it really helps to meet someone and get to know them face to face. So we were glad the Olsens were able to spend some time getting acquainted with the Rudds.
We came when there was a Senior Missionary conference for all the Hamilton Seniors going on so we were able to join them for lunch. Then afterwards we had a very sweet session in the Hamilton NZ temple, which was a wonderful close to our weekend away.
All in all it was a great trip. This is what Wikipedia has to say about the area:
Taranaki is a coastal and mountainous region on the western side of New Zealand's North Island. Its landscape is dominated by Mount Taranaki, its namesake volcano, which lies within the rainforested Egmont National Park. The port city of New Plymouth is the area's hub. It hosts green spaces like Pukekura Park, with lakes and formal gardens that grow rhododendrons and king ferns.