July 27 – August 12, 2015 – By Anne – NEIAFU, VAVA’U, KINGDOM OF TONGA – A ROYAL WELCOME!
Joyful’s remarkable 23 days in this delightful kingdom-in-the-sea can only be described as a royal success! Royal because of many top notch special and memorable happenings, linked together by the mysteries of the deep, warm smiles of newly found friends, and the ever present beauty of God’s creations! As in my other blog entries, I invite you to read the captions under each photo. They tell all sorts of details about our lovely time in Tonga! And remember, YOU were there in spirit!
Our very first encounter of the Tongan locals occurred in the middle of the sea as Joyful sailed into the bay approaching the port of Neiafu, on Vava’u Island in the Kingdom of Tonga. Who indeed, could give us such a royal welcome in the middle of the water while underway? Tongan Humpback whales with their calves, that’s who! Yes, over to starboard about 200 meters away was the unmistakable sight of the water spray from Humpback mama whales as they taught their young calves the laws of the sea! Then, all of a sudden, directly in front of Joyful, about the same distance away, a mother Humpback whale breached, causing a huge splash of water for our amazed eyes to gaze upon! All too fast to record on a digital camera, but wait….there’s more! Yes, for just another split second we witnessed a humongous Humpback whale in back of Joyful breach, but this time, we were able to capture the magnificent whale’s tail as it disappeared into the azure blue sparkly sea water! There! We were given a royal welcome from Tonga’s beloved creatures of the deep! We thought, “What can be better than this from Tonga?” Well, read on, maties, you will soon find out!
There are so many great things to tell you about, I don’t know where to begin! Some will be mentioned in turn in the usual categories stated below, but time’s a-waistin’ so here goes!
Maybe I’ll start with the King and Queen of Tonga. They’re nice folks! We went to their church while we were in Tonga (the Wesleyan [Methodist] Church of Tonga), worshiped the Lord Jesus Christ together with them and lots of other Tongans, and saw them again during a most amazingly awesome agricultural show on the island. It was the best we’ve ever seen. The King and Queen are loved by everyone in their kingdom, and it is always a pleasure to be in a country where freedom of religion, speech, and human rights reign. I will write more about these two important people in the Mission Joyful – Artistic Inspirations section of this blog entry.
Sights, sounds, and people of Neiafu, Vava’u, Tonga! Read fast, you’ll have fun!
Joyful’s idyllic mooring by the shore. While on her mooring near the wild green shoreline, covered with exotic vegetation and interesting animals, Joyful reflected the color of the sky and sea, and even once won the pot of gold at the end of a double rainbow!!!!! Wildlife was all about, above, beside, and under her! Locals said sharks and other sea creatures lived in these waters, but we never saw any ourselves except the whales who greeted us as we sailed into the approach to Neiafu.
Tongan houses and friendly people. There were humble houses sprinkled about the hills and beaches of Vava’u, with a few homes which required more funds to own. Most all of the houses had billion dollar views! We met one of the owners, Peno, and his cute daughters as we walked through the steep hills which overlooked the sea. We made friends with them, and invited them to the art lesson about Jesus we held at the library, and to my birthday party on Joyful. They were our first encounter with Tongans outside of officials. Everyone we met were friendly, lovely people.
When we held an art ministry event in the Vava’u Library, Abby, the volunteer librarian who translated from Tongan to English for me during the art lesson, became our friend, and we had lots of fun with her during my birthday party on Joyful immediately after the art lesson finished.
Another Tongan family, Soakai, Ana, Kilisitina, Otelosa and Tiara, blessed us abundantly by inviting us to their school to carry out our desire to offer art ministry to Tongans as well as to their beach side home for a traditional Tongan feast. The day we were sailing away from Tonga to Vanuatu, they brought us a traditional bon voyage feast and presents to Joyful at the customs dock! They gave us home made woven trays full of delicious Tongan food, strings of tangerines, and most importantly, their prayers and friendship! We were sad to wave farewell to them, but we thanked the Lord He brought these lovely people into our lives! You can see this exceptional family in many of the photos. Their cousin, Hulito, gave me a beautiful bouquet of hand made flowers that she made in her high school art class for a bon voyage present! God abundantly blessed us to have made such lovely friends amongst the people of Tonga.
Chaplain Mailagi becomes a friend. We had great fellowship and fun with a wonderful brother in Christ, Samoan Mailagi. He was the chaplain on the Polynesian vaka, Gaualofa, attended church service with us, assisted in my basic drawing and fine art class I taught to the local high school children, facilitated the Queen of Tonga to receive a work of Christian art I constructed, and was a guest at an afternoon tea on Joyful. Mailagi is a real Christian soldier, an inspiration to us, and someone we are blessed to count as a friend!
Sailors for Christ! That is what we call ourselves and our sailing missionary friends we met in Bora Bora. After meeting three great families in Bora Bora who were also sailing missionaries, we continued to be able to share in the gift of fellowship here in Tonga! Pam, Phil, Ken, Beatrice, Joshua, and Gabriella sailed their boats from Bora Bora to Tonga, and we continued our new friendship. We enjoyed each other’s company many times on each other’s boats as well as on land. They all came to an afternoon tea party on Joyful, and Ken’s family were there for my birthday party, as well as being a vast help when Jeff and I held an art ministry event for 60 Tongan children at the local library. While we were in Tonga, we met another sailing missionary couple from San Diego, California. Maria and Bill kindly helped us pay for school supplies to donate to the local elementary school, and observed during the Skype session.
A birthday to remember! First, in the morning I unwrapped Jeff’s gifts, and cards from loved ones back home. Then, I was given the gift from the Lord to teach 60 Tongan children an art lesson about Jesus that morning at the local library! Then, He continued to make me happy by making a birthday party for me on Joyful with a boat load of 14 people, all friends we had met in Bora Bora, and new friends we had met in Tonga! Take a look at the photos and just imagine you were there, because you were in spirit! I’ll always remember these lovely people and the laughter and fun we had together!
A bird to remember. Remember reading in my blog regarding Bora Bora about the “Most Wanted Bird” by the French Polynesian Gendarmes (police)? You know, the bird that was stalked by citizen bounty hunters there in that seemingly peaceful island? Well, he’s baaaaaaack!!!! Yes, the dreaded alien species, the Red Vented Bulbul, which was hunted to kill on Bora Bora, freely walked the streets and flew the skies of Tonga! Nobody seemed to notice, except Flat Mr. Davis and me. You know, the Flat Mr. Davis cardboard facsimile of the real Mr. Davis, the principal of the Round Hill Elementary School in Round Hill, Virginia, USA. He’s Joyful’s able bodied sea going crew, always on the lookout for interesting subjects about which to report to his wonderful students! Take a look at the brazen little Red Vented Bulbul captured by my ever ready camera as we walked back to Joyful after church one Sunday morning in Vava’u. The little bulbul looks quite innocent, but he is “loaded for bear”! He is searching for other birds’ nests to take over after kicking their eggs out. No honey bee is safe if there is a Red Vented Bulbul around! He’s looking for fruits and vegetables to ruin so they cannot produce more bounty for Tongans or animals to enjoy. He is looking to live out his life, but at the expense of native birds and plants of Tonga! The Red Vented Bulbul…what a naughty alien species indeed. He is a royal pest!
This little piggy went to market. It seems that Tonga is populated by human beings and free roaming pigs. I’m not certain of which is the majority! Please take a look at the photos and read the captions to be edified in this interesting topic!
Fruit bats make friends with Joyful. Joyful always seems to make good friends with birds and other aviators of all kinds. Her aeronautical associates here in Tonga were many quite large fruit bats who lived in a tree near Joyful. They awoke at night, and feasted on, yes, local fruit. We kept strings of local tangerines strung up to Joyful’s bimini for our ease in eating, but we wondered if the fruit bats would take a liking to them. We’re not sure! Joyful and other yachts near their trees and flight patterns were subject to bat droppings, and Joyful’s nice teak decks sometimes did show evidence of these silent friends’ nocturnal visits! In the photo you can see these individuals asleep in their tree as they hang upside down by their back feet, with their huge black wings folded around them. We tried not to awaken them!
Sailing an authentic Polynesian Vaka! You can see from the photos that the Polynesian vaka, the Gaualofa, is a remarkable sailing craft. Please enjoy reading the captions under the photos regarding the Gaualofa, and the endeavor to keep the only remaining vaka fleet alive.
Agricultural Show of Tonga – The best we’ve seen anywhere in the world!
Tonga’s brilliant Agricultural/Fisheries/Traditional Crafts Show was held in Vava’u this year. Truly, it was the best show of this type we’ve seen anywhere in the world! Fishermen, farmers, animal breeders, artisans, craftsmen, boat builders, traditional artists and craftsmen of every kind all displayed their prize winning entries for all to see. Judges who were experts in their fields surveyed every item and gave awards. Families sat down in their display booths all day, and when the King and Queen of Tonga walked by to view every booth and meet the families, everyone was so happy and proud! Jeff and I walked around the show with good friends. Mailagi, a kind Samoan, told us so many wonderful facts about Samoan and Tongan traditions, sea life, agricultural methods, and much more, was great fun! We also shared the day with Pam and Phil, a wonderful sailing missionary family from Australia, and also the lovely Tongan family of Soakai, Ana, Kilisitina, Otolose, and Tiara. It was like being in their family! Everyone had a fantastic time there, and it was a day I will always hold dear! You can see from the photos how industrious and creative Tongans are, and how they utilize their God given sea and land toward the good of all.
Observing Other Marine Wildlife
Blue Marlin. Amongst the Humpback whales with whom Joyful shared Tongan waters, was a giant 230 kilo (500 pound) Blue Marlin, at least before a man cast a line and hauled in this extraordinary creature of the deep blue sea! I was there when the marlin was weighed in, and was able to see and touch the last colors of his magnificent skin before it faded into a sad shade of lifelessness.
Monitoring Radiation Levels
One of the scientific projects with which Joyful is involved is that of recording the radiation levels that we experience along our sailing route. Radiation is a form of energy that comes from various sources (e.g. x-rays, radon gas, nuclear power plants, etc.), which, if the levels are too high, could cause a health hazard. On Joyful, we use a GQ Electronics GMC-320 Geiger Counter to take radiation level readings. The data we record is sent to the Nuclear Emergency Tracking Center (NETC), a world wide volunteer radiation reporting site. NETC posts radiation readings from numerous sources, including the US Environmental Protection Agency and volunteer reporting sites, into a data base; the summary is shown on www.netc.com.
The really good news is that we have, thus far (in the South Pacific Ocean), experienced / recorded very low radiation levels. We hope that we will experience the same low radiation levels for the remainder of the circumnavigation. The levels from Panama all the way across the South Pacific Ocean to Tonga, ranged between 7 to 23 counts per minute (CPM). The highest reading in Tonga was 23 CPM.
COMMUNITY AND EDUCATION
While in Tonga we accomplished several goals of the Blue Planet Odyssey and Mission Joyful at the same time. These relate to both community service and the education of children. The following texts briefly describe the activities, whereas the photos and their captions reveal important details. Please read on, as these endeavors among others, for us, are right at the heart of this circumnavigation.
Skyping Between a Tongan School and an American School, and the Donation of School Supplies.
We arranged a highly successful and enjoyable Skype session between the Vava’u Side School in Neiafu and the Round Hill Elementary School in Round Hill, Virginia, USA. The students at this particular school in Tonga focus not only on the usual Tongan curriculum, but utilize English as the language of instruction. Because of the time zone difference between Tonga and Virginia, the American students, principal Mr. Davis, and science teacher Mr. Muldowney stayed after the close of school in order to participate in the Skype session with the Tongans. We commend their devotion to learning and good will exemplified by their sacrifice. Through this Skype session, the American and Tongan students shared information about the ocean, ecology, recycling, language, culture, sports, government, and what it’s like to be a happy child in both countries! The American and Tongan students and their educators intend to continue communication with one another, both formally through future Skype sessions and mail, as well as individually.
Jeff and I stopped by a school supply store in Neiafu on the way to the Skype session, in order to purchase school supplies we wanted to donate to the Vava’u Side School 6th grade class. On the way, we met sailing missionaries, Maria and Bill from San Diego, California, who most kindly volunteered to share the cost of the school supplies! We let them share the cost, as it was a blessing for them to have an opportunity to be kind to others like these children who needed the supplies. Maria and Bill also attended the Skype session, and were inspired to add Skype sessions and school supply donations to their own world wide sailing ministry. Thank you Maria and Bill, and God’s blessings to you with your sailing ministry!
Art Lesson About Jesus and Art Supply Kit Donations to 60 Children at the Vava’u Library.
One of the most remarkable and significant aspects of this circumnavigation is the ease of arranging activities that help people and bring them joy! It is one of our goals through Mission Joyful to share the Word of God throughout the world as we sail to different countries. Right along side of that, is an important goal of the Blue Planet Odyssey, which is to contribute to communities where there is a need. When we arrived in Tonga, we asked a local woman if there were Tongans who would like a free art lesson about Jesus. She said, “Yes! Children who go to the Vava’u Library on Saturday mornings!” So, when Jeff and I approached Abby, the librarian, to see if they were interested, she was elated with the idea! So when she put the word out, the normal 15 to 20 children who went to the library increased to 60 children!!!! Jeff and I were so happy!
So Jeff and I purchased art supplies for 60 children, and along with our sailing missionary friends we met in Bora Bora, Kenny, Beatrice, Josh, and Gabriella, went to the humble, two-room library to instruct the children how to make greeting cards (birthday, mother’s day, thank you, etc) and also about Matthew 22: 27-40, which tells of Jesus’ commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. All the 60 children learned that through making and giving artwork to someone, they are not only being kind to the recipient of the art, but more importantly, obeying God. When we gave the art supplies to the kids for them to take home, they were so thankful as many of the children did not own any art supplies at all. You can see from the photos how the children loved making artwork and learning about Jesus! Praise the Lord!
Basic Drawing and Fine Art lesson and Art Supply Kit Donations to At Risk Students at the Mailefihi Siu’ilikutapu College (High School) in Neiafu.
It is always a thrill, but no surprise, how the Holy Spirit arranges good things to happen! One day, Jeff and I were walking through the small town of Neiafu, wanting to donate some new clothes I had purchased to someone in need. We saw a high school called the Mailefihi Siu’ilikutapu College, which is the Wesleyan Methodist Church’s high school in Neiafu, Vava’u. We met some students who were delighted to receive my new dresses, and we met Ana, the home economics teacher whom we had met the day before in church! Ana told her husband, Soakai, who was the teacher of a class of “at risk” senior boys and girls. He asked me to teach a class on fine art and basic drawing to these students. So it happened! Jeff, and I purchased and assembled drawing kits for each student to keep. When Mailagi, our Samoan friend, learned we were going to the school to teach the students about art and Jesus, he asked to attend. Mailagi is a 5th generation Samoan minister. So a few days later, Jeff, Mailagi and I taught the group of at risk young men and women about basic drawing, fine art, and Jesus! It was a total success, and the students learned life skills which can help them throughout their lives. I also taught them how they can supplement their income through art, and to be obedient to God by using their gift of art to serve others. The students were very thankful for the instruction and for the art supply kits. They gave us an eloquent speech to express their gratitude! All the glory goes to the Lord, who made this event a reality!
Mission Joyful’s goals are to:
Mark 16:15 “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”
1 Peter 4:9-11 “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace…in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.”
Below are a few endeavors carried out while we were in Tonga which relate to Mission Joyful’s goals:
Art lesson about Jesus and art supply kit donations to 60 children at the Vava’u Library.
The description of this event is detailed in the text above titled, “Community and Education”. I hope you enjoy reading about this worthwhile endeavor, and seeing the photos as well.
Basic drawing and fine art lesson and art supply kit donations to at risk students in the Mailefihi Siu’ilikutapu College (high school) in Neiafu.
The description of this event is detailed in the text above titled, “Community and Education”. I hope you enjoy reading about this worthwhile endeavor, and seeing the photos as well.
Musical afternoon tea party on Joyful
One glorious day while in Tonga we invited wonderful new Tongan and Samoan friends and some dear sailing missionary friends we had met in Bora Bora to have afternoon tea on Joyful. All the people on board Joyful that day were sisters and brothers in Christ so we had great fellowship together! We all loved music and praising the Lord with our musical gifts He gave us! We had so much fun, I wish you were there with us in person, but you were there in spirit! Maybe if you read this and look at the photos, you will know you were there in spirit! During the tea party, which lasted several hours and even through a gorgeous South Pacific sunset, we extemporaneously spoke about our missions and our love for the Lord Jesus Christ, and we praised Him in so many ways, especially through music. Mailagi sang an extraordinary Samoan psalm about Christ, in the Samoan language, with his deep, melodic voice. I played my classical guitar, and we all sang Amazing Grace together with the music. Beatrice played Jeff’s backpacker acoustic guitar when we praised the Lord as we listened to this faithful woman’s melodies. Pam sang several Christian songs which she teaches children and adults in remote villages in Papua New Guinea during her missionary trips with her husband, Phil, and we all sang along as well! Then Soakai lead his wife, Ana, and sweet daughters, Kilisitina, Otolose, and Tiara, in exceptionally beautiful Christian hymns in the Tongan language and in English. Their harmonizing voices truly sounded like angels and gave all of us goose bumps on our skin! Also throughout the event, Phil, Ken, Joshua, Gabriella, and Jeff contributed musically through their voices and encouragement! Clearly, there was one more attendee, and the most important one to this most memorable music ministry afternoon tea party on Joyful…the Holy Spirit! Thank you Lord, for blessing us all!
As you can see in the photos, there were these wonderful friends at the tea party along with Jeff and me:
Mailagi, a 5th generation Samoan minister who is the chaplain of the Polynesian vaka, Gaualofa.
Soakai and wife Ana, daughters Kilisitina, Otolose, and Tiara, a wonderful Christian Tongan family. Soakai is choir director at the Wesleyan Church of Tonga and teacher at the Mailefihi Siu’ilikutapu College. Ana is a member of the choir at the Wesleyan Church of Tonga and teacher at the Mailefihi Siu’ilikutapu College.
Phil and Pam, sailing missionaries we met in Bora Bora. They load their boat with Bibles, tools, and guitars and take them annually to the Louisaides Islands in Papua New Guinea. They teach about Jesus as well when they are there, and everywhere they go.
Ken, Beatrice, Joshua, and Gabriella, sailing missionaries we met in Bora Bora. They connect Christians together all over the world to help facilitate mission work. They also teach others about Jesus and have participated in and helped us in art ministry events.
Artistic Inspirations from the Lord About this Landfall of the Kingdom of Tonga
As on every ocean passage between landfalls, and at every landfall on this circumnavigation, I endeavor to create a piece of artwork which reflects a significant observation worthy to be remembered. Within each design, will be a passage from the Bible, the Word of God. I am designing the art during the circumnavigation, and plan on creating the finished work back on land in the USA, when our voyage around the world has been completed. I will use the media of watercolor and gilding with 24 carat gold and silver, in the same method used by monks who created Bibles and books of hours during the medieval years in Europe. Then, I hope to publish a book of these works of art so others can see God’s glory throughout the world.
At this landfall of the Kingdom of Tonga, the Holy Spirit impressed upon me two Bible verses:
1 Timothy 2:1-2 “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”
Hebrews 13:7-10 “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.”
The Kingdom of Tonga is ruled by the King and Queen of Tonga. They are devout Christians, followers of Jesus Christ. The majority of their subjects by far, 90%, are Christians as well. Freedom of religion is upheld in Tonga, and most people attend church every Sunday. However, forces driven to eradicate freedom of religion are at work in Tonga as well as all over the world, and must be resisted. Clearly, as stated in 1 Timothy 2:1-2, praying for our leaders is imperative.
Hebrews 13:7-10 reminds me of the importance of leaders, such as the King and Queen of Tonga, and how they are examples for those who chose to be God fearing, obedient servants of the Lord. It is important to encourage these leaders, and that is why I am so thankful for what Chaplain Mailagi did. He told me he was led by the Holy Spirit to give the Queen of Tonga the calligraphic cross I made featuring the Lord’s Prayer, and that he obeyed by giving her my artwork. God said to pray for our leaders, and through that piece of artwork, the leaders of Tonga may be encouraged to continue to reflect the Lord’s direction.
Every landfall has been difficult to leave during this circumnavigation of God’s great creation! Tonga was a country filled with wonders, and kind, friendly people. One of the Tongan families with which we became friends most kindly gave us a traditional Tongan bon voyage feast right at the customs dock as we were ready to sail away from their special country! Soakai, Ana, Kilisitina, Otolose, and Tiara brought trays of hand made woven materials laden with delicious Tongan foods of all types! They brought us strings of local wild tangerines, and most importantly their friendship and an invitation to return to their island any time! These people touched our hearts in so many ways, and we are thankful to consider them our friends and sisters and brothers in Christ! Thank you again Soakai and family, and God bless you always, and the Kingdom of Tonga!
As we departed the customs dock, the first hint of a setting sun graced the sky, and by the time we sailed by Soakai’s beach side home where we had enjoyed a most memorable feast a few days before, the clouds had turned soft shades of pink, grey, and silver. What a blessing, thank you Lord!
Please stay tuned for the next edition of my blog, featuring Joyful’s passage from Tonga to the Republic of Vanuatu. Good things will happen on the voyage, I know that for sure, as there is always good in everything! May God bless you abundantly!
1. Humpback whales (see the splash starboard of Joyful’s bow) gave us a royal welcome from the sea in front of Joyful as we approached Neiafu, Vava’u, Kingdom of Tonga. The whales were to starboard, port, fore, and aft of us, but difficult to catch on camera!
2. A royal welcome by a Humpback whale as her tail disappeared into the sea a couple hundred meters aft of Joyful as we sailed into Neiafu harbor!
3. The Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga (Methodist Church) is where the King and Queen of Tonga worship the Lord Jesus Christ while they are on the island of Vava’u.
4. Brave Tongan Army guards protect the King and Queen of Tonga while in church and everywhere they go.
5. The church service had two complete choirs singing like angels! They were world class choirs and made sounds fit for the King and by that I mean Jesus Christ!
6. The much loved and respected King and Queen of Tonga are devout Christians, as are most citizens of the kingdom. Even the king and queen wear a traditional ta’ovala around their bodies, which is natural fibre hand woven rectangular wrap, worn to show loyalty to the monarchy.7. While attending the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga in Neiafu, Vava’u, a young lad wears the traditional Tongan sarong (white skirt), covered with a traditional wrap called a ta’ovala. The ta’ovala signifies his allegiance to the crown of Tonga.
8. In the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga, a young lad enjoys praising Jesus with two choirs and the rest of the congregation. He, like the choir members and congregation, wears a Tongan sarong covered with the ta’ovala, a woven wrap signifying allegiance to the crown of Tonga.
9. The young lad became sleepy and his mother, a member of one of the choirs, came to the rescue! Tongan men and women, children and teens chose to show their allegience to the crown of Tonga by wearing the traditional woven wrap called a ta’ovala. They are not required to wear the garment by law, but it is really customary to make sure one is worn when in the presence of or even nearby the king or queen of Tonga. Some schools require their pupils to wear the ta’ovala only one day a week.
10. Immediately after the service, this wonderful Tongan family celebrated their loved ones having become church deacons. As seen in this photo, Tongans can go barefooted, wear shoes, or flip flops, even to church. Tongan traditional clothes for men, which are the sarong style “skirts”, may be worn with modern suit coats, shirts and ties, or they can be worn with casual shirts. Women wear traditional sarong skirts, or they can wear modern clothes. The women and girl in this family are wearing traditional sarong skirts with modern blouses and jackets. The ta’ovala can be worn over traditional or modern clothes to show allegiance to the monarchy. Women and girls rarely cut their beautiful black, thick hair.
11. This sweet Tongan girl wore her best Tapa cloth ta’ovala to church, showing her allegance to the crown of Tonga. Her mother and grandmother are also wearing a traditional ta’ovala made of hibiscus bark.
12. The hibiscus plant has many uses, including fibers from which to weave the traditional ta’ovala worn over sarongs in Tonga.
13. This beautiful Tongan grandmother and granddaughter attended the Wesleyan Church service together. The Tongan woman is wearing a modern style ta’ovala, indicating allegance to the crown.
14. After church, Neiafu is almost totally deserted because families get together to have feasts, or people stay home to relax. On the sidewalk is a red vented bulbul, an alien species of bird, who surveyed the quiet town of Neiafu on a quiet Sunday morning.
15. The King of Tonga and his entourage survey the ample bounty of this productive island kingdom. The king wears a ta’ovala.16. I said “God bless Tonga” to the king, and he smiled back. I think he understood my Californian accent just fine!17. The Queen of Tonga and her entourage enjoyed the bounty of their country, and the loyalty of their subjects. The queen is wearing a beautiful, finally woven ta’ovala.18. The Queen of Tonga now has one of the crosses I made depicting the Lord’s Prayer in calligraphy. It is good to encourage leaders in their worship of Christ. I taught her students in the local Wesleyan High School a life skill of how to make the same cross to give as gifts or to sell commercially.
19. Joyful moored in Neiafu, Vava’u, Kingdom of Tonga. Joyful is the boat right next to the high palm tree to the right of the blue house. Her stern is facing the camera.
20. This is Ken’s brillant photo of Joyful with a double rainbow at her mooring in Neiafu, Vava’u, Tonga. Joyful had just come from the tretcherous rusty commercial dock that Tonga customs used and we had not had time to put her fenders away, so I put some away just now by erasing them digitally! 21. Joyful at sunset moored in Neiafu, Vava’u, Tonga.
22. Joyful at her mooring in Vava’u, Tonga on an overcast and windy day. Look at Joyful’s flags to see just how windy!
23. Joyful at her mooring in Vava’u, Tonga. See how the colors of the sea and sky change all the time? Who could ever become board?24. An amazing sunset over Neiafu harbor.
25. A typical scene from the top of the island overlooking the sea. People who own humble houses there enjoy this kind of beauty every day!
26. A modest home on the top of a hill in Vava’u. It has a billion dollar view. Most of the land has been inherited through each generation.27. Another modest home on the hill top overlooking the South Pacific Ocean. Cyclones harass the island periodically.
27. Another modest home on the hill top overlooking the South Pacific Ocean. Cyclones harass the island periodocally.28. A Tongan woman in front of a typical small general store. The woman is wearing a “Ta’ovala”, a hand woven wrap symbolising her allegance to the King of Tonga.29. Pretty Tongan young ladies demonstrated traditional dancing at a festival. 30. Ladies from Vava’u weaving wild tangerines together onto coconut leaves, ready to sell for the equivalant of $1.50 per string.31. I am holding two Tongan hibiscus fiber and coconut shell overskirts girls and women wear to show their allegiance to the monarchy. These can also be worn for traditional dancing.32. Two pretty Tongan school girls wear over their school uniforms two styles of traditional garments to show homage to the monarchy of Tonga.33. Kava, a traditional drink made from the kava root, was enjoyed by these local musicians who played and sang beautiful traditional Tongan music.34. One of the local high school bands. The leader and the students are wearing the ta’ovala, the traditional woven hibiscus wrap and sash showing allegance to the monarchy. The leader and his students also are wearing the wrap around pareas (traditional skirts) and shirts, their everyday uniform.
35.The exquisitely fragrant Tiare flower is common in the South Pacific. 36. I gave these girls at the high school some new clothes. They loved them and put them on top of the clothes they were wearing for an extemperaneous fashion show! 37. These beautiful Tongan sisters, Kilisitina, Otolose, Tiara, and their parents gave us a wonderful woven basket full of bananas. They made the basket in school in a class where they study traditional Tongan arts and crafts!38. Jeff with new Tongan friends, Peno, Angelina, and ‘Ala.
39. Anne with new Tongan friends, Peno, ‘Ala, and Angelina. Land is usually handed down through generations in Tonga. Their home overlooks the gorgeous sea.40. Soakai, Ana, Kilisitina, Otolose, Tiara, and Hulito, another wonderful Tongan family with whom we became friends.41. Ana prepared a traditional Tongan feast for us. It was truly a magnificent spread of all types of meats, fish, vegetables, and fruit! 42. Soakai was the teacher at the local high school who asked me to teach the students about basic drawing and fine art. Jeff, Anne, Ana, Soakai, and the youngest daughter, Tiara are pictured here by their home on the beach.43. Along with us, Soakai also invited another sailing missionary family we met in Bora Bora to his home (Ken, Beatrice, Joshua, and Gabriella). Soakai and his lovely Tongan family were so friendly! They gave us presents several times throughout our visit to their lovely country. We also gave back to them by bringing gifts to them, inviting them to a party on Joyful, by teaching at their school and contributing school supplies and clothes to their students.
44. Whales and their calves were commonly seen in the sea about 100 feet in front of their house (the sea was about 15 feet from their house!). Soakai always wants this land to belong to his family because it offers an exceptional quality of life, day and night. Sometimes they sleep right on the beach!45. Soakai’s wonderful Tongan family became good friends, and we enjoyed seeing them many times during our weeks in Tonga.46. New friends Otolose, Hulito, Gabriella, Kilisitine, and Tiera played together on the beach. Humpback whales bring their calves about 100 feet from this shore to rest and to be safe! 47. Soakai’s family beautifully sang Christian hymns on the beach by their home to us. At sunrise, they, and many other Tongans light fires and sing hymns from the shore to awaken the King who’s palace is across the water from Soakai’s home. That is an ancient tradition, which shows love and honor to the king.
48. Anne with a gift from kind Hulito, a high school student, who made them from local Tongan plants.49. Our new friend, Mailagi from Samoa, and Anne at the Agricultural Show of Tonga.50. Every person in this photo are sailing missionaries! We call ourselves, “Sailors for Christ”. This photo was taken on Sea Angel in Bora Bora. Everyone except Karen (2nd from left) was on Joyful for a music ministry afternoon tea in Tonga!51. Joyful hosts a birthday party for Anne. Joyful’s stern lowers a little bit due to 11 people partying all together in her cockpit! 52. Anne’s birthday party on Joyful with Gabriella and Ala in photo. Anne gave them Bible verse cards as party favours. Everyone, young and old, love those Bible verse cards!53. Joyful’s happy birthday party for Anne in Tonga with dear local Tongan friends and fellow sailing missionary friends.54. Lilli, a student in the 5th grade at Round Hill Elementary School, was one of many students who kindly made wonderful cards for us to open as we sail Joyful around the world. I opened this on my birthday! Thank you Lilli and all Bears! Charts: Joyful keeps her paper nautical navigational charts in portfolios under the ship’s clock and barometer (behind me). They have to be strapped down to keep them from spilling all over the saloon when under way on the ocean!55. Anne unwrapping birthday presents on Joyful from local Tongans and sailing missionary friends.56. Pass the Pigs was a fun birthday party game. Joyful’s crew, Bill, explained how to play the game to Ala and Abby. 57. Ala, Anne, and Angelina on Joyful. Anne gave her young birthday party guests Bible verse cards as party favours, which they loved!58. Abby, Ala, and Peno relax on Joyful at Anne’s birthday party after a busy day at work and school.59. Anne with Ala. Ala and her sister, Angelina attended the art lesson about Jesus Anne gave to 60 children before the birthday party. Abby translated from Tongan to English!60. Pass the Pigs was a fun birthday party game. Ala and Abby pose with the pigs and me in this photo.
61. Bill kindly took photos of my birthday party from Joyful’s companionway area.62. Joyful at her peaceful mooring in Vava’u, Tonga. Moorings are heavy ropes attached to a flotation ball on one end, and an extremely heavy weight made of concrete or metal on the other end, which lays on the sea bed. Sometimes, when a storm comes along, the heavy weight can actually drag away! Also, sometimes if the mooring has not been checked periodically, the rope can separate and the boat can drift away.63. After church, Neiafu is almost totally deserted because families get together to have feasts, or people stay home to relax. Here, a red vented bulbul, an alien species of bird, surveys the quiet town of Neiafu on this Sunday morning.
64. I took this photo of a Red Vented Bul Bul in the town center of Tonga. It is an alien specie, and creates havoc in Polynesia.65. A Red Vented Bulbul, overlooks the harbor of Neiafu, yearning to fly into Joyful’s cockpit to land on Jeff’s hat like the bird did on the way to Panama!
66. A Red Vented Bulbul bird in Tonga. You can see his red feathers under the base of his tail.67. A Red Vented Bul Bul bird on a powerline in Tonga. You can see his red feathers very well in this photo.68. Pigs roamed free in Neiafu. According to some veterinarians, most of them do not have enough nutrious food to eat, and therefore, are unhealthy for people to eat. They said some pigs are fattened for slaughter, and those are OK to eat.69. Tongan pigs love coconuts We also saw them every day on the sea shore digging up and eating clams by Joyful! They run around loose, but always go back home, if they have one, for mealtime!70. A cute Tongan piglet.71. Pigs and piglets rooted for clams on the shore next to Joyful every morning.72. Fruit bats slept in the trees near Joyful. They flew around at dusk and into the night. They were quite large with a two to three plus foot wingspan! We hoped they would not get caught in Joyful’s wind generator.73. Wild fruit bats slept in the trees next to Joyful every night and hunted fruit in the middle of the night.
74. The Tonga Voyaging Society, Kalauni O Tonga, is devoted to keeping traditional Polynesian navigation, ocean crossings, and sea culture alive. Please read this pamphlet (photos 74 and 75) and learn about this worthwhile goal.
75. We were honored to have sailed on Gaualofa, one of these few traditional Polynesian vacuous in existance.
76. This is a photo of the magnificent Gaualofa, a traditional Polynesian “Vaka”. We sailed on this boat, and learned about traditional Polynesian navigation, the boat’s control systems, met the amazing crew, and learned about the mission of the Tongan Voyaging Society.
77. While in Tonga, we sailed for a few hours on the Gaualofa, a traditional Polynesian vaka. The community effort to keep the six vaca fleet alive, with the use of traditional Polynesian navigation, is a worthwhile endeavor to which we contributed.78. Mailagi is the chaplain of the Gaualofa. He is a Christian minister, as was his father, grandfather, great grandfather, and great great grandfather.79. Mailagi is the chaplain for the vaka Gaualofa. He is saying a prayer to the Lord for a safe voyage. The fleet of 6 Polynesian vacas is trying to raise money so the ancient ships and traditional navigational practices will thrive.80. The first and only female Polynesian vaka skipper, Captain Aunofo Havea, spoke of traditional methods of celestial navigation, which are used even today on the fleet of Vakas.81. The Samoa ensign flies proudly from a stay on the traditional vaka.82. Ancient Samoan symbols decorate the Gaualofa’s sails.83. Samoans have a tradition of culturally predetermined symbols for sail decoration as well as for tatoos on men and women’s bodies.84. This powerful young Samoan volunteered to take the helm of the vaka. Each of the volunteer Polynesian crew rotated their posts in order to learn everything about the vakas.85. Jeff and a Tongan at the tiller. It took great strength to operate the tiller during certain maneuvers.86. Anne shared the vaka’s tiller with a Tongan sailor. It took lots of strength to handle the tiller of the craft, especially when the boat had to be skulled during certain maneouvers.87. Bill pondered the vaka’s traditional design.88. Sailors for Christ and the crew of the Vaka pose together after a memorable sail.89. Jeff speaks to Soakai at the Agricultural Show.90. Soakai and his daughters showed us many interesting exhibits at the Agricultural show.91. Mailagi and Anne at the Agricultural Show in Tonga. 92. I said “God bless Tonga” to the king, and he smiled back. I think he understood my Californian accent just fine!93. The Queen of Tonga and her entourage enjoyed the bounty of their country and the loyalty of their subjects. I said, “God bless Tonga!” to the queen, and she smiled back. Tongans love Jesus.94.This little kid at the Tongan Agricultural Show delighted me. I wanted to take it back to Joyful for a pet!95. This bull stood patiently waiting to receive his first prize blue ribbon!96. A shark was amongst the creatures of the sea that families brought to compete in the Ocean Life division of the show.97. Giant clams and other delicacies from the sea abounded in the show. Sea creatures were shipped in overnight by Tongans who wished to participate in the show. Some Tongans traveled day and night to arrive in Neiafu, Vava’u, in order to bring their sea creatures in ice to this show. After the judges came by, everything was sold or taken home to eat. Every booth was breathtaking in some marvelous way!98. Dried octopus was a common entry for the Bounty of the Sea division. The various types of sea food displayed at the show was remarkable! Tongans sailed all night to bring fresh seafood to this show on Vava’u from neighboring Tongan islands!99. The variety of bounty from the sea presented by this family, as by others, was staggering! Sea weed, fish of all types, shell creatures, dried octopus, pickled sea creatures in bottles, and more were in countless booths at this fantastic show!100. An impressive collection of plants constituted this booth. Maybe he won first prize! The farmer is wearing the traditional Tongan sarong and ta’ovala. He is wearing black because a close relative died within the year. It shows he is in mourning.101. Bags of home grown and ground kava, hand made tapa cloth, and beautiful hibiscus woven ta’ovala compete for 1st prize at the Agricultural Show.102. This family sits next to their woven mats, tapa cloth, and other traditional Tongan utilitarian crafts, as they patiently wait for the King and Queen and the show’s judges to stroll by. These weavings were museum quality!103. In preparation to show allegiance to the crown of Tonga when the King and Queen walk by, this Tongan woman gets her finely woven ta’ovala ready to wrap around her waist and hips.104. This Tongan woman helped her friend adjust the sash on the traditional ta’olava, a woven wrap worn to show loyalty to the crown.105. These two Tongan women are in mourning for a closely related loved one. This is evident by their black clothes, and their thick ta’ovala covered by a fakaaveave.106. This woman’s ta’ovala woven from hibiscus bark literally covered her from the top of her head to her toes. This is a way of showing mourning for a very close relative. Tongans have an extremely complex system of behavior and symbolism pertaining to death. All rituals are passed on from generation to generation. However, as everywhere, traditions are constantly changing due to acculturation.107. These pretty Tongan school girls wore traditional woven leis and ta’ovalas with their school uniforms.108. A magnificent ta’ovala made of tapa cloth, laboriously made from bark of special trees, graces this pretty Tongan woman. Tapa is a special way to honor Tongan royalty. It is highly valued and passed down from generation to generation.
109. This must be the world’s largest tapa cloth!!!! The king and queen must have been quite honored to have seen this huge, beautiful tapa on display for them!110. These handsome bovines thank you for learning about their agricultural show, and hope you visit them someday in Tonga!111. I am standing next to a 500 pound Blue Marlin that was just caught in Tongan waters minutes before! It still had beautiful colors on its skin.112. When this nice American sailing couple from San Diego passed us on the street and learned we were buying school supplies to give to the Vava’u Side School students, they graciously and most kindly volunteered to purchase half of the supplies!113. 6th grade students from the Vava’u Side School thank Anne, Jeff, Maria, and her husband for donating school supplies and for arranging a Skype session with the Round Hill Elementary School students in Virginia, USA.114. Students from the Vava’u Side School in Tonga Skyped with students from the Round Hill Elementary School in Virginia, USA. Anne and Peace Corp worker, Katie, helped with the Skype session.115. Principal Mr. Davis, Science teacher Mr. Muldowney and several Round Hill Elementary School Bears Skyped after school ended with the students at the Vava’u Side School in Tonga.116. This is a photo of the happy Tongan students on the computer screen when the equally happy RHES students were Skyping with the Vava’u Side School in Tonga.PNG 117. The Tongan students greatly enjoyed Skyping with the American students and visa versa! They shared knowledge about the oceans, earth, animals, sports, education, and more!118. Students from the Tongan Side School hold up the Round Hill Elementary School banner during their Skype session with each other.119. Students from the Vava’u Side School look into the classroom to watch the 6th grade class have a Skype session with Round Hill Elementary School. They wanted to Skype, too! 120. Skype – Students from the Vava’u Side School were eager to speak to the Round Hill Elementary School students. 121. Students loved the Skype session. Peace Corp Volunteer Katie kindly supplied her computer for the Skype session. 122. A student from the Vava’u Side School, Katie from the Peace Corp, Anne from the BPO and Mission Joyful, participate in a Skype session with the Round Hill Elementary School Bears. The students may form lifelong friendships with one another! 123. A Vava’u Side School teacher during the Skype session shows the American students the traditional woven wrap signifying loyalty to the Kingdom of Tonga. Men, women and children of all ages wear these wraps over their clothes. 124. Students in the Vava’u Side School 6th grade class enjoyed the Skype session with the Round Hill Elementary School in the USA. The American students also were happy to become friends with the Tongan children! 125. 6th grade students of the Vava’u Side School enjoyed the Skype session with the Round Hill Elementary School Bears. At right, a lady Tongan teacher wears the traditional woven wrap showing allegance to the crown. 126. Many students from the Vava’u Side School wished to participate in the Skype session, but it was only available to the 6th grade students. 127. Fellow sailing circumnavigators Maria and Bill met us on the way to the Skype session and along with us, bought school supplies for the 6th grade class at the Vava’u Side School.128. ART LESSON -Jeff and I gave an art lesson about Jesus to 60 Tongan children at this tiny library. We are holding the blanket that the Hearts of Angels Sunday School class and the congregation of the Huntsville First United Methodist Church chapel service gave us during our consecration/commissioning ceremony for Mission Joyful, which was held in the United States, a few months before we left on this circumnavigation. Thank you and bless you, angels!!!!129. Some parents waited outside the library for their children to finish the art lesson about Jesus. 60 Tongan children between 6 and 14 years old attended the class and received an art supply kit as well.130. Anne in front of the Vava’u Public Library holding the Mission Joyful blanket given to Jeff and Anne from the Methodist Church chapel service in Huntsville, Alabama.131. Vava’u Public Library street entrance.132. Sailing missionary Ken looks at the map on the side of the Vava’u library. He prayed that many children could attend the art ministry event. Ken and his family members Beatrice, Gabriella and Josh are sailing missionaries we met in Bora Bora.133. Beatrice, aided by Tongan children, arrange one of a few tables in preparation for the art class. Beatrice, Gabriella, Jeff and Abby helped Anne instruct the art lesson about Jesus to over 60 children.134. Out of a total of 60 students, these are some of the younger children who attended the art lesson about Jesus. Fellow sailing missionaries Beatrice and Gabriella who graciously helped with the class pose with Jeff and Anne.135. I had to teach children in both rooms at the same time. I had to stand in the doorway between both rooms to begin the instruction! You can see some of the younger students sitting on the floor in the room through the doorway, as well as some of the older students in the room to my right. Thank goodness for Beatrice, Gabriella, and Abby, who helped encourage the students and translate, as well as for Jeff, who kindly took photos and also helped distribute the art supplies.
136. Abby, the Tongan librarian, explained to me that she would translate for the younger children, who had not yet learned English in school.
137. The older students sat together in one of the two rooms in the library. They understood a little English. All the students, from the youngest to the oldest, loved creating artwork about Jesus and wanted to make more cards to give to people. We gave the art supplies to each student in a kit form so they could take them home and be able to create more art as they wished. They all learned that through art, they can show love to one another by giving people their art work. They each learned the Bible verse, Matthew 22: 27-40, which tells of Jesus’ commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves.
138. These are some of the younger of the 60 children who sat on the floor of the 2 room library. Abby, a Tongan volunteer librarian, translated for me from English to Tonganese because the younger children had not yet learned English in school.139. The remarkable 14 year old sailing missionary, Gabriella, helped the younger children learn about Jesus through art. Even though the youngest children did not speak English, Gabriella was able to communicate through art and kindness.
140. Beatrice, Gabriella’s mother, is thrilled by the younger Tongan students’ artwork as her daughter, Gabriella, continues to teach and encourage the younger children about Jesus and art. Gabriella, Beatrice and I were able to communicate certain things even without knowing Tongan language! But, clearly, Abby, who was translating from English to Tongan, was essential to communicate concepts not easily understood without the use of language. Beatrice, Gabriella, Ken and Joshua are also sailing missionaries who love obeying the Lord by serving others.141. A young Tongan girl with a beautiful heart learned about Jesus through art. Please look at the next photo, which is a close up of her exceptional art work, and a glimpse into the youth’s heart and soul! This is a blessed child. If only everyone in the world would believe as this girl.142. The young Tongan girl with a beautiful heart learned about Jesus through art. She wrote about Jesus’ commandment to love your neighbor as yourself, and she gave an example of picking up rubbish around a friend’s house to demonstrate that love. Inspirational, isn’t it?143. A young Tongan girl holds the card she made for her mother, showing her understanding that Jesus wants her to love others as herself. 144. All the boys and girls enjoyed making cards, showing their love for their neighbors and for Jesus. 145. This awesome young Tongan boy made a super card showing obedience to the Lord. Please look at the next two photos to see his outstanding inspired artwork!
146. This is the wonderful artwork the nice Tongan lad made for a birthday card for Jesus Christ. It is of a tiger wearing trousers and a tee shirt saying, “I love Jesus”.
146.1. An awesome young Tongan boy named Sam (in photo 143) made a super card showing obedience to the Lord. This inner page of the card is one of the most powerful pieces of art I’ve seen, anywhere in the world, including Michelangelo’s David, Michelangelo’s The Piata and Rembrandt’s The Night Watch. This is because Sam originated this card from his most inner yearnings, and communicated them directly to the paper, and his expression evokes emotion from the most hardened of all hearts! That is the true requisite for any major work of art, as far as I am concerned. Children’s art is just as important as adults’ art, and is even better than most adults’ art, too!147. Gabriella admires some of the younger students’ cards about Jesus. The children really liked making cards for their loved ones and learning about how Jesus loves them.
148. A close up of a teenage girl’s card showing excellent artwork and inspiring words. Any piece of art that evokes such positive emotion to the artist or the viewer is a magnificent success.
149. A few super cards the students made to give to someone, demonstrating their willingness to obey Jesus’ most important commandments, to love your God and your neighbor as yourself.150. This is the Mailefihi Siu’ilikutapu College, which is a Wesleyan Methodist Church’s high school in Neiafu, Vava’u, where I taught fine art, drawing, and how to use God’s gift of art to “at risk” senior boys and girls.151. Seventeen and eighteen year old students at the Wesleyan High School with Anne, Jeff, and their Samoan friend, Mailagi. There is no fine artist or art professor on Vava’u, so Soakai, an instructor at the high school, and the educator who instigated the program for “at risk” students, asked Anne to instruct the students in fine art and basic drawing. He also wanted Anne to tell the students how they can develop life skills through art, which can be used to help them make a living as an adult. He was thrilled that I included teaching them something about Jesus, as well.152. On the chalk board, I showed the students how to draw shading on objects. I also made the students a set of three dimentional basic shapes: a cone, a cube, and a cylinder. With these and a flash light illuminating one side of the basic shapes, the students learned to create a shaded image with their 2B pencils. The students were captivated with this basic drawing technique.153. I taught students how to utilize their artistic skills to bring the Word of the Lord to others. They were happy to learn skills that they can use throughout their lives. After the lesson was over, an articulate boy gave us an eloquent speech thanking us for our time, knowledge, and willingness to teach them. They also thanked us for giving them their art supply kits so they can continue to use them at home. 154. This is Anne’s cross she taught the high school students to create. The students were quite interested in learning to create this image. The next day, the Queen of Tonga received a cross like this, too. The royal family are Christians, as are around 90% of all Tongans.155. Joyful welcomes Australian, American, Swedish, Tongan and Samoan Christian friends aboard for an afternoon tea. It was a fantastic time of fellowship with music praising the Lord together! It was one of the best times I’ve ever had in my life, and I’ve had plenty of awesome times!156. Fellowship and music ministry on Joyful in Tonga with Mailagi, Jeff and Ken in this photo. 157. We invited several wonderful people to Joyful for afternoon tea. From left to right – Sailing missionary Pam, Tongan friend Ana, sailing missionaries Gabriella and Joshua, Samoan Pastor Mailagi, and Jeff. During the tea, Pam, who has an extremely sweet voice and is a gifted teacher and missionary, sang several delightful songs about Jesus she teaches the children and adults who live in the villages in the Louisaides, Papua New Guinea. She and her husband, Phil, sail their boat to these remote islands in Papua New Guinea every year from Australia, to do missionary work. They also bring a boat load of Bibles, guitars, small tools, and other helpful items to the villagers. Phil and Pam are real inspirations to us on many levels.158. Pam, Ana, Soakai and Josh, with Otolose in the foreground during the music ministry afternoon tea on Joyful. Everyone had fun every minute, and the tea went on for hours, even after sunset!159. Joyful held an afternoon tea in Tonga for friends. From left to right – Sailing missionaries Ken and Phil, Tongan friend Soakai, sailing missionary Beatrice, and Tongan friends, Kilisitina, Otolose, and Tiara. It was a school day, so the girls wore their school uniforms.160. Chaplain Mailagi, Jeff and Ken talk about Mailagi’s heritage of ministry in his family through multiple generations. Right after sunset, Mailagi, with his beautiful voice, sang a Samoan hymn in the Samoan language. It was ethereal! It gave all of us on board “goose bumps” on our skin.161. Sailors for Christ, Jeff, Ken and Phil enjoy everyone’s company on Joyful for the musical afternoon tea .
161.1 I played my guitar at the music ministry tea on Joyful, but there is no photo of me at the tea, as I was taking the photos, so this is what my guitar and I looked like at a friend’s villa in Bora Bora a few weeks earlier!
162. The musical afternoon tea was so enjoyable that it turned into a musical sunset tea, and a musical evening tea! Everyone was having so much fun, from the youngest person to the oldest! Beatrice, another sailing missionary, played Jeff’s acoustic Martin “backpacker” guitar beautifully during the musical ministry afternoon tea event in Joyful’s cockpit.163. From left to right – Jeff, sailing missionaries Phil and Beatrice, Tongan Soakai discuss life on Tonga. Soakai played my classical guitar as he and his family sang hymns in Tongan and English.164. Tongan friends, Kilisitina, Otolose, and Tiara, their father, Soakai, and sailing missionary friend Beatrice enjoy singing hymns at sunset from Joyful’s cockpit! We all sang together. Sometimes, only Soakai and Ana and their three daughters, Kilisitina, Otolose, and Tiara would sing together, and they made truly heavenly tones and harmonies! None of us could believe our ears! It was an amazing time as they sang and the only light was the warm orange colored loom of the Tongan sunset! Soakai is one of the two choir directors at the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga, where the King and Queen of Tonga worship.165. At the custom’s dock, Jeff and Bill prepare Joyful’s dinghy for stowage for the passage to Vanuatu. While they were doing this, I walked into town to complete all the processing to exit the country.166. Soakai, Ana, Kilisitina, Otolose, and Tiara gave us a most delightful Bon Voyage feast next to Joyful at the customs dock minutes before we sailed away from their beautiful island of Vava’u to Vanuatu. They wished Joyful a fond fair well and gave us their friendship, blessings, presents, prayers, and a traditional Tongan fair well feast. They graciously gave us more handmade baskets the girls constructed for us in school, and many delicious traditional Tongan foods that Ana most kindly made. Soakai led a powerful prayer asking the Lord for His hedge of protection for Joyful, Jeff, Bill, and I as we sailed around the world. He thanked the Lord for letting us become friends, and for many other blessings. This was a perfect moment with this beautiful family, a time when people from the opposite sides of the world connect as one human race, brothers and sisters in Christ, sharing friendship and hopes of seeing each other sometime again in the future! Thank you Lord!
167. Bon Voyage feast – Jeff and Anne enjoy Soakai’s family feast on Joyful before they set sail for Vanuatu. Look at the gorgeous food they kindly made for us, and the perfectly constructed traditional baskets they also kindly made for us! Soakai and his family were really good hearted people, and we are blessed to be their friends!168. Bon Voyage feast – Bill also enjoyed the traditional Tongan goodbye feast Soakai’s family gave us. Minutes later, we set sail from the customs dock, bound for Vanuatu. We wished we could have taken Soakai and his family with us!169. A Tongan sunset was a sweet departing view of a wonderful island, and a blessed people. We sailed past Soakai’s home on the water, where a few days before we all enjoyed a traditional Tongan feast with them on their beach. We waved goodbye from Joyful as we sailed by, and thanked the Lord for this blessed time in Tonga.