Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Mele Kamekemaka means.....Merry Christmas To You!

We've been working so hard - that I just haven't found time to write.  So here is our Christmas missive - a little later than I hoped for - but heartfelt all the same.

Thank you for your Christmas cards and letters.  Because of you, our sad little tree went from this:

To this!

Isn't it beautiful?


Christmas Lagoon - A magical two weeks of late nights.  PCC puts on this amazing night show canoe ride.  32 people fit on one of the canoes.  Our guests are taken thru the center on the lagoon, which is lit up only by millions of Christmas lights (and a few well placed spotlights) while being told the Christmas story with a Hawaiian theme.  

It is so beautiful and inspiring.  They then see traditions of Christmas from 'around the world', and finally get to meet Santa Claus and some dancing yetis and elves! 

Our 70+ year old Santa and his wife this year put everything they had into their performances and we just love them to pieces.  Can you imagine THIS being your mission dance every night in a hot ol' fur suit in Hawaii at an age most people are going to bed at 8?  ...and they loved every minute of it!

Last night was the final performance....ever!  Times, they are a changing and the costs and resources are simply out-weighing the practicality.  How very blessed we are that we have been here for this wonderful effort to share this excellent Christmas story.  The place was PACKED last night and so full of Christmas cheer and goodwill.  How we wish you could have been there to experience it also.


Needless to say, this was great fun, and Elder Jones' mechanical skills and Sister Jones' ability to yack it up with 1,000s of people were put to great use.  


Mele and Iosepa.  Remember the story line?  I was privileged to put together  an online Christmas picture storyline that consisted of two coconut dolls from Fiji.  Here is the entire series, in one fail swoop!

Well, THAT was fun!  Won't lie - glad it's over - but writing and producing a storyline is really exciting.  Didn't go viral or anything, but it was a respectable smattering of attention.


And now - we just want to share with you our testimonies.  We are so very grateful for this wonderful mission that would never have been possible without the many blessings, the amazing miracles and the wonderful support of our beautiful family.  How we LOVE our family.  They are all the best and brightest - and we LOVE them!  They lead us, guide us, humble us and keep love in our hearts everyday.

We can testify that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not only still alive and and available, but is being spread across the earth.  We can see, beyond any doubt, that the Lord really does love us - so much that He has given His all and continues to give His all in order for us to have joy, knowledge and opportunities to return to our Heavenly Father - and all those that we love.

We testify that life is more than just presents, and jobs and status and that our happiness has grown by leaps and bounds because we are blessed to be able to meet and serve others from around the world.

Are you afraid of other people?  Have you lost your faith in mankind?  Think the world is run by greed and corruption?  Come here to the Polynesian Cultural Center where you will be exposed to guests and students from around the world, and you too will find out - the children of God are marvelous, beautiful and full of hope and joy!

We wish this knowledge and this joy for all our friends and family.  We love you and we cherish you. Be well. Be happy. Be brave and true.  The world is a wonderful place - and even more so because you are in it!

In closing, here is a little memory that brings to mind what this season is really all about.


Because of Elisabeth

I have a friend named Elisabeth and she is a wonder.  We met one day at church, and our eyes locked and our souls touched and we became instant best friends.

Elisabeth is a woman of many accomplishments and adventures.  She travels the world.  Not for vacation, mind you.  She goes to the poorest nations, and serves the neediest of people.  And she loves them all.

And she knows everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY.

One day we were at a Relief Society function where we played the game where you write down something no one else would know and then everyone guesses who it could be.  One slip of paper said “I once dated Donny Osmond”.  Yep, that was Elisabeth.

Another time we were at her house having dinner.  She had the most beautiful album playing with Gladys Knight and the The Saints Unified Voice Choir.  I mentioned how beautiful it was and she lightly said, “Oh yes – that’s from the year I was in the choir.  What a great experience.  Let me tell you about it.”

There were the stories about having Family Home Evening with our Prophet and his family, being friends with heads of large businesses, this singer and that painter.  The list went on and on.  But it was never braggadocios or vain.  All she did was share her life. 

Elisabeth is not the type to sit and wait.  She has things to do and people to see.  One day she said to me, “Nina, we’re going to play a duet at Church for the holiday.”  I might mention here that Elisabeth plays the viola….at concert level.

I play the flute, but definitely not at concert level.   Yet, I was willing to go along with her, because she said I could do it.
Not this piece, but
you get the picture

Then she handed me the music and my heart sunk.  “Elisabeth,” I explained.  “There is no way on God’s green earth that I am going to be able to handle this piece.”

“Nonsense,” she said.  And we practiced and practiced until she was sure I was ready.

In preparation for this great day, I took my student level flute and got it repadded.  It was ready just two days before our presentation.  I took it home, put it together, blew in it….and nothing.  Not one sound came out of that flute.  … and I thought “This is it.  I’m done.”

“Nonsense,” said Elisabeth.  “We will simply borrow one.”  And the one we found was a beautiful, shiny concert flute…with holes in the keys.  

I can’t play concert flutes with holes in the keys.  I simply cannot cover those holes adequately so what happens sounds more like a cat fight than a musical piece.

So we ran to the music store and got little plastic flute hole covers.

Except they didn’t fit.  Not well.  They were too small to snap in.

“Not to worry”, said Elisabeth.  “Just hold your flute up straight and they’ll simply stay in place.”

We practiced and it seemed to work just fine.

When it came time for our musical number I made sure my little pads were balanced perfectly and we started playing.  I don’t know what was different that day, maybe the humidity, or maybe my profuse sweating, but each time I touched a key with a cover in it, that cover would simply stick to my finger long enough to lift off the key and then ever so lightly float to the floor.

And I kept playing.  And somehow, by some miracle, it worked and I was able to play this lovely piece without completely embarrassing myself or my dear husband who had watched with great interest mixed with horror from the pew below me.

And I thought to myself, I have learned a great life lesson today.

Right after Sacrament, Elisabeth said, “I feel the need to go see Marge – come with me”

Marge was an older lady from our ward.  She had leukemia and was home bound, so I said “of course, let’s go!”

When we arrived, Elisabeth said “Marge, we’re going to play you a hymn,” and Marge said “I’d love to hear it”.  We got our instruments out and without any piano accompaniment we began to play.  And it was clear and sweet and beautiful and the spirit filled the room and gave comfort and joy to a woman who needed it so very badly. 

And I thought to myself, I have been part of a miracle today.

We have the same opportunity every day – if we just let ourselves take the risk and follow the promptings of the Savior.  We don’t even have to work hard at finding opportunities.  We just have to grab onto His hem and He will lead us where we need to go.

The worse that could happen is that we could learn a great life lesson.

The best that could happen is that we could be part of a miracle.


  1. Love, love, love reading your stories, miracles, and adventures in paradise. Thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas! Tamara Hogsett

  2. Merry Christmas Nina - I see you have tasted sweetly of the spirit this season especially with all the beautiful productions and the performances with your dear friend Elizabeth. Thank you for sharing - you have touched my spirit as well.