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Leaving Pahoa

Updated: Oct 30, 2020

Almost 7 years to the day, we depart the Big Island. Our original plan was to spend a long time here. However, plans change, especially when our growing family asks us to be closer to them, along with our deep desire to become closer to our grandchildren.

We started out in Hawaiian Paradise Park (HPP), in the Waikahe Ward. We loved it there. We soon discovered two things. First, taking care of an acre required a lot of work. Second, We could hear the ocean, but could not see it, even though we were only 2 blocks away from the water.

In 2014 we moved to Puna Palisades, 13 miles fom Pahoa, which moved us to the Pahoa Ward. Our first experience was a lava flow that had the possibility of cutting Pahoa in two. It didn’t, but lava was definitely in our future! We really loved our new home and the members of the ward.

Sr. Julliette Rickard

One of our greatest blessings in the Pahoa Ward was meeting our new “mom”, Juliette Rickard, and her daughter Liane. We have been visiting with her for 5 years, and she has most definitely enriched our lives. Her child-like giggle always brightened our day! We traded goodies and gifts on a regular basis. We traded stories of family and travel, and of family past and present. Thankfully, she is a super Facebook user, so we will always stay in touch, no matter how many physical miles are between us.

Our Aloha Sunday

Saying Aloha Oe is sweet, but also sad. There were many hugs, tears, and kisses as we ended our last Sunday in the ward. We take with us many memories, the love of many friends, and a strengthening in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our callings we demanding, yet very rewarding. We have promised to return and spend time with our Pahoa family.

Erhardt Autrata and a Tahitian ukulele

In 1997 I was blessed to travel to Tubuai, a small island about 600 miles south of Papeete, Tahiti. 13 brethren from Nephi, Utah went there to build a medical clinic. During our 3 week project we stayed with local families. They fed us amazing food, housed us in local homes, and we did a lot of signing at the end of the day. As we departed, a brother ran up to the plane and gave me this hand-made ukulele. As we leave Hawaii and become full-time RVers, we need to downsize radically. It seemed very fitting that we pass this beautiful ukulele to Erhardt, since he is from Tahiti, and plays quite well. It will be well cared for.

We loved our time on the Big Island. We experienced a hurricane, some near misses, and lava almost up close and personal. Our life was never dull! We will miss catchment rain water, the softest, best tasting water on the planet. We will miss fresh fruit, and especially dragon fruit and mangos from our dear neighbor Judy. Now it’s time to open a new chapter in our lives, filled with new friends, new experiences, and more time with our family.

My four years as the Hilo Stake Young Men President was an amazing spiritual experience. This calling added 15,000 miles of travel a year, up and down the island. To me, the highlight was Aaronic Priesthood Camp in 2015 and 2017. Those two camps touched all of our lives in many ways.

Jan’s time as the Stake Primary President also was demanding and very rewarding. Every time we visited a ward, Jan was surrounded with adoring children who loved her so much. I called them her little hugging “minions”.

Our hearts are full, and we are so happy that we decided to move to Hawaii for the past 7 years. We gained so much, and we learned so much. We grew spiritually. Now we turn to a new and very different adventure. Stay tuned!

#farewell #pahoa #pahoaward

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