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Chocolate and Civil War

Governor's Bay, New Zealand

Governor’s Bay, New Zealand

We started this week out by celebrating the Queen’s birthday which is a public holiday in New Zealand. I’ve never celebrated the Queen’s birthday before—had never even thought about the fact that the queen had a birthday—so as it approached I asked several locals how they celebrate and the answer was always the same: “We don’t. It’s just a day off work.”

We had a lot to do that day, so we didn’t take the day off work, but we did decide to take a few hours off. We haven’t seen much of the country yet and so we drove to Governor’s Bay, about a 25-minute drive from home. Narrow, winding roads led us into the hills and eventually a gorgeous view of the small bay that would make an enticing cover for any New Zealand travel book. Governor’s Bay is a quaint country village that made me feel like I had gone back in time about forty years. We parked and walked up the hill to a small café called She Universe. Being hungry, we stopped in and discovered the most incredible food—predominantly chocolate. From what I could learn, a chocolatier owns and runs the place. She’s hired an amazing Brazilian chef and together created sheer delight in the guise of food.

Hot chocolate

I did give in and taste the Bavarian hot chocolate-made from real chocolate not powder! UMMMM!

We sat on a sofa with a coffee table in front of us and a picture window to our right that overlooked the bay. I kept pinching myself to make sure it wasn’t just a dream. I wanted to try everything on the menu, but feeling like I needed something substantial and healthy I opted for a delicious basil and lentil soup. Elder Johnson had fish and chips for the first time down under and even the chips were extraordinary. The thing I most want to go back and try is the chips that can be ordered with your choice of five dipping sauces. One of the sauces is a dark chocolate sauce and another a dark chocolate and chili sauce. Chips dipped in chocolate! I watched as the waitress brought out several huge bowls of the chips and wished my sense of needing something healthy hadn’t won over my desire for the chips and chocolate sauce. (Sometimes the practical side of me kicks in at the wrong time!) The soup was delectable, but my mouth watered the whole time for those chips. Next visit!

Teaching this week from the Book of Mormon consisted of my favorite lessons—the Atonement and the Grace of God. I can’t believe I get to spend my days studying and presenting these lessons! Even the Old Testament lesson which was on the civil war between Israel and Judah was incredibly spiritual. I was surprised to learn that the manual centered the lesson on what the war teaches us about establishing and maintaining personal relationships! At first that surprised me, but as I prepared the lesson I was amazed at what I learned. This gospel is truly amazing and the joy it brings me fills my cup to overflowing. It’s even better than chocolate!

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