While many boys and girls in North America bundle up in heavy winter coats to go to school or to play outside, Logan Going (8) swims and pays on the beaches at New Zealand.
New Zealand, nicknamed the “land of the long white cloud,” is in the southwest Pacific Ocean, halfway around the world from Church headquarters. The seasons there are just opposite from what they are in the United States, the British Isles, and Canada.
Logan and his brothers, Jared (12) and Milton (15), live in Maromaku Valley near the city of Whangarei. They also have an older sister, Lea, who attends college in Hamilton. The whole family enjoys sports, especially tennis, rugby, and waterskiing.
Rugby, a form of football, is one of New Zealand’s national pastimes. Logan’s father, Sid, used to play on the national All Black team, so it isn’t any surprise that his sons enjoy playing the sport. Every Saturday they travel to Whangarie to compete against other school teams. They also have fun just playing rugby on the front lawn with their cousins who live nearby.
Logan and his brothers play hard, but they work hard too. Feeding hay to the cattle, feeding the chooks (chickens), herding sheep, and picking kiwi fruit from their orchard are just some of the farm chores that keep them busy.
At school Logan’s favorite subjects are math and reading. He is also learning to play the piano and the organ. He may be a bit shy now, but when he was little, his family nicknamed his “Boss” because he used to boss everyone around.
A big part of the Goings’ life is the Church. Logan, a CTR B, was baptized on his birthday last April by his father, who is also his bishop. His mother, Colleen, is the first counselor in the Relief Society and also stake Relief Society secretary.
Logan’s brothers set good examples for him to follow. All three boys plan to serve missions, and Logan also wants to visit the Logan Temple in Utah someday.
One of his cousins, Kim (11), lives nearby in Hukerenui. The youngest of George and Pam Going’s five children, she loves to ride horses. Her family buys and trains horses for show purposes, and Kim has competed and won in such events as show jumping and western riding.
Besides riding horses, Kim likes to play rugby, ride her bike, and swim.
A year ago Kim had the opportunity to attend general conference in Salt Lake City with her parents and some other members of her family. Her father is the second counselor in the Kaikohe New Zealand Stake presidency, and her mother is the stake Relief Society president. Like Logan, Kim is learning firsthand how to give love and service to others.
New Zealanders speak English, but while in America, Kim quickly learned that the same words don’t always mean the same things. For example, a cookie is called a “biscuit” in New Zealand, and a piece of candy is called a “lolly.” When Kim makes “a try” in rugby, she is making a goal. And “tea” is the evening meal.
Kim thought that Utah was pretty, but she prefers the lush, green hills of her own country to the deserty mountains of Utah.
New Zealand’s green hills and valleys are perfect for raising sheep and cattle. Sheep are the country’s most important farm animals because they are raised for both their meat and wool. New Zealand has 69 million sheep and 8 million cattle. That means that there are 25 times as many farm animals as there are people in the country!
In November of each year, the country schools have a “Calf Club Day,” when the children show the calves, lambs, or goats that they have raised. The Going children usually spend about three months working with their animals; they lead and brush them and make them their mates, or friends.
Families are important to the Goings. Whether it’s playing sports or singing while Logan’s father accompanies them on the guitar, they enjoy doing things together.
Because Logan’s oldest sister, Tracey, died in a car accident two years ago, the boys and Lea are especially grateful for their knowledge of the Resurrection. It has real meaning in their lives, because they know that if they live righteously, they can someday be with her again.