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The Other Side of Heaven 2

The Other Side of Heaven 2 Main actor Christopher Gorman

We went to see the movie, “The Other Side of Heaven 2”, and I thought it would be good to share my impressions with you.

We were fortunate to be with a group that previewed the movie before it was shown to the general public. The theater was filled with relatives of one of the main characters in the movie, Tonga Toutai Paletu’a. The story was about his conversion to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his relationship with his family prior to that decision and after.

Elder John H. Groberg was depicted in the movie as the LDS Mission President at the time who had served his first mission in Tonga. My husband happened to be one of his missionaries. This movie has special significance to us and to our family. Another interesting fact is that our daughter married the grandson of Tonga Toutai Paletu’a! It was very exciting to have so many connections.

We had been anticipating this movie since we found out there would be a Part II, having loved the first movie ten years earlier.

One thing I was interested in was that the same actor who played John Groberg’s part also starred in the second movie. He had hardly changed in many years and did an excellent job in both. Anne Hathaway who had played his wife in the first has gone on to become quite a Hollywood star, so they chose another actress, Natalie Medlock to play the part of his wife. I thought she did a marvelous job!

Natalie Medlock

I enjoyed the movie from start to finish beginning from when it showed BYU TV and Kolipoki Pictures. Those of us who have lived in Tonga or are somehow affiliated with it will know the significance of the name Kolipoki. It is “Groberg” Tonganized.

Us and the Grobergs

The actors chosen to play Toutai Paletu’a and his family were all excellent! The man who portrayed his father even made me dislike him very much for his portrayal of a very strict minister who would not admit his own faults.

There are many lessons throughout the movie that can benefit all people. Respect, forgiveness, love of family, hard work, the power of prayer, and fasting, Christlike love, and many more.

The fact that I personally knew Toutai Paletu’a and his wife made the movie so much more meaningful. When we lived in Tonga, when you met President Paletu’a, it seemed as if he could see right through you. He knew that I was having a very difficult time adjusting to my new life in the little islands. He told me if my husband ever gave me a hard time, he would talk to him. Somehow he sensed my culture shock and was trying to help me out.

The person that played our late prophet Thomas S. Monson has an uncanny likeness to him. I almost forgot it wasn’t really him. Kudos to the person who found him.

My favorite movies are those based on true life heroes. This was definitely one of our family’s favorites. One of the stories portrayed in the movie took me right back.

The Grobergs had several daughters until they moved to Tonga where they were blessed with a son, John. The baby became very ill and was close to death when the Queen and all the people who knew them fasted and prayed for him to get better.

When we lived in Tonga, I gave birth to my first son. He was very small and became so ill that he was unconscious. We rushed him to the hospital which was a 15-20 minute drive from where we lived in Liahona. I tried to wake him up all the way there, but he would not. Once we got him to the hospital, Dr. Havili gave him a shot of adrenalin. We were so happy to finally hear his little cry and knew he would be alright. I relived this experience through the movie.

The Grobergs worried over their sick son in the movie.

Myself, our missionaries, and my husband when we served in the Tonga Nuku’alofa Mission 1989-1992

Spoiler alert: Why was the movie rated PG-13? I was a bit concerned taking my grandchildren to see it because of the rating. The fact that the father threatened his son not to come home ever again and asked his other son to throw a piglet into the ocean (substituting the pig for his son). The other part that was offensive, and I understand it did not really happen, was when the father buried one disobedient son in the sand at the beach and then there was a big storm that could have drowned him, but somehow he escaped. The other scene is when their baby was thrown to a person from the boat to the shore. My little granddaughter was quite upset about that. Someone mentioned the plucking of dead chickens as being offensive, but I was used to that when I lived in Tonga (try eating one of those rubber chickens)!

President Groberg and his son in the movie

My favorite part besides the adorable children’s interaction with their father was when the wife of Paletu’a’s father called him a stubborn pig. Because, he was!

I urge you all to see the movie and you will come away with a new awareness of life in Tonga and a greater appreciation for those that stay true to their beliefs despite many hardships. Congratulations Elder and Sister Groberg on fulfilling President Monson’s wish of a comeback!

Beauty, Cultures, food, Grandchildren, Hawaii, health, holidays, home, Music, Parenting, Religion, travel

Wow, What a Reunion!

Just arrived back from a great family reunion, except for one grandson (me crying!) We took the I-80 from Salt Lake City, Utah to Reno, Nevada. We didn’t intend to drive in a caravan, but it ended up that three cars drove pretty close together all along the way. We Marco Polo’d as we drove (it is an app that you can record live to your party and receive live messages back -kind of like a walkie talkie, but with video). It is great because you keep abreast of where everyone is, can tell jokes, and warn of police cars, etc. One of our newest driver permit holders was driving the car we were following, so that was pretty exciting!!

Sand Harbor, Lake Tahoe

A side note: I-80 Interstate freeway goes all the way from San Francisco, California east to Teaneck, New Jersey (just outside of New York City).

Another car came from Arizona with the rest of the gang except for one grandson (me crying, again), but with an additional boyfriend (yeah!). Our destination goal had been predetermined by our youngest son who had served his mission in the Las Vegas West Mission, which included Reno, part of California, and down to Vegas. I-80 is pretty exciting (not!) except you get to see part of the Bonneville Salt Flats, which are dried up desert lakes that cover 30000 acres. They were pretty amazing!

Bonneville Salt Flats



Once we got past that it was miles and miles of I-80 (about 7 hours worth from SLC) with several hungry kids and technological gadgets and chargers. The time just flew by! haha. A few pitstops later, we finally made it to Reno to a very nice hotel which was welcomed by all.

As if we weren’t tired from a day of driving, we all headed for the local movie theater to watch Spider-Man: Far from Home, and since we missed our dinner meal we ate plenty of popcorn!

The next day was very exciting as we headed for Lake Tahoe. The altitude of Lake Tahoe is 6225 feet above sea level and Salt Lake City’s altitude is 4226. Needless to say, it was an uphill climb most of the way. But, it was all worth it to see this magnificent lake. We ended up at Sand Harbor and some of our party rented canoes and set sail!

While the rest of us enjoyed the sunshine, cool water, and took in the beautiful scenery, the men were busy BBQ’ing our lunch. Yum!!

Liana checking on our lunch – thanks guys!!

Some of the gang that went to see the rocks on the other side of the bay.
After lunch, we took a hike to the other side of the bay. Wow – What a site!

Since this is getting pretty long, l will continue with day two of our trip on the next post. Here is more about Lake Tahoe: