Thursday, November 17, 2016

Arriving Home!

We arrived October 1, 2016, at 9:00 p.m. at the Salt Lake City Airport.  My parents, our children and spouses, Dawain and Jana with Alison and her new husband and most importantly 6 of our 9 grandchildren.  I loved Ali breaking through and giving us the first of many hugs and kisses.

After saying good night, we traveled with Adrian and Todd to their home where we literally fell into bed exhausted!!  However, early the next morning we were awakened by the aroma of Belgian waffles with strawberries and real whipped cream (we hadn't had this treat for a full 18 months).  Shortly after, the doorbell rang and in popped Curt and Melanee and the triplets.  Oh my, oh my, oh my, what a delight.  We didn't rush at them, but took a few minutes to get to know them and observe them -- real and in 3-D.  It took a few minutes for them to warm up to us.

This was General Conference weekend so Sunday we watched as much as we could of the two sessions.  We are definitely going to have to read this conference.

It's been a wild October and we definitely have had a lot of family activities ---

October 5 was Kacy Marie's first birthday.  Don't know when Brittney has time to create these cute invitations, but she is amazing. Kacy had a great time eating her cake, but notice how prime and proper she is trying to be.

We celebrated Kacy's birthday on October 8, the day of Mason's baptism.

Wow, Mason is 8!  How wonderful he looked as he took on this new responsibility in his life.  How proud we are of you Mason.  It was a wonderful gathering of family and friends.

How wonderful to have a father that is worthy to baptize him; and, a mother who teaches him about the gospel and is such a great example of charity and service.
The second week we were home, we had our physicals and dental appointments that had been ignored for 18 months.  Well, actually we didn't want to go to Samoan doctors and we were pretty healthy.

The triplets turned "1" on October 13.  We had been up a few days before to give them a present and on October 29 they were having a big family birthday party, so Curt and Melanee were alone to give them a cake and watch them dig in.  This picture pretty much shows that you can't get three to cooperate and smile at the same time.  The new family pictures are wonderful to have.
Could never imagine what three one-year old birthdays at the same time would be like - these pictures say it all - fun, family and chaos!  It was a great day so some outside time was enjoyed by all.

 Everyone got a cake, and pictures of all the important people in their lives - parents, grandparents and great grandma!
Three of everything and sometimes more.

Theron decided that because Steve and Robby had a new truck, he needed one, also.  Ours had been used a lot while we were gone.  We spent a few days inking this deal and are now the proud owners of a new Chevy duramax 3500 with bells and whistles galore!  

We did take a few hours to visit with my folks and show them some pictures of Samoa.  Mom has had some health problems of late and is trying to control her heart rate, but she is still as active as ever.  Dad is grumpy and old.  We helped him put his old fifth wheel hitch on KSL and he finally sold this item.  I also enjoyed showing these kids the Samoan firedance video.  Tyce wanted to do it.

October 23 was our Sunday to talk in Sacrament meeting.  We didn't make a big, big event out of this and only invited family.  We are both kind of torn about where to have our membership records as we live with Adrian.  Guess for a few months we will be divided between old and new and somewhere in between.

We had to make a trip to St. George and then finalize the paperwork for purchase of our new trailer lot.  While there, Steve invited us to go 4-wheeling.  We looked into renting an ATV and ended up buying a Polaris Razor Turbo 1000 side-by-side.  I think that big purchases are now behind us.

October wouldn't be October without Halloween and of course my birthday - 66 years this year.  When did that happen!!!!  It's always fun at Marc's because everyone dress-up in costume.  They even had an appearance from Marge Simpson - a great look alike, especially with Kacy and her pacifier.

We haven't said too much about Adrian and Todd, we thank them for opening their home to us and letting us have the basement.  Todd is suffering the most because we are making him complete the shower.  It's almost finished.
 I loved my birthday cake this year.  This is me when I was 4 months old.  How did I ever lose that cute baby look?

Toys purchased, trips planned, family activities continue, and life is back to normal for Elder and Sister Schaefermeyer.  Great to be home with everyone.
Love and Kisses to All.  This completes our Samoa Mission Blog it was a great time.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Our Final Mission Report

Everyday we were greeted by the smile and ever present flower in her hair of Nafanua.  She was the receptionist and editor of the Service Center newspaper.

Just around the corner was Lani Smolik.  She was over payroll and benefits and from day one, I would ask when I got a paycheck.  Well, the last day she finally gave me my paycheck.  Wow, that's a lot of tithing hugs.  It is so true though we do it for hugs and smiles from everyone we work with.

Denny Afualo is the Service Center Manager and our neighbor.  He and Marianne are wonderful folks.  He was a joy to work with!!  We look forward to seeing him again when he moves back to Utah.

This is our final report and summary of what we accomplished.  It was a great time and a joy to serve the people of Samoa.

Final Mission Report – May 2015 to September 2016 
Prepared by: Elder and Sister Schaefermeyer 
Our mission assignment was to represent the Prophet as Area Technology Specialist Missionaries specifically called to serve the people of Western and American Samoa, serving on the islands of Upolu Savaii and Tutuila, and accomplish the following objectives as outlined by the Pacific Area ICS Department:
1. Ensure that each meetinghouse has the standard technology. 
2. Train each Facility Manager in providing and supporting such technology. 
3. Encourage the calling of Technology Specialists for each stake 
4. Provide training to each Technology Specialist. 

We reported our progress weekly to the Pacific Area ICS Department. In doing the Lord’s work, you are never working alone; not only were we guided by the Spirit in our teaching and meetings with Church leaders, we were guided and taught many new things by Chris Neemia, Manager of ICS in Samoa and the four FM managers. We thank them for their daily support, friendship and guidance of this work and for directing us in the work which we performed.  (In the picture are all the FM managers and their administrative assistants.  We needed their support!!)
These sisters are the administrative assistants and they are terrific.

We can't express enough love to Chris Neemia, Daniel, Ian and Phillip.  What great guys.

It was custom to wear the same shirt on Fridays.  Here's the ICS Department dressed in Friday best.  Ian is missing as he was traveling to the US when we left.

We also express our love and appreciation to Daniel Alesana and Ian Seiuli from the ICS Department for their patience and understanding.

Thus, our report on what has been accomplished to meet the objectives given to us:
1. Ensure that each meetinghouse has the standard technology. 
Using as standard technology we worked with throughout our mission--ward computer, firewall, satellite system, FHC computers, printers—we report the following:
• Pago ward computers = 47  = 100% under warranty
• Upolu ward computers = 116 = 99% under warranty
• Savaii ward computers = 50 = 100% under warranty

In the past 18 months, 111 model Dell Optiplex 9020 computers and 46 model Dell Optiplex 7040 computers have been installed among all the islands. This is a replacement of 74% of the 213 total unit computers.

Firewalls – installed in all buildings except those using dongle internet access
• Pago firewalls = 19  which is 100%
• Upolu firewalls = 74 which is 100%
• Savaii firewalls = 25 which is 100%

In the past 18 months, 14 of the 25 firewalls in Savaii are new (56%); 15 of the 74 firewalls in Upolu wards are new (20%); 4 of the 19 firewalls in Pago are new (21%).

In addition to installation of firewalls, we performed the software upgrades of all existing firewalls. We also helped identify firewall cabinets, reset switches and data wiring needs in all chapels which either lacked these items or that had not been properly installed to the Church standard. We report that for these items, on all three islands, 100% of the cabinets have been installed. Only a few reset switches remain to be installed, these are in Savaii, and the majority of the data cabling is now in wire mould and properly terminated in a wall mounted internet connector.

Satellite Systems that have been updated
• Pago = 2/4 = 50%
• Upolu = 9/11 = 81%
• Savaii = 6/6 = 100%

FHC Computers – replaced in past 18 months
• Pago FHC computers 5
• Upolu FHC computers 19
• Savaii FHC computers 9

Printers - All wards and stakes have printers and/or copiers 100%

The internet service in Samoa is metered, both on the upload and download. The Samoa ICS Department divides the 2 terabyte of data according to need and best use. The monthly allotment for church units is stake centers - 14 gig of data, regular ward buildings - 7 gig of data. Knowing this and realizing how much information and media the Church provides through the Internet, we obtained 5,000+ (200 gigabytes) of Church video files and have installed these videos on all new (157) unit computers since these have 500 gig harddrives. Older computers only had 100 gig or less of harddrive space. With these files resident on the CPU harddrive, all members of the wards have access to this rich information to use in teaching classes, in family home evenings, in personal learning, and for leader training.

Our message as we have introduced technology to Stake Presidents and STS is that the technology should be used to “Bless the Lives of the Members.” This is one way it can be used as a blessing. We have formatted the login of each unit computer to provide the following access:
• Ward Clerk – access to MLS and all ward private documents. Only ward clerks and members of the bishopric have access to these files. (Administrator rights)
• Member Login – access to Church videos, Open Office, and the internet. Under the direction of the priesthood leadership, members can use these resources for such things as online missionary applications, copying Church videos for teaching or personal/family use, completion of PEF loans, Pathway learning and other self-reliance programs, mums preschool.
• Missionary – access to Church videos, internet, Open Office, this is for once-a-week missionary use in emailing parents and sending mission reports to the mission president.
• Family History – access to all installed programs and internet to assist the members is having access to family history applications, as well as promoting the Pacific Areas 15 in 15 Family History program, this login is provided so the Family History consultants can assist members who live far away from FHCs to record FamilySearch information. This can be especially helpful for the new convert who can then participate in Temple baptisms and confirmations for family members as they prepare themselves to be endowed.
• Stake Clerk – access to MLS and other auditing files as necessary for Church administration and record keeping.
• FM – ICS and FM access to all programs and files. (Administrator rights)

2. Train each Facility Manager in providing and supporting such technology. Elder Schaefermeyer has worked with each FM manager and many of the FM technical personnel on Pago and Upolu. He has provided hands-on training for making CAT V data cables, correct location of internet cabinet boxes, and reset switches, as well as providing instruction on the operation and troubleshooting of the internet system. FM training sessions have been held on the operation of the Satellite System and how to use the EJ-10 “crab box” with chapel and cultural hall sound and video systems.

We report that all FM managers in Samoa gave us 100% support for the things we were tasked to complete. They desired to learn and were wonderful men to work with. We love them and all they are doing to maintain the 115 buildings, Temple, two PBO Service Centers, three Church schools, mission office and missionary housing.

The FM have wonderful administrative assistants and staff that work very hard. We loved working with them and have helped with some updating of equipment records and correcting some facility property assignments in the Church Property Management database. This is especially important when configuring and assigning firewalls.

3. Encourage the calling of Technology Specialists for each stake 
During the first month of our mission, we spent significant time observing how various departments functioned at the PBO and asking questions to FM about technology in chapels. We discussed technology training needs and responsibilities with ICS. Through these observations, meetings and discussions, we were able to develop the Technology Specialist training we have used throughout Samoa. We strongly encourage future technology specialist missionaries to do the same—take the first month to get to know the people, processes, and available resources and current practices.

We spent considerable time reviewing stake staffing of technology specialists and organized this information into a database as a baseline for our work. The Stake Technology Specialist (STS) is called as an assistant stake clerk. This means that the calling is issued by a member of the stake presidency.

We developed a Roles and Responsibilities training the stake presidency, stake clerk, stake executive secretary, STS, and PFR (when available). Through this training we demonstrated the lines of communication for resolving technology problems, importance of the STS calling and the important role technology is and will have in the Church as the work of salvation is hastened in these last days.

There are 25 stakes among the Samoan islands. We were able to meet and train 22 stake presidencies (88%). One stake president, Nu’umau Stake in Upolu, would not schedule a time for this training. We contacted him numerous times and he would not respond to our calls or email. His stake has 7 STS listed in CDOL, but we have no idea whether they are still functioning or this list is current. The stake president in Faleasi’u Upolu scheduled with us but could not make the training, we trained the stake executive secretary and stake clerk. We had a private meeting with the stake president in the Apia Central Stake rather than a full training, per his request. All stake presidents except the three previously mentioned, made themselves available for a 1.5 hour training. They all were supportive of what we were doing and were appreciative to have a clearer understanding of the STS role and responsibilities.

Each stake president was excited to have people within his stake trained to operate and support the technologies within their buildings. All have expressed great appreciation at having the Church videos installed and the unit computer upgraded.

It appeared to us from feed-back we received that there was not a consistent line of communication in the stakes to the FM. We were able to explain the ‘service ticket’ system for resolving a problem and this should help build a better FM/Stake line of communication and respect. We observed a multitude of ways that technical problems were being reported and not reported. None of these included the STS being involved in the process or given the responsibility:
• ICS was receiving the majority of the technical calls; ICS would then report this to FM to create a service ticket or would just take care of the problem without ever raising a service ticket.
• No one in the stake was reporting anything to anyone and the problem persisted until an audit was conducted or the ward had fallen months behind in reporting and a member of the stake presidency finally noticed.
• Many of the stake leadership– stake president, bishop, clerk, etc.—reported the same problem all at different times and no one in FM or ICS was sure if the problem had been corrected and re-occurred or if it had every been corrected.
• A firewall was not working properly and so someone simply bypassed it. Most often this could have been resolved by using the reset switch which no one knew what the equipment was for.
• When the Internet service was not working in one building, clerks would take their computers to another building to do the reports without ever reporting to FM or ICS that the service was down.

Through our Roles and Responsibilities training, we have noticed better communication and resolution of technical problems. It’s not perfect, but it is heading in the right direction. Each week for the past several months, we have looked at TM and reported firewall problems to the ICS and FM. By so doing, we helped facilitate better internet connectivity, found where some problem areas were and corrected these; such things as, the firewall had been by-passed, the unit had exceeded its data limits which helped diagnosis some misuse of the internet, or the firewall was not functioning and needed to be replaced. The chart below is a list of all STS that we have trained or that we are aware of listed by stake and FM area. The Nu’uma’u Stake, even though we have not trained there, has 7 STS listed in CDOL, but we have not been able to make contact with any of them. The Savaii Sagone Stake presidency and clerks have been trained and in our conversation with the stake president, he stated that he cannot find anyone in the stake to call at this time. He is aware and supportive.

The last four months of our mission, we learned from another ATS missionary couple that they send ‘Did You Know’ newsletters. We started to do this and it kept us in better communication with the STS. We include the aTS and stake presidents on this list which includes 71 people. This is something we would recommend other ATS missionaries do.

4. Provide training to each Technology Specialist 
The training program we developed is designed around skills that Stake Technology Specialists and Assistant Technology Specialists should be able to do after participating in our training. These skills do not include requiring STS to format computers, configure firewalls, and fix sound and internet problems as these tasks are currently better addressed by the ICS and FM departments in Samoa.

The skills taught are basic and should be sufficient to assist local units in maintaining their computers, firewalls and printers and providing technical support for ward and stake activities and and general events.

The STS training consists of four training sessions, each one and one-hour in length.
Session 1: Roles and Responsibilities – stake presidencies, stake clerks, STS Session 2: Internet and Firewall Use and Troubleshooting – STS and aTSs Session 3: Satellite System and Stake Conference Setup – STS and aTSs
Session 4: Printers, Copiers, Sound Systems and Teaching – STS and aTSs (We often taught this session in combination with Session 3.)

Training numbers are:
• 162 members were trained in Roles and Responsibilities. There was only 1 stake, Nu’uma’u that did not receive any of this training.
• 124 members, STS and aTSs, were trained on fundamental operation and troubleshooting of the internet. There was only 1 stake, Nu’uma’u that did not receive this training, as per their choice.
• 54 members, STS and aTS, were trained in operation of the satellite system and cameral and sound setup for stake conferences. Satellite systems are only located at stake centers. No training on these systems was conducted in 4 of the 22 stakes that have these systems. Plus there are two stakes which do not have satellite systems and one stake, Malie, has a new satellite system that has not been ‘turned’ over to FM from the contractors and does not in. Of the 25 stakes in Samoa, only 1 stake does not have a STS; Savaii Sagone Stake, as the stake president told us during our Roles and Responsibilities training that he has not been able to find someone qualified for that position. He is supportive and will keep looking to fill the position.

Additional Information Previous to our arriving, Elder and Sister Harper served for six months as Technology Specialist missionaries. They introduced the new calling of technology specialists in Samoa. They also completed a comprehensive inventory of all technology items in each building on all three islands. This equipment database has been an invaluable resource for us and for the FM and ICS departments. We leave it up-to-date as of September 30, 2016. This database is stored on the Service Center U drive in the ‘Common’ folder in the ‘Meetinghouse Inventory’ folder. There are two files, the first is the inventory for all Pago Buildings and the second is the inventory for all the Upolu and Savaii Buildings. The FM administrative assistants have access to this file and have been trained on using and updating the database. In addition to the Meetinghouse Inventory, we have left on the U drive in the ‘Common’ folder a folder titled ‘Technology Specialist Files.’ This folder contains all of our training materials, information sheets, and all other files we have created as part of our service.

Overview of the LDS Church in Samoa
Total LDS Members
American Samoa 16,149
Upolu/Savaii 77,353
TOTAL Members of Record:   93,502

Total LDS Chapel Buildings
American Samoa - 21
Upolu - 72
Savaii - 22
TOTAL LDS Chapels:   115

LDS Stakes
American Samoa - 5
Upolu - 14
Savaii - 6
TOTAL Stakes:   25

Total LDS Wards/Branches
American Samoa - 42
Upolu - 104
Savaii - 45
TOTAL Wards and Branches:   191

Satellite Systems
American Samoa - 5
Upolu - 11
Savaii - 6
TOTAL Satellite:  22

MLS (Unit) Computers
American Samoa - 47
Upolu - 117
Savaii - 50
TOTAL Unit Computers:   214

FHC Computers
American Samoa - 15
Upolu - 30
Savaii - 14
TOTAL FHC Computers:   59

1. All ward and stake unit computers and firewalls should be connected to a 1000 Joules, 6-plug, electrical surge protector. This electrical surge protector should be changed each time the computer is replaced – 5 years. Electrical power on islands like Samoa has power spikes and many outages, a surge protector will provide at least one layer of protection from electrical surges/spikes to the electronics of the CPU.
2. Dispose of old equipment in a more timely manner. We found far too many large, old, cathode ray TV sets in clerk offices that were on large heavy carts with flat tires, so we know they were not being used. These were probably purchased many years ago but the new LED TV technology is far better, cheaper and easier to take to classrooms. The old TVs need to be removed and disposed of. The same is true of old outdated BizHub printers and copiers. All stake center copiers have been replaced with new Ricoh machines. However, no one has removed the old BizHub copiers and most sit under a desk or on top of a high cupboard. We encourage FM to remove old unused technologies when new ones are installed.
3. Get stake clerks to correctly enter and assign the Stake Technology Specialist and enter all contact information for them.
4. Future couples should teach and re-teach STS how to effectively troubleshoot internet/firewall problems and how to properly report these to FM. STS have access to and can monitor all firewalls and communicate to someone in a ward building how to use the reset switch to correct the problem or further isolate whether the problem resides with the Church or the internet service provider.
5. Write and send at least a monthly ‘Did You Know’ newsletter pertaining to the technology, internet, or other related STS information.
6. Future ATS missionary couples should focus on helping STS in their training of stake aTS. They should encourage them to set up a weekly internet check with the aTS. Help them make presentations at ward and stake councils on how to use technology in teaching and leadership meetings. Train, train, train, love, love, love, repeat, repeat, repeat.
7. Keep training the STS how to set up the technology for stake conferences and work with sound equipment.

• The Upolu North Stake had just received their training and it was stake conference week-end for them. Elder Schaefermeyer monitored them as they setup the equipment – camera, wires, TVs, etc. For the General session on Sunday, they operated the camera, adjusted all sound levels, and then put everything away. How do you measure the increase in a person’s self-worth? The four priesthood holders beamed with pride.
• We cannot measure or put a value to the many ‘aha’ moments we experienced as stake presidents, clerks, bishops, and technology specialists became enlightened realizing all the things that technology could do and what the Church makes available to them far and beyond MLS reports. Such things as using the 5000+ videos we installed for teaching and family home evenings, the mum’s preschool resources, the online missionary application process, family history, self-reliance, and the new education iniative.
• Each STS we have worked with has expressed a gratefulness for the new knowledge they have received. As was often told us, ‘we wondered what that box (internet cabinet) was for.’ All they knew was that someone came and installed it and went away. With knowledge of troubleshooting and realization of the usefulness of the equipment they now feel a sense of empowerment to protect and use the equipment appropriately.
• As the “numbers’ indicate, we have enjoyed helping ICS and FM update all the old technology that was here. This is so appreciated by the leaders.
• It has been interesting to watch the pride FM is taking in the internet wiring now. We have pointed out many faults as we have visited each clerk’s office. The work is far better now than simply stringing wires here and there.
• It’s been interesting to demonstrate the ‘crabbox’ and watch their amazement as they connect and play music from their cellphone through the cultural center sound system as part of our training. To see their eyes open as they realize capabilities that they had never known existed in Church buildings.

Our Bags are Packed We're Ready to Go

October 1, 2016, that's the day we left Upolu.  Our bags were packed several days before and we were ready to go on that day.

But we couldn't leave without saying goodbye to our sweet neighbors the Vellingas' (Sister Vellingas is going to take care of Gwen), Sister Fata (Elder Fata is always away on Chruch assignment, the Spencers and Gwen the cat.

 Theron, Sister Fata, Sister Linda Spencer, Elder George Spencer and Sister Gillette.
Gwen the cat.
Gillettes came about noon and we picked up Ellsworths and traveled to the small airport.
 No more roaming for us for a while!!!

Glad to arrive a little early, we only had to open every suitcase and shift weight around, but we finally made everything work.  Only 4 suitcases going home.  I packed a lot of those 18 month skirts and shirts and Sister Gillette was going to give them away for me.  I just couldn't stand wearing them one more day.

It was a melancholy time at the airport standing around waiting and talking with the Gillettes and Ellsworths.  We were torn between worlds-really wanting to stay and really wanting to go.  It's always bitter sweet.

The plane ride to Tutuila was very uneventful our last little 35 minute ride across the ocean.  The one good thing about this ride was that we arrived there on September 30, 2016, which gave us the opportunity to arrive in Salt Lake on the same day as we left.

This was our longest wait and we are grateful for the Jordans who helped us drive around and see some people we wanted to say good-bye to like Joanne in the Service Center.  We had a great dinner with Jordans and the couple who will be serving in Manua for three years.  That is going to be one lonely time on a small, small island.

At 10:30 p.m., we entered the waiting area for Hawaiian Air travel to Hawaii the first leg of our journey home.  The ambien was helpful on this short 5.5 hour flight through the night.  Customs was a breeze to get through and the change of airlines to Alaska Air was easy.  We left about 8:00 a.m. from Hawaii to Seattle.  We arrived in Seattle just in the nick of time to run and catch our plane to Salt Lake.

Stepping off the plane in Salt Lake, Theron changed to his E'a so he looked Samoan when we met the family.  We walked down the stairs and there they were - all the men were in lava lavas.  Ali ran up to hug us; how tender!!!!  What a joy to see our kids again, our grandchildren, and my brother Dawain and sister-in-law Jana with their newly married daughter Alison and her new husband.  Family is so important!!!!  Family is so wonderful!!!!!  My island fever left.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Our Going Away Beach Party

All of the senior missionaries know how much we have enjoyed the beach time here in Samoa so for our going away party, they had a beach party.  We loaded up three vans and a couple of cars, tables, chairs, barbecued chicken, food and more food, the "hub grill" and all our snorkel gear and traveled to Vaovai Beach (better known by some as mermaid beach).

All the way there it rained, but no way were we going to let the rain ruin our party, we knew it would stop and it did about a half-hour after we arrived.  This is a beautiful spot for a beach party, there is a little cove to swim and snorkel then on the other side there is a huge sandy beach to walk, collect shells, and just enjoy the sun. Sister Best, who was born in Samoa, says she is grateful that we have shown her all of the beautiful areas of her island.

The water at the back of the cove was shallow and as you can see the sisters had a nice water chat.  We stayed init till we were all wrinkled - okay maybe we were that way when we got in.

 No one went hungry and everyone could enjoy something.

The day wasn't complete without Sister Ellsworth calling for a "roast" of the Schaefermeyers.  It was actually the most kind and loving funeral we have ever attended.  In all seriousness, we so thank all the senior missionaries for their kind compliments, well wishes and testimonies.  This is an awesome group of seniors.  Just so we can remember, I'm going to try and list each one and their assignments.

Elder and Sister Gillette - Vtep (vocational education at Pesega)
Elder and Sister Ellsworth - Mission Office and Finance
Elder and Sister Foley - Itep (instructor preparation professor) at Sauniatu
Elder and Sister Starke - Itep (instructor preparation professor) at Pesega
Elder and Sister Callahan - Itep (instructor preparation professor) at Vaiola
Elder and Sister Spencer - Dentist
Brother and Sister Davies - Dentist
Elder and Sister Best - Self-Reliance
Elder and Sister Vellinga - Humanitarian
Sister Anderson - Mission Office
Sister Barnes - Mission Nurse
Elder and Sister McBride - Mission Housing
Sister Hanamann - Mission Mom

It truly was a beautiful day with fantastic people, in a wonderful place, and a great way to begin our week of 'lasts' in Samoa.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

An Act of Love and Charity

We know that Lord has told us let not the right hand know what the left hand do, but we have to write about last experience.  We write not to brag or be puffed up in pride, but for us to remember the thoughts and feelings of our hearts.

We brought two laptops with us, one for each, because we don't know how to share.  Shanna's laptop's battery, about halfway through the mission, decided it couldn't hold a charge for more than a few miutes; so, we had to keep it plugged in.  We decided that she could have a new computer when we got home (a rather easy decision for us as our children will attest).  What to do with the old computer?  It was still a very good computer, so we decided to give it away.  As we thought about who to give it to, we asked some of the senior couples if they had someone, we considered someone in the ICS Department that we had worked with, and we started to think about people we had met.  After visiting President Kofe's humble home (see the climbing coconuts blog) and we have worked with him for several months, the decision just seemed right to give it to his family.

We began the preparation of the computer for his family.  We wanted to make it more than just a word processor, we wanted it to be an educational tool - carrying forward our mission theme- Using Technology to Bless the Lives of the Members.

We loaded tux math, typing tutor, a learning English program, the 200 gig of Church videos we had installed on all the unit computers, the gospel library, and left the Microsoft Office that was licensed to that machine.  We changed all the intro screens to read 'Kofe Family'.  We knew they didn't have internet service and probably never would, but we left Chrome so President Kofe could take it to the Stake Center from time to time and use it - hopefully for family history and his calling.

This is our last week in the mission and so we decided Tuesday would be the day.  We drove to Saleilua, the humble fale home of President Kofe, and he led us into the fale chapel that is in the front of their home.  When we told him what our visit was for, his eyes teared (now if you know anything about Samoan culture, they do not cry easily nor do men show this type of emotion) and he became speechless.  Our hearts were so touched we became emotional, also.  We could literally feel the love and appreciation.  His wife came in with two cups of cocoa Samoa for us and we pulled out a folding table and sat president and his wife and their six year old son down at chairs and proceeded to show them how to use the computer.

We started with the Church videos and Sister Kofe's eyes just lit up when we showed them the children videos.  President knew what a treasure these were because he had watched many of them on the stake computer.

We then went to tux math.  Now, this is a family who has never played a video game and that's the format of this math tutor program.  You shoot down the math combinations as they fall from the sky.  We opened the addition option and math problems started to fall, we showed them how to type the number and then press 'enter' to shoot.  President was rather slow at catching on, but Sister Kofe quickly took over and she was pressing numbers and shooting and just smiling from ear to ear!  Theron told president his dinner was going to be late from now on - she was hooked.  Such a simple program, but one she knows can be of benefit to teach her children!

For us this was such a simple thing to do; we truly have been given much.  Our hope is that for this family it will bless them, it will help with their education, it will assist them in strengthening their testimonies.  Charity is such a powerful tool to help overcome selfishness.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

It's Great to be 8

Wow, it seems like only yesterday that Mason was crawling around, then he started to run, learn to ride a bike, started pre-school, and now, he's 8 years old.

What a wonderful little man you are Mason.  We love how you are so creative with your legos and working with your father.  We love that long time toothless smile.  We love how you are so kind to others.  We love that you are obedient (for the most part) with things your parents ask you to do.  We love that you have chosen to be baptized.  We love that you are the first Schaefermeyer namesake grandson.  We are so proud of you.

The scout uniform is our traditional 8 year old birthday gift and how handsome you look wearing your uniform.  Scouting is a great program; learn lots and have fun participating in all the activities.

Happy 8th Birthday Mason!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We'll be home in time to see you baptized.  Wow!  What a great time to be 8 years old!!!

Grandma and Grandpa Schaefermeyer