Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Tribute to a Dear Friend - Ozzie Barnhill

Roy James "Ozzie" Barnhill, Jr.
November 11, 1942 ~ December 14, 2015 (age 73)
Roy James "Ozzie" Barnhill passed away peacefully at home on Monday, December 14, 2015 from brain cancer at the age of 73. He was the oldest of four children born to Roy James Barnhill and Irene Rae Hathenbrook.

Ozzie worked for Davis School District Transportation for 30 years driving a bus for the special needs children which he dearly loved and for which he had a special place in his heart. He married Jeannie Selleneit in the Salt Lake Temple in 1979.

Ozzie is survived by his  wife, three siblings, Warren “Buzz” (Kaye), Suzzie (Brent) Parry, Dezi (Victor) Bofill.

Funeral services will be held on Monday, December 21st at 11:00 a.m. at the Orchard Fourth Ward, 55 East 350 North, North Salt Lake.

Heartfelt gratitude for the loving care and service given by Community Nursing Services, many members of the Orchard Fourth Ward, many friends and family. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the LDS Church Perpetual Education Fund.

We remember the many years that we were neighbors to Ozzie and Jeannie, who showed our kids how to be kind to ducks, taught our daughter how to work, and hid many a Christmas present in their home.  These two were extremely kind, loving and fun loving.  Our heart is heavy to hear of his passing, but we are assured of his eternal life.  Our prayers and sympathy are with Jeannie.  We love you Jeannie and Ozzie.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Pago Weekly Update - December 20

The past two weeks have been busy, busy and more busy - we have had three senior missionary couples from Apia come to visit us, with us being the tour guide, we sent another missionary home for medical treatment, made the first shipment of supplies and food to Manua, conducted two technology training sessions, replaced or updated computers and made a ton of banana bread.

On December 9, Elder Rusty and Sister Cindy Gillette came over to visit.  The Gillettes work at Pesega School in the vocational program and since school is out, they needed a road trip.  They were the first visitors we have had so we really looked forward to having someone our age to talk to and tour with.  A tour of Tutuila (American Samoa) consists of going to the World War II canon bunker, stopping by the bat tree, visiting growling rocks, and shopping at Cost U Less (a store that is similar to Costco).  Gillettes stayed with us until Sunday the 13th.
This is Rusty and Theron by one of the many World War II machine gun bunkers on the island.

This is a picture of the growling beach.  The beach area is composed of large rocks that roll over other rocks as the waves roll away from the shore which causes them to make a growling sound.

We saw an unexpected sight as we drove toward Pago Pago; a crew had their long boat out for some practice rowing.  Looks a little like they need practice as all the oars are not going in the same direction.  Below is the long boat up closer with no one aboard.

This is the bat tree.  All around the island are fruit bats.  They hang the best in a few trees like this in Aua area.  But, we see them all over the island and they fly both day and night.  The one below is a close-up.  These bats are very large.

In our front yard we had a banana tree that had a large bunch of bananas that was ready to harvest.  We cut them down a couple of weeks ago and then let them hang to ripen.  Bad idea in all sorts of ways, all the bananas ripened at the same time so here we are with 30 or more ripe bananas.  When  a full bunch of hanging bananas ripen, you make banana bread.  I invited the zone leaders, Elder Faletoi on the left and Elder Lamoreaux on the right, over to help and we made six batches.  We could not find small aluminum baking pans so we made our own from aluminum foil.  When resources are lacking, you have to figure out a way to make it work.  We baked 35 or so loaves, I lost count.

The number of Christmas packages we have been recieving from the Post Office has been increasing every week.  We definitely had a van full of packages this week, we sent them on to Apia but we can't guarantee a Christmas delivery.

Besides Christmas packages, we put together a pallet of food, suitcases, and missionary supplies for the three sets of missionaries in Manua.  Manua is an island 60 plus miles further east of Tutuila.  There have not been missionaries there for many years and right now the branch consists of two sisters. The mission president put six missionaries there several weeks ago.  Two of the elders went with him to see about setting up the island and took only a backpack full of clothes; they were left to continue the work there and have been living out of that backpack until Tuesday morning when the ferry with our supplies arrived with their suitcases.  It's a scene out of "The Other Side of Heaven."

Wednesday we did a technology training, then picked up Elder and Sister Ellsworth, the office couple, and Elder and Sister Callahan, the ITEP couple that teach in Savai'i.  We started the island tour over and visited missionaries along the way.  On Thursday, we did "a Savior is born" facebook project with our West Zone Elders (see our facebook page to see their pictures).  Today is Sunday and we just put these two couples on the plane to fly back to Apia and Savai'i.  We have our house back and a few minutes of alone time.  Always glad to have visitors but always good to have our private life back.

This week we are getting ready for Christmas - we'll let you know next week.  In the meantime, have a Merry Christmas.  Can't wait to see the sparkle in the grandchildren's eyes!

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Hike

Shortly after arriving on Tutuila we visited the National Park Service and were told of an interesting hike across the top of the mountain ridge above Pago Pago. I've been trying to get with a few of the missionaries to take the hike but it seems that something always comes-up to foil the plans.  Well, this Monday some of the leaders were suppose to fly to Apia for a mission leader conference, but at the last minute it was canceled, so Elders Barkley, Tukuago, Laiataua, Harmon, and Schaefermeyer went hiking.

 The trail is about 7 miles long and climbs to 1610 ft at the summit of Mt 'Alava.  I was in hopes of having a short fat Elder with us but no such luck.  I was stuck with a cross country track runner, a discus thrower, and an BYU outside linebacker.   

 The rusted metal behind us is the remnants of an old tram that used to go across the bay.  It must have been a very impressive ride in its day.  There was also a TV/radio tower at the top with an open gate and no warning signs so I had to add another 75 ft to the elevation change.

There were some great view on the way up and at the top.  The picture below shows the ridge that we hiked along to get to the top.

 The Park Service maintains the trail and provides some interesting "stairs" down the back side to the village of Vatia.  The concrete treads are held in place by two steel cables threaded through them like a rope ladder.

 I don't know who had to haul the 600 concrete stairs up the mountain and put them in place but I appreciated their efforts.

A great hike with some great young men.  (Even if the only one to fall down was the BYU football player who fell down six times.  That may affect my wager on this Saturday's game.)

Friday, December 11, 2015

Mesepa International Ward 2015 Christmas Party

Saturday, December 5, was our ward Christmas party, now this isn't your typical ward Christmas party because  it's held at the beach and the temperature outside is a balmy 85 degrees with sunshine.  The Relief Society sisters were asked to bring salads and desserts - when I arrived with a small bowl of crab pasta salad, I sat it next to a large plastic tub (2'x1'x6") full of potato salad (You can't think small in Samoa.)  On the table was a LARGE white cooler full of barbecued chicken and as we settled in eating our salads and chicken, the pick-up with the umu cooked pig arrived.   Three men with woven baskets carried it to the table and began pulling it apart - there was a rush for the skin!

 You don't use knives and but hands to pull a pig apart.

 Not sure why they cook the head separate, at least they closed the eyes.

 The guy in the middle is our new bishop, Bishop Goodwin.

 I was sitting by Sister Leota, a 70ish sister, who flagged down almost everyone asking them to go to the food table to get her some food.  Sister Leota has two plates full of food sitting in front of her, when the pig arrives, she starts out saying, 'I'd really like a little piece of skin.'  No one is around except me so I walk to the table and ask for some pig skin - they look at me like, are you for real; I quickly say, it's for Sister Leota.  They pull off a piece of skin and some meat and put it into the styrofoam container.  (I should interject here that foam containers are the staple food dish for Samoans, the business is alive and well here.)  Well, I take my pig offering to Sister Leota and all she says is, 'they don't know how to cook pigs very well, this skin is burnt.'  So much for a kind deed.  However, she goes on to collect about three more containers of food before I leave the table.  I relate this, because it's so typical of everyone.  The more containers you can take home the better the party.

Theron enjoys swimming with all the primary children who are frolicking in the water.  The mothers are sitting on the rocks talking and the men are sitting making the big decisions and serving others.  I really enjoy watching these large men take care of the food, pick up the garbage and do all the cooking.  This is so great!  The more they can do the better the party.

After the talk and food and swimming, someone notices the kayak approaching the shore - it's Santa.  Yep, in Samoa Santa arrives in a kayak. Somehow it's really no more strange than when he arrives on a fire truck. Please note the boots he is wearing.  They're quite appropriate for a Samoan, kayaking, Santa.  Because the kids are all wet from swimming, no one sits on Santa's lap - Santa's worst fear - a wet lap from a three year old.  All the kids get a sack of some treats and a small toy.  How great to see the children so happy; the more the kids enjoy themselves the better the party.

 When was the last time you saw Santa wearing sunglasses.

Some of the big kids liked Santa too. 

Note Santa's boots?  Got to love it.
We love these people and can't believe how much the whole island is getting decorated for Christmas.  It's so fun to drive around and see all the lights.

A Merry Christmas to all!!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Pago - December 5 - What a Week

Monday morning 8:00 a.m., we picked up two elders at their apartments, Elder Bybee and Elder Wilson, to help them transfer to the small island of Aunu'u.  This was the island where the first mission president of Samoa landed.  Today, there is a small branch and about 500 people who live there.  There haven't been full-time missionaries there in a long time.  Well, our arrival on the island this afternoon returned full-time elders to Aunu'u.  Aunu'u is located off the far east side of the island and then a 35 minute boat ride.  There are no shops so people have to bring their water, food and other necessities by boat after shopping in Pago.
As we drove to the boat dock, we made several stops to buy food, pvc pipe and fittings, bug spray, extension cords, and so forth to help the missionaries set up their living quarters in one of the classrooms at the Aunu'u Chapel.  McGyver Schaefermeyer rigged up a pvc pipe shower connection in the outdoor baptismal font for their shower.  They have a sink and counter space in the Primary Room so it's really a two-room apartment with a short walk to the bathroom and outdoor shower,

 It's a rather large ship as you can see.  Elder Schaefermeyer wanted to water-ski behind it, but all they bring is fishing line and hooks to help make the trip pay.
 This is off-loading at Aunu'u.
The painting below hangs in our home over our desk.  It is a representation of Joseph Dean, the first mission president in Samoa, arriving on the island of Aunu'u.

Below is the reality of what the return of missionaries to Aunu'u looked like.  The Elders said they were grateful they had dry feet and weren't caring a baby.
 From the boat dock, we had to walk about 1/4 mile carrying all the things we brought over.  I'm taking the picture, but pulling a rather large suitcase and carrying a pillow. We left quite a bit on the dock for a second trip.
 The large a spacious classroom/living quarters.  I'm standing outside and as far away as I can get to make sure you can see the entire room.
 The kids love the missionaries on Aunu'u and it's going to be fun for them to have big kids to play with.
Elder Vaituu, Elder Dailey, Elder Fa'alogo
Tuesday early we started the airport runs, it's transfer week.  We spent Monday night going over the travel itineraries and had a list of who flew out when, we were set for a perfect transfer. Elder Daley, Elder Vaai and Elder Kanae were being transferred to Savai'i and Elder Erickson transferred to Aleisa, Upolu.   These were great elders to know and we wish them much success in their new areas.  For us it's like sending our children to college; you really get attached.  We have had Elder Daley since his arrival from the MTC through his training; we really have gotten attached to him.  In fact, we know him better than we know our four new grandchildren.

 Elder Funganitao - this is deceiving, because he stands about 6'8" and towers over Theron.
Elder Erickson is on the left and Elder Daley is by me.

One thing we can count on at the airport is that everyone's luggage is overweight.  As we cue the elders for boarding it is a sure bet that we have already weighed their bag, opened it, taken out 10 pounds or more, put that weight in their backpacks and rearranged their packing.  I am always amazed at how missionaries pack and I have seen it all, so has everyone else traveling on the plane as we stand around the airport check-in area.

After we send the transferees on their way, we wait a few minutes to pick up Elder Smith who is arriving from Manua.  He will fly out at 4:30 p.m. to be re-assigned to Upolu.  Then it is off to the post office to pick up the mail for this week - it's Christmas time and their are packages galore!  Sending these on to Upolu, Manua, and Aunu'u will be a challenge for another day.  The cargo plane arrived two days late, so we were told to come back tomorrow to pick up more mail since they didn't have it all sorted.

The next set of elders were to fly out at 14:45 p.m.  A quick look at these numbers late at night was mis-read as 4:45 regular time rather than 2:45 p.m. military time.  We told them to be at the airport at 3:45 p.m.  When I realized my mistake, it was 15 minutes before the plane left. So the three Elders who had finished their mission and were going home to be released didn't make their flight.  Okay, it's beg time at the airport, let's try to get them on one of the next two flights of the day.  The guys at the airport are very understanding and very flexible.  The elders are now on stand-by.  On the last flight out their is one seat.  Elder Schaefermeyer takes our 6'8" 300+ lb. Tongan, Elder Funganitao (our gentle giant) to the desk.  They check him in and then the clerks notices he has an expired Samoan passport and they won't let him fly into the country without a full itinerary showing he will be leaving Samoan within 4 days.  We then turn to the other two elders and ask, 'okay who wants to go.'  They don't want to be separated and they stand shyly trying to decide.  The clerk looks at the size of the other two Elders and says, "We can take both of them".  So, Elders Vaituu and Fa'alogo get on the plane. Elder Funganitao has to wait until the next day before we can get his papers in order.
Elder Faletoi

At 16:45 p.m. (4:45), we go the arrival terminal to great 5 new missionaries:  Elder Hingano, Elder Faletoi, Elder Tuimaualuga, Sister Wardle and Sister Dixon.  Elder Faletoi from West Valley, Utah, is one of our new zone leaders (He will play football for Dixie State.).  Another exciting adventure in getting to know new missionaries.  The only new one from the MTC is Elder Tuimaualuga from Riverside, California.  Elder Hingano is from California; Sister Dixon is from New Zealand; Sister Wardle is from Eagle Mountain, Utah.

Elder Hingano
Elder Tuimaualuga
Sister Dixon and Sister Wardle
Finally Tuesday ends.  It takes a couple of days for Shanna's neck muscles to loosen up.

Wednesday:  We take Elder Funganitao to the airport with papers showing he has a flight leaving Western Samoa.  However, the papers didn't show that the ticket to Tonga had actually been purchased so it was still a bit of an ordeal to get him on the plane.  We made sure that someone would be at the other airport to work with immigration to get him through the process.

It's the first of the month so we head-out to deliver missionary money disbursements.  The elders and sisters love to see us on the first of the month to receive their $50.00 living expenses.  Yes, that's right - a whole $50.00 to live on; however, they all are fed each night by the members so they spend very little on food.

At 5:30 p.m., we have a technology specialist training on the east side of the island -- Aua.  We wait for half an hour and one person shows up.  We teach her and schedule the last of four training sessions for the next week.  One at a time; one at a time.

Thursday:  A day of working on technology.  We install 3 new computers and install the Church Videos on two old ones that are still under warranty.  Theron worked with the FM to fix the sound system in the Malaeimi Chapel in preparation for their stake conference.  We also received a call that two new elders were coming to fill an area that they forgot to assign missionaries to. (sometime we wonder who's minding the store)  Off to the airport to pick up Elder Tuala (New Zealand) and Elder Lealaiauloto (Australia).

Friday:  Off to Tulao to help with a missionary fireside.  They are showing Meet the Mormons and asked us to provide sound and a projector.  The fireside is set for 6:00 p.m.  Because of traffic this time of night, we leave about 4:00 p.m.  Boy are we surprised at traffic.  There was an island high school football game and the Vikings (east side - the side we are traveling to) won!  Everyone along the way was waving red or white banners, the cars were honking and there was a literal parade of traffic.  When we got to Tulao, just before 6, we were just ahead of the biggest part of the parade, so we went out in front of the Church pulled up two of their red and white flags and waved at all the cars in the parade.  Now, this also means that no one showed up for the fireside.  The missionaries went over to the village to "round up people" to come watch the movie.  Finally about 7 we had five people show up and began the movie.  It really was a great setting - an open fale with the screen being blown gently by the wind from the ocean and hearing the ocean wash up onto the rocks in front of the Church.  Home late, can we sleep in tomorrow?

 The ocean wall in front of the Tulao Chapel with the island of Aunu'u in the background.  This week came full circle - traveling to Aunu'u on Monday and looking at the sunset on the island on Friday.