Saturday, June 27, 2015

Wow What Great News -- Triplets!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On Wednesday, we called Curt because they were having "THE" ultrasound that day.  They were still driving home in separate cars so we had to wait until they both got home to hear the news.

What wonderful news we heard.  That one little heartbeat had turned into three.

Two girls and a boy!

We could tell that both Melanee and Curt were amazed and dazed to say the least.  How do you plan for three babies?  At least they are living in the right place, our Springwood Ward has lots of experience with triplets and there aren't many babies in the ward.  Melanee has the best mother; she will provide so much support to them.  They are living in a bigger house, probably not the best floor plan for new babies, but lots of room and the laundry is close to the nursery.

Yes, we are feeling a little left out being so far away.  We will send prayers each day and each night and keep their names in the Temple.

The only details we know right now are that they are the same size and doing well.  It appears that they are three individuals so even grandpa should be able to tell them apart.  The doctor wants her to do everything she can to get to 34 weeks which would be the end of September or first of October.

I had fun this week looking at triplet websites and shopping for some clothes.  I found some cute sayings for t-shirts ---- Tic, Tac, Toe ---- 1 of 3, 2 of 3, 3 of 3 --- and  HO! HO! HO! for Christmas.

Theron says, Eeny, Meeny, Miny -- because there ain't no Moe.

Nothing we did in Samoa can top that news.  We are awaiting from afar and hope we will have pictures to add later.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Oh The People We Meet

This has been an interesting week, it seemed like everyday we were meeting someone new and interesting, some we knew of, some we didn't but now we do.  Missions are interesting that way.  It also seems as if lots of people want to come to visit Samoa and know exactly who missionaries are.

We had an ICS Department training last week and forgot to post it.  This is a fun little group of which here again I'm the only woman.  Chris Neemia is the manager and is the first person on the right side of the table.  Going around the table from Chris is Daniel (who doesn't speak a lot of English), Maaee (my eye) who has lived in the US, Lemi who lives in Savaii and Elder Schaefermeyer.  This is the service center conference room.  We provided the niu's for treats; coconuts up!!

Wednesday, we were leaving the service center, where we work, and a couple was coming in.  They stopped us and asked what kind of mission we were doing and we started talking.  They were Elder and Sister Gordon just going home from serving an 18 month mission in New Zealand as MLS.  They decided to tour all of the islands in the Pacific before leaving and were in Samoa for two days.  We invited to take them to lunch and enjoyed our local fish and chips and niu (coconut water) with them.  During the conversation, we found that they arrived in New Zealand and the mission president sent them to the northern most part of the island and said, see you in 18 months.  As they started working, they found that they could get the communities interested in family history - go figure.  So, we talked much about our family history experiences and listened to their great stories and successes.

When we rearranged the High Council Tables we found a pile of
wood dust from the termites that were dining on the furniture.
Thursday evening was our first technology specialist training at Pesega Stake, next door to where we live.  There are 23 assistant technology specialists called; we found out quickly that these are young men ages 12 and up.  Well, there was a rugby practice that seems to have taken precedence because only 5 young men showed up; but, all the bishops and ward clerks were in attendance.  They were really not invited, but when you announce training, they want in.  Needless to say, the young men were a little intimidated.  Well, it's only the first of four training session in our course,  Our mission is starting to come to life now.

Friday found us out on the west-end of the island installing a new printer at the Falelati Chapel.  The chapel is an open air fale (shown below) and a building behind with traditional classrooms and bishop and clerk offices.  It was raining and the wind was blowing so the power was out when we arrived which makes it hard to install a printer.  We decided to have lunch in the chapel and call the service center for advice on whether to leave the printer or not.  We found that the power was out in Apia, also.  After lunch we went to get the serial number and then leave the printer and what do you know, the power was back on.  Success!!!

We had a couple more stops on the way back and the elders were at one of the chapels, so we stopped to see them.  One companionship needed a ride so they hopped in and we told them we needed to stop at the Manono Stake Center and check on the family history printer.  As Theron was testing the printer, he pulled up his fan chart.  The 'white' elder, Elder Roberts from Tremonton, looked at it and asked if he could get one of his family.  The family history consultant in me took over, we pulled up his chart on FamilySearch, his grandfather on the mother's side hadn't been linked, so we linked him and watched as the fan chart filled in.  He started looking at the pictures that had been posted and started telling a few stories.  We encouraged him to type these into FamilySearch.  We gave him a printed copy of his family fan chart and loaded into the car.  The next comment from him is the one that makes you know it is all worth it; he said, 'I've struggled to teach the Plan of Salvation because I really don't know much about my own family, so this is really going to help me.'  There are no coincidences in the Lord's work; we are where we are supposed to be and we helped answer this great elder's question and concern!

Least you begin to think that these are quick trips, to travel to Falelati (our furthest point west) and back is 67 miles round trip.  We left at 11:00 a.m. and returned around 4:00 p.m.

The missionary in the picture below is Elder Johnston at the Moto'otua ward from New Zealand.  He is one of the missionaries we stop at each 1st and 3rd Monday of the month on our missionary supply and mail route.  Elder Johnston has lost a lot of weight and his pants looked like he was wearing a gunny sack. He looked more like a homeless person than a missionary.  We passed by him and his companion on Saturday and stopped and took his measurements using a TV coax cable as a tape measure tying knots to mark the length.  Elder Schaefermeyer donated a pair of his pants which we took to Sister Jackson who has a sewing machine.  She hemmed them and we took them back, way to go, he looks more like a missionary than ever before.  What fun it is to be able to take care of these elders and sisters.

Sunday after Church, I walked out of our Relief Society lesson and Theron was talking with a young man, who introduced himself as Peter Wirthlin from Orchard 2nd Ward.  He works for the Church assigned to the Temple Department and was here with two other employees reviewing the technology upgrades for the Apia Temple.  We invited them to have dinner with us and then took them on a quick tour (2 hours or so) across the island and around the east end.  We talked at length about the Church's technologies in the temple and it was a good perspective outside of meetinghouse.  I posted our picture with Pete, who is a member of the bishopric in the Orchard 2nd Ward in our stake, and our son Marc told us that Cindy Pond's sister, Tami's, husband works with him at the Church Office Building.  Wow, do things come around and around.

Saturday night we played games with the Gillettes, Jacobs, and Stonehockers.  We got home about 11:00 and were surprised how late the old people had stayed up.  It is interesting living so close to the equator.  It gets dark at 6:30 so there isn't a lot of evening time to enjoy so we seem to go to bed quite early, which is good because the roosters start crowing at all hours and basket ball starts about 5:00 am in the church next to us, so late sleeping isn't much of an option.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

June 14, 2015 - 41 Years Of Togetherness

This week, we celebrate our 41st wedding anniversary.  What a great time it has been!!!  We kind of celebrated all week - we finished writing our training program and have a training session with the Pesega Stake STSs scheduled for next Thursday - our very first.

We are excited and a little apprehensive because we don't know where this will take us.  It's a new adventure.

Friday we attended our first Zone Conference.  President and Sister  Tolman provided great training to a great group of missionaries.

On Friday night, we went to a fiafia show (typical Samoan show) over at the Sheraton hotel out by the airport.  This was a somewhat traditional buffet, they had the whole pig that was roasted and they just reach inside and grab some meat.  They had pulsami (mmmmm) and salads.  I didn't try the oysters and squid, and the desserts left much to be desired - not sweet enough, but how do you make cooked papaya and truffles too sweet.

This is a picture of the dancers, behind them were about 5 drummers. One of the "very healthy" female dancers did a solo dance and boy could she shake those very ample hips! It was quite impressive and amazing.  After their show, we moved outside for the fire dance.  This was a great fire dance; of course it's the first one we've seen.

On Saturday, we went across the island to snorkel at "clam" beach with Elder and Sister Gillette,

The Gillettes are newly arrived vocational instructors for the school from Idaho.  They own like 1500 acres in Idaho so they refer to the farms here as 'gardens'.

The name of the beach is Lefaga Bay at Savaia.This is a beautiful inlet beach, bay and in the picture where the dark water begins is a marine preserve defined with buoys and rope around a coral reef populated with giant clams.  These clams are about 2 to 2.5 feet across, they have a membrane between the two shells and at one end a large open tube.  There were some smaller ones that were about 8 - 12 inches.  The colors were phenomenal - blues, pinks, browns, yellows and greens.  These pictures are from the website as we don't have a go-pro yet -- wink, wink--hint, hint!! Children, children.

The water is flat, no surf, and is only a couple of feet deep  up to about 6 feet deep in the preserve.
Shanna's swim belt arrived so she was brave enough to snorkel out and see the clams.  If the clams sense anything inside, they will slam shut, so you want to watch your fins.

Adrian, Todd and the boys were in California last week and sent us some pictures, which we love and as many as we can download are our screen savers at the office.  A very favorite is this one of Melanee - a new little one is obvious.  Wow, keep sending us pictures.

Today, Sunday, it is raining (timu = rain; afa = storm) like crazy and the deacons came out to our car with an umbrella to escort us into the gym where we have church.  Our church is at the Pesega School Gym and the side walls are open, so you can watch the rain, wind and sun (la = sun) and palm trees when it is good weather.  It's somewhat of a distraction during sacrament meeting, but it is a beautiful scene to look upon.

From manaia motu Samoa!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Billion Graves Youth Project

As part of our stakes, Apia Samoa Pesega, participation in the Area Presidency's 15 in 15 (get your first fifteen parent and ancestor names in FamilySearch) organized a youth Billion Graves project.  The leaders had a large cemetery mapped out and each ward assigned to several rows.  We were invited to help and provide our iphone and ipad to use taking pictures.  We loved being out with the youth and doing this project.  We were impressed at how well the youth embraced cleaning graves, taking pictures and at how many stopped to read the headstone.  This week at their mutual activity, they met at the Pesega School computer lab and transcribed the headstones that were uploaded.

This photo shows the number of youth involved.  What a great group.

If you are so inclined, you can look at the Billion Graves site and search for the Maagiagi Cemetery in Samoa.

We also got to meet a Samoan (from California) who played pro-football.  Here is a picture of me and Edwin Mulitalo who has two Super Bowl rings.  He's just little,  I'm standing on tip toes.  Eddie came to Church at our ward on Sunday and in Priesthood Theron said he stacked to chairs together and sat on them to make himself more comfortable.

Sports figures are abundant here.  Today we were at the Mission Office picking up Theron's new sandals - he definitely brought the wrong shoes and these will be much more comfortable especially with a lava lava -- we met Elder Mikkelsen who will be the kicker on the BYU Football team next year.  He was serving in Savaii and fell on a step and put a big gash in his left leg and it developed cellulitis.  He was in getting medical care.  Great missionary and really wanting to get back to work.  We have to protect his leg - Theron told him we would look for the scar on his leg when we watched a game.

Without youth projects and meeting sports figures, life is just one day in the office after another.  Steve and Jackie, you have beautiful sun and flowers and mountains; this is what Elder Schaefermeyer does -- office work.  We did get our specialist training manual finished. :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Missed Some Big Grandchildren Moments

Yes, as missionary grandparents, we miss some very tender moments and memories from the lives of our grandchildren.  So thankful for digital pictures these days and for our Vonage phone.  We called Mason the day of his kindergarten graduation and I don't think he quite knew what to say, he was rather shy, but at least we got to say "I Love You" and that meant lots to us.

 Ali Jo is getting so big, she graduated from her first year in pre-school.  We were delighted a while ago when Marc told us she could spell her name --- A-L-I-Enter.  What a delight she is and I'm assuming a challenge to her mother and father.

Mason graduated from Kindergarten!!  Now he will go to school all day, eat lunch, and learn much, much more each day.  Wow, when did he get so big?

Tyce graduated from lots of things, he just graduated to a big bed.  Night time will not be the same around the house anymore.  Marc just refinished a small two wheeled bike for him and I'll bet he wants to ride it all the time.  Tyce is an explorer and is not afraid of touching, trying and doing!  Go for it buddy.

Mason's neighborhood class!
So in Marc and Brittney's house:  Mason graduated from Kindergarten, Ali Jo graduated from pre-school, Tyce graduated to a big boy bed, Brittney graduated to maternity clothes and Marc watched all the graduations!!!!

Cameron is now in 8th grade.  This was the first time he has gone to school on a regular school calendar year.  Wonder what a full three months off is going to be like for him.  I did see a picture of him and his friends "sluffing" a part of the last day of school -- they took a picture and posted it on Instagram.  The sluffing was at his house - how novel is that.

Taylor is now in 6th grade - when did that happen.  He will go to school this summer and that will be his last summer in year-round school.

We love our grandchildren, they are the best gifts our children could give us.  Have fun this summer and know that we miss you.  Keep posting pictures.