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.

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