Sunday, August 30, 2015

We Went to a Garden Party at Robert Louis Stevenson Mansion/Museum

We couldn't ask for a better send off to travel to the city of Pago Pago in Amercian Samoa on the island of Tutuila, than the garden party at the Robert Louis Stevenson Mansion/Museum.  Rex Maughan, a very wealthy LDS who served a mission in Samoa is responsible for restoring this home and keeping it maintained and staffed.  Every year at this same time (end of August) he, Jim Winegar and Phil Goodrich (all former Samoan missionaries) come back for an annual visit.  They sponsor a garden party on the lawn in the front of the mansion and invite members of the tourist industry and board, Samoa's parliament, media owners, university presidents and staff, and senior LDS missionaries.  Wow, what an event.

We were asked to dress in Samoan style.  As you see, I have had a puletasi made and Theron wore his lava lava.  You arrive early evening just as the sun is setting.  Large tents with decorated tables and chairs are set-up, a dance floor has been installed, a podium and sound system are on one side and on either side of this there is an orchestra area and a DJ.  The flowers arrangements are out of this world gorgeous.  The staff is all dress in matching Samoan shirts and dresses.  The caterers take up space under their own tent with multiple tables of food.

Before the event begins, you meet and greet people and then find a table.  These are the Avei's from Woods Cross and Sister S'au.  Below are the Ellsworths who are the office company.
The program is a mix of talking about the restoration, musical presentations and presentation of awards.  During the program, appetizers are served which consist of sushi, calamari, shrimp, wontons, and toast with spicy tomato chutney.  After the program, we all went to the buffet line and heaped our plates with palusami, ham, pork, crab, fish, stir fry, desserts, and much much more.  Then dancing.  We danced a few dances and about 10:30 p.m. we left for home.  The whole ambiance was wow!! 

 These are our best missionary friends, the Jacobs who will be ending their mission in November.
 Rex Maughan's welcome and reading of his annual letter written to Robert Louis Stevenson.

 At my right is Sister Faherner a Temple missionary sister.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Our Week in Review - August 18-22

Just a little catch up to what we did this week.  We had a very good training with two more brothers from the Apia West Stake.  It is so fun to watch them concentrate on the terms, the equipment and then to actually get to touch the computer, turn off the firewall, write their first e-mail, etc.  Taking a hands-on approach has been the right thing to do.  On the left is Leslie, a ward clerk, and in the plaid shirt is Iose, a newly called technical specialist.  Faleatua, our star student is sitting next to Elder Schaefermeyer. We meet in  ward clerk office where the firewall and computer is located.

The 94 new MLS computers are still sitting on the dock!  Can't wait for them to arrive, but read the next blog entry as to our dilemma.

Loved these pictures of Marc working in his shop and then the finished product.  He made this hair dryer, curling iron and straightener holder for Brittney.  Put those two together and you get get all sorts of hand gadgets and shelves around the house.

Our Saturday beach day was to the Black Sand Beach.  Wow, this was another wonderful beach.  The sand is so different from all other beaches.  It's so fine, pure and clean, no shells, no sea weed.  The snorkeling was really fun over the coral reef that's near and little canyons where the fish can swim.  I'm getting a little less fearful of snorkeling and an really starting to enjoy it.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Lolo Boys

A family in the ward we attend, Pesega Lima, is going through a little tragedy.  The father, Mika Lolo started changing personality and could not function in his job as principal of the Pesega Middle School.  He was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  They have five sons, the oldest returned from his mission earlier this year, the second son is on a mission and then the other three are at home and Liam the youngest being 9.

The father and mother, Mika and Rebecca, had to go to New Zealand for Mika's operation.  They anticipate being there until October.  They have now performed the operation and it was a benign tumor between the skull and outer covering of the brain.  It will take some time for him to recover but the outcome looks good.

So, while the parents are away, the ward is taking meals to the boys, and we are driving Liam to his school as it is quite a ways from home.  His big brother goes to work early in the morning so is home early in the afternoon to pick him up.  Elder and Sister Gillette are doing a lot of caregiving work as they live very close to Lolos.  The boys are really fond of Elder Gillette, he is teaching them how to weld and sister Gillette has become the new grandmother.  We took these pictures the other day and just had to chuckle at the helmet, gloves, coveralls and 'flip flops'.  Safety first.

Our First Trained Technology Specialist

This week, we had the first person complete all four sessions of our training.  Yea, Faleatua Peleuale, Apia Samoa West Stake.  This young man is a returned missionary and we are hoping he will become our Samoan trainer.

On Friday, we held the second training session in the Malie Stake and had a interesting mix - 5 sisters and one brother.  Two of these sisters are wives of bishops in the stake and two are teachers at the Church's school at Pesega.  I was so absorbed in the training I forgot to take a picture.  We had a great time.  Theron has lots of fun with the technology and makes the firewall technical terms and reset switch fun.  Our students laugh easily and it sets a good tone for the training.

Our nights are getting full with training sessions at various stakes.  During this week, Theron worked on the sound system at the Nu'umau building for their Stake Conference.  We finished wiring the satellite rack and there were many problems with the sound system.  When you don't have new microphones readily available, you get Elder Schaefermeyer to teach them how to repair it with a little solder,epoxy and magic marker for paint.  It's always fun to see the ICS guys stand around and watch him put things back together.  I'm so grateful that he has fun with these guys and I really think they are learning to love his sense of humor and his Mcgyver ways.

To make sure that the mike worked and to help set up the stake conference, we attended the Nu'umau Stake Conference today, Sunday.  Traditionally, the ICS department or an outside sound an TV company sets up a sound system and a TV so the overflow can hear and see the speaker inside.  Part of what we are striving to do is get members of their stake to do this so Church employees don't have to work on Sunday or money isn't spend for outside contractors.
The picture below shows the overflow group outside the building watching the conference on TV under the tents.  We think they should face the TV the opposite way so they see the ocean behind us rather than the block wall.  Wow, what a setting for a chapel.  It was fun to sit and listen - to all the talks we could not understand, they were all in Samoan - and it was somewhat more interesting to listen to the waves lapping up on the sand behind us.  I have to say, my mind wandered many times and I just watched the water.

Saturday, August 15, 2015


Sauniatu (saw-ne-ah-to) means "prepare to go forth."  Sauniatu is a valley high in the mountains on the east end of the island where the LDS members moved during the early days of the 1900s when they were being persecuted.  Many early converts were not allowed to live in family villages or to hold jobs in the community.  The Church purchased 800 acres of lush ground and the people built fales and farmed here.  The farm has diminished in size and is now just a demonstration area for different farming and plant growing activities.  There is an elementary school here and a ward building.

I think the message on this plaque tells the story better than I can.

The area is very beautiful, but it is quite a distance from Apia and the other stakes of strength.  Here are some pictures of the area.  The waterfall that is there is a favorite tourist attraction and many come there to swim in the pond and soak under the waterfall.  The river provides lots of water.  During the years of farming and early Church growth, the land was blessed to provide for the people.  The story is that the people of Samoa started going there to see how they farmed and learn from them.  Too bad it's not that way now.

This is a great picnic fale.  On the other side is a river and lots more banana, kapok and other trees as you can see from the other picture.

 This was once the house of the administrator, but it now serves as the offices and library.

 We loved this sign and message!
 Theron is in the water and heading straight for the waterfall.  The others are our two dentists and Elder Gillette.

The trees and variety of flowers is amazing.  This one reminds us of exploding fireworks.

The Aging of Our Daughter Adrian!

As parents, its hard to see your children begin to turn 40 since we thought we were old when we turned 40. And now we have children that old?! it was especially hard for Theron to turn 40.  He kept telling me, "my father was this old when I was born."  Turning forty was not a time of graceful aging for him.  However, our daughter has gracefully aged.

August 7, 1975 to August 7, 2015 = 40 years of blessedness for us.  Our daughter is perfect!  We love her more now than we ever have and she is a wonderful mother, companion, Temple goer, Family History worker, and friend to many.  She is delightful and I particularly love that she thinks and has Theron's outlook and wit about her.  If you've never noticed, she is quick with a great response and she loves holding out to the last minute before committing to do anything to consider all the options.

I also love that our children are getting together to celebrate these activities as we are far, far away.  I received an e-mail from a friend telling me how proud we must be of our family because they are staying so close as we are serving.  That was probably one of the best compliments I could ever receive.  I love that they love each other.  I also love the neat things our boys made Adrian for her birthday.

Look at this great Family Home Evening board and the knife holder.  Aren't these the best children in the whole world!!! They are to us.  Thank you children and we send our love and kisses.
Now this is what it is all about, our three rough riders!  Love this picture.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

A Father's Day to Remember

In Samoa, Father's Day is celebrated the second Sunday in August and then the following Monday is a national holiday.  Our Pesega Lima ward had a Father's Day Dinner and Dance party on Saturday. It was supposed to start at 6:00 p.m. we started to eat at 7:00 p.m. -- Samoa Time. 
 I had a pulatasi skirt and top made so I could go Samoan style.

 This is Elder 'Rusty' and Sister Cindy Gillette from Gooding, Idaho.  They are serving at the Pesega School where he is teaching welding and she is working with the home ec department.  Below is a picture of our bishop Eiti Pauga.

All of the wives were supposed to bring their husband's favorite dish to share with everyone and then a dessert.  When the food started to arrive, it seemed as if it just kept coming filling four full banquet tables with sweet and sour chicken, oka (raw fish), teriyaki chicken, and a pig.  

The next outing we go on, I'll have matching outfits made like Denny and Maryanne.  Denny is the manager of the Service Center.  The Samoans always celebrate with the entire family.  However, the men ate first, then the women and then the children.  The small children then watched a movie and made candy leis  and paper neck ties for the fathers.  The special parts to us were the wonderful Samoan dances that the young girls did and the young boys.  They love to perform.

We were asked to teach the Swing and well, it went over pretty well.  The version of "In the Mood" they selected was a modern version and really fast.  After a little demonstration from us, it was dessert time.  Then they had 5 fathers sign up for karaoke which was a delight - these Samoan men have such a fun time singing and many have great voices.  We've included lots of pictures for you to enjoy this celebration.

A fun time and a Happy Father's Day.  This cultural hall/gym also currently serves as our chapel.  However, in two weeks we're moving to the Lotopa building which is next door to our apartment.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

More Technology Teaching

We had a great teaching week.  We now have several technology specialists trained, We taught one great student this Tuesday and Wednesday in Apia West Stake (which is the stake our "boss" Chris is a member and serves as the STS).   While our student was setting up the satellite system and AV equipment, Chris  pointed out the hum in the sound system and the distortion bars traveling through the video from the projector.  Theron and I went back the next day; he was on a quest to fix these problems.

Well, a new cable, wired into the right connection on the satellite panel and plugging the video projector into a non-grounded wire, and it's fixed,clear sound and a perfect picture.  Theron is such a genius diagnosing problems.

Thursday night, we started training a new ward, Lotopa.  We were told there would be five young men.  Well one showed up; then 15 minutes later another one came.  Several phone calls later, another young man came.  The bishop had us wait for at least 1/2 hour before we started.  Well, the second young man excused himself to go to the bathroom and took his backpack.  He didn't come back.  It was  before we started so we didn't take it personally.  Well, these two young men stayed with us and they were really cute about learning and finally got into it.  We're figuring it out.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Malie Stake Training

We do, do work on occasion.  This past week, we trained 12 people in the Malie Stake and 4 young men in the Apia West Stake.  These are fun activities.  This next week we have three training sessions scheduled.  The guy with the blurry head is the stake president.  We love having sisters called as technology specialists.  The sister in the white shirt is a librarian at the government library.