Monday, September 21, 2015

Pago Weekly Review - Week of September 15

Just to let you know that the Samoa Mission Mail Service is alive and well.  We had a lot mail coming and going this week.  The US mail and packages come by airplane on Fridays and are ready for pickup on Monday. It's great, we walk in to the package retrieval area and they know us and our box number; the canine unit (even though they have no dogs) and customs officials wave us through; we feel so taken care of.  We bring these packages home and put four flat rate boxes into a larger box and pack things around the edges to make it ready to ship on the plane to Apia.  This past week, we sent 6 large boxes (24 flat rate boxes and other assorted things) to Apia.  We also received 7 large boxes from Apia that we unpack and after entering all of the information in the USPS web site, printout and put US postage on them to ship to the US and other places around the world.  Then we travel back to the Post Office and give them to the postal workers for shipment.

Taking care of the mail and visiting each missionary companionship on Tuesday (West Zone) and Wednesday (East Zone) takes up a big part of our days and weeks.

This week we had a tsunami watch created from the earthquake in Chile, so we were on the phone to elders who live by the water and getting them prepared.  Nothing happened except for some high surfs mostly caused by the winds from a storm.  The surfs came in at low tide, so they were pretty benign.

In Apia, the new mission president and his wife arrived - President Arthur Hannemann from Hawaii.  He served a mission in Samoa and is now back as the leader.  The Saunders left on Saturday, Apia time.  President Saunders 65th birthday was on Saturday and we understand the senior couples gave him a little party.  When he arrived here, it was Friday, so he had a second birthday on the flight home, Thus, he is now 66 and has served three years as mission president during his month in Apia.   That was the sign we made to welcome him at the airport - a little fuzzy math.  Some days it gets crazy trying to decide which day it is in which island.  We don't work on Sunday which is Apia's Monday and we work on Friday which is Apia's Saturday so really we only work three days out of the week??

We were able to pick the Saunders up from the airport, take them to dinner at a nice restaurant along with Ropeti Lesa (mission president counselor and supervisor of the PBO office here) and his wife.  They are the best and will be missed.

On Tuesday we had a mission miracle - President Saunders called us and asked us to go and visit Elder Vaai to tell him in person that his grandmother had died.  Then he would follow up with a call and tell him the details.  We were visiting missionaries and I took the call while standing outside with the wind blowing.  A couple of hours later, we drive to the far side west side of the island, find Elder Vaai and his companion. We got him and his companion in our van to tell him the news.  He says his grandmother had been on dialysis for several years and was quite frail.  He took the news very well.  We called the President and told him we had Elder Vaai with us so he could talk with him.  The president said he was in a meeting and that he would call him in a few minutes.  We then delivered the Elders to their next appointment.  Well, about half an hour later the President phones us and asks if we want to hear a funny story -  it wasn't Elder Vaai's grandmother, but his companion Elder Kenae's grandmother that died.  Now, Vaai is pronounced - va eye (Elder on the left); Kenae is pronounced - cun eye (Elder on the right).  Don't give a senior palangi couple a sensitive assignment.  From now on, we ask for a spelling.  We called Elder Vaai and express what a miracle it was that his grandmother was alive!

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