Well, last Friday we took the east ZLs van into the shop and it was diagnosed with a bad brake boot; it was not cleared by the garage for driving and there isn't a replacement on the island, so we were down one ZLs van to transport missionaries. No problem, we would be available to help shuttle. We go buy food and get all other things ready. The PBO office van is not available because Elder Fata (regional 70) is coming in to preside at a stake conference.
Above is a picture of Elders Vaai and Kanae with Elder Bate the AP in the middle. On the street is the best place to meet the missionaries. (Elder Kanae on the right is the elder who lost his grandmother. Elder Vaai on the left is the elder who didn't loose his grandmother!)
Next day we get a call and the mission president and office couple are trying to figure out how to circumvent the visa regulations - 3 weeks time to obtain a visa is normal; they give us 2 days. They send the forms and information needed, but it's no go - now only one AP, President and Sister Hanneman and the two sister trainers will be here. We buy the food and make the preparations.
We transport the AP (Elder Bate) and the two sister trainers (Sister Davies and Sister Uili). So again one side of the island to other in one day - this is getting old. We are asked to get Ropeti Lesa, to speak for the President at the Stake Conference as he is a councilor and to make all arrangements for this.
We had been invited by Stake President Tuitele to a stake cultural activity on Friday evening prior to their stake conference activities. We just barely made it and were ushered to the head table seated next to Sister Fata. We know the Fata's they live across the street from our summer home in Apia and have met them and traded food. This was delightful. In order to eat, you have to earn it, so you have to dance. All the Samoan brothers and sisters at our table -stake president and wife, counselors, Elder and Sister Fata, and President and Sister Lesa - dance in the Samoan style. We danced the swing. Then they start with the food. First we were each given a niu (coconut) a bottle of water, and a bottled fruit juice. Then appetizers of fruit salad, and biscuits in hot coconut cream - while each ward does a 5 minute dance, play or song. Everyone in the wards gets involved. Most of the wards had on matching outfits, not t-shirts but tops and lava lavas. Each ward was sitting together and they had all brought food. Look at the table behind the picture with the sister in yellow and you will see a table full of styrofoam containers one for each person. After the program, it was dinner time - lots and lots and lots of food - pork, fish, chicken, pulasami, salad, taro, and breadfruit. Then we at the head table were each presented with a huge platter (like one of those party trays with the plastic cover) of food to take home. It really was a great event.
The week ended with a wonderful Pago Pago Samoa West Stake Conference. We find more and more that we have to bend and stretch and go-with-the-flow at every turn. Theron had to help with the technology at the stake conference so that the video could be seen and the translation equipment worked. Sources of electrical interference were located and turned off, transmitter properly tuned and equipment powered up. Oh, one other good thing about the week was that the only 6 elders came over with colds and sniffles; but none needed to go to the hospital or clinic.
All of this was done during some of the worst rains we have had since arriving. It rains each day several times and then several time during the night. No wonder the elders have colds; no sisters with colds yet.
The best part of our week is helping the missionaries. The ward by us usually provides a computer for them for e-mail, but it was in for replacement so they came to our house. These are Sisters Markowitz and Aspinall. The elders below are Elder Howard (going home in one week) and Elder Daley (just arrived three weeks ago). We fed them breakfast and turned them loose on four (of the five) computers we have at our home. While they typed home, we FaceTimed with Curt on his last day of freedom before THE birth and Googled with Marc and Brit and family while watching Neala hold OUR grandaughter!