In the interim leading up to Thursday, we sent Elder Sparks home. He had a stomach issue that we had watched and gone to the hospital with for several weeks. The decision was to finally send him home. Elder Sparks is the second from the left. Elder Smith on the right, was transferred to Manua this week, also.
Early Thursday (7 a.m.) we got the typical phone call - you know, the one that changes everything you have planned-- rush down to the airport to pick up Elder Haleck. On the way to the airport, Theron got a call that pulled him off because Elder Haleck's daughter was picking him up. Oops, another communication error :) This capped our week - we took the sisters to catch their plane to Manua on Tuesday morning and picking them up an hour and half later because, due to weather, the plane couldn't land in Manua. Wednesday morning we took the sisters back to the plane and away they went.
Back to Thursday. Sister Lesa (her husband, Ropeti, is the counselor in the mission presidency) came over early to help prepare the potatoes, vegetables, etc. She also decorated the hall. The dinner was set for noon. We made it and everyone had plenty to eat and we had plenty of leftovers (3 turkeys would have been plenty).
Sisters Esau and Nemia
The Small Cultural Center of the Malaeimi Stake Building (It has two chapels also)
It was a great time. As I wrote on Facebook, the missionaries had been practicing some songs they are going to sing at a Christmas devotional. They invited us to stand up front and they proceeded to sing "Consider the Lilies of the Field." As they sang, I looked into the face of each elder and sister; I saw the light of God there and I felt the words. I could not hold back the tears. What a beautiful way to start Thanksgiving.