Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015, American Samoa

4 turkeys, 25 pounds of potatoes, 1/2 case of green beans, 4 large bags of carrots, 1 gallon of gravy, 10 plus dozen cornbread muffins, 10 packages of StoveTop stuffing, 1 super size container of butter, 7 pumpkin pies, 2.5 gallons ice cream, 32 missionaries, 4 adults.

We started cooking the turkeys on Sunday while our two sister missionaries (Sister Aspinall and Sister Poche) who are being transferred to Manua - an isolated island with less than a thousand people - were living with us for a few days.  I was cooking one turkey every day until Wednesday.

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).
The decorations were very nice.  I walked into the hall and saw a head table decorated and set away from the 30+ chairs set up for the missionaries.  I was shocked, but told by Sister Lesa that, that was the Samoan way.  I was disappointed; I had wanted the missionaries to sit at tables and enjoy a nice sit down dinner.  Our cultural differences were noted; the decorations stayed, but they didn't work, the English missionaries started pulling out tables and setting them up after they filled their plates.  No Samoan traditions for them.
 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.

2 comments:

  1. Hi! My husband and I will be living in Apia beginning in February for four months. We currently live in Utah and he will be on sabbatical teaching at National University of Samoa. We have tried to contact many people with questions needing to be answered, but haven't had much luck. Could you please (if you have time) let us know a couple of things? One is about the drinking water. Should we bring a filter? Also anything in particular we should bring with us? What ward is English speaking? Thank you so much! I have enjoyed reading about the work you are doing for the Lord, Email address for reply: gaylejorgensen@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi! My husband and I will be living in Apia beginning in February for four months. We currently live in Utah and he will be on sabbatical teaching at National University of Samoa. We have tried to contact many people with questions needing to be answered, but haven't had much luck. Could you please (if you have time) let us know a couple of things? One is about the drinking water. Should we bring a filter? Also anything in particular we should bring with us? What ward is English speaking? Thank you so much! I have enjoyed reading about the work you are doing for the Lord, Email address for reply: gaylejorgensen@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete