Saturday, April 30, 2016

Ali's First Bike Accident

You always are fearful when you read or get a phone call that tells you -- 'We took Ali to the hospital she hurt her head on a bicycle accident.'  Friday, April 29, 2016:

Loved that Brittney filled in the 'rest of the story.'

"Scary day yesterday.  Miss A was out playing with a friend yesterday.  I had been in and out checking on them while preparing dinner.  When I went out right before she fell, they had gotten on their bikes.  I reminded them to put on their helmets.  I heard the baby crying in the monitor so I left to get the baby.  I didn't stay and make sure they put their helmets on.  As I walked up the stairs I heard a scream I hope to never hear again.  

I ran outside to find Ali on the ground.  She was bleeding and hysterical.  It took a long time to get her to calm down.  She was confused and disoriented.  We cleaned up her wound and I did a neuro exam.  All was in contact but she complained of double vision.  We called dad and he started to head home.  Then she threw up.  I knew that meant she hit her head pretty hard so we took her in for a professional exam.  They assured us she most likely has a mild concussion.  If I had to repeat yesterday I would have put her helmet on her before I left.  I would have let the baby cry in her crib.  I knew Kacy was safe and had just woken from her nap.  I am so grateful it wasn't any worse.  We love Ali so much!  Thanks for the texts and calls.  She is doing well and resting.  Doctors orders."

Ali, we love you.  Sorry you had to go through such a traumatic experience.  It calls for lots of ice cream and new beadmaking things.

Love Grandma and Grandpa Schaefermeyer
in Samoa

Teaching Youth About the Life of a Missionary

Last week, the mission president's wife, Sister Hannemann asked us to make a presentation at the Upolu Aleisa Stake Youth Conference on life as a missionary.  Our first thought was, what do we know about missionary life; senior couples don't keep the same schedule, we're not involved with teaching the gospel, we don't work with the , we don't have companion study nor do we keep the same 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily schedule.  We are usually awake by 6:30 a.m. but that is to go to the bathroom and then back to bed for at least another hour of tossing and turning, and we definitely can't stay awake until 10:30 p.m.especially since it's always dark by 6:30.  And since we share an office or are together in the car every hour of every day we run out of things to talk about so companionship study is out of the question we already have way too much companion time some days.  (Thus the need for more children and grandchildren pictures and stories.)

We had previously given a presentation in-be-half of the mission president to 400 middle school kids in Pesega, so we felt we had already done our duty.  We told Sister Hannemann that these kids live in the farm belt and so they probably want someone who speaks Samoan  Sister Hannemann's comeback was, "They want a senior couple who speaks English because they are stressing the importance of learning English."  Okay, we'll see what we can do.  We call Sister Mulianina, the stake Young Women's President and wife of the stake president (he is a great stake president) to find out the details.  She wants us to conduct 4 sessions, 45-minutes each on a day in the life of a missionary.

We called on our 14-year old Cameron to see if he could enlighten us with some questions youth would have about a mission.  We'll address those in a separate blog.  Thanks Cameron.
-- Why are we commanded to go on missions? 
-- Is it worth it to go? 
-- Are the experiences you have there fun or just spiritual? 
-- What are some of the lessons you teach? 
-- Why should we go on a mission?

After considering Cameron's questions and talking to each other (companionship study - most of one full day), Theron came up with a brilliant activity: hand three sticky notes to each kid as they come in and have them write one or two words in answer to these questions:

(1)  What is something that would stop someone from serving a mission?
(2)  What does a missionary do? (We made a timeline poster that started at 6:30 a.m. and ended at 10:30 p.m.)
(3)  What is something about a mission that worries or frightens me?

We pulled out our trusty 200-gig hard drive of Church media and went to work.  We thought videos would be much more instructive than two old senior missionaries. 

Saturday at 7:00 a.m. we arrive at the stake center.  We find out we could choose to do one big session or three small sessions.  We chose the three small sessions, it fit with our presentation.  That would mean about 30-35 youth in each session.  We were directed to our room and start setting up; the guy next door starts mowing the lawn (this means using his gas powered weedeater on what looked to us like an acre of property and sure enough we heard his buzz through all three sessions).

After a self-reliance presentation, our "round robin" sessions began.  The first session we tried to explain what we wanted on the sticky notes, some caught on.  The videos were short clips but there were too many and we went over time.  We adjusted for the second session and it was better; the third time is always the most rewarding.  

What did we learn?
We knew we had to address the one big elephant in the room - chastity and morality.  We hit it directly with question #1.  There were several who put on their sticky notes, "not worthy".  There is a great video clip of a talk that Elder Holland gave called 'Stay Within the Lines' (February Come Follow Me curriculum).  Every youth should see this!

Other things the youth listed that would stop them from serving was, no money, parents, don't know enough about the gospel, testimony and fear of a foreign language, what if i get sick or hurt.  We suppose that these are the same concerns that prospective missionaries have all over the world and missionaries of every age. Cameron and Taylor do you have these same fears?  

We went on to question #2 - What do missionaries do?  The youth had the 'preach the gospel' part down.  What they didn't write was, praying, living with a companion 24-7, personal study, daily exercise, companionship study, planning and of course eating.

Theron knew they didn't know much about the MTC, so we found a short video clip of life in the MTC.  Looking at their faces and interest, this opened a whole new window to them.  What a great missionary training program we have.

Question #3 was about them, personally.  We found they were worried about language, meeting people, rejection, leaving home.  Standard fears we all feel when we are put into new situations.  There is a great video clip on YouTube about the life of a missionary.  It talked about homesickness, rejection, personal study and most importantly service.  We felt some hearts were changed and some fears were addressed.

We finished with a video of Called to Serve being sung by a huge MTC Choir in Provo.  Our students were pretty much in awe as they grasped the realization of how many missionaries are always in training in just that one MTC.

So, using English, we taught mission life to 120 Samoan speaking youth, who, many will need to know English so they can learn a third language at the MTC.  They are pretty impressive young people, and hopefully we helped a little to further their preparation and their dedication to the work. 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Another Technology Graduate

This week we finished training Esjae (SJ) the Stake Technology Specialist for the Aleisa Stake.  He just graduated with a bachelor's in medicine from National Samoa University and is starting as an intern at the hospital.  He's just a little guy that wants to work in pediatrics.


Just got thinking about blog topics and thought you might want to see a few of the stores we go to and how shopping is in Samoa.  First, we don't have Walmart or even a walking Walmart like in Jamaica.  I can't buy everything I need at one store; you have to "shop around."  There are lots of little mom and pop stores like this one.  Want a flip-flop?

If I need to buy meat, I buy it at Lucky's Foodtown.  It's the only meat counter that doesn't have a smell and Junior, who is one of the meat clerks, knows us.  When we first arrived and drove around to find things, I went to Lucky's and asked Junior for 5 pounds of minced beef (hamburger), but I want you to put it in one pound packages.  He looked at me like I was from outer space -- I explained, put one pound in a small plastic bag, then another pound in another plastic bag and then put them all in one big plastic bag and weigh them.  When I take it home, I put them in a freezer and only need to take out one package at a time.  That was a year ago.  Every senior missionary now goes to Lucky's and he packages all our meat the same.  Chicken breasts - 2 per package; always boneless and skinless.  A pork tenderloin comes in a long, long piece, he just cuts off as much as you want.  Lucky's also has the yogurt we eat and most of the time they have sour cream and cream cheese.

Frankies is an all purpose grocery store and general store.  I bought much of the Samoan fabric at Frankies that we have had made into shirts.

King Arthurs is the store we go to for "American" style food - cake mixes, soups, green diced chilis, olives, eggs, etc.  They also have oranges and apples and sometimes - if you get there at the right time - grapes.

Farmer Joes is a good all around food store to get cereal, milk is in the shelf storage cartons, juice, and so forth.  We buy flour and sugar in unmarked, plastic bags.  I'm sure they buy them in large, large quantities and then sub-divide them.

Mariyons is the bread store.  They have a very good bakery and always have fresh hot bread on the shelves.  Yea, well, everything is hot in the store because there is no air conditioning in any of these stores and you get pretty hot shopping.

McKenzies is a good little corner store that I can get chocolate chips, tortillas, tomato sauce, ketchup, mustard, and those types of things.

We buy the fruit and vegetables from the large open air market, a roadside stand or Tufusi's, a drive through open air market.  We buy pineapples, papaya, lemons, tomatoes (a cherry type), cucumbers, bananas, cabbage, potatoes and pumpkins.  You can also buy cooked pulisami and breadfruit.  There is always a good supply of fresh fruit and these types of vegetables.

Now, if you have a hankering for sweet potatoes or yams, raspberries, strawberries, fresh peas, peaches, pears, large tomatoes, beets, and stuff like that - forget it until you get home.  Can't wait and in October there better be at least one fresh peach!

There are also many little stands along the road that have fresh fish for sale.  The person selling sits with a palm frond to fan the flies from them.  Haven't purchased one yet, don't want to take it home and clean it.

We buy our drinking coconuts from Stella, who has a little roadside stand across the street from our apartment.

We haven't lost any weight I can tell you that, there is plenty of food.  Chocolate (Neala) is sold from the freezer section, you can't put it on the shelves because then you would just be buying goo.  It is available and it does come at a price; but, every so often, you have to indulge.

Theron is able to have ice cream.  We buy the New Zealand imported kind - TipTop.  It's rather good.  He is partial to Hokey Pokey and I like the berry swirl.  You do have to be careful buying cookies and such because after they sit on the shelves for a while they kind of crumble apart and get stale.

Glad to hear from all the family this week.  We splurged and did a FaceTime with them.  I love to talk with them live!  Love to all.
The triplets are eating food or are they wearing their food?
These are great pictures taken among the Utah cherry trees.  Kacy is 6 months!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Meet the Mormons

It had rained all day and we just knew our FHE party at Tanumalala Branch, Upolu Tafuaupolu Stake, would be rained out.  The Tanumalala Branch meets in an open air fale, so rain can be a FHE breaker.  As 6:00 p.m. arrived and we pulled onto the grass at the Branch, the rain was just a drizzle and it looked like the weather was clearing.  All we had to do now was settle in for some good old humid air.

Elder Leaituia, one of our elders from Tutuila who now serves here in Upolu, knew we had a personal copy of the Meet the Mormons movie and asked us to bring our projector and the movie for this fun event.  We love getting out and meeting with the members and their friends who may not be members.  These are special events for us.

Theron walked up to the fale to set up the screen and chased a hen and her three little chicks from the front bench.  There was one electrical outlet and we didn't have a power strip, so we prayed the computer would have enough battery.  Children in another fale on the property peeked out past the curtains to watch what we were doing. and the chickens ran wild around the other buildings on the property.  The branch president lives in the fale at the back on the left.  The building with walls is the branch president/clerk office and the next building to the right is the bathroom.

When the Church produced the movie Meet the Mormons, I'm certain they expected it to be shown far and wide and perhaps even thought about open air fales in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with Samoans drinking koko Samoa and eating crackers and butter.  What a sweet setting for this movie.  I'm not sure that everyone knew English, but the spirit was very special.  Love these memories and enjoyable evenings.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Cameron - Age 14 - Teacher

Cameron Spencer Paschal, our first grandchild.  He's now 14 and according to his mother and father he's a teenager.  Guess he can't remain our innocent little resident genius forever; however, I hope he doesn't outgrow his integrity and spiritual strength.

It was a special experience we had seeing Cameron's birth.  The doctor even let me cut the extra cord length and I still remember the feeling I had of life, the smallness of this little boy, and the challenges that lay ahead.  Yes, Cameron you were a challenge - wasnting to stand and walk before you figured out how to eat and always wanting to be older than what you were.  That's not a bad thing, except if you turn away and walk in paths that are not good.  Always walk in the way of the Lord.  Keep walking and preparing for the next 4 years to serve a mission and humble yourself to prepare to be the missionary the Lord wants you to be.

We love how you keep trying.  Whenever you want to do something, you kept after it until you conquer it.  What a great trait.  Know, we will always be there for you, to love you, and to hug you, and to support you.  Happy 14th Birthday.

Love Grandma and Grandpa Schaefermeyer
Elder and Sister Schaefermeyer, today.

Friday, April 8, 2016

A Day In The Life

For you who may have wondered what a typical missionary day is like and even if you have never wondered, we thought we would document one of our days.

April 7, 2016, Thursday
6:30 a.m.:  We usually can't sleep past 6:30 a.m., not because we don't want to but because of the incessant rooster crow won't let us!  Sometimes it's the dogs barking, but most often the roosters.  Chickens run free on the island, but if you ever tried to catch one to take home for dinner; someone would track you down.  They are watched, by whom - we don't know.

I usually reach for my iPad and read a couple of Ensign articles or the Sunday School lesson.

7:00 a.m.:  15 minutes of Tai Bo with Billy Blanks - now this isn't a regular activity, but I sure would like it to be.  Forcing myself to exercise is the hardest work I do all day.

7:30 a.m.:  Shower, cook breakfast -- cereal; eggs; and most often a yogurt smoothie especially when we have just been to market and bought fresh pineapple, papaya and bananas.  Today, I fix scrambled eggs, hash-browns, bacon and a piece of toast.  We are traveling and lunch and dinner will be a long ways away.

8:00 a.m.:  Eat and read at least 2 chapters from the Book of Mormon.  In December, I finished the New Testament.  This time reading the BofM I read two chapters, try to think about them through the day and then read them again the next day.  So it's kind of like reading it twice in a row.  It gives me things to reflect on.  Right now, I'm only in Mosiah 16-18.  I love Abinadi's testimony of the Savior and the atonement and reflected yesterday on how he converted just one person.

Clean up the dishes and wash them.  We can't leave dirty dishes in the sink (no automatic dishwasher just me) because the ants will find them and we will have an ant colony on them when we return for lunch.

8:40 a.m.: Today this is the time we had prayer and then left for the office.  It's rainy so the shoes are flip flops, can't ruin them walking in puddles of water.  Theron is wearing his "ea" (e a) that's a lava lava with pockets; it's what the men wear for business attire.  As he says, 'it's cooler than pants.' Today, we are going to several chapels to make sure the satellite systems are working for General Conference this weekend.  Many of you have already viewed conference, right?  Well, the live Saturday sessions are on Sunday starting at 5:00am here and the Sunday sessions are on Monday at 5:00 in the morning our time.  So, throughout the Pacific we record conference and copy it to DVDs that are distributed to the wards around the islands for viewing the following Saturday and Sunday..

8:45 a.m.: It's a short drive to the Service Center just around the corner from the Temple.  That's where our office is located.  We have a little hall area that they put us in next to the ICS (Information Communication Systems) office.  Today, we aren't going to work there; it's right to Chris' office (he's the manager of ICS and our Samoan boss) to give him some new remote controls for the DVD recorders in the stake buildings (remote controls have legs here and go on walk about).  We discuss who is going where; Chris will take the west side and we will take the east side.

We then go to Helamana's office (Facilities Manager of the east side) to find out if the modulators he had sent express shipment have cleared Customs.  Nope, they are still working on it; so much for express delivery.  The modulators are used to separate the languages in the satellite racks.  The DVDs are recorded in Samoan and English.  Most of the members speak Samoan, but all the stakes provide a TV in a Relief Society, Primary or High Council room that can be tuned to English.

Ian (an ICS employee) had to re-image a computer for a ward we are working with and Daniel, the other ICS employee, took the drivers with him to Savaii, so that won't be done today or tomorrow which means they are now a month behind on submitting their financial reports.  Guess that's Monday's job to take the computer back, if it gets re-imaged.  Chris gives us a repaired computer for the Nu'umau Ward (it's on the east side) that was in getting a new power supply.  We will take this with us and install it.

No one can find any AA batteries, so we commit that we will buy some.  Not only do remote controls go on walk about, it they stay stationery they don't have working batteries.

around 9:15 a.m.:  Leave the Service Center to go buy batteries.  Alma the guard, a fun guy and our friend, stands in front of our car and gives us his big toothless grin.  He then comes around to talk to Elder Schaefermeyer and we give him a bag of trail mix; another big toothless grin.  We carry granola bars and small packages of trail mix with us either to give away or to eat when we're on a remote side of the island.
SAAB is down 3rd light road - the senior missionaries know the streets by 1st light, 2nd light, 3rd light and Cross Island roads.  Each street light takes you downtown Apia to the shopping area.  SAAB, the stationary/electronics store is down 3rd light.

We remember before we get to SAAB that we forgot to pick up the computer to take to Nu'umau so we'll have to go back and get it.

In Samoa and most island places, you can buy one of a package or you can buy the whole package - the battery package was 20 batteries, one battery is $3WS tala or about $1.20 US; the package is $60WS.  We need lots of batteries - it's the package.  The same goes for anything that in the US might be packaged in bulk.

We also need gas.  The gas station is down 1st light.  There are no service stations on the south east side of the island so we have to go with a full tank.  We pass Big Bear (our Target, Kmart, Shopko store).  Next, we pass the flip flop store.  There are dozens of these little market stores that sell a variety of things.  Then we get to the gas station.

Back to Service Center, got the computer, ready to travel.  Starting mileage today is 30896.  Top traveling speed is 40-45 kph (25 to 30 mph); two lane roads, often no shoulders and plenty of pedestrians, pigs, taxis, and buses to slow you down.

NOTE:  Theron has had Chikungunya or Dengue fever all week; he's not feeling the best.  It's a mosquito born sickness that starts with a high fever, then you break out into a rash, and then your joints swell and hurt.  He's at the joint stage.  Nothing to do but treat the symptoms with Panadol (like Tylenol).  Add to that the rain and humidity today; we are going to sweat!

Just a little preview of what we usually follow and how traffic is at the main roundabout in Apia, the clock tower.

9:45 a.m.:  Arrive at first stop, Apia Samoa Stake Center, Village of Navu.  They keep this satellite rack locked with a padlock; our master building key will not work.  However, the night before we met with President Tuia, Stake President, and he gave us the padlock keys.  This is the first time we have looked into this rack and don't know what to expect.  It's not too bad, they just have it wired to only play Samoan, so Theron has to change some sound cables so the left channel will be English and the right channel will be Samoan.  We test the video in the chapel; it works.  (Our new battery powered projector is great for projects like this; we just need one cable and we are good to go.)
 Theron is doing his best work.  Sometimes it reminds me of the story Judy tells about Craig cleaning the garage.  She asked him to go clean the garage and several hours later went out to see how things were progressing; Craig was sitting on a stool in the middle of the garage trying to decide how to do it.
 This is our air conditioning.  Three blade fans, 10 foot high ceiling.
Showing conference on the wall.

Called President Tuia and tell him all is working and he tells us where to leave his padlock keys.  We do so and are on our way.

It's a 4 paper towel sweat we mop from our brows.  Theron's shirt is just soaked in sweat.  Then you get into the car, turn up the air conditioning and start to freeze.  Go figure.

11:02 a.m.:  Leave Navu to drive to Nu'umau Stake Center.  This is the chapel you have seen before with the nice beach across the street and my island.

If you can't pass on the right, pass on the left.  We are right-hand drive.

11:30 a.m.:  Arrive Nu'umau.  I install the clerk computer and Theron works on the satellite rack.  I've seen every clerk office on this island, Tutuila and Savaii.  I've met most of the geikos which live in them and they always have lots of ants and termites (I know because of the piles of dust).  Almost every clerk chair is broken or missing one or more wheels.  Many do not have air conditioning; this one has only a fan - by the time I connect the cables, test the internet connection, and re-select the right sound output - I've used 5 paper towels to wipe my brow, face and neck.
This is a view of the Nu'umau chapel from the pulpit.  I've spoken from every pulpit in Samoa, luckily without an audience.

I've determined that the reason their internet is down is that the modem is not working, Theron walks down to confirm.  We call Helamana and he will report the outage to BlueSky.  This is important because the internet usage is metered and the Church pays a very steep price for internet service.  We are trying to hold BlueSky's feet to the fire and get things working and reliable.

Theron has worked on this satellite rack before.  Both modulators are bad (the new ones are waiting in Customs) and so they can only show conference in Samoan.  Finally all is working and we are on the way to the extreme east edge of the island - Upolu East Stake.  Oh, the chapel has a pretty good bathroom.

12:57 p.m.: Leave Nu'umau travel to Upolu East Stake.

I'm getting a little hungry so we stop at a roadside market and fortunately they did have ice cream on a stick.  It was a fudgecicle that tasted like it had been thawed and re-frozen, but it filled the need.

1:41 p.m.:  Arrive at Upolu East Stake building.  This stake center is in pretty good shape.  Theron tested the modulators, we checked to see that they could display video, we even helped the FM look for a way to get the screen to come down.  Finally, they called the stake president and he told them where the remote control was.  It had a bad connection, so they were filing the corrosion off the contact points to make it work - go figure, this chapel has a beautiful ocean view and sea breezes.

It's now raining and it's 2:32 p.m. when we left Upolu East for our last stop at Saleilua Stake Center.  Everyone comes outside when it rains.  They love to walk, work and play.  It was fun watching little kids jump and slide in mud puddles all along the way.

2:50 p.m.:  There are about three resorts along this long stretch of road and we choose to stop at the one on Lalomano Beach.  Finally food.  I select the grilled chicken salad and banana chips and Theron has the coconut crusted fish.  It's a can of Coke to drink - no nius (coconuts) today - finished.  We are the only ones in the dining area.  We eat, pay and are on our way by 3:20 p.m.  A half-hour is not too bad; sometimes we have waited for our food lots longer than that.

There is always a picture of the day.  This was the picture of the day.  The rain is just coming down and these two horses are standing on the porch of the house.  Notice the fale in the background; all the sides are open and they just have some tarps that they put down to stop the rain from coming in.

4:00 p.m.:  Arrive at Saleilua Stake Center.  The only thing we have to do here is re-install their DVD player/recorder.  The youth are learning some dances for a performance.  I love to see them dance, they are so graceful and the young men really get into it.  I asked if I could take a picture and they smile.  I loved the teacher, she was sitting up front with a long stick that she waved up and down and side to side to tell them where to move.  I wish I could put sound into this because the music is always LOUD.

We called President Kofe, the Stake President, and told him all was operational and were now on our way - 4:27 p.m.

From here we drive a little distance and can take the cross-island road which goes from south to north across the middle of the island.

5:10 p.m.:  Arrive home.  Total mileage - 30976.  That's a total of 60 miles in 8 hours.

Theron is ready to change clothes, take a shower and rest.  Tuesday and Thursday nights at 6:00 p.m. is the English session at the Temple.  We try to attend one of these each week.  There have been times we can't make these times and go to a Samoan session, juggling the headset is not something I really like, but it is very convenient.  Sometimes the veil is in Samoan and we answer in English; that's a little tricky.  I get cleaned up so I can go to the Temple.

I brought my filing box with family names.  My box is almost empty.  This has been a real blessing.
10 initiatory; 34 endowments; 52 sealing to parents; and 13 sealing to spouse.  We have a few more names to do and then my box will be empty.  Adrian, bring some family names when you come.

5:40 p.m. I leave for the Temple which is only a couple of minutes from our home.  Yes, I drive.

Get home around 8:30 p.m.  We heat up the leftover shepherd's pie casserole and eat dinner.  I'm exhausted.  Theron is exhausted.  We watch a Big Bang episode on TV and go to bed.

9:30 p.m. Lights out.  Our day is officially over.  It's just the dogs barking now until the rooster starts again at 6:30 a.m.  We love the work and thank our family for giving us their support as we serve.