Sunday, October 28, 2012

Chapter 20 - Family History Open House

10/26/12 – Tonight we were able to be part of an open house for the Pago Stake.  The mission had 12 beautiful banners made up each telling a different faith promoting story about some of early church members and their experiences in the early days of the church in Samoa.  We have so many wonderful pioneer stories, but these islands have pioneer stories of their own.  The idea behind the open house was to encourage members and non-members alike to record the stories of their families that are such an important part of their heritage.  A video was also shown that explained in more detail the stories on the banners as well as additional stories and more details about the early history of the Church in Samoa.  There were about 500 people in attendance, including people from the media.  We were interviewed by the local newspaper, and were able to meet many dignitaries on the island.  The neat thing was after they went through the display and viewed the video many of them stayed around and asked questions about the Church.  It was a very successful evening.  We talked again to the gentleman that interviewed us from the newspaper and gave him copies of the Friend Magazine for his 3 little girls.  He expressed a real interest.  So for the two of us, we felt like we had maybe been a part of someone wanting to investigate the Church.  We were on our feet for 8 hours, and dog-tired when we fell into bed, but what a great experience!  It was worth being tired.  We are being touched everyday by the Spirit and are so blessed to be part of this great work.  Tomorrow and Sunday we will be at a stake conference with Elder and Sister Watson, a member of the area presidency.  We met them yesterday, and it was so great just to be in their presence.   

Chapter 19 - The Church Still has Enemies

We went to a stake fireside tonight at one of the stakes.   It was a great program and the Spirit was so strong.  However, when the meeting was over and everyone was leaving the building we heard a huge commotion outside.  Apparently the night before there had been a confrontation between several young men from the island and some of the young men in the stake, and they were waiting in the field next to the building to finish whatever had started the night before.  When the boys in the field started shouting most just ignored them and got on the bus (most people ride the bus to church meetings) or in their cars, but some of the young men were not happy with what was being said about them and the church and so – being typical teen-agers -they started after the young men in the field.  All of a sudden rocks started coming from the field.  Someone shouted to us to get in the car.  A rock hit the side of our van just after we closed the door.  One person on the bus was hit by a rock, but not injured too badly.  It was really scary for a few minutes.  Because it was dark, we couldn’t see the rocks or those that were throwing them.   We had the sister missionaries with us, but the two elders who were at the meeting were still somewhere in the parking lot.  We drove to the other side of the building and Dennis called them to tell them he would give them a ride home.  We didn’t want them walking home – through the field where all the trouble had taken place.  It took some convincing, but they finally agreed to let us take them home.  It was sad that after such an inspirational meeting it had to end the way it did.  But, we were thankful that we were protected and that no one was seriously hurt.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

Chapter 18 - Life is Never Dull - Even the Dogs are Entertaining

10/11/12 CRAZY DAY –
Today we woke up and reviewed the things we had to do.  It appeared like it would be pretty laid back.  We taught two institute classes, than we went to a zone meeting with the mission president and the 5 zone leaders on the island.  We ran to the post office to pick up the mail, returned home to sort it, boxed up what had to be sent to mission headquarters and then it was off to the airport to send it.  One the way home we had to pick up some items for several of the missionary quarters.  With the creation of another zone we have two more sets of elders and needed to make sure their places were equipped.  We picked up a fridge from the PBO (church headquarters on the island), went to several other stores for irons, ironing boards, brooms, mops, electric pots for heating water, and 5 gallon water bottles for their water.  Then we headed back home to fill the water bottles (we have a water filter).  I think we grabbed a sandwich – but I am not sure – before we started delivering the items.  We didn’t have anything else on our agenda after the items were delivered so we thought we would have most of the afternoon to work on the institute lessons for the next day.  As we were leaving to make the deliveries, we got a call that one of the elders was sick and needed a prescription.  Because he did not have a car we detoured to the other side of the island to the only pharmacy on the island to pick it up.  On the way back we got a phone call from the elders on the opposite of the island.  Their van had quit running and they wanted to know what to do.  Dennis made a phone call and arranged to have the van towed, called the elders and told them that after the van was picked up to take the bus to wherever they had to go.  We delivered the prescription and then proceeded to finish the deliveries.  But, another set of elders called and needed a ride to do a baptism interview.  We picked them up and part way there they said they didn’t have the paperwork so we detoured to their house, picked up the papers, got almost to the house where they had to conduct the interview and they informed us that the zone leaders needed to be at the interview as well – it was the zone leaders with car problems – so we called to see where they were, then headed back down the hill to the original location where we had picked up the first set of elders to pick up the zone leaders. We got them to their interview and waited while they conducted the interview.  By now it was almost time for dinner (called a fafanga) and because they didn’t have a car they needed a ride to where they were scheduled to eat.  We dropped off the zone leaders, and asked directions from the other elders to where we should drop them off.  They couldn’t remember exactly where the house was, so we drove around for 30 minutes trying to find it.  Finally they called the family to ask directions.  By the time we dropped them off two hours had gone by.  We still hadn’t finished what we set out to do – deliveries…  We decided that because it was getting late we would make the delivery to the sisters, and finish the rest the next day. We made the delivery and thought we were headed home.  On the way out of the village where the sisters live we saw two more elders walking down the street looking rather dejected. We pulled over to see if we could help.  They told us they had been walking down the road to give a discussion and four dogs came running after them.  In an attempt to protect themselves, one of the elders swung his lanyard, with their house key on it, at the dog.  When the key hit the dog it flew off the lanyard and into the bushes – now remember how dense the foliage is here…  They had been looking for it for over an hour and finally decided to walk up to our house to see if we had an extra key.  That is when we met them…  We didn’t have a key, but they got ahold of the bishop who owns the house where they live and he said he wasn’t sure he had a key, but he thought he could get them in.  So, we took another detour to their house.  By the time we got home it was past 9:00 – too late to fix dinner, so we settled for Cheerios and fresh bananas, eaten while we tried to prepare the institute lesson for the next day.  When we started out we had only planned to deliver the prescription, make three deliveries and take two elders to their baptismal interview!
It sounds crazy – but in all reality, that is how most of our days are - and we wouldn’t trade it for anything!

I said before that there are lots of dogs on the island.  But the ones in Pago Pago are really smart! When they want to cross the street the go to a crosswalk and wait for the cars to stop.  Then they proceed across the street.  It is really crazy – but true.  We have seen in several times.  We never cease to be amused…

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Chapter 17 - Awesome Baptism Today

This morning we were able to attend a baptism of a very successful businessman on the island.  He and his family are very respected and loved.  His wife is a member and they have been married for 18 years.  They have several children, and one of their daughter’s is on a mission in the midwest.  Anyway all these years he has resisted joining the Church.  As a family they have always had prayers, family home evening and scripture study, but he kept saying not to pressure him about joining the Church.  A few weeks ago their daughter wrote home and in her letter she said three little words... “FEED THE MISSIONARIES”.  They had fed the missionaries before, but this time our wonderful elders were prompted to ask him if he would listen to the missionary lessons.  He agreed and you know the rest of the story…  The Spirit touched him and he agreed to be baptized.  Needless to say, his family is ecstatic!  Their daughter’s mission president gave her permission to contact him by phone, and just before he went into the font he was able talk to her.  He didn’t know anything about it and he just cried - along with a lot of other people...  What a special moment.  To make it even more special, Dennis was asked to be one of the witnesses.  What an honor!  What a wonderful way to start the day…

Chapter 16 The Adventure Continues...

10/2/12 - WE FOUND CLOVES….

We have been able to find almost anything we want or need as far as food goes.  But when you find it, you better buy it, because when it is gone, it may be awhile before you can find it again.  We looked and looked for sour cream, and when we saw it we bought two.  Well it is almost gone, and we can’t find it anywhere.  Maybe some will be on the next container…  But when we got here we couldn’t find Cloves, which goes my applesauce chocolate chip cookie recipe.  We had a hard time finding applesauce as well.  So I put out the word that we needed someone to send us Cloves.  Thanks to Jeff, Alicia and Tammy we now have that much needed item.  But the other day we went into a store we shop at frequently and they had put up a new shelf above the fish freezer.  On it was CLOVES – and nothing else – only Cloves – probably 75 little bottles.  Then we went into Cost U Less (a smaller version of Costco) for some chocolate chips, and they had HUGE bottles of cloves – but no chocolate chips….  It is crazy – but never dull.  So we learned BUY IT WHEN YOU SEE IT….