Monday, March 18, 2013

Chapter 41 - Whirlwind Week


1/31/13 – We got a call this afternoon that transfers would be on Tuesday and we were receiving 8 additional elders.  That was the good news.  The bad news – we needed to find housing for three sets of elders.  Not only did we have to find houses, but we had to equip them – beds, refrigerators, kitchen stuff, fans, missionary literature, mops, brooms, cleaning supplies etc.  We had to go to 4 different stores to find fridges, and several stores to find mattresses.  We have to have the beds made and because we only had two in storage we contacted the fellow who makes them with a rush order.   To top it off, the AP’s (assistants to the president) called and asked if they could spend Friday and Saturday night at our house.  That was good news, because that meant that on Saturday they could help us move the stuff into the new houses.  We loaded our van and the van the AP’s were using with stuff and started delivering.  One of the houses the missionaries were moving into is on the top of the mountain – you can see both sides of the island from their house (awesome view of the harbor), and we needed to take a bed up to it.  The bed was too big to fit in the van with the back hatch closed, so we had to drive with it tied down and the bed sticking out the back.  It was an hour drive and because the back hatch was open, we listened to the ‘beep, beep’ that sounds where a door is not shut tight all the way.  By the time we got there it sounded more like a ‘BONG, BONG’!!!  With all the stuff we had, and the back not shut tight we looked like the Beverly Hillbillies…  Actually we fit right in….  Most people have trucks and the back is always full of people being transported – rain or shine…  It is nothing to see people riding in the back in a downpour.  On our way back, the AP’s were pulled over by the police.  We knew they weren’t speeding – they were pulled over because the registration on the van had expired.  The person responsible for church owned vehicles had neglected that little detail.  Thank goodness it wasn’t something we should have done…  Anyway, that meant we had to park the van they were using and they took ours – leaving us without transportation to get to our evening commitment – YSA dance.  We hated missing the dance, but enjoyed a few hours of downtime. On Sunday morning when we were driving the AP’s to the airport I mentioned that I was glad we had Monday to get the rest of the stuff done we needed to do in preparation for the elders coming on Tuesday.  One of the AP’s got a shocked look on his face and said, “Sister Jordan, they are flying in tomorrow.”  When he kept saying Tuesday, he meant Tuesday on Upolu (where the mission headquarters are), which is our Monday.  Needless to say we did some fast adjusting of our schedule.  On Monday when the elders came there were only 5.  The other three were bumped because an ambassador was on the flight and there was not room for them.  Between our van and the one on the East Zone, we got all the elders and their luggage to our house and then started taking them in shifts to their houses.  About 3:00 we got a call from the PBO (church offices on the island) and asked us if we had picked up the sister who flew in from Western Samoa at noon.  Our email said she was coming on Tuesday!  So we made a mad dash to the airport to see if we could find her.   (When missionaries from Western Samoa are going to the MTC in Provo, they fly out from here, and the plane does not leave until 11:30 at night.  So we pick them up and they spend the day with us.)  Anyway, she was nowhere to be found.  I was in the process of checking with Immigration to make sure she had come on the plane when Dennis got a call from a bishop’s wife telling him she had our lost missionary at her house.  This picture is of Sister Samasoni and the Bishop Taulolo and his family – her rescuers. 

We picked her up and went back to our house to pick up another set of missionaries.  She helped us with our deliveries and then we went back to the airport at 6:30 to check her in for her 11:30 flight.  The computers were down, so we stood in line for over an hour.   She wanted pizza for dinner – so we dashed over to Pizza Hut, ate a hurried dinner and it was back to the airport to send her off.  In just a few short hours we grew to love Sister Pasene Samasoni.  She will make an awesome missionary!  What a great experience it is to send off these missionaries – another PERK to our mission…  Tuesday it was back to the airport to pick up the three elders that were not able to get on the flight on Monday.  We delivered them to their new companions – after making a trip to the bank to exchange money and stop at McDonalds for a “REAL MEAL”…  We had to take one of the elders to the East side of the island.  On our way there we got a phone call that there was a Tsunami Watch for our island.  It was about 3:00 and they said if it hit it would be about 6:00, but we would know in plenty of time if it was actually going to hit. As a precaution, we called all the missionaries to let them know so they could prepare if needed.  With each call came a different story about when and if it was going to hit.  Needless to say the level of concern (and panic) varied from missionary to missionary.  To add to the excitement, when the PBO couldn’t get us (our phone was busy) they called one of the missionaries and told them to call all the others and tell them to get to high ground IMMEDIATELY!!!  Then we dealt with some panic – mostly our sweet missionaries wanted to know what to do about their dinner appointments…  We called the PBO to see if they had heard something we hadn’t – and they said because they couldn’t get us, they felt for the safety of the missionaries they advised them to get to safety ASAP.  After several phone calls to and from the missionaries we got confirmation that there was no danger – so it was back to work as usual.  Before we got word of the possible Tsunami, we were on our way to see an elder on the East end of the island who had, what he thought was bites on his feet and ankles.  He said they were not too bad, and seemed to be getting better, so we told him we would come see him the next day.  When we did visit him the next day, he had open oozing sores about the size of quarters on both feet.  We determined he needed an antibiotic for the infection, and of course we didn’t have it with us – we had to drive back home to pick it up.  Thank goodness we had some in our medical cabinet.
After that small detour, we continued working on our list of things to we needed to pick up for their houses.   One of the refrigerators we bought didn’t work.  We took it back to exchange it, and were told their policy is to try and fix it before they do an exchange or refund the money.  They told us we could pick it up on Wednesday.  It is now Saturday and still no fridge.  I guess we should have clarified which Wednesday…
It took a couple of days, but we finally got everyone settled.  I made the comment to Dennis that the list seemed to be getting smaller (big mistake), because almost before the words were out of my mouth, we got a call to prepare for two more sets of elders!   We both laughed and added finding two more houses and equipping them to our “things to do” list.
We got a call the other day telling us that Missionary Travel is having problems getting enough seats on the flight directly to Apia from New Zealand, and so they booked four missionaries on Hawaiian Air, coming directly to Pago.  

We were to pick them up and have them sleep at our house than put them on the small plane to Apia the next day.  We were asked if we were OK with them spending the night. Of course we told them we would be happy to have them, and we thought to ourselves - “DUH!  No problem - we remember many nights when we had lots of bodies sleeping on the floor.  We will just add a little more water to the pancake mix.” 

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