Saturday, September 7, 2013

Week ending the month of August

Week Ending the month of August
A lot of things have taken place since our last post.  We have received additional assignments from the mission, as well as from our S&I director and there just doesn’t seem to be time to get everything done – the blog keeps getting lower and lower on our “To Do List”.  We received cute little missionary teddy bears from Alicia and Mike’s family.  We just love them – as do all our institute students!
We LOVE These Teddy Bears...
I don’t remember if I shared the funny story that happened to us at the post office.  One of the sisters serving in Upolu has an artificial foot.  It needed to be replaced and so one was being sent from Utah.  After several weeks it still hadn’t arrived and so the mission office asked if we could find out where it was.  According to the USPO tracking the box had been delivered to Pago two weeks previous.   So we asked the post office to look for the box, stressing its importance.  The postmaster asked what was in the box and I said, “A foot.”  He got the funniest look on his face and shouted to the back, “The Jordan’s have lost a foot.  We need to find it!” I was at the front counter and Dennis was in the back picking up boxes, but he heard the announcement.  It was only a few minutes and they found the box containing the foot…  Only in Samoa… 
 July brought with it the joy of seeing four more of our students leave for their missions.  Ofa Tolu left for the Oakland, CA mission on the 15th.  The next day Hillary Purcell left for her mission to the Philippines.  Her brother Helaman left while we were in Apia – he is also going to the Philippines.  
Ofa Tolu - Oakland California
 Then on the 29th Lauren Folau, another one of our awesome students left for her mission – TO THE PHILIPPINES!!!  About 2/3 of the mission calls since January have been to the Philippines.  Those lucky people…..
We received a request to pick up a sister returning from the Salt Lake Temple Square Mission.  Sister Saili is from this island, but her stake president was off-island the day she arrived so she couldn’t be released until his return, three days later.  So she requested that she spend those three days working with two of the sister missionaries here.  It was kind of strange – her parents and family met her at the airport, we all went to dinner together and then we took her home with us.  I was her companion for the night and the next day we dropped her off to spend a couple of days with the sisters.  She was able to teach several discussions with them and when we picked her up on Saturday to take her to be released she cried like a baby.  She didn’t want her mission to end! 
Sister Saili, Sister O'Brien, Sister Satele
President Hamula, Area President of the Pacific asked for some changes to be made in the mission.  We went from 5 zones to two with 5 districts – one for each stake.  He wants the missionaries to do more ‘ministering’ and less ‘administering’.  That means the zone leaders will no long come to our house on Mondays to turn in paperwork, get supplies, water, and the mail for their zones.  It also means that after we get through teaching we spend Monday and Tuesday afternoons visiting all 19 missionary houses delivering mail, water and supplies to each set of missionaries.  We also inspect their houses.  We do the East side of the island on Monday and West side on Tuesday.  It makes for LONG days, but the bright spot is that we get to see every missionary every week, where before we only saw the zone leaders. We load two 5-gallon water jugs for each house into the back of the van, as well as supplies requested by the missionaries.  Because they are not allowed to leave their area, and sometimes they can’t get what they need at the stores in their area we have to take the requested items to them. 
Hillary Percell - Philippines
It can be over-whelming trying to remember who needs what, so we have a folder for each house for their mail, and if we have other things to leave we put a bright colored sticky note in the fold listing what we need to leave.  It makes for a pretty full van!  We had to add an additional trip to the post office each week with this change.  In the past we would go to the post office on Monday and pick up the mail, including the boxes that come every Friday on the cargo plane.   Now we go to pick up the boxes on Saturday and the letters on Monday.  If we wait until Monday to pick up both it does not give us any room for the 5-gallon water jugs, as we usually average 30 - 40 boxes a week.   Any boxes that have to be mailed out have to be to the post office by Thursday so we are making three trips minimum to the post office each week.  Our poor van is really getting a work-out – and Dennis is building muscle loading water…
On August 13th we celebrated by Dad’s birthday by bidding farewell to another of our institute students.  Sister Christy Semaia will serve her mission in Australia. 
Christy Semaia - Australia
Since January we have had over 30 of our students leave to serve missions.  What a great blessing for them, the people they will be serving and for us – to have had the privilege of being part of their lives.  We love each one of them, and their leaving is bitter-sweet because we realize that we may never see them again.  Words can’t begin to express how much we love the people on this island.  I have heard missionaries say how much they grew to love the people in their mission, but I didn’t really understand until we got here.
We had the privilege of accompanying President Hamula, President & Sister Leota to a meeting with Quinn Weitzel, the Catholic Bishop on the island who retired the end of August – after serving for over 30 years.  President Hamula wanted to express gratitude to him for his service to the people of Samoa.  It was an honor for us to be included on this special meeting.  A picture of the meeting was published in the local newspaper. 
Us, Bishop Weitzel, President Hamula, Sister & President Leota,
Brother Hunt (Public Affairs)
We had a crazy transfer day this month.  Usually the zone leaders are available to help us pick up missionaries coming and going, but they were in Apia for special training so it was up to us to pick up the elders being transferred and take them either to the airport or to their new areas.  Because the transfers would leave elders without companions we had to take them to other elders to be in a threesome until their new companions arrived.  Besides making room for passengers, we also had to have room for their luggage.  When we finally figured out our plan of attack, it looked like this:  (July 31, 2013)

1.     Drop off zone leaders at the airport their 10:30 AM flight (Elders Siilata, Bezzant, Jensen, Evans).
2.     Pick up Elders Rawlins and Luthold from Mapusage.
3.     Pick up Elder Tauati and Elder Thomson
4.     Drop Elder Tauati and Elder Thomson for a split with Elder Asuso.  Pick up Elder Swenson
5.     Travel to Tulao and drop off Elder Luthold and pick up Elder Burgess
6.     Pick up Elder Fisher and Elder King.  Drop Elder King off with DL’s, Elders Olsen and Moe.
7.     Travel back to town area.  On the way back pick up Elder Taito and Elder Levi and put htem on a split with Elder Blyle.  Pick up Elder Sianava.
8.     Pick up Elder Thompson and drop off to Mapusage with companion – Elder Fisher.
9.     Drop Elder John Burgess, Elder Sianava, Elder Rawlins and Elder Swenson for their 4:30 flight.
10.   When Elder Jack Burgess comes over on Wednesday morning drop him off to his new companion, Elder Blyle and then return Elders Taito and Levi back to their area.
11.   When ZL’s come back on Thursday morning they can catch the bus to Jordan’s residence to pick up their vans and drive back to their areas – we couldn’t pick them up at the airport because we teach institute every morning.
Despite the coming and going, we managed to get everyone where they needed to be and on time! 
We got a phone call one night – about 9:00.  Our sweet elders in Aua (on the other side of Pago) had locked themselves out of their house.  So we climbed into the van with the extra key and drove over to let them in.  It seems like we are always faced with challenges that take us away from the time we have set aside to prepare our institute lessons.  But somehow miracles happen that enable us to be ready to teach each morning.  Late night preparations seem to be the norm…
A couple of weeks ago we received word that the mission office had sent some boxes to us via the plane.  We went to pick them up and were told that they accidently had been left on the plane and were back in Apia.  After two days we still did not have the boxes – they had been back and forth across “the pond” several times.  We finally got them on the third day.  We were just thankful that nothing perishable was in the boxes!  We also tried another Filipino delicacy this month – it Is called Balut.  It is a egg with a baby chick in it – feathers and all.  It is one of the few foods I can honestly say we won’t make part of our diet!  We tried, but were not impressed.
Balut - A Filipino Delicacy
We were contacted by the Pacific News Room to answer some question about why we decided to serve a mission.  We were told that they may publish an article about us.  The following is a copy of our submittal:

Why we decided to serve a mission....  There was never any question that we would one day serve a mission together.  It is a goal we set for ourselves very early in our marriage.  Dennis served two missions - an 18 month mission as a Building Missionary, constructing meetinghouses in the Salt Lake Valley, and then he was called on a proselyting mission to the West Central States Mission.  Serving in the Church has always brought us so many blessings and so much joy and satisfaction and we knew missionary service would only add to that.  Over the years we have served several service missions as well as serving as stake missionaries. 
What difficulties did we encounter   When we decided it was time to submit our papers we didn't realize the amount of detail (especially on health issues) we would have to provide.  It was a challenge trying to remember details and dates of surgeries and health history.  The paper work was much more intense than we had anticipated.  After our papers were submitted it seemed that Satan was ever present putting obstacles in our way to try and discourage us.  Several of our children/grandchildren had health issues, one son went through a divorce, Dennis fell off a roof, had a skill saw accident and there was a problem with his hepatitis results.  We were not going to let the advisory discourage us.  We woke up each Monday morning and literally said, "OK Satan, bring it on!  We are ready!"  
Obstacles -  Although it was very hard to leave our family - especially our 23 grandchildren, we had faith that they would be taken care of while we served our mission.  We have seen many blessings come to them, and in turn to us, since we have been serving in Samoa.  New and better jobs, health miracles, softening of hearts, a grandson entering the mission field as an 18 year old, and in some cases our children have grown closer in our absence.  There are still some challenges that wouldn't be present if we were home, but we have turned the things we can't control over to the Lord and pray each day for his guidance and help.
Blessings and joy from serving  We can't even begin to express the joy and happiness we have received from serving a mission.  We were called on an S&I mission, and the opportunity to work with young adults in the institute program has been such a blessing to us.  We have grown to love them so much.  We were called to teach them, but we have learned so much from them!  We have always loved working with the youth of the church and so that blessing continues through our association with them.  Since January we have seen over 20 of our institute students enter the mission field. We also have the opportunity of working with the missionaries that serve on this island on a day to day basis.  Because we are the only senior couple on this island, and the mission headquarters are on a different island, we try to be there for them in meeting their physical and emotional needs.     We are humbled by the trust that President Leota has placed in us to meet those challenges. The members call us their 'spiritual parents'.  What an honor...  Attending baptisms and zone meetings is just another added blessing.   We know that we have been prepared throughout our lives to meet the needs of our calling.  Time and time again as needs were seen, we have had the knowledge and know-how to meet those needs.  The Lord in His infinite wisdom prepared us for this mission.  We observed early on that in the prayers of our students and missionaries, they always prayed for our health and strength, that we would be able to meet the demands placed on us.  As I thought about it I realized that those prayers were being answered each day.  Our level of energy had increased dramatically.  We fall into bed dead tired each night, but each morning we are revived and anxious to meet the challenges of the day.  We were called to serve for 18 months but have extended another three months and are excited for that.  In fact, we tell people that if it weren't for our grandchildren waiting at home, we would stay forever.  We love the people of Samoa so much and have found such joy while on this mission.  What a blessing it has been, and continues to be, for us, and our family.  How grateful we are that we answered the call of our prophet. 
Elder Dennis & Sister Susan Jordan  
We don’t know if it will be published, but it was an honor to be considered. 
Jeff and his family, as well as Mom will be coming to visit us the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  We are so excited to have them visit and experience the beauties of Samoa.  We have been here 13 months now, and have grown to love it so much!  This mission has been such a blessing to us!  Trying to put our feelings into words is impossible.  It has been a life changing experience that is priceless.  Our testimonies continue to grow every day as we serve and witness countless miracles.  We will be ever grateful to our family and dear friends for their support and love that made all this possible for us.   We testify that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true and this work is so vital.  How thankful we are to be a part of it!  

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