Thursday, October 24, 2013

Week Ending October 25th

September came and went so fast that we hardly had a chance to catch our breath, and now October is all but gone.  Some of the highlights of the past couple of months include:
We were able to attend another baptism on the Island of Aunu’u. 
Elder Willden and Elder Luthold
It was so great to see everyone from the branch again.  The Goodlet’s, a senior couple  from Austrailia – (serving in Apia) were visiting for a few days and they went with us. 
On the boat going to the Islan of Aunu'u
We loved sharing the spirit of the people and the island with them.  It had stormed earlier in the day and so when we went over to the island we did so on an angry sea.  The boat was full to capacity.  Many members had attended the Relief Society Broadcast earlier and had taken the opportunity of doing some shopping while on the main island.  So not only was there standing room only, but the deck was loaded with groceries and goods from their shopping trip.  We rocked and rolled all the way over – hoping that nothing would fall over the side – including people…  However, when we returned it was just getting dark and the ocean had calmed considerably to large rolling swells.  The moon was shinning on the water and there was a balmy ocean breeze blowing through our hair.  It was so peaceful and I found myself thinking to myself, “I can’t believe that I am really here!”  It was a moment in time that will forever be frozen in my memory.  I realized just how fast this mission was going and I have to admit I wished I could just stop time.  I also realized that membership in the Church has provided us with so many opportunities and experiences that we otherwise may never have had the chance to experience.
 We were able to attend several cultural nights at the different wards and stakes. 
We never tire of watching the dancing and listening to the singing.  The dancers practice for weeks in preparation and they love performing.  The smiles on their faces are proof of that. 
We had an elder who met with a strange accident.  He kicked a glass coke bottle that was sticking up in the ground, and when it didn’t come loose, he reached down to pull it out.  The bottle broke in his hands.  Elder Fisher ended up with stitches on both index fingers.  The doctor gave him two bits of advice.  “Don’t get them wet, and don’t pick your nose.”  We all had a good laugh in spite of his injuries. 
Elder Fisher lost his battle with a Coke bottle...
Of course, by the time we were through in the ER the pharmacy was closed, so we had to go back the next morning (Sunday) for his prescriptions.  Because of our two hour wait we were almost missed church.  
We had an institute party at Lion’s Park.  We played volleyball, basketball, lots of water games (which turned into a water and shaving cream fight - Dennis missed his squirt gun), and of course had plenty of good food.  There were about 75 – 80 in attendance and everyone had a great time.  Being with these young people is such an awesome thing for us.  We have grown to love them all.
Institute Party

Shaving Cream anyone...

  When the cruise ships come in one of the members does a cultural show and demonstration at their home.  We have been invited to attend several times, and finally had a free afternoon when we could attend.  I wish I could scale a coconut tree like they do. 

We attended an outdoor Relief Society Bazaar.  The difference is that the members bring their handicrafts to sell and they keep the money.  But, it was great to see the variety of crafts they had.   
We bought a quilt from one sister.  The workmanship is far inferior to beautiful quilts that Melissa makes, but it too will be a treasure as we remember our days on this beautiful island.  I plan on putting it in our trailer to snuggle up in on those cold nights while camping (cold nights are not something we experience here)…
Quilt was made by this sister.  She was so pleased that
we wanted to buy it...

We witnessed another baptism in the ocean.  It was really special.  We had to laugh though – Elder Siilata, the missionary performing the baptism kind of ‘slipped’ into the water after the baptism was done.  He said it was as close as he would get to swimming in the ocean while in Samoa…  I joked that an octopus must have reached up and grabbed his foot and pulled him under…
We had the opportunity to entertain 3 young men from the states.  One (Jono) is a cousin to Kaley Cook, a schoolteacher who was teaching at Viola College when we met her.  He is a
Jono, Carolo and Elliott 
return missionary and came to Samoa with two friends from high school.  He called us to get some information about what to see and do while they were here.  We invited them for Sunday dinner and spent a great afternoon with them.  His two friends (non-members) were delightful and held the church in very high regard.  They are all college students.  Jono is attending BYU – and was a roommate to one of our return missionaries - Elder Schory.   It is such a small world…
We were also able to attend another awesome zone conference and be taught under the tutelage of our awesome mission president.  He and his wife are such an inspiration to be around and the spirit they bring with them is amazing.

We had a fine mat made for us by a family in Apia.  We could have bought one at the market, but having one made especially for us makes it even more special.  
They said they were the ones to feel honored – to be asked by a missionary couple to make it.
Our FINE MAT in progress...
We bid farewell to several more of our students as they left to serve missions.  It is so great to see them go, but sad at the same time because we realize that we probably will never see them again.  
Bidding farewell to one of our students
Taena Taupua - heading to the Utah Central Mission - she will be
serving in our home stake...
We are getting ready for Halloween next week.  Last year we were not sure we would have any children Trick or Treat at our house.  But we ended up with over a hundred little visitors.  It was really fun to see their excitement…  This year the ward we go to is having a Trunk or Treat at the football stadium.  I am sure there will be children from all over the island – so I told Dennis we better buy plenty of candy (Lollies).

Jason Tufele headed to the Philippines
We don't know which is more beautiful, the baskets we bought,
or the smile on the weavers face...

Stake Dance in Malaeimi Stake

Cultural Night - Central Stake

Preparing lunch - institute party

Anyone for a swim...

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