November 19th we flew to Apia to attend the temple with Richard & Myra and Henry and Judith and their son Vince. It was so awesome to be part of their special day.
Being in the temple in and of itself is such a great experience, but
being their to see families united for eternity is a like the icing on the
cake! The missionary that baptized them
was able to attend as well – making it even more special!
|Henry Whuillas, Ali Pili, Judith Whullas, Patriarch Pili, Barbara Autele,|
Myra and Richard Arcillia
The same week-end we spent a day with Budgett’s, Spencer’s and Gertsch’s at the beach and enjoyed being together for the last time before they all leave to go home. When they leave we will be the ‘senior’, senior couple in the mission. Other than President and Sister Leota, we will have been here longer than any other senior couple. We have said goodbye to 12 other couples, but we were in the MTC with
the Budgett’s and Spencer’s so there is a
special connection. The Gertsch’s have
been here almost 2 years and they were institute teachers in Upolu, so we
formed a special bond with them. They
have become very special friends…
|Budgett's Bidding Farewell to Samoa|
We also went to a dinner show with the senior couples in the mission. It was a great show. The fire dancing was amazing. It was good to meet the new couples that have arrived since July – the last time we were at mission headquarters.
We had such a great Thanksgiving Week-end. We were invited for dinner at Patriarch Pili’s. There were over 30 people there. Most were the Filipino members that have been baptized in
On Friday night we attended an island wide Youth Roadshow. It was held at the football stadium and there were about 3,000 there. It was quite A HAPPENING!!!!! It was like the
celebrations they have when a
new temple is dedicated. Even as long as
we have been here, we never cease to be amazed at the musical talent the island
people are blessed with. Even the
teen-age boys join in with enthusiasm – they don’t have to be coaxed or bribed
|Island Wide Roadshow (5 stakes)|
Saturday morning we attended a Samoan Day celebration at the Mesepa 1st Ward. Again we were able to witness beautiful dances, Samoan games, and traditional Umu cooking. The Relief Society was in charge and divided the families into three groups. Each group was responsible
to present a traditional dance and skit. They all had a moral and each group had a
special ‘princess’ seemed to pull the theme of their message together. Each group had a different color and the
princess wore a dress in the color of the group – the cool thing was the
dresses had to be made out of plants and flowers of their color. The games were competition games between the
groups. One of the games they played was
a race to see who could peel Samoan bananas the fastest. The type of banana they peeled is very large
and the skins are tough – so they use a knife to cut them off. After the bananas were peeled they were baked
in the Umu as part of the meal we all enjoyed.
This activity started at 5:00 AM and went until about noon. It rained off and on all morning, but that
didn’t stop the activities. They just
played and entertained in the rain…
|Samoan Days - Makeke Ward|
|Cooking in the Umu|
That afternoon we were invited to a traditional Samoan wedding reception. The bride and groom and been married several days earlier in the temple. The bride had 10 bridesmaids and the groom had the same number of groomsmen. They started out with several dances – signifying different things. One wasThey had a wedding cake that was 15 different cakes on a heart- shaped rack. After the bride and groom cut the cake the attendants served it to everyone present – that was after they served dinner to all in attendance. It was quite the celebration and an honor for us to be invited.
After the wedding we attended a baptism – the first one for one our newest missionaries. Baptisms are always special, but when it is a ‘first’ one it is even more special.
In between everything, we went to the post office to pick up mail. The entire van was filled with boxes. After we separated it and boxed up the packages/boxes to be sent by small plane to the mission office the total weight was over 500 pounds. Christmas mail for over 200 missionaries can be a challenge!
Today, Monday 12/2/13, we flew back to Apia for a four day Seminary/Institute seminar. We are looking forward to being taught by the CES directors from New Zealand.
Before we left we picked a bunch of bananas from one of our banana trees. One of the delights of being here is enjoying the fruit that grows so plentifully. We should have another pineapple ready to pick in the next couple of weeks.
When we were in Apia on July we ordered this beautiful hand carved nativity from a wood carver. The FALE that houses the figures is about 18” tall. The challenge will be to pack it securely so it will not be damaged when we send it home.
|Fire Dancer in Dinner/Show|
|Dinner/show with Senior Missionaries|
We are looking forward to spending one more Christmas on this beautiful island, although we will miss being with our family. The things we have been able to experience on our mission will be forever etched in our hearts. WE ARE SO LUCKY!!!
|The show was incredible...|