Sunday, January 12, 2014

S&I Seminar Trip
On December 2nd we flew back to Apia to meet with the Seminary and Institute directors for the Pacific Islands.  We spent two days training and reviewing new teaching techniques.  We were able to meet with the area seventy, Elder Fata as well.  It is a wonderful two days.  We spent some time with Elder and Sister Tonumaipea, the new mission office couple as well as with Elder & Sister Roos reviewing the changes in PEF, as one of our responsibilities is helping students apply for perpetual education funds so they can go to college.  We stayed on the Church complex - where the temple, mission office, PBO, Distribution Center and Church school are located.
This is a row of houses where the senior missionaries and some of
the school teachers live...
We had ordered Christmas gifts for our grandsons when we were in Apia last week, and when we went to pick them up they were not done – but we were able to get them before we flew back to Tutuila.
Wood Cravers who carved the Kava Bowls we ordered.
The bowls are in the back...
We also had a scare with our computer while we were there.  We turned it off, and it would not turn back on… We thought it might be our charger, but when we tried it on another computer it worked.  Someone suggested that the motherboard might have fried, which caused us some scary moments…  We thought we might have to send it home to have it repaired.  We were happy that we had an external backup, but being without it would have been bad…  I was in the middle of preparing our Christmas Cards and several things for institute.  Besides, it would mean we couldn’t make phone calls and that would mean no contact with our family for Christmas.  I mentioned to Dennis that even though it was catastrophic to us, it probably wasn’t the same as when Mary Fielding Smith blessed her sick oxen to be healed so she could continue her trek across the plains.  But that night when we said our prayers Dennis prayed that we would have the necessary equipment needed to finish our mission, and that we would know what we needed to do.  One of the senior missionaries went on line and found a suggestion that might solve the problem – but the success rate was pretty slim.  Dennis tried it and the computer came back on, and none of our data had been lost.   WOW!  We were so grateful that the Lord had been mindful of our needs – when in the whole scheme of things it was pretty minor – but to us it was it was really, really important!  I testify that the Lord is mindful of each of us and loves us enough to answer our prayers if we exercise our faith.  We were very emotional and humble as we bowed our heads to thank him for his blessing to us.  Miracles happen everyday, and we were blessed with one that day.  When we flew back to Tutuila we took it into the computer store and luckily there was a technician trained to service Apple Computers that was able to check it out.  Needless to say, we are breathing a little easier today.
We went to a couple of Christmas parties on Friday and Saturday.  It was such a great experience.  The missionaries serving in one ward were asked to sing, and they insisted that we sing with them.  So we did – without any practice.  Dennis keeps saying he can’t sing, but he is doing a lot of it here.  There is always music and dancing at every party – and we have danced more since being here than we have danced in several years.  We try to attend all the YSA dances – it gives us a chance to mingle with our students - we love being with them anytime the opportunity presents itself.  One of the activities we attended was a stake musical program where each ward presents several musical numbers.  In between, they asked different groups to get up and sing a song.  They asked the stake presidency to sing and the stake president invited us to sing with them and their wives.   We were glad they sang in English because we didn’t have our Samoan Hymn book with us. 
Sunday we had to take an elder to the hospital for an infected tooth.  That is always an experience in and of it-self.  Then on Wednesday we took another one to the ER with an ingrown toenail that had become infected.  We never know what direction the day will take us, but there is never a dull moment…
We received another small blessing for the mission – we had a missionary phone break and when we went in to get it replaced someone had just turned in their phone for a new one and they asked us if we would like theirs.  It saved the mission the cost of a new phone and anytime we can save sacred tithing funds we are happy. 

We finally got our Christmas decorations up.  We tried for several days to put up the outside lights, but the weather was just not cooperating.  Many of the homes and fale’s put up outside lights, and it helps bring the Christmas Spirit – but it seems strange to have 85 degree weather and no snow.  Pictures of the snowstorm over the weekend made us a little homesick.  We did get an email from one of our students who is in the MTC right now.  He sent a picture of he and his companion playing in the snow, and he said he was so cold his nose was numb – something he has never experienced before. 

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