It seems that each new day brings a list of new things that we hadn't planned on. So I have resorted to making a list of things I want to remember and then working on that list as time permits. The problem is the list keeps growing and time to share keeps decreasing. I just have to remind myself that a little each day is better than nothing.
SAD DAY JUST WEEKS INTO OUR MISSION...With all of the incredible things that we are experiencing, and all the wonderful things being here brings, life has a habit of throwing in some unexpected sadness. Just a few weeks after our arrival, we received news that our beautiful grand-daughter, Ashley Finlinson was in a coma. We determined that one of us had to return to Utah to be with our son Todd during this crisis. Dennis stayed to carry on the responsibilities we had here and I flew home for the funeral. It was wonderful to see our family again, but so sad because of the circumstances that took me home. I am so thankful for my knowledge of the Plan of Salvation - because I know that I will see Ashley again and that she is happy, and free from the challenges of life that she faced. Heavenly Father brought peace to our hearts and I felt his love for me and our family. I was asked to be the speaker at the funeral. That was a challenge, but it was such an honor to be asked.
SPENDING ONE ON ONE TIME WITH MOM...While I was there, my Mom came and spent several nights with me. It was so fun to have her all to myself. We sat up nights and talked and giggled like two teenage girls. My sisters were all out of town...
But while I was there, she ended up on the hospital with a gall bladder attack. I was so glad I was there and able to be with her in the hospital. One night there was a knock at the door, and three of our adopted daughters from Samoa (who have since moved to Utah) came to visit. They brought the most beautiful flowers...
WEDDING OF TWO OF OUR MISSIONARIES... In April we went to Apia to meet with the other senior missionaries in a conference. As we were waiting at the airport to go through customs I heard a voice say, "It is them - that is Elder and Sister Jordan..." I turned around and saw two of our sister missionaries who we served with before. Sister Satele and Sister Te'o. Wow, it was so great to see them! What are the chances that we would run into them... Anyway, we found out that Sister Wilma Te'o was getting married the next day in the temple to another of our missionaries, Elder Josiah Sianava. We were able to attend their wedding and the reception and share their special day with them.
WEATHER IS SO UNPREDICTABLE... When we first got here, the island had been several weeks without significant rain. The golf course was brown - not the usual lush green. Not only were they watering the plants around the government buildings, they even had them covered to protect them from the direct sunlight. Then it started to rain and it seemed like it would never stop. Then we got word that Cyclone Amos was headed our way. We made the required preparations to make sure we had adequate food and water for the missionaries just in case we needed it. As people prepared, buying food, water, boarding up windows, etc. the same message was shared by everyone. They all expressed the thought that they were preparing, but that God would protect them and the island. That is exactly what happened. It was predicted that the eye of the storm would pass right over us, but winds shifted and we only felt the outer-bands. We did lose a couple of banana trees and there was a lot of debris strewn around. Within hours of the storm, the people of this island were out cleaning up and by the next day nearly all the evidence of the storm had been cleared away. There were a lot of prayers heaven sent - and those prayers were answered. These people have such great faith - no matter what religion - they truly believe in the love and tender mercies of our Savior. So we went from DRY conditions to getting over 36" of rain in a month.
LOST GLASSES... One day while delivering supplies to missionaries on the far side of the island, Dennis threw a bag of garbage into a dumpster. When we got home he realized that his glasses were not on the dashboard of the car. He said he remembered feeling something brush his leg when he got out of the car to throw away the garbage. That dumpster was over an hour away, and it was getting dark... We got back in the car and drove back, with slim hope that we would be able to find his glasses. We were not even sure which dumpster we had stopped at... By the time we got back it was dark.. He got out of the car and started looking on the ground. A man was walking by and asked what we were doing. Dennis told him he had lost his glasses and thought they may have fallen out of the car by the dumpster. The man told us to wait while he walked into his house and came back with the glasses - unscratched and in perfect condition. His son found them and picked them up. Perfect timing? WE DON'T THINK SO... What were the chances that the man would be walking past at the same time we stopped at the dumpster? If we hadn't run into him, we would have just considered the glasses gone. To walk to a house off the road and ask if anyone had found a pair of glasses just wouldn't have happened. Prayers were answered that day. The Lord truly is mindful of each of us.