Dear Family and Friends,
|Savaii Ferry Arriving|
Talofa lava. This has been a challenging week as we have been in the office by ourselves, with a lot of fires to put out. A new single couple arrived last week and left last Sunday to go to Savaii where they will be serving. I was told their house was ready, so that is what I assumed to be true. What I wasn’t told is that it is the mission’s responsibility to furnish all the household items like dishes, silverware, small appliances, pots, utensils, cleaning supplies…so when they got over there they had nothing. Usually missions have housing couples, but since they don’t arrive for a few more weeks it fell to Brent and I. Because there are very few stores in Savaii we ran around Apia trying to find the items they needed (remember – there is nothing here than even faintly resembles stores back home), loaded the mission van and left Friday afternoon on the ferry to Savaii. It is only eight miles across but by the time they load all the cars, passengers and cargo and unload on the other side you are looking at at 3 hr. ordeal one way.
On the ferry ride over a nice looking gentleman came up and told me he had seen me at the temple. He told me he was a bishop and was traveling home with his wife and daughter. His daughter had just returned home from a mission and was ill so they had been at the hospital in Apia and spent all their money on medicine. They hadn’t even had money for food so they hadn’t eaten all day. We had brought some apples and snacks which I offered him and he took. He also wanted $80 tala for the taxi home – I gave him $12 tala to buy water and food and told him I would help him find church members to get him home. He then disappeared. When we got to Savaii I told the Matagis. Elder Matagi told me that he had met a similar gentleman riding the ferry the week before and he had given him $150 tala! In talking to other senior missionaries we have learned that this is a common scam. People see our badges and know we are an easy target for a con because they know we believe in helping people. I was thankful this learning experience was relatively inexpensive.
We were called as “office missionaries or to be assigned as needed”. We are starting to realize that the last clause can mean everything from grocery shopping for the mission to fixing broken plumbing, to planning parties, delivering supplies to missionaries, arranging shipping for packages from the states, furnishing houses….whatever comes up. One thing is for sure – we are NOT bored! It is wonderful to be serving in whatever way is needed. There was not a lot of time to take pictures this week, and no trips to the beach to play. However, Savaii was gorgeous! Driving half way around the island to deliver supplies to the Zone Leaders was a treat, but we were on such a tight schedule to catch the ferry back that I did not think to take many pictures.
|Our blue van packed and ready for our trip to Savaii|
|My little office friend. You would|
be amazed at how loud he talks!
As senior missionaries we are allowed to watch TV. However, pretty much all that is on is the worship services of different denominations. As I have listened to some of these programs I recognize many truths from the gospel of Jesus Christ. However, they don't have the whole truth. Joseph Smith did not say that our church was the only true church - God did. It is hard to argue with that. I am almost done with the Book of Mormon again. I have gained many new insights and am increasingly grateful for this scripture as it continually builds my faith that this is God's church and that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. There has been some coverage here about the Pope visiting America. It is a great honor for our country, and I appreciate what a good man Pope Francis is, however I am so thankful that we have a living prophet to lead the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. If you want to hear what a prophet sounds like tune in to the LDS General Conference next weekend. It will be on TV in many places or on the internet. If you have ever wondered what Mormons believe check this out next Sat. and Sun. You won’t only hear a living prophet but also living apostles. I am looking forward to conference as it is always a spiritual boost. I send my love to all of you. Patty