Sunday, October 4, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,
Waterfall at Sauniatu
Well, it happened this week...hit kind of unexpectedly,,,and was pretty painful!  I was homesick!  A couple from the states was visiting in church last Sunday, and their baby looked so much like our little Cade.  It was also our 3 month mark this past week, so that might have had something to do with it also.  I have thought about how blessed I am to have a home and people that I love and they love me.  I also have a new appreciation for what it must be like for our military men and women who get sent overseas for long deployments, and our young missionaries who have never been away from home.  I've prayed for people around the world who are being held unjustly  against their will, (Just for the record - I am not being held captive.)  It's true that painful experiences are also learning experiences.   They can help us develop empathy and be better able to support others.  I have a new appreciation for the word sacrifice, and have a little bit better understanding of what it means to give everything to the Lord.  In talking to some friends here I was relieved to find out that these emotions are pretty normal and to expect them to ebb periodically throughout the time we are gone.
Elder Anderson's 3rd pair of shoes since he arrived.  New
are on the way, but stuck in American Samoa.

Elder Wilson harvesting coconuts.
Elder Wilson husking the coconuts in our front yard.
Luckily, we are so busy that I do not have a lot of time to dwell on being sad.  President Hannemann has called 4 new assistants, (2 of them sisters) for a total of 6 Assistants to the President.  He is determined to hasten the work here in Samoa, and as a result more work has appeared at my desk.    Brent is about buried, but at least he doesn't have the time or energy to get homesick.  Besides he regular duties he is working on a solution so we can get cargo over from American Samoa.  We were using Polynesian Air, but they just raised their rates to $50,000 US /yr.  Until we find a solution no packages are getting to Apia.  With the holidays just around the corner this has become a priority.

Right outside our door we have papaya trees and a coconut tree brimming with coconuts.  This week Elder Wilson, a local missionary, shinnied (sp?) up the tree and got them down for us.  Elder Bate, a palagi, was not near as successful but made a valiant effort.  Elder Wilson fetched his machete, and bingo, fresh nius for breakfast.  Cut a hole in the top, stick in a straw and YUM!  

Road leading into Sauniatu (once you get to the church]
property the road improves dramatically)
Yesterday afternoon we drove over to Sauniatu (Prepare to Go Forth),  The church purchased 800 acres in this beautiful valley in 1904 as a gathering place for early members who were being persecuted in their local villages.  Even today there are villages where members of the church are persecuted.  One of the elders serving in the mission is from a village in Savaii where Mormons are not allowed.  If you join the church you lose your home, and are forced to move.  He was taught by the missionaries after he graduated from high school and came to Apia for work.  His family has been forced from their home and had to move to another village at a great financial loss.  They are waiting for his return when they plan to have their return missionary son and brother baptize them.    The stories from here are similar to the sacrifices of the pioneers in the states.  To get to Sauniatu you have to turn off the main road and drive on a pretty rough road for about 20 minutes.  There are no buses, except the school bus, that go up there so we gave two very grateful young men a lift up the steep mountain road. In 1921 David O McKay rode a horse up a dirt trail and visited the village. He blessed the people that they would be able to produce the necessities and comforts of life.  He left a blessing of peace that can still be felt today.  It is beautiful and very prosperous. Today there is a church primary school here that about 150 children attend.  Many years ago students built stairs down to a beautiful swimming hole, complete with a waterfall.  Brent enjoyed a swim, but with my bad knee I did not dare traverse the rocks from the end of the stairs to the pool in my flip flops.  Next time I'll wear tennis shoes.  

This morning I was up at 5 to be at the office at 6 to watch conference.  Tomorrow will be the same.  I love General Conference, and it couldn't have come at a better time as I really needed the boost.  I send my love and prayers to all of you. Each of us have challenges in our lives, things we are struggling with, but I know that the Lord loves us and will not leave us alone if we will just trust Him.   Tofa and Love, Patty


  1. Patty, hearing from you every week makes you feel closer than you were in Nevada. I can understand the empty-arms feeling, but can tell you are compensating with a full heart. Can you receive snail mail of any kind?

  2. Look forward every week to your posts. Love and miss you my Dear Friend!

  3. I had no idea that there was such persecution among the people in Samoa. How very sad.

  4. We miss you too. Kids are doing great. We read the blog with them tonight. As soon as you're home, you'll wish you were back. Especially after we leave you with the kids for a couple weeks while we enjoy a vacation of our own .......

  5. Ditto to what Amy said. :-) I love reading your posts and love you guys so much.