|Brother and Sister Tuivaitai with Coral|
|7 of the 11 Elders who returned home|
Greetings from the beautiful island of Samoa. The trees and flowers are in full bloom, occasional cool breezes blow in off the Pacific, and even though it doesn't feel like Christmas, all the stores are decked out with Christmas decorations. Since there are no pine trees here all of the Christmas trees are artificial trees, mostly in horrid metallic colors. When I go to the market Christmas music is blaring, and toy vendors have set up shop in every spare space. Not exactly what I need to get me in the Christmas Spirit. I need to find some CDs with Christmas music to play in the office, that might help do the trick.
This past week the Pesega College (High School) had their graduation. My dear friend, Afalua, celebrated the graduation of her youngest daughter, Coral. That means school is out for summer break until the middle of Feb. This week, while we were out shopping, Afalua wanted to stop and get an ice cream. She told me she had a favorite place that I had never heard of, so with her directions we arrived at the "Oh-La-La" ice cream parlor and enjoyed an ice cream cone, the first since I arrived. After dinner, that same night, Brent said he had a surprise for me. We got in the car and guess where he took me? You're right! "Oh-La-La's" ice cream. He had discovered it on his own. I had a good laugh, but not a second ice cream.
|My favorite "Christmas Tree"|
Another test this week has been these itty bitty ants that seem to be everywhere. If we leave any food out on the counter we have swarms of them. I bought a box of cereal ($25 Tala or about $10 Dollars) and when I got it out of the cupboard it was literally covered with ants, inside and out. The new box of pancake mix was also covered. I went ballistic, smashing them with my hands. I poured the cereal and pancake mix into a large bowls and killed as many as I could, put the contents back in plastic bags and put them in the freezer. I figured if they floated to the top when I was eating I would just scoop them out, and the pancakes would just have to have a little added protein. Such is life in the tropics.
It has been a quiet week as far as my nursing duties go. We did find out that the two doctors we have mainly been going to have not been to a real medical school. Apparently that is not a requirement to open an office here. I made a deal with the McBrides; they cover everything that has to do with bodily fluids and I'll cover the rest." That worked fine until an elder came in with his ears plugged with wax, and we couldn't agree on what category that fell under.
Brent and I have both been reading Chris Stewart's "The Great and the Terrible" series. I had never heard of it, but all six volumes were in our bookcase. We both would recommend these books, as they give you a lot to think about. Especially about the power of Satan and how he tries to work in our lives. It is definitely not scripture but is worthwhile.
My scripture for the week is from Alma 42:15: "And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also."
I am so thankful that God recognizes that we are not perfect, that we make mistakes, that being here on earth is a learning experience, and that if repent and take advantage of the atonement of Jesus Christ we can live with him again. That is really the greatest gift of the Christmas Season. I send my love and best wishes as we all enter this busy time of year, that we might remember the reason we are celebrating.