Saturday, February 20, 2016

Pray for Fiji

Gwen Callan, Sis. Ellsworth, Linda Goodman at
Sealogo Beach House
Dear Family and Friends,
Talofa.  As I write this our neighbors to the southwest, Fiji, are being hammered by the most severe storm in their history - a category 5 cyclone made a direct hit last night.

At least one person is dead and entire villages are feared destroyed after the worst tropical cyclone in Fiji’s history.
Kenny Callahan and Brent in his new hat
Fijians, tourists and aid workers have awakened to scenes of utter destruction after a category five cyclone battered the South Pacific nation with wind gusts as strong as 325km/h and waves up to 12m high. The scale of the destruction is absolutely massive and it’s still far too early to tell just how many people’s homes and livelihoods have been devastated by this storm,” Australian Red Cross aid worker Susan Slattery told AAP from Suva." (Internet)
In Samoa it has been raining hard off and on for the last few days, and we are several hundred miles away.  We almost cancelled
Part of our group as we depart the resort
Gayle and Marc Jorgensen from Orem, Utah.  Marc is teaching
math at the Univ. of Samoa this semester.
 our beach excursion yesterday, but we had made reservations at a resort and were not sure when we would be able to reschedule.  Amazingly it stopped raining just about the time we got in the water, and started up again just as we were getting ready to leave.  We rented two seaside bungalows for the day, which was wonderful to have a place to shower and change.  The resort had kayaks and paddle boards for those who wanted to use them.  The snorkeling was some of the best we've had since arriving.  We saw ribbon fish, bright blue star fish, a giant sea slug, sea urchins, some beautiful coral, and the usual array of colorful aquarium fish.  Besides the beautiful ocean there was an elegant swimming pool that we enjoyed after our time in the ocean.

These weekend excursions are a lifesaver for me after we work so many hours in the office every week.  Last week I was so stressed I had to take a muscle relaxant to get the kinks out of my shoulders and neck.  Sister McBride gave me the name of a prescription she took for the same condition when she was in Saudi Arabia and the dentist called it in for me - I was amazed it was available here.  It is a Chinese medicine and it worked wonders.  I'm just hoping I don't start to grow chest hair or something worse, as the instructions and side effects are all in Chinese.

So what do I have to be stressed about?  Six sick elders in the MRC, one with a fever of almost 104, one elder with a possible broken foot, 4 elders with either the flu, Dengue, or who knows what....transfers starting tomorrow with a total of 29 new missionaries, the mission credit card  maxed out so we had no money to buy food for the mission (luckily Brent was able to fix this yesterday)  and President Hannemann has been off island for over a week, and just called to tell us he won't be back for most of the transfer week!  Oh my!  I think that pain is starting to come back! (I forgot to mention the temporary crown fell out also - which means another trip to the dentist)

Well, one thing is for sure - I am NEVER bored.  Each day brings new challenges and new things to learn.  It helps to be surrounded by great missionaries and wonderful Senior couples who are always supportive and go with the flow.  We love having the Goodmans next door who are always up to a game of Sequence or Five Crowns in the evening, and we love having the Callahans here who are visiting from Savaii for the weekend.  The Vellingas and Spencers survived their first week, and already have plans on how they are going to help improve the lives of the Samoan people.  We LOVE the Seniors!

My scripture for the week is from 2 Nephi 2:13; "And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.

I testify that there is a God, and that He has given us commandments, not to bind us down but to help us find happiness.  If you want to know what God expects you to do, read the Book of Mormon and Bible or go to where there are short videos and a place to chat online with a missionary who can answer your questions about God's plan of Happiness.  I know this work is true because even though there are challenges, it brings me great joy.  I have never been happier!  Remember the people of Fiji in your prayers tonight and have a safe and happy week.  Love, Patty  

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