Sunday, April 17, 2016

"The Best of days; the worst of days!"

Part of the kitchen floor repair work
A few of the youth from Savaii
 Talofa Lava Family and Friends,
Last Sunday night when I came in to post my blog I was greeted with water pouring out of the office ceiling, from the light fixtures, fans, all over Brent's desk - it was a MESS!  Needless to say, getting my blog written was not first on my mind. I called maintenance, and was glad when they responded quickly.  Monday morning I walked in to the kitchen and dang it if the floor wasn't flooded in there! Another call to maintenance, and after several hours it was discovered a pipe had broken in the floor.  Meanwhile, sister missionaries had called from Savaii with a sad story that their ward had planned a youth temple trip, and their housing arrangements had fallen through - would it be possible for them to stay at the mission home?  (Only 30 teens with leaders)  Not realizing at that point that the kitchen floor was going to have to be jack-hammered and the water main would have to be turned off, I told the girls we could accommodate them. That meant for a time we did not have a working bathroom, and the kitchen was a mess while these good people tried to fix food for everyone.  (Did I happen to mention that the Pres.was off island???)  The same day the kids arrived, McBrides went into their office and discovered that the air conditioner had malfunctioned, and their office was flooded!  Well, I guess if that is as bad as it gets I can handle it. I just saw Ecuador had a 7+ earthquake with many killed, so this is a cake walk.

I love wearing flowers in my hair.
Brent bought me this one which I love!
 The best part of the week was that my Sister Shauna and friend Marilyn, visited from home. I loved having a girls vacation for the first few days they were here, showing them around the beautiful island of Savaii.  We stayed at Savaii Lagoon right on the beach, where the people were wonderful, the snorkeling great.  Unfortunately I do not have Shauna's pictures yet of Marilyn holding a sea turtle.  On our return home to Upolu, Brent took them one day to see the Giant Clams, and also to a beautiful resort for lunch. They also enjoyed a family home evening in the Hannemann's home with the Taimalelagi Family, and a FHE at a small branch where the Schaefermeyers set up a screen and showed "Meet the Mormons."  Hopefully Shauna got some good missionary pictures to submit to the church.  The last day they were here we enjoyed visiting the Samoan Cultural center where we learned about the practice of tattooing, (We actually watched a man get his bum tattooed), how to cook in an umu, wood carving and the labor intensive process of making tapa cloth from the mulberry bark. We were treated to some traditional Samoan dishes, served on plates we wove from palm branches.  We also participated in a traditional kava ceremony, and enjoyed a show of Samoan dancing and singing while we ate. I wish I would have had more time to spend with them, but it was wonderful to see them for the short time that they were here.  They are off now for another adventure in New Zealand.
Afalua, Shauna and Marilyn making their
lunch plates at the Samoan Cultural Center

Another high point of the week was the baptism of Brother Taimalelagi.  This was the family that lost their baby in an accident a few weeks ago.  It was such a comfort to see their strength, especially his wife's, and I know this will be a great blessing for their family.  In one year they can go to the temple and have their whole family sealed together, including baby David.
A special day!  Brother Taimalelagi baptized creating
a beautiful Forever Family.
      Tonight Brent and I went to ward choir practice.  It was so much fun!  The director and accompanist are amazing, the music beautiful and there were probably 30 people at the practice.  I have missed singing in a choir and playing the piano and organ.  There are several sisters here who are very talented pianists, so I have not had the opportunity to play, except when we first got here and I helped out in a Samoan Ward Primary.  This week Afalua and I are going back to the House of Hope and plan on teaching the young women some songs.  I hope it goes well!

The scripture that comes to mind this week after more than just a few trials, is from the Doctrine and Covenants 122:7. Joseph Smith had spent months under horrible conditions in the Liberty Jail, when he cries out to the Lord, This is what he is told -
Showing "Meet the Mormons" in an open air fale chapel

And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good."

Not that I have looked into the jaws of hell this week, even though it has been almost that hot, but there have been some challenges.  I know that all of our challenges are for our good.  My arms ache to hold by grand babies again, and to put my arms around my family and friends.  Seeing Shauna and Marilyn this week definitely made me a little homesick, but then when I think what a short time I have left here I feel torn, as I know I will probably never return.  I have grown to love Samoa and her people.  I love the opportunity to serve others and to be on a full time mission.  I love working with these incredible young missionaries, and I hope that if ever one of them knocks on your door, you will let them in and listen to their amazing message.  I am starting to understand what it means when missionaries return home and say it was the best time of their life.  God Bless all of you and Keep you in the hollow of His hand.  Love, Patty

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