Sunday, May 29, 2016

Fall is in the Air

Brent talking to fishermen at the wharf
 Talofa Family and Friends,
With the mission president gone for most of the past week, I worked hard to get ahead with my office duties so I will be free when Chad and Amy arrive with 7 of our grandchildren next week. :)
      Some of the highlights of this week were the beautiful rainbows I saw almost everyday.  Saturday I went walking just as the sun was coming up and the sky was a brilliant pink, casting a magical pink spell over the whole earth.  I was glad I decided not to stay in bed, as it only lasted a few minutes and then was gone.
     Thankfully there is a noticeable coolness to the air in the mornings and evenings.  It is such a relief from the oppressive heat and humidity that we have had for the last several months.  The
fish hooks ready to be tied on the line
 days are still warm, but it is definitely more comfortable.
        Saturday morning I asked Patrick Dotson, from our ward, if he would meet the Seniors at the wharf and share his knowledge of buying fresh fish.  Most of us do not eat that much fish because we don't know what or where to buy fish that hasn't been sitting out for hours.  He took us to Apia Packers which is right on the wharf. They take the fish off the boats and it is cleaned, filleted  and chilled.  We bought some yellow fin tuna which we had for dinner.  It was delicious!  We will definitely be going back.  While at the wharf we talked to some fishermen who had recently returned with their catch.  They go out for 3-5 days.  The man on the left just got back from Las Vegas - it is a small world. The amount of fish that is taken out of the ocean here every day by the big boats is mind boggling.  One of the problems the Pacific islands face is over fishing by these big commercial fishing companies.  There are many families whose fathers and brothers go out every day to fish, and the family depends on them catching something that they can eat. Meat, even chicken, is too expensive for many families and only served on special occasions.  Men go out at night with spears and lights.  If they catch more than they can eat you will see their catch the next day on the side of the road with someone fanning the flies away.
Elders Iakopo and Vahai on our way to Tiavea
          Elder Vahai got permission from President Hannemann to attend his younger brother's (18) baptism Saturday, if we would go with them.  It was a 1 1/2 hr. ride through gorgeous country.  Tiavea is an inland village, up in the mountains.  It was like driving through one picture postcard after another.  Elder Vahai's family had prepared a special dinner for us, along with the sister missionaries who had taught the brother. There was fish, pork, chicken, taro and palusami, not an everyday dinner, to show honor to their guests. The custom is that the guests eat first, and then the family eats what is left over. Family members fanned us to keep the flies away while we ate.  I would have much preferred if we all ate together, but that is not the way it is done here.  
Dinner at the Vahai home with Sisters Sauni and Asomua
     The women in the Vahai home make Pandana mats to bring in extra money.  They are made from the pandana tree which has long leaves.  They are dried, split and then wove into mats.  It takes months of work to finish one mat.  The photo shows the unfinished mats stacked in the corner of the home, with the spools of dried pandana leaves on the right.  I can't even imagine sitting on a concrete floor for hours every day weaving.
       After dinner we went to the church where there were probably forty people there for the baptism, plus children everywhere.  Brent and I were a curiosity for them, so most of them kept their distance. Some parents tell their children that Palagis (white people) eat bad children.  Even though the service was in Samoan, there was good spirit and it was a joy to be there.  The singing was amazing - it was so loud that it almost raised the roof, with even the children singing all the verses with no hymn books!  I am really going to miss the Samoan singing.
Pandana mats and rolled leaves
        This coming week Brent and I will celebrate our 46th Wedding Anniversary.  One of the great joys of this mission has been having the opportunity to spend time with my sweet husband.  We got married so young, had children within the first year, and had little alone time until now.  He is ever patient, always faithful and has been a wonderful husband!  Happy Anniversary Honey!
     My Scripture for the week is again from my studying this week.  It is found in the Book of Mormon in Alma 13: 28-29:
A few of the Children at Tiavea
But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering;
 29 Having faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the love of God always in your hearts, that ye may be lifted up at the last day and enter into his rest.
God Bless you and Keep you and your families another week.
Tofa, Sister Ellsworth


  1. Your mission is such a blessing not only to you, but, to the whole family. It is so wonderful that Chad, Amy and the family can come and visit you. I remember well staying with you as a young married couple with just Jason as a toddler. I still remember the constant: "Jason, No." I recall he got into the flour, and the cooking oil, spreading it all over the kitchen! I enjoyed my time with you guys, and you were a good example of a young married couple, even though while it was good to get away from Vegas, I was bored out of my mind, but, we a;; made the best out it.
    Happy 46th Anniversary. And, I always thought Patti was the patient one. Haha!

  2. I don't often take the time to look on facebook or catch up on what the family is doing, but I happened to click your link today and I'm so glad I did. It's amazing to think about what you are doing on the other side of the world, how you are blessing the lives of so many and your lives are blessed as well. What a wonderful opportunity to experience so much love and sacrifice as you sacrifice and love the Samoan people. Happy Anniversary! Know that one of your nieces is thinking and praying for you :)