Saturday, June 25, 2016

Samoan Rugby

Spaghetti Dinner with Elders
Tolofa to dear Family and Friends,
     It has been another week of hellos and good-byes. We added a much needed office worker, Sister Darla Anderson.  This is her 2nd mission to Samoa.  She just happens to be the sister of Elder McBride who is also in the office.  It will be wonderful to have another set of hands to help stay on top of the endless tasks that need to be done.
     We also welcomed Kent and Sandy Davis from Escondido, Calif.  They are a volunteer Dentist couple who will be here 6 months.  These volunteers pay all of their own expenses plus bring supplies.  We have also had the Blacks and Bills on island this week, so it has been fun to meet new people.  Elder Black is an attorney from the Pacific Office in Sydney.  The Bill are from Sarotoga Springs, and are here to work at the Pesega school campus.  As an added bonus the Jordans have been here visiting from American Samoa and the Callahans from Savaii.  These two amazing couples are pretty isolated from the rest of the senior missionaries, but work hard at their assignments in Institute and at the Viola High School.  It is always a treat to visit with them!
       We always love having the missionaries over for dinner, and they always love spaghetti, which is good as it is something we can fill their hollow legs with, and not break the bank.  Elder Brown, on the left, had never had spaghetti before.  It is pretty funny to watch the Samoan elders, as they are not sure they want to try those strange, noodles.  With a little coaxing they will take a little bit on their plate, but usually end up having a couple of big servings, after they realize it isn't so bad.

Fond Farewell to the Satius

Monday night we all gathered at the Orator Hotel to honor Elder and Sister Satiu who will be leaving this week  for their
home in Auckland New Zealand.  They are finishing their 2nd two year Temple Mission.  I have so much love and respect for these two good people.  I wish them the best as they return home.  Sister Satiu helped me stuff the Thanksgiving Turkey (her first) last November, and that will always be a great memory.
         Monday Brent and I, along with Sister McBride and President Hannemann had the opportunity to tour the Victim Support Shelter for abused and neglected children.  The children put on a beautiful program of singing and dancing for us and we had the chance to hug each one of them.  To see children with no light in their eyes is heart wrenching.  The purpose of our visit was to try and set up a service opportunity for our young sister missionaries to go in once a week and give a gospel message and hopefully tutor some of the older children in English, math and reading.  Sister Gillette has gone in for the last several months every week and taught sewing classes for the older girls.  There is so much that needs to be done there, it is overwhelming when I think of it, but hopefully we can set up something that will make a difference.  The two sister missionaries who we arranged to go in starting Tuesday both have viral pink eye, so I am afraid it will have to wait a week.

The Seniors enjoyed attending the Samoan vs Tongan Rugby Game yesterday.  Rugby is a national passion, and yesterday there were flags flying and a lot of excitement surrounding the game.  I finally figured out what was going on, thanks to the Callahans who knew the rules.  That was something on my bucket list to do while I was here - so check that off.  I think next time I will save myself some money and watch the game at home with air conditioning.  However, we had a great time and I am glad we went.

It is time to go to Choir, and then I promised peach cobbler to the elders tonight so best close.  My scripture for the week is a reoccurring theme in the Book of Mormon.  Our country will be secure and prosper as long as we keep the commandments of God. (Think of the 10 Commandments - how do you think we are doing as a country?)  Alma 44:4

Now ye see that this is the true faith of God; yea, ye see that God will support, and keep, and preserve us, so long as we are faithful unto him, and unto our faith, and our religion; and never will the Lord suffer that we shall be destroyed except we should fall into transgression and deny our faith.

We booked our flight home this week.  We will be returning Dec. 18th, just in time to enjoy Christmas with our family.  Love and hugs to all of you.  God Bless you in your daily lives, and remember that keeping the commandments of God will bring peace to our lives and our country.
Love, Patty

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Families are Forever

A wonderful week with Chad, Amy and Kids
 Talofa Family and Friends,
A Welcome cool down after hiking the South Upolu
coastal walk and then to the Ma Tree
The pictures will be telling of why I missed a week posting my blog - some our kids came to visit.  We had an incredible time showing them around the islands of Upolu and Savaii.  We swam at beautiful beaches and waterfalls, kayaked, snorkleled, hiked, played games, and had an absolutely amazing time.  However, as they were leaving last Monday morning I said a quiet thank you that I had survived the week - I was exhausted!  My right knee is giving me a lot of problems from the injury sustained right before we left.  I see an orthopedic in my very near future after arriving home.

Besides the thrill of having the kids visit, they brought a suitcase of treats from the states.  Sees Chocolates have never tasted so good!  There were also some new desperately needed clothes, walking sticks (a must now if I'm going to hike), and many other surprises, it was like Christmas.
Thank you Chad and Amy!!!  
       On the far side of Savaii there is a place where you can swim with sea turtles. The kids and Brent had a ball trying to catch and hold onto these turtles.I had a great time watching them, as my knee was not going to do good on the rocky bottom.
        After  visiting here Chad agreed with me, there is no way you can adequately describe the natural beauty of these islands.  Besides the natural beauty you have this entirely different lifestyle where many people "live off the grid."  Life here for many of the people is the same it has been for hundreds of years, with very little change.  It is really the perfect place to vacation if you want to get away from the rat race.                                                                                     
       We really appreciated the McBrides, who filled in at the office for us while we were gone.  Their kids are coming in October, so we will be able to repay the debt.  However, there was still a price to pay last week, as I had to work longer hours to catch up, on top of transfers.  These missionaries that left last Thurs.were young people we have worked with since we arrived.  It was hard to say goodbye to them.  I have become a BYU football fan on this mission, as we 
several young men who play on the team.  I'm afraid I'll be trading in my red for blue when we get home. 
      Yesterday we welcomed Elder and Sister Best to Samoa.  They will be working with the Whittles in Self-Reliance.  Tuesday we will be welcoming Sister Darla Anderson, (Elder McBride's Sister) and a new volunteer dentist and his wife, the Davis'.  As new people come, we also have to say good-bye to others. The Satius will be leaving at the end of June.  They
have served in the temple for 2 years - They are a wonderful couple who will be missed.

9 Amazing Missionaries
Returning Home

Seeing how it is "Father's Day" in the States today, I 
want to give a shout out to Brent for the wonderful
father he has been to our children.  Also a Happy 
Father's Day to our 3 sons and 1 son-in-law who
are all wonderful fathers.  They all work hard and
teach their children correct principles.  I have
thought about my dad today, and how lucky I was to 
have Paul R. Milligan as my father.  Fathers are
so important!
South coast of Upolu
Swimming with turtles in Savaii

Kids Jumping off cliff at Sua Trench

My scripture for the week is actually advice Alma gave to his son Helaman many years ago.  It is found in Alma 36:3

" And now, O my son Helaman, behold, thou art in thy youth, and therefore, I beseech of thee that thou wilt hear my words and learn of me; for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day."

 I have serious concerns about the direction our country is headed.  I know that strong families who have a father and mother and who teach their children to be moral, to have integrity, to keep the commandments of God through their example, is the answer to many of the problems we face today.    In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints we believe that Families are Forever.  If you want ideas on how to strengthen your own family or more information on what is meant by a "Forever Family" go to

Happy Father's Day to all of you wonderful Father's!
Alofa, Patty

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Feels like Christmas!

Sunday Selfie - We are in the "Pink of Things"

Talofa Family and Friends,
       Our son, Chad and wife Amy, along with 7 of our grandchildren are arriving in Samoa in just a few hours.  I have been so excited, I have felt like a kid on Christmas Eve.  I hope the G-kids are prepared to have their eyeballs squeezed out!
       This morning was Stake Conference with a Seventy visiting from Australia.  Our ward was in charge of the choir for the conference, thus the matching pink shirt and tie.  In the states we don't all dress the same, but this is a very Samoan thing to do.  The material was hand printed, and then we had to find someone to sew it for us.  Afalua came through for me again when she had a friend that sews.
New Intake & Trainers
      Busy, Busy week.  It was transfer week which means we welcome new missionaries to the mission and say goodbye to those who have finished.  We were supposed to have 15 arrive, but one broke his leg in the MTC, one lost his passport in LAX (he eventually got here), one of our local elders got sick in the MTC and went straight home, and two other visa waiters had their Visas come through.  We managed to get the ones who arrived through  orientation and out the door, and said good-bye to three missionaries returning home.  I know that I have said this before, but these are amazing young people and it is such a pleasure and privilege to be able to serve them.
      June 1st Brent and I celebrated our 46th Wedding Anniversary.  We finally finished with our office responsibilities about 6:30 and made it out to dinner at Tatou Bistro, a very nice restaurant in town.  While we were dating we promised each other that we would serve a mission together, and here we are 46 yrs later making good on that promise.
"Preach My Gospel" Missionaries
Samoan Pioneers - Independence Day
On top of transfers and our anniversary, June 1st also started 3 days of festivities here in Samoa for Independence Day.  There were parades, huge dance performances involving hundreds of dancers all in sync, feasting and formal balls. Unfortunately, our schedule did not allow us to attend most of the celebrations, but on June 2nd about 70 of our missionaries marched in a parade (Us included) sponsored by Samoa Central Stake.  The floats were themed either traditional Samoan or  pioneers.  The parade around Pesega looked more like July 24th in Utah than Independence Day.  Our missionaries marched singing "Called to Serve" and waving their "Preach My Gospel" manuals.  Even though there were very few people watching the parade, except the other people who were in it, we had a great time.
     I love reading my scriptures every day and often find several scriptures during the week that I would like to share from my study.  This week I was reading about the Sons of Mosiah, who had been rebellious, repented and became great missionaries.  They made a great difference in the lives of the people they taught.  I see the same miracles everyday with our missionaries in Samoa.  Their message of the Restoration of the Gospel and the Plan of Salvation brings great and wonderful changes in the lives of individuals and families when they come to understand the truth that this life is not all there is, but a time to learn and prepare to live with God, together as families.
l-r: Brent, Patty,  Kathy & Cliff Vellinga, Alecia and Maurice McBride, Bishop Pauga
           In a world with every changing values, confusion and chaos, it is a great comfort to have something to anchor my beliefs on. It is easy to dismiss the Book of Mormon when you haven't read it, but once you have read it you can't go back - you know it is a true book testifying of the reality of Jesus Christ and his plan for us to return to our heavenly home.  My Scripture is from Alma 24:14   "And the great God has had mercy on us, and made these things known unto us that we might not perish; yea,
and he has made these things known unto us beforehand,because he loveth our souls as well as he loveth our 
children; therefore, in his mercy he doth visit us by his angels, that the plan of salvation might be made known 
unto us as well as unto future generations.
      I know I am going to have a great week - hope you do too!  God Bless and Keep you and your families.
Love, Sister Ellsworth