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

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