Saturday, July 30, 2016

"Live Long and Prosper"

Left over from "Survivor"
 Talofa Lava Family and Friends,
        It was a pretty quiet week with the President and APs off island.  The biggest challenge of the week was trying to get some school classes started for the "House of Hope" for abused and neglected children.  We have been working with them for a couple of months, but they keep changing our hours and what they expect us to do.  In the beginning I was under the impression that we were going in to support the teacher, until I found out  there is NO teacher, and there hasn't been one for the entire school year.  Teaching school with no books, computers, curriculum materials, media equipment.... is definitely a challenge.  Thank goodness for the internet in the office and the school librarian who has been very generous in letting us check out books.  I have been working with the 14-18 yr. old girls.  These girls are beautiful and anxious to learn.  They appreciate anything you can bring to them in way of education.  The young sister missionaries have also been going in and I give them big kudos for doing a great job with so little.

Whittle's Going Away Party with Bruce McCarthy
      On Thursday evening the Seniors met at the Self Reliance center for a good-bye dinner for the Whittles.  They had arranged for Brother McCarthy and some young men to provide entertainment.  After dinner we sat around and sang songs from the 50's and 60's.  There wasn't a song Bruce couldn't play, and we all had a good time singing Frankie Vali, Elvis, Beatles, Jan and Dean....songs. It's hard to believe what is stored in all that grey matter!
       Saturday some of us drove up to Saniatu and enjoyed a refreshing swim at the waterfall.  It was pretty chilly getting in, but once the shock wore off it was a delightful swim.  Brent and Elder McBride had to climb up to the high ledge and jump off.  It's probably good we
have to carry health insurance.
        Our time here is quickly coming to an end.  Brent has got it down to the days, and I know I only have to refill my vitamin caddy 8 more times.  However, we still will not be home for the birth of our grand daughter who will be born this next week.  Of all the sacrifices we have made to be here, this one is the hardest.  My only comfort is that I know she has other family and friends who will be there to help her.  Today I had a thought that cheered me up a bit - I still will get to love our Great Grand babies when they come - so this isn't really the last grandchild.
Saniatu Swimming Hole - Nice!
       This week I also fulfilled one of my wifely duties - I went to the Star Trek Movie with Brent. However, I decided that this is the last thriller movie I will ever go to. He is going to have to find someone else to go with him.   I was so excited when the ship crashed (even though it took about 30 min) because I thought that would be the end.  Wrong!  If you are not a Star Trek fan save your money.  To add to my misery the air conditioning was out in the theater, so they brought in a big fan that made so much noise you could hardly hear the one zillion explosions.  To all of you Treky fans - Live long and prosper!
      I finished the Book of Mormon last week and started to Read the Doctrine and Covenants.  We recite Section 4 nearly every day so I have it memorized.  It refers to the missionary work that we are involved in here and around the world.  In the month of July our mission had over 240 baptisms.  It truly is a marvelous work!
 Now behold, marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of  men.
 Therefore, ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.
 Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;
 For behold the field is white already to harvestand lo,he that thrusteth in his   sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but   bringeth salvation to his soul;
 And faithhopecharity and lovewith an eye single to the glory of God,   qualify him for the work.
 Remember faith, virtueknowledge, temperance,patiencebrotherly kindness,  godlinesscharity, humility,diligence.
 Askand ye shall receive; knockand it shall be opened unto you. Amen.
Have a wonderful week! Oute alofa mo outou uma lava, Patty

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Happy Pioneer Day!

Talofa Lava Family and Friends,
      July 24th is the day that people of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints celebrate the early Pioneers of the Church entering the Salt Lake Valley.  I think it is pretty amazing that my Great Great Great Grandparents, James Bowers and Mariah Bowers on my Grandma Kendrick side, joined the Church near Birmingham, England in 1839.  They left every thing, including 4 children, and set off with their six children to join the saints in Utah in 1856.  And who did they travel with?  Edmund Ellsworth, Brent's relative who led the first handcart company.  James died on the journey and Mariah continued on alone with her six children.  She settled in Nephi Utah.  Today I am grateful for the sacrifices of these good people.
     Friday night, while driving a couple of Sister Missionaries back home to the South side of the island, we came upon this horrific bus crash.  It happened on a very steep section of road and on a sharp curve.  It appeared that the driver probably lost his brakes.  The bus was full of 50 high school students from the village of Siumu, returning home from an athletic competition in Apia.  The paper 
Bus Crash at Tiavea

today is reporting that no one was killed - which is truly a miracle considering the condition of the bus.
       During Primary today I became aware of a very strange sensation - the ground was definitely rolling.  It was the strongest tremor I've felt since we've been here.  There are tsunami escape route signs posted around the island, but I am hoping it will never get bad enough that we have to run.
Tsunami Signs are posted around the islands
       After Church today I drove a Sister Missionary to the airport.  I have lost count of how many trips we have made - but it is a lot!  However, I loved driving home on a Sunday afternoon.  Samoans take the commandment of keeping the Sabbath Day Holy quite seriously.  You see the Protestant women walking home from church in their white dresses and white hats.  Unlike Saturday night, there is no one out playing ball, and very few children out playing.  There are very few cars on the road, and almost all businesses are closed. It was wonderful to drive through the villages at at a leisurely rate, and enjoy the beautiful scenery.  There is no way to adequately describe the beauty of this country.  I love the millions of sparking diamonds on the aqua ocean, the countless varieties of flowers, bushes, trees, the changing cloud formations and the different hues of the sun.  Boy - I am sure going to miss Samoa!
Elder Cutler's "Best Socks"

     Our internet has been off and on at the house for the last couple of weeks.  (Mostly off)  Since our daughter, Annie, is expecting a baby girl any day I have been anxious about missing her important call.  There are sacrifices that have to be made when serving a mission, and not being home for the birth of a grandchild is a biggie.  It is lucky that I am so busy that I don't have too much time to dwell on it.  
      This last week Elder Cutler was working in the office and slipped off his shoes.  I was shocked to see his stockings!  He said they were the only clean ones he had, and when his shoes are on they appear to be fine. Since Samoans seldom wear shoes, socks are not a priority either so they are difficult to find.
       Saturday morning we had a wonderful sunrise Relief Society Activity at the Temple.  If you look closely you can see us sitting at the church across from the temple.  Elder Schaefermeyer's drone is responsible for these amazing photos.  The second photo is all of us standing on the front temple stairs.  I am next to the last on the right (Just in case you were wondering).  Sister Anderson said something in her talk that I have been thinking about.  She said that Christian churches do a great job bringing people to Jesus Christ, as does our faith.  But it is only in the temple where people are also bound to Heavenly Father through the process of making covenants.  It is the only way to get back to our heavenly home.  
     The Starkes arrived this week from Portland, Oregon.  They will be working with teachers at the Pesega Campus.  They expressed an interest in going to the beach, and you know how hard they had to twist my arm.  The Spencers and Davis' joined us at Matereva Beach.  We were well rewarded for the effort to go with the most 
amazing snorkeling experience yet.  There were literally thousands of fish of every description in the coral reefs.  Being there at low tide helped us to see more than we usually do.  It was awesome!
     My Scripture from the week comes from our Primary lesson today.  We are teaching the children in our class stories from the New Testament this year.  Today we talked about the Good Samaritan, and how important it is to be kind to people, even when they are not kind to us.  An important lesson for the world today.  Luke 10:34-37:

" But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,

 34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
 35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
 36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
 37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
Love and Peace to You and your familes!
Oute Alofa Mo Outou Uma Lava, Patty


Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Tribe has Spoken...

July 13th Intake of new missionaries - What a great looking
group of missionaries!
 Talofa Lava Family and Friends,
Today is July 17th, and if my mother was still alive she would be 88.  I still talk to her on my morning walks, and believe that she is my guardian angel.  I miss you Mom!
   This week went relatively smooth.  We welcomed 10 new sisters and 6 new elders to the mission, and got them all sent off in different directions to 3 different islands.  We also said goodbye to three elders who have completed their two years.  Elder Mikkelsen served in the office with us several months ago, so we got to know him better than the missionaries who only come into the office once in a while.  He suffered through more boils than Job, and never complained.  If he is able to play on the BYU football team this next season, we will definitely have to make the effort to go see one of his games.  We also had a visit this week from Elder Anderson, another AP, who returned to tour Samoa with his family.  We have a date with him next March to attend his wedding in St. George - all he has to do is find the right girl.

Apparently the seat belt law doesn't always apply

Elder Mikkelsen packing for home
Some of the things I want to remember about Samoa:  It is so strange that the police pull you over if you are not wearing your seat belt, and right next to you is a truck crammed with people, often standing up.  Also, in Samoa if you feel like something is crawling on you, something IS crawling on you - you just have to look very carefully to see these itty bitty bugs. I also have this little ants that live in my Ipad.  They crawl across the screen regularly. Driving down the road it is not unusual to slow for pigs crossing the road, or to see a brood of baby chicks.  On Saturday nights the roads have more people walking than cars driving, and there is either a volleyball or rugby game being played by the youth in every village.  Naked little children play in their yards, often under the supervision of older siblings, and women sit in groups and visit while they work. There is a sense of community that is missing in the states.  The people take great pride in their villages, working together to beautify their villages, adding extra touches that say they are proud of their homes.                                                                                      
Shanna with Survivor Torch
For the last couple of months the Australian version of "Survivor" has been filming in Samoa. Several times we have planned to go to a beach, and found it closed due to the filming of this tv show.  Yesterday the Schaefermeyers were walking along the Coastal Walk, one of the places they had been filming, and discovered one of the contestant's torches.  They are trying to get it returned to its rightful owner, but it was still fun to see.
     Yesterday no one wanted to go to the beach so we went by ourselves.  After a leisurely drive to the south side of Upolu, through picture postcard scenery, we arrived at our favorite "Mermaid Cove" where we snorkeled, seeing an amazing variety of fish.  This was also one of the locations for  the Survivor show.  We then set up our chairs and spent the rest of the afternoon reading, and enjoying this beautiful location all to ourselves.  We didn't think it could get any better until Schafermeyers showed up later with their Survivor torch and Theron's new birthday gift, a JC Phantom Drone, which he was more than willing to demonstrate.  What is that saying, little boys never grow up, their toys just get more expensive.

Up, Up and Away!  
It is starting to sink in that we are on the downside of this adventure, and will be returning home soon.  However, this beautiful country will always have a place in my heart, and be a part of who I am.

     My scripture for the week comes from the 13 Articles of Faith, #10: " 10 We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory."  This past week as I have input baptisms into the computer it hit me that in a small way I am participating in this literal gathering of people who accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days.  It is exciting to see the evidence of this prophesy being fulfilled around the world. We are blessed to live in a time when we have a living prophet and twelve apostles directing this gathering of Israel, and preparing the earth for the return of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  If you would like to know more go to  
 God Bless all of you as you go through out your week.  I send all my love.
Alofa atu, Patty 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

4th of July at Nu'umau Beach - Gotta love those
Schaefermeyers who do everything with a flair!
 Talofa Lava Family and Friends,
      The 4th of July was celebrated in high style with the Senior Missionaries at Nu'umau Beach. We closed the office at 1 pm and by 2 pm we had arrived at the beach where the Schaefermeyers and Gillettes had set up tables and chairs in the water, red,white and blue ballons added a festive touch and Rusty's handcrafted Bar-B-Q was sitting out in the water ready for hamburgers and hotdogs.  60's tunes (my favorites), were broadcast out across the water, and salads, desserts and chips were potluck. As the tide came in we just kept moving the tables, until by the time we left the water was up to the 2nd post.   We had a wonderful time celebrating the greatest country on earth!
Senior Missionaries 4th of July Picnic
After lunch Brent and I swam out to the small island in the background.  On the backside we saw several of the bright blue starfish, several sea slugs, and a few fish.  It was not the best snorkeling but it was good exercise, especially for Brent, who often pulls me through the rough spots.  Gotta love that man!
      Saturday Brent and the Senior Men had a male bonding experience going scuba diving.  It was pretty pricey at $350 WST. After some instruction in a pool, they were taken out in the ocean. I was disappointed that they didn't see anything cool like a shark or a whale for that price, but they still had a good time.
Bright Blue starfish are common but still pretty!
 I got up early Saturday morning and participated in the ward's "Fit for the Kingdom" 5K run/walk.  It was almost the exact route I walk every morning by myself, so it wasn't strenuous.  I enjoyed walking with Shanna and Linda, and our mouths got as much exercise as our legs.
       Tomorrow starts another transfer week, and the stress is already building.  We are expecting 16 new missionaries, and will have an additional 16 missionaries come into the office as trainers; that equals 32!  They start arriving tomorrow and the mission president is off island until Tuesday afternoon.   The logistical planning for housing, feeding, training, transporting, by van boat and plane, makes for a interesting week.
"Fit For the Kingdom" Activity at Pesega
We were finally able to arrange a set time for volunteer work at the Children's Shelter.  The plan was for us to go in and assist the teacher with tutoring kids in reading, English, math and writing.  There is one teacher for over 50 kids of all different ages.  They forgot to mention that the kids were on "Winter Break" last week, so we just had to improvise large group activities.  I am looking forward to this weekly opportunity, and hopefully we can make a difference for the good.  We will go in every Wednesday from 1-2 pm, which isn't much, but it is a foot in the door.
Linda Spencer, Patty, Shanna Schaefermeyer
Slow but Steady finished the race!
        My scripture for the week is from the "The Family Proclamation To The World" that was issued by the Prophet and 12 Apostles in 1995.  It came to mind last week after returning home from the shelter, and also in reflecting on the direction our country is going.  If you want to read the entire text you can Google it or go to

"WE WARN that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.
WE CALL UPON responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society."
I am again saddened as I hear about this past week's happenings in the United States.  It is obvious to me that we continue to see these atrocities because of the breakdown of the family.  If we want to have peace in our nation, we need to keep the commandments of God.  Love to my family and friends.  Patty

Saturday, July 2, 2016

God Bless America!

Beautiful Sunset over Pesega
Talofa Lava Family and Friends,
      Sometimes life gets so crazy here that when I get back to the apt. I just collapse in exhaustion. So here is a summary of what I do in an average week: Record 30-40 Baptisms, answer emails from parents, make up new missionary packets, make up departing missionary packets, take Afalua food shopping, keep track of arriving missionaries, keep track of temporary missionaries, keep track of when missionaries are supposed to go home and make sure their travel is requested, check on missionaries who have been ill, order supplies, check on where in the heck the supplies are that I ordered 6 wks ago, take missionaries to the airport, plan Senior Missionary activities and Family Home Evenings, make up agendas
Elder & Sister Fata's FHE Presentation on their mission to PNG
for meetings, attend meetings, take care of medical emergencies when the McBrides are gone, help missionaries who come into the office with problems, sort mail, answer the phone a zillion times...  Well, you get the idea.  Just didn't want anyone to think that we we lounging at the beach everyday.
      Speaking of beaches, tomorrow is the 4th of July and we have planned a Senors 60's Party.  Hey Dude, we will be cruising to Nu'umau beach, catchin some waves, jamming to the tunes, Dude, eating some grub and celebrating the Greatest Country on Earth.  We might even try a Chinese Fire Drill.
Anna's Banana Gram message
Last Monday night Elder Fata shared his experiences when he was serving as Mission President in Papua New Guinea.  He had some amazing stories about baptizing people in waters infested with crocodiles, traveling in groups for safety from bandits, traveling for hours in small boats to get to different areas of the mission.  I am sure Sister Fata will go straight to heaven for enduring the challenges they had there. The bottom line was that they loved their missionaries and the people.  I am impressed that some of the people there travel for days in canoes to get to church conferences.  Their faith was inspiring.  Today in Primary we had several children visiting from PNG - they were beautiful!  I had no idea there were 8 million people who live there, and this presentation changed my perception of this country.  The church currently has two missions there that are both very successful.

Oh-Laa-Laa Ice Cream Parlor

I decided I better start capturing some of the everyday places that I want to remember.  I have mentioned Oh-La-La Ice Cream before, but from the photo you can see why it was such a great discovery.  From the street you would never know that there is great ice cream inside.  The girl that works there has a sister who is serving with my niece's daughter in Pittsburg, PA.

Brent and I have sent for our absentee ballots to vote in November, however we are at a loss of who to vote for in the Presidential race - we really don't want either of the candidates.  I'm waiting to see who they pick for their running mate.   However, I have never missed voting in an election, and I don't plan to start now.  I am going to have to spend time researching the other local elections, so if any of you have personal information on candidates or issues, I'd appreciate it if you passed it on to me through email -

My scripture for the week is for the 4th of July, and comes from the Book of Mormon. It reflects the .  belief that the United States of America was founded by men who were inspired of God, and that it is choice land.  Ether 12:2 " Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written."
I know that all of our family in Las Vegas will be gathering at Chad and Amy's home to swim, bar-b-q and watch the fireworks.  Sure wish I could be there!
Happy 4th of July and God Bless America!
Love, Patty