Saturday, August 6, 2016

Feeling Blessed!

Grand Baby #16: Name is Pending
Talofa Lava Family and Friends,
        Most of the past week has been filled with anxious feelings for our daughter, Annie, and the birth of our 16th Grand child.  Baby Kingsley was born on  August 4th at 11:30 pm.  We had friends over for dinner and games when the call finally came.  We have been ecstatic as we have received pictures of this beautiful little girl.  We are feeling so blessed that Mom and Baby are both doing great.
           I am still trying to figure out the best way to approach this opportunity at the "House of Hope" where we have arranged to go on Wednesday mornings for two hours and teach English and Reading.  Sister Tuivaiti and a sister missionary are covering the younger children, while myself and another sister missionary are taking the older girls. Sister McBride and Sister Anderson are going to go for one hour the same afternoon to present a spiritual activity.  The main challenges are the differing ages and levels the girls are at, and the lack of resources.  Sister Callahan gave me some materials from ITEP that I am going to review this afternoon.  My main goal is to have a program in place that can be continued by others when I leave.  I wish students in the USA could see how hungry these girls are for any kind of learning.  Don't ever take education for granted!
Approaching the Island of Manono
Drying Pandana Leaves on Island of Apolima
         The Callahans came over from Savaii for a few days this week - always a treat! They are always good for a game of "5 Crowns" or our new favorite, "The Great Dalmuti."  However, Kenny had not been feeling well so after consulting with Dr. Olsen in New Zealand, they went to the hospital for an EKG.  The lady at the desk asked "Is that something to do with your heart?"  After determining that was the correct test he needed, he was taken into a small room. A large bag of rice and box of noodles were removed from the bed, the sheet turned over, and he was told to lay down.  The bottom line to this story is that he finally got his "ECG", saw a doctor, was charged 10 WST (about $4) and sent on his way with a clean bill of health.
Patty and Rubber Tree on Apolima - Now I understand the
"High Hopes" of the ant 
        Saturday we had a great adventure to the islands of Apolima and Manono.  Elder McBride did a great job arranging boats, a guide and permission to tour Apolima, which is generally closed to tourists.  Manono is a small island west of Upolu, and can be reached in a 20 minute boat ride.  There are no cars, roads, horses or dogs on the island, and they only got electricity in 1995.  It is home to about 1,000 people.  Our guide was the mayor and highest Matai on the island.  Elder McBride remembers serving as a young missionary there in the 1960's, and healing a young boy who was near death.  We do not have missionaries on this island today, as the Congregationalists hold the power and refuse to
 let us hold meetings.              
Internet picture of only entrance into Apolima (Where is
Elder Schaefermeyer when I need him???)
         We visited Apolima first, which was about another 15 minutes via boat from Manono. Visiting Apolima was a real treat as very few people get to visit this small island, home to about 100 people.  Most of the adults go to Upolu to work during the week, and the children all go to school in Upolu, returning home on Fri. afternoons. This island is literally an old volcanic cauldron, with very steep sides except for a small inlet where boats can dock on a sandy beach.  In the 1800's there was a civil war in Samoa.  Women, children and elderly were brought here for protection as it was easily defended.
     When we arrived on the island, our guide had to go and negotiate a fee with the chief Matai for us to tour the island - 10 Tala/person.  After the tour, which included the solar power cells, we were invited to the home of the Matai and treated to Nius (Coconuts to drink) and bananas. There were little naked children running around, curious older children peeking from around corners to get a glimpse of the strange Palangis, and an older, very ill person laying on a bed in the next room.  A woman was there constantly fanning, and caring for her. (Pink bedspread in background)   The home was beautiful and noticeably cooler.  They were very gracious and it was a pleasure to visit with them, even though we didn't under-
stand what was being said.
Apolima Matai (R) and Manono Matai (L)

Today in Church there were several visitors from all over the world.  They had come to Samoa for family reunions, vacation or funerals. We also had people who were investigating the church.   There were people there from SLC, London, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Australia, Cook Islands....just to name a few.  As I was sitting there thinking, I was amazed at how the church has grown since I was a girl growing up in SLC.  Today, the majority of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints live outside the United States.  It is indeed a global church, with a membership of over 16 million.  When you think that it all started with a 14 yr. boy in upstate New York less than 200 years ago, it gives reason to pause and ask - how? The answer is simple - it is the true gospel of Jesus Christ that has been restored, and the Holy Ghost manifests the truth of the gospel message to everyone who asks sincerely through prayer.  My Scripture this week is from Moroni 7:35-37:

"35 And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased?
 36 Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?
 37 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.
Today I am feeling especially grateful for the blessings of the Gospel, of Family and Friends.  Have a Blessed Week!
Oute alofa mo outou uma lava, Patty

1 comment:

  1. So we are tied at 16? But who is counting, each one is precious. Congratulations.