Saturday, September 24, 2016

Spring has Sprang (back 1 hr)

Elder Situlia returning home to Australia
 Tolofa Family and Friends,

Elders Tukuaoga. Knapp, Mulitalo & Castillo
Sister Aspinall (Middle)

Senior Choir Practice - We sang today in Church.
 Talofa Family and Friends,
     Fond farewells to six more missionaries this week.  I am sure their families are happy to have them home, and they will be a blessing to their wards as they continue to serve.
     The only reason I have a sweater on is because I just came out of the office where the air conditioner freezes me.  The oppressive heat and humidity outside is returning, and I know it will only get progressively worse until we leave.
Schaefermeyer's Going Away Party - Mermaid Beach
     Today we "Sprang Back" - moved the clocks back 1 hr. - even though we are going into Spring. Apparently the Spring Forward - Fall Back that I rely on at home does not work in the southern hemisphere.  That meant that
church started at 6:30 am this morning and Brent and I were the first speakers. It was also the debut of our fabulous Mini -Motab choir which met earlier to warm up.   I was happy that there was actually people there to hear us, after all the practicing we put in.
      A going away party for the Schaefermeyer's was yesterday at Mermaid Beach.  It rained almost the entire way driving over, and was still raining when we got there.  But after going swimming and snorkeling for a little while, the rain quit, we all dried off, and had a delightful potluck lunch.  Everyone had at least one nice thing to say about the Schaefermeyers, and what they had done to help them.  They have been over IT, and have worked for 18 months setting up internet access to every ward, training ward and stake leaders  how to use technology, and also teaching people how to use Family Search.  They have also been generous with their time and talents with those of us who are less tech savvy, and have needed help.  They have been dear friends who we have shared many adventures with.  Next Saturday I am going to be in a deep depression when we have to say goodbye to them.  However, since they are going home to 11 month old triplets and an 1 more grandchild (They got 4 new grandchildren in a 2 week period), they are more than excited.  Flat grandma and grandpa are about to become 3 dimensional.
Chole's Flying Car - what a great idea!
We got this cute picture of our sweet Chloe.  She wrote in her journal that she wished she had a flying car so she could come to Samoa and see Papa and Nana.  Nothing would make us happier.
       My scripture for the week comes from my D&C reading:
D&C 130:18  "Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.
 19 And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come."
  This life is not the end!  Our situation in the next life has a lot to do with the choices we make in this life.  Go to to find out what is waiting for you on the other side.
      I hope all of you survive the debate this week.  I was hoping to be able to watch it, but at this time it doesn't look promising -too much data needed to stream it. I'm afraid the best I will get is the news from ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company news).  That is only if it is a slow week for rugby, cricket and net ball.  Have a good week - do a kind deed for someone who is not expecting it.
Alofa Lava - Patty

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Jerry &  Family at his  Baptism - Lotopa Chapel

Giant Clams Beach - One of our favorites!
 Talofa Lava Family and Friends,
     Another busy week with the President off island.  He returned in time to see Elder Madsen and Sister Oteamoa off.  Elder Madsen is another one of the Elders we really got to know well, so he takes a piece of our hearts with him.
     We learned that the couple replacing us will not arrive until after we leave.  This means an incredible amount of additional work for us, as we will need to write out detailed instructions for everything we do.  We were hoping to have a two week training period, but that is not going to happen.  Things have changed so much since we arrived, that Sister Jackson's notes are not going to work.
     This past week, Jerry, one of our Primary kids, got baptized.  Brent gave a talk and since it was also Jerry's birthday, the baptism was followed by a party, Samoan style.  We have learned to love our Primary class and are really going to miss them.
     A remarkable thing happened this week.  The Jordans are serving in American Samoa, and in the course of our work we talk almost every day. This week another senior couple, the Atoas, were in American Samoa, and Elder Atoa recognized Elder Jordan from serving together in the Dakotas in 1966!  I just happened to mention that my Grandfather, Thomas Kendrick, served in the Dakotas about that same time. Sister Jordan then exclaimed that she was the granddaughter of Ralph Kendrick, a brother of my grandfather - that makes us 2nd cousins.  I was so excited, and can hardly wait until she comes to Apia next month and we can catch up on family matters.
      I just looked at the calendar and we only have 11 more weekends before we leave Samoa.  I am having a hard time imagining living in a place where the beautiful, warm ocean is not
Brent and Patty inside the Safaatoa Chapel
minutes away. Yesterday we went to the Giant Clam preserve at Savaia.   The coral there is colorful and varied, as are the fish.  I saw fish I've never seen before that were gorgeous.  The real treat are the giant clams that measure up to 3 ft across, and are speckled with florescent blues, greens, purples, yellows....We will be back here again before we leave!
      We took a mission van on our excursion so we could take 6 tile workers who are here working on the Temple.  Taking the long way home around the west side of the island for sight seeing, we were treated to beautiful vistas, a visit to a tiny chapel tucked way back in the forest, and Nius to quench our thirst.
Safaatoa LDS Church - Open Fale on left is the chapel
     With the rainy season, flowers are busting out everywhere!  I think of Elder Jackson every morning when I pass his "Christmas Tree" which is now starting to sport beautiful red flowers.  By December the tree will be covered.  It rained every day last week, but so far it has been cooler than I remember last year, or maybe I am just used to it.
      Brent is still making ties.  He spent yesterday morning with a carpenter square, calculator and
poster board, engineering the perfect tie pattern.  He found an old sewing machine in a mission closet and had it serviced.  It now sits on our kitchen table, along with yards of different kinds of materials that he is determined to make into ties.  I told him we are going to have to take out a loan to get home, if he doesn't stop buying material.  He wears a new tie almost everyday, which has taken care of his clothing blues.
Roadside Niu stand with two cute servers
       My scripture for the week is from D&C 128:23.  It reflects my feelings and gratitude for the knowledge and testimony I have of our Savior Jesus Christ, and the blessings of his atonement.

23 Let the mountains shout for joy, and all ye valleys cry aloud; and all ye seas and dry lands tell the wonders of your Eternal King! And ye rivers, and brooks, and rills, flow down with gladness. Let the woods and all the trees of the field praise the Lord; and ye solid rocks weep for joy! And let the sun, moon, and the morning stars sing together, and let all the sons of God shout for joy! And let the eternal creations declare his name forever and ever! And again I say, how glorious is the voice we hear from heaven, proclaiming in our ears, glory, and salvation, and honor, and immortality, and eternal life; kingdoms, principalities, and powers!

Hope you all have a blessed week!  Alofa Atu - Patty

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Peace I leave with you...

Talofa Lava Family and Friends,
If I want to be happy, all I have to do is go sit in my new cubby closet I designed for missionary pamphlets and missionary supplies. The cubbies are on both sides of the room.  This is the same closet where the elders used to store their suits, before we had the mold disaster several months ago, when the air conditioner drain backed up and ruined over a hundred new suits!  I drew a plan up for FM to redo the room, got it approved, cleaned up and recently finished.  I now can easily see what we need to order, and every item has its own cubby!  For an OCD organized person this is heaven on earth!
 The rainy season arrived with September, along with the Golden Plovers.  These are the small birds that fly from New Zealand to the Arctic Circle and back every year, and make a stop over in Samoa for a couple of months.  They fly at altitudes of over 8,000 ft. and can fly for hundreds of miles at a time without resting.  I was so excited to see my first Plover on my walk Saturday, as Brent and I have been watching for them. Since yesterday I have seen several more.
     Thursday we said goodbye to Elder Bybee, and Friday we sent Elder Scanlan home.  His father was one of the guards shot in California last week.  We love these missionaries, and it
Brent, Elder Scanlan and Patty
 is always a tender farewell, with prayers and best wishes sent with them.
     Last week we got a nurse - YEAH!  When a missionary called this week and said, "Sister Ellsworth, my companion has this strange thing growing on his back," I was more than happy to say, "Elder, let me transfer you to Sister Barnes. Sister Barnes is highly qualified, and a no nonsense lady.  The missionaries are in good hands.
     My work at the Victim Support Center is going well.  I have several ladies from my ward who have volunteered to help, which has take a lot of pressure off of me.  It will also give me a chance to get to know them to see who is committed enough to take over when I leave.  When I look at these beautiful children  
in the shelter, it breaks my heart to know that each one of them has suffered abuse in their young lives.  I am grateful that there is a just God who will dish out justice to the perpetrators of violence and abuse against innocent people around the world; in the end they will pay the price for these heinous deeds.
      On a little lighter note, we had a great week-end.  Friday night the Seniors visited the Tree House resort for dinner.  We were able to tour the house in the photo.  There are two tree houses built inside Banyan trees, and they are really unique.  The dinner was on on outside patio overlooking the ocean, and as we ate we watched a thunder storm roll in.  This resort is pretty
Brent, the Foleys and Starkes enjoying the beach
isolated, and after dinner the sounds of the surrounding forests was almost deafening, with the crickets and critters singing their nightly serenades.  It was a delightful evening!
       Saturday afternoon several couples enjoyed the "Return to Paradise" resort where we visited, swam, snorkeled, read and had a crab race.  Reed Best had collected several small sand crabs and we put them on one of the blue lounges and then rooted for our favorite crab to be the first to fall off.  It doesn't take much to entertain us. The entrance fee was $30 WST that included a voucher for $30 WST at the restaurant, so it was a great deal.

My Scripture this week is one of my favorite.  It is an assurance that God will make everything right in the end. I understand how people doubt the existence of God, when they see all of the suffering in the world. However, the Lord has promised it will all be made right in the end.  D&C 21:1-8

" O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?
 How long shall thy hand be stayed, and thine eye, yea thy pure eye, behold from the eternal heavens the wrongs of thy people and of thy servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries?
 Yea, O Lord, how long shall they suffer these wrongs and unlawful oppressions, before thine heart shall be softened toward them, and thy bowels be moved with compassion toward them?
 O Lord God Almighty, maker of heaven, earth, and seas, and of all things that in them are, and who controllest and subjectest the devil, and the dark and benighted dominion of Sheol—stretch forth thy hand; let thine eye pierce; let thy pavilion be taken up; let thy hiding place no longer be covered; let thine ear be inclined; let thine heart be softened, and thy bowels moved with compassion toward us.
 Let thine anger be kindled against our enemies; and, in the fury of thine heart, with thy sword avenge us of our wrongs.
 Remember thy suffering saints, O our God; and thy servants will rejoice in thy name forever.
 My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
 And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.
 I love the peace the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ brings into my life.  I send my love to all and wishes for a safe week.  
Alofa Atu, Patty

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Under the Wide and Starry Sky...

Letter from Chloe saved my day.
 Talofa Lava Family and Friends,
Boy!  It was a pretty tough week!  Tuesday the stress of everything that had piled up over transfer week overwhelmed me. In between fighting back tears and fighting the urge to roll up in fetal position under my desk, a letter from my little Chloe arrived and saved the day.  President Hannemann, sensing that I was about to break down, had Elders Stevenson and Ete come in and work until 11 pm one night, inputting all the baptisms into the computer.  Wednesday morning my computer screen was covered with these sweet notes.  I love our missionaries!!!  The rest of the week went much better.
 Today starts a one week festival in Samoa celebrating the culture.  It is called the "Tueila Festival" after the country's national flower.  If there is one thing that Samoans know how to do, it is celebrate.   Every village has flags out and banners.  Tonight I am going to attend a choral concert from groups all over the islands. I need to check the schedule for other activities that we can fit into our week.
       Thursday evening the Senior missionaries were invited to attend the annual Robert Louis Stevenson dinner.  This is quite the gala affair, with government officials, diplomats and all of the Miss Samoa contestants, one of whom will
 be crowned the new "Miss Samoa 2017" during the festival week.  The dinner started with several trays of  entree dishes, including crackers and cheese and pate, seafood, oysters on the half shell, fresh fruit... followed by a dinner that included assorted Samoan traditional dishes, Salmon baked in coconut milk, lobster, turkey, pork, vegetables with shrimp....well, I hope you get the picture.  It was an amazing feast, followed by delicious desserts.  It is a miracle that any of us were able to walk out without assistance.  Rex Maughan served a mission here several years ago, and it is through his generous financial support that the museum was renovated.  While the Maughans continue their financial support of the museum and this annual
 event, it is Jim Winegar,  also a  return missionary, who is the heart of this annual event, and I would even say the effort to keep the memory of Robert Louis Stevenson alive.  Every year he is a most gracious host.  I was pleased that Joe Keil and Robert Schafer surprised Jim with a much deserved accolade and a standing ovation.  He has invited all the Senior Missionaries to a FHE tomorrow night at the museum for a private tour.
     One of the highlights of the evening was meeting Robert Schaefer, the author of Samoa - A Historical Novel.  Brent and I both read the book when we first got here, and it brought the history of this amazing country into focus for us. I started reading it again, and am enjoying it more the 2nd time, as I am now familiar with many of the places and things in the novel.  For any of you who have connections to Samoa in any way, I strongly recommend this book.
     A few weeks ago, I had this great idea to start a Senior Missionary choir.  Sister Davis and her husband are serving here as volunteer dentists, and they are also both very musically talented.  I have been happy that I recruited them and Elder Schaefermeyer to help us learn a song to sing in church on the last Sunday of Sept.  That means that I have choir practice in about 15 minutes, so will need to wrap this up.
     It was easy to find my scripture for the week, as it was in my reading and is so appropriate for this time as the United States prepares to elect our next president.  It is found in D&C 98:5-10:
"And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.
 Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;
 And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.
 I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free.
 Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn.
 10 Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.
I hope all of us will take our responsibilities of being citizens very seriously in this election, and ask ourselves if the candidates we are supporting are God fearing, honest  people who will fight to maintain our Constitutional Rights and freedoms, especially the freedom of religion...We all need to make our decision a matter of prayer and serious contemplation.  God Bless you and Keep you.  Happy Labor Day to all my stateside family and friends.  Be Safe!
President Hannemann just arrived back in the office and told me that Elder Scanlan's father was the prison guard shot in California.  Elder Scanlan is finishing an honorable mission this Friday.  Please put the Scanlan family in your prayers.
Oute Alofa Mo Outou Uma Lava, Patty
Brent, Afalua and Patty at the RLS Home