Sunday, November 6, 2016

Skies on Fire

Fabric painting with wooden template
 Talofa Family and Friends,
     The rainy season has arrived, with deluges almost everyday.  A couple of times this week I got caught on my morning walk, and came home drenched.  You can hear the storm move toward you as the rain on the fales tin roofs makes a noise like heavy freeway traffic that gets louder as it moves toward you.  I am always surprised at how fast these storms move in.   Lucky for me that I'm waterproof!  However, the storms provide the most incredible sunrises and sunsets that are hard to capture with our camera.  Several times this past week it appeared that the sky was on fire with deep reds, oranges and pinks ablaze across the entire sky.
        Before we leave we wanted to get some things made up for the kids for Christmas and a few things for us.  There are many people who sew in their homes, and many other small businesses that can sew whatever you want.  You just take in the piece of  your clothing that they can use for a pattern, buy the fabric and presto, you have a custom made garment for a very reasonable price.  Brent has gotten a couple of beautiful shirts made, and I took some fabric in this week to get a matching shirt after I saw how nice his were.  Afalua surprised me with a beautiful skirt that fits perfectly.  When I asked her how she knew what size she said she just has been looking at me and figured it out.  No measuring - No pattern - Amazing!
     These goodbyes are getting to be way too  
Elders Galu, Kanahele, Lautafi and Galvez with Sister Wardle
frequent, with five of our missionaries going 
home on Friday.  Sister Wardle was in the MTC with us, and Elder Galvez was one of our Dengue patients that we grew to love last year when he was in the office for several weeks last year recuperating. FB is a wonderful way to keep in touch with these wonderful young people who we have grown to love.  
Seniors gathering shells at Fagaloa Bay
     This past week we have loved having a young woman, Mariama, take the missionary discussions in our home.  Elders Stevenson and Ete teach the lessons, and Brent and I have the opportunity to add our testimonies.  It has been a sweet experience and she is planning on a Nov. 19th baptism.  We planned to pick her up for church this morning, but had to go into fast gear when our USA alarm clock got confused and jumped ahead 1 hour in the middle of the night. With church starting at 7:30 am, we had 20 minutes to get ready.  I was pretty impressed that we made it!  
     Our Saturday Senior Activity this week was a little different, as we went exploring a remote area that we had never been to.  Fagaloa Bay, on the NE side of Upolu is about as remote as it gets. I had heard that there was a beach there with beautiful shells.  On this very tiny stretch of beach there were hundreds of large red and white shells.  Elders Cutler and Vahai showed us the way as they had a family to visit at the end of the road.  Children appeared out of nowhere and began bringing us armfuls of shells.
Sister Vellinga treated our shell gatherers to a lollypops
     After all of us getting all the shells we wanted 
we walked up to the small fale where the Elders were giving a lesson.  I had promised Sister Hannemann that the seniors would share a song with this family, so we sang "I Am A Child of God".  It was a humbling experience.
     We took over 50 pictures on this adventure, and it was hard to choose just a few.  The scenery was spectacular as you drop quickly from the top of a mountain, down a winding road, with steep green cliffs with waterfalls and the bay below.  At the bottom there are several very small remote villages, with people living very simple lives.  They are far removed from the elections and world dramas that cause the rest of us stress.
Elders Cutler and Vahai with investigators
         We are down to 4 1/2 weeks before we leave Samoa.  We have started to pack a few boxes to send things home, and are making preparations for our departure.  We have our NZ trip planned, with reservations made and a wish list of activities we will in no way have time to complete.  We are excited to be home for Christmas with our family.  Can't wait to squeeze the eyeballs out of our grandkids.
        A nice surprise arrived this past week, when FM showed up at our door with new couches (Desparately needed) and a new bed that we didn't need.  Oh well, we will enjoy them for 1 month.
        I have loved reading the New Testament this 
Village men working on poles for a new fale
week, and have made my way almost through the Gospel of Luke.  I have been struck this time with the veracity that people with authority went after the Savior because he threatened their power and position and refused to go along with their corrupted ways.  Very similar to what is going on today.  Luke 6:6-11
Craftsman with my small bowl made from the Ifilele Tree
And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered. And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him. But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth. Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it? 10 And looking round about upon them all, he said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other. 11 And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.
Beautiful Fagaloa Bay
 We all need to be courageous in standing for what we know to be right, without being hateful to those who do not share our opinions.  Let's not follow the example of the Scribes and Pharisees, but the example of Christ.  God bless you as you go throughout the week.  I hope we will all continue to pray for our country as elections are held this week, that no matter the outcome there will be peace in the land, that somehow we can come together and mend the divisions that now threaten our country. 
 Alofa Tele, Patty



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