Saturday, November 26, 2016

Stop the Clock!

Mangroves near Solosolo
 Talofa Lava Family and Friends,
Our new favorite Disney Movie
     Love and greetings from the beautiful island of Upolu.  Since our mission is quickly coming to an end, we took advantage of a little free time and drove around the east side of the island yesterday for one last look.  How are we ever going to be able to survive in the desert again after living in this tropical paradise?  Of course, along with all of this lush green landscape comes a lot of rain, which we have had almost everyday.  This past week several thunderstorms have moved through, with booming thunder and crackling lightening.  One morning the flash of light and boom of thunder were almost simultaneous, making me glad that I had already returned from my walk and was safe inside the house.  Rain here means that water tanks get filled, crops get watered and people get to eat, so it is hard to complain.
     The new Disney Movie "Moana" was released here this past week, and several seniors went together opening night.  There were so many things in this film that are familiar to us now, and we loved watching it here in Samoa.  I don't buy a lot of videos, but this is one I am going to have to have.  We have a little girl in our Primary class named Moana, so I told her I was always think of her when I watch the movie.
      On Wednesday we had a party for the children at the Victim Support Shelter.  We played a lot of the same games that we used for our primary kids the week before.  I've learned that if you have balloons you have a party.  After the games and singing, we showed the film "Frozen".  Afalua made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for all of them, (a real treat) and we took chips, water and a treat.  I am hoping that these beautiful children, who have all been abused, can somehow find the strength to "Let It Go" so that their past does not define their futures.  It was the last day at the shelter for me and it was so hard to say good bye to the young women I have worked with over the past several months.  There were a lot of tears and hugs, and I will never forget what a great experience it was to serve them.  The good news is that I think that Sister Kinghorn, a new Senior missionary, is going to take over for me when school reopens in January.  She brought in a USB and I have downloaded all of the ESL material I have, and she is coming in next week for training.  
Almost ready for Thanksgiving
Vellingas, Sister Foley, Sister McBride
The Hellesoe Family
      Early Saturday morning I made a quick trip to the airport to pick up Elder and Sister Kalama who arrived from Hawaii to serve as Institute instructors. Saturday afternoon Brent and I took our drive and  Saturday evening we had our Senior Thanksgiving Dinner. Since Thanksgiving is not a holiday here, people had to work.   Sister McBride brined and cooked 3 turkeys and a ham.  Everyone pitched in to pay for them and then we all brought food to share.  There was plenty of food, and enough turkey to make a big pot of soup for another Senior dinner. I will include a picture of the dinner next week, after Elder McBride forwards it.  After dinner those who wanted to joined in one of our family traditions - the "Ricky Ticky Bear" game.  It's always a fun way to end the meal.  Ater the clean-up several people stayed after dinner and we played Canadian Fruit Salad, thanks to the Davis' who can remember the rules.  Boy, I am sure going to miss these wonderful senior missionaries who we have shared such great times with!
     The Hellesoe family invited us to dinner after church today.  We had a lovely visit and delicious food.  Jerry (middle front) is one of our primary kids.  We have attended Pesega 5th Ward for most of the time we have been here because it is an English speaking ward.  We are going to miss these dear ward members and our Primary class.  I talk to Bishop Pauga almost every week while I am working. He is over Facility Management for the mission home and some of the missionary housing.  I have appreciated him putting up with my endless requests.  Sister Pauga is the Primary music leader and is like the Energizer Bunny.  Just watching her makes me tired.  Next week is our last Sunday to attend this ward, and we will definitely miss these people! 
Flowers outside our front door
     My scripture for the week is again one of gratitude and praise, as I think about what an incredible experience this mission has been and what joy it has brought to us.  
D&C 136:28:
 28 If thou art merrypraise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.
     With Thanksgiving over, I am sure that Christmas parties and celebrations have already started.  Since we will be returning one week before Christmas, we are looking forward to a pretty low key Christmas with our family.  As I think back on past Christmas' it is not the gifts I remember, but the fun of being with family and friends, playing games, reading the Nativity story on Christmas Eve, and watching the children on Christmas morning. Make a point to watch for those around you who may not have family or friends close by, as I know this time is especially hard for them.  I send our love to all of you and wishes for a Merry Christmas Season.
Oute Alofa Mo Outou Uma Lava, Patty 

1 comment:

  1. Hard to believe your mission is almost over. You've left your mark. I'm glad to hear your work with women and girls will be continued. Looking forward to having you State-side again soon. Take good care and travel safely! Much love, Marleen