Saturday, July 30, 2011

The nineteenth month, memories of a wonderful mission

One of the first memorable occasions was a visit by Elder Cook of the Twelve, the Presiding Bishop and their wives, this is a group of us being photographed after a good lunch and some words of inspiration.

A typical, traditional fale, (house), living quarters used by the local population.
Size is dependant on the size of the family and the income.

Black Sand Beach, the sand is comprised of naturally ground volcanic rock of which the Islands are formed. Not all of the islands beaches are black, some are radiant white formed from the coral reef that surround the islands.

Palm trees surround the coast, they wave to the breezes that come in off the sea. These are Coconut palms that seem to fruit abundantly year round. The sea is turquoise, warm and feels so soft to the touch, rather like being wrapped in a soft warm blanket.

The Islands have several
waterfalls each as
beautiful as the last

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I'm so glad when daddy comes home......

Our parents are traveling home as I write this,one of the last posts on their mission blog.I can not believe their mission is complete, it seems like yesterday we were receiving the call and setting up this very blog.
We are so thrilled at the anticipation of their arrival, and so proud of the success they have achieved in this portion of their lives. We are grateful for the wonderful example they are to our children, as they save for their own missions and set off on their own adventures.
Our parents have always dreamt of having the opportunity to serve a full time mission for the Lord. As they arrive home from completing this life long dream we are excited to hear about their experiences and adventures.
We love you mom and dad
love your Kids and Grand Kids

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hi everyone,
how are you all? We are fine but very busy with sick and new Missionaries but that's OK because time does go by quickly,as you can imagine we are beginning to count down the weeks now.
How was Mothers Day?
We had a nice Primary program and the young women made us all corsages,they simply pick the flowers from anywhere and tie them together with thread,they came and pinned them onto all the moms,it was so nice.
On the Friday evening we had a dance,of course when we got there at the appointed hour there was hardly anyone there,just a few kids and our friend who is responsible for the the Stake music equipment, playing so loud that we could hear it a mile away,I think that was the idea,because before long people started to arrive,Dad and I had to sit at the head table along with the Stake and ward leaders.Evey one was dressed in their finery I had put on my PoliTusi dress but Dad was in his white shirt (the only one) because this was a Fia Fia (party) Samoans really know how to enjoy themselves,Dad was the Belle of the ball,and so many ladies both old and young asked him to dance,it was great I have a photo of him dancing with our oldest member, 86 year old,Sis Laticia Hunt.
The food was typically Samoan,all plated up complete with a fish with eye and TEETH sitting on top..
Have a great day Love to all Mom and Dad xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hi everyone

January 29th 2011
Samoa is sinking or that is how it feels. We have just had our 66th consecutive day of rain and to finish it off we had Cyclone Wilma circling around us for three days. For those on the North American continent that’s a hurricane in the southern hemisphere. I seem to remember explaining this same time last year. Well you know what they say “what comes around goes around “and this one sure did. It just went around and around us growing in intensity as it circled. A few years ago President Hinckley blessed Samoa that we would not get damaged by cyclones and so far we haven’t, just a lot of aftermath, wind and rain. It was almost like it wanted to run straight across us but couldn’t. Time is still going very quickly now, we only have five more months to go before we head back to Canada. It has been a wonderful experience that we will never forget. We would encourage everyone who is LDS to give it a try. Start saving now. If we can do it at seventy, for you it would be a snap. There is no age limit for us oldies and the experience is priceless.

We will try to attach some photos to this one so you can see as well as read what it is like here. One plus for having all the rain was we have gained a reflecting pool for the Temple. We caught a picture of the roadway flooded, actually our neighbour took it. One disappointment both of our latest papaya trees turned out to be males, the non fruit bearing variety so we chopped them down at the knees, maybe they will become transgender. We are still harvesting from the other papaya trees in our back yard. We changed times of our services in the New Year so we now start at 7 a.m. , before it really gets light. A couple of weeks ago the power was off so we carried on in the dark, reading the hymn books was a challenge, normally we would know the words but in Samoan we still need to read the words and the sentence form is different and each word has about a dozen meanings. We are still struggling with the language it will be nice to sing and hear sermons in English again.

We were at a baptism last night; the lady had a very bad speech impediment it must be very hard not being able to make yourself understood. She is such a sweet lady. We are holding a fireside tonight on physical and spiritual health and the 89th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants. We are incorporating the dental field too with a missionary who is a dentist back home. Like most developing countries the teeth and gums are the first things to be neglected. We are still enjoying working at the Samoa Apia Temple on Thursday evenings. Except for the Temple President, Patrick is the only palagi (white man) still working there. All the other palagi have completed their missions and gone home.

The statistics for last year were announced recently, the work is going well; we had eighteen hundred and twenty new converts baptized into the Church here in the Samoan Islands. It is beautiful to see how it affects people’s lives for the better, giving them purpose and direction, improving family relationships, teaching self sufficiency and building confidence, helping the family unit to strive for excellence. Youth who would normally leave school and work on the family plantation are now being encouraged to further their education at colleges both here and BYU Hawaii so that they can improve the situation in their homes financially, especially in having school loans forgiven if they return to live in Samoa. We would like to thank those who donate to the Perpetual and the Humanitarian funds. We see the practical results of your donations without any administrative costs being deducted it goes so much further.

We have been able to help a lady who has lost one leg and possibly may lose the other through diabetes. They live in a small open Fale in the middle of the Island. They live off what they can grow on their plantation (garden)and little else They have a beautiful little girl, ‘Seulepa’ who is about seven years old who doesn’t go to school yet because school is so far away and they have no transportation. We are trying to get a wheelchair for the rough terrain where they live and have taken casts for making prosthesis to send to Utah to be made up with the help of the Humanitarian fund. Your money is being put to good use. Well, time to sign off. Know that you are in our prayers and that we love you. Stay strong and fly straight keeping to that straight and narrow path.
Our love always

Elder & Sister, Pat and Barb, Mom and Dad xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

More news from the sundrenched shores of Samoa,

September 30th 2010

Talofa, 0 a mai oe, (Hello, how are you)

We have rather mixed bag of content to share with you this month, firstly the temperature is rising again, winter was short lived and the heat is back. Although we are told that temperatures have been higher than usual throughout the world this year our challenge is the humidity, with the sea spreading for thousands of miles all around us we should expect a bit of humidity. The month started off quietly which was most welcome allowing us to catch up with ourselves Elder Tuimauga came back from New Zealand after the surgery on his shoulder. You may remember he had a chronic condition where his shoulder kept dislocating; in the end we couldn’t reduce it without giving him a general anaesthetic. Well he is doing fine busy having physical therapy to increase his total range of movement. There was talk of sending him home to recuperate but he made so much fuss to stay that we gave in and he is very happy now even with six months of concentrated exercising ahead of him.
We spent an enjoyable evening at Vialema. It is now a museum but it was the house Robert Louis Stevenson lived in when he wrote most of his 138 classics like Jekyll and Hyde, Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe, Kidnapped, and many, many, more; anyway, we were invited to celebrate an annual event where we celebrated his life and works. Two gentlemen from the States who served their missions here in Samoa many years ago decided they would restore the old house and open it as a museum and they did a wonderful job. They are also the guys that were responsible for us enjoying The BYU television channel here on the Island via satellite. For which we are most grateful. Later in the month we climbed the mountain behind the Museum where RLS was buried. His grave overlooks Apia Harbour and all the luscious countryside around. It was quite a climb but well worth it, except as we got to the peak the sky opened up as it is apt to do here and we got drenched but it was all in a good cause, it was a fundraiser for a local family support group here in Apia.
Another benchmark for Samoa, the Prime Minister decided we need daylight saving time here, so this year for the first time ever we will be putting our clocks forward an hour. Yes we are just coming into spring so when you put your clocks back we go forward. It won’t make a scrap of difference here; when dawn comes at about 6a.m. and dusk at 6 p.m. except now it will be 7am & 7pm until April when it changes back. It will confuse the cockerel that’s all.
The biggest change in our lives is we have been transferred to another Ward (congregation) So we had to say goodbye to all our primary class children which was quite traumatic for all of us. They all sang the Samoan farewell song to us and there wasn’t a dry eye in the place. So we have changed from an English speaking ward to a totally Samoan speaking Ward and because we have been quite busy, we haven’t kept up with our learning of the language so now we smile a lot and haven’t a clue what is going on. Now we can empathize with the other senior missionaries who were with us in Provo during our two weeks training session and went to Greece, Italy, Peru, Brazil etc. etc. after two weeks language training, except we have forgotten what we learned nine months ago. We are praying heavily for inspiration right now. We have been called to help the less-active members with some of their challenges both temporally and spiritually as well as keep the clinic going during the day. We figured the Lord thought we were having too much fun teaching the kids and keeping the missionaries healthy so needs us to stretch a bit more.
We have two new senior couples here, the Dentist Elder Weber and his wife and Elder and Sister Merrell who looks after the Office, The Bells left after their eighteen month stint. We took the new couples up to Saniatau the School/Farm that was established over a hundred years ago as a sanctuary for people in the Church that were being persecuted and thrown out of their villages for joining the church It is situated inside a huge volcano in rich farmland. The Church is now changing it into a Bishops storehouse where they are training the local saints to farm with more productive methods and how to cook and use a variety of fruit and vegetables. They are also developing a new campsite and recreational area for families and youth groups to enjoy the outdoors.
We have been out nine months already, halfway through our mission. Time sure doesn’t stand still here, another nine months and we will be on our way home. We are looking forward to General Conference this weekend and YES we get an extra hour in bed. It doesn’t start until 6 a.m. instead of 5a.m. now we have put our clocks forward. Maybe the Prime Minister knew something after all. Being so far behind others in time still gets confusing. We are the last people to go to bed in the world before you cross the International Date Line going west and it becomes tomorrow already. We had some disturbing news last week, Reg, Barbs step dad who was 98 yesterday had a couple of mini strokes and isn’t doing too well, so we ask for your prayers on his behalf if you are so inclined. Thank you.
We went down to the fish market last Saturday morning to get our supplies of fish for the month Barb found a Lobster that looked more like a crawfish and a crab that surprisingly looked like a crab and a small shell fish that looks like a bug about three inches wide and four inches long, seeing is believing. We also bought a chunk of Masi Masi or Mahi Mahi in Hawaii and a three inch crosscut piece of albacore tuna about a foot in diameter. And a couple of Redsnapper. The colours of the fish are quite remarkable. There are still several species we haven’t tried yet. Nothing like the fish found in the Northern Hemisphere that is for sure. Promise not to leave it so long next time. Manuia le aso, tofa soifua (have a great day, Bye.)

Take good care of yourselves,

lots of love Pat and Barb Elder and Sister Kelly

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

As we approach the Christmas season, we are thinking of family and friends.
At this time of year we tend to get caught up in the craziness of the season, sometimes it is difficult to remember the “reason for the season”. Here in Samoa Christmas does not seem to be a flurry of buying and rushing around. So far we have seen very little in the way of decorations and advertising.

We have been busy making great fold up photo books for all the young Missionaries, of their time here in Samoa. They will be given out with other gifts to them at a Christmas party next week.
On Sunday evening we enjoyed a wonderful evening of Christmas music by the Samoan Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and a local Catholic choir. The MC was a well known Samoan singer, popular in the Pacific, Tapi Mariner, he was very entertaining and sang beautifully. It was a wonderful start to the season.

We have just enjoyed a visit with David, who stayed 10 days with us, leaving last week. We were able to take a few days off to visit Savaii a lovely Island a ferry ride away. It was lots of fun, Dave got to do some snorkeling; we stayed in a beach Fale at a little resort. They served “Umu” traditional food cooked on hot stones under Taro leaves, so that was another experience for him.
It was lovely to lie in bed and snuggle under our mosquito nets listening to the tide coming in over the beach, it reminded us of Nova Scotia and our years at Hubbard’s.

After Dave left we took a quick trip to American Samoa. We enjoyed visiting with some sweet friends who are going home from their Mission before Christmas. We stocked up on meat, cheese and some other goodies not available in Western Samoa, it reminded us of flying food into the Deer Lake Reserve in our Northern Canadian days. It was great to visit a “real” Dept. Store

David and Stephanie stocked us up with enough dark chocolate and herb tea bags to open a store ,I’m sure we will be well supplied until we leave here. David, Stephanie, Linea and baby Liam are doing fine, the two dogs are growing big, they are very protective of the family, and don’t seem to mind Linea lying on their backs.

Jon, Lindi and Jonathon(Jonny) are busy as usual with work, studying and opening their home to the local neighbourhood boys. Jon and his family were recently on a TV show,’ Canadian Hero’s,’ which Debbie Travis a sort of Canadian Martha Stuart produces on CBC. It can be seen on Debbie Travis’s blog at Windsor NS Jon was picked to be one of the people across Canada selected as a hero for their volunteer work in their communities.
Jon’s family are very involved with the youth in Windsor, the Show organizers sent Jon away for a week, while the Community fixed up their big back yard, it was lovely with BBQ outdoor kitchen , plants, a Gazebo etc.The Boy’s were a big part of the workforce, to us Jon has always been a hero.

Adrienne and Ian, are still running their Landscaping business, they keep busy with the children and Church activities, the kids are growing fast. Emma will be finishing High school next summer, then onto Collage we hope. Jonathon (JonBoy) is going to come to Samoa in the March, school break, along with one or both of his parents. He wants to visit New Zealand while he is here, we are looking forward to seeing them and have lots of fun things planned for him to do here.
The two younger boys Jared and Aaron are lots of fun and remain good buddies. They are all such lovely grandchildren we are very proud of them, and miss them while we are away from them all.

We keep busy and healthy; it is amazing that our health skills and our energy levels have remained intact for this sometimes challenging work.We love the Samoan people and Missionaries here.

We expect to spend a quiet Christmas, hopefully a more spiritual one. We wish you all the peace and joy that the birth of our Savior can bring into our lives.
As always our love to you all

Elder and Sister Kelly, Mom and Dad, Pat and Barb xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Thursday, July 22, 2010

In the News

Receiving Houses from Service Work after Tsunami

On Saturday the 23rd of January 2010, about 40 men from the Pesega 5th Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered together at Saleapaga, Lepa to build a house for Faato’ia Viiga’s family.

Faato’ia Viiga’s family was very concerned about building a house after everything was lost, including the life of a child, in the tsunami that hit on the 29th of September 2009. This is one out of 40 families for which houses have been built and prepared for by the LDS Church.

This group of Elders and High Priests gathered at 4am at Pesega for their trip to Saleapaga. Before departing, they were quickly divided into groups and instructed by those who had construction skills.

They diligently worked for the whole day, with only a short break for lunch. They leveled the foundation, set up poles, mixed and poured cement, and put up the tin roof. A job that usually would take a week or more to finish was completed in one day by this group of volunteers, which included many retirees.

Of the 40 houses that the LDS Church has planned to reconstruct in areas destroyed by the tsunami, 30 have either been completed or are currently under construction, with 10 left to go. Many of these houses were built by volunteer service by members of the church from different stakes and wards throughout Samoa, like this group of diligent men.

Despite the aches and pains from their service that day, they still felt blessed to have the opportunity to offer their services. When asked if they would do it again, their answer- without a delay- was an enthusiastic “Yes!”

Others who wanted to attend but couldn’t due to other circumstances, say that they do not want to miss the blessings of serving those in need.

Viiga’s family was very grateful and appreciative to the Church and the group of 40 priesthood holders for their new fale.