We are sharing this letter to let everyone know how much we are enjoying ourselves serving our mission in the Samoa Apia Mission a small island down in the South Pacific, alongside the Date Line where day changes into Sunday at the blink of an eye
We are writing this email to all our friends in the church whose children have left home to start up their own lives. Those who have reached the stage we used to call the empty nest syndrome. Where life is easy, retirement has made us ready to be put out to pasture. After spending all that time working and bringing up families. Of all the frustrations and joys, the sad times and the happy times. Now is the time to relax and vegetate. Boy do we have news for you!
We reached that state a while ago, then the Lord through different people urged us to think about serving a mission. For different reasons
we felt we couldn’t do it. Sister Kelly’s father who is 96 years old and is still living in England, so of course we had to look after him. We couldn’t afford it because we had lost money when the financial market fell. We had to be around for our grandchildren’s baptism which was coming soon and a new baby is due in March. Who would look after our house while we were away. We had all the excuses you could think of. We have both had cancer recently, so what if we became sick again. Even who would look after our garden that we had worked on for so long to get into shape.
We now are on our mission in Samoa and feeling wonderful and guilty. We are enjoying ourselves so much we feel guilty. We thought of all the sacrifices we would have to make all the changes in life style, be out of our comfort zone. Brothers and Sisters, yes it is a sacrifice but a good one, but a beautiful one. We feel rejuvenated, we are doing something worthwhile, we are appreciated, and we are loved. The balance is tilted all one way in our favour . Yes we went to the Lord and He promised us everything and we have everything. As always The Lord came through with His promise. We are so grateful to be on a mission we enjoy every day that comes, in fact the time is going so fast we are trying to slow it down. We don’t want it to end too quickly. Yes we miss the hugs from our kids and grand kids but we can email them anytime we like and on Skype we can see them and talk with them at no cost. In fact they are so excited that we are serving a mission it makes it more worthwhile.
The Missionary Training Centre experience was awesome to use a popular word, it really was. We are still in touch with a lot of the people that we were training with, using email . They are serving in Italy, Peru, South Africa, Brazil, Greece and Cyprus, Arizona, Missouri, even in our home mission in The Toronto West Mission. The Teachers and Administrators at the MTC were wonderful, helping us every step of the way. It was a very uplifting experience Even the food was good and all you could eat.
In Samoa we are working with Senior Missionaries who are working in Church Education, Public Affairs, One couple is taking care of a local farm run by the Church, one couple takes care of all the Fales (Housing) and cars and bicycles. And one runs the Mission Office, There are Temple Missionaries, Member Support Missionaries who assist in the Wards and Branches. The Missionary who went to Cyprus was made Branch President of one of the branches in his area and is loving it. Some folks we met in the MTC are Area Medical Advisors and others are helping in Family History libraries. The Lord uses us in whatever area he feels we are best suited and every one that we are in touch with all say how much they are enjoying life and it was the best decision they could have made.
We do not live by the strict rules that the young missionaries live by. Being more mature we are expected to rule ourselves. We have a comfortable apartment, furnished, we even have a T.V. supplied. Barbara is busy sewing curtains and cushion covers to make our dwelling more homely. I have dug a little garden for herbs and flowers and salad type veggies. We also go out with the other seniors shopping and having meals at local restaurants in the evenings. Some of the seniors enjoy snorkelling over the beds of coral and we enjoy walking along the beautiful beaches collecting pieces of coral and seashells. Patrick with other priesthood holders in the Ward we belong to, have been building houses along the coast for the folks who lost their homes in the recent tsunami and have another four to build, it is hard work but really worthwhile The people are still living in tents until we can finish the houses. The Church has promised to build forty new houses for those who are now homeless because of the earthquake and tsunami. We feel we are really making a difference. Every Monday evening, we get together with all the other seniors and have Family Home Evening with refreshments, of course. Often it is a full pot luck meal and great fun as well as being very spiritual.
We have also been called as Temple workers as we are lucky to be living very close to the Samoa Apia Temple. Just one shift a week. Our Samoan isn’t good enough yet to do sessions in the local language, Thursday is for English sessions. Senior Missionaries do not proselyte unless we choose to, during our own time. We have been given three home teaching families to take care of and have a calling in Primary which we love, the kids are seven year olds and almost ready for baptism.
The Lord has blessed us with good health and more energy than we had before. Our minds seem to be sharper and we are experiencing spiritual blessing we would not have had if we had stayed home. We have enjoyed new cultural experiences and wonderful travel opportunities. We have met so many wonderful people and are truly uplifted in mind and body.
We would urge each of you to consider serving the Lord and enjoy the blessing we have to enrich your lives by putting your faith in Him. If you have the desire He will enable you to make it happen. You all have so much love, wisdom and life experiences to offer in His service.
We send you all our love and best wishes.
Elder and Sister Kelly