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