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