Saturday, May 19, 2012


This week we sent a group of 16 missionaries home which included 1 couple.  12 returned to the United States, 1 to Australia and the remaining returned home to Savaii, the largest of the Samoan islands.  It was my honor to drive the 3 that were going home to Savaii to the wharf so they could catch the ferry to return home on Thursday morning.

Of course with that may missionaries returning home we had transfers this week.  I'm getting a little better about handling the logistics.  We had to fly 8 missionaries from American Samoa to Western Samoa, 4 that were returning home and 4 that were being transferred.   The plane only holds 15 so you have to reserve ahead if you want to get a large party on the same flight.  Funny, the 4 that were going home made their flight. The 4 that were being transferred missed their's.  Said they got busy telling people good bye and lost track of the time.  But everyone is now in their new areas and so life is back to normal.

NUS Fale

Saturday Kathy and I took a rather long drive around the island.  We started by driving by the National University of Samoa (NUS).  One of our senior couples teaches institute there.  We went out to dinner with them on Friday night for pizza and they showed us the campus afterwards.  It was dark by the time we finished dinner so we went back on Saturday. This is a picture of their Fale, which is a Samoan meeting place.  There is a Fale in each village where the village elders meet to decide what to do. One of the concerns in Samoa is the Maitai form of government.  It is felt by some that the Maitai traditions are holding Samoa back.  A large government conference was recently held in this fale to discuss the future of Samoa.  Elder Hamula, the President of the Pacific area was one of the speakers.  I don't know if anything was decided at the conference.

Falefa Falls
After our visit to NUS we continued around the island. We stopped and took a picture of this waterfall.  It's called Falefa falls. If you go across the bridge you can walk down some steps to view the falls for 5 tala.  We stopped once before and since I didn't have 5 tala and the kid was charging the money didn't have change we didn't do it. I still didn't have 5 tala in change so I took this picture from the road. I'm not sure about the economics of tourism here. People sit at various "tourist" spots around the island and try to collect money.

10 Tala Beach
We stopped on the other side of the island and Kathy went wading.  It was a beautiful area.  I was going to go wading too but then the Maitai sent one of the village boys to collect 10 tala from us.  Since we didn't plan to stay I gave him 5 tala and we continued on our journey around the island. It's interesting the waves break out on the reefs so the water right be the beach is very calm.  There are few places where there is no reef and the waves come all the way into the beach.

I was impressed President Uchtdorf's talk at the April Priesthood session and used this as a spiritual thought for our meeting on Friday:

We must not allow the doctrines of the priesthood to lie dormant in our hearts and unapplied in our lives. If there is a marriage or family in need of rescue—perhaps even our own—let’s not just wait and see. Rather, let us thank God for the plan of happiness that includes faith, repentance, forgiveness, and new beginnings. Applying priesthood doctrine will qualify us as husbands, as fathers, as sons who understand the why of the priesthood and its power to recapture and secure the beauty and holiness of eternal families.

General conference is always a good time for both hearing and doing. Therefore, let us “be … doers of the word, and not hearers only."

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