Monday, July 30, 2012

Back in Tutuila

There have been some challenges this week and some good things.  We welcomed 3 new couples to the mission, the Spencers, the Budgetts and the Jordans.  We were responsible for picking up the Jordan's since President Leota and the assistants were in Savaii.  I checked the Internet at midnight and found out their plane was arriving in 7 minutes. So we picked up Sister Leota and Elder and Sister Harker and off we went. Fortunately, it takes awhile to clear customs and so they only had to wait 15 or 20 minutes for us.

Saturday morning we went to the temple with the Jordan's and Harker's and Sister Leota. Saturday night we went to a welcome dinner. Sunday morning we got on the airplane and flew with the Jordan's to Tutuila to show them around and help them get settled since they are assigned to serve here.  We arrived on Saturday afternoon. So we ended up having 2 Saturday nights this week, 1 Sunday night and no Monday night since we leave tomorrow afternoon, Monday, and arrive home on Tuesday afternoon.

Today we went to Church in the International ward. Elder Halleck and his wife were there.  He is a native of American Samoa and has a home here.  They have been here all month since July is the month the General Authorities take their vacations.
I didn't  break it

This afternoon we took a ride down to the east end of the island so we could see the island of Aunu'u which is where missionaries first landed in 1888 and officially began preaching the gospel in Samoa. There are missionaries currently serving on Aunu'u.
The island of Aunu'u

There is another island about 80 miles east of where we were called Manu'a.  In the early 1900's, a local missionary named Opapo Fonoimoana visited Manu'a with 2 missionaries from America.  The king of the island told his people that if anyone helped the missionaries or listened to them they would be stoned. So the missionaries lived in holes on the beach and took turns arranging leaves on top of the others to protect them from mosquito's.  The one arranging the leaves did the best they could to cover himself but usually ended up with several mosquito bites during the night. They lived off of coconuts they found on the beach. One day they awoke to the smell of freshly baked bread that had been left in a basket near their holes. They were most grateful for this food. Later on the elderly widow who left them the bread, gave them additional food and told them if  she died because she helped them she didn't care. Eventually the missionaries gave up and prepared to leave the island. Opapo and his companion, Elisala, spoke directly to the king, warning him that he and his people would feel the wrath and power of God if they did not repent. As they left the village to board the long boat to leave Opapo paused and dusted off his feet  as a witness against the people of  the island. A couple of weeks later a devastating hurricane  struck  the island, killing many, destroying all of the above ground crops, and leveling every house except one--the fale  in which lived the elderly widow who had helped the missionaries.

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