Sunday, April 11, 2010

#7. Sunday, March 28, 2010

As I was looking at the date today, I realized it has been one month since I started the last blog entry. It was spread over a couple of weeks, so I guess it’s been a couple of weeks since I posted the last one.

We manage to keep very busy these days, for which I’m grateful. I can get a little down and homesick still if I don’t keep myself moving in one direction or the other. I’m learning that I have a great deal of the responsibility to keep my spirits up myself by just keeping busy, talking positively to myself and lots and lots of prayer.

We spent three days over in Apia last week going to the temple, picking up more books and materials for our English classes, shopping for much needed things we can’t get on Savai’i, and spending some time with several other senior couples who work around the temple and mission home. They have a big gathering on family night two times a month and we’ve been able to time our trips to join them. There are probably about 20 couples over there, some who work with the mission, some who work at the Temple and others who are on CES missions and teach at the church schools. We really enjoy that association and I wish we could afford to go over more often. It costs about $190 Samoan talas (approximately $90 US) for the round trip ferry ride for the car and the driver, and then the passenger pays about $12 ST each way, so that’s another $24 ST (about $13 US). So each trip costs us over $100, which is more than we should spend if we want to go more than once a month. Dad would probably be just as happy to stay home (in Savai’i). The difference in the pace of life from Savaii to Apia is kind of like going from Wallsburg to Provo--lots more cars, people, noise, better shopping, etc. Now you know why he’s so happy here in Savai’I (and in Wallsburg for that matter). For me comparing this to Wallsburg is not quite the same. At least, in Wallsburg, I could hop in the car and be in town in 15 or 20 minutes if I needed some civilization. An example of how quiet this place is would be when you stop at the traffic light in Salelologa, about 3 miles around the island from us, you would know exactly where you were, even if you had been blindfolded before you stopped. The reason you’d know where you are is that there is only one traffic light on all of the Island of Savai’i and it’s there because it’s the road that comes up from the wharf, the only way to get cars onto the island. The houses are all close together along the beach road, especially as you move away from the Wharf road. As you go on around the island, they start thinning out until you have several miles between villages. I don’t mean to make this sound critical of this island. It is truly a beautiful, quiet and restful place and people come here from all over the world to get-away-from-it- all. Another amazing thing about this island, that you don’t find in the more heavily populated Samoan islands, is that you practically never see a policeman. There are some down by the wharf where the traffic is moving in and out, but crime is not really an issue over here.

This is a beautiful island, with even more beautiful and friendly people. Gratefully, there are more English speakers here than I expected, so that makes my lack of good Samoan a little easier to deal with. I am still studying the language a lot, but the problem with my bad ears gives me trouble. I can learn a phrase on paper and in my head, but when it comes out of the mouth of a native Samoan, it doesn’t sound like what I learned. I struggle even with the Native’s accented English. I hope my old brain will start tuning in to their language and accent sometime soon. All the elders, including John, tell me it will come in time. I hope they are right.

One of the beautiful spots we found on this island is a sparkling clear river that runs from high in the mountains and empties into the ocean down by the beach road. We had been attending a zone conference on around the island one morning, and someone suggested we stop at this river and take the little road that winds up toward the top. As we turned in and started up the road, there was a little fale with some men sitting inside who were collecting money from anyone who wanted to see the falls up the road. It cost us each $5.00 ST (about $2.25 US) and was well worth the expenditure.
As we started to follow the river up, we came across our first little waterfalls, four of them emptying into one large pool, and another just above it falling into the next pool. You can see all five in this first picture.

As we continued on up the river road, we passed several other small falls and pools, until we arrived at the end of the road where the largest waterfall emptied into a big open pool, just waiting for someone to dive into it. We don’t know what becomes of the river above that waterfall and if there are more falls above. We were at the end of the road and going any higher would require a pretty good hike, which we may attempt later. The pools looked so inviting, but unfortunately, we did not come prepared to swim that day and weren’t even sure if we were allowed to. After a session of sightseeing and picture-taking we went on down and asked the men in the little fale if swimming was permitted. They said it was, and so I expect we’ll give it a try on another one of our P-day excursions.

One of our favorite places for a P-day is at Aganoa Beach, where the snorkeling is just wonderful. Some of the places we’ve been, we have to get way out past the shore to find coral and other things to see. At this beach, once you’re in the water, you can swim about 15 ft from the shore and start to see the coral surrounded by all kinds of fish, starfish, sea cucumbers, etc. in just two to four feet of water, depending on the tide. If you guys are able to make the trip down here next year at the end of our mission, this is one of the first places we’ll bring you. We’ve actually talked about us all staying here for a couple of days in the little beach fales right along the beach. They’re open to the ocean and there are convenient bathrooms and showers right close by. There’s also a restaurant overlooking the ocean, where I took pictures of Elder and Sister Montgomery after we had finished snorkeling that day and we were waiting for our dinner to be served in the dining room.
The sun was just setting at the time, so naturally I had to get some shots of that spectacle. We’ve been here several times and will continue to come often because it’s only about a 20-30 minute drive, depending on how big a hurry we’re in.

We had another eye-opening experience last week before we went to Apia. We had received a quick call from Kelly telling us we needed to somehow give her permission to make reservations on our timeshares. She has full financial power of attorney, but since reservations were not mentioned in that document, we had to sign some more papers. We were at the internet café when we finally got her on skype while she had the timeshare company on the phone, but they would not accept us telling them over the phone to give Kelly authority. John made a quick run to the bank down the street to see if they had a fax machine and a notary, got the fax number and was told they could notarize it. We had Kelly fax the form to them and we went back over to the bank, where the form had arrived, and proceeded to sign it in front of the fellow who we thought was a notary. After we signed it, he didn’t seem to know what to do. We just showed him where he had to indicate his commission date, sign it and stamp it. He got a stamp out of the drawer and was starting to fix the date on the stamp when we realized that it wasn’t a notary seal and stamp. When we started asking specific questions as to whether or not he was a notary, he didn’t seem to have a clue what we were talking about. I don’t know what he thought John said when he asked him the first time. We tried to explain what a notary does and so he called his boss over in Apia (this is probably one of the largest businesses in Samoa and certainly the largest bank) but the boss said that they couldn’t notarize it either. The bank charged us $10 ST each for the two sheets they had received on their fax machine, about $8.00 U.S. total. We went back to the internet café, skyped Kelly and had her call the timeshare company and explain that we were in a very tiny country out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that didn’t do things the way they do in the U.S. We asked if maybe they would at least accept the faxed sheet with our signatures, the banker’s signature and their date stamp with their name on it to prove that we really signed it. They wouldn’t do it, but were willing to let Kelly make one reservation that day because they had heard us on the phone. Well, she wasn’t ready to make the reservations yet because we were going to let Michaila and Isaac use the timeshares for their honeymoons this summer and she hadn’t coordinated anything with them until she had the authority to make reservations. Well, we gave up on that and told Kelly that we were going over to Apia the next week and would try to get it done over there. Later in the week we found out from our minister friend that attorneys are the only ones who can notarize papers, and there probably wasn’t one on this island, so we just waited until we got to Apia.

Once we landed in Apia and went over to the Church school and mission home, we asked around at the Service Center, where they do all the business for the Church, and they told us there was an attorney in one of the local wards and how to find him. We called the attorney’s office and got some instructions, because they don’t really use addresses much over here (sounds kind of like Costa Rica, huh Macae?). Unfortunately, John didn’t understand the instructions as well as he thought and we ended up downtown asking a policeman (they do have those in Apia) to talk to the attorney’s secretary on the phone to clarify the instructions. He sent us quite a bit further back the other direction to another building we couldn’t find, so we called the attorney’s office again and were finally close enough to make our way to their office. When we got inside, we showed the secretary the papers, she looked them over and then asked us to sit and wait and she’d take them in to the attorney. We waited for a while and then she came out and apologized because she didn’t realize that her boss was not a notary. She made a couple of phone calls and sent us on another treasure hunt to another attorney’s office way beyond the parking lot, a left turn, down the alley, and it was on the second floor of that building. We actually went straight to it, even though we were wondering along the way if it was another wild goose chase. Once we got in there they had us sit and wait again, and when we finally got in to see the attorney, he was indeed a notary and was able to take care of notarizing the papers for us. Halleluiah!! Once that was finally done, we didn’t really care what it was going to cost. It was only $50 ST (about $20 U.S.) and they didn’t charge us a penny to fax them back to the States. Halleluiah Again!!! All in all we probably spent a half day in Savai’i on this problem and another half day in Apia, but we learned a lot, as usual.

We had three very busy days in Apia and after taking the ferry back across to Savai’i had another couple of heavy days ahead. As soon as we got off the ferry about 5:30 p.m., we had to race home, unload a very loaded car, grab a quick bite to eat and meet some kids at the church at 7:00 to help with English homework. We were scheduled to have a district meeting at our house the next morning and had invited 12 elders to stay for lunch after. At the time we asked them for lunch, we didn’t really think about the challenge of fixing that much food in our little tiny kitchen, with our four pans, four plates, four cups, four forks, four knives, three spoons, etc. Also, we got all of the vegetables ready the night before, after the homework session, and realized that by the time we loaded all the food we had brought back from Apia into our tiny refrigerator, there’d be no room for lunch prep food the next morning. Fortunately we keep a nice big Styrofoam cooler that we had filled with ice bottles to bring food back from Apia in, and we were able to keep a lot of that food in the cooler until after the lunch was over the next day.

We were also planning to make a cold punch, but realized we had no ice and didn’t want to use all our precious cold bottled water from the cooler to quench the dry throats of 12 thirsty elders and we certainly wouldn’t have room in the fridge for two half-gallon pitchers of water for cold punch. (you also can’t just go anywhere and buy a bag of ice around here. Nowhere, in fact.) So our solution to the ice problem, was to fill four empty plastic ice cream cartons (measuring about 8”x 8” x 4”) and put them in the freezer over night. Now that doesn’t sound too hard until you realize that you have to boil any water that you drink or make ice with, and that would mean putting four cartons of very hot water directly into the freezer, if we wanted ice the next morning. So we boiled the water, in a nifty little automatic teapot that has about 1-1/2 quarts of water boiling in about two minutes. We did that four times, filled the sink with cold water and let the cartons of boiled water sit in the sink until that water got warm, and then filled the sink with cold water again. We had to do that about three times before the cartons were cooled enough to put into the freezer before we went to bed. That may sound like a waste of water, but we don’t pay for water and there is an unlimited supply falling out of the sky almost every day or two around here, held in big cisterns to use in the house. Not pure water, of course, but good enough for showers, dishwashing and filling teapots. Our hot water for the shower and the kitchen sink is heated by propane canisters, which are rather pricey to refill, so we only use it for showers. When we do dishes, we just fill the teapot, turn it on for a couple of minutes and add boiling water to the cold soapy water we have in the dishpan and we’re ready to go. Talk about pioneers huh? My three favorite appliances are the teapot, the microwave, and the slow cooker we just bought in Apia last week. We have a nice little apartment-sized gas stove, but not only does is cost a lot for the gas, but it heats up the apartment when we use it, so we do most of our cooking in the microwave, and now the slow cooker. We don’t have to pay for the electricity so it saves money that way too. We had to pay through the nose for those little appliances, but they’ve been well worth the price in convenience, a cooler apartment, and saving money in other ways. The slow cooker will be great when we have to be gone a lot during the day and can have dinner ready when we get home. We used it the first time the night we were fixing lunch for the elders. We put chicken legs in to stew right when we went to bed, and they were ready to bone out for our stir-fry for lunch the next day. We were able to make the stir-fry work in the slow cooker and the one big pan we own, but didn’t have anything to cook the rice in, so we borrowed a big pot from the hotel.

On top of everything else we had to do to be ready for that lunch, we were in charge of the lesson for that meeting. I’m not sure how we got ourselves into that much trouble, but we did nevertheless. We kind of did a cop-out lesson though. We talked about music to go with the missionary lessons and asked each companionship to find a song to sing to go with a specific lesson. I taught a quick conducting demonstration, using chalk to draw the conducting patterns on our painted wall, and then turned the time over to John and the elders to finish the lesson, while I put the finishing touches on lunch. Once all the elders had sung their songs and the lesson was over, and the elders did their weekly reporting on all their visits, etc., lunch was pretty well ready. It all seemed to work out just fine. The sesame-chicken stir-fry was actually pretty good, in spite of the rice being a little sticky, and made a pretty good one-dish meal. We had found a big carton of Tang over in Apia and added fresh lemon and lime juice to the cold water and ice out of the ice cream cartons in the freezer and went through almost three gallons of punch. We were going to serve them ice cream, but there was absolutely no room in our freezer, so we splurged and took them over to the hotel veranda for a bowl of ice cream and a view of the ocean. It actually only cost us about $65 ST ($25 U.S.) for 13 of us and we didn’t have to buy ice cream, paper bowls, spoons and napkins ourselves. It was a nice finish for our district meeting and lunch. We ended up with an odd number of elders, because the zone leader had a newly baptized young man with him, who had just joined the church and was disowned by his parents for doing it. He’s about 20 years old and is now staying with a member family and the elders keep him busy doing missionary work with them. He’s dressed in a nice white shirt and tie and is wearing a 2nd missionary badge from one of the elders. He just loves the elders and what they do and really wants to go on a mission himself. At the end of the meeting, he bore his testimony and hopes his parents will someday understand why he joined the church and be willing to take him back into the family. I was really touched by his strong spirit.

Waiting for ice cream at the hotel.

Still waiting for ice cream!

It was a great day, but I told the zone leader after that if we fixed lunch again for them, we’d better do it in one of the local ward kitchens where they have dishes, pots and pans, a nice stove and a large refrigerator. It turned out really well at home, but not without a lot of blood, sweat and tears and very little sleep on our part. Once the elders left about 1:00 p.m., we still had to clean up all the pots, pans and silverware, find places in the fridge and freezer for leftovers and the food that was still in the Styrofoam cooler, return the borrowed pot and some chairs to the hotel and then crash for a little while until our 5:00 p.m. English class. Gratefully, we had leftover stir-fry for dinner and went to bed early, because the next morning we had appointments to go on splits with two ward missionaries to visit several inactive members. (‘Splits’ is a word used by missionaries, who always work with a companion. Sometimes they trade companions for awhile and call that splits. Other times they split up and each work with a non-missionary member. On our splits, John went with the Ward Mission leader and I was going to go with a young woman, a ward missionary, who looks to be about 22 and thankfully speaks pretty good English. Unfortunately, she called the night before to let me know that she was going to have to go to the doctor that morning, but she would call me when she was finished and we could go then. I figured I’d just go to the church and wait there until she got there.

When we got to the church the next morning, John’s companion wasn’t there either. We called him on his cell phone and he was on his way but was walking and lived a long way from the church. John left me at the church to wait for my companion and took the car to pick up his. They just went on to their visits and I found a comfortable place in the church to kill time until I heard from my companion. I found the Relief Society room open, and it was the perfect place to wait. It has louvred windows on 3 sides and four ceiling fans in the room. Also, there is a keyboard piano in there, so I spent some of my time working on some music I’ve been writing. I had my laptop, so the rest of the time I spent working on this blog entry. John came back after about two hours and I still hadn’t heard from Lotu (my comp.) We called her on her cell and found she still hadn’t finished with the doctor, so we made plans to go the next morning.

JOHN: I went with a young man named Fatu to visit some inactive members. We found some people who said they just stopped coming to meetings because they lived too far away; one lady said she married a man of another faith and he insisted they go to his church; some quit coming because they smoked and felt that made them unworthy, etc.--probably the same reasons we might hear back home. We did meet one young mother who said she would like to come to church with us, and we told her we would come by and pick her up Sunday morning, which we did. We’re not even sure she is a member, but we will go back to talk to her later. (it turns out she is a member and not only went to church with us that first day, but went to conference with us the next week. It’s nice to have a little success story. Now if only we could interest her non-member husband).

That same Sunday I gave one of the talks in that ward, and I told the story from the Pearl of Great Price about Moses’ confrontation with Satan and how he cast Satan out. I told how the scripture tells that Moses wrote the story, but that because of wickedness it was not had among the children of men. Then I asked what that wickedness was, and then answered it by referring to Nephi’s vision about the plain and precious things that would be taken out of the Jewish record (bible). I pointed out that Moses wrote the first 5 books of the old testament, but this story is not found there. It’s obvious that Moses didn’t forget to write it and that undoubtedly it was Satan who inspired some early compiler of the history to delete that story telling about how he was beaten by a mere man, Moses. I mentioned several other plain and precious doctrines that are not clear in the bible, but are very clear in the Book of Mormon.

KAREN: John did really well on his talk. Even though I couldn’t understand most of the language, I knew what it was about and picked up familiar words here and there. He was so well prepared, as he always is when he speaks in church, that he hardly had to look at his notes. The congregation seemed enthralled as he was talking, and many congratulated him after the meeting. I wish I was a better companion for him. He has to carry a big part of the load for both of us and keep translating for me. He’s very patient though, as you all know. He’s had several opportunities to go with elders to visit some of their investigators (without me) and had a wonderful time. One day we arranged splits with one set of elders. I went to the church with one elder to give a lesson to a young woman who is being baptized next week, and John went out proscelyting on foot with the other elder. They trudged around in the heat, got rained on, were told NO several times and YES a couple of times. He just loved it. Unfortunately our appointment with the young lady fell through. She had apparently tried to call the elders the night before, but called after they’d gone to bed. He didn’t recognize the number when he saw it the next morning because she’d called on someone else’s phone, and she didn’t leave a message. So my first split with an elder was a bust. We had plenty to do that day though, because we had an appointment with both elders that night to do a family home evening with an inactive single mother and her kids. The elder had found out that another of their investigators had lost his mother that morning and that at least one of the elders with a companion needed to show up at the memorial that night, at the same time as our family home evening visit. So we contacted another set of elders at the other end of the zone to come and go on splits with them. Since I had the car that day, the elder and I took a trip on around the island to pick up the other set of elders. One of these elders went with us to the family home evening and the other went with our elder’s companion to the memorial. So I played chauffeur for a good part of the day. I find those practical things are what I seem to be best at on this mission—things like missionary haircuts, dispensing meds for the elders, English homework, food for the elders, not to mention keeping my own elder fed and dressed in clean clothes. I have been compared to Martha, of Mary and Martha fame in the bible, because I’m the one always worrying about keeping people fed and cared for, instead of cultivating my own spiritual nature. One conference talk this week was just for me, when he said that Martha was much misjudged and probably showed the most faith after her brother Lazurus had died and she was sure the Savior could have kept him alive. Maybe the Marthas are okay after all. People must be cared for and fed, taught to speak English, chauffeured to important places, have their hair cut and their laundry done. Maybe that’s what my mission is about, so that John can be here and supported in his mission and….. maybe that’s okay.

Actually, I’m going to slip in another little laundry story here, since I’m a Martha and we’re talking about practical things. You thought I was all through with Laundry Tales, didn’t you? NOT!!! When we moved here to the little house on the hotel grounds, we were given permission to use the laundry room in another little building about 20 ft away from our house. The washer works fine and so does the dryer, or I should say “so did the dryer”. We only used the dryer about once a week to do John’s white shirts, so that I don’t have to iron them. They charge extra to use the dryer, so I usually hang most of our clothes. He goes through 7 or 8 shirts a week, so that’s a big deal. The only problem is that we kind of have to work our schedule around the hotel laundress’s schedule, because she does laundry for the hotel every day and has the key to the laundry room. At first we were able to work with her and get things done, but she seems to be making it harder and harder for us. We think that she feels we are trespassing on her domain, and she’s going to let us know who’s boss. She doesn’t speak much English, so I have to let John deal with her. He thinks she speaks more English than she’s letting on. She’s supposed to let us know when the washer is free, but doesn’t always do it and then ends up going home and taking the key. We’ve asked the manager if we could get our own key, but they said they’d try to find one for us as soon as they could. We didn’t want to bug them about it, but it finally got so that we had practically no clean underwear left. When we asked about it again, they said that the laundress had lost her key, the only key, and now they were having to take a screw driver to the hasp each time someone wanted to get in. I think they must have given her a bad time about it, because she was even more of a grouch after that. Knowing we were on our way over to Apia, we suggested that we’d buy a new lock with three keys, but they were sure they’d find theirs. Well, by the time we got back, they were still taking the hasp off with a screw-driver, so we decided that we’d just wait until after Tupe, the laundress, left for the day and we’d use our screw driver and get in to do our washing. Unfortunately, we had an English class that kept us until after dark, so we used our little lantern (part of our survival stuff for power outages) to open the hasp and get in. When we got in, we couldn’t find the light switch, but the lantern was enough to get the laundry going. When I went back to move the shirts to the dryer, I couldn’t get it to work this time. John checked the circuit breaker, but couldn’t get it to flip on and stay on. So we pulled the shirts out of the dryer and hung them on hangers, hoping the dryer would be fixed and I could get in the next day and stick them in with a wet towel so I wouldn‘t have to iron them. Just as we were trying to screw the hasp back in place, the night watchman came by to see what was going on. His wife, who works at the hotel, was with him and told him we were okay. When we asked her about the dryer, she stepped in, moved a cupboard forward a little and turned the light on (aha, so that’s where they hide the lightswitch). She tried to flip the breaker too, but had no luck, so we just gave up. Once they were gone and we were screwing the hasp on one last time, another car’s headlights flashed on us and someone asked if we were okay. It was another woman who works for the hotel and her husband had just come to pick her up and they wondered what was going on at the laundry house that time of night. When she saw it was us, she just wished us good night and left us to finish the job. The first thing John did the next morning was go into town and gratefully found a new lock with three keys. We took them over to the owner, got the key that they had finally found, unlocked the old lock, took it back over to the hotel, picked up the new lock and our own key, and now we can get into the washhouse whenever we want, as long as Tupe is finished and gone home, that is. The only problem is that the dryer still doesn’t work, but we thought we’d wait a few days to ask about it again. So, I’ve started ironing shirts again for awhile. John insists I don’t need to, but they do come out of the washer pretty wrinkled. I just do one per day, though, and hope the dryer problem will be resolved soon. They certainly need it for the hotel laundry, especially when it rains and they can’t use the clotheslines. I don’t know if I told you this before, but we don’t use the hotel clotheslines, because we never know when it’s going to rain and we’re gone a lot and wouldn’t be home to rescue the clothes in a storm. When we set up our bedroom, we walled off one end with a big curtain and put up clotheslines behind it, and that’s where our clothes get dried that don’t go into the dryer. (what dryer??) We’re actually on better terms now with Tupe. We just kind of stay out of her way while she’s here working and we’ve given her a ride home a few times and kept her from a long walk in the sun. It also turns out that one of her nieces is taking our English class in Fusi.

Just one other little note about something John is doing that he just couldn’t leave behind in Wallsburg. He has planted a tiny little garden behind our house. At first he planted tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. They were all doing pretty well, until one morning he went out and found the tomatoes and peppers gone. Apparently the chickens who run loose all over the neighborhood had scratched them out. They apparently didn’t care for the cucumbers, so they were okay. The next day we went to the hardware store and picked up some wire mesh to protect the new tomato and pepper plants.
As usual, everyday John goes out and weeds and talks to his plants in his 12 sq. ft. garden. He’s determined to have some tomato sandwiches before we leave here.

JOHN: The other day the Zone leader called and asked if I would go with him and his companion to visit a remote village on this island called Tafua where the elders have been forbidden to teach for years. We went there, and had a member of our church go in ahead to a chief to ask for a meeting with all the chiefs. We were told that he refused to make a decision by himself, so we went to the pulenuu (mayor) who met with us and said he would help us get an audience with the chiefs. A date was set, and we went in for a visit. There were three of us palagi (white) elders and about 20 chiefs, including the pulenuu. After the usual introductions we told them we would like to teach their children English, especially the pre-schoolers. We said nothing about visiting families for a gospel message. They were very quick to say that they already had two teachers, the local ministers who were there in the meeting, and that they didn’t need any more. I explained that we were very good teachers, and that it would be free, and that we were doing it very successfully in two other villages. I felt like saying that I know how poor the English is of the local school teachers, and how we had encountered many examples of their incompetence in the homework assignments we read each week, and how they were giving up a great opportunity for their children, etc., but I held my tongue. The district leader, Elder Mangakahia told them how disappointed he was in their narrow-minded decision, and we left. He also reminded them that it is against the law to restrict religion in any way in a Samoan village. We left, happy to still be alive, but greatly disappointed for the village, and for the members of our church who live there.

KAREN: You may have noticed in the pictures of the elders in our apartment that we finally have some things finished as far as decorating is concerned. We can’t take any credit for the large turquoise, royal blue, lime green and white curtains. The hotel had those made and hung for us. I like them fine and they actually go fairly well with the light blue paint, and the aqua and light blue floor tile. I knew they were planning to cover the cushions on the wood-frame furniture, but had no idea what to expect, because I was told it was a small print with blue, green and white in it. The decorator in me could envision all sorts of things, after having seen many Samoan fales decorated with several large prints that didn’t necessarily coordinate with each other (not at all to be honest). The Samoans just love a lot of color, as evidenced by the gaily painted houses and fales. The interiors are no different. I decided it didn’t really matter what they put on the cushions. We’ll just be totally fa’aSamoa like everyone else. When the cushions finally came, they were a smaller print than the large one on the windows, they did have a royal blue background with white flowers, but no turquoise and the green leaves were a very yellow green instead of the lime green of the big print and the aqua green on the floor. I’ve been looking around for some other fabric that might tie all of that together, but didn’t have much luck here in Savai’I, so I figured I’d just wait until we went shopping in Apia where there is an unlimited supply of every conceivable tropical print and a multitude of colors. I was sure I could come up with something because everything we had already was pretty much in the blue and green family. Then to complicate matters, we went to visit our LMS minister friend and his wife one evening right before we went to Apia and they presented us with two large Samoan hand-woven mats for our floors. One for the living room and one for the bedroom. They’re both about 6 x 7 ft. The one worked fine in the living room, but the other was too large for the bedroom, because we had made the bedroom much smaller in order to wall off the one end for our laundry-hanging space. There was actually plenty of room in the living room for both mats the way we had the furniture arranged, so that’s where they sit. The problem with finding a fabric to tie the room together was now complicated by the one mat which is decorated all over the tan weaving with a plum-colored crisscross design. That mat is also trimmed around the outside with yarn fringe in bright red, dark green and white. The other mat is just plain tan weaving, but it is surrounded by a bright orange and pink yarn fringe. As you can see in the pictures, these mats sit about three feet apart, but are divided by the wooden sofa. As you can also see in the pictures, I did find one print in Apia that has red, pink, green, blue, turquoise, and several other colors. I figured that as long as we were going fa’aSamoa, we’d go all the way. At least the newer pillows pull the red/orange/pink up from the floor and distribute it around a little. I think I’m done now and can forget any more decorating. In the bedroom, where we have the same large print on the windows, we just added the royal blue curtain to section off the laundry area and that’s going to be it. We were able to find several light blue sheets and assorted blue pillow cases for the bed in the bedroom and the daybed in the living room. There is a place in Apia that has all second-hand stuff, so we saved a bundle on the linens. We’re pretty much all through fixing up and furnishing our apartment. It took quite a bit of time and money at first, but now we can forget about it and go about the business of being missionaries.

I’m going to put this blog segment (and me) to bed now. It’s late and we want to get this sent off first thing in the morning when we go up to Vaiola for a skyping session with the family. Hopefully there’ll be no power outages, tsunami threats or Easter Vacations to shut down all the internet on the Island and we’ll actually be able to keep our internet and skyping appointment this time.

Thanks for all your interest and emails. We just love hearing from you. It makes us feel closer to home.

With love from Elder and Sister Krogh


gaylendick said...

Wow! You are going to have quite a journal when you get home! It's really fun to see the scenery--waterfalls, sunsets, greenery, etc. And I love your little house. It actually looks a lot bigger than it did when it was under construction.
It's also fun to hear of your adventures. I think you are right, Karen, about being a Martha. I always felt sad about that story myself because I thought somebody had to cook! I loved the Conference talk that gave Martha more credit.
What would the Savior eat if there weren't a Martha to fix it? And what would the Elder's eat (especially Elder Krogh) if "Martha" didn't fix it. Maybe this Mission is turning out differently than you expected, but you didn't really know what the Lord had in mind for you when he sent you there. It sounds like you are finally figuring out what his will is; and you are certainly doing a lot of good! Those English classes and Homework sessions have got to be a real blessing in the lives of the people! You are in our prayers.
Love you Both!

Tracy said...

How about some pictures of your classes using the readers that we sent? We love your accounts of the islands and missionary life; not quite like our experience in British Columbia, Canada, but certainly a learning experience. You are so blessed to be there.
Love, Tracy & Glenna Wilson

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