Friday, September 15, 2006

Ofu - (Part 3 - Sunday)

On Sunday we woke up not knowing whether we could make it to church or not. Church was on the opposite island, the two being connected by a bridge. But to get there, we had to take a vehicle. Thankfully, Marge (the owner of the hotel) let us rent her truck for $10.00 an hour (not bad)! It was a stick shift, so Jessi drove. Jaydn provided a big yawn.

The water at the bridge is clearer than a swimming pool:

Jessi hadn't driven a stick for a while, but she still did better than I would have (I've NEVER driven a stick!). At one point, we had to go up a steep hill, and we stalled a few times. But we eventually made it over.

Olesega (the island that church was on), was about as far away from normal life as we've been. The streets were sand, so it seemed like everything was just built on the beach. And, like I've said before, it was SMALL (probably a little like Milo, Idaho feels, but on an island).

Church was wonderful! It was run by the missionaries there--Elder Christensen from Utah and Elder Butterworth from Australia. They conducted the whole meeting(s) in Samoan, and since it was testimony meeting, they asked Jessi and I to bear our testimonies. We did, in English, and most of the people there understood a little English so it worked OK. It was a powerful meeting, even though it was in a different language.
The missionaries lived in the basement of the home of their only member. That home was owned by the preacher of the L.M.S. church--no joke--the London Missionary Society. This church was one of the first to introduce Christianity to Samoa. Not only that, but their member was the preacher's son. But the preacher didn't mind. He has a very open-minded view of Christiantity. Were that everyone did. He was even helping the missionaries build their first home on the island.

The missionaries had just baptized their first member a few months before. He was there, along with his wife and kids, and a group of about 10 other people. But only one member!

Would you get frustrated? I know I was frustrated at times when we would come together for church meetings in Samchuk, South Korea, and we'd only have 4 people there--the missionaries, a sister, and the bishop. Once, I remember the sister walking out of sacrament meeting in tears because she didn't know how to get the branch going. I felt the same way.

But the feeling was different here. There was optimism in the missionaries' eyes. There was happiness in the eyes of those in attendance. It was a good feeling that I'll never forget. Afterward, we all took a group picture.

What an incredible story Jaydn has to tell his friends. Apparently, he says that all the kids were trying out their English on him in sunday school. He didn't mind.

We made our way back, driving in the rain. I felt bad when I saw that everyone in the congregation had walked home in the rain. I could have provided them with a ride. But I guess I felt bad too late.

We got back to the lodge, played games, read books, watched movies, and had an incredible dinner cooked by the lodge (they made breakfast, lunch and dinner for us for $20 a person, mostly because if we don't eat with them, we won't eat! There's nowhere else to eat.) The staff of the hotel (just a family living on the island) hung out with us and we enjoyed their company. They felt like family.

That night, we walked to the end of the runway, with the understanding that the plane only comes once every day or so. It was really nice at the end, on the beach. You can see our family picture we took there if you look at the first picture on the very first blog I wrote. The next picture on the runway didn't turn out that great (didn't use flash), but Jessi still looks fabulous.

And every time I look at this next picture, I can't see what's comfortable about Jaydn's position. But he sure loves his mommy. (Who wouldn't?)

And the final picture of this bunch is telling of what my mind was on--getting a cool picture of myself. Oh brother.

I was trying to stand up, but each time I did, I almost lost my balance and fell into the ocean. And I forgot to mention that we did swim for a while on Sunday (I know, probably not appropriate, but we had fun as a family).


Anonymous said...

Hi Sean, Jessi and Jaydn,

I am Debra Black, Elder Butterworth's aunt ...

My sister Jacqueline, who is Elder Butterworth's mother told me that she had stumbled on your blog and then sent you a comment earlier this week. I couldn't resist the urge to do the same.

Your wonderful writing has brought a beautiful feeling to my day and I want to thank you for your fabulous pics and heartfelt descriptions about Matthew and his companion ... it was inspiring.

The joy about Elder Butterworth is that he is an integral part of our lives ... he is also my son, Andrew's best friend. Andrew is serving as a missionary in the Australia,Sydney South Mission, New South Wales. Two great cousins serving together!!!

God bless you in your travels in Samoa ...
Debra Black