Saturday, October 31, 2015

Water, Water

We arrived in Samoa four weeks ago today, and as the saying goes, “We hit the ground running.”  In those four weeks we have worked 6 and 6 1/2 days a week and worked 10 and 12 hours a day. Even Sundays usually require our doing some responsibilities related to our callings.  We have taken a total of two half-days off.  Together with the other senior missionary couples, we have been to a place called Papa Se’ea (Sliding Rock) and to the Matareva Beach.

Papa Se’ea

A little ways inland from where we live, and high up on a mountain side, there is a deep gorge formed by a volcanic lava flow. To get to it, you drive a few miles up into the mountains.  From here you can see out over the capital city of Apia and to the ocean.  If you looks closely (click to expand), you can see the temple and the Angel Moroni atop the top spire.

You then have to walk down a long flight of stairs.

 There in the jungle is a series of small waterfalls and pools.  Samoa is still in its [relatively] dry season, so the water is not flowing as fully as it will in a few months.

It took a little coaxing, but soon even Sister McBride was in the water.

There were three places to slide down.  The first was a little steep and Elder McBride contemplated how fun it could be to go down it.

 “Don’t do it!” demanded Sister McBride.

 Seeing that the pool was barely chest deep, Elder McBride agreed that sliding down that particular rock could, indeed, result in a broken leg or two. One of the other senior missionaries commented, "Elder, if you break your neck, we'll have to bury you here, as we aren't going to lug your body back up that climb." To which that elder's wife said, "Don't tell him that.  That's Elder McBride. He'd probably love to be buried in Samoa."  Nevertheless, Elder McBride chose not to make the attempt. The following slide, taken from the Internet, shows what that slide and the pool below it will look like it in a few months.

But the next pool down, although a bit smaller, was perfect.   And here's the video to prove it:

Our group of senior missionaries sees each other frequently in our work; it was good to spend some time with them just relaxing. We all had a nice time together, although only one of our group chose to actually slide down the rocks.

It was a long hike back up to the top where the cars were parked.

Along the way, one cannot help but marvel at the lush, green, tropical forest.

Matareva Beach

On the south side of the island are many good beaches.  Our group this day chose Matareva.  Elder McBride drove the group in the 12-passenger van up over the inland mountain and down to the ocean on the other side. The beach itself was several miles from the main road down a winding, rocky one-lane dirt road.

 If frolicking in the waves is what you like best, there are better beaches. Matareva has too much coral, and it would be easy to cut your feet.

 But we were there to snorkel, and here there were beautiful blue, silver, yellow, and black-and-white striped fish slipping in and around the coral.

 There was even a “kiddie pool” where less adventuresome ladies could lounge with their husbands.

 While there we were amazed and delighted to find that we could “Facetime” on our iPhone with our son, Scott, and his bride, Madi. We hope they will be able to come join us sometime next year.

On the way back to the main road we found that a tour bus driver on the way to Matareva Beach apparently could not navigate the sometimes rocky road especially well.

We hope the team of rescuers were able to finally pull him out of the ditch.

Sister McBride likes for us to stop and take pictures of just about every chicken we see on the road. For example:

Back on the main road, we came upon a couple of young men with white shirts and ties and with name tags reading “O LE EKALESIA A IESU KERISO O LE AU PAIA O ASO E GATA AI.” No matter where in the world we see that image, and no matter what language that name tag is written in, it always gives us a feeling of joy and inspiration to see them. We feel so very blessed to have the opportunity of serving and supporting them.  May God continue to bless and protect these young men and women.

They are true messengers of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

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