A Week of Blessings and Surprises!

77 Commentsby   |  05.31.11  |  Pago Pago, American Samoa

Sunday, May 29, 2011 – 9:56 p.m.

First of all, I apologize for taking so long to write. Boy, do I have a lot to share! Hang in there. This is going to be a long blog. I can already feel it. It has been a very busy weekend, but it sure was a great one! Really the main things I remember from last week (not the weekend) were eating lunch with Bill (one of the youth helpers at Tafuna Church) and snorkeling again with Dean. We went to eat lunch with Bill to get to know one another a little better and just spend some time talking. He will be one of the leaders of the youth day camp that will be happening the week of June 13th. He joined in on the attempt to try to make me eat “sashimi” which is a dish of raw fish and other things….but I say no thank you when I hear raw fish. I told Bill that I may possibly try it before I leave the island. I still don’t want to, but then I remember that Audrey (my sister) tried a caterpillar in Africa…maybe I should try it at least for her. Hmmmm…I’ll keep you updated.

This is just a special little something that some of you might want to look at. I know you will, Mommy. But do not get so sidetracked that you forget to come back to my blog and read the rest! J Click on the following link (or copy and paste into your address bar). http://www.sadieshotels.com/restaurants/goat-island-caf%C3%A9-sadie%E2%80%99s-sea It will take you to the website of the hotel and restaurant that I ate at for my Birthday, we ate at with Bill, and Dean and I swam in their bay area and swimming pool. On the webpage on the left side, you can click on the link giving you a sample of their menu: Goat Island Café Sample Menu

Okay this is a side note that I just must share. Dean and I have gone to a grocery store called KS Mart multiple times since we’ve been here. In the states, checkout lines have all those little items that the store hopes you buy, right? Things like batteries, small flashlights, remote controls, chap stick, and candy. Well, in one of the checkout lines at KS Mart, there are a BUNCH of BINGO cards. Dean said full BINGO tournaments happen often here. Right above the BINGO cards are a bunch of glass Coca-Cola bottles with something besides Coke in them. Definitely not Coke! It is something gross looking in a cloudy yellowish liquidy substance. And I must mention that it smells terrible!! We couldn’t figure out what it was, so we’ve always just kinda held our noses as we walked by and tried to forget about it. Well, just now I couldn’t remember what the raw fish dish was called, so I was doing all kinds of Google searches to try to figure it out. I came across a website with an explanation of some traditional Samoan foods, and the following picture was on the page. I saw it, and thought…hey! That’s what they sell at KS Mart! Well…I read the description: “Sea – This is a Samoan delicacy that is made from the innards of a sea slug. It is normally sold in coke bottles at the food market. For the bold of heart and strong of constitution only.” ….. I’ll just say that sashimi sure is sounding delicious right now.

Note: I did NOT take this picture. I just found it online, but this is the stuff that I was talking about.

Going on with our second snorkeling adventure. Dean and I went back to “Fatu ma Futi” the Flowerpot to snorkel. This time it was low tide, so I was able to go out further where the coral and fish were. The fish were amazing! We saw a HUGE starfish, beautiful little vibrant blue fish, sea cucumbers, and a sea urchin! Really really great. And…Dean just told me that sea cucumbers are also called sea slugs…which is what that nasty stuff in the Coke bottle was….GROSS! But…I wasn’t aware that you’re not supposed to touch the coral. Let me just say, “Ouch!!” I definitely got some cuts and scrapes, but I didn’t even know it until air hit the sores and then salt water again. I was able to get back to the house soon enough to clean them up really well. I keep hearing that there is poison in the coral. If you don’t take care of the cuts, they can easily get infected. I am fine from infection, but the poison didn’t stop it from burning for a few days. The best way I can explain it for the West Texas folks is to compare it to grass burrs or stickers. Whatever you may call them. They too have poison in them. Nothing that harms very seriously, but the poison sure causes a burn for a while after getting one stuck in your foot. So imagine being cut by a grass burr. The ugly dry kind that hurt. And it’s not just one cut, it’s a bunch on your fingers because that is how I stayed in one place while snorkeling. I grabbed onto the coral while the waves came in and out and moved me around. Anyway, I’m fine now, and I learned my lesson. I am thankful that it was the coral that got me instead of the sea urchin! Yikes!

*** INTERMISSION*** (If you’d like to go take a restroom break or get a drink of water, now is a good time. If you’d like to just continue reading, go for it. Just thought I’d give you the chance to do so. My blog seemed long enough to have an intermission, so here it is.)

Now to the weekend. Friday nights, we go to Nu’uuli Church of Christ for fellowship and worship with the youth from Nu’uuli and Tafuna. (youth is 7th grade and up) Dean and I had a game prepared for them. We once again took the idea from the TV gameshow called Minute to Win It. This specific game is called the Magic Carpet Ride. We brought rugs from the Willis’s house for the kids to sit on and inch-worm scoot their way across the finish lines for a relay race with teams. It was a blast, and Facebook really will have some great pictures once they are uploaded. We then continued with the routine of singing some songs, a lesson from David, and some good times. I met and re-met people. I have been able to remember some names, but I’m not where I’d like to be yet. It does seem like the kids are excited for the next week each time though.

Steve on the Magic Carpet! He seemed to have had fun with this game.

Steve on the Magic Carpet! He seemed to have had fun with this game.

Saturday is our time of teaching the Tweens. This is where we’re doing the Armor of God. This week we covered the Breastplate of Righteousness and the “Slippers” or the Shoes of Peace. In Samoa, they call flip flops slippers, so we also called them slippers. We played a couple of games with them, gave them some prizes, and fed them some hot dogs before they left. I definitely am beginning to feel more of a connection with some of them. There’s a specific one that I feel a strong connection with as of right now. Her name is Rosetta, and she is in 7th grade. I really would have guessed she was a Sophomore or Junior in high school by the way she acts and helps with some of the younger ones. She is a beautiful girl, and has a sweet spirit, and a contagious smile. I love going to Tafuna functions and looking for her wondering if she’s there.

Here is Dean helping kids make their Slippers of Peace.

Here I am helping kids make their Breastplates of Righteousness.

Sunday morning we taught our Bible classes: Dean with the tweens and me with the younger kids. We talked about Moses and the Burning Bush. It is truly amazing how much Samoans love to sing! I taught my class a song last week, and I wanted to sing it again a few weeks in a row to help them learn the new song. I started singing, and after literally the first 3 words (“Who made the…”) the kids took off singing. Not only did they remember the song, but they remembered the little bit of sign language that I taught them last week. One of the verses is “who made the turtle.” After we sing each verse, I ask the kids…”What else did God make?” As soon as she processed my question, little Omeka gave me the sign for turtle. It is so much fun to sing with these kids. I did record the reading of the Bible story. I read the story in English while my wonderful helper Aremenda translated into Samoan for the kids. I will do my best to upload the video on Facebook sometime this week, but it takes a while to upload the videos.

A great picture of me and Rosetta at church on Sunday morning. I really like her puletasi! (Traditional Samoan dress)

Tonight, we had a singing night at a church near Leone. It was wonderful to hear such great singing in English and in Samoan. The kids were all sitting on the floor in the front, and some of our Tafuna kids were having a hard time being quiet. I went over and sat with them. I think God is helping me work on patience. They were focused on the songs and singing for a little bit after I went to sit with them, but they shortly lost interest during songs they did not already know. I think I was able to at least keep them a little quieter though for the adults to be able to enjoy their worship time. After church, some of us went up to a house belonging to a really neat couple and family. I can’t remember their names right now, but they own a delicious bakery on the island and are a very generous family. They fed us very tasty breads and donuts that they made. Wow! What a treat! It really was great. Then we were just sitting around one of the visiting areas in their house and someone began singing one song, and it didn’t take long for everyone to join in. Harmony and all. This song led to many many more. English and Samoan. I was able to get some recordings of great singing, and the neat thing about this was that it wasn’t even planned. We had only planned to have a time of fellowship! Those times seem to always be the best worship experiences! True worship. (But I must say, worship here hasn’t yet seemed dull. It’s really great.)

It has been raining so much recently. I absolutely love hearing the rain and smelling the freshness of it as I go to sleep at night. It sounds different here though because the majority of what I hear is the rain hitting all the plants around. I’m not used to the sound of rain hitting coconut leaves, banana leaves, and a ton of luscious grass. Beautiful sound! I am reminded every single time of how mighty our Father is. He is truly amazing, and has really been proving a lot to me through His nature. Samoa a wonderful place to see God’s natural beauty in the people and in the land and water and sky. Morning skies are beautiful, afternoon skies are beautiful, rainy skies are beautiful, sunsets, night skies. All the time! I am so amazed.

Well, I have written over 1,725 words and it is now 12:21 a.m. I really should get to bed. Tomorrow, there is no school, so the Willis’s and I will spend some time together at Manua Marketplace I think, Airport Beach…snorkeling, and the Chin (sp?) family will take us out for dinner. I’m not exactly sure, but I think we will be eating at a Korean food restaurant. I am very excited for a full day of fun tomorrow, but I really better get some sleep now. I am shocked that I was able to stay up this late! I guess I’m used to the time change now. Goodnight all!

Don’t forget to read Dean’s blogs too! He just posted one as well. www.deanwillis.blogspot.com

Alofa, Kristen.(Love, Kristen.)


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