Monday we helped put together more emergency relief kits – thousands of them. I understand there was a very nice picture shown in the Deseret News of these kits being assembled. The photographer took that picture in a rare hour when senior missionaries were there. As much as we love our fellow senior missionaries, we just have to brag that actually, 99% of the work was done by our wonderful USAs. They are amazing!
We had overflowing numbers in classes again this week. Some sat on the floor, on chairs outside the two doors, or on chairs in the main foyer. We really hope we can find a larger place to teach, and would have met this week to discuss that with our Coordinator and Area Seventy, but humanitarian relief is top priority now.
In between hours of service, the YSAs have taken on our baking treats during the day. It’s been great! Some have never baked cookies before, so it’s fun for them. I just give some direction, and they do the rest. Hooray!
In our effort to be good neighbors, we closed the Institute Saturday night and had our game night at the Samabula chapel, which is also the LDS Primary school. Everyone loved having so much room, and it’s a good thing we had it, because we certainly needed it for the number that came. We loved hearing some sing outside, and scream inside as they played around the world ping pong and other games. They even had fun frosting their own cupcakes. The location was not ideal though, because there are just too many nooks and crannies and dark corners over a very large property. Some children came and joined us (after all, it is their church building, school, and neighborhood playground). So we will keep looking for a suitable place.
We sang our goodbyes to Jatin and Savaira, who will leave this week for different missions in the Philippines. We will really miss them!
Sunday night Pres Kama, counselor in the Suva Fiji stake, and his wife Sulueti, who is over PR for the Church, came and spoke at our Institute FHE. Sister Kama’s father’s funeral was just yesterday, so we were especially grateful they were willing to come at this time to speak. The 152 YSAs who came to hear them were greatly rewarded — it was a wonderful evening.
CNN and the world have undoubtedly moved on to the next interesting news story or natural disaster, but the story here is the same: recovering from cyclone Winston is a monumental task. We continue to hear personal stories about it everyday. Families who survived rolled up in grass mats, or in a cave. People losing everything but the clothes they were wearing at the time. Two older women huddled together under a lemon tree for protection when a cow came and stood in front of them. Just then a sheet of metal came flying through the air, and killed the cow, but they were spared. There are no more tents available here, so tarps and rope were sent to an area – but it was so leveled by the storm, there are no trees left to tie the ropes to! And we complain because we don’t have enough room to sit students comfortably! At least we have four walls. We have much – very much to be grateful for here.