Saturday, June 6, 2015

Here we go!

Dearest family and friends,

Today as I write to you my heart is a little heavy with loneliness and homesickness, but I have come to realize that my homesickness is a deep longing to return to the presence of my Heavenly Father and Mother.  Oh how my spirit longs to be with them again. But for now I must go forward with faith relying on my Savior Jesus Christ to strengthen me and continue to walk the path that He walked.

As hard as it can be at times, I am so humbled and eternally blessed and grateful to be wearing  a missionary badge again and to be serving the Lord here in Samoa. I love the ward which I'm serving in, the Pesaga 5th ward.  It's also a blessing for me to have President and Sister Tolman there as well. It helps me to have them close by. I have come to love them very much.
 I got to spend my first week with Sister Kamerath. She has been the nurse serving here in Samoa fot he last 20 months. She has such a gentle heart and wonderful gift of healing.  When I introduce myself to the missionaries, they ask me, "and what about Sister Kamerath? Is she finished?"

When I tell them, "yes", tears fill their eyes and then I start crying with them. So many missionaries out here in the islands have ahd vvery hard lives. Either they've lost their mothers or grandmothers at a very young age or never knew them at all. So it's not at all uncommon for them to become very attached to senior missionaries and especially their nurse.

Having experienced some of my own challenges in life I can succor them in their times of need. I have a wonderful mother who did this so well and taught me how to serve others. We are both wounded healers.  She is serving on the other side of the veil as I serve here on earth. How blessed I am to call her mother. I miss her very much but am so grateful for her example to me and my children. I love you Mom!
Samoa is so beautiful! I spent one of my P-Day's touring the island with two dear friends in my ward, Va and Angie, (Mother and daughter in the photo with Sister Kamerath above)

We stopped and fed the turtles. I loved it. 

Then we drove and ended up at the top of some mountain. When I asked them where we were they didn't know and then they asked me where we were... I said, "I don't live here... you do." So we laughed and I said, "Well, enjoy it! It's beautiful and we are on an island so... eventually we will end up back where we started!"

I have a two bedroom home so I can help out with the new sister intakes that come.
They spend their first night at my home and then are taken to their assigned areas the next day after intake training. This is Sister Davies and Sister Aspinall. I actually met them when I was in the MTC and told them that I would be their nurse. They are wonderful missionaries!
 I live on the temple grounds and it's so amazing to walk outside everyday to go to my office and see this beautiful temple.

 I had a nice surprise my first week here. Sister Kamerath took me to lunch and when I opened the door to the restaurant and walked in, there was one of my dear friends, Lita, from Kiribati. 

She came to Samoa with some of her family for the marriage of her daughter. It was such nice surprise. Lita is the principle at Moroni High School in Kiribati.
I was able to fly to American Samoa.
 The Samoan Islands are all volcanic, but on this one, the terrain is so steep, that everyone has to live around the perimeter.

I went there to teach Sister Saunders how to use the church's web page for charting on the missionaries. She is a retired nurse but she and Elder Saunder were

called to be over the CES missionaries, but have been asked to also run the Apia Mission office in American Samoa. They are from Calgary, Alberta Canada and are so awesome at alllllllllllllllll they do! 

We had an earthquake here yesterday that woke me up around 6:20am and I nearly fell off the bed because I was sleeping so close to the side. I think I like my alarm clock more than an earthquake waking me up, though.  It's the 14th one so far this year!

Thank you to all who have sent me emails. It really helps and if your ever bored please feel free to write or send me photos. I love hearing what's happening in your lives.
The missionaries are so awesome here and they really love serving the Lord.  I know that we are each called of God and that He lives. I know the Book of Mormon is specifically for us in our day and that it is true. It has strengthened my testimony of my Savior, Jesus Christ. I love the Lord with all my heart.

Sister Cassita