Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Another Resource on Religious Freedom


I should also mention that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often called the Mormon church, of which I am a member, has a nice page on its Newsroom website dedicated to explaining the importance of religious freedom.

Championing the First Freedom

Hawaii state capitol building

Right now, the Hawaii State Legislature is in a special session to consider the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex unions.

Of great concern to many religious people here is whether the religious exemptions in the bill adequately preserve religious freedom. Religious freedom has been aptly termed the first freedom because of its early mention in the Bill of Rights, and as such, it deserves vigorous protection.

At present Senate Bill 1 (SB1) does protect clergy and religious organizations on a limited scale, but those protections do not, as far as I know, extend to church-affiliated schools like Brigham Young University-Hawaii (Mormon) or Chaminade (Catholic), to small business like florists or photographers, to parents whose religious views might conflict with public school instruction on the matter of same-sex marriage and relationships, or to employees of the state who might for religious reasons object to performing a same-sex wedding.

Sadly, the senate committee just recommended that SB1 be referred to the House without any amendments, that is, without any additional religious freedom protections put in place.

If you're wondering why this issue of protecting religious freedom is so important, a good place to start is with the thoughtful commentary by a number of articulate religious leaders of different faiths.


Elder Oaks, a former Utah Supreme Court justice, gave a speech in 2009 addressing religious freedom, a second on the fundamentals of the US Constitution in 2010, a third on truth and tolerance in 2011, a fourth on preserving religious freedom in 2011, and a fifth on strengthening the free exercise of religion in 2013.

Elder Holland, former president of the flagship campus of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, spoke at the annual J. Reuben Clark Law Society Conference in Washington D.C., in February, 2013, on faith, family, and religious freedom.

Elder Cook, a former lawyer, reminded Mormons in their October 2010 semiannual general conference that "it is essential that values based on religious belief be a part of public discourse." He also spoke at Brigham Young University-Idaho on the restoration of morality and religious freedom in December, 2011.

Catholic Cardinal Francis E. George spoke in a 2010 BYU forum on the partnership of Catholics and Latter-day Saints in the defense of religious freedom.

And finally, though undoubtedly more could be listed, just this month, again at BYU, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, spoke on what he sees as a "clear and present danger" with respect to religious liberty, marriage, and the family in the late modern age.

It's important to note that the three denominations represented here, Mormon, Catholic, and Evangelical Christian, do not agree with each other on many important theological points. But when it comes to the preservation of religious freedom, they stand shoulder to shoulder.

Their careful analysis and wise counsel is worthy of careful study by all interested persons, regardless of which side of the line we fall with respect to same-sex marriage.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Becoming Christlike

 

My wife spoke this past Sunday in our main meeting at church. She did a great job and I enjoyed her talk so much that I thought I'd share it with you, with her permission, of course.

In his teachings to the Nephites, the Savior instructed: “Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.” (3 Nephi 27:27) How do we even begin on such a journey?

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf has taught, “To follow Christ is to become more like Him. It is to learn from His character. As spirit children of our Heavenly Father, we do have the potential to incorporate Christlike attributes into our life and character. The Savior invites us to learn His gospel by living His teachings. To follow Him is to apply correct principles and then witness for ourselves the blessings that follow. This process is very complex and very simple at the same time. Ancient and modern prophets described it with three words: ‘Keep the commandments’—nothing more, nothing less.”

The scriptures list many of the attributes of Christ that we should also seek. The Apostle Peter said:

“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” (2 Peter 1:5-7)

The characteristics Peter presents follow a logical progression. Faith is the first and essential element. We must have faith in Jesus Christ to begin following Him and to seek His help through the Atonement. Next is virtue, we must keep ourselves clean and upright. Third, knowledge - we must learn the gospel and the commandments so that we can actively strive to live it.

The fourth attribute Peter lists is temperance, and this is where I feel it really starts to get difficult. To develop temperance, or in more modern terms, self-mastery, requires control over our own thoughts, temper, passions, and emotions. The Savior exemplified temperance throughout his mortal ministry when he said:

“I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” (John 5:30)

And again as He suffered for us, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:39)

Always Jesus sought to do His Father’s will. When we demonstrate righteous self-mastery, we align our will with Christ’s.

Nowhere is temperance more valuable than in our personal and family relationships. In having control over our emotions and temper we make a conscious effort to keep the Spirit in our home by keeping contention and the father of contention out. Satan would have us believe that we are justified in our anger when we have been wronged, but the Savior taught very clearly, “love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)

To express love for enemies, and blessings for those that curse us, to do good to those that hate us, and to pray for our persecutors requires great self-mastery. It is not easy for us to behave in such a godlike manner. But, we are not expected to do it alone. If we desire the attribute of temperance, we must pray for the Savior’s help.

A very related attribute also mentioned by Peter is brotherly kindness. When I think of brotherly kindness I think of several kinds of relationships. One is my relationship with my own sisters and the affection we share with each other. It is a kindness that translates in to thoughtfulness, compassion, and loyalty. I have three sisters and would go to great lengths to help them.

Another relationship I think of when I consider brotherly kindness is our ward family. You have each done so much for our family in the four years that we’ve been members of this ward.

The final relationship is my own relationship with my Savior and Brother, Jesus Christ. Nowhere is there a person who knows me and loves me more completely.

The Savior went forth, “suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

“And he [took] upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he [took] upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” (Alma 7:11-12)

Knowing my weaknesses and faults, the Savior forgives. Knowing my imperfections, He strengthens me. Knowing my pains, He comforts me. This is the love and kindness we ought to show one another. Kindness pardons others’ weaknesses; it is sympathetic and gentle. It offers compassion in place of cynicism.

How can we develop this kindness in ourselves? One of the keys, I feel is perspective taking. Assume that the other person is doing the best they can with the knowledge and experience that they have to work with. Seek to see them the way that the Savior sees them. Know that the love that you feel from the Savior is also given to them. Here is a simple and practical example of how brotherly kindness affects everyday actions:

I was once driving down a narrow little street with cars parked along both sides, allowing only one car to pass through at a time. You may be familiar with this street, it’s the one many of us live on. Anyway, I’d had a bad day and was almost home when someone pulled out in front of me, trying to go the opposite direction and completely cutting me off from my destination. I was there first and waited for her to notice and move out of the way. She didn’t. It soon became apparent that she wanted me to reverse up the street so she could get out. We both grew frustrated.

By the time I'd made it upstairs, I was quite irritated. The the Spirit whispered to me, "What if it had been Maile? Or any other of your dear ward member friends? What if it had been your own sister trying to drive up the street? Wouldn't you have cheerfully helped them without a second thought? Isn't that woman also your sister?"

This experience has been a very powerful lesson to me. Though the initial anger was very petty and would have soon been forgotten, many months later I still remember the gentle rebuke of the Spirit, reminding me that everyone is my brother or sister. Or, as Jesus taught in the parable of the Good Samaritan, everyone is our neighbor, and ought to be treated as such.

There are many ways each day that we can work to become more Christlike in our thoughts, words, and actions. The important thing is that we keep moving forward, little by little, each day moving closer to our Savior. President Uchtdorf counseled,

“Christlike attributes are gifts from God. They cannot be developed without His help. The one help we all need is given to us freely through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Having faith in Jesus Christ and in His Atonement means relying completely on Him—trusting in His infinite power, intelligence, and love. Christlike attributes come into our lives as we exercise our agency righteously. Faith in Jesus Christ leads to action. When we have faith in Christ, we trust the Lord enough to follow His commandments—even when we do not completely understand the reasons for them. In seeking to become more like the Savior, we need to reevaluate our lives regularly and rely, through the path of true repentance, upon the merits of Jesus Christ and the blessings of His Atonement.”

Taking steps on the path to becoming more Christlike is also taking steps towers eternal life. President Ezra Taft Benson taught,

"The Savior declared that life eternal is to know the only true God and His Son, Jesus Christ. If this true, and I bear you my solemn witness that it is true, then we must ask how we come to know God. The process of adding one godly attribute to another, as described by Peter, becomes the key to gaining this knowledge that leads to eternal life."

In closing, I'd like to read the words of the hymn, Come Follow Me:

Come, follow me, the Savior said
Then, let us in His footsteps tread.
For, thus alone can we be one,
With God's own loved, Begotten Son.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Samoa in Church History

The David O. McKay Fale in Sauniatu, Samoa

From this 13 November 2007 talk by President Thomas S. Monson, then first counselor in the First Presidency:
Many years ago, on my first visit to the fabled village of Sauniatu in Samoa, so loved by President David O. McKay, my wife and I met with a large gathering of small children—nearly 200 in number. At the conclusion of our messages to these shy, yet beautiful youngsters, I suggested to the native Samoan teacher that we go forward with the closing exercises. As he announced the final hymn, I suddenly felt compelled to greet personally each of these children. My watch revealed that the time was too short for such a privilege, for we were scheduled on a flight out of the country, so I discounted the impression. Before the benediction was to be spoken, I again felt that I should shake the hand of each child. I made the desire known to the instructor, who displayed a broad and beautiful Samoan smile. In Samoan he announced this to the children. They beamed their approval.
The instructor then revealed to me the reason for his and their joy. He said, “When we learned that a member of the Council of the Twelve was to visit us here in Samoa, so far away from Church headquarters, I told the children that if they would earnestly and sincerely pray and exert faith like the Bible accounts of old, the Apostle would visit our tiny village at Sauniatu, and, through their faith, he would be impressed to greet each child with a personal handclasp.” Tears could not be restrained as the precious boys and girls walked shyly by and whispered softly to us the sweet Samoan greeting “talofa lava.” A profound expression of faith had been evidenced.
Image credit: http://shutesamoareunion.wordpress.com/samoa-today-pictures/

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Samoa in the News


I don't know if many know it, but Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson spent the last few years of his life (1889-1894) in Samoa, where he went by the name Tusitala, "writer of tales." (Some say "teller of tales," but tusi means to write more than to tell.)

He lived inland from Apia in a place called Vailima, meaning "water in the hand," a reference to an old tale of a woman who gave lifesaving water (vai) by hand (lima) to a thirsty fellow traveler. His mansion once housed the Samoan head of state, but has since been restored (by old Mormon missionaries, no less!) and turned into a Stevenson museum.

He is buried at the top of Mt. Vaea, near Apia. I missed the hike to see his grave because I was serving on a different island at the time. But if I ever get back to Samoa for a visit, it'll be high on my bucket list.

Finally, Stevenson has a fitting memorial to him in his hometown of Edinburgh, a statue of him as a boy enjoying a good book and a visit by a beloved canine companion.

"Marriage, The Dynamite of the Soul"

Bombardier Billy Wells

Having been a student at Brigham Young University, where the pressure to marry and be given in marriage is quite high, I'm pretty sure I've had essentially this happen to me at least once, as Wodehouse perfectly describes it below:
Have you ever been turned down by a girl who afterwards married and then been introduced to her husband? If so you'll understand how I felt when Clarence burst on me. You know the feeling. First of all, when you hear about the marriage, you say to yourself, 'I wonder what he's like.' Then you meet him, and think, 'There must be some mistake. She can't have preferred this to me!' That's what I thought, when I set eyes on Clarence.
He was a little thin, nervous-looking chappie of about thirty-five. His hair was getting grey at the temples and straggly on top. He wore pince-nez, and he had a drooping moustache. I'm no Bombardier Wells myself, but in front of Clarence I felt quite a nut. And Elizabeth, mind you, is one of those tall, splendid girls who look like princesses. Honestly, I believe women do it out of pure cussedness.
Of course, now I can look back on that period and laugh, but at the time the feelings were quite acute.

Friday, October 25, 2013

"How Science Goes Wrong"


 

An interesting read in the Economist on the sheer volume of bad scientific studies being published these days.

Speaking from my own experience, we don't do a good enough job teaching research design, statistics, and how to critically read research.

I once had a graduate level biostatistics course that had no assignments throughout the semester and open-book tests. Guess how long it took for me to forget all that stuff?

Scary!

Not to mention a waste of time and money.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Samoa in the News

His Highness Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi

"Samoa’s Head of State Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi is advocating for a return of glottal marks for the Samoan language," is the report today from Radio New Zealand International. Since I haven't seen his actual remarks, I can only hope he's also advocating for a return of the macron on vowels, too.

Traditionally, when we relied on printing presses employing moveable type, inserting all the glottal marks (ʻ) and macrons (ā, ē, ī, ō, ū) in a Samoan text was time consuming and costly. The standard in the original Bible was to only include those marks that were absolutely necessary to avoid confusion.

But as anyone learning Samoan as a second language can tell you, without the glottal marks and macrons, everything is confusing. For a while, at least. Then, as fluency increases, context reveals which word is likely the right one, and so on till the perfect day.

At the university where I teach Samoan, we teach these marks as necessary parts of the language, the glottal mark being given equal status with any of the other consonants. We'd never think of leaving out a p, or t, since it would radically change a word's meaning. Then why leave out the glottal mark?

I applaud Tuiatua's advocacy and hope it will catch on in all the Samoan communities worldwide.

Image credit: http://www.3news.co.nz/Samoa-Head-of-State-should-be-a-life-appointment/tabid/1686/articleID/262749/Default.aspx

Anyone Surprised?

The audacity of nope

What I keep asking myself is, why is anyone surprised that the rollout of Obamacare isn't going as smoothly as we were promised?

It's a healthcare plan intending on covering some 316 million citizens, for goodness' sake! All (potentially) through a single website!

Is there enough bandwidth in the world to cover that kind of traffic?

Giving it a Rest


After some thought, I decided I'd cancel all my social media accounts, excepting this blog, of course.

So between yesterday and today I extricated myself from Facebook, Google+, goodreads, Twitter, and LinkedIn. All fine sites, as far as they go, but not what I want in my life at the moment, and perhaps never.

We'll see.

Of course, lucky for you, all two or three of you, I'll be posting here a little more regularly.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Mormons in Mexico

Early Mexican Mormons

An interesting, if brief, look at the history of the LDS Church amongst the Mexicans.

It's of personal interest because some of my maternal ancestors also lived in Mexico for a time until the Mexican Revolution. Family lore from the period tells of Pancho Villa periodically coming to the family farm to cambio caballo, or change horses.

Instead of staying in Mexico, my ancestors came north and settled in Arizona, where my grandfather was born in 1916.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

"Treasure Up in Your Minds Continually the Words of Life"


I love the scriptures. I find great comfort as I study the word of God as contained in the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, known to Mormons as the standard works. Two years ago, Elder Richard G. Scott, an Apostle, gave a talk in our semi-annual general conference about the power of scripture. He said,
"Learning, pondering, searching, and memorizing scriptures is like filling a filing cabinet with friends, values, and truths that can be called upon anytime, anywhere in the world.
"Great power can come from memorizing scriptures. To memorize a scripture is to forge a new friendship. It is like discovering a new individual who can help in time of need, give inspiration and comfort, and be a source of motivation for needed change."
Since high school I have tried to regularly study the scriptures, with varying degrees of success, and I have been greatly blessed for my efforts. But I have always struggled with memorizing verses of scripture, mainly because I have never systematically set out to do so.

That is, until now. Recently, my wife shared an old friend's blog post about how she memorizes scriptures. Her approach is so simple, and yet seemingly so effective, that we--my wife and I--have implemented it and already seen success. If you're like me and struggle to organize yourself enough to memorize scriptures, or anything for that matter, try out this simple method. You may be surprised at how well it works.

Samoa in Church History

President Thomas S. Monson (center) at the Samoan village in the Polynesian Cultural Center

From this April 1999 talk by President Thomas S. Monson, then first counselor in the First Presidency:
Late one evening on a Pacific isle, a small boat slipped silently to its berth at the crude pier. Two Polynesian women helped Meli Mulipola from the boat and guided him to the well-worn pathway leading to the village road. The women marveled at the bright stars which twinkled in the midnight sky. The friendly moonlight guided them along their way. However, Meli Mulipola could not appreciate these delights of nature—the moon, the stars, the sky—for he was blind.
His vision had been normal until that fateful day when, while working on a pineapple plantation, light turned suddenly to darkness and day became perpetual night. He had learned of the restoration of the gospel and the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His life had been brought into compliance with these teachings.
He and his loved ones had made this long voyage, having learned that one who held the priesthood of God was visiting among the islands. He sought a blessing under the hands of those who held the sacred priesthood. His wish was granted. Tears streamed from his sightless eyes and coursed down his brown cheeks, tumbling finally upon his native dress. He dropped to his knees and prayed: “Oh, God, thou knowest I am blind. Thy servants have blessed me that if it be thy will, my sight may return. Whether in thy wisdom I see light or whether I see darkness all the days of my life, I will be eternally grateful for the truth of thy gospel which I now see and which provides me the light of life.”
He arose to his feet, thanked us for providing the blessing, and disappeared into the dark of the night. Silently he came; silently he departed. But his presence I shall never forget. I reflected upon the message of the Master: “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
Image credit: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700083890/Photo-Mormon-president-Thomas-S-Monson-visits-Polynesian-Cultural-Center.html?pg=all

Thursday, October 17, 2013

"I Want Doodly-Doo!"



We're riding in the car when my two-year-old son makes this request.

I'm only slightly less fluent in toddlerese, so I turn to my wife for interpretation.

"He's saying he wants you to sing Star Wars," she offers.

"Star Wars?" I wonder, "How'd you get that from Doodly-Doo?"

"Well, that is how you sing it," meaning the first few lines of the Main Theme, of course.

I hadn't noticed.

(And, no, I will not record myself singing it. Sorry. But you can find two of our favorite Star Wars-inspired music videos here and here.)


Image credit: http://farm1.static.flickr.com/146/359087786_8fb025c4a0.jpg

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

That's $148,133 of National Debt per US Taxpayer

Admiral Ackbar accurately assessing what the US is in
Well, as if $16.7 trillion isn't enough in national debt, that figure is about to get bigger, thanks to our federal legislative and executive branches.

And in case you wanted to watch it as it increases, I found this nifty U.S. National Debt Clock.

Image credit: http://laughingsquid.com/its-a-trap-admiral-ackbar-by-matt-leyen/

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Samoa in the News

Ms. Lutvey with some adorable Samoan children

An interesting article about Catherine Lutvey, an Australian woman volunteering for a year at a Catholic school in Salelologa, Savaii--my first assigned area in the mission field.

I'm particularly impressed with the charity walk she organized to raise money to purchase a school bus. Walking 182 km (113 miles) in the hot, humid Samoan weather would be brutal, even if it was spread out over seven days.

And I have to agree with Ms. Lutvey, after two years in Samoa, I came to look on life in America with a little skepticism when I saw the stark contrast between the American culture of consumerism and the simple, yet adequate, lifestyle in Samoa, with its heavy emphasis on family and community.

Image credit: http://www.catholicleader.com.au/news.php/people-news/faith-adventure-leads-to-samoa_86826


Monday, October 14, 2013

Moral Discipline Required


In light of what happened Monday at Louisiana Walmarts, I refer the reader to a speech on the importance of moral discipline by Mormon Apostle, Elder D. Todd Christofferson.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Samoa in Church History

Elder Matthew Cowley

From this October 1948 talk by Elder Matthew Cowley, of the 12 Apostles:
Brothers and sisters, with the restoration of this gospel came the reiteration of Christ's commission: ". . . these signs shall follow them that believe" (D&C 84:65). There is no question about it in my mind. "Lay your hands upon the sick, and they shall recover" (D&C 66:9). In Tonga last year there came to the mission home a couple who had been married for twenty-seven years, and they had never been blessed with children. This couple wanted to have children, and so they requested us to lay our hands upon them and bless them that they might have children. And so President Huntsman and I laid our hands upon that couple, and we blessed them. They had the gift of being healed (D&C 46:19). They had the gift of receiving these blessings.
When my wife and I visited Tonga, I think it was last May, the child had been born.
Last year I went from Tonga to Samoa. Another couple who had been married for years and had had no children came to the mission home there to be blessed that they might have this greatest of all blessings. And incidentally, brothers and sisters, the greatest calamity that can come to the home of a Polynesian is not to have children. It is such a great calamity when they do not have children that they go out and borrow their neighbor's children and rear them.
Well, we blessed this young couple, and when my wife and I were there in May, they brought the child to me to be christened and blessed, and asked that it might be given the name of my wife.
A lady came to me in the mission home suffering from what the Samoans call mu mu—or elephantiasis—her legs swollen out of all proportion. She said: "Brother Cowley, bless me and remove from me this dread disease." A month ago in Samoa she came to the mission home and she said: "Do you remember me?" I said, "Yes. You are Sister Purcell who was suffering from mu mu when I was here before." She showed me her ankles, and they were entirely normal. Then she said: "Now, I want the cataracts to drop from my eyes. Bless me now that I may receive this blessing through the priesthood of God, from God who has all power to heal."

Monday, October 7, 2013

Good Read: The Sports Gene

I recently finished reading David Epstein's The Sports Genean early birthday present from my wife—which, for an exercise scientist like me, was very, very interesting.

But I think it would be interesting to anyone who likes sports, genetics, science, and decent writing—especially about sports, genetics, or science.

I wish there were more books that took complex subjects like genetics and made them both interesting to specialists and accessible to the public. If I were currently teaching in an exercise science department, The Sports Gene would be required reading.

Today, National Geographic posted a brief article by Epstein, adapted from the book, that'll surely whet your appetite for more.

Ultimately, The Sports Gene confirms what we might have suspected all along: that genetics matter, and environment matters, and training matters.

But don't let that truism keep you from reading it.

My "Irish Hips"

The author--and his bonnie knees--in competition Black Watch
I've been spending some hours lately with the local university's strength and conditioning coaches and interns, which brings with it, among other perks, the chance to use the weight room.

I haven't been lifting in earnest--or much at all, for that matter--for at least four years, so my form for some of the more advanced lifts needs a little work.

One of the interns noticed as much and what follows is the substance of the conversation that resulted:

Him: "You know, if you could improve your form you would be strong."

Me: "You think so?"

Him: "Yeah. Are you Irish, do you have any Irish in you?"

Me: "Yes, I do. Why?"

Him: "You look like you have 'Irish hips': narrow, with a little pelvic tilt. You could be a great thrower."

Little did he know . . . 

Hammer time!

Sheaf toss

Weight over bar

Braemer stone throw


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Samoa in Church History

Pineapples to stave off scurvy.

From this December 1974 article in the Ensign magazine:
The dedication and concern of the Samoan people for the missionary effort and their great ability to love is epitomized by an experience of Ralph G. Rodgers, Jr., a missionary in 1956 and president of the mission from 1971 to 1974.
“During my first weeks in Samoa as a missionary, I came to love and respect the people because of the love and respect I received from the family where I lived,” he relates. “I watched as the family mother, Vaela‘a, prepared our meals, giving us the best she could possibly fix. Every few days she would gather up our clothes and go to the stream where she would ‘beat’ them clean with rocks. Everything this wonderful Samoan family did for me taught me about the meaning of love.
“After a time in Si‘umu, where we lived, there was a famine on that side of the island. For many weeks all we had to eat was rice or taro and some fish. Vegetables and fruit were impossible to get. I noticed that one day some sores were developing on my legs and after a time they became very infected. We went to Apia to see a doctor, and he explained I needed vitamin C. But I realized that citrus fruit was impossible to get on the back of the island, and so my companion and I made the situation a matter of prayer and fasting.
“When I returned home from seeing the doctor, the family father, Uta‘i Tapena, who was also president of the Si‘umu Branch, asked what the doctor had said. I told him, but assured him that the Lord would take care of me.
“Early the next morning my companion and I were up and ready for breakfast when we noticed that the father of the family had gone. We asked about him and the mother said he had gone on an errand. That night when we returned he still had not come back.
“The next morning at breakfast we noticed that in the middle of our eating mat was a large pineapple, all cut up and ready to eat. I asked where it had come from and the mother said the father, concerned about what the doctor had said, knew I needed some fruit. He only had two shillings, but he spent one taking the bus into town and the other on a large pineapple. That left him with no money to return home, so he had walked all afternoon and most of the night, 20 miles back, so we would have fruit for our breakfast.
“I had the privilege of returning to Samoa about nine years later on a Church assignment. My first concern was to hurry out to Si‘umu to see my ‘father.’ When I got to the village the people said he was in his other home in the hills. I walked a mile or so to see him, and as I came into the hut I saw an old, gray-haired man. At first I didn’t recognize him, but then he called my name. It was my Samoan father, Uta‘i. He had aged greatly in those nine years, and there he sat in that little hut with both legs cut off at the hips because of cancer. How I wished that I could have walked those 20 miles for him and bought him something that would have taken care of his illness as he had done for me when I was a missionary for the Lord in those wonderful islands!
Image credit: https://familysearch.org