Drum roll please……at the beginning of this month I was called as the Relief Society Meeting Coordinator, or in other words the person who plans Enrichment night. But now the Church has changed the name from "Enrichment" to "Additional Relief Society Meetings, lol.
I was very shocked and overwhelmed when Bishop called me out of Nursery to meet with him. I thought I was getting a Nursery calling since I practically live there because Mahie will NOT let me leave. Even when I was called to Bishop's office, I had to drag along both kids since James needed to meet a client, leaving me alone to battle the kids. As usual, Sundays pretty much stress me out, so when I walked into Bishop Vaaulu's office, I was REALLY caught off guard with my new calling. No seriously, I stared at him with a shocked face, trying to quiet a fussy Evan screaming in my lap while Mahie was climbing all over Bishop's chairs singing 'I am a child of God'. I said to Bishop, "Are you sure?". To which he responded, "Yes, I know the sisters need someone young with fresh ideas for their activities."
In most wards there is a committee that helps the Relief Society Meeting Coordinator plan & do. Not here though, jusssst moi. I couldn't even sleep that night & shared with James my worries & fears. "I don't even know anyone. I don't even know where to get anything." He said I'd be fine. Then I remembered, this is just another example of Heavenly Father's humor.
I don't remember exactly when, but I had prayed that I wanted to get to know more sisters in our ward. We had already been here in Samoa for half a year and still I felt like a stranger to many of the sisters. All of whom are much older than I or who just seem very accomplished in their own lives with homemaking and running businesses, thus making me feel just so "bubbogum" as they say back home. Like when we have get-togethers, I would NEVER think about trying to bring a dish, because these ladies, seriously, can make such delicious and exquisite looking pies, tarts, cakes, pastries….and displayed so perfectly. But my prayer was heard & answered with a calling to serve. And as I planned for this first RS activity, I met and befriended so many women in just a few days. Voila I have friends!
I'm so glad it was clarified that I wouldn't be alone, but that one of the RS Counselors would work with me for every activity. The previous sister had been in this calling for almost 4-5 years, crazy. It's pretty common to serve that long in our ward. Anyways, since I had JUST been called and we were due for an activity in a few weeks, I thought I'd let Sis. Wendt take the lead one last time as I learned from her activity planning wisdom ;) She's so awesome, hilarious & creative.
"Christmas in September" Theme
What a gorgeous home with an even bigger yard out front. Sis. Wendt mentioned that RS Enrichment nights are never held at the chapel, but at sisters' homes. Which was another reason that gave me anxiety, because I was like, "hello, I don't know anyone, how am I going to ask people if I can use their homes?!". This is the home of Sister. Madeline Arp, such a wonderful host. The sister of the hosted home doesn't have to do anything, but Madeline really took it upon herself to decorate, make additional food, etc.
We assigned various categories to sisters to make either an ornament, wreath, centerpiece or nativity, ONLY from things around their homes. Pesega Lima definitely has some of the most creative women ever. They definitely put Utah to shame. Some of the materials they used included: belt buckles, coke bottle caps (me), cardboard, shells, tuna can, old magazines, old puletasi's, vines...
We also had prizes for the best Christmas earrings and slippers. And a wonderful thought shared by Sis. Jackie Chu-Sing about always keeping Christ centered in our lives, especially around Christmas time when it's easy to get lost in all the commercialization of the holidays. She also shared favorite memories and childhood traditions, and it made me think of home & miss being a little kid.
Clever Sis. Wendt also shared her recipe of how to make hibiscus tea from flowers she took from Bro. Meredith's hedge, haha. It was really yummy. Better than the hibiscus drink Starbucks sells.
"Hibiscus on Ice"
There was also some entertainment by Mariah Carey (middle) and her back up dancers!
AND THE FOOD...........DELICIOUS! Thank you so much to Sis. Delanie Tiakia for taking charge and delegating the refreshments. Look at how talented these sisters are! I never want to be assigned to the food, good thing I'm in charge, haha. *Not even half of the deliciousness shown!
I'm so glad it's over, hopefully the sisters enjoyed themselves. Everyone we gave assignments to pulled through, mahalo! And thank you so much to Sis. Wendt (I could never fill her awesome shoes) and my new partner in crime for future RS activities, Sis. Eka Arp.
I cut all those letters out by hand, it was a *! I also made tiny packets with the Sept VT message on top, which my kind hubby probably deleted my pic of.
(Me, Sis. Wendt, & Eka)
By the way, if you're confused why we had a Christmas party in September, it's because over here EVERYONE goes on holiday off island during December. Our ward Christmas party is in November.
Yay for future "Additional Relief Society Meetings"!