Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Yearbook Experience - Fred Wegener
(experience of Fred Wegener on pgs 109 & 110 of the 2009 Yearbook)
*this experience shows the type of setbacks we can experience in life even while trying to put the preaching work first, but how Jehovah keeps helping us get through difficult circumstances along the way.
We moved from Australia to American Samoa as newlyweds in 1956 to serve as special pioneers. Our first assignment was Lauli'i, a small village at the eastern entrance of Pago Pago Harbor. There we moved into a run-down shack with no doors, windows, ceilings, or running water. After making it livable, we immediately had a new addition to our family. Wallace Pedro, a local youth who had been evicted from his home by his opposed parents, came to live and pioneer with us. Two years later, we attended Gilead and were assigned to Tahiti as missionaries. Our stay there, however, was short-lived. The government rejected our missionary applications and politely informed us by letter that we must leave on the next plane. After returning to American Samoa, we served with Paul and Frances Evans and Ron and Dolly Sellars at the Fagatogo missionary home in Pago Pago. Here I printed the Samoan Watchtower and Our Kingdom Ministry on an old mimeograph machine set up on the dining room table. In 1962, Shirley and I were invited to take up circuit work. Our first circuit covered most of the South Pacific, including American Samoa, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
Eight years later, our son, Darryl, was born, and we settled in American Samoa. I served as a special pioneer, and Shirley spent most of her time translating Bible literature into Samoan. About this time, I worked with a Witness abalone diver to replenish our family funds. The outboard motor on his small boat broke down, and we were lost at sea for four days. We drifted hundreds of miles, survived a fierce storm, sighted 32 passing vessels, and were nearly crushed by a huge container ship before being rescued. Soon afterward, Shirley and I learned that another baby was on the way, so in 1974 we reluctantly decided to return to Australia, where our daughter, Tamari, was born.
In the years that followed, we often thought about returning to our cherished missionary assignment. Imagine our delight when Shirley and I were invited to return to Samoa in 1995 with Tamari, to serve at Bethel. One year later, Shirley and I were invited to resume circuit work - after a break of 26 years! What a joy it was to meet up with the many faithful old-timers whom we had worked with years earlier in Samoa, American Samoa, and Tonga! (3 John 4)
Today, Shirley and I serve alongside Tamari and her husband, Hideyuki Motoi, in Samoa Bethel. How glad we are that we kept coming back!