Sunday, April 24, 2016

A cyclone killed off by lighting - April 24

Everything is the same!!!

Both of our trainees didn't get their visas so we're both in Faleasi'u for another transfer. They say everything happens for a reason so we'll see. I'm pretty sure I'll get transferred after this transfer.

Other than that, a pretty average week.

On Friday we had an island conference with the Area President, Elder Pearson. It was so awesome. He talked for two hours and it felt like 15 minutes. I learned so much. He shared a really cool story when he was a mission president. At that time he had three of his kids with them. One of them was 12 years old. He struggled to find friends so one day he came home from school and told his dad that he joined the track team. He responded with, "What?? You know what they do at track right? They run. You don't run." His son went on to explain that a lot of kids do track so he did it too to get some friends. The next day they had to run a mile in under 9 minutes. He said after he finished it, he threw up all over the place. Time went on and he kept running. Everyday he ran. After a while he could run a mile in under 4 minutes and 30 seconds. 4 minutes is world class. Elder Pearson went on and talked about how we don't know our full potential until we try everything. If we keep doing the same thing and expect a different result we're insane. If we aren't getting the result we want we need to try something else.

After the conference we went to the mission office because I needed to get a new Temple recommend because mine got wet. Now I have a Samoan Temple recommend and it's sweet. The word for Temple recommend in Samoan is "pepa faataga i le malumalu". ( Paper allow in the temple.)

The Mamoe family is the name of the family we've been visiting and teaching. We are set to do a family home evening with them this Wednesday and are going to invite them to be baptized on the 21st so let's hope it goes well!!

Friday night some people were mentioning that a cyclone was coming here and it was confirmed on Saturday when it started to get really windy and rainy. We got a call from the zone leaders telling us to stay in. Around 8:00 at night it came. It was so strong. But then around 12:00, a lighting storm came. Cyclones and lighting storms don't really go together and the lighting storm ended up killing off the cyclone. The cyclone didn't leave Samoa it just disappeared. Everyone is saying it's a miracle. If the lighting didn't come, the cyclone would probably be going right now. On Sunday we only met for sacrament meeting because the power was still out. There weren't very many people and it felt like a branch. It was a pretty crazy/exciting two days.

I want to share a scripture with y'all from the book of Alma in the Book of Mormon. It's when Ammon is just praising and rejoicing because they were able to convert some of the Lamanites. Chapter 26.

 35 Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all‍ wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful‍ Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name.

 36 Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a branch‍ of the tree of Israel, and has been lost‍ from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers‍ in a strange land.

 37 Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful‍ of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.

Just a reminder for myself that it's okay to boast as long as we're not boasting about ourselves....
Until next week.....

 After being in Faleasi'u for over 6 months, I finally got a picture next to the village sign.

Another Sunset

Sunday, April 17, 2016

April 17th, 2016 - climbing for coconuts

This week was really good! This will probably be my last week being companions with Elder Fifita.   Elder Fifita is great.  Training him went so fast and its going to go even faster this time with my new companion (I'll meet him tomorrow!).

We had some good visits. We went on a split with our ward mission leader one day last week and as we were walking, he said, lets go to this house! We went up to the house, but it was just kids and they were all sleeping. Temple (our ward mission leader) went up to one of them and started poking him with his umbrella and it took the kid about 20 seconds to wake up. It was pretty funny.  Later that week, Temple said he talked to the mom and she said we can come back. So we went this week and visited with them. They're really nice people. They have six kids and they seem open to learning more. There is one challenge and that is they are active in their own faith. 

We shared our purpose as missionaries and a spiritual thought. They said we could come back next week!!! Usually, the answer is a simple "no" or "i ai se taimi" which means there will be a time - which is basically a different way of saying no. I know its going to be really challenging teaching this family but I have faith that something great can come from it.

Saturday, Tavai was baptized. She lives with the family that has all those kids we baptized a while ago. We planned on baptizing her with them but her parents said no. She was devastated. I was so bummed for her. But time went on, we continued to visit, and her parents' hearts were softened and they finally said she could get baptized. The dad even said he notices how happy she is when we come and he just wants his daughter to be happy.  It was so awesome being able to baptize her. As I baptized her and she came up out of the water, she had the biggest smile on her face. That's what it's all about. There is no better feeling, especially when we realize what baptism means. It means we have started down the path to gain eternal life, the greatest gift available. We get to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and know perfect joy. Forever. That's something that I absolutely love giving to others and not just full-time missionaries can feel that joy. As members of the church, we all can feel that.

alofa atu

-Elder Tana

Tavai's baptism.

The kid going up that tree to get coconuts is 7!!!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

April 10th - Staying in Faleasi'u until my 10 month mark

This week was great.

I got a pretty interesting call from President Hannemann on Tuesday, but first I have to explain what happened before. So in Samoa, and Tonga is the same, there is a huge Mormon compound kind of thing. The temple, mission office, church school, and all the senior couple homes and other people who work for the church live there too. There is also a dentist office where a senior couple work with some younger people from outside of Samoa. Tuesday is the day for missionaries to go to the dentist. Its been a while since I've been to the dentist so we decided to go. After the dentist, we went to the mission office because our phone wasn't working and we had stuff we wanted to put in our suitcases at the mission office (I left one of my suitcases in the mission office to keep stuff I don't need on a regular basis). We were talking to one of the senior couples and he said to look in president's office to look for an AP. President, his wife, and both the APs were in his office. We talked for a little bit and then Sister Hannemann took us to drop off our stuff. As we left the office, President asked his wife to make us a smoothie. I was stoked. It was so good. After taking care of all that business, we caught a bus back home.
About two hours later, after we finished up a visit, I felt the phone ringing and it was President Hannemann. I knew something was up. He asked me to say a prayer and then I knew for sure something was up. He went on to tell me that he wants to make Elder Fifita a trainer. I wasn't shocked. He's a great elder. He also said that I'm going to train as well!! And I'm staying in the same area! I'll hit my 10 month mark still in my first area. I just wonder if we hadn't gone to the office that day if we'd be training - haha
We had a great visit with one of our recent converts Malu. We talked about conference and we just talked about other stuff. She also mentioned that someone that lives next to them has been calling her Joseph Smith and she is kinda annoyed by it. Then I jokingly said, "Just wait for the judgement." And then she said that that's right and he's going to fale puipui (spirit prison). I was laughing and I was also happy that she remembers what we've taught her!
After finishing dinner with members, you say a thank you speech. But more often now people are saying not to do one. They all say aiga tatou which means we're family. I love these people. The longer I stay, it's going to just get harder and harder to leave.
Conference was awesome. I'm so grateful I was able to watch it in English. When we watched conference in the MTC, it was the first time I had ever watched every single session. Before, watching conference felt like forever but now I can't get enough. It went so fast....
 Hope everyone had a great week! I love and miss you all!
-Elder Tana

Just a sweet sunset pic.

This is an akualoa. Probably the most dangerous bug in Samoa and there were two in our house this week!!! They're so freakin' creepy. I hate them!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

April 3rd

Malo lava le soifua maua ma le lagi mama!

This week was a bit of a struggle. We had a lot of appointments set and as we went to the appointments, no one was really available so we had a hard time getting a solid lesson to teach.  When our appointments fell through, we would just visit random people and they weren't very warm to us.  That's the way it goes sometimes.

We had one investigator and he went out of town for a long time and he's finally back so I'm excited to get back to him this week and see how he's doing. Also, our ward mission leader's mom gave us a referral and we tried all week to find him and we were unsuccessful. Then this Sunday our ward mission leader said he talked to their friend and he said he really wants to hear our message, so we need to figure out where he lives!

We're hoping we can baptize someone that we're teaching before the next transfer comes.  I really love the people in this area.  This weekend is conference. We didn't watch it this week because we have to wait for the Samoan translation. Thankfully our area is somewhat close to town so in the chapel will be Samoan and in the cultural hall will be English. I found that out yesterday and it made my week.

I have been reading in the New Testament for my personal study the last few weeks and I've really enjoyed it. It's the first time I've ever read it all the way through. It talks a lot about the Atonement especially in all of Paul's epistles.  After reading one day, a thought came into my head, "Christ sacrificed himself, you're just sacrificing time." I thought about that for a while and realized the work I'm doing is nothing compared to what Christ did. Since I've had that thought, whenever I'm discouraged or thinking this is hard, I just try to comprehend the Atonement and think about everything He went through for me and for each of us.

Sorry for not having much to talk about this week. Thanks for not spoiling conference either!

Hope you all have a great week!

alofa atu

-Elder Tana

Just a sweet picture I took. you can see the little islands between us and Savai'i and then Savai'i

This is J. short for Junior. He's Tinei's son. Hes a super talkative little kid and loves when we visit.