Sunday, May 29, 2016

May 29th...I'm getting transferrred!

I bought an 'ie (pronounced eeaaa) that is for Mothers Day.  If I could send a package I would send a bunch of different kinds of these things. Everyone wears them and they're all different.



I'm getting transferred!!! I never thought I would leave this place. It's going to be really hard to say goodbye to all these awesome people who have made me feel very loved. It's going to be hard to top Faleasi'u that's for sure.  I'm getting transferred to Fagaloa (Fagaloa Bay). It's on the northeast side of the island. I will cover two wards and a branch. It's flippin beautiful but there aren't many people there so we'll see how that goes. I get a car! a Hyundai Tucson because its a pretty big area!!
My companion is a Samoan from California. He started in January but went home for a little bit because he got sick. I've heard good things about him and I'm really excited.

Our baptism with Malu went really well. He's a very humble, quiet guy. Sometimes I feel badly that he doesn't talk more but I know there are people like that and he is just more shy. Other than the baptism, not much happened this week. On Saturday night after the baptism, we went to do a lesson with one of our investigators and she had said she was going to make us food. They prepared sooo much food. We had chicken but they bbq'd it and took the bones out. It was so nice not having to worry about bones!

On Wednesday I'll be leaving. The next couple days are going to include saying goodbye and taking pictures so I know you'll be happy about the picture part.

I'm really excited to get to my new area and explore. Oh and I get a car because the area is bigger than my whole district here in Faleasi'u.

Hope all is well back home!!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Me & Junior...May 22

This week went super fast. I guess that's what happens when we're really busy.

On Wednesday we did a service project with half the zone. We all got our machetes and cut down this persons big field. It was really fun and I have a ton of blisters. It reminded me of when you take a month break from baseball and swing a bat again and get blisters like crazy. We had a good time and it felt good to be able to help out.

Junior is the oldest of the kids in the Mamoe family that we have been teaching. Even though his dad shut us down, he sneaks out to come to church activities. This week he even went to seminary that starts at 5:00 am. He is such a cool kid and wants to get baptized so bad. The rest of the kids want it as well.  They just aren't as ballsy as Junior. Whenever we go visit with him he always walks home with us.  It's just a perfect example of when someone becomes converted, they're not gonna let anything stop them.  Hopefully, he will stay valiant and his dad's heart will be softened when he sees the positive impact the gospel is having on his children.

We finally have a baptism this week!! His name is Malu. We actually met him at dance practice for a performance thing they're doing for the stake party on the 1st. He is a really cool and super-humble guy. Sometimes we just go and visit him to answer questions. He loves learning about the gospel. He has the Gospel Doctrine book and whenever a Book of Mormon reference is made he looks it up in the scriptures. It has been awesome to see his testimony and knowledge of the gospel grow.  It really makes me happy to be a part of that process.

Me and Junior

Sunday May 15th

This week was really good!

Tuesday we had an interesting run in with some missionaries of another faith. We planned on visiting this person we aren't really familiar with. As we walked up we saw three ladies sitting down. As I got closer I saw a bible open on the floor, so I thought that was a little weird. Then I got in and sat down and saw two umbrellas on the floor and when I saw that I knew it was other missionaries. Before anyone started talking, I knew it was gonna be a waste of our time. I asked them if they had any questions for us and they said for us to tell them something and then maybe they'll have a question. So I shared the purpose of missionary work and a quick overview of the restoration. I shared the scripture in Amos about a famine in the land of hearing the words of Christ. So I explained how Christ's church was established, it was taken off the earth and then restored. One of the ladies was saying that its talking about now and how Amos died 500 years ago..... After she said that I was just like, "let's go. Were wasting our time."  Plus, I was getting frustrated so the spirit definitely wasn't there.

Wednesday was kinda a bummer. We went to go visit the Mamoe family and the dad pretty much shut us down. All the kids were so devastated. We continue to visit them and share the gospel with them. The kids are great and really want to come to church. So I know they will get baptized but not anytime soon.  At least we can still spend time with them.

We had invited all of our investigators to church but none came. Two non-members came with their friends so we taught them after Sacrament. They're both in their mid 20s. They're super cool. We have a return date set with them both for this week and we hope to set them to be baptized on the 28th.

We're really hoping to get at least one more baptism before the transfer is over on the 29th. If we do or don't, whoever serves in Faleasi'u next transfer is going to have a lot of people to teach.

A sweet picture of the coastline.

This is a bus stop.  An interesting thing about Samoa is that they put graves in front of their houses.  The big dark stone one in the middle is probably for a chief and then you can see some smaller ones on the left.

Skyping on Mother's Day...THE BEST!!!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

May 8th - Happy Mother's Day! We get to SKYPE!!!!

Note from mom and dad - We were able to Skype with Justin for about an hour and a half today which was awesome.  He is doing great and it was so wonderful to see his face and hear his voice.  As we spoke, we were able to hear a group singing in Samoan in the background during a holiday celebration.  It was also fun to hear his companion and Temple (son of the ward mission leader) making comments and laughing throughout.  We feel like this past 8 months has gone really quickly and he said it has flown so fast.  We hope the next 16 months go just as fast!

Uncooked skinned pig on the really hot rocks.

Umu done!

This week was good! We just did a pig in the umu with our ward mission leader. They shot the pig this morning. We watched them skin it, take all the insides out, and then cook it.  This was definitely far out of my comfort zone, but it is very cool to see these types of cultural traditions. It smells so good and it only took like 30 minutes to cook. They did it for the women of the ward and they're doing a party today for them. The Monday after Mother's Day is a holiday in Samoa so the celebration is going on right now!  Temple's dad also gave us a shout-out on the radio and said some nice things about us which was pretty cool.

Still working with the Mamoe family. Haven't set a baptismal date with them yet but it's gonna happen this week!

We had a really good first lesson with one of our investigators that we've been trying to contact for at least a month. We taught lesson one and she asked some good questions along the way. When it came time to tell the Joseph Smith story, the spirit totally took over. We shared the first vision and she understood it all and didn't have any questions. We invited her to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. We invited her to be baptized on the 21st but we'll probably have to push it back because she isn't married yet. That's an extremely common thing here in Samoa. Hardly anyone is married.

Oh and I was reading the BoM in Samoan and the word for Gentiles in Samoan is Nu'uese which didn't really make sense to me because they didn't Samoanize Gentile. Then I read in the Bible Dictionary that Gentile means everyone else other than Jews. I didn't know that before but it makes total sense. Nu'uese in Samoan means different villages.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May 1 - Eating pani popo

Another pretty average week here in Faleasi'u

Sunday was our busiest day. At church after Sacrament meeting we have a class with our investigators who come to church and our ward mission leader teaches it. Our ward mission leader wasn't able to make it to church and no investigators came to church. We were just sitting in the classroom and about halfway through the second hour, one of our investigators walked in. I was a little caught off guard but very happy he decided to come. Elder Fifita looked at me as to what to do and said we'll teach lesson one but Elder Fifita was gonna lead. He did a good job and the lesson went really smoothly. The spirit was definitely there. The investigators name is Apera'amo which is Abraham in Samoan. He is super cool and he loves to talk to us. When we would go and visit him he wasn't really open to us teaching him an actual lesson. We would try to sprinkle in some doctrine as we talked. But this time we taught him all of the lesson 1(the Restoration). We gave him a book of Mormon and invited him to read and pray about what we talked about. Lets hope he does!!

After church we had fafaga and they talked for a really long time. So we got home and did our planning for the week and then we had ward council. After ward council, we had a Stake mission meeting with a lot of the leaders of the stake. We're leading the stake with 11 baptisms this year and our goal for this month is 6. The goal set by our bishop for the whole year is 20.

After the meeting we went straight to the Mamoe family to do our FHE. We had to cancel Wednesday because things just wouldn't work out. It went really well! The spirit was definitely there and we all had a lot of fun playing games after the lesson. We planned on inviting them to be baptized but it just didn't feel right to me or Elder Fifita. We hope to get to them twice this week!

Other than that, a pretty uneventful week. I really feel that this week is gonna make or break the rest of the transfer. We have a lot of investigators on the fence and this week were gonna see which way they go. Lets hope its in a baptismal font!!

 Family Home Evening with the Mamoe family.

We ate pani popo after our Family Home Evening (FHE).  It's super good.  It's cinnamon roll stuff and then pe'epe'e which is coconut cream and then they add some cinnamon and sugar.  Super good!