I love you mom, and everyone else =)
I found a pretty good system for my email. What I do is, I do the audio update Sunday night before bed, and right when I get on emails, I write my weekly letter to President Beesley. I then have time to read and send emails home. It works =). I got the package with the vitamins mom. By the way our new last name is Fa'amaumauga (Fah ah mau mau nga). That will be on my name tag soon.
Malo Soifua – That is the respectful way to say “hello” in Samoan. It's Sunday the 20th and I'm going to sing a song in Samoan for you; two verses and you will probably recognize the tune.
God Be With You Til We Meet Again, #152, Length 00:01:33
|Elders Johnson and Collins|
Elder Record strumming the Ukulele, Length 00:02:29
If you say “malo soifua” that is a very respectful way of saying “hello.” If you say “tofa soifua” is a respectful way of saying good bye. It's pretty cool, we're learning a lot.
This week I was thinking a lot about temples and family history just because … I don't know it seems like a lot of what people say and what's being mentioned everywhere seems to be about Zion, about the Second Coming, about preparing for the Second Coming, about the Temples and getting temple work done, and family history. It seems very déjà vu'ish (haha). It's kind of neat by the fact that I am pretty decent at family history, so I'm curious to see what happens.
I was thinking about my service in Whitehorse in Canada and what stuck out for me the most and what I remember the most. It was when I helped Brother Rick Hudson with his family history and saw how he was able to do a complete 180. I mean I had never seen him in Church before and all of the sudden he is coming to Church every week, and he was on fire, he was sharing the gospel with everybody, talking about family history, excited about the temple. He was even crying on the phone with Brother Hirsch, they were both crying back and forth, about the gospel and stuff. That was what stuck out to me the most about my entire time in Whitehorse, was him – Rick Hudson. Even though that was only the last week while I was there. Just being able to see his life begin to change, it meant a lot to me, and made everything worth it.
In my study journal on the 19th I was thinking about all this, and I wrote:
“Many of our ancestors lived hard and bitter lives, and died feeling that God had forgotten them. When their names are spoken in the temple, they will know that God has not forgotten them. Their hope is in our hands.”
So I was just thinking about that and temple work, and how wonderful a blessing it is that we have the temples, and that God is merciful enough to extend the opportunity to every person that has ever lived. Those who didn't get the opportunity to hear the gospel in this life, will get the opportunity to hear it in the next. We get to do the temple work for them. What a service! I cannot think of any better thing you can do for your family than your family history, providing those welding links and blessing them with that peace and hope that their Father in Heaven hasn't forgotten them, that He knows them and is mindful of them. We as members of the Church can provide the way for them to have the gospel.
When we first got here, we really didn't have any investigators. We had some, but they were really flaky, but this week we were able to find a former investigator. We went through all our former investigators, our area books were really disorganized, so we had to reorganize it so missionaries could use it. But we found this former investigator, and he was awesome. He already knew the Book of Mormon was true and that he really felt the Spirit when he read it, but for some reason he had started going to another Church. But we are going to start teaching him again, and for whatever reason he really likes us and enjoyed our company, so it was really neat to visit with him. He was from Samoa.
We visited a lot of less active people. Today we visited Ane, Jr. We visited Junior before and he was like, “ah, I don't what you guys to waste your time, I'll call you.” But that is like it's never going to happen. They don't call us. So we stopped by again today and gave him a video, “Finding Faith in Christ,” and set up a time to meet with him. He was very open about it. It just seems like the way is being opened to us to find new investigators.
We had lunch today with Brother Fa'amumu and his family. His granddaughter was there and she is from Samoa. She just got here in October. He said (haha) in a very Samoan way, because they all do this, “she's a non-member.” So we were like, “okay.” So we told her “we could teach you more about the Church. Would you like to learn more?” She said, “yeah, I think I would like that.” So we made plans to visit with her on Saturday.
In the Samoan ward, you can tract, but it's mostly just to help out other missionaries, because chances are you are not going to tract into a Samoan person. So usually we do our finding work through referrals. So it's important to really get to know the members and help them out. It just seems like things are really starting to pick up. The Samoan people are very nice and very friendly. They feed us a lot. At the Fa'amumu's we had a Taro. It is like a super dry potato, but it is not a potato. Then we had raw salmon, which was oka – the name of the dish we had. Oh!, we had coco Samoa – that is sooo good. That's their hot chocolate. It's better, and it not as sugary (haha).
They had a party on Saturday, a Thanksgiving party, and it was a party party (haha). Whenever they have an activity or anything like that, they have a dance. It's so funny to watch them dance, because they love it. I mean they don't care what people thing about them, they will just go out and dance, go crazy, and have fun (haha). When we were at Brother Siena's last Sunday for dinner, he's the Ward Mission Leader, he asked if we had any ideas for some kind of spiritual thing we could do at the beginning of the Thanksgiving party. I told him about how we started for Thanksgiving saying something we were thankful for at the beginning. He said he thought that was a good idea. We told him we would try to think of more things to do. When we got to the party, he said, “I decided to go with your idea.” He asked a couple of other people and myself if we would say some things we were thankful for. That was a neat opportunity. I got to go up in front of everybody – and there was a mix of people from our ward, the Diamond ward, and the Lake Otis ward, which are the three Samoan wards. I was able to say some things I was thankful for. Mostly I said I was thankful for my family, thankful for the gospel, thankful to be a missionary, thankful for these wonderful people who love me and treat me like family while I'm away from my family. They seemed to appreciate that a lot – I mean I certainly did. I was neat to be able to do that.
It's fun to be a missionary. It's not easy. You have to work on staying focused a lot. But, when you get those little moments like with Brother Hudson, when you see their lives begin to change, it makes all the annoying grief and heartache, it makes you so you don't remember it. It kind of outweighs that. It's so annoying sometimes (haha) how fickle people will be sometimes. Like the members love us, everybody is always very friendly, except for the occasional person who hates our guts at the door (haha). For the most part people are really friendly to us, but sometimes we are completely ignored as missionaries. Like they think we just do our thing and whatever. So it's hard to get people to make and keep commitments and appointments. But when they do keep want to make and keep those commitments on their own, it's wonderful to see because they become happier. It's wonderful to see them seek after those good things for themselves, and not needing us to push them to get them to do things to be happy, because they don't see that as “oh, that is going to make me happy.” They don't see it until after they do it. But they have a hard time getting around to doing it.
I know the Church is true. I am thankful for my Savior, Jesus Christ and what He's done for us. I am thankful for family history and the opportunity we have to go to the temple to do the work for our ancestors. I am thankful for President Beesley, my mission president. He's a cool guy and is definitely guided by our Heavenly Father to know what we need to do in the mission. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet and that Church was restored through him. I know that we have the priesthood on the earth again. I am thankful for the opportunity to be serving a mission and serving the Samoan people right now. I am thankful for the wonderful growth and the new experiences I get. I'm excited to see what happens in the coming months because I've only been out for three months. I know the Church is true, and I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Love, Elder Record