Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Questions: 30 January 2012

Everyone: How was the baptism and did you get pictures?
It went great! Everyone felt the spirit there, and everything went smoothly. While they were changing we watched the ending clip of the testaments where the savior appears. I testified of the savior afterwards and I think it went well. Yes I got pictures.

Dad: If Lorielle starts sending weekly audio updates, will you be able to listen to the MP3? Can you copy them to your voice record to listen to them later instead of using your one hour computer time?
That should work, I don't see why it wouldn't.

Dad, in answer to those chapters you gave me. Here is an excerpt from my weekly to president Beesley about what I studied.

'I was studying in Alma 48 and 49. My dad referenced those to me because he knows I like Ether 12:27. I was reading and discovered that Captain Moroni exemplifies Ether 12:27. In chapter 48 it says that Moroni had been “preparing the minds of the people to be faithful unto the Lord their God.” And in verse 12 it shows his humility, “Yea, a man whose heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God, for the many privileges and blessings which he bestowed upon his people; a man who did labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of his people.” Not only was he humble, but he also had charity and spent all his time thinking about and working for his people, not himself. And in verse 16 it says, “And also, that God would make it known unto them whither they should go to defend themselves against their enemies… and this was the faith of Moroni, and his heart did glory in it;” They were humble and sought after righteousness, and they were guided and protected by the Lord. I am thankful to have the Lord on my side. I know he is always there for me. Whenever I need help I know where to turn and can say like Nephi, “Nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.” What a blessing it is to be serving the Lord and our Heavenly Father’s children here in Alaska.'

Love, Elder Record

Transcription: 30 January 2012

Malo! Today is Sunday the 29th and this is my update for the week. Probably the most exciting thing that happened this week was the baptism for the little nine year old girl we were teaching. She is sooo smart (haha). She is so nice. She is so happy all the time. She remembers a lot of what we teach her, and she was so excited to be baptized. She was a good example for her family. We had her uncle doing the baptism and confirmations, because her baptism was combined with her cousin who was turning eight. They were able to get a lot of family there, a lot of less active members of the family. There were some other elders who brought an investigator. They said she was crying and during the talk about baptism she knew she was ready to be baptized. Definitely the Spirit is there. I read it somewhere in Preach My Gospel where it says the Spirit is strongly manifest in a baptism, because that is like your first step in covenant making – through ordinances with your Heavenly Father. It is a powerful Spirit that accompanies it.

I know I have felt it as I do baptisms in the temple, I mean not anymore, but when I have and when I will. I always am touched a little more than really anywhere else. I don't know – it's because it's that first step I guess, and that people are waiting. Through taking that first step people are able to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and have Him as their constant companion as long as they are righteous. It has definitely been a blessing in my life since I've had it. I don't really like to think of what life would be without it, because I have received so much help and strength, especially on my mission, through the Holy Ghost. It really is that Comforter that Christ talked about. I know that our Heavenly Father is there for us and answers our prayers. I know that He loves us. I know that we're never alone. I am thankful I don't have to rely on my own strength (haha), because being honest, we as people make a lot of mistakes. I make a lot of mistakes, and a lot of times it is hard. It is very comforting to know we have a Heavenly Father there who loves us and can provide us with strength. We just need to ask, and then do our best to make it through.

I love you all. Thanks for all your support and prayers. I'm excited for the transfer that is coming up. I found out that Elder Leota will be going to Fairbanks to be serving with a pretty cool elder named, Elder Butler. I will be staying here. I will be getting an elder named Elder Thorne. I have heard a lot about him, and he seems like a pretty cool guy. I think I met him once. Everybody I've talked to really likes him. He was apparently a cross country runner at Stanford (haha), but he's not a very big guy. He doesn't look too old, but apparently he's pretty smart and pretty quick. So I'm excited to be running in the mornings (haha). I have kind of miss that, so it will be nice. He is actually one of the missionaries who was called to be Spanish speaking in this mission. So, we will be part of the Spanish district, and I will probably be learning some Spanish with him, and him Samoan. So I'm excited to hopefully be in some Spanish lessons (haha). So we'll see how that goes. I have definitely found that after trying to learn Samoan, I mean I'm picking it up slowly, but after learning about Samoan I found that Spanish is a relatively easy language. It's a lot easier to learn than Samoan (haha). If I were to come back from my mission or anytime else, I would probably pick Spanish, just because learning a language is not easy. I'm excited! It will be a fun experience, and we'll see how everything goes.

I looked at the picture of the Palmers on the new arrivals board at the mission office, and I will be excited when they come up (haha). I will be sending my SD card in the mail after I take some pictures of my new companion. I love you all. Fasafua!

Elder Record

Monday, January 23, 2012

Transcription: 23 January 2012

Malo Everybody! This is Elder Record. Today is the 22nd of January 2012, and I was just thinking about it. In February we are going to have a leap day. So this is a leap year. So, I'm going to have to do something special (haha) on the 29th – make it an awesome day. Just because that day won't exist for another four years. Anyway, it's kind of fun (haha).

I love the new Bible videos they are coming out with.  They just came out with the story of the Widow's Mite.

This week was pretty awesome. We are getting ready for a baptism for one of our investigators. She is a little girl, she's nine. She is very smart. She remembers a lot of what we teach her. Her mother is less active, and her cousins, so her mother's family are all in our ward. Some of them are active and some of them are less active. They are the Aumafa family. We love the Aumafa families in our ward. They are so nice to us. They always feed us. If we ever need anything, they are always there. So we've been teaching her and it's kind of been exciting. A little bit stressful though, because it's my first time. I haven't really seen how a baptism goes, so I've kind of gone by the books and how people have said how to proceed through a baptism. It's been good (haha). It's going to be combined with her cousin who's family is active. They are going to get all their family and less active family, hopefully, out to the baptism. We are very excited about that, and it will be coming up this Saturday. It's pretty set – everything is a go so far. There are still some things we need to finalize, but we are very excited about that.

We had another good lesson with one of our investigators this week. We taught her the second lesson, the Plan of Salvation. She has so many good questions. It's so good, because if you go into the lesson with a prayer, so you have to pray before for the Spirit, and go in sincere, doing your best to teach out of love and feel love for that person and feel the Spirit, the lesson goes so well. We were talking with her, and the gospel is so awesome, because there is always an answer. So, she was throwing out questions (haha), and we had answers (haha). She is growing. She really good, and we are expecting her to be baptized soon. She is not on date for baptism, but we are expecting she will feel the Spirit, and that she will feel the gospel is true, just like we feel it. We are excited for her and the progress she will make. We didn't get all the way through the Plan of Salvation – we kind of stopped at the atonement. We talked a bit about other things, and we will go over the second half of the lesson next time, and finish answering her questions.

The ward really likes us. We are able to teach quite a few of people. There are quite a few less active people, but it feels good to strengthen them. We were able to go to the hospital and visit one of the less active members, the wife's father. He had a stroke, so we were able to go to the hospital and visit them. In the Samoan culture, if the missionaries show up, they have a great respect for the missionaries, so if the missionaries show up – you know we're not doing too much, we're just showing up – it means a lot to them. We showed up and said hi and talked and found out the father, who had the stroke, knows Elder Leota's father and his uncles (haha), and his whole family (haha). So they had a good time talking and it was good. They requested a blessing, so we gave him a blessing. I think things will go really well.

The work is good. It's stressful at times (haha), but it's so much fun. We're busy, busy, busy. I'm thankful for the gospel. I'm thankful for the opportunity I have to serve the Lord. I'm learning so much about patience. I'm learning so much about life and how to work with people. I didn't realize that before my mission I kind of … not really kept to myself, just surrounded myself with good people. I didn't realize how much I didn't … anyway just all the people and personalities I'm around now are people I've never really been around. So, I'm learning a lot (haha) on how to associate with people. It's so good.

I'm still staying healthy. Healthy and strong, and exercising every morning. I'm doing my best to eat my vegetables, taking my vitamins (haha). I'm doing good. I hope everything is well at home. I am thankful for all the support everyone gives. I'm excited for next week and P-day tomorrow. It will be a good time to exercise some more.

Anyway, I hope everyone is well and reads their scriptures this week, and the Book of Mormon. I promise that it will bless your lives and you will feel the strength that comes from it – even if it's hard. We don't always get things from the scriptures. I know a lot of times in the morning I will try to read my scriptures or study, and sometimes I'm tired. So things just go in and straight out, and I don't really remember too much of what happened. But it still strengthens me, and I still receive spiritual strength for the day when I read my scriptures. It totally makes a difference. I felt it when that strength hasn't been there. So when I just skip out or read something else or take a nap (haha) – I've done that occasionally, I'll admit. I know that when we read the scriptures, whether we understand it or not, we receive strength from it, and gradually we come to understand it as we keep doing our best. I know that is true, and say that in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

See you all later, Tolofa Soifua. Filoai. That means “until we meet again.” See you later.

Love, Elder Record

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Questions: 17 January 2012

Dad: When did Elder Leota enter the MTC?
The 26th of July [2011].

Dad: In one of the papers you sent home, there were some notes. You drew a picture of a stick figure in a boat with an oar and flag. You listed five things 1) surface meaning, 2) whole picture, 3) symbolic meaning, 4) personal application, and 5) Savior and Atonement. If you have time, do you mind sharing your thoughts on these notes?
It was a training on how to dig deeper into the scriptures. They are the different levels of studying.

Dad: You sent home a visitor's pass to the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson military facility. What is the story behind it?
One of the members lives up there, and we went to see and eat dinner with him and his family.

Dad: Do you get to attend the temple?
Yes, when we came back to anchorage with the members of the Whitehorse branch. I think I sent you home the cards. I did the work for Daniel Owens I think.

Dad: Elder Steven Snow has been called to serve as Church historian. (http://lds.org/church/news/steven-e-snow-called-as-church-historian?lang=eng)
Wow, I'll have to check that out.

Dad: Cordova, AK got 18 feet of snow. They called in the national guard to help the residents dig out. Do you know of any missionaries serving in that area?
Not off the top of my head but WOW that's crazy awesome! My district leader Elder Thompson served there in the past.

Mom: How deep is the snow where you are?
Like 6" to a foot, but the snow banks are like 5' high.

Love you all,
Elder Record

Transcription: 17 January 2012

Good morning everybody, this is Elder Record and today is the 17th, Tuesday. Yesterday was P-day, but it was the Martin Luther King, Jr day, so we weren't able to do any emailing because the library was closed. We had a pretty fun day. Whenever there is a holiday (haha), our ward does games. It was pretty fun. On Monday, we went basically all of our P-day, we had fun playing games with our ward; volleyball, basketball, and a lot of good exercise, so it felt really good.

On Saturday we had a really good day. The Elder's Quorum, which has been pretty disorganized up to this point, is starting to get back together. They went out to do some – kind of like home teaching but it was like splits/group visits. We went with a little group of people and went to visit some elders in the quorum and said “hi” and asked them if they needed help with anything. We let them know about the games the ward was going to have later that day, because they had an Elder's Quorum activity where they were going to play volleyball and basketball. A lot of people came to that, and it was good, and some non-members too I think. It was really good to see things come together.

On Sunday we had a really good day. We got the Gospel Principles class started up again, because it hadn't been going. We didn't have any investigators in the class, but we had some less active people. It was really good because we were able to learn more about the Book of Mormon and teach them a little more. Even though they were members, they still didn't know very much about the Book of Mormon. So it was really good that we were able to do that. The teacher is our ward mission leader, Amo Saiana. He's a cool guy, and he's a good teacher (haha). The class went very well, and we are excited about classes ahead.

This week we were able to teach more people than we ever have, at least while I have been in this area, this is the most lessons I've seen taught in this area. So it was very good. Our appointments with our non-members fell through, so we ended up teaching active members (haha). We didn't let that stop us, we just went ahead and taught members in the ward. This coming week should be even better. What's cool too, is this week – I think it was Thursday – we were told to stay in our apartment because of the weather conditions; the road conditions really, so people don't crash into us and we don't crash into them and things like that. Even though we stayed in a whole day, we still taught more than we ever have before. So we are excited for this next week.

I have been having a lot of fun on my mission so far. I'm learning so much – really learning how to deal with people. It seems like when left to myself (haha), I kind of just float toward people who are kind of like me or better than me mostly. But, being out here I have been paired with people who have different personalities than me, or different personalities than I've been around. It has been a very neat experience. I've been able to develop my people skills a little more, and learn how to work together with people who are different from me, which is important for life (haha), because lots of people are different from me (haha). It's very good. Time is starting to really fly by. I'm excited to see how the rest of my mission turns out.

I have really enjoyed being in this ward. They are very nice. There is this one family, the Augafa family. They are seriously like the Uncle and the Auntie. They are an older couple, like a Mom and Dad, or Grandma and Grandpa I guess (haha). They love us and take care of us, and they let us know. They are very nice, and it's very wonderful to have loving people like that to support us and help us out. I love this ward (haha). They are so nice. It's soo much fun. I'm learning soo much, and we are helping so many people. It's really good, and it feels really good too.

I know the gospel is true. I know that this is our Heavenly Father's work, and that it is helping people. I see people's lives being changed for the better; we're helping people. It feels good. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I am so thankful for it. I am thankful for the things it teaches me, because in it we find solutions for the problems we have in life. Time and time again people we talk to have problems or issues in life, and we just turn to the Book of Mormon, and it talks about it and addresses it almost the exact situation and lets you know what needs to be done. It was written for our day; I know it was. I am thankful for the prophet. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet today, and I'm thankful for the prophet and apostles and all they do to teach us and support us. I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Everybody, have a good week. Have fun (haha). Relax (haha), and I'll talk to you again next week. Bye.

Love, Elder Record

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Photos: 12 January 2012

District Meeting, LR: Sisters Hollingshead and Gardner, Elder Tuipolotu (DL), Elders Tonga, Davis, Christensen, and Satini

A Moose in Anchorage, AK

Elders Fisher and Record at Zone Conference, Elder Record
is sporting his new name badge that says, "Elder Fa'amaumauga"
which is Elder Record in Samoan.

Elder Blackhurst was leaving this transfer and teases
Elder Curtin with a good bye kiss. Clearly Elder Curtin is
holding his ground.

Elders Leota and Record

Elder Junior Leota

Playing basketball on P-day.
You can see all of Elder Record's photos in his photo album.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Transcription: 9 January 2012

NOTE: Sorry, the Samoan words below are my best guess on how to spell them.

Good morning. Today is Monday the 9th, and this week was very good.

We had a lesson with one of our investigators. We went to the lesson kind of thinking about what we wanted to do. We got there and Elder Leota leans over to me, and he's like, “let's watch the long movie first” – talking about Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration. I was like, “yeah, let's do that, I was thinking about that too.” So we do it and watch the movie, and she's crying and I'm crying because it's a good movie (haha). We teach the first lesson to her after that, and the Spirit was there very strong. She told us later that because we watched the movie first she wanted to listen to us because she was intimidated a little at first because of how young we were. She wondered if we had anything we could offer her. But, she said after the movie she felt open and ready to listen to us, and it went very well. She hopefully will be baptized. She's pretty cool (haha) – that was a very good lesson.

We were also able to get a little bit of training from President Beesley this week. That was fun. I always love getting training and things like that.

We've had a really good week. We have been able to teach a lot of people. A lot of new things are happening in the ward. We were able to go to dinners with a lot more people than we were before. Sometimes they either don't have time because they are working or they feel like they can't provide good enough food so they send us somewhere to eat or something like that. We are starting to get to eat with more families, which is good because we want to talk with them and we want to help strengthen them and get referrals from that. The work is really starting to grow in this area. I'm having a great time with Elder Leota (haha). He's fun. Yeah, that's pretty much everything that happened this week – a very fun week. Hopefully we have another one like it next week. In fact I think it is probably even going to be a little bit better because we have a lot of lessons that will be scheduled. It's very fun. I love it. I am excited to email today and play some sports and kind of relax and get ready for the week ahead.

I was able to bear my testimony in Samoan yesterday because the New Year's Sunday ended up not being a fast Sunday. I wasn't able to memorize it yet, but I wrote it down on a card. Let me read it.

Testimony in Samoan, Length 00:01:58

So I said it a little bit slower, because in Samoan when you say something slower, it puts more emphasis and feeling into it. It went really well, and people commented on how good it was. Apparently I was able to make a difference for some people. They love to hear palagi's (white guys) speak their language, because it means a lot to them. In Samoan when you speak the language because of the culture they have like talking chiefs who will do a lot of negotiations. So when they talk they like to use proverbs, scriptures and things like that to put into things they say. So at the beginning [of his testimony in Samoan] I have a proverb – I don't remember what it is. Then I introduce myself, and then I begin my testimony. You can probably tell what I said. “Ekalesia” is the Church, the Church is true. “Soifua Jesu Kriso mialofa” that one is I know Jesus Christ lives and loves us – I believe. “Josefa Somita” is Joseph Smith. I also said I'm thankful for my family, and I'm thankful to be serving the Lord. I said, “I know the Book of Mormon is true, and I'm thankful for the Gospel.” No, no – it's “I know the Gospel blesses families” is the last one. Then to close in Samoan, just because of how nice they are (haha), every time after they speak they say like, “if there is anything wrong I said, forgive me,” like I know a lot but at the same time I don't know everything. So, “if I say anything that was wrong, forgive me.” So I said something like that in the testimony and then in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. So it was very good. I had the Ward Mission Leader help me with this. So a lot of people were very impressed by it, and they felt the Spirit when they listened to the words. Hopefully I will be able to do that again and start praying in Samoan. I want to start doing that too.

I know the Church is true (haha). I am thankful for the Gospel, and I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Love, Elder Record

Transcription: 3 January 2012

NOTE: Elder Record forgot to attach his audio update file from last week, so we got both last week and this weeks' audio updates. This update is from last week, 3 Jan 2012.

Hello, this is Elder Record and today is the 3rd of January.

This week was pretty good. We got to go to a lot of the members' activities and really get to know the members. They are really starting to like us, especially Elder Leota (haha). It's been very good. One thing I really liked this week was our district meeting. At the beginning we went around the room and everybody said what their most embarrassing moment was (haha), what their favorite dessert was, and then their favorite scripture. When it got to me, for my favorite scripture, I put Ether 12:27. The Spirit was there very strong. And, yeah, through that whole district meeting the Spirit was very strong. We did a little bit of role playing on how we can help less active members become stronger. It was very effective, and I think it will help us a lot. I really liked it because the Spirit was there so strong.

This week we have been going through some of these less active people the bishop wanted us to visit with.

On P-day we had ward games (haha). Just yesterday on Monday. It was also a holiday so we couldn't email. We went to the ward games and played a lot of basketball and volleyball. Things here are going well. I look forward to seeing what will continue to happen. I love you all.

I know the Gospel is true. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a missionary. I'm learning a lot. I'm learning a lot of patience (haha). I learning how to, not only become a better missionary, but a better person. So I'm very thankful for the opportunities, the blessings and the challenges that I've had, because I think I'm growing much stronger because of them. I'm thankful for the Book of Mormon, and I know it's true. I'm thankful for my Savior, and all that He did for me and for us. I know that He lives. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet today. I love the Gospel and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Love, Elder Record

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Questions: 3 January 2012

Happy New Year!

Grandma Record: What is the history of the Samoan people in Alaska? It seems so odd to have such a large Samoan community in Alaska.
Benefits and opportunity is all I've noticed so far.

Dad: What is your companion's full name?
Elder Junior Leota

Dad: How do you spell the town he is from in Upolu, Samoa? I didn't quite understand you on the phone.

Dad: What is his rapper cousin's name?
I don't remember I'll have to get back to you.

Dad: Would you ask Elder Leota to share with us his conversion story, if he is willing? I would like to know what one of his defining moments were that solidified his testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (This is a common question I ask missionaries in Stake High Council who are reporting on their missions.)

Dad: What are some of your 2012 goals?
Still thinking about that, I want to be ready to train though.

Love, Elder Record

We did not get an audio update from Elder Record this past week. However, he will be studying Ether 12:27 for a topic to study for the year. In a separate email, he said:

The families in the ward are becoming very friendly towards us. More and more as we associate with them and go to their activities they look for ways to find us people to teach. I’ve noticed that one of the biggest things to the Samoan people is friendship. If you can become their friend, which isn’t too hard, and associate with them a lot, they almost do the work for you. They particularly love Elder Leota. He is very funny when we visit with people, very good at sports when we play, and they love him for that.