Tuesday, April 26, 2011

TOFA SOIFUA ASUAFI!!!

Talofa Lava Tou Susuga!! April 26, 2011

So how are things this week?!? I hope all is good and Easter was great. Oh, Happy Belated Easter by the way. Sorry about the no email yesterday since with the Easter holiday everything is closed on Friday and Monday. Every holiday here that happens on the weekend, all places will be closed the next Monday, so the same story with Mothers and Fathers day and other holidays as well. But anyway I hope all is still good and great!!
This week has been pretty hectic and also a sad week as well. First off I found out Monday that Asuafi and another elder received their visas for Papa New Guinea. So that meant they were leaving on Friday on the plane to the islands of Papu. At first I didn't find out until that night when my comp Touli who is now my comp still in Lemoli and Faleasiu, said that Asuafi had received his visa and was leaving on Friday!!! So that whole week was just tense and kind of dreading the coming Friday and saying goodbye. But we kept working and did what we could. Asuafi was great and was helping both of us get ready for when he would leave He had been in that area for about 6 months, almost 7 and it was his first and only area here in Samoa so he knew everything there pretty well. I have been with him for 4 months as well in this area so I’m pretty used to it, but still having a little trouble with the language and conversing consistently with people, but it is getting better. But anyway I am really appreciative of Asuafi and all the help he gave to me and all he did for me as we were comps. He was my comp for the longest time so far on my mission so we had a lot of great times together. There is one thing I can say for Asuafi is "Malo Lava le Onosai!!!" (Congrats on the Patience). He needed it with me, but ya we all do for every comp at times, but don't think of the hard stuff, remember the good. I miss him, but will keep going and hope to keep in contact with him as much as possible.
Anyway as I said this week was hectic in other parts as well. On Tuesday, it was the main proselyting day I had with Asuafi. We visited in Lemoli Lua and actually gained a new investigator. Her name is Faamoina and she is set on being baptized! Let me tell you the story. We visited her on Tuesday and she agreed to receive the lessons starting on Thursday. So we went after the zone meeting and getting final things for Asuafi on Thursday night, oh and Tui from Lepale came too. So it was us four and we went to teach her the first lesson. It was one of the most spiritual and best lessons I have ever been a part of so far in my mission!! The spirit was so strong and I received strength and comfort for when I taught in Samoan and felt truly blessed of the Lord. It was Asuafi's last lesson here in Samoa so he cried a little as he bore his testimony at the end and it just increased the feeling of the spirit. It was fantastic. Then after Asuafi was gone on Friday Touli and I went to teach her the second lesson and all went ok for that one it is the hardest lesson for talking in samoan, at least for me, but we got through it and she said she would attend church that Sunday. So Sunday came and she showed up, it was great. After the sacrament meeting we taught her the third lesson and she loved it and accepted to be baptized. We talked to her about getting married first and she said she would talk with her husband--well mate right now I guess, and so that is in the process. It has just been a neat experience.
On Wednesday I did a split with Aloi since Sua had a zone leader meeting so that was that day. Fun day with the fafaga's in Leauva'a my first area so that was fun. Thursday was the zone meeting in which President Haleck attended and he told us the story of him being called to the Seventy and it was very spiritual and inspiring! He told us that everything is for a reason and that the Lord could be preparing each one of us for something later in life. It was great and I loved it!! I will miss President Haleck when he ends, but the new president will be great too.
So anyway that’s the rough update for the week. I love you all and thank you so much for all the support, prayers, and love for me, you probably don't fully understand or realize how much it helps!!! I know this church is true and is led by a living Prophet, President Monson. I know Jesus is the Christ our Savior and Redeemer. This church was restored by the Prophet Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. We are so blessed with all this knowledge and need to share it with the world that is what I and 50,000 other young men and women are doing. This is the work of the Lord. Keep Strong!!!
Ou te alofa tele ia te outou!!!
Alofa tele
Elder Cody John Walker

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

ETEUATI WEEK

Talofa Lava! April 18, 2011

Hey everybody how’s everyone doing?! I hope all is grand and going great!!!
So this week we didn't have any baptisms but we will this next week or some time soon, it’s when the Tama, "Dad", wants to be baptized either this Saturday or the next. It has been a great week with teaching this Tama, whose name is Eteuati. If you can remember he is the elderly gentleman we took to church a few weeks back or so after we had a fafaga at his house. He really liked it and wanted to visit with us more. So on Tuesday we went over to see him and after talking to him for a little, my comp Asuafi asked him if he wanted to hear the lessons and he accepted!! He is around 60 or something years old barely has any teeth, but always smiling. He also has two bad legs I think infected with elephantitis or something, so he has to use a cane, (they look like miniature tree trunks), it’s sad, but that’s what happens here quite often as the people grow older and don't have the same health care as in America and other places. He just has such a good attitude that I have learned a lot from him. Anyway we started the first lesson on Wednesday and I have got to give credit to Asuafi because he nailed the First Vision part of the lesson and Eteuati teared up just a little but it was so great and I could feel the spirit. He accepted all the commitments and when we followed through he had kept them. On Thursday was the second lesson and honestly I didn't do too hot. I was not as prepared as I should have been. Asuafi wanted me to start and I tried but I kind of stumbled over my words a little, but as the lesson moved on I felt better and bore my testimony of the Savior and Eteuati appreciated it. The third and fourth lessons on Saturday and Sunday went the best for me and I felt comfortable and the thing that helped a lot was when I was looking and talking to Eteuati he was smiling and showing he was listening. After I had spoken and then asked if he had any questions, he said he understood it all and that everything was good. But I don't want to focus on me, I am just saying I felt more confidence as I was blessed by the Lord when I was teaching to slow down, calm down and gain a surety I can do it. I loved teaching Eteuati and he accepted baptism so we are planning on that. He came to church yesterday and loved it again. He will be a strong member and will do what he can to stay active.

On Tuesday we had our Suesuega Faalesoa (Companionship Study) with no one other than.... President Haleck!! The newly sustained member of the second quorum of the Seventy. Man was I nervous. First because he would be there, I was excited for the opportunity, but also it would be in Samoan of course as we always do because my comps are Samoan and they want me to improve mine and it helps. Anyway he came right on time, and we had a pretty good study and he shared some stories and thoughts and I understood almost all of it just a word here or there, but he had some great insights and thoughts. It was on talking with everyone from Preach My Gospel so that was fun. It all went well and he said we were doing a good job and keep up the good work.

This week has been a challenge with the water in our house. First the tank went empty so that was an easy fix to get it filled, but when it was fixed, we tried to turn on the pump but it wasn't working so they came the next day and found out it was burnt out and said they would install the new one the NEXT day. So all these days, we have been showering in Aleisa because we have no water. Well some stories there and as Sister Haleck said --Challenges build character ha ha!! Anyway that was that.

On Thursday we had a zone blitz in Lepale which had some good success for them. My group, Tui, Touli and I found one new investigator for them as other groups did too, so they have a work to continue there so that’s good.

Anyway I know this church is true!! I know President Monson is the prophet who leads and guides it. I know the Book of Mormon is the Word of God and Another Testament of Jesus Christ. It has the power to change lives!! I know Jesus is the Christ and our Savior and Redeemer. I know we are so blessed to have this gospel in our lives and should thank God everyday for that and for everything He has given and does give to us.

I love you all!! Thanks for everything. All the support does not go unnoticed and neither do the prayers go unfelt. Ou te Alofa tele ia te outou!!! Keep Strong!!!

Alofa
Elder Cody John Walker

Monday, April 11, 2011

Malo Soifua!!

Malo Soifua!! April 14, 2011

Hey everybody, how are you all doing?? How is life going? First, Manuia Lou Aso Fanau to Tori, the best sister right sis, ha ha!!! I hope its fun and everything goes great. Heard the dinner was good with meatloaf?!? I guess it’s alright just not my first choice, it would be mashed potatoes. Anyway Tori reminded me in my email that Baby Emmett is coming soon and around my birthday and mother’s day am I right?!? So how is everything going there Bry and Jesenia? What about the baby girl Elise coming for Tyson and Jen?? Need to get some news from you guys faamolemole!!(Please). Anyway its fun to hear all is well and good.

So this week Mika was baptized! It was great. I had the great opportunity and blessing to baptize him on Saturday. He is really tall like 6 feet 7 inches or so or maybe that’s an exaggeration, but the reason I say this is he didn't bend his knees so I went straight back and almost nailed his head, but then I had to lift him clear up out of the water. It was all good and way cool to be involved with him getting baptized. I found out it was just pen with his Moonshine tattoo, so he got it washed off and stuff. But the other thing that was funny is his earring that he had constantly in his ear during lessons and stuff and right before the interview I told him to take it off and never wear it again, this was Saturday right before the baptism too, and he said yep and took it out and threw it away. I said it partly as a joke, but I was serious and we laughed, but he ended up doing it so that was great. He is around my age so a really cool kid.

So on Tuesday morning my zone and I were blessed yet again to attend the Temple/Malumalu Sa. It was so amazing and I want to go again, but will have to wait. It is just such a beautiful place and the peace and comfort I receive from attending never fails to boost my spirit and keep me going strong. I feel blessed to have stayed in the same zone for this long and keep a consistent schedule of attending the temple. I understood most of it this time as it is in Samoan and felt blessed from the Lord to help me and boost my confidence as well. It sometimes gets frustrating with the language and some barriers I still need to cross, but it all comes in time and with hard work and patience. My comps Asuafi and Touli are helping me a lot and keeping me talking and involved as much as possible. I just need to keep trying and pushing myself and it will come. I am hoping I can understand most of the conversations and speak back alright by the time Mothers Day call comes, at least that is my goal. Something to work towards.

This past week we spent trying to find new families and will continue this new week as well. We have basically finished baptizing all the people we had started lessons with and had dates for baptism. So now starts the searching and finding, It will be difficult but fun. We are really trying for a baptism in Faleasiu itai ward because there hasn't been one there since Silia. We took the bikes on Wednesday and rode to some houses that were referred to us by members of the zone when we did the zone blitz. Ended up only being able to talk to the older guy that we contacted on our split, his name is Fale and a really nice and interested person in the gospel. He has already been baptized but wants to hear everything again and maybe have the kids living with him be baptized, so we will be working on that. He is asking a lot of questions and so that is always keeping the conversation and teaching going and the spirit is there too, I can tell. It was a long ride and Elder Touli wasn’t exactly familiar with riding a bike and the pain that comes to the butt. Oh it was funny and the road is bumpy and not that good so that didn’t help. When we got back that afternoon we were all soaked with sweat and dead tired. It was a great work day!!
Elder Touli got to perform his first baptism on Saturday for the sisters in Siusega. It was good but he had his hands mixed up so had to redo the baptism. But it happens to everybody and plus there is a first time for everything. We have to just learn from the mistakes and keep going, but I could tell he loved it and enjoyed the opportunity. It was fun to see and be there for that!!

Well that’s the update, oh and my comps and I did a companionship inventory last night and it was one of the best things you can do as a companionship. We made the goal to do it every Saturday night. It’s not only for missionaries though I think it’s good for all companionships, like marriages or others ha ha jk but really just to sit and have a one on one to talk. It was good and we talked about things to improve and stuff so that was fun.

I know this church is true and that it is the only true church on the earth. I know that Joseph Smith restored the church in its fullness to the earth through the first vision and other revelations. I know President Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet and leads and guides the church today and receives further revelation for us in this day. I know the Book of Mormon is true and is the word of God, Another Testament of Jesus Christ. I know Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living and Almighty God. I know He performed the atonement so all of us can repent and return to live with our loving Heavenly Father someday. Through the covenants and promises of the temple we can be together as families forever. I know that with all my heart!! The blessings of the gospel are endless. I love you all!!

Ou te alofa ia te oe!!! Keep Strong!!! Remember that!!! I miss you, but I am having so much fun and I am trying to be the best missionary I can be. love ya!!

Alofa
Elder Cody John Walker

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Konofesi Aoao!!

Malo Soifua!! April 4, 2011

Hey everybody how’s everything going?? I hope ALL of you had the amazing opportunity to watch to General Conference (Konofesi Aoao) and listen to a prophet’s voice as well as the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. It was just grand and so cool. The talks were all great! That’s pretty cool about my mission president, Pres. Haleck being called to the second quorum of the Seventy huh!?!? Admittedly and sadly I didn't catch the name on Saturday but I did see him on stage the next day on Sunday before the last session started! He is a really amazing guy and will do great in his calling as he has as a mission president and other callings as well. I will miss him though; he has been a great influence in my mission and will be missed by all I believe. I love my president and honor and sustain him. He will finish his calling as a mission president until the end of June or so till the new mission president comes and then go back and stay in Pago Pago. So that’s all cool because he will still be around. But ya conference was just great I got to say again and I learned so much. Temples, Temple work, Attending the temple (which my zone and I get to do tomorrow and I am so excited my third time to this beautiful Samoa Temple) Faith, Service, and so much more. I loved it all and can't wait for the Liahona to come out. Sad to say but the broadcast all over Samoa went out during Elder Haynes talk and didn't come back on till the Priesthood Session, so I missed out on Elder Oaks and other talks. That was too bad but I am glad I can read it later. Anyway we are so blessed to have had this and so many other opportunities to just sit, listen and learn important truths and receive counsel from living prophets, seers and revelators. It was great and I loved it. Oh one last thing Elder Neilsen of the seventy mentioned being lucky to include BYU Basketball in his talk. Just thought I would throw that in there for all of you. oh yea!!

So what’s new? Found out that Samoa and America have different daylight savings changes. Here in Samoa we spring BACK while you spring FORWARD and when fall comes we fall FORWARD while you guys fall BACK So right now there is a five hour time difference and when fall comes there will only be a three hour, so that’s kind of weird right now for me, but all is good. Kind of funny though!! Anyway so what is the weather like? Is it warming up or not quite yet?? It never changes here just rains some days but never cold. I am glad for that; I don't have to worry about extra clothes for warmth.

This week has been pretty good and we got some good proselyting and walking days in. On Tuesday, my comp Asuafi wanted to go walk the area where we would be doing the split in our zone. So that’s what we did and walked quite a bit but it was good. We made a few stops too and at one stop, shared a little message about the restoration and left a lesson book with the lady there and then left and it felt like a good visit too. Stopped at some member’s houses just to become familiar and talk to them and ask for referrals or just to visit. It is good to let the ward members know you are there and trying to do what you can. Also ward members just love being visited by the missionaries and consider it such a great blessing when we might just be saying hi, but they love it, which makes us feel good and blessed as well by their faith and love!! One family fed us a little which was nice. All the other families offered but we kept going and visiting because we don't want to be a bother. Anyway next we went to Misiona's house, the ward mission leader and planned who would be with whom for the split and stuff then continued our visits before our fafaga and going home for the day. Just a good work day. On Wednesday we went into town and took Mary Anne so she could get a copy of her marriage paper just in case they travel somewhere or something. That’s mainly what we did that day, was getting that and staying with Elders Sua and Aloi the rest of the day.

Thursday was our big split so we all got together as a zone and Asuafi named off who was going with who and then we left to start the day. I went with Elder Tui and a returned missionary who served in Texas and we went on the road that my comps and I had walked on Tuesday. We only stopped at four houses but the last one was excellent and we taught this elderly guy the first lesson and he liked it and had some questions. He was happy we visited him and said he was grateful we answered his questions. The earlier visits were to members who were also glad we stopped in to visit. Most of them go to the church in Fasitoo instead of Faleasiu since Fasitoo is closer, but at least they are going to church. Then after the split the sisters had a service project planned in their area so that’s what we did. It was getting niu branches (a certain kind of coconut tree) and getting the leave things cut off to be used for baskets and other things. It was fun and always great to serve. It was a good day on Thursday and fun!!

On Friday we did the same thing as Tuesday in visiting members in Lemoli Muamua (First) ward all day and like I said earlier it’s always good to do. One guy named Talalelei was especially excited and kind of reprimanded us for not visiting him and saying he sees us walk past his house a lot but not visit. We explained we have three wards and a bigger area so we are busy and he understood and it turned out to be a good visit.
Then came Saturday and Sunday for conference and as I said at the beginning it was great and I loved it. I don't care if I had to wake up at 4:00 a.m. to go to it, because it was worth it and wasn’t that big of a deal to get up early. I am so grateful and feel so blessed for being able to attend all of the sessions and watch in English.

I know this church is true. I know it is led by a living Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, who receives revelation for the church today. I know that the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are prophets, seers and revelators and are called of God just like the quorums of the seventy and all general and local authorities. I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know He is our Savior and Redeemer and atoned for all of our sins. I love Him and will forever be in debt to Him. I know the truth of temples and the ordinances performed therein are sacred and eternal. I love you all and miss you!!! Thanks for everything. Keep Strong. If we will take the counsel of General Conference and apply it to our lives, we will be blessed!! Ou te alofa tele ia te outou!!! Love you!

Alofa
Elder Cody John Walker