Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Amazing Contact and Lesson!

Malo Soifua                                                                                                   August 22, 2011
Hello hello hello to you all!! How is everyone doing? I hope all is good and going well!! Keep me updated!!

Well this past week we had an amazing lesson with Manufotu Eli and his family!! It was so great, the spirit was so strong and ya one of the best I have had. To start off, we got in and he immediately got his entire family called into the house to sit down so we could teach them all. Needless to say I was kind of nervous as this would be the first lesson with an investigator I would start off the lesson and teach. So in his family, it is Manufotu and his wife with three daughters. They all came in and sat down and he turned the time over to my comp and I. Well of course we started with a prayer and then got right into the lesson and again I was humbled more and felt very inadequate talking and I apologized for my Samoan, but he, Manufotu told me to stop apologizing and that everything I said was clear!! I felt so peaceful when he said that and then the lesson started to go so much better and I could feel the spirit strong and knew that it was carrying my teachings to the family. It was also hard at the start as the other members of the family, especially the mom didn't look too interested but then I started to ask questions to each of them and get them involved. Also which was good, is the Dad started asking questions which were really good about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith and we got talking and I just felt so blessed in the language and still continue to feel that every day!! Anyway the ending was so great. My comp gave the baptismal invitation which they said they weren't ready to decide then but it got my comp talking and the mom especially was very excited to hear him talk and was tuned in more after that which was really exciting. Then I asked Manufotu, the Dad, to kneel and pray to end the lesson and ask if these things we had taught were true and he accepted and we all knelt and the spirit was so strong it was amazing!! I was so excited and humbled and blessed to be teaching them and have that great opportunity. It was so great!! We gave them the commitments to continue praying and read the Book of Mormon and the other lesson books and they accepted. We also tried to get them to come to church, but he said maybe next week, so we are praying and hoping. Our next lesson is tomorrow on Tuesday on the Plan of Salvation and so we are preparing and getting ready for that.

Also another thing (I’ll make another paragraph), is he smokes and thankfully didn't smoke during the lesson but right after the prayer he went to smoke and asking if it was ok. He said he saw other members smoking. I talked to him about how we have agency but the Lord has commanded us not to and that He also said "If ye love me, Keep my commandments" and after I said all that he threw the cigarette outside and said that he wouldn't smoke while we are there. For the lesson tomorrow I want to talk to him about the Word of Wisdom and try to get him to stop smoking. Praying always and if you can too that would be great. Just feel so good about this family!!

Well for other news, I still get the opportunity to help teach piano which I like and it is good also because my comp talks with our ward mission leader and others while I teach and that helps him to improve his Samoan. He is doing great and improving everyday and starting to incorporate as much Samoan as he can each day and for the lesson tomorrow we are going to have him bear testimony and give the baptismal invitation again so he is nervous but will do great.

Also we went to Papa a couple of days and found out from Merita (she came back) that it is actually open to us and proselyting so we are going to double check with the Pule Nuu (the head guy of the village) to make sure the rules are all good and that we don't break any. Wouldn’t want to do that!! But ya, if Papa is open we will get a lot more visits in to a lot of new people so I am excited and feel good about all of that.

Well that is the update and good story for this week. We are still busy just knocking doors and asking for referrals from everyone. The people here are so great and just love to talk with us. Our fafaga last night was way cool and he and I talked for about an hour and a half on different gospel things and he was really nice giving me confidence boosters to my Samoan. It also helps me in helping out my comp which I love to do as much as possible and we are getting a ton of studying in. Great, great stuff. Well I love you all!! I know this church is true and is led by a living prophet. I know also that the Lord loves us and that is why He gives us commandments and if we obey His commandments He will bless us. I know He lives!! I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God!! ou te alofa iate outou!! Keep Strong!! Thanks for everything!!

Alofa
Elder Cody John Walker

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Golden Family!

Talofa Lava!!! August 16, 2011
Hey everybody how is everything going!?! First off I owe an apology to Jesenia, I forgot to wish her a Happy Birthday last week. But Jesenia.. Manuia Lou Aso Fanau!!! Happy Birthday (Belated). Sorry for missing it, but I hope it was great!! I hope the Baby Blessing went good as well and that Elise is doing better. Hopefully all was good. Keep me updated please. I love you all!!

Well this week has been a pretty tough week. Sili is pretty dry right now. I’ve got to say Pedersen and I left nothing. ha ha!! But yes this whole week has been a week of going to many houses and asking for referrals from everyone with no real success. In fact with how many houses we have visited there are very few left we haven’t been to. Our area where we can actually proselyte in is not very big. But we are still doing all we can do. It is also giving us the chance to really become familiar (masani) with everyone and we are still working on strengthening who we can. We had a lot of trouble getting a lesson to come through with Isaako, but we will keep trying. We did give a lesson to another elderly man that we went and visited named Fiu Tinoifili and apparently as people have been telling me, he is very good in the culture (aganuu) and to ask him questions and learn from him. So we gave a good lesson, but he is kind of a joker and wouldn't take it seriously. He kept side tracking during the lesson to other stories of Christ that didn't pertain, but we will continue to help him and others to quit smoking and come back, as many who still come to church smoke. But we are going to start working on that.

Some very exciting news is we did contact one family in Sili Muamua who accepted to start lessons Today on Tuesday. The father's name is Manufotu Eli (Manufotu is his Talking chief title/Tulafale) and his wife and three daughters. We contacted him, from a referral from our fafaga on Tuesday, on Thursday and he asked us to come back the next Tuesday so his wife and other daughter could be with him and we could just teach the whole family instead of separate. Of course we said yes saying that is actually the exact kind of situation that is ideal for lessons. It was so exciting and we saw him again on Saturday and he asked us about Tuesday and we confirmed with him our visit and to start lessons. Another cool thing is that when I gave him a Book of Mormon and lessons books for his family he said right out he would read some and the lesson book to be ready with questions and concerns at the time of the lesson. Seems almost like a Golden Contact and we have been praying very hard for that. He is a great guy and also smokes marijuana, but it is a problem many people have, even members of the church. It is just too readily available and not illegal as in America. But anyways I feel great about it and we have been studying nonstop and praying that he will accept the message and want to change his life. As we have told other members of the ward they were kind of surprised and told us he has denied taking lessons for quite a while, so I feel blessed that something changed and we have this wonderful opportunity to teach them.

So it was Father's Day on Sunday in Samoa and so there was a special program in both wards. In Sili Muamua about five different elderly men of the ward spoke and did a great job and then at the end just like Mother's Day all the Fathers went up to the front and received ula(s) (candy leis well leis in basic, but all of these were candy) and even my comp and I received some from some of the fathers which was really neat! It was great and I thought of Dad all day and how much he has done for me. Thanks for everything Dad. I hope I become like you someday!!! Love ya Dad!!!

In Sili Lua they had about 15 different Women go up and speak on one topic about Fathers of course and how they are the leader of the family and so that was good but no giving of ula(s) there. Not that its important. Oh forgot also we got invited to the house of Fiu Misa to eat ice cream in Sili Muamua which was way cool but half of my ice cream I didn't eat as they gave me coffee flavored ice cream ha ha!! Oh well I ate the pineapple flavor.

Well that is the update for this week, thanks to President Leota for allowing us to email on Tuesday to let you all know what’s going on and mainly so the Moms don't worry ha ha!!! But I know this Church is true and is the only True Church on the face of the Earth. I know President Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's living prophet on the Earth and the mouthpiece of the Lord to guide us in this life. I know that Joseph Smith is a true prophet and restored the Church in its Fullness to the Earth. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God, the keystone of our Religion and Another Testament of Jesus Christ. I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know He is our Savior and Redeemer. He is our Advocate with the Father and we should put our full trust in Him. (see 2 Nephi 4) I love Him and am indebted to Him forever. I know God lives and is our Loving Heavenly Father. He wants us to return to live with Him forever and all He requires is to follow His Son Jesus Christ and repent and be baptized to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and then the most important is to Endure to the End. Hence why I put Keep Strong at the end of my letter. It is a problem here in Samoa we want to fix as a mission. Get them to the temple so they can endure to the end and live together forever. I love you all so much!! ou te alofa ia te outou!! Keep Strong!! Thanks for everything!!

Alofa
Elder Cody John Walker

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

YEAR MARK!!

Talofa Lava!! Aug. 8, 2011


Hey everybody how is everything going?! I hope all is good!! I am so so sorry to hear the news about Gurr!! That was so sad to hear. I will always remember that man and the leader he was to me and also the great example. He was such a great person and distinct individual. In soccer and also in life. I will miss him that’s for sure. He did so much for me and will be remembered. I hope all is good with his family and friends, man I loved that guy!! I hope all is good with the fam and that you guys are keeping busy and having fun.

Well this past week has been an adventure that’s for sure. Started off in Upolu Monday till Wednesday before coming back with my new comp. On Monday we had the two hour long training with president and then I had pday with East Zone and my comp from there till Wednesday was Elder Apo. He is from Tutuila and knows English and is training as well, in fact he actually trained Elder Johnson from my mtc group so that was fun to be with him for a couple days. He is a great guy and funny too. Then on Wednesday we went into the office and had another two hour training, this time with our companions. So again my comp's name is elder Too-Faalogo from Brisbane Australia and he is Samoan but was born in Australia so doesn't know too much Samoan, but that is ok we are still doing great and he will get there in no time. So ya the training was great just more teaching and getting us going from the President before we headed out to come back to Savaii on the boat. A little more on Elder Too-Faalogo, he is a rugby player of course and a little bigger as well. He has a thick Australian accent is so excited to be here, so that’s fun and I am excited and we will get to work here in Sili.

We only had two lessons to less active members this week as the other potential investigators we had before dropped and are no longer an option to teach. It was sad, but now is time for finding people and asking for referrals and all of that work going along with that. It should be fun and challenging too. We had another lesson with Fiu Vasa on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and he is liking all he hears just still having troubles on getting to church as he didn't come yesterday, sad thing. But also on Sunday we taught a young man about 18 yrs old the first lesson on the restoration and it went really well! In fact we had received him as a referral the night before and had thought he would be an investigator and as we were finishing up the lesson yesterday he told us that he was already baptized. That’s great and all, I had just had my comp all ready to extend the invitation to be baptized and then he told us that, so no go there but we are going to reteach him all the lessons, then prep him to receive the priesthood after getting active again.

Wow so already a year gone and time has flown. I am so surprised at how fast. On Thursday this week, crazy stuff!! Just got to keep strong and work harder. Thanks for everything. You guys are the best!! The support and prayers have not gone unnoticed.

Well that is the update for this week. I love you all and am so grateful for the gospel in my life. I know that it is true and is led by a living prophet. I know that President Monson holds all the keys to lead this church and receive revelation for us in our lives. I know that Joseph Smith restored the church in its fullness and that he did translate the Book of Mormon. I know the Book of Mormon is the Word of God. I know that Jesus is the Christ. He is our Savior and Redeemer. Through Him we can repent and become clean. He is the Key to the Plan of Salvation. We will be resurrected and see all of our family and loved ones someday and live together forever!! I love you all!! ou te alofa tele ia te outou! Keep Strong!! Remember that. Thanks for everything!!

Alofa
Elder Cody John Walker

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

New Opportunties for Learning and Serving!

Talofa Lava                                                                                                                   Aug. 1, 2011


Hey everybody how’s everything going?!? I hope great and all is well!!
Boy do I have some big news. Starting off with, on Saturday night I received a call from my zone leader telling Pedersen he is being transferred to Salelologa in Savaii and going to be comps with Sua (yep big Sua from Aleisa) and when I asked who was coming in Peck told me I was TRAINING!! I was so shocked!! I felt unsure of myself and still do but am keeping a prayer in my heart and keeping up the faith. I don’t feel ready, but as President said just today we were picked to receive the opportunity and this will build us and gives us the blessing of introducing a new elder to the mission. This morning, being Monday, I had to get on a boat with others being transferred from Savaii at 6:00 am to come over to Upolu to have a two hour long training session with President Leota to introduce us to the new program for training elders. It is for 12 weeks and is amazingly inspired and revelation from the Lord. It is put together so perfectly and if done right will help both the trainee and the trainer. Awesome Stuff I got to say. Oh my new comp’s name is Elder Too Faalogo and he is a Samoan from Australia. By his picture he looks like a big guy and it should be fun, but I am super nervous. I want to be ready and help him out the best I can. It was an awesome meeting and I love President Leota and am so grateful for him and for his confidence in me as well.

With that news I also bear some very sad and not so good news. So we had planned our baptism with Ruta on Saturday with her wedding as well and everything was going just as planned with everyone who needed to be involved and the interview went great with Peck and he told us she is a great lady and that they were planning to come to the baptism after he had finished the interview the next day. We were all set and arrived at the chapel in Papa and were waiting, but nobody showed up and it was nearing the time of the marriage, actually a little past it. When all of the sudden Ruta walked up to us and asked to talk to us in a room saying something had happened!? Confused and worried we went into a classroom and right as we sat down she started bawling!? It was so shocking, she was crying so hard she could barely tell us what had happened. She told us all was set and then last night all of the sudden her husband to be just changed his mind (who she had been living with and everything) and actually kicked her out telling her to go back to Upolu to live with her family!? We were so surprised since HE was the one who challenged her to quit smoking so they could get her baptized and wanting to get married and everything. He has been a steady active member and I don't know what happened, but all we heard from Ruta is how he no longer wanted to marry her and stuff, so ya just shocked. The thing is we can't go talk to the guy as where he lives is faasa (not allowed against the law of the village) for us to even go there. The matai of the village said only one religion can be there. We even had a church building there and now it is not being used because it can’t. Crazy stuff and authority here.

Needless to say I went home and was pretty put out that Saturday and prayed and didn't know what to do or read to feel peaceful again. Finally I felt inspired to call Elder Smithing for help and he said he would do a search and call me back and he did in 10 minutes (inspiration received) referring me to read in the latest General Conference pg 15 which happened to be on the Atonement and how it covers all pain. Amazing. I studied it and prayed and felt so much better just one of those moments where the Lord reached down and lifted me up saying all will be ok and to get to work and do your best. I felt so sad that day and just was put out and then was so blessed, I loved it. Total turn around day. I know and have a firm Testimony of the Atonement. I know Jesus is the Christ our Savior and Redeemer. He has felt all of our pains and knows us all personally and all we will ever go through. And as the talk went at the very end it said these words which are absolutely amazing -- "His Grace is Sufficient!!" I know that for a fact in all we do He is there, all we go through and all we feel. I love Him and I know He loves me and loves all of us.

Well I got to go. I love you all and love it here!! I know this church is true and is led by a living prophet. I know President Monson receives revelation for us and holds all the priesthood keys. I know the Book of Mormon is true through and through. In fact I just finished it in Samoan on Sunday. Awesome!! Such a great help in the Language and will continue to be. I know Joseph Smith is a prophet and he restored the church in its fullness to the earth. I know Jesus is the Christ. I know God is our loving Heavenly Father. Keep Strong!! Remember that and His Grace is Sufficient. Thanks for everything!! ou te alofa ia te outou uma!!

Alofa
Elder Cody John Walker

Monday, August 1, 2011

Finding New Investigators and Teaching Piano!!

Talofa Lava!!                                                                   July 25, 2011

Hey everybody!! How’s everything going? How was Pioneer's Day? Hope all was fun. Hey Manuia Lou Aso Fanau to Aunt Janet this week and Manuia Lou Aso Fanau also to Jenny too!! Happy Birthday and I hope everything is fun and exciting on your two's special day!! I hope the Chaston camp went great and it was fun.

So this week was a harder week compared to our past weeks. We only had one set lesson and that was the last one with Ruta on Sunday. It went very well and she hasn't smoked another cigarette since our first meeting with her so she is prepped and ready for her baptism this Saturday. Also she is getting married this Saturday too, right before her baptism. She is such a strong willed lady and is an excellent example of strength and also relying on the Lord for help. She told us too that she and her husband try to donate money to the missionary fund each week. What great people to do that. She has been a good investigator and she always compliments us on our shabby Samoan (well mine, not my comps). I am trying and feel like I am getting better but feel like I should be farther just keep praying and working at it!!! I am almost done with the reading of the Tusi a Mamona and hope to have it done by my year mark I am in Eteru (Ether) right now so shouldn't be too hard. But anyways she is excited and ready to be baptized, attends church and already has been paying tithing and fast offerings, just awesome only the one weakness that has been overcome.

With not having any other investigators we have been trying to get some new ones this past week with not much success. We did get by to see Merita to teach her mom who just came from New Zealand to stay for a little and we contacted her, but after talking a little she kind of expressed to us bluntly that she wanted to just be with her family for a little which we understood she just tried it in English and doesn't know how to soften it yet. ha ha But we just laugh about it and keep up hope she will let us in and teach her sometime this week. She always tells us to come back and then talk together just got to go at the right time. She is a nice lady and on Friday when we went and talked she expressed some feelings of respect and appreciation for us for coming here to teach and learn this language and also the culture and do as much as we can to respect it. So just keep trying. Merita would just love it if her mom was converted, it could affect and influence the whole family!!

Also this week we tried to get some faamalosi (strengthening) lessons taught and we taught Fiu Vasa again and committed him to come to church again and he finally asked us the question he had about what makes our church different than others and makes it the only true one. His belief he has and this is the reason he is less active, is that all religions are correct and true, so we are working with him still and hopefully can help him pray and continue to attend church and partake of the sacrament and regain and reaffirm his testimony. We also received many referrals for some people to strengthen and so will try and visit them this week.

Hey a cool thing I got to do this week is help teach the piano to some youth in the ward!! They right now are learning from Sister Krogh but she only has one day to teach them, so on Friday and Saturday I was able to help teach them some more basics and get them prepped for the next time Sister Krogh comes. In fact I think every Friday we will plan to continue to meet and have lessons. I am starting to warm up my fingers and play in the chapel at nights sometimes and can play some more hymns now so that’s fun. It’s fun and I appreciate the opportunity.

Well I have got to get going. That’s the wrap up for this week. I love you all!! I know this church is true and is led by a living prophet President Monson on the earth today. I know Joseph Smith restored the true church of Christ to the earth and translated the Book of Mormon which is another Testament of Jesus Christ. I know Jesus is the Christ. I know He is our mediator with the Father. I know that the blessings of the Temple are true and for forever. We Can Be Together Forever Someday!! Keep Strong!! Ou te alofa tele ia te outou. Thanks for everything!!!

Alofa
Elder Cody John Walker

Interviews and Pres. Leota

Talofa Lava!!                              July 18, 2011


Hey everybody how is everything going?! What’s new and what’s up? I hope everyone is doing great and having fun.

So this past week was another great week and what made it really awesome is when we had interviews on Tuesday and I got to meet the new mission president and his family, President and Sister Leota and their two daughters. Also while president was performing interviews the APs taught us and we were fed too. It was so great though as I went in for my interview and immediately President kneeled down to start the interview with a prayer and from there it was just amazing! He asked me questions about the family and how everything is going. Just wanting to get to know me. Then he asked what mom and dad thought of me coming to Samoa and how my mission was going. Also he was asking about how the work is going in Sili and with my comp. It was so awesome, and then at the end he came in with his wife and two daughters, who shared their testimonies before President Leota ended with his part about what he wants us to work on. He told us it is not something new just widening our vision. He wants us to work on getting our new members connected with the ward and get them to the temple as soon as possible because that statistic is 95% of new members who go to the temple remain active in the church. That is an outstanding statistic and if we did that with the 1800 or so people we baptize it would create a new stake each year and so that was his goal. Awesome man and funny personality as well. I am excited and the work will continue from one great man, President Haleck, to another-- President Leota.

We also had a baptism this past Saturday. It was Lipena (same as Rupena she just likes Lipena better we found out at her baptism ha ha!!) Anyway she is an awesome lady. She had twins too and here in Samoa that doesn't happen very often (just a side note there). But we finished up her lessons and they went great and she loves it all and prayed about it and knows it’s true and she was all smiles and laughing at her baptism just a great experience.

We also received a new investigator this last Thursday in Papa too. Her name is Ruta and we have her marriage and baptism planned for the 30th as that is the soonest we could since she is quitting smoking and so far so good. She has to go for two weeks and says right now she hasn't had any trouble. Just a great lady. We have already taught the first three lessons and will finish up on Sunday and hopefully all will work out on the 30th. It is so great and since we can’t proselyte in Papa and have to gain referrals this is even better.

Well I got to end this and get going. I love you all!! I know this church is true and that it is led by a living prophet President Monson who holds all the keys to do so. I know Joseph Smith is a true prophet and that he did restore the church in its fullness to the earth. I know he also translated from the golden plates that great and marvelous book the Book of Mormon. I know it is true. I know Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer and our Advocate with the Father, if we but do our best and repent and endure to the end. I know our Father in Heaven loves us more than we can understand. I love you all. ou te alofa tele ia te outou. Keep Strong!! Remember that. Thanks for everything. You guys are awesome!!

Alofa

Elder Cody John Walker