Saturday, October 29, 2011

NEW AREA, CONFERENCE & THE BOOK OF MORMON

Malo le Soifua Manuia!!                                                                            October 24, 2011
Hey what’s up everybody? What’s new? Hope and pray all is great!!! This week was pretty busy so I will get started!!

So first off we got transferred and all settled in...Right after cleaning of course!! The house was filthy!!! We spent the first two or three hours cleaning and making it available to breathe and make places to put our stuff. Now, as I have been in Samoa a year, I am used to dirty places and living but this was way worse than some fale o'o(s) that I have seen!! Anyway ya, so then we had the Savaii Conference with Elder Pearson of the Seventy. That was So Amazing!! So great and he didn’t beat around the bush but put it out straight for this mission and things he has been sent to say and teach. He started off by making it clear that they just don’t come out here with a desire to see the sites, but because one of the Twelve, President Packer to be exact for him, called him on assignment to come and designated keys given to him to come and teach us and tell us what needs to change and improve. I can’t even tell a little bit of how great it was!! He kept pushing us to become the missionary that can do miracles, starting with ourselves and becoming a true disciple of Christ!! His wife too was great getting us to make commitments and stuff, it was fun. President and Sister Leota were also there and spoke. All together it was about 6 hours long with great stuff. But ya that’s a quick wrap there.

We spent the other days getting masani (familiar) with our new area and the two wards we cover--Puapua and Lano. On Wednesday we went around in Puapua with the ward mission leader's younger brother Lua (the ward mission leader is Misi). He took us around and showed us members' houses, and then on Thursday we went around with Lemi the ward mission leader in Lano where he showed us houses of members in that ward also showing us the houses of our fafagas for this week. Both days were great and fun. Honestly, it was a lot of information so I don't remember a lot of their names but we will go around again just the two of us and see them again. They were quick visits the first time letting them all know our names and where we were from and then leaving. But a cool thing is a former elder, Elder Peck talked to me, asking us to contact a family in Lano that he baptized and getting them to get to the temple and good news they are planning on it!! The parent’s names are Malo and Moe and they are going to go this next month and Peck is going to go to!! But ya quick info there!!

Oh as the title says with the Book of Mormon, I finished it again on my mission. But this time as I read through it I marked and counted all the many different names of God and Jesus Christ in the entire Book of Mormon and it took me the whole 12 weeks of this training program and it has been an Amazing experience to see that truly is another Testament of Jesus Christ!! I have known that, but this has strengthened my testimony and I plan to share it with others too. Here is a quick review (and publish or mark me on it if I missed some but I am pretty confident I got them all) but the total number of different titles is 128 (this includes different titles/adjectives to describe God etc) and the total number count is a whopping 4152!! Just the title "God" was written 1344 times and "Lord" at 1337 times. "Christ was 319; "Father" 229; "Jesus" 116; "Jesus Christ" 51; and "Son" 44. That is a quick review but it was so cool and I loved doing it. My next goal is to put a box around all of the times the Holy Ghost and Spirit are mentioned. The Book of Mormon is true through and through. It is Another Testament of Jesus Christ. I love it and I can’t wait read it again!!
Well that is the wrap for this week. It was pretty busy, but fun. I love you all!! I know this church is true. I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know that President Monson is the true prophet on the earth. I know the Book of Mormon is true. Thanks for everything!! Keep Strong!!! Ou te Alofa tele ia te Outou!!!

Alofa atu
Elder Cody John Walker

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

TRANSFERS!!

Talofa!!! Oct. 17, 2011

WOW WOW WOW!! A lot of news this week well not a lot, but BIG news this week!! But first off I want to wish my Dad a Happy Birthday!!! Dad, Manuia Lou Aso Fanau!!! 56?!??! Wow getting up there aren’t ya?! I hope it’s a great day Dad. I love ya and you are the best!! Thanks for everything you do!! You deserve an awesome day and I hope you had a great celebration last night. Do what you want for the day; take the pin back of “I’m The Boss” from mom, just for the day ha ha!! Love ya Dad!!

So now the big news...............WE GOT TRANSFERRED!!!!!!!!! Yep WE, not just me!! My comp, To’o-Fa’alogo and I are both being transferred together to Puapua in Savaii North Zone. So going from one side of the island to the other. Oh it was sad though. I did not want to leave Sili at all!! But as two elders, Touli and Memea, got their visas to go to Papua New Guinea, it left a decision for President Leota whether to close Puapua or Sili. Well since we haven’t had any baptisms and real work in Sili for three months now, he decided to move us to Puapua and have elders in Mosula cover Sili just being available in case any people choose to be baptized. We got the call on Saturday night at around 10:00 pm from Peck so all yesterday after church and this morning until 12:00 we have been saying goodbye and giving faamavae(s) (strengthening talk kind of thing), crying almost all the time and I didn’t like it. But the Lord has made the decision. We will go to Puapua not forgetting Sili and continue the work of the Lord over there. I am going to miss that area though. Especially the ward - Sili Muamua. We got fed really well by Bishop Mika as a last gift for us last night. We got our pix with everyone as well as their phone numbers to keep in touch. They were all sad and crying and I could barely think as I talked and said goodbye saying as much as I could, I already miss that area!! Malo, Moeai and his Family, Kalolo, Fiu Sakaio, and so many others. Merita and Tauola in Papa. I could go on but time to move on. It will be different whitewashing an area but trust in the Lord and go forward with faith.
This past week was a good week and the Lord blessed us to have the experiences we did before being transferred, Tender Mercies I know!! First starting on Wednesday we woke up early and went over to Fiu Sakaio’s house as we had planned to go with him to his ma’umauga that morning and help him out doing some work. He told us we would go at 6:00 in the morning, but as it turns out he was either joking or didn’t think we would really come. So we sat outside by a tree until he woke up around close to 7:00 ha ha, but it was all good it let him know we were ready to go!! He gave us some koko Samoa and then we went up to his ma’mauga which was a good hour and a half walk!! We got there and started to weed his Taro plantation (ma’umauga=plantation). Well he thought we were weak or not used to work as he kept telling us to rest ha ha!! But ya it was good and on the way back I talked to him about stopping smoking and taught him or helped him understand more about why not to procrastinate and that we have agency, but God still expects of us obedience to all of His commandments!! It was good and I got him to commit to try to stop and clean up his life.

Then the next great experience was at our fafaga at Lemau and Tinei’s house. But that same day we had had a zone conference and it was good. It was a good prep for us for when Elder Pearson of the Seventy is coming, well actually here and we have a conference with all of Savaii and him tomorrow in Fusi from 10-4, so a good long one and for it we need to prepare a talk for 2-3 minutes so if he calls on us to be ready!! So ya great counsel though during it on when studying focus on investigators and do some role play and then also help strengthen others and not cast them out. Thus why our experience at Lemau’s was so good. We almost didn’t go to it as they were on their way of bringing it to us, but we got them to turn around and have it at their house which was perfect. After eating I started talking to Lemau who is kind of weak in the church, going when he wants and by what his wife is saying starting to smoke and stuff, and also has an earring(not that big but still ya know). I asked him what church he believed was true as Paul says in Ephesians “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism” and he said ours but his only problem was Joseph’s First Vision. He said it is hard for him to believe that God the Father and His Son appeared to him, but that he believed Joseph was the one chosen to restore the church and did. Kind of strange but as we talked he said he knew he needed to find out for himself and we bore testimony that that part is what was keeping him from obeying all the commandments and being more active. I also bore firm testimony that he did in fact see God the Father and Jesus Christ and they did speak to him and he did get an answer to his sincere prayer. I bore testimony of the truthfulness of the church and of the power of prayer but it needs to be sincere and he accepted he would search and pray for himself which is exactly what we want all to do. That is our purpose, to invite others. They still have agency but we do what we can to help them.

(continued below)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cody, Sile and Elder To'o-Fa'alogo

Then finally one of the biggest tender blessings in the area right before transfers was our lesson with Sile!!  We had been trying so hard to get a time with him to teach the last lesson left for after baptism but he has been busy and stuff so we just kept trying.  Finally on Friday we set a time and met with him and started first reviewing all the first lessons before we taught the last one on Laws and Ordinances.  Also what was good is a kid named Fealofani who is 24 but preparing for a mission wanted to attend a lesson with us so that worked out. He helped out on clarifying some parts and using questions to teach.  So while we were teaching Sile I had a hard time trying to keep Fealofani and Fiu Fale the second counselor of the Bishopric, to keep focused on Sile and teach him not try and discuss stuff with me.  The lesson was really good though and at the end I asked Sile to bear his testimony to us and at first he looked really nervous and probably was but then he started and the Spirit was so strong and he said that he didn’t know a lot and he may seem weak and his testimony may seem weak but he was firm in his knowledge that this church was true!!  ‘Mausali’ is what he used and that no matter what he would never turn from it but keep strong and never change churches!  He knows it’s true and with all his heart and mind.  It was such a strengthening to my testimony.  I felt blessed to have had the opportunity to listen to that.   I then bore my testimony, crying a little, and told him how bearing testimony strengthens others and helps your own as well.

Well that is the wrap for this week. Next week-- report from Puapua!! I will miss Sili but we will work hard, if not harder, giving it our all wherever and whenever. I know this Church is true and the only true and living one. I know that God Lives. I know that Jesus is the Christ our Savior and Redeemer. I love Him with all my heart. His Grace is Sufficient. I know that Joseph Smith restored the church in its fullness to the earth and also translated the Book of Mormon. What an awesome book. I will be finishing it next Sunday. I started re-reading at the start of August when Too-Faalogo came and now after 12 weeks, I will be done. I love it!! So awesome!! I know it’s true!! I know President Monson is the true prophet today. I love you all!! Miss ya, but I love where I am at!! Thanks for everything. All the support, letters, and everything. Ou te Alofa Tele iate Outou!! Remember, Keep Strong!!

Alofa atu,
Elder Cody John Walker

Sili and Cody

Malo and Family

Faaola Moe and Faaofa Leopena

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Great Opportunities for Teaching

Talofa Lava!!!                                                                                                    Oct. 10, 2011
Malo Soifua ma le Lagi Mama!! Hey everybody how is everything going? Anything new going on this past week? Hope you have had fun listening to the tape and getting the pictures too!!
So this week we finished up all the lessons with Lucia. It was a great experience and I loved teaching her, she is such a great lady and she loved all the lessons. Needless to say after we talked more this week she apologized for the comments on the lesson about being too long because as we went a long she commented how she loved to talk to us and discuss certain things about the church and also reading together from the Book of Mormon. We started with lesson three on Tuesday and as we started talking about baptism and how it is essential to enter into the Kingdom of God she got more interested and we read out of 2 Nifae 31 about how the Savior was baptized to fulfill all righteousness and how also He had set the perfect example and shown us the only true and right way to return to God. She said she understood that, and also as we talked how there really is only one true church of God and Jesus Christ because as the scriptures say the gate is baptism and so if it isn’t performed how Jesus was baptized, then it is some other path and that won’t lead to eternal life and God. It was a very spiritual lesson and as we talked and testified, my comp included in the lesson testifying and bearing his testimony twice in Samoan and doing a lot better, I could feel the Spirit strong and carrying it to Lucia!! Also it was good that her husband was there for the first part of the lesson and shared his thoughts on repentance and baptism which is Awesome because Lucia needs help, support, and strength from her husband and also then she can help him too.

The family is essential and important in the church and they understand that. As the husband, Saogalote, talked he said how he knows this church focuses on the family while others not as much and also how when families are living the way they are supposed to, they are more happy and united. Then the next two days we finished up talking about the last two lessons on the Commandments and also the 5th lesson on Laws and Ordinances. Now the fifth lesson is normally for after baptism but my comp and I prayed and decided to teach it to Lucia before she left to go back to Upolu this Saturday, so she can have the goal of the temple and eternal marriage and also help her understand her role as a member more and also how her husband, who holds the priesthood, when held worthily is a great and marvelous blessing in the home. We are going to miss her but we are going to refer her over to the elders in Magiagi who actually is Elder Nilsen from my MTC and his comp Elder Priday and hopefully they can contact her and get the marriage performed along with her baptism by the next month or so. We are continually praying for her, and also got some pix with her to remember her by, and hope all works out and the family said they would keep me updated. So ya that was our only investigator in our area, so now we are back to searching!!

So a cool thing is my comp got this exercise machine thing from his family so we are using that now and it is great. We actually started this morning using it as he got it yesterday. I also got the boxes you sent mom; thank you so much for all of that, it was great!! And you too, Tori- the cereal is awesome and helps out in the morning. Love you all and hope to continue to hear from you guys. Keep me updated please!! You all are so Awesome!!
Oh plans for this week are good too, as my comp and I are taking a different approach at getting referrals and such. This week for Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday mornings we are going up to members plantations (ma’umauga) on the mountain to help in the morning. Also as I was thinking we are going to go today and see if we can go to Manufotu Eli’s maumauga on Friday morning to help him and see what he says. Just keep serving and being friendly and who knows what might happen. It should be some good experiences.
Well again that is the update for us in this area, Sili. We are hoping and praying that the new law of Freedom of Religion passes this next month or so as that would open up this area to all other villages and we would also want to have bikes too. ha ha!! Anyway, I know this church is True and the only true and living one on the earth. I know that President Thomas S. Monson is the Mouthpiece of the Lord on the earth as His prophet and that He and the First Presidency along with the Quorum of the Twelve hold all the keys to lead this church. I know Jesus is the Christ and is our Savior and Redeemer. I love Him for all He has done and still does. I know God is our Loving Heavenly Father. I know He hears and answers our prayers as we are obedient and diligently search the scriptures, but always in His way and in His time according to His will. I know the Book of Mormon is the Word of God. Keep Strong. Remember that and His Grace is Sufficient. I love you all!! Thank you for everything!! Ou te alofa tele iate outou!!

Alofa
Elder Cody John Walker

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

GENERAL CONFERENCE!! KONAFESI AOAO!!

Talofa ma Malo Soifua!!!                                                                                 Oct. 3, 2011


WOW!!! That’s not even close to summing up General Conference!! Sekia!! It was so amazing!! I loved every talk!! They are inspired men and women. With every talk the spirit was soooo strong during all of the talks. Prayer, Scripture Study, Being an Example of the Believers, Service, Repentance and Forgiveness, "Raising Daughters" (for all my brothers ha ha), and so much more. So great!! I can’t wait for the Liahona to come out and be able to read and reread the talks. We are truly blessed to watch and listen to them. Like the song says "Come listen to a Prophets Voice" and "We thank thee O God for a Prophet". I learned so much and I need to continue to grow and progress. I need to read the Old Testament that’s one thing for sure. Also I am rereading the Book of Mormon again and am almost done. Can never read it enough!! Gain something new each time I read it. I love Conference. It is so awesome. Can’t wait for six more months.

Oh ya Happy Birthday Angela!!! Manuia Lou Aso Fanau!! I hope it’s a great day and you enjoy it to the fullest!!

Well other then conference being the highlight of my week, we also got in three awesome lessons with L. The first one was on Tuesday and I have to say another one of the most spiritual lessons and all the credit goes to the Holy Ghost. All went just right; I didn't rush but just talked with her and asked her questions and was able to teach to her. She seemed interested and happy the entire time and accepted all we taught. She even accepted to be baptized after the first lesson and prayed too. While teaching, I teared up a few times while talking about how God is our Loving Heavenly Father and how He again has restored the church again to the earth, fully and completely, through Joseph Smith who is a Prophet of God, It was so amazing and I can't even describe the feeling. I feel so blessed more and more as I study and then teach others about the gospel and bearing testimony with the Spirit carrying my words to the investigators. A once in a lifetime opportunity that’s for sure and I love being here in Samoa!!

I can’t believe it has already been past a year. I also can’t believe that Kinnon is home, and then it’s Tyler in December and Ross then Cory and I. Time is going by way to fast. It’s crazy and I don't like it. I want to stay here!! Just got to do all I can and live it up to the fullest!! Anyways ya we planned to teach the 2nd lesson the next day on Wednesday so we left and when we came back the next day it didn't seem the same?! We started talking to the mom of L's husband and she told us that L had talked with her dad and mom over in Upolu and they had said they want to talk and stuff before the wedding and talk more with L before any plans of baptism. Also she said that L loved the lesson but said it was too long??!!

I couldn't believe it, as we had just covered all of it and she seemed in tune and loving it and also in Samoan lessons rarely are shorter than an hour. I was shocked, but knew it is more important to focus on her and her needs, so we planned to cut the second lesson in half and she accepted to continue to listen and we had another good lesson and she said she appreciated it not being as long. Man it kind of shocked me and could have really been a downer, but just trust in the Lord and go forward. Other people think lessons are too short and love to talk for a long time but ya!! We finished up the second lesson on the plan of salvation on Friday and she really liked the idea of living together forever with her family and God at the last day. But the downer of this is they had been talking and don’t want to be married until December. I don't know why but that’s what they are thinking. They are returning back to Upolu and are staying there until December and were thinking then of getting married and baptized. Well I found out where she lives and will refer her to elders over in Upolu to talk and hopefully get things finished up there. Keep praying and helping her understand not to hold off on these things but also keep learning more and keep the spirit in her life. It still is sad though as we were excited for an opportunity to have a baptism here and also for my comp. But just Keep Strong and pushing forward!!

But ya that is the basic short update for this week. You all heard conference so it may be I repeated some stuff. We are planning on finishing the lessons with Lucia and then referring her to Upolu. I know this Church is True and is the Only True church on the Earth. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I know that President Thomas S. Monson is a true Prophet of God and that he and his counselors with the Quorum of the Twelve are prophets seers and revelators. I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know this is His Church and He is at the Helm. I know He is our Savior and Redeemer, our Advocate with the Father. Go unto Him and He will heal all pains both physical and spiritual. His Grace is Sufficient. I know God is our Loving Heavenly Father. I know the Book of Mormon is the Word of God and that it is another Testament of Jesus Christ. It is an inspired book and contains the fullness of the Gospel. I love you all so much!! Sorry for the shortness but nothing else this week. Keep Strong!! Relisten and reread the articles and talks. It is such a blessing and opportunity!! ou te alofa tele iate outou!! Thanks for everything!!

Alofa atu
Elder Cody John Walker