Wednesday, November 30, 2011

LAST WEEK TO EMAIL AND THEN THE WAIT FOR POST BEGINS

Talofa Lava!                                                                                                                                                                                                                  November 29, 2011

Hey everybody what is happening?!  Sad thing is this is the last time to email, but you will still get letters-- they will just take a couple or so weeks so no worries.  Hey!! I got the news Blake and Angela!!  That is so AWESOME!!  I can’t wait to hear you tell me on the phone call home whether it is a boy or a girl.  That’s so exciting I am happy for you guys.  I hope everyone is enjoying life and having a great time, but also being safe.  How was Thanksgiving?  Not much different here than any other day so ya I said Happy Thanksgiving but don't think you heard me ha ha!!  Hope it was great and full of thanks as that’s how I celebrated was thinking about and remembering all I am thankful for.  Winter is there for you guys and it is summer and the rainy season here. It has been raining for at least a good two weeks or more straight!!  Crazy stuff, but the Lord is blessing us for it to rain at nights and in the morning while we are studying, but then just cloud cover with very little rain during the day so we don't get soaked.  We are just so busy I am not going to lie, it is so much fun and so awesome!!  We, this week, will barely have anytime to proselyte and look for new investigators as we have people to contact, lessons to teach to investigators, and even..... Another Baptism!!!!  It is so exciting!!!  Way Cool!!

So to start off this email- the update is about Vesi, who we will be baptized this week.  She has been going to church for three weeks but hasn't been available and a returned missionary where she lives said she was still not ready to start lessons, but when we went over there again this week she agreed to let us teach her the first lesson and she loved it!   It was great and also the returned missionary named Taai is a great help, reading with her from the Book of Mormon and reviewing lessons with her.  We taught her the first lesson on Tuesday and when we went back the next day to teach the second lesson on the Plan of Salvation and checked up on whether she had read and prayed about the Book of Mormon and the lesson and she said she had and knew it was true!!  At the end of the second lesson we committed her to baptism for this Saturday as she has been plenty of times to church and is way ready and progressing steadily.  Another good thing was on Saturday when we went to teach the third lesson; Taai was there and helped out a lot with the teaching.  My comp is getting better with his Samoan as he just keeps trying and studying a lot.  He taught about Faith in the third lesson and did pretty good.  He said he was nervous but he is getting better every day. Anyway we recommitted her to baptism and she said she was happy and excited for it that next week.  She is golden and as always we are grateful for the opportunity to teach her and help her enter into the gate and begin to walk on the path to eternal life.  It has been a great week!!

Also some other good news is we are planning to commit two other people to baptism this week.  One, Tiresa Matafeo, has been going to church off and on but the dad of her husband has been resistant to letting us begin teaching.  He is a High Councilman so we worked through that and should start lessons on Tuesday and hopefully commit her to baptism next week.  Also we met a really neat guy in Puapua, Misi Uepa, who is partially blind and is living with his uncle there since he doesn't want to live with his dad who I guess isn't being the nicest guy to him right now.  Sad story, but we did meet with him and shared a quick lesson on Saturday.  He went to church the next day so we will work with him as well this week.  He just wants to know his purpose in life as others are trying to make him think he is worthless, but no one is ever worthless in the sight of God.  We testified of that and let him know God loves him and wants to talk to him through prayer.  He seemed pretty happy and will hopefully let us in and teach him and help him feel more like a true child of God.

We finished up the fifth lesson with Talaave this week and she is set to go to the temple a year from now in November.  It was good to hear that, as that keeps them on the path and has a goal for them to shoot for. Also yesterday on Sunday we had a member, the President of Sunday School in Puapua named Tiasaga Minoi, re-teach the first lesson on the Restoration to her and it was so perfect as he bore testimony and offered his help to them in any troubles or questions and he can as he only lives right up the road from them so not far at all.  He was perfect and gave her advice on keeping their marriage strong and prepared always to go to the temple.  Awesome!!  We are setting up with other members this week to reteach other lessons to her so that will be good and she will make friends as well.

We are going back to Lano to teach Kiki and Ruta together again and are just praying and hoping they have been reading and praying from the Book of Mormon to know whether it is true.  If they gain that, they will accept everything else about this church and that it’s true. That should be good and exciting.

Well that’s the update for this week.  I need to get going, but no more emails.  So the next update will be a letter like I said.  First though I want to Thank you all so so very much for all the emails, love, support, letters, and everything else, Especially Prayers because I feel them and they strengthen me every day!!  You all are the best Family a missionary can have and also the best Friends!!!  All great and amazing examples to me.  Thank you thank you thank you!!  Faafetai tele lave naua mo mea uma.  I know this Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is the only living and true church on the Earth today.  I know that it is led by a living prophet, President Thomas S. Monson who holds all the keys to lead this church.  I know that Joseph Smith did see God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ in the Sacred Grove and that Sacred First Vision started off this rock that was cut out of the mountain without hands and it IS filling the earth and no unhallowed hand will stop this work from progressing!! I know that Joseph did restore the church by the power of God, which is the Priesthood.  I know that Jesus is the Christ, our Savior and Redeemer and the head of this Church.  He did atone for all of our sins so that we can become clean and eventually return to live with our Father in Heaven and Him in the Celestial Kingdom.  I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father.  I know the Book of Mormon is true and another Testament of Jesus Christ and that we can know it is true by reading it, praying sincerely with faith and it will be manifested unto us by the power of the Holy Ghost. I love you all sooo much!!  Ou te Alofa Tele iate Outou uma.  Thanks so much for everything!!  Hope I didn’t forgot anything or anyone, but you will still get letters.  Keep Strong!!  That is still the goal and motto.  Also Remember Jesus Lives, He is the Christ and His Grace is Sufficient.  Thanks again for everything.  Temples are the goal and the way to eternal life.  I am so grateful our family will be together forever!!  We will Be Together Forever Someday!!

Alofa atu,
Elder Cody John Walker

Saturday, November 26, 2011

MY COMPANIONS FIRST BAPTISM!!

                                                                                                              November 21, 2011

Hey everybody!!   What’s happening?  Anything new going on?  Hey all of you over there in America and any others from the USA, Happy Thanksgiving!!!  I hope it is a great day, full of thanks for everything and also a huge ol' feast.  Here not so much, unless our fafaga has lived in America before ha ha!!  But all will be good, maybe we will bake a cake in our random oven in our house we somehow got to work.  That should be interesting.

This week was Amazing!!!!  We had such a great day on Saturday and I have to say the hand of the Lord is in this work as everything worked out as planned, nothing wrong and just as smooth as it could have been.  On Saturday morning we had the wedding at 10 for Talaave and her husband Talosaga and the stake president was so good and was ready right on time and we went in and he got started right away and then performed the wedding and the cost was only 20 tala that I just paid for them.  Then after grabbing a bite to eat we went back to Puapua and Elder Asaasa who is our zone leader with Elder Paulo, did the interview and he said she was good and prepared to be baptized.  A little while later Asaasa and Paulo dropped us off in Lano so we could teach/talk to Kiki and Ruta and invite them to the baptism that was happening in an hour (I will write about that visit later).  Anyway after dropping us off they went and picked up Talaave and Talosaga again, along with Talosaga's mom and little brother who wanted to attend the baptism. They were really great that day to cancel all their appointments and help us the whole day to accomplish the wedding and baptism that day, I was really grateful for all of that.  The baptismal service went awesome and my comp was nervous but way excited and happy!!  Also what is great is that in a year their goal is to go to the temple and be sealed for time and all eternity and they asked if I was going to be able to go, but sadly no I will not be able to.  It was a great day and ended the week great!!

Now for the visit with Kiki and Ruta. We got there and I started talking to Ruta as Kiki was coming back from buying something and we invited them to the baptism that was in Lano, but they said they couldn't go unless I talked to Kiki's dad who wasn't available.  So ya we didn't want her to get into trouble so then we sat down and had a lesson with them.  We read 1 Nephi 3:7 and told her that God has a path prepared for her to be baptized.  We just need to work together and have faith and go forward knowing it may not be easy but it is according to the will of the Lord who loves all of us and wants what is best.  Then I talked to Ruta and asked her some questions and she eventually explained to us she doesn’t think it necessary to be baptized again as she already was by her church and that she did believe that this church was true but also all others are.  I then explained the great apostasy and how the priesthood was taken away and had to be restored and that in reality this is the only church in the world who works through that power and other churches and their preachers really do not hold that priesthood power.  She accepted that a little but then I asked how her reading of the Book of Mormon was coming and she said she hadn't been reading or praying about it.  I then just simply said if she really wanted to know the truth about this church, Joseph Smith and other things she has questions about, it is all based on whether that book is true and I quoted again the introduction which says that.  They told me that since they are busy this next week with a wedding and the next time they will have an opportunity to talk is the first Saturday of December, they would both read.  Kiki continuing as she has, and pray about it and we would check up when we go back.   Hopefully she does it, she seemed pretty interested in my claim that the truth of everything bases off of whether the Book of Mormon is true. Pray for them!!

So for this next week we are working on getting members to reteach the first four lessons to Talaave and try to get the ward more involved with missionary work in Puapua.  It should be good and is something we gained too from the Preach My Gospel DVDs, so that is helping us out in getting more ideas on finding and also is helping us improve other parts of our missionary work.  Also on Tuesday we had the Kroghs come over and hang new curtains for us, they are really funny and fun to be around, love them.  But ya, that is the update this week.  It was an awesome week!!  I loved it and could feel the spirit at the baptismal service so strong and Talaave was so happy!!  It was a great opportunity for my comp, I was so happy for my comp too, he was all smiles.  I know this church is true and this gospel we preach does change lives.  I know President Monson is the Lord's mouthpiece on the earth, His living prophet.  I know that he holds all the keys to lead this church.  I know Jesus is the Christ our Savior and Redeemer.  His Grace is Sufficient.  I love Him.  This is His work.  I am so grateful for this great opportunity to be a missionary of the Lord.  I know the Book of Mormon is true and the word of God.  I love you all!!   Ou te alofa tele ia te outou!!  Thanks for everything!!  You guys are the best!!  Happy Thanksgiving!!  Remember, Keep Strong!!

Alofa atu,
Elder Cody John Walker








Talosaga and Talaave

INTERVIEWS AND CONFERENCE

Malo le Soifua!!!                                                                                November 14, 2011

Hey what’s up everybody?! I hope all was great this past week, it was a grand week here and should be another one this week.

So this week we had interviews on Thursday and Zone Conference on Friday!!!  Both days were really good!!  I really enjoy and love having interviews with President Leota.  It is just a great time to not only see President which doesn't happen often over here in Savaii, but also just talk to him one on one and him just ask how the work is and how I am loving my mission.  He always knows exactly what to say and ask, so as to help him in receiving those inspired questions to ask and we start with a kneeling prayer every time!!  Great stuff and an awesome leader.  While President was doing interviews, the APs taught us some things and how to make correct our numbers.  Elder Rodgers is the new AP as well with his dad in the mission Elder Smithing who finishes next month.  Both really good guys and good leaders. Then the next day we had a Zone Conference with all of the Savaii zones together and it was so awesome and Spiritual.  It started at 9 that morning and went clear till 5 that night.  We had some breaks where we ate and stood up to stretch but all in all just great stuff one after another the whole entire time.  Oh ya and my comp gave the spiritual thought (mafaufauga faaleagaga) and did a great job in Samoan.  Sister Leota gave the first talk with President Leota following it up before lunch.  He gave us the three things we are going to focus on in this mission 1) I am a Child of God 2) I am a Disciple of Christ and 3) I will go where You want me to go, I will do what You want me to do, I will be what You want me to be.  He focused his teachings and thoughts around that. Then after lunch we had APs teach and we got some add-ins into our Preach My Gospel giving us ideas and thoughts on Companion Study, Language Study, and Becoming a Master Inviter.  After teaching they would have us practice and then we would come together and evaluate and sometimes practice again.  It was all really, really good and this is just a quick review of the whole thing, just touching on the important stuff.   One thing they really want us to do is to practice through role/real play. Taking an investigator and practicing how to extend a commitment or teach a principle, stuff like that.  Takes up the hour a lot faster and also is very helpful to get mess ups out of the way.  Then for the last part, President Leota got up and explained some changes that are being made to our mission and it is focusing on P-day!!  First off we will no longer be going to taulaga (town) 1) to do email or 2) make some purchases.  Only ZLs will do that the first Monday of each month.  So now we are only using the post.  It will be different but as he explained his thoughts and intents and goals to help improve the mission, it all made sense and if we all pray and work together it will be good.  So ya that’s a quick thing there of interviews and conference but it was all really great and I loved it.  President Leota is such a spiritual man and was called of God and set apart to lead this mission.

As for our area we had some ups and downs.  First with the ups! Talaave should be baptized this week!!  We are deciding on Friday or Saturday to perform both their (her and her husband, Talosaga) wedding, that being first of course, and then Talaave's baptism.  We are going to go and review all the lessons and answer any questions, but they are excited and ready to get this done finally.  They have been waiting to get married for quite a while it’s just been a bit of a problem with her family in Gataivai, but it’s all good now and it should be done this week.  Exciting for my comp, his first baptism and he will also be able to do it in the ocean.  I will have pix next week.  It should be a great and spiritual experience one not to forget for any of us.  As for the not so good news this week is that Kiki's parents right now are not going to allow her to be baptized.  We can finish teaching and keep visiting but we need to have faith and pray and you all too that their hearts will be softened and allow her to be baptized as she was way bummed and sad and wants to learn more and be baptized, but the parents said if she does, to look for another place to stay.  Never easy there.  We also met with and taught Ruta the last lesson but will go over more and help her out as she didn't go to church yesterday.  So anyway not so good news, but the other Ruta we found out is married to a member who is working right now in Apia and still goes to church and if she does decide to get baptized, she wants him back here first, so her choice.  Do all we can.  We found some others to visit this week so hopefully all that works out great and we keep the work growing and spreading.

That is the update and letter for this week.  Sorry not too much but time is quick and I’ve got to go.  Thank you all so much for everything.  All the support, emails, letters, love, prayers and so on.  I love you all so much!!  I know this church is true and that Jesus is at the Head of it.  I know that God is our Father in Heaven and He in fact knows and loves us more than we could ever understand.  I know that President Monson is His mouthpiece for us on the earth.  I know Joseph Smith restored the church and the priesthood to the earth.  I know he also translated the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God and that that book is another Testament of Jesus Christ and the word of God.  I love my Savior.  Jesus is the Christ.  His Grace is Sufficient.  Families can be together forever.  We Can Be Together Forever Someday!!  Temples are awesome.  I love you all!!  ou te alofa tele iate outou!!   Keep Strong!!

Alofa atu
Elder Cody John Walker

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

BETTER WEEK!!

BETTER WEEK!! Nov. 7, 2011


Talofa Lava!!!

Hey everyone!! How’s the week been? I hope all has been well and great. First off I need to apologize to Kendra. Sorry Kendra I forgot to wish you a Happy Birthday last week I am sooo sorry!! But here is a belated one. Manuia Lou Aso Fanau!! Happy Birthday and I hope it was great!! Next is Alyssa!! Manuia Foi Lou Aso Fanau!! Love you all so much!!! Keep up the good work at being the Best Family and Friends!! All awesome examples to me!!

This past week was probably one of our best weeks here. It was Amazing with some really great experiences. On Wednesday, we started off meeting Ruta and just giving a short quick lesson reviewing lesson one and giving a preview of lesson two. Ruta was taught lesson one with the two elders before us, and we are going to finish them up this week but the only problem is that she needs to get married first before she can get baptized. (as always). Well that seems easy enough to get a marriage set up except there is one holdback, a very big holdback, her husband has to get divorced legally first from his first wife. Now the charge in Samoa to get a divorce is 1000 tala! That is a very hefty price. Also the family of the first wife is being very difficult with helping pay that so we just need to have patience and pray and it will all work out in time. Just keep encouraging that it not to be procrastinated, but get it done. We taught her the second lesson on Friday and she really liked it and had some good questions too. It was also great to have the help of her mother in law too, there teaching with us.
The other investigator we have is Kiki. We had met her at the fafaga on Saturday and planned to teach her the first lesson on Wednesday and when we were about to start, another girl came named Ruta and wanted to hear what we had to say. That was cool and we accepted of course to teach her too!! The first lesson went really well and after giving them each a Book of Mormon and the lesson two book, they said they would read and be prepared for the lesson on Saturday. When we went on Saturday to teach them it was so cool to actually see they had read, especially Kiki!! In fact she had read and marked all the scriptures mentioned in the Lesson Two book on the Plan of Salvation in the Book of Mormon. Also they said they had prayed and felt a good feeling about what we had taught and were ready to hear more. Well we got to teaching right away on the second lesson and they liked it a lot, but said as most others do it’s a lot of new info that they haven’t heard before, but it sounds right that God would love us and have everything planned out so we could return to live with Him someday and become like Him too. Then came the question would they agree to attend church with us tomorrow and Ruta asked me back if it was our hope that she get baptized?! I couldn’t believe it and immediately said yes that was our hope from the very beginning. Kiki already knew that and after some thought and I knew the Spirit was working on her, she said she would go to church with us the next day. It was great!! So the next day we went to her house and walked with her and this girl named Joy who is a member and good friends with her. Then at church we taught the third lesson to Kiki and Ruta (the one who needs to get married, the other one didn't get to come to church---keep trying there!!) and Joy was also there for the lesson and helped out and shared her testimony. Lessons with a member are that much better just because of getting a friend for the investigators. After the lesson which was on the gospel we challenged Kiki to set the 19th for her to be baptized and at first she said she couldn't but as we talked and got some help too from Ruta and Joy she accepted and said she would work to the 19th!! It was amazing this is actually my comp and I's first investigator with a baptismal date and so we are pretty excited. We committed Ruta to stay strong and keep attending and doing all she can to be ready so whenever she does get married she can be baptized right after that. So that is the good news this week and it’s great!!

Next we taught or finished up in greater detail the first lesson with a guy named Tanielu. At first he showed no interest, then others came and as we started talking he got more interested in knowing that there is really only one way to return to God and that there truly is one baptism and one faith. It was good and he took the Book of Mormon saying he would read it and be ready for us on this Saturday when we meet again. So we will see what happens but the spark of interest can grow!! Oh also we talked to Misi the ward mission leader in Puapua and he said that Talaave, who Elders Mackey and Memea taught is going to be able to get married and baptized so we will meet her this week and check up and get it all set up.

That’s the wrap for this week. I love you all so much!!! Thanks for everything!!! All I can say is I love missionary life and work!!! It is truly more of a blessing than a sacrifice. I know this church is true. I know that Jesus Christ is the head of this Church as it bears His name for one. I love Him. He leads it through a living prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. I know that he, his counselors and the Quorum of the Twelve are prophets, seers and revelators. There is only One Church that is true and One Path to lead to God. He never changes. I love this gospel and have been so blessed. I know the Book of Mormon is true and is the word of God and another Testament of Jesus Christ. I love you all!! Ou te Alofa tele iate outou!! Keep Strong!! Remember too that His Grace is Sufficient.

Alofa atu,
Elder Cody John Walker

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

CRAZY WEEK!!

Talofa!!!                                                                                                                October 31, 2011


Hey everybody what’s happening? How’s life and work and all that fun winter weather? It is crazy not to see snow, but instead be sweating around this time of year. But its fun and I love it. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Oh ya and Happy Halloween!!! Hope it is filled with tons of candy and such. Maybe I will buy some chocolate today and eat it and then maybe get sick because I don't get it all the time ha ha!!
So this week we had a fun twist this past Tuesday! It was clear a little when we left that morning but as we were at the bishop of the Puapua ward’s house it started to pour like none other. Luckily the Bishop gave us a ride to Lano for our fafaga that night and we had hoped to get there a little early so it wasn’t too late to ask Vui, a counselor to the stake president, for a ride home so we wouldn’t get soaked!! But as we were sitting in with the family the dad didn’t really want us to leave early but wanted to talk so we ended up not leaving until seven to head down the road to ask the Vui for a ride. It was fun to talk to them don’t get me wrong but I felt bad because these other ward members aren’t talking too nice about them for keeping us late and that resulting in what happened. When we were heading back to Puapua we came to the ford and wow is all I can say. It was running so high and there was no way we were going to go through that. Not even buses were attempting it and they are big. The water was actually higher than the van we were in or to it equal for sure, and it would have swept us away if we had tried. So we went back and the Bishop in Lano, Bishop Tuifelasai, was cool and way nice and let us sleep over at his house for the night. He fed us and everything it was awesome. He made a place for us to sleep and gave us the mattresses they use and also covered the place where we slept with a mosquito net. All just for us, it was amazing!! A way cool family and so gracious. Yes, you can be assured we are being taken care of.

Friday was our best day with some really good visits. First we went over to talk with Taala Meki who lives next door and owns the store we go to. Cool thing is he doesn’t charge us for anything we get and won’t let us pay. It’s so cool and he is a really nice guy. Then we headed out going towards Asaga and Lano and were going to do some tracting and also make other visits. Well our plans fell through with two people, Malo and then Siivaa; so that left time to try and find others to teach and so anyone we saw on the road, we went over and talked to them. We talked to this tina (mom) for quite a while and ended up teaching the whole entire first lesson to her just while standing there and talking. It was really neat and she was interested to hear more. The other house we went to we also got a lesson but only because the rain trapped us in and she wouldn’t make us leave and walk in it ha ha!! We just talked about the meaning of the name of our church as Elder Ballard explained and she was listening, but then she, as a member of another church that has their service on Sunday, tried to test me and ask what day is right to worship on and ya so we shared some scriptures and she agreed but wasn’t really accepting that much. Oh well, plant the seed and move on.

On Saturday at our fafaga we also got a new potential investigator a girl named Kiki. We talked to her and this other girl named Nele the whole time while eating. The member who had prepared the meal, just stayed in the back and sent these two up to fan the flies and present the food and talk too. Nele has already received the lessons but the loomatua (elderly lady) won’t let her be baptized yet, mainly because of some other Samoan missionaries not working but just hanging out talking to her. A bonus for us is the loomatua, named Nele too, likes elders from out of Samoa, especially palagis. So we will see what comes out of it as our lesson with Kiki is on Wednesday. Nele doesn’t stay here but goes to school in Apia but said before we left she wants to be baptized and might in Apia if her grandma lets her. Earlier though we had visited this family, Malo and Moe and their kids but it was so awesome talking to Malo!! He told me his conversion story with some history of some stuff and it was great. A cool thing about that is they are planning to go to the temple around the 26th of November and Elder Beck who baptized them will get to go with them.

A lot of families are really cool and are giving us koko samoa to make at our house which is way legit!! I love koko Samoa and want to drink it all the time. Actually more legit than regular hot chocolate.

Anyway that is the update for this week. I hope all is good still and doing great. I love you all and miss ya but wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!! I know this church is true and the only true and living one on the earth today. It was restored in its fullness by the prophet Joseph Smith by the power of the Priesthood. I know that President Monson is the living prophet that leads and guides the church today. I know that Jesus is at the Head of this Church and He is the Christ. I love Him and am forever indebted to Him. His Grace is Sufficient. I know God lives and loves us. The Book of Mormon is true through and through. I love that book and get something new from it every time I read it. I am so grateful for it and for this church and for this great opportunity to serve and time is going by way to fast. I love you all!! Ou te Alofa tele ia te outou!! Keep Strong!! Thanks for everything!!

Alofa atu
Elder Cody John Walker