Monday, December 19, 2011

Leaving Savaii

Transfer to Upolu--Hard to say goodbye to all in Savaii

Dear Family,                                                                      Dec. 4, 2011

Well, this officially starts me writing weekly, as there is no email anymore.  I hope all is well and everyone is doing great. I am in a new area, with new responsibilities and more to learn.  It was unexpected and a bit of a shock to me.  This week has been a crazy one and a lot has changed since last week.  First off, I said good-bye to all the elders heading home from Savaii. That was sad to say goodbye, but I will get to see them again.

On Tuesday, we had planned a meeting with Bishop Tuifelasi and also the ward mission leader, Lemi. That was excellent to have and Bishop appreciated us setting it up and we reviewed the work from that month.  Left from there, clear up to visit a man named Tua. He is a member of the Aso Fitu (Seventh day Adventists). At first he didn’t come and we got to talk to his dad.  He was just asking questions to test our knowledge about different subjects. It was sad as Tua really wanted to hear what we had to say about the gospel and kept trying to refer back to the pamphlet on the Restoration we had given him, wanting to know more about it. We tried, but as I would start, the dad would again question us and begin to explain more about his church. I do not like Bible bashing at all, as I am not perfect in my understanding there, and it is not our purpose. We challenged them to read the Book of Mormon, and then pray to know if it is true.

At our fafaga was when I got a call to tell me I was being transferred to Apia, Alafua.  My new companion is Elder Nielsen. Since I have been here, I have felt reassurance and love from the Lord that this is where He wants me right now and that he will help me to do whatever I am asked to do.  I know the Lord will help and bless me.

So the next day, I said goodbye to the people in the area, especially the Lano First Ward. Also said goodbye to Malo and Moe, which was really good.  A cool thing is that we saw Kiki on the road and got to say goodbye to her and give her some words of encouragement.

Then went to Manua Milo’s to say goodbye to Vesi and that family, and they were so good; feeding us, and also giving us money as a present, which was too much and not needed, but so very nice of them.  On the way back, we said goodbye to Minoi and he also gave me money!  I love these people and not because of the money but because of their love and patience and kindness towards me.  Then the next morning, I said good bye to Ta’ala Meki and his family before being picked up.

Thursday was a big day. The day I left Savaii!  Man I miss that place and hope to go back there in the near future. I went to the wharf and took pictures with a bunch of the elders there. I am not sure I will see them again before they get released.  Then we headed out to Upolu. Back to Upolu!  My companion, Elder Nielsen is from Utah, but his family moved to Oregon while he was on his mission. His Grandpa was actually a mission president in Samoa—Pres. Broomhead!  Kind of a cool thing.  After running some errands, I went to get my license.  Yes, I am now in a car, and also drive.  I really had gotten kind of skinny in Savaii with all the walking,  I weigh 40 lbs. less than when I first got here. (I did put on 20 in the MTC).  Now I am in Alofua and we cover a palagi ward (English speaking) and a Samoan ward. This month is our month to eat our meals with the palagi ward.  Not good!!  Let me explain.  I love it, but it is not a good combination to eat so well and then drive instead of walk.   Our first fafaga was with the ward mission leader, and they made buttered chicken, dippers, salad, and chocolate cake. Way different than Savaii where we ate talo, pig, chicken and other random stuff. The families here have much more in material things, they all have computers, TVs, Wii, and all those other things. So different from Savaii.  It is a shock to be speaking English to them instead of Samoan.  The next day, we ate at an Italian restaurant and had lasagna and cheesecake.  Oh man, so bad!  All that American food is not doing so well with my stomach.

Where I live in Upolu is with a family. They are great people and I already love them! They are so respectful and loving to the missionaries.  I feel blessed to be here, as I can improve my Samoan by speaking with them.

Now to my new area.  First off, it is super busy.  We had a lesson with a lady named Lise on Thursday and she got baptized on Saturday the 3rd of Dec. It was awesome. I gave the spiritual thought at the baptismal service . Kind of nervous with all new people, but I did just fine. Lise bore her testimony, which was so sweet and special as she has been taking the lessons for quite a while, then finally accepted and now baptism was right for her. Vesi was baptized in Savaii and it was hard to miss that, but glad to be a part of Lise’s baptism.

I know this church is true and is led by a living prophet, Pres. Thomas S. Monson. I know Pres. Monson and his counselors and the twelve apostles are prophet, seers, and revelators. They hold all the keys of the priesthood to lead and guide this church. The Prophet Joseph Smith did restore this church through the power and authority of God.  He did see God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.  I know God lives and loves each and every one of us. I now Jesus is the Christ. He is the head of this church and our Savior and Redeemer.  He loves us as well and sacrificed Himself for us so that we can repent.  That right there is such a wonderful gift, to become clean from sin.  I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God and another testament of Jesus Christ.  It is true through and through.  No doubt there!  All can know it is true through the power of the Holy Ghost.  I love you all so much!  Thank you for all you do and all your love and prayers.  Ou te Alofa Tele ia te outou.  Remember keep strong. Christmas is coming up and I can’t wait to talk to you.  We could have a baptism on Christmas Eve!  Love you all!

Alofa Atu,
Elder Cody John walker