Saturday, May 26, 2012

April 15, 2012

                                                                                      April 15, 2012

Dear Mom, Dad, and the Family,

Wow, another week gone, but it was a busy week for us! But hey, to start out with—what’s up Family?  How is everything going?  Keeping safe and having fun?  How was conference? Seeing it live? I forgot to mention last week, but here for us in Samoa, we just barely watched it this weekend the 14th and 15th.  So two weeks later.  It is a delayed broadcast here, and they decided to run it the week after Easter.  It was excellent. Pretty cool to see Elder Haleck (previously Pres. Haleck) speak, and he did a grand job. I loved listening to him again.  All of the talks were good and there was again a lot of emphasis on families and their importance. Also mentioned and spoken about was the great plan of happiness.  President Monson’s teaching was so powerful. Not only that, but missionary work was mentioned and of course the Priesthood.  I heard all the talks and learned personally from them.  I can testify with all my heart that what they taught was true. I know Pres. Monson is our living prophet on the earth and he is the one who holds all the keys to govern this church on the earth.  I know he, the first presidency, and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are prophets, seers, and revelators.  I know also that all general authorities are called and set apart by God through His prophet.  I know this church is true and Jesus is the head of it.  Jesus is the Christ, our Savior and Redeemer.  His atonement and teachings are central or should be central to our lives.  The Atonement is the only way to repent and become clean from our sins and transgressions. It is never too late to return home.  I love General Conference.  I wish all could understand the importance of it as does our family. So many here think it is a day off for church. Oh if only they knew and fully understood the significance of it.  We are so blessed and lucky to have this opportunity to listen and learn from living prophets and Apostles every 6 months.  I am eternally grateful for this.  I know God lives and that He loves us.  This is the only one and only true church on the earth I know that without a doubt. The church is true and so is The Book of Mormon.
So I did not know that Andrea was engaged. All I have to say is Congratulations and send me an announcement. Thanks for the updates on the family and everyone. I like getting the news about everyone. Thanks for everything.
This week was a very busy week, mainly because new missionaries that came in.  We have two of those new missionaries in our zone being trained right now.  Also it was busy with transfers and getting people situated and also getting my comp -masani (familiar) with the area.  There

were meetings to take people to and purchases to make, meetings to attend, and getting institute class going again after a week break. Busy, but great.  Also my comp has this perfect pushups program that we have started as part of our daily exercise and it is destroying my body. All in all it is fun, busy and I am dead tired at the end of the day.  Good though. Also had to get our car serviced.  Love being busy.

I went on a split with an elder who is training for a day, his name is Elder Alaimalo and we had quite a few visits with him.  We had a lesson with W who is all set for this next Saturday. We taught him with this elder, the lesson on the plan of salvation and then we taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Both lessons went well, he is an easy kid to teach.  He listens and wants to learn more and he is also one of the first to ask questions and they were good questions to help him understand more. I really like this kid and love teaching him.  Can’t wait until Saturday.

We also taught L part of the 5th lesson on the Priesthood and auxiliaries as well as missionary work.  It was good and we just challenged her to keep up the good work in being strong and a good example to others.  That is some of the best missionary work—to be a good example.  Since she had been baptized, she was kind of surprised we were having another lesson with her, but as we talked, she liked it.

Had another lesson with L and M was there to help out.  We talked about the pre-earth life and she had a lot of thoughts and questions, so it was a good discussion.  We also explained more about the Book of Mormon. M is a really good friend for her and in fact the thing that was really exciting was she came to General Conference.  We had invited her and she said she would and she did! All the talks given were really good.  I love teaching her  and she has some interesting beliefs and we teach according to what she needs. Awesome.

We went to teach M twice this week and both times we shared a message with a different person.  First time, was with M’s mom and after helping to teach her, she told us she was alright for now and would let us know if she wanted lessons. S was really good with connecting with her. The 2nd time, we met with M’s older sister and shared a brief message and planned next week to go back and start lessons.

We had a great opportunity to do service at Ah Mu again, finishing up the painting on Friday.  It was just us and one other zone. We got it done in 5 hours, but I got fried!  The sun was so hot.  I got to work with a cool elder named Sagapolutele from Utah.  Cool kid.  Had a lot of fun.

Yesterday we had an interesting experience and blessing to be able to give a priesthood blessing to a premature baby who was born with its organs outside of the stomach.  The baby was to have surgery the next day and so we were able to give a blessing to be strong and according to the Lord’s will to be healthy and grow.  Hopefully all works out. Pray for them.

That’s a wrap.  Thank you so much for everything.  I love you all so much.  Conference is awesome.  Keep strong!  Keep me updated.  Out e Alofa tele atu ia te ou tou!

Alofa Atu,

Elder Cody John Walker

p.s. The church is true!  Tell everyone you know!

Monday, May 7, 2012

April 22, 2012

                                                                                         April 22, 2012

Dear Mom, Dad, and the Family,
Hey Hey Everybody!  What’s up? How is everyone? Any news? What day is predicted for Alexis to arrive? How’s the rock quarry digging going?  This week my comp and I are continuing our workout for pushups and man it’s a killer.  So many and the whole perfect pushups program is nuts!  Fun though and I hope I get stronger.
The highlight of this week was our baptism in Vailima. Yep, we finished up with Winston’s lessons and it was amazing.  I was so excited and happy.  He is such a good kid, smart and really into the lessons.  Honest and sincere with us too.  The thing that topped it off was at his baptism (oh there is another blessing that I received was to have him choose me to baptize him), after the baptism was performed and we came back to the chapel and he, Winston stood up and bore his testimony.  It was from the heart, simple and so powerful.  Cool kid, neat experience. Oh, also Winston sported a brand new suit for his confirmation.  It was great.
Had a discussion with B and L this past Wednesday.  In fact we actually committed them both to baptism for the 19th of May. This was really big because now it gives L something to work towards.  He has a goal for when to stop smoking and drinking and he has already started on that.  Still have some difficulties with other things and still working on him personally, but faith, prayer and hard work will all work out in the end.  Pray for them.
We contacted a Tongan family this week and they have 3 boys and 1 girl.  S said straight way he wasn’t interested and then we just started talking and immediately O brought us a piece of cake to eat and a drink.  We were able to sit down and just talk to S about himself and what he does for work and get to know him.  He said we could stop by anytime just to talk so we will see what happens there.
This past week was Elder Funaki’s final week on his mission.  He left Saturday early morning.  We were lucky to spend Sunday thru Wednesday night with him as Rodgers and Malaga were in Savaii doing training and such.  Also he went with us to some of our fafagas when he had the chance.  We had a really good one on Wednesday and Funaki being the great elder he is was an amazing teacher and was able to make a connection with the lady.  Her name is T and she had served mission, but had some mishaps, but she is coming back.  Great lady, 38 yrs. old. (Funaki found out her age through perseverance and was lucky he didn’t get slapped. No, ha ha).  He was able to talk to her and I helped out a little bit, but he focused on her and gave her the commitments she needed to hopefully get her back on track.  She and her friend have kind of committed to come back to church again and be active.  Hope all goes well there as well. It was sad to say goodbye to Funaki.  I love that guy; he was such a great elder and grand example.  He was always positive, fun to be around and all around good personality.  I was blessed to have come over to Apia and serve with him. Hopefully talk to him more after the mission. Cool guy.
The new dentists here are the Roths.  Sister Julie Roth whose maiden name is Abegglen, grew up in Vernal and was very good friends with the Jolleys. Yep, what a coincidence. So tell the Jolleys she worked well on my teeth in my checkup. Small world.  She is also connected some way with Randy and Vicki Searle.
The weird experience for this week is on Saturday, we got a call from the APs saying there was a lady that came to them saying she wanted to learn about the church and she wanted to right then and there go inside the temple.  So we go and introduce ourselves and try to start a lesson with her.  She starts to talk to us in third person and is sort of sporadic and random, often forgetting things, but still very sincere.  We just shared what we could with her, it was really different. We answered a lot of her questions and showed her or explained to her the ways to get married inside the temple.  She is a member of the Catholic Church, but dating a man who is LDS.  We bore our testimony and she said she wants to learn more.  She told us her priest has banned learning anything about other churches, banning knowledge and stuff. 
Our zone had 7 baptisms this past week, so pretty good, just working on that.  We had a conference this past Tuesday with the Area President, Pres. James J. Hamula of the Seventy.  He came and talked to us for 2 hours and it was really really good.  He shared scripture and asked us to build two attributes not found in Preach My Gospel that would help us—they are to be watchful and sober. (or be light-hearted, not light-minded). He mentioned how this mission has changed dramatically and we are being watched and so we are doing a lot better. He talked on teaching through asking inspired questions.  Then going through other steps.  Last he said and mentioned how what has worked in other missions and that is focusing on less-active and part member families, and also families who don’t have all the saving ordinances performed.  Baptisms will generate from that.  Last thing was have no regrets and let’s keep moving forward.  Good conference!
We had a meeting with Pres. Leota for new Zl’s that included my comp. It was good and President is really excited for what is coming, just wants us to be positive and supportive and show that to the zones.
That’s a wrap.  A lot of stuff this week.  I love you all.  Thank you so so much for everything.  I know the church is true and that Jesus is the Christ. Prophets and Apostles are alive and are leading us.  The Book of Mormon is true.  Faafetai mo mea uma.
Alofa tele atu mo outou.  Keep me updated.
Alofa atu,
Elder Cody John Walker