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.
Elder Cody John Walker