Well it’s official. 4 weeks in the field. Haha and I still don’t know what most people are saying. It’s getting there though. Everyday I understand more and people are eager to help me out. Haha now the kids aren’t as afraid of me and they’ll come and talk to me. There’s one 7 year old “scrawny brown boy” named Keith that’s a homie. Yesterday in Church he sat next to me and I just showed him pictures in the tusitusiga pa’ia (scriptures). He’s trying to help me with Samoan but I have no idea what he says most of the time. Today we’re helping out a family with their umu and celebrating their baby’s 1st birthday! Here in Samoa the 1st and the 21st birthdays are a big deal so it should be pretty fun! I got a letter from Grandpa Don today and it’s addressed to me but the letter inside is written to an Elder Bascom. Haha close but no cigar (I think I can still say that as a missionary). Thanks for the thought though! Oh and by the way, Happy Anniversary to D&C and Mom and Dad! The big 50 and 21! And also manuia le aso fanau to Daddy Erick! I mean Ron. I mean Robert. Haha don’t worry. No one here can say our name either.
This week was kinda slow as far as our teaching went. We had a bunch of planned appointments but they fell through. One kid isn’t back from Savai’i yet and the other guy gets called into work and has stuff come up all the time. Kind of a bummer not having any solid investigators but hey everyone has agency and some day they’ll get there (I hope). I’m learning a ton even though I’m not teaching so that’s good! Right now I have a huge blister on my hand from taking the husks off of popo (coconuts) and I’m getting really good at cracking popo with a machete in 2-4 hits.
I’ll be honest, here in Samoa it’s really laid back and chill. It’s nothing like I thought it would be. Coming out of the MTC you’re all pumped up to go and teach all day and work hard from 6:30am till 9:00pm and I think that’s the ideal but it’s tough to have that here in Samoa. Whether it’s the members or investigators or other missionaries it’s a bit of a struggle for a greenie that can’t speak Samoan to get out and give it everything I’ve got. It’s interesting what Preach My Gospel says though about how to measure your success. Even though I think this is directed to missionaries that serve in places with less baptisms than Samoa, it applies to us all. (Paraphrasing) Success is measured by your own personal commitment to serve to the best you can. Whether this is following mission rules or keeping the commandments we all just need to do our best. I’ve been reading Jesus the Christ this past week and I really love it. I’ve read through the section that discusses a lot of His early miracles and the early stages of His ministry. It’s incredible to see that through faith (fa’atuatua) He healed people that were blind and couldn’t walk and had evil spirits inside them. I’ve also been reading the Book of Mormon and about Christ’s ministry to the Nephites in 3rd Nephi. It’s interesting that many times He mentions that only through “faith on the name of Jesus Christ” can we be saved. And Faith leads to action. I know that this is kind of a long winded rant and I hope it makes some sense. But just go ahead and go see for yourself. Go and read the scriptures and then pray to know if what they say is true. That’s what we tell people all the time as missionaries. You have to find out for yourself. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that it contains the word of God. I also know and love the fact that God does not change and continues to work through prophets and that miracles have not ceased. It’s a miracle that I’m here in Samoa learning to teach Samoan people in the Samoan language.
Haha keep on being the great examples you are and don’t forget to share the gospel with everyone. Even if it is by being a great example and choosing the right you can have a big impact on people around you.
Love you so much!
Editor’s Note: We recieved Doran’s first letter (handwritten and dated 8/31) from Samoa on Friday, September 19, nearly 3 weeks in transit. You can read the letter from week 1 “Smile and Wave, Boys” here: http://wp.me/p4Q8AR-3e