Priesthood and the Restoration

Another great week in Samoa! The weather is not cooling down like in the US and I am more than jealous about that. Mom, Thanks for the update on BYU football. I must admit that one of the families we were visiting was showing us that they got BYU TV and there was a post-game analysis of the USU vs BYU game. So I knew the final score but did not know about Taysom Hill’s broken leg. Many tears were shed upon learning that news. Big bummer for BYU fans everywhere. If you wanted to send more news about Top 25 teams and whatnot that’d be great too! All I know is that South Africa beat New Zealand 27 to 24 the other night in Rugby. Haha I’ll keep you updated on that end.

So this week was good! We visited a lot of less active members and taught some good lessons! Two of our investigators also accepted our invitation to be baptized at the end of this month! The only issue is that for one of the kids his parents go to the Voice of Christ church and he’s scared to ask if he can be baptized. We dedicated our fast to him yesterday so hopefully the Lord can soften some hearts. I know that He can. Just like it says in 1 Nephi 3:7; the Lord will provide a way for us to follow the commandments if we put forth the effort. Whether it is following the example of Christ and being baptized by immersion by someone holding the Priesthood of God or attending our weekly church meetings to keep the Sabbath day holy, the Lord will help grant the righteous desires of our heart.

In one of our lessons this week I could really feel the Spirit and see how the Lord directs His missionaries. Our investigator told us that he wants to take it slow and doesn’t want to rush into anything. So we planned on just teaching part of the 1st lesson about the Restoration. When we got to the part we had planned on stopping at though it just felt natural to keep on going. So we ended up teaching the entire first lesson and it didn’t feel like too much or like too long of a visit. It was great! The Holy Ghost was there testifying of truth and helping me to say what was needed. It was incredible the Spirit that comes when testifying that Joseph Smith was a prophet chosen by God to restore the fullness of the gospel to the Earth. It was also incredibly strong when we spoke about the priesthood and how essential God’s power here on Earth is. How else could we accomplish what God needs us to do? How else could we truly be cleansed of our sin through baptism? I know that it is through the Priesthood power of God that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints operates and performs the ordinances needed for salvation. It’s a special privilege to hold the Priesthood and to have many examples around me of righteous Priesthood holders around me. My father, grandfathers, uncles, cousins, brother, mission president, bishops, the list goes on and on.

I also know that the blessings from the priesthood are not limited to just men. Women can have access the the priesthood as well. Haha a saying that my mom has said comes to mind when I think about this: “I hold the priesthood in my arms every night when I go to bed”. Haha it’s great that my dad has stayed worthy to hold and exercise the priesthood as needed in the Erickson home and I can’t wait to have the chance to do the same with my own family. Well actually I can wait. I’m in no rush to get married after the mission. I love all of you and love the Restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I’m thankful to live in a time where all of the gospel is here on the Earth and that I’m a member of the Church with it all. I’m humbled that I have the opportunity to spend two years telling other people about it. It’s incredible.

Alofa atu,

Elder Erickson

PS: Today we’re going to hike to the top of a mountain where Robert Louis Stevenson is buried.

The Umu. Breadfruit is the round one and Taro the whiteish one. Breadfruit is better than Taro (but they're both tasting better every time)

The Umu. Breadfruit is the round one and Taro the whiteish one. Breadfruit is better than Taro (but they’re both tasting better every time)

The Keith and I

The Keith and I

The Squad. L to R; Me, Lucas (one of our investigators w/ a baptismal date (16)), Mahonry (18), Sa (21), and Keith (7) in the front

The Squad. L to R; Me, Lucas (one of our investigators w/ a baptismal date (16)), Mahonry (18), Sa (21), and Keith (7) in the front

My District. L to R: Back Row; Me, Elder Faiaga, Elder Vaai. Front: Sister Memea, Elder Johnson, Sister Saitofina

My District. L to R: Back Row; Me, Elder Faiaga, Elder Vaai. Front: Sister Memea, Elder Johnson, Sister Saitofina

Editor’s Note: The information below is excerpted from recent emails sent separate from the weekly report above.

Becky: What do you need me to send you? Love that photo of Keith.  Do you let him wear your [name] tag every once in awhile? You look like you have LOST weight.  YEA for you.  And you’re super handsome in your white shirt!
Doran: Haha as long as I look like like I’m losing weight that’s all that matters. It’s all the walking uphill and sweating all day. I actually put my tag on him last night! haha just keep sending me your love. and whatever else you think is good. Toiletries and stuff are appreciated. Food is easy to come by here in Samoa. but if you want to send some it’s your call. What do y’all want? I’m going to send you all a package soon, hopefully in time for Christmas.

From Doran to Becky: I got your letter from Sept 7 and here’s answers to all of the questions.

1. It is HOT. And Humid. Think like fireworks tent sweating but pretty much all the time. The other day I left a puddle of sweat on the floor that had dripped from my nose. Gross, I know.
2. Elder Vaai is 20 years old from the great state of Texas. He was born in American Samoa and moved to the States when he was 9. Both his parents are from Savai’i. His parents got divorced when he was 4 and his dad now lives just down the street from our area in Moto’otua. His mom is in Louisiana and has since remarried. He has 3 younger sisters and lots of cousins and nieces and nephews etc. He went to a junior college after high school and has his associates degree. He plans on going to a larger school after he gets back to continue his education. He’s considering some Utah schools so hopefully we’ll see each other after the mish. He’s about 4 months ahead of me as far as time served goes. He played rugby and football in HS and he plays the guitar, ukelele, and is picking up the piano. He loves to sing so I’ve gotten used to that. Haha you know how I love people that sing.
3. President and Sister Tolman are incredible. I love them. Haha it’s weird because I haven’t even spent a lot of time with them but I feel really close to them already. President is an incredible man and will be a good leader for the missionaries in Samoa.
4. Landscape is beautiful. I’m still amazed walking down the road and seeing all the palm trees and the banana trees with bananas growing on them. There are always trees with fruit growing on them so it’s pretty incredible.
5. Email was taken away because back in the day the missionaries would have to go into town to access a computer and so all the missionaries would meet up and go on splits and idk. I guess it was just a big waste of time and not very good. But now everyone can just go to the local chapel and use the computers.
6. I’m speaking Samoan about 70% of the time here so it’s getting better and better all the time.
7. Miss you tons! Probs like a 7 out of 10. Mostly because I just wish you could be here to experience all this with me. It’s a really unique incredible culture.
8. I’m taking everyday as it comes. I’m not getting overwhelmed. I just keep in mind that I’m not going to be fluent any time soon and all I can do is get better each day. Same goes for everything. Each day do better than the last.
9. There is one girl here that offers to teach me Samoan and idk on dress size. Haha not all of them are on the bigger side. But there are some really pretty girls here. Better than I expected. But don’t worry, my heart is locked. I just remember how good the girls at BYU are 😉
10. Some times I switch up the shoes and wear my nike slides for convenience and comfort. We have to take our shoes off before going into a house so it’s annoying in regular shoes.
11. Some of the people are poor. For sure relative to the US but yeah. Most all the families here have electricity so idk if that’s a good gauge of economic prosperity. Most all of the homes here in our area are more ‘fale palagi” or white people houses and have walls and such but then there are others that don’t have walls. It’s pretty awesome.
12. Spiritual experience: We planned on just teaching part of the 1st lesson to one of our investigators but during the lesson it just felt more natural to keep going. And when we started talking about Joseph Smith, the question he had, and how Heavenly Father answered it, I could really feel the Spirit and how the Holy Ghost testifies of truth.
13. Goals = Be as obedient as I can. I’m starting with waking up on time and doing my studies. Honestly I’ve done a pretty poor job (not relative to other missionaries I know but compared to the missionary I want to be). In the past I haven’t been that obedient and so on my mission I want this 2 years to be different like they should be. I want to rise to a new level of commitment (PMG chapter or page 1). I can definitely see how I’ve grown closer to the Savior and how I’m becoming a more dedicated disciple of Him.

Love you tons. Keep sending questions and I’ll try and answer them well.
-Elder Erickson