Good, Great…and Bad

Another week down and my mission just keeps getting better. This week had some good things, some great things, and some bad things.

Saturday Elder Vaai and I had two baptisms! Both are young men and are a direct result (from what I’ve observed) of members being good missionaries! Both like to come and play basketball and whatnot at the chapel and so the youth here in the ward were just good examples and friends and now there are two new members of the church here in Moto’otua. It’s good for us to remember that being a missionary isn’t always asking people if they want to hear the lessons or read the Book of Mormon. Those things come in time but first and foremost one of the most powerful testimonies we can bear is that of a good example. The gospel of Jesus Christ brings a happiness and peace to our lives that people can’t help but notice. If we live the gospel, people will notice and want to learn more. Eventually invitations to come to church and read the Book of Mormon, etc. lead to bigger changes in their lives and hopefully result in conversion and change. One of the baptisms was performed by one of the priests in the ward and a good friend of the kid getting baptized. It was great to see the Aaronic Preisthood in action.

So most of our week was devoted to getting those two ready for their baptisms and confirmations. They went smoothly and all is well.

They also split the ward that we’re serving in so now we’ll cover two wards and have 6 hours of church to attend! It’ll be interesting covering the same area with the same people but having to keep in mind that there are two wards to work with and whatnot. It helps that we already know all of the members so don’t have to learn two different sets of people. It’ll take a minute to coordinate with all the new callings though. It takes me back to when they split the Webb Bridge Ward and our family got shifted to the Peachtree Corners Ward. At first it was a bummer but now I’m thankful for the time we got to spend there. The Church is true no matter what ward you’re in.

In other news, England beat Samoa in rugby league this week after a hard fought match. Seeing some of the League games makes me thankful that I only played Union. Rugby League is too much like football for my taste. Plus I enjoy rucking and there isn’t any in League.

I also got bit by an Akua Loa (see picture) while sleeping Saturday night. Never have I experienced something so painful in recent memory. You know how most bites or stings the pain kinda dulls and goes away? That was not the case with this. I got bit around 1:45 am (?) and at first didn’t know what had happened. I was somewhat groggy and couldn’t see much. All I knew was that my neck hurt and felt like I got bit by something. Then I looked back at my bed and saw the thing crawling off my sheet. So after killing it (by cutting at the head) I woke up Elder Vaai to ask his expertise. Haha he didn’t know anything to do so I asked if he’d give me a blessing. The blessing was simple but what stuck out was that he told me that nothing would get serious. That was all we could do so Elder Vaai went back to sleep and I just laid down. It was so painful for the next few hours. It just ached way bad and my neck muscles were freaking out. Eventually I fell asleep around 5:30am. When I woke up to go to church there was like nothing. Usually the bites swell up a ton but there was nothing. My neck wasn’t even red. The bite was still there but besides mild discomfort it was fine. I definitely attribute my well-being to the power of God manifested through a simple blessing by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood. I know that God’s church is on Earth. I know that through the Prophet Joseph Smith, Heavenly Father restored the priesthood to the Earth.  I’m so thankful to be part a member of Christ’s church on Earth. I’m thankful to have been raised in a home where the priesthood is present. I’m thankful and humbled that I have the privilege to hold that same priesthood now and use it to bless the lives of others. I know that the blessings of the priesthood are available to everyone. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love the people of Samoa. I love that I have the opportunity to help them come closer to our Savior by receiving the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

I hope all of you have a great week! Love you all so much.

-Elder Doran Erickson
Becky: Do you have a street address? I can google maps you and use satelite imaging to see your apartment.
Doran: HA! Good one Mom. Haha there are very few street addresses here in Samoa. I’ll see what I can do.
Becky: I did a street map Google on the hospital and the church right next to it. Is that your house?
Doran: No ma’am. We’re down the road. Lemme see if I can give you directions. We’re just down the road from the Outrigger Hotel, across from a hotel called “Aniva’s Place”. There’s a road just past the end of the hospital that goes to the right, go all the way to the other big road it connects to. We’re the 3rd house from the right of that road, with a big field in front and to the right. Brown roof.
The two on either side of me are our converts and Elder Vaai is on the far left. Mahonri is on the far right and did one of the baptisms!

The two on either side of me are our converts and Elder Vaai is on the far left. Mahonri is on the far right and did one of the baptisms!

It rained crazy hard the other night so we took a shower in the water off the roof.

It rained crazy hard the other night so we took a shower in the water off the roof.

This is an Akua Loa and their bite hurts like nothing I've experienced.

This is an Akua Loa and their bite hurts like nothing I’ve experienced.