Merry Christmas to all! I guess that’s next week but still. Samoa is still great and so is your favorite Samoa Apia missionary. It’s getting close to the end of the year so there’s been a big push from all of the leaders here to try and meet/exceed the goals that were set for 2014. We’re working hard but sometimes it takes more finesse than force to find and teach people the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We’ve got some people that say they want to listen but we can’t translate that into a commitment for a lesson or to read the Book of Mormon or to pray or whatever the case may be. There’s no mystery why they call this “missionary WORK”. Elder Vaai and I are getting creative though and to help us meet our goals we’re dealing with one of the more common problems here in Samoa; lost or missing records. A lot of times records don’t get transferred or sent from ward to ward or they never get made or whatever. So we’re having two baptisms this Wednesday of two people that come to church every week but don’t have records!
We’re still trying to get people into the waters of baptism the old fashioned way too. Teaching the lessons. It’s difficult though and we don’t have anyone that has a real enthusiasm for what we have to say. It’s hard because first we have to help them realize that Christ established a church while he was here on the Earth. After He was crucified and all the apostles were killed that church didn’t have the proper authority leading it. Then that authority to lead and establish the church was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Once people realize that God does have a plan for us and that He does require certain things from us we want to know what it is we need to do! And that plan is found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As we heard in last October’s General Conference, “A God who makes no demands is the functional equivalent of a God who does not exist”. Heavenly Father wants us to be happy and has established commandments that will give us the most happiness in this mortal life and in the life to come. I know that this is true. I know that the questions of our souls can be answered in the Book of Mormon. I know that I’m only an 18 year old kid but I have been called to serve and teach people that I have never thought about before coming to Samoa. I know that this is where I need to be and that this is the time I need to be here. Already I have seen that people here need my help and can benefit from what I have to say. And that isn’t to say that I’m so great because anyone that knows me knows that I’m just a normal guy. It’s just great to see that Heavenly Father has a plan for all of His children and knows them individually.
This week coming up we’re going to do Baptisms for the Dead with one of our investigators that went through multiple sets of missionaries and family members that pushed him to get baptized. I don’t know what it is but he’s told Elder Vaai and I that he really likes us and the fact that we took time to be his friend and get to know him; not just trying to teach lessons and get baptisms. Because life isn’t about numbers. I think it’s about people. The point is to “Teach People not Lessons”. That’s true for all of us. Who cares about the amount of money we have in our bank accounts? I’d rather worry about the amount of time I spent with my friends and family.
Sorry to have a rather “ranty” email this week but the words just flow once they get going. Haha hopefully I said what I’m trying to and the message gets across. Keep an eye out for the package I sent. Hopefully it gets to you in time. Let me know. I love all of you so so so much. Breathe some cold air for me and see your breath because there’s none of that where I am at the moment ;).
Love you all.
Elder Doran Erickson