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December 29, 2014
Hey hey! It hasn’t been long since I got to talk to y’all on Christmas (the 26th in Samoa). But just wanted to fill you in on some of the stuff that happend since.
First of all thank you so much for all of you love and appreciation! The gifts you sent are awesome but the real treat was being able to talk to you on the phone. Haha not even Skype. The phone! I actually really like having the throw back style. I’m glad I don’t have to rely on paper letters to communicate on a weekly basis though! It was great to briefly talk to you! Love you all!
So after we talked on Friday we went and had the baptismal interview for our 2 baptisms on Saturday! Epi and Faaeteete passed with flying colors and everything got set for Saturday.
Saturday was the funeral service for a Brother in our ward. Paloney owned a store/restaurant in our area and said that any time we needed a rest or if we were hungry or needed a drink to just stop by. Haha he didn’t kid either. He always gave us heaps of Kale Mamoe (Lamb Curry) and drinks. He was one of the most generous people I’ve ever met. In the short time I knew him I learned a lot from him. He was actually a former companion of President Tolman! So that was a bummer that he’s no longer with us here on the Earth. But at 4 we had our baptisms and they went off with out a hitch. We did miss the photo op though, so our bad.
Then Sunday night Elder Vaai’s family invited us to a family reunion so we went. It’s all of his Dad’s family so Elder Vaai hadn’t seen them for a long time. Close to 15+ years? Their family is really musically talanted so they had each group of kids do some songs and just had a good program. That side of Elder Vaai’s family isn’t LDS so it was cool for them to see their nephew/cousin back in Samoa to be a missionary. I got to introduce myself as well and I just said; “My name is Elder Erickson. I’m from GA, America. We’re staying in Moto’otua. I’m a missionary for the Mormon Church and I love Elder Vaai.” Haha everyone was impressed with my Samoan. They don’t know that one of the only things I know how to say [in Samoan], is a little introduction of myself ;).
Then later that night the Zone Leaders called to let us know about transfers. I get to stay here in Moto’otua but will be getting a new companion, a native Samoan, Elder Vaitu’u. Elder Vaai is headed further from town to an area called Vavau to be a District Leader. Everyone says it’s a nice area though and that it’s got some good beaches so I’m jealous! His companion is another white kid that’s even newer than me! Haha bummer for him. It’s been a great 4 months with Elder Vaai. I’m gonna miss him. Luckily we’re still going to be on the same island so we’ll see each other at a Zone Conference or something. From what Elder Vaai and I can deduce my companion should help accelarate my language to help prep me to train or be a DL or whatever President Tolman needs me to do. He said before that he wants me to help lead in the mission but in order for that to happen I need to speak better Samoan. Haha so hopefully these next 6 weeks resuslt is some kind of fluency. Haha Say some prayers for me please.
As requested by my sweet mother here are 10 things that I’ve learned since starting my mission in July.
2. Matthew 6:25. Life is much more than the material. Every day I sweat through my shirt, get them dirty, walk in the rain, walk down dusty, dirty roads visiting families that honestly don’t have much. What they do have is what is important. They have family, a sense of humor, a good work ethic, and a life centered on Jesus Christ. My time here has made me think about what I really value and want out of my life.
3. It is called missionary WORK for a reason. It takes lots of time and effort for people to develop testiomonies and make changes in their lives. We have to be patient and just love them along.
4. The Church is true all over the world. Wether the bishop speaks English, Samoan, or Spanish, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. The Gospel is true for all people too.
5. You can never say “thank you” too much. One of the words I say in Samoan allllllllllllll the time is “Faafetai”. Thank you. People always enjoy some appreciation for what they do. It doesn’t take much effort but has big payoffs to be thankful.
6. Manners are important. There’s no reason to not be polite to everyone. Here in Samoa there are specific customs that you’re supposed to follow and in certain ways and whatnot. You should learn how to be polite wherever you are and extend simple courtesy to everyone. With food, conversation, etc.
7. You can make do with less than you think. The kids here make their own toys here with sticks and cans and whatnot. We don’t always need to run to the store for the latest toy (whatever our “toy” may be).
8. Everyone is family. In Samoa almost everyone is related somehow. But even if you aren’t related they still treat you like you are. No one mistakes me for being Samoan but they still accept me in their homes and hearts. White skin, poor Samoan language skills and all.
9. Here people give everything to the missionaries. Time, money, food, love, etc. We can do that with everyone we meet! We can always help bless the lives of others with what our Heavenly Father gives us.
10. Love is what is important. DO what you love. Let those you love know that you love them. Love life. Love what comes. Love everyone.
Hopefully that list makes sense and helps inspire you guys in some way. Let me know what you think. I love you all. Keep up the good work!