Happy New Year! How’s 2015 treating all of you so far? Here in Samoa a few things have changed! I’ve got a new companion! Elder Vaituu from Taylorsville, Utah. He’s the 2nd oldest of 11 kids and he’s been out for over a year now. Before he came out he didn’t know any Samoan so he knows what it’s like to struggle and not know what people are saying. Just like me! So hopefully he’ll be able to help me progress with the language. We’re getting along well already and setting goals that will help us become better missionaries! I’m excited to see the change and progress in the next 6 weeks. Elder Vaituu has spent all of his mission on the back side of Upolu. His first day he was blown away by all the shops and cars and people. He said a couple times “is this still Samoa?” Haha kind of cool to hear that the villages are really different from closer to the city where I am. Elder Vaituu and Vaai just switched areas with Elder Vaituu coming from Vavau where Elder Vaai is now. Kind of an unusual transfer.
This week was kinda slow. We have almost no investigators that are moving towards the covenant of baptism so we’re trying hard to find people. The members are doing a good job of giving referrals though so hopefully we’ll be able to nail some people down this next week. We’re trying to introduce my new companion to the families in the wards too so he can get to know the area. I’m getting more opportunities to speak to people now as well. Because people already know me they start talking to me. I’m doing pretty well, too! I’m understanding more of what people are telling me and I’m able to respond fairly well, so that’s good! It’ll only get better as I’m setting goals to read the Book of Mormon in Samoan and such more and more. Elder Vaituu will be a big help as well since he knows the struggle.
I’ve been sharing the story of Lot’s wife recently with the new year. It says there in Genesis that God told Lot’s family to “don’t look back” as they were commanded to leave the wicked city of Sodom. Lot’s wife hesitated and looked back though. And she was turned into a pillar of salt! So this new year we need to look ahead and just try and do better each day. There was a quote that a recently returned missionary shared.
Let repentance take care of the past. Let obedience take care of the present. Let faith take care of the future.
So let that help guide your new year and know that with Heavenly Father there’s always an opportunity to improve and start new. I love all of you. Keep on keeping on!
Elder Doran Erickson