Hey hey hey! Another hot, sweaty week here in Samoa. So to be honest the work in our area is pretty slow. We’ve got like 1.5 people that we’re working with. We’ve got one investigator who we’ve taught all the lessons to but he isn’t ready to be baptized. We had the last lesson with him and we covered some of the commandments in the Church. Mainly the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity. These are the two that most people have issues with here in Samoa. Nothing terrible with our investigator but he wants to make sure that he won’t slip back into bad habits after he’s been baptized. One question he had in our lesson was “if my girlfriend and I want to get married but she’s a member and I haven’t been baptized can we still get married?” My answer at first was “Yeah! Of course!” but then I thought about it and in the best Samoan I could muster told him that I know that when a relationship is centered on the gospel everyone involved is blessed. I know that in my life my family has been blessed and avoided a lot of trouble by being centered on Christ. Thanks to my parents and grandparents for making the choices to raise their families in the restored Church of Jesus Christ. There’s a quote found in Preach My Gospel about how the most important missionary work is done within the walls of your own home. I know that’s true. Thanks to the persistent nagging – I mean loving correction – from my parents I made it to BYU and now onto a mission in Samoa. And I know that they learned the Gospel from their parents who helped get them to their missions. Thanks again for all you have done and all you continue to do.
So the rest of the week we’re trying to find people who are interested. We’ve had a fair amount of referrals but they’ve fallen through. They’re either too busy to listen, just don’t want to, or they’ve moved or something. It’s tough for Elder Seumanu and I to resolve concerns though because although we can follow along with the subject we can’t always know the details of people’s stories. That’s the tough thing. It’s frustrating. We’re pushing through and getting appointments done though.
I did a split with the district leaders Thursday to Friday. I didn’t get a chance to do anything though. Elder Magalogo’s sick so we stayed in the house the whole time. I just took that time and wrote back Kelli Couch and Hermana Karen Toone. Thanks to them for the letters! Any other girls that need a missionary to write hit me up ;).
Then Sunday we had stake conference. President Tolman came and spoke. His message was directed at the members. A lot of times the members will tell you to come over and watch movies or TV, listen to music, just whatever. He just asked that they try and help us keep rules. Not tempt us to break them. It was great! Without the help of members the work is really, really hard. We need members to help fellowship the people that we bring to church. Without their friendship investigators don’t want to stay and just end up leaving.
I love you all! Keep up the good work! Send some goodies my way if you don’t mind. There are no good shops back here. We’re living on instant noodles and love from members. ❤ ❤ ❤
An excerpt from The Work of Miracles in Samoa, the Apia Mission Newsletter by Sister Tolman:
One of the things we discussed this week at a conference was our Standards of Excellence. Each mission president has the opportunity to develop and set standards specific to his mission. Several months ago, with the help of the mission leaders, we developed four Standards of Excellence. We call them our BLPP. The missionaries report on their BLPP each week in their letters to the President.
Samoa Apia Mission BLLP:
B-2 Baptisms per month
L-20 Lessons taught per week
P-7 Planning sessions per week
P-5 Perfect mornings per week
Elder Pearson shared with our missionaries several months ago that it is easy to tell what kind of a missionary someone is by looking at his/her planner. With a good plan, comes a great day. Lessons taught include lessons to members as well as investigators. A perfect morning includes getting up at 6:30, praying, exercising, eating, showering, dressing like a missionary, personal study and companionship study. The standard is five because Sundays and P-days follow a different schedule. The missionaries can still achieve a perfect morning on those days; they just look different for each companionship.
It has been exciting to see the missionaries responding to these Standards. Many, many of our missionaries exceed these standards every single week. We have witnessed a direct correlation in their success and their happiness when they achieve the Standards. I think most of it comes from knowing that the effort is what really counts. We can’t always be perfect in performance, but we can always be perfect in effort. Even those who may fall short on lessons or baptisms can look to their planning and their perfect mornings and know they are doing all that they can. It is in those times when we work hard and fall short that our faith is stretched and we turn more sincerely to the Lord.