Happiness is Only Real When Shared

Malo lava le soifua! Another great one in Samoa. This week marks the end of 6 transfers in the field (a transfer being 6 weeks). 10 left!

So for this past week….

This past week we were all over the place with appointments, trips to the office, and other meetings. So on Tuesday we ran out of visits that we could do before our fafaga so we figured we’d check out a “Coastal Walk” at the edge of our area. It was really cool! I wish I could send you more pictures but there’s a new ‘only 2 pictures’ rule in our mission. Guess you’ll just have to come see it in person ;). So there are these big lava rock cliffs on the ocean with a trail along it so Elder Hayes and I decided to have a look. It was gorgeous! Really neat to walk along! Words can’t really describe so hopefully I’ll get y’all some pictures here soon.

On Wednesday night we found out that missionaries are going to start attending the temple every once in a while. Elder Hayes and I were part of the first group to go the next morning! It was really great! I haven’t been since I got here in Samoa and it was my first time in Samoan! It went well! It was nice to have some time in the Celestial room to pray and think. I can’t help but think of my first time in the Celestial room surrounded by family and loving friends. Lets all make it a goal to meet in the Celestial Kingdom in the future huh?

Friday morning was truly unique as well! So a family in our ward had some friends from Australia come and visit. A palagi couple that has been married for 30 years and wanted to renew their vows on their anniversary of May 1st. The family asked if we could do the ceremony so of course we accepted! Elder Hayes did the welcome and I officiated for the ceremony. It was nice! So the couple came up, we started with a prayer, I had them say the vows they had prepared, and then I said a little schpeel. I said “Thank you so much. What a wonderful opportunity this is for us to gather together and reflect on this beautiful expression of love and dedication. We hope that at this moment everyone here will take time to reflect on all those they love. Thank you, Gary and Nasha, for your example and reminder that as we look to the future we will all leave here today enlightened with a brightness of hope and resolve to speak sweeter, love deeper and lastly to always remember that happiness is only real when shared. Thank you all for your support to our lucky man and wife on this beautiful May the first. We’ll now close with a word of prayer. Lou matou Tama Faalelagi….” and then I just said a prayer. Pretty suave huh? I may or may not have quoted the song “Live Like You Were Dying” and “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer. Haha.

Later that day we had a zone meeting and then a meeting with the stake presidency, bishops, and missionaries in our district/stake where we give a report on the work in our area/the wards we cover. I must say that as our companionship is the only all palagi companionship people were impressed that we’re getting baptisms and covering a huge area with three units (2 wards and a branch). Our bishops and branch president gave us some good praise and stuck up for us reporting that we work hard with our big area and we’re doing well. This was a nice change because in the past there’s been leaders bringing up how bad an elder’s Samoan is or just making jokes in general. So it looks like things may be picking up leadership-wise in our stake.

And now moving into this week… We’ve got two more baptisms planned for this Saturday! So one is an investigator we’ve been teaching and working with. His faith is really strong and he told us that he read the Book of Mormon, prayed, and got the answer that he knows it is true and that the Book of Mormon contains the word of God. This is great because unfortunately in the past I’ve had people I’ve taught and they just kind of go through the motions but you don’t know if they really know or want to know. It’s great to see an 18 year old with this strong faith and desire to do his Heavenly Father’s will.

The other baptism is a 40-ish mother. All of her family has been baptized all ready and a lot of missionaries have tried to start her lessons. It’s been a tough decision because her father and brother are ministers in another church. So the story is on Sunday night we attended a meeting with the ward leaders in Saaga – the neighboring village and ward to where we live in Siumu – and we were driving down the road to our house. We saw the dad’s car parked by a natural spring we live by and the 19 year old son waved us down. We stopped, rolled down the window and he just said “my mom wants to get baptized on Saturday is that OK?”. We were stoked! We said of course! So we’re doing a lesson Monday through Thursday, the interview Friday, and the Dad will baptize her on Saturday! This is such a great opportunity and blessing for that family. Those that are baptized are really strong members and now they get to see their mother enter the waters of baptism and partake of those blessings associated with membership in Jesus Christ’s church. It’s great because I’m sure in a year they’re going to make it to the temple and be sealed and that’s the real reason we’re here. To assist families and have them be together forever. What a blessing this work is. I know that people usually think that missionaries are out to help other people, which they are, but honestly these people have helped and taught me much more than I have helped and taught them. Elder Holland has said “Missions are for missionaries” and that is so true. I like to think that I have helped touch some lives here, but there is no doubt that the people of Samoa have touched my heart in ways that will last for eternity.

I love you all. Heavenly Father loves you all. Make this week a good one!

Elder Erickson

Robert/Doran Email…

Robert: According to Facebook, you may have a baby named after you. (See Attached) I’d love to hear the story if you know it…

Doran: Haha I’m going to give that family a call later today and get the full scoop!

LJ Barakah Muagutu Doran Deaveraux

LJ Barakah Muagutu Doran Deaveraux

You can now add "wedding vow renewal ceremony officiator" to my resume. This couple is from Australia and they've been married for 30 years and wanted to renew their vows on their 30th anniversary.

You can now add “wedding vow renewal ceremony officiator” to my resume. This couple is from Australia and they’ve been married for 30 years and wanted to renew their vows on their 30th anniversary.

There's a Coastal Walk at the edge of our area that goes along some lava rock cliffs. We ran out of visits to do before our fafaga one afternoon so we just went for a walk.  It's beautiful and I wish I could send you more but alas...

There’s a Coastal Walk at the edge of our area that goes along some lava rock cliffs. We ran out of visits to do before our fafaga one afternoon so we just went for a walk. It’s beautiful and I wish I could send you more but alas…