The Unprofitable Servant

So here it is! At long last a weekly update! This will include bits that I’ve been negligent to include due to the hectic nature of the past month and a half as well.

This past Tuesday and Wednesday it rained so, so, so hard. Tuesday we were just out doing our visits when we got a call to come give a blessing. We went and did that real quick which switched up our daily plan a bit. And then it started raining. We ducked under a store front intending to wait for the rain to let up a little and then we’d continue on our way. Well, after 20+ minutes, I could see it wasn’t going to let up any time soon. I told my companions lets just go for it and make a dash for the house where we can do something while waiting for the storm to pass. We hopped on our bikes and just pedaled like crazy, but in about 28 seconds I’m just soaked; hair, shirt, pants, bag, everything! At one point I was pedaling through water where my feet and shoes would dip below the water. It was pretty great especially considering how that was the one day I decided to give proselytizing a go in my dress shoes and not my normal flip flops. Oh well. I guess that’s what I get.

Rolling into Wednesday, the rain had stopped during the night but picked right back up in the morning. Elder Europa, one of my companions who finished his mission this week, wanted to go and say good bye to some families before he was picked up to go to the office the next morning. We had to compromise a bit with the rain situation and finally decided to leave our stuff at home so it wouldn’t get re-soaked. The rain also made us cut out some of the families he wanted to say good bye to. We made a quick dash to say hey to a few families and that was that. Even though I was only with him for about three weeks I was able to learn a lot from him.

Other than the tremendous rain, the highlight of the week was that we committed one youth age kid to be baptized this coming Saturday. We’re excited for that! We also got a name dropped on us of a kid that’s staying with some members who wants to be baptized and we will check up on that tomorrow to see what the real deal is. I’m pleased a couple other investigators are moving along and progressing so the work is going well.

Oh and my foot flared back up so that’s cool too.

Going back a few weeks: For my birthday the family I stayed with in Motootua (my first area) brought by a cake and ice cream and a card. It was really nice of them to do that and I know that it’s something simple like cake and ice cream but it got me thinking. It’s just so incredible how even though I only lived there for about six months they still remember and look out for me. One of my good friends, Elder Afuvai, is serving there right now and he says that people ask about Elder Vaai (my trainer) and me a lot. I can’t believe that these wonderful people still remember some random white kid that couldn’t speak Samoan.

I’ve been so blessed to have served here in Samoa. Never before has the phrase “Unprofitable Servant,” found in Mosiah 2:21-22, been so clear to me:

“I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants. And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.”

Here I am, serving the Lord for two years and yet I’m still the one being blessed. To me it’s just another testament to how much the Lord truly loves us. He puts us in situations where we’ll be able to grow and learn even when we’re supposed to be doing His work and building His kingdom. I love how if we just take a minute to sit back and observe our surroundings we do see that “all things denote there is a God” (Alma 30:44).

I’m just so blessed that through a living prophet, God called me to labor on some tiny islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean where He knew I would learn and grow in ways that I never could have anywhere else. I’m so thankful every day I have to bring the Samoan people happiness and peace through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and in some small way repay what they have taught and given me.

Congratulations D&C on your most recent mission call! The young single adults of Leeds, England are lucky to have you teach and guide them.

Hope all is well and wish you the best of weeks. I love you all so much.

Elder Doran Erickson

Doran’s response to mom’s letter: I’m cracking up about dad’s church basketball antics/sprained ankle. Dad’s the man! Without being there I can see exactly how it all went down and one of my favorite memories is him diving into folded chairs to save the ball from going out. One thing’s for sure – he taught me how to hustle!

Good on you, mom, for keeping up with your swearing habit! (Becky made a New Year’s resolution to not swear and Doran keeps making fun of her.) Also good on your Old Testament reading! I’ve passed Exodus but it’s still a tedious read. I just keep reading about how they need to decorate the tabernacle and do sacrifices – I just wanna read about where they march around blowing trumpets to make the walls fall down. I think it’s coming up soon though! haha.

Thank you for your testimony. It means so much to have parents and especially a mother that takes time to share insights and experience. I love you both so much. Thank you.

It rained soooooooo hard this week. Could be effects of the recent Cyclone Winston that hit the Pacific Island region, specifically Fiji?

It rained soooooooo hard this week. Could be effects of the recent Cyclone Winston that hit the Pacific Island region, specifically Fiji?

A good 6-7" pond developed in front of our house so that was pretty neat.

A good 6-7″ pond developed in front of our house so that was pretty neat.

We had Stake Conference this Sunday past and I guess they really did invite all family members to attend. I was asked if he was going to be the refreshments. Haha - wrong stake. If I was still in Tafuna, then that would be a pretty good assessment but not here. If you mention eating dog to Samoans they think it's gross and don't want to. There's only one village that does named Solosolo. It's actually in my zone but they cook it differently than I will when I get home. You think the McCollums will let us use their smoker for that?

We had Stake Conference this Sunday past and I guess they really did invite all family members to attend. I was asked if he was going to be the refreshments. Haha – wrong stake. If I was still in Tafuna, then that would be a pretty good assessment but not here. If you mention eating dog to Samoans they think it’s gross and don’t want to. There’s only one village that does named Solosolo. It’s actually in my zone but they cook it differently than I will when I get home. You think the McCollums will let us use their smoker for that?

My companion and I went to the big Catholic chapel here in Apia and looked around. He said he was super uncomfortable and that he hadn't been in another religion's chapel before. I was shocked. I told my companion this church is someone's attempt to show their devotion and love of God and as such it is pretty cool. After all the dozen's of churches mom drags us to all I could think of was her saying, "I'm a sucker for an old church!" And to think you went to Ebeneezer Baptist last year without me! I'm still jealous.

My companion and I went to the big Catholic chapel here in Apia and looked around. He said he was super uncomfortable and that he hadn’t been in another religion’s chapel before. I was shocked. I told my companion this church is someone’s attempt to show their devotion and love of God and as such it is pretty cool. After all the dozen’s of churches mom drags us to all I could think of was her saying, “I’m a sucker for an old church!” And to think you went to Ebeneezer Baptist last year without me! I’m still jealous.

While there I remembered our El Salvador trip and our visit to their beautiful beach, Costa del Sol, where no one was. We all kept saying, "Not a soul around!" And that's how it was at this church, no souls there. It was a pretty cool church with lots of warmth and wood work on the ceiling, but I did not feel the Holy Ghost. It was worth the quick detour.

While there I remembered our El Salvador trip and our visit to their beautiful beach, Costa del Sol, where no one was. We all kept saying, “Not a soul around!” And that’s how it was at this church, no souls there. It was a pretty cool church with lots of warmth and wood work on the ceiling, but I did not feel the Holy Ghost. It was worth the quick detour.

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