Samoa Apia Mission - March 2015 - 2017

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Miracles

Hello very much!
I just wanted to write about a few blessings that I have seen while on my mission.
 
When I was set apart as a missionary I was blessed that I would be kept safe from injury and illness. A while back I did get sick, I caught the Dengue Fever which is a sickness from mosquitoes. Basically what happens is that it attacks your joints and makes them very painful every time you move and every time you don't. It also thins your blood to the point where you have internal bleeding which can get very serious. It usually takes a month or two to recover from it. When I had it I was worried because the bleeding was getting pretty bad pretty fast. However, I recovered within a week and was able to get back to proselyting. I know this was because of the blessing of protection I received before my mission.

Another miracle was told to me by a man that I met a while ago. He told me a story about his mother. She and her family lived in a village called Seetaga here in Tutuila. There was a hurricane while they lived there, a very bad one. Everybody started getting out of the village because the village of Seetaga was going to be the main impact point of the hurricane. This old lady did not leave though. She told her family that if they had enough faith then  they would be alright. The family tried to get her to leave but she wouldn't. They finally left and she stayed. She prayed and then sat to wait out the hurricane. When her family came back they said that there was not a house or tree or anything standing because of how bad the storm was, except for the house that the old lady was staying in. He said that this experience is what keeps him strong in the church.

Another miracle I have seen was back while I was in Upolu. I was with my companion Elder Laulu. We were going to pick up and investigator for church (pick up means walk to his house and then walk to church with him) and he told us that he would not be able to come to church because his son was very sick and he was going to have to  take him to the hospital. We offered to give the little boy a blessing and they said yes. I was very humbled by how my companion went about giving the blessing, I was kind of thinking that we should hurry up to try to get the blessing done so that we could get him to church, but my companion took his time getting ready. He first said a prayer and then he washed his hands. After he had washed his hands we reverently gave the child a blessing. As we started the blessing the child was crying and had a bad fever. As we gave the blessing the child stopped crying and fell asleep after the blessing he woke up and smiled at his dad. They later told us that he was no longer sick after we left. This was a big testimony builder to me.

Those are just a few cool experiences that I have seen on my mission.

Sorry this email is a bit late, my companion and I had to go over to Upolu for a meeting so we had to change our p-day this week.

Love you all and have a happy new year!! Manuia le tausaga fou!!
Alofa atu!
-Elder Lamoreaux

This is our island activity we did on Christmas.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Dec 21

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!!!!! MANUIA LAVA LOU ASO FANAU!
I did remember you birthday, I even wrote it in my planner yesterday. :)
Thanks for the update on the family. I enjoy reading it every week.
Haha I am trying to gain weight but its kind of hard because I am in a white person ward and they don't really feed us very much. And a lot of times we will not have a dinner appointment so we will have to buy dinner, which is also hard because I am out of monthly money already. But I am managing. My comp and I always just ask other elders for food when we visit them so we are not starving most days.

I got your Christmas packages! I will be careful with them and try not to snoop or anything.....but the temptation is very strong.

Yes I think I got somewhere to skype... what is your skype address again?

Send my love to the family!
Alofa atu!
-Elder Lamoreaux
Just a cool under-water pic
(disclaimer notice: I did not go swimming to get this picture)
🎄Happy Christmas!!! Its been another great week this week and I hope all of you had a great week as well. This weeks activities included: Organizing a Christmas party for all the missionaries on the island, talking in church with a member of the first quorum of the 70, sending a missionary home on medical leave, getting rid of the cockroaches inside our car, going Christmas caroling, getting pulled over by a police man (my companion, not me), and of course good old preaching the gospel to white people (I'm still not used to it).

Not a ton of other stuff happened this week. We have been staying busy and I probably just forget a lot of things that I could write about because I didn't do that good at writing in my journal this week. 

We went caroling as a zone this week and that was pretty fun. We had each companionship pick one of their investigators for us to go sing to. We sang Po Filemu (silent night) and read the Christmas Story in Luke 2 to all the houses we went to. I thought we did pretty good, we would sing the first verse and then hum the second one while Elder Hingano read the story and then we would sing the third verse. Then we would give them some cookies and go to the next house. It was a good spiritual experience and we made someone cry at every house we went to, Still not sure if they were crying because of the spirit or because their ears hurt.... but lets hope it was the spirit.

I also got to have the opportunity to speak in sacrament meeting this week. My comp and I were asked to speak about Christmas and Jesus Christ and we were sitting on the stand waiting for the meeting to start and then in walks President Halleck, one of the members of the fist quorum of the 70. It made me nervous because I was having to do the talk in English and I would much rather do it in Samoan, but it went well and he said I did a good job so that's good.

Well thats all for this week! Alofa atu ia outou!
-Elder Lamoreaux



Dec 14

This week has been busy and full of excitement and rain. Its crazy how fast time goes out here, it seems like we just barely had p-day and now its p-day again. I feel like I am tired 24/7 now and I love it! I enjoy being able to lay down in bed at night and think back on the day and know that I did all I was supposed to.

My new comp is awesome, his name is Elder Faletoi - he is from Utah. He has been out for just about a month longer than me so we are a pretty young companionship. He also has a full ride scholarship to play football at some collage after his mission. He has been waking me up at 4:45 each morning to go play basketball and lift weights, but other then that we get along fine. ;)

The work is going well in our areas, we are actually covering 2 areas right now because there is a shortage of missionaries here in Samoa. I am actually still covering my old area I was in before this transfer as well as my new area. It's a nice busy life covering the two areas because they are on different parts of the island. But despite the hardships we are having success in both areas. We are staying busy trying to organize a Christmas program for the missionaries on this island.

Sorry I don't have a bunch of time this week, but I love you all and I hope you have a great week!
Alofa atu ia outou!
-Elder Lamoreaux
 
[Bob emailed Elder Lamoreaux and found out he is a Zone Leader now, that's why he has the new responsibilities] 

About the family Christmas picture - "Wow, tell Spud that he better not think that just because he is tall he is buffer then me..... tell him I could still take him."

Dec 7

Elder Faletoi & Jayden
This has been a very very busy week. My new companion is Elder Faletoi from Utah. He is Samoan but his family moved to Utah. He and I cover the white person ward here on this half of the island.

Honestly I feel kind of like I am starting my mission over again because now I have to learn how to speak English again. I thought it would be really easy to be teaching people in English but then in our first lesson with a white guy I realized that it is very very hard. I have been so used to only teaching in Samoan that all my English skills are totally gone. The struggle is real haha.

Because we are the only ones with a car on this half of the island we are the ones that get to go and do all the chores that people need done. But hey, I like this life. We are always busy now and I really like it. The days are going by so fast that it seems like... I'm actually not sure what it does seem like but its crazy anyways. ;)

So right now my companion and I are "white washing" as we call it here. We are both transferred into this area at the same time so nether of us know the area. It is actually pretty fun because we get to go and try to find all the people who the old missionaries were teaching. This week we have been teaching a little guy named Jayden. He is 9 years old and he is planning on being baptized this Saturday. We have also been teaching a guy named Tuliese, he is a Samoan guy but he doesn't know a bit of Samoan so we have been teaching him. He is pretty cool and we are trying to get to know his family as well so that we can baptize them as well.
 
Other then that not much has been going on this week. Just busy doing chores for people and trying to learn English. ;)

Well I love you all and I hope yous have a wonderful week.
Alofa atu,
-Elder Lamoreaux

Thanksgiving, Elder Halleck, Hurricanes

We had a fun week this week with everything that happened. First off we had the wonderful opportunity to meet with Elder Halleck, a member of the seventy. We came to our mission and held a conference on the 3 main islands with all the missionaries. Elder Halleck is such an example of Christlike love. It was motivating and uplifting and inspired me to always give my all to the Savior. One of my favorite quotes from the conference was "give your all to the Savior, He deserves nothing less. He gave His all".

Another fun part of this week was that I got to have American food for the first time in a while. The senior couple missionaries on Tutuila made a thanksgiving dinner for all the missionaries. It was amazing to have all the traditional thanksgiving food like stuffing and turkey and pie and octopus. The only thing that was missing was the mashed potatoes... I didn't even get to see any pictures of mashed potatoes. :( I ate myself sick and was not able to proselyte the next day. :( 
 
Haha no JK the real reason I wasn't able to proselyte the next day was because we had a visit from Hurricane Tui. Luckily the hurricane did not hit directly on our island so we only got half of it, but the wind was still enough to uproot trees and stuff. No one got hurt but we did have some flooding and downed power lines and such. But we are all very thankful that it was not any worse then that. The fun thing is that this is only the beginning of hurricane season. Hurricane season does not end till April so I might get to have a few more hurricanes out here.

I also got a transfer call this week and I will be getting transferred to the Mesepa International ward. Yeah, I am going to be preaching to white people. ':/ I will be covering a couple of branches as well so I will still get to teach the Samoan people. Also I get a car in my new area! :D Actually a van. But its only a 12 seat van so its nothing like what I would drive at home. ;) This transfer the boundaries of some of the mission areas changed so one of the branches I will be covering is the Amanave branch where I have been proselyting. Also my companion is getting transferred to Tafuna and being made a district leader after only being in the mission for 3 months! What a stud. 

We had a really cool experience with an investigator this week named Lui. Lui knows that the church is true but is having problems with the word of wisdom. He has definitely come a long way from where he was at though. He used to earn money down in California by selling illegal drugs. He was living like that for years and then after spending a lot of time in prison and after going into a coma for 2 months we decided it was time to change his life. He then moved to Samoa and now we are working with him to stop smoking and drinking tea and coffee. During the past few weeks he has stopped using tea and coffee but he is having a hard time stopping smoking. We met with him Saturday night with a lesson plan to set a baptismal date for him to give him the motivation to stop smoking. As we started teaching both my companion and I felt that our lesson plan was not what we needed to teach him. We taught him about repentance and shared with him the story of Alma the younger's conversion. After the lesson I felt prompted to ask him if he would like a priesthood blessing. He said yes. The blessing was one of the coolest ones I have ever heard. One of the things he was blessed with was that the desire to smoke would be totally taken away from him and he would never have the desire to smoke again. I am very excited to see Lui's progress.
 
We also had a baptism this week. :D Her name is Mandy.

Well I hope you all have a good week!
Alofa atu,
-Elder Lamalo.

Nov 23 - Secret to Happiness

Manuia lava le aso fa'afetai! Ia! Ou te iloa o le vaiaso nei o le vaiaso o le aso faafetai. O lea, e tatau ai ona tatou fa'aali lo tatou agaga faafetai mo faamanuiaga uma i o tatou olaga. Ou te iloa foi e leai se mea lelei i o tatou olaga vagana e sau mai le Atua.

Family and friends! Talofa!
 
This week we have been very busy due to an exchange that we are doing with Elder Bybee. Due to this week being the week of Thanksgiving I figured that writing about giving thanks would be good.
 
First off I would like to brag about the Samoan people. These people are the most humble and happy people I have ever meet in my life. The reason they are so happy is because they do not think about themselves. These people, well, most of them, are the most selfless people ever. They are so thankful for every little thing in their lives. These people live in a house that consists of a dirt floor, no walls, and a roof made of palm tree leaves. Their clothes usually consist of a square of fabric wrapped around them like a skirt. Their food is usually a few unripe boiled bananas. When one of them can get a job the pay rate in Samoa is 2 tala per hour, about $0.40. They have every reason in the world to be unhappy and look at all the bad things in their lives, but instead they look at all the blessings they have. They always thank God for everything they have, their families, the beautiful peaceful country they live in, the church, etc. Its amazing to me that a people who have so much less then the rest of the world can be so much more thankful for the little that they have.
 
I know that in our lives there are a lot of things that are not easy to deal with, life is hard there is no getting around that. There are many times when we do not have everything we want or need. There are times of hardship, trials, sadness, fatigue, and loneliness. No one has a perfect life. But even though we do not have perfect lives we can still be perfectly happy. If we think about the things that bring the most happiness into our lives then we begin to see how blessed we really are. We do not need worldly things to make us happy. Happiness comes to us when we are grateful for what we have. (BTW I thought up that "But even though we do not have perfect lives we can still be perfectly happy" line by myself) ;)

Anyways, This week has been crazy and stuff but its been good. Not much out of the ordinary happened this week... pretty normal week. But hey, if any one has any questions about samoa or the mission then let me know!

Alofa atu,
-Elder Lamoreaux

Nov 16 Spiritual & Physical Preparation

This week has been quite fun and exciting and sudden and stuff. Our mission president really likes to run this mission 100% on inspiration. Most the time he acts right when he receives inspiration, no matter what else it may interrupt. Right now he is working very hard on opening a new island in our mission called Manu'a. He has taken a few random missionaries with him to help open up the island. One of the missionaries he took is from my district so right now we are doing an exchange with his companion. So right now in our companionship we have Elder Lamoreaux, Elder Larson and Elder Bybee.

Elder Bybee is from Oregon and has been here in Samoa for  just over one year and speaks really good Samoan. This week has been very very busy because we have been covering both areas. Sorry the email is a bit late as well, we are all using one computer so that is slowing things down a bit.

This week we had a cool experience with an investigator named brother Masoe. He comes to church every sunday but he will not commit to taking the missionary lessons because he has a problem with the word of wisdom and he feels unworthy to take them. We met with brother Masoe yesterday and taught him a lesson about the atonement of Jesus Christ. We had a very spiritual lesson and we taught him that the Atonement can and will make him clean and help him over come his weaknesses if he will make the effort on his part to try to accept the help that Jesus is trying to give him. At the end of the lesson he said that he was ready to start the lessons. It brings me happiness to see people overcome fears and doubts and especially sins through the atonement of Jesus Christ.

In other news..... We are still working with Taua, the high chief of Amanave and helping her to learn more about the gospel and its teachings. The last things we have taught her is the importance of prayer and study to know for herself if this is true or not. We have not met with her for a little while and she hasn't been answering our calls, we hope that it is just because she is busy.

Lately church leaders in this area have really been stressing self reliance. Right now Samoa is entering hurricane season and so they have been telling everyone that we need to prepare them and their family for the event of a natural disaster. While physical preparation is very very important, I have been thinking a lot about spiritual preparation. We are living right now in a time of spiritual hurricane season. We have seen a lot of people fall away from the church or fall into sin in the past little while. We all need to prepare ourselves spiritually for the times that lie ahead. Physical and spiritual preparation are a little bit different. 
Spiritual preparation is getting ourselves ready to listen to and obey spiritual promptings. We can all agree that in the days coming we will all need to be in a spiritually prepared state where we will be able to recognize all spiritual promptings. In order to get to this state we need to do 3 specific things: Feast upon the words of Christ, Sincerely communicate with our Father in Heaven, and get closer to God through fasting. These are three things that will prepare us spiritually for the dangerous times that lay ahead. I encourage all of you to focus more and more on these three simple things. When we do these things the spirit will be able to communicate with us and warn us about oncoming danger.

I hope and pray that you will all have a very good week,
Alofa atu ia outou,
-Elder Lamoreaux

Nov 9

"just an average sunset. eh."
Well well, here we are again. Howdy to all ya'll. 
 
I feel like I am giving a speech or something every time I am writing the weekly email... so today we are changing it up. This week I am going to give out assignments and have you guys do the speech. 
 
Right now in this mission our mission president is really stressing that we learn as much as we can about 2 very important stories. We all know these stories, we hear about them every week at church (unless you are not listening). What I want to do is ask all of you to research these stories, no matter how much you think you know about them already, and then email me and let me know what you have learned. If it takes a couple weeks that is fine, but I would like to invite and encourage all you to do this and invite others to do this as well. 
 
These two stories are the two most important stories to each of us in these latter days. The first is the story of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and the second is the story of Joseph Smith's first vision. As I have been studying and pondering about these two stories I have learned more about their relevance to me personally. I have heard about these two stories since as long as I can remember and I have always known that they are important. But I never really took the time to actually sit down and do a good study of them. 
 
The Atonement is the most important thing that has ever happened since this world was created. Without it we would be living a pointless life because we would have no doubt where we would be going after this life. We would have nothing to work towards, no hope, and no happiness. The first vision of Joseph Smith is the most important event in these latter days. Without the first vision we would not have the fullness of the gospel. We would not be able to enjoy the full blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Anyways, I would love to get emails from all of you sharing your thoughts on these 2 stories.

This week:
Fought more dogs, and won.
Saw a crab fight.
Got given bikes by a random man on the street.

Yo and also if you want to just email me questions about the mission then I will answer some of them in the weekly update. I sometimes run out of things to write about.

Love you all! Please keep me updated about your lives!
-Elder Lamoreaux

Nov 2

Alrighty... Well happy Halloween and all that festive stuff.

This week my comp and I baptized 2 people. :D Their names are Pilitati and Chris. Pilitati is in his 50's and Chris is his 9 year old son. They are both awesome and have very strong testimonies. Nothing is quite as awesome as seeing the fruits of your work when someone comes up out of the baptism water. I got to give a short talk about the water and the spirit at the baptismal service and this was actually the first time I have had to give a talk to a group of people in Samoan. It kinda scared me but I did it... This was my companion's first baptism on his mission and he was the one who performed the ordinance. It was awesome to see him do it. I know that baptism is essential for salvation, but it is only the beginning. After we have entered in by the door we still have to keep going down the path. When we receive the Holy Ghost it becomes a guide to keep us going down the right path.

On Saturday after the baptism I was approached by our Gospel Doctrine teacher who said he was going to be in Upolu on Sunday so could we please teach the lesson for his class? I said yes... I asked what the topic was for class and he said he would call me that night to tell me. It turns out that the topic was "O le faapotopotoina o le aiga o Isaraelu" The gathering of the family of Israel. This topic is one that I don't think I have ever really studied before in my life...in English, let alone Samoan. And now I was supposed to teach an hour lesson on it. Ooookay. 
 
On Sunday morning some things came up so I didn't have the opportunity to study "the gathering of the family of Israel" till we were sitting in sacrament meeting. I read through it once and then sacrament meeting was over. So I went and taught an hour lesson on a subject I knew nothing about. Pretty fun. I was praying pretty hard the whole time and I definitely got help from above. I filled the hour block and had a good discussion with the class and learned a lot about the "gathering of the family of Israel" for myself. This just goes to show that if we prepare as much as we can then the Lord will be able to help us. Even if we only are able to study for a bit less then an hour.

Other fun things that happened this week: 
-We got given a ride home by a drunk man (this is not the first time). We were walking home at about 8:45ish and a guy pulled up beside us in a blue pick up truck. This guy had passed us and offered us a ride earlier in the day but we had almost been to our visit so we told him another time. So he pulled up by us and said in a very jolly way "it's me again! you can't say no!" So we hopped in the back of his truck and he drove, or tried to drive, us home. We began to worry when he seemed to have a tendency to swerve toward every oncoming car and then turn away at the last second when the other car would honk at him. We could hear him singing loudly the whole time. When we got home we got out of his truck and told him thank you very much and then he gave us a 20ish minute lecture about how when we come to a new country we need to learn the culture and the language. After the lecture he left, still singing, and we said a quick prayer for his soul and went inside.

Well I love all of yous and hope you have a dandy week. Keep me updated on your lives!
Alofa atu, 
-Elder Lamoreaux

Oct 26 New Mission President


Hello very much from the Samoa!
How are each and every one of you doing?
The week has been good. This week we got to meet with the new mission president for the first time. He has a very strong desire to hasten the work here in Samoa. He stressed the fact that for missionary work you need the proper spirit. Without the holy ghost this work cannot go forward. He then informed us of some new mission rules / standards that he would be implementing. 
 
I will admit that when I first heard some, or all, of the changes he is making to the mission I was not 100% supportive of all of them. Some of them seemed to me to be unattainable. I thought and prayed about the new rules and I prayed for the strength to be able to obey them. 
 
After the meeting with President my comp and I decided that even though these new rules would be very hard to follow, and we knew that not all missionaries would be keeping them, we would give our all to be able to keep the new mission standards. The first day after the meeting we tried our best to keep them, expecting to be tried and tempted and have a hard day. But that first day was one of the best days that we've had in the mission. We were able to find new investigators and even set baptismal dates for a couple of our investigators. When I thought about it that night I realized the Lord has promised us that He will not give us a commandment unless He prepares a way for us to accomplish it. My companion and I have felt the fruits of that promise in our lives. This area has a reputation of being a hard place to get work done, but the Lord has blessed my Comp and I for being obedient to all the rules of the mission, even the ones that seem silly or impossible to follow.
 
  We will be having 2 baptisms this Saturday! :D We will be baptizing a man named Pilikaki and his son Chris. These will be the first baptisms in this area since December last year.

  We had a fun experience this week with a man we passed on the road. He saw us and started speaking English to us (what the heck?!). He said "man I just come back from the Leone High School reunion. It started back in 1970... uh1971 and praise the Lord God almighty Hallelujah that's a lot of years!! I want to Faatalofa (greet) you." Then he shook our hands and gave us each $1 the whole time telling us how good God was to all of us. Then he said "well I jus wanna say a bit of a prayer before we go" and he grabbed our hands and said us a prayer in Samoan and then after the prayer he once again exclaimed how good God is and with a final "Hallelujah!" he was on his way. Pretty fun.

Other fun things that have happened this week:
-We walked to the far end of our area (a 4 hour walk) and got a new investigator there. Found out that if we walk from one side of our area to the other we would be walking for 7 1/2 hours.
-We are now in hurricane season
-caught some rats
-Climbed some Coconut trees
-Had a beach party with me and my companion and some crabs we caught.
Well I love you all and hope you have a good week!
 
I am so glad to hear you are doing good. You and Dad are in my prayers every night. As long as we put God first then everything will turn out right no matter how hard it seems. I love you so much!
Thanks so much for the Thanksgiving dinner! It has kept my comp and I from starving. ;)
 
Alofa atu, Love you!!
-Elder Lamoreaux

Monday, October 19, 2015

Funeral Traditions & True Happiness

Malo lava le soifua manuia outou!

Anyways... This week has been good and awesome. We had a bit less rain this week but still a good amount. This week we had some old people die in our village. One of them was the "Tamalii" or the high chief of the village. 
 
While these times are always hard for people and we feel for the families who have lost loved ones, they give us a great opportunity to not only teach these people that they can see their loved ones again, but it also gives the opportunity to see some cool parts of the Samoan culture. 
 
Whenever someone dies in Samoa they make a huge deal out of it. They call it a "Fa'alavelave" or an interruption. When a faalavelave happens people gather from all over the place to take part in it. After the actual funeral service is when the fun starts. 
 
The village gathers and the Matai (the second highest Matai, because the highest Matai doesn't talk to the people) stands in front of them and directs the program. First the family who had someone die stands up and makes a very long and fancy speech that can be shortened to "We want to thank all of you for coming and your love for our family. We will now give all of you very expensive presents!" 
 
They then will bring out ie toga, a very soft, handwoven mat made from grass. The ie toga take about a year to make and they cost about $1-2,000. The family will pass out heaps of them as well as lots of dead pigs, boxes of canned fish, boxes of corned beef, etc. The way they give them out is they will tell the person that they are giving them to that because of their goodness and love for the family they will give them...Whatever they are giving them. The person who is receiving the gift will then stand up and say that they appreciate the generosity, but they can not accept so much. They family will then tell them that if they do not accept the gift they never want to hear from them again and they will chase them out of the village, then the people accept the gift. 
 
Then the people who are gathered together will all give presents to the family in the same way. And then everybody goes home fat and happy. Its pretty cool.

This week we had some really good lessons with a investigator named Lui. He used to live in California for most of his life but he moved here to Samoa a few years ago. He prefers to speak in English rather then Samoan so that is awesome. :) He attended church this week and had a really good experience there and said that he wants to keep coming. 
 
This week in church I was able to feel the true joy of missionary work. We had 5 investigators at church and all of them are changing their lives for the better and coming closer to Christ. Sitting in church I felt happier then I had ever felt in my life. 
 
Not only was pleased with how these people were progressing, but I could feel that Heavenly Father was happy with me, and that is what made me so happy. I know that the way we will all be happy in this life is by focusing on others rather then ourselves. We all have problems and weaknesses and trials, and if we focus on how hard our lives are then we will never be happy. Only when we look past ourselves will we be truly happy.
 
I love you all and hope you have an awesome week.
Alofa atu,
-Elder Lamoreaux

Monday, October 12, 2015

Rain, Rats, Dog fights & Obedience

Beware of the Dog
Talofa lava Friends and family...and anyone else reading this.

We got a lot of rain this week. A lot. A lot of rain here in Samoa is different then a lot of rain in other places. When we get a lot of rain here the mountain starts to cave in and fall down on the road and get washed away by the river that runs on the road. Also a lot of banana trees get uprooted and fall on the road so you can't really drive on the road. Also the road is a river so that also makes it hard to drive. But the good thing is, my comp and I don't have a car! We have legs, and so we got to go out and work in this pouring rain. It was actually pretty fun sometimes.

This week despite the rain we were able to get some good work in. We really focused on how to set good goals and plans to accomplish these goals. We were not only able to accomplish our weekly goals this week but go over what we had planned as well.

We also started meeting with another chief of the village this week. This one has a better disposition toward our church and he actually has some land that he is willing to let the church use to build a chapel if we can get approval from all the Matai on the village. His name is Ma'i and he actually holds 2 Matai names or 2 positions in the village. He is a high talking chief or Tofa, and the Afioga or the high chief of the entire village.

We are still working with Taua and this week we are planning on teaching her the plan of salvation. Her husband died a while ago so we are going to really emphasize eternal families. I am hoping and praying that this lesson will go well and we can get her committed to baptism.

Other fun things that happened this week, We caught 2 rats in our house, we found that we walk an average of 4ish miles a day, and we had a fight with 7 dogs (we won).

This week I have been studying the subject of obedience a lot. [There are] a lot of new rules for the mission...I have learned that when we are obedient we are often times asked to do things that we don't understand at first. Understanding will come over time as we obey. ..I know blessings will come as we obey...

I love you all and hope you have a great week! Keep me updated on your lives please! Pictures are very welcome. ;)

Alofa atu,
-Elder Lamoreaux

Monday, October 5, 2015

October 5

Well well, another week has come and gone. This week we had the awesome opportunity to watch conference. It is such a blessing to hear our Heavenly Father talk to us through His prophet and Apostles. We got to watch conference live so it started at 5 in the morning at our stake center. My Elder Larson and I woke up at 2:30 in order to get ready and walk a few miles to a place we could catch a bus. Fun times. I was going to share some of my insights from conference but sadly I forgot my notes when I came to email today.

This week we have finally got some good solid investigators moving toward baptism. My companion gave his first baptismal invitation this week, and it was accepted! :D This week we had success because we have been really focusing on trying to work with ward members. We have an awesome ward mission leader named Brother Siamanu and he helps us a lot. Having a member present in lessons is key to conversion. 
We had a cool experience this week where we were guided by the spirit. We had a few different lessons set for the day and we weren't sure if we would be able to get to them all because they were on different sides of our area. If we tried to walk to them then there would be no way we could get there fast enough and there are no buses that go that way during the day. But, we knew that the Lord wanted us to go to the lessons so we set out walking. 
Not long after we started walking someone came and gave us a ride to the top of the mountain. We have them a restoration pamphlet and told them that we would come back to visit them. Then someone else gave us a ride back down the other side of the mountain to our lesson. We said a quick prayer of thanks and went to our lesson. 
We got to the house but he wasn't there. We were kind of bummed out that we had come over to this side of the mountain for no reason, but we felt to walk down a path going back into the jungle. We went back and found a house so we knocked on it and a man let us in. We ended up having a good lesson with him. After the lesson he said that he was surprised that we found him at the house, he said that he works all the time and is never home, but that day all his work had fallen through and he felt that he should stay at his house.

Monday, September 28, 2015

September 28

Malo soifua outou!
This week has definitely been a week. First off, our area is huge. We probably cover about an 8th of the island of Tutuila. If yous get on Google maps and look up the two villages of Leone and Fagamalo, we cover all the area in between those two villages. We have two houses and we switch houses every week in order to be able to cover our whole area. 
The work was pretty slow when we got here, but it is beginning to pick up nicely as we put in good effort. This week was a bit hard on us physically, my comp got bit by a dog, we found that our beds have fleas in them, I sprained my ankle, etc, etc. Satan is trying to stop us but we are doing our best...
We had some good lessons this week, one of which was taught to a family named Lam Chung. Before the lesson Brother Lam Chung asked us "why are there so many different churches? The Bible says that there is only one God so why are the beliefs of the churches so different?"  We taught them the restoration and near the end of the lesson brother Lam Chung said to me "so this means that there shouldn't be any other churches in the world... there should only be the Mormon church, right?" We told him he was right and gave them a baptismal invite. He accepted. Yeah!!! :D
We haven't met with Taua again yet because she has been off the island at a funeral. But this week we had a stake missionary meeting and our branch president brought up that  we had taught Taua. The Stake presidency expressed their surprise that she had even let us in her house. They said that they had gone over to Amanave and asked her if they could build a chapel, they brought gifts and cows and pigs and stuff but they said that she didn't even consider their request. My testimony has definitely been strengthened that the Lord works in mysterious ways and he prepares people in His own time.
 Well time is short, but I love you all and I hope you are all doing well. Thanks for always writing me even though I'm not the best at writing you back.
Alofa atu! -Elder Lamoreaux

Monday, September 21, 2015

Teaching a Chief (Matai)

Talofa lava outou le au paia malosi o se isi mea.
Howdy. Well everything here is going dandy, other then our internet. The internet here takes about 50 years to do anything. But other then that I am doing dandy. 
 
We had a tsunami warning this week but it ended up being  just some waves that weren't big enough to be called tsunamis. SO that was fun. This week we spent a lot of time out tracting because there's not many investigators in our area. We cover a ward (Leone 3rd) and a branch (Amanave) and we have the biggest area in American Samoa. 
 
Cool story that a happened this week: when I got called to this area I heard that the work here was pretty dead because of one of the Chiefs or Matai of the village. This Matai doesn't like the church so she (yeah its a girl Matai) is making it very hard for the church to grow in that area. 
 
This last Monday we got a call from a lady who said that she had a family member who  she wanted us to meet with. We set up a time to go with her to meet her family member. She and her sister came and picked up my comp and I and took us to the other side of our area (about a 45 minute drive). 
 
While we were driving they told us about the lady we were going to visit. They said that she was one of the high talking chiefs of Amanave, her name is Taua and she had agreed to meet with the missionaries but they weren't too sure if she would actually like to listen to us of just Bible bash. Samoans love Bible bashing. 
 
As I asked more questions about this lady I realized that the lady we where going to visit was the Matai that had been giving the church a hard time for the past few years. I started praying like crazy as soon as I realized that.  
 
When we met her she seemed like a pretty nice lady. We entered her house and we started to talk with her and get to know her. She holds a high calling in her church and she works for her church as well. She is one of the highest Chiefs in the village. We told her that we had a message that we would like to share with her and we asked if we could start with a prayer. We said a prayer and asked for the spirit to be with us. 
 
After the prayer we taught her about the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith. She listened very carefully and asked a few questions. When we were almost done I asked if she had any questions and she said "I don't know, I'm starting to doubt my church. Are you saying that my church isn't true?" ...
 
We told her that all churches have some truth but the only church that has the entire truth is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Then we invited her to be baptized. She said that it would be hard for her because she had such a solid foundation in her church, but she said to give her a bit of time to find out for herself, through prayer, if this was right. It was amazing to see the spirit work in her and help her see the truth of this gospel. We are going back to visit her again this saturday to follow up on the invite to be baptized. If you all could keep her in your prayers then that would be awesome.

I love you all and I will write again next week. Sorry if I don't always reply to all of you, this internet is so slow. It takes me about 5 minutes to open up an email. But I love reading all your emails so please keep sending them! 
 
Thanks for the prayers, 
-Elder Lamoreaux
 
Grandma Lamoreaux sent this parable to Jace after reading this email:

The Parable of Two Lamps

"Among the material things of the past—things that I treasure for sweet memory’s sake and because of pleasant association in bygone days—is a lamp. …
The lamp of which I speak, the student lamp of my school and college days, was one of the best of its kind. I had bought it with hard-earned savings; it was counted among my most cherished possessions. …
One summer evening I sat musing studiously and withal restfully in the open air outside the door of the room in which I lodged and studied. A stranger approached. I noticed that he carried a satchel. He was affable and entertaining. I brought another chair from within, and we chatted together till the twilight had deepened into dusk, the dusk into darkness.

Then he said: “You are a student and doubtless have much work to do of nights. What kind of lamp do you use?” And without waiting for a reply, he continued, “I have a superior kind of lamp I should like to show you, a lamp designed and constructed according to the latest achievements of applied science, far surpassing anything heretofore produced as a means of artificial lighting.”

I replied with confidence, and I confess, not without some exultation: “My friend, I have a lamp, one that has been tested and proved. It has been to me a companion through many a long night. It is an Argand lamp, and one of the best. I have trimmed and cleaned it today; it is ready for the lighting. Step inside; I will show you my lamp; then you may tell me whether yours can possibly be better.”
We entered my study room, and with a feeling which I assume is akin to that of the athlete about to enter a contest with one whom he regards as a pitiably inferior opponent, I put the match to my well-trimmed Argand.

My visitor was voluble in his praise. It was the best lamp of its kind, he said. He averred that he had never seen a lamp in better trim. He turned the wick up and down and pronounced the adjustment perfect. He declared that never before had he realized how satisfactory a student lamp could be.
I liked the man; he seemed to me wise, and he assuredly was ingratiating. “Love me, love my lamp,” I thought, mentally paraphrasing a common expression of the period.

“Now,” said he, “with your permission I’ll light my lamp.” He took from his satchel a lamp then known as the “Rochester.” It had a chimney which, compared with mine, was as a factory smokestack alongside a house flue. Its hollow wick was wide enough to admit my four fingers. Its light made bright the remotest corner of my room. In its brilliant blaze my own little Argand wick burned a weak, pale yellow. Until that moment of convincing demonstration, I had never known the dim obscurity in which I had lived and labored, studied and struggled.

“I’ll buy your lamp,” said I; “you need neither explain nor argue further.” I took my new acquisition to the laboratory that same night and determined its capacity. It turned at over 48 candlepower—fully four times the intensity of my student lamp.

Two days after purchasing, I met the lamp peddler on the street about noontime. To my inquiry he replied that business was good; the demand for his lamps was greater than the factory supply. “But,” said I, “you are not working today?” His rejoinder was a lesson. “Do you think that I would be so foolish as to go around trying to sell lamps in the daytime? Would you have bought one if I had lighted it for you when the sun was shining? I chose the time to show the superiority of my lamp over yours, and you were eager to own the better one I offered, were you not?”

Such is the story. Now consider the application of a part, a very small part, thereof.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” [Matt. 5:16].

The man who would sell me a lamp did not disparage mine. He placed his greater light alongside my feebler flame, and I hasted to obtain the better.

The missionary servants of the Church of Jesus Christ today are sent forth, not to assail or ridicule the beliefs of men, but to set before the world a superior light, by which the smoky dimness of the flickering flames of man-made creeds shall be apparent. The work of the Church is constructive, not destructive.""

Chile earthquake: Pacific nations brace for tsunami

Pago, Pago, American Samoa

From Tasha: I read this headline and immediately my heart felt like it stopped. Especially when I read the article with facts like this:
"A wide array of Pacific nations, including the US, Australia, the Phillipines to Japan, are bracing for potentially devastating waves after a massive earthquake in Chile triggered a tsunami that is radiating across the ocean.
The quake, with a magnitude of 8.8, has killed at least 122 people in mainland Chile and prompted the evacuation of coastal areas on Easter Island – famous for its monumental stone statues – as well as Samoa and American Samoa.
The Pacific tsunami warning centre said the quake had generated a wave that could cause destruction along nearby shores "and could also be a threat to more distant coasts". It issued a tsunami warning for Chile, Peru and Hawaii, while Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Antarctica are also on alert...
..."Tsunami waves in the deep ocean travel about the same speed as a jet plane and would take about 15 hours to reach Hawaii and about 20 hours to reach the other side of the Pacific,...
...Dr David Rothery, senior lecturer at the Open University's department of earth and environmental sciences, said the tsunami was "now radiating away from the epicentre and travelling at several hundred kilometres per hour across the Pacific ocean".
The largest earthquake ever recorded struck the same area of Chile on 22 May 1960. The magnitude-9.5 quake killed 1,655 people and left 2 million homeless, and caused a tsunami that killed people in Hawaii, Japan and the Philippines....

The next day I read this news:
"The Pacific Tsunami warning Centre has now advised that there is no further tsunami threat for American Samoa as a result of the massive earthquake in Chile."
Jace wrote this about it:

"I actually climbed to the top of a mountain because the mission home called us and said that there was a tsunami coming. As soon as we got to the top they called and said that it wasn't going to be a tsunami. Got a good hike in though."


Monday, September 14, 2015

Transfer, New Companion

Well, talofa lava from Samoa!
This week has been awesome and fun and terrifying. I mentioned last week that I was getting transferred to Aleisa on Upolu, but I got a call the next day that changed that. I was told that I was getting transferred to Amanave in Tutuila (American Samoa). Amanave is the biggest area in Tutuila. I was alright with that because that would help me stay un-fat. I asked who my companion would be and the Zoneleaders said they didn't know.

A few minutes after that call I got a call from the mission president and he called me to be a trainer. I was shocked. I cried. I accepted. He told me that I would be training a new missionary from the MTC. I was really hoping it would be a Samoan who could speak the language because my Samoan is still kinda sketchy, but they said I'd be training a white guy. His name is Elder Larson and he is from Boise. So I am now training a white guy in an area that I don't know at all and I can't speak the Language. I am currently the youngest trainer in the mission, both in years and how long I have been on the mission. Pretty fun.

I met my comp and he is a total stud. He has the energy and desire that is going to help us a ton in our new area. He does have a weakness though... he gets motion sickness very easily. To get from the mission office in Upolu to our area in Tutuila we have to take a small plane. A very small plane. They were worried about the weight of the plane because it was a really full flight... a total of 15 people. The flight was kind of like those little rides that kids pay 50 cents to get bucked around of a toy bull, but it was a lot more violent and a lot more expensive.

We arrived safely in Tutuila and I only had a few little splatters of throw up on me from my comp. He used 3 barf bags in the 30 minute flight, this guy doesn't do things half way. Our area is one of the most beautiful in the entire mission. Its awesome. I have learned a lot from this experience already. I have been terrified because I don't know this area, the people, or the language. But I have learned to trust 100% on the Lord. I can't rely on myself now because there is nothing to rely on. So I am learning to trust God. The work I am doing is His work and He will not let me fail if I am relying on Him. The best way to get this work done is to let Him do it though us.

God Knows what this area needs and what the people need and especially what I need, and he is going to try His best to accomplish His will. I just have to be humble enough to let Him do His work. So yeah, that's what I've learned this week.


This is a pic of our flight over to Tutuila.

Tracting in Samoa

Beautiful Samoa
Well I don't have much time this week because I just got news that I will be getting transferred to Aleisa. Whoo!

This past week was awesome. We did a lot of tracting and found some pretty awesome people. Tracting here is probably a lot different from the rest of the world. Instead of knocking on doors (because people don't have doors in Samoa) we walk up to the house and while we are still a little bit away we give a little speech thing that says in essence: "We are sorry for stupidly trampling your land here, but is there an opportunity for us inside the house to converse and get to know each other, then retreat and continue our visits?" The person inside the house then will usually say "ia, Susu mai lua susuga!"-z"ya, come here you two sirs" Then we take off our shoes and come in and sit on fala, hand woven grass mats, and the person we are visiting will say "ia susu mai ma tala mai au! Lua susuga faifeautala'i!" And then we give a speech that tells them how holy their house is, how holy they are and how clean their kids are. Then they give a reply speech and then we reply and then we finally get to talk and share a message. After we share a message and we are ready to leave, usually after they have respected us by feeding us, we give more speeches and then leave.

The culture here is so different from anything I ever thought it would be like. Its amazing how people can be so different but still meet with each other and become friends. the one thing that will always bring people together no matter who they are or where they are from is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The one thing that we have in common is that we are children of God. And this means that by turning to that one great similarity we can connect with anyone who is willing to see the truth.

I love you all and will talk with you next week!
Alofa atu,
-Elder Lamoreaux

Monday, August 31, 2015

Choices

Sometimes I wish people would just start to understand how amazing this gospel is and that it is the only way to gain eternal salvation. I understand Alma when he says "Oh that I were an angel and could have the wish of my heart..." he says he wishes that he could declare repentance with a voice of thunder. Sometimes it seems like only a voice of thunder will make some of these people realize that they need to come to the fold of God. It makes me sad that so many people use their agency to make wrong choices.

So many people here chose not to accept the gospel because of worrying about what people would think, or because the family Mati or chief would get mad at them. I have seen a lot of people gain a testimony of the gospel only to turn away from it because "the Taiti church is the church of my family" or "I am a Mati in this village and it wouldn't be good for people to see me changing churches."

I know that I can't do anything about their agency, but I can still do all I can to help them use their agency properly. On the other side of things I have seen so many people use their agency to make the right choice and accept the gospel even though they have every reason not to. There is one girl who chose to be baptized even though she knew her family would not like it. The Sunday after her baptism she came to church crying because her family had turned on her and beaten her badly for choosing to join the church. Despite her trials she has stayed strong in the church and been a good example to her family. We are now doing lessons with her older brother. We had another boy get baptized even though his father said he would disown him if he did. Another lady lost her job. These people understand the importance of the gospel. They might not understand all the details of the gospel yet, but they know that things of this world are not nearly as important as the blessings of the gospel. Nothing brings me more happiness then seeing these people come unto Christ.

Apparently these things live here

This was the size of my palm
Alofa Atu,
Elder Lamoreaux

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Ezekiel 34:1-16

Making koko samoa
This week we had a zone conference with our mission president right before he left. We focused on Ezekiel 34:1-16. It talks about how the shepherds of Israel are feeding themselves instead of feeding the flock.

We talked about how as missionaries we are representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ and we are His shepherds taking care of his sheep here on earth. We are given the responsibility to care for the flock, bring back those that are lost, bind that which is broken, and heal the sick. But many times we focus on ourselves rather then the flock. We get lazy and think of our own needs before those who we have responsibility to care for and watch over. When the shepherd does not care for the flock it scatters and the sheep become prey for the wolves who try to destroy the flock.

This parable is about missionary work. We are given the responsibility of taking care of God's children here in Samoa. Every day we have countless opportunities to either take care of the people here, or to take care of ourselves. Even little things like sleeping in for a few minutes extra, leaving the house late, coming home early, listening to worldly music, and not preparing properly for lessons are things that someone who really cares for the people would not do.

Satan does not take days off. He and his followers are trying 24/7 to scatter and destroy the flock of the Lord. If we are lazy for a day, if maybe we are too tired to go out and proselyte, then Satan gains ground. If we are too busy feeding the natural man to do the work of the Lord then we are not doing our duty.

I know that after this life I will stand before God and He will ask me where His flock is. If I have done my duty and cared for them then I will be rewarded. But if I have to answer, " um... well I was busy eating and then Satan came and took them. So I'm not quite sure where they are right now... maybe Satan took care of them...?" Then I will definitely not be rewarded.

All of us as members of the church of Jesus Christ have the responsibility to find those who are lost and bring them back. How do you want to answer to the Lord when He asks where they are?

Alofa atu ia te Outou,
-Elder Lamoreaux

Friday, August 21, 2015

New Mission Presidents


From Sister Tolman's blog:

"We sadly announce that we have been given a medical release by the Church. President Tolman has struggled for many months with health issues and has developed a new condition that cannot be diagnosed or treated here. There are not words adequate to express the sadness we feel leaving these remarkable disciples. We love every single one of these missionaries. We know they have great things to do and to accomplish here in Samoa. They will continue to have our hearts and our prayers.

An interim mission president couple has been called. Elder and Sister Saunders have been serving for 15 months in American Samoa. They have run the mission office there and are extremely capable. They know most of our missionaries and already love them. These missionaries will be well-cared for and will continue to grow under their inspired and loving leadership.

A new mission president is being called. We do not know the timeline for their arrival, but I am sure they will bring wonderful things to the Samoa Apia Mission.

It is in times like these where nothing seems to make sense that the only thing we can do is to trust in God. I read a quote a few months ago. It went something like this, "When trials seem unbearable, do not trust your feelings. The only thing you can trust is the doctrine you know about God." Trying to find the whys in a situation like this only leads to unproductive places, so we have chosen to trust the doctrine we know about God. We know he loves us and is working in our lives to bring about change and growth. That doesn't mean that sometimes it won't hurt. One of our missionaries said this week at zone conference he believes God does His best work in times of darkness and despair. I think that says it all. We are deeply grateful to have spent time with your sons and daughters. We feel privileged to have cared for them and loved them!

If you wish to continue to follow the happenings of the mission, you can do that on the Saunders blog. It can be found at http://saundersmission.blogspot.ca"

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Letter from Elder Tutunoa (Jace's first companion)

Thank you so much for the email, it really means alot. Leaving Elder Lamoreaux was really tough, its only been a week and I already miss him so much. Would just like to take this time to thank you both for raising such an amazing young man who loves the gospel and the work of the Lord. I am proud to say he is a true Samoan and a worthy servant of God. I can truly say that Elder Lamoreaux has had a huge impact in my life and my mission, he is truly going to be a great leader here and in the future. I will never forget my days with the great Elder Lamoreaux

Serving with him has also made me want to go to the beautiful IDAHO, I pray that one day I can taste the beautiful potatoes he speaks of. Thanks again for this very thoughtful email have an amazing week. 

Alofa atu,
Elder Tutunoa  

Monday, August 17, 2015

Work

Well, this week has been one of the hardest on my mission. I've been trying to get my comp used to the area and the investigators and ward members and I been trying to do that in a language that I don't know. Its been kind of hard and I let myself get pretty stressed out. I know that's a sissy thing to do, but I did it anyways.

On Sunday after church I was sick of being worried and stressed, I was doing my personal gospel study and thoughts just kept thinking "why isn't there just a book or something on how to adjust to all the new things I have to do as a missionary? Why can't someone just tell me how to take care of this all?" and then, guess what I found? A book called "Adjusting to Life as a Missionary". Dandy. Haha I laughed at myself and read the book. It helped me re-focus on what is most important and help me not to expect too much of myself.

I know that right now I am where I am supposed to be, I am comps with the guy I am supposed to be comps with, and I am being given the trials I am supposed to be given. I know that I am given this mission to lay a foundation for the rest of my life, and I am given specific trials to lay a foundation for the rest of my mission.

I know that the only way to improve is to keep working. We can pray and study and make all the plans we want, but without the work there is no point. This work is called "missionary work" because that is what it is, work. Work is not easy. If it was easy then there would be no point it. Work is hard, and we are put on this earth to work.

Hey if you could all remember Mission president Tolman and his wife in your prayers please. They both have to go home because of medical conditions. So we will be getting a new mission president soon. 

Well time is short,
Love you all and I hope you have a good week.
-Elder Lamoreaux

Monday, August 10, 2015

Companion Transfer

Elder Tutunoa and I

Wellllll.....An emergency transfer happened this morning and [Elder Tutunoa] got transferred to the other side of the island to be a zone leader! I'm pretty proud of the little guy but I'm gonna miss him a ton. My new comp is elder Laulu from Salt Lake City. An American! Wow. He's an awesome Elder and I'm going to learn a lot from him.

This week I learned that if you get comfortable on a mission then you had better watch out because the Lord is going to throw something at you. I was comfortable as Junior comp, in an area I am used to, my comp does most the talking, I'm used to my comp, I'm comfy. Boom. ET. New comp, I do most the talking, I don't have that senior comp to rely on anymore, I'm not used to my companion. 
 
I was thinking about this and I realized that the mission is laying a foundation for the rest of my life. If I become spiritually strong on my mission then I will be spiritually strong after my mission. 
 
Our bodies won't get strong if we don't exercise them and when you are exercising it hurts, it's not comfortable, but you are growing stronger. The same is true for our spirits. If we are spiritually comfortable then we will now be growing. This doesn't mean that you should always be uncomfortable, not at all. If you exercise 24/7 then it wouldn't be good for your body. But every day we should do things that are hard for our bodies if we want them to be strong. Once again this it true for our spirits. Every day we should do things that are not easy, reading the scriptures, saying thoughtful prayers, being kind to everyone, etc.
 
The trick for strengthening your spirit is to do spiritual things even when it is inconvenient. We are not physical beings having spiritual experiences, we are spiritual beings having a mortal experience.
 
Stay strong, faamalosi, be patient, onosa'i, and always do the things you know you should, taimi uma fai mea tou te iloa e tatau ona tou faia.
alofa atu,
-Elder Lamoreaux

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Attacked by dogs


Talofa lava mai Samoa, le nuu sili ona lelei!

We had 3 baptisms this week and it was the most spiritual baptismal service we have had.

The baptismal service was amazing and the spirit was really there. After the program when we were doing the baptisms the spirit was even stronger...I've never felt the spirit stronger in my life.

When I had this experience I wondered why the Lord would trust two young men to take care of the salvation of His children in this area. I don't have an answer, but I know that this mission is converting me just as much as the people I am teaching. Right now my testimony is stronger then it ever has been before, and its still growing.

I am humbled that I am given this opportunity to become totally converted to the gospel and help others start on the same path. I know that the baptism is the first gate to the kingdom of God, but baptism by itself can not save us. People can be baptized and have a strong testimony and still fall away from the gospel. But if someone is truly converted to the gospel then they will never fall away.

This week my comp and I have been talking a lot about how we don't care how many baptisms we get in our missions, but we do care how many souls we convert. But then we realized that we can't convert people, only the spirit can. People have to chose to become converted. I can say that I have had one convert on my mission so far, myself.

 Anyways, I've started working out more to I don't get so fat. I've gotten kind of chubby I think.

Another fun thing that happened this week, my comp any I got attacked by a pack of dogs. We're alive and well though. We saw the dogs coming as we were walking to one of our visits and so we started throwing rocks at them and that kept them away for a while, but then we ran out of rocks and they tried to eat us. They didn't bite us a lot because my comp is Samoan and he is pretty good at punching dogs. We got away because we ran across the road as a bunch of cars were coming so the beasts couldn't follow us.

Just the everyday view, no big deal.

So yeah, that's the life right now.

Alofa atu!
-Elder Lamoreaux

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Obedience is the Key to Happiness

This week we had interviews with President Tolman because this week is transfers. This mission is blessed to have an amazing man as president. He is changing the culture of this mission. When he got here, Samoa was one of the top missions for missionaries being sent home for breaking rules, but with guidance from the Lord President Tolman has changed the culture of disobedience to a culture of exact obedience. The mission has come a long way from where it was, and it still has a long way to go, but it is moving quickly in the right direction.

When I met with president this week, I set goals to become an exactly obedient missionary. I am trying to focus on the little things that might not seem like a big deal, like sleeping in for a few minutes past 6:30, or returning to the house a little bit before 9, or not studying for the entire study time each day. These things are little, but I know if I do them I will be blessed to become a great missionary. My companion always says that good is the enemy of great. I could have a good mission and still sleep in every day or do other small acts of disobedience. It's easy to have a good mission. But the mission is the foundation to the rest of my life, so I want a great mission.

Samoans have a saying "I le fa'amaoni o mea laitiiti, 'o le 'a  fa'atino mea tele" By being faithful in little things, great things come to pass. I know that if we are exactly obedient we will be blessed with happiness and joy and have a great life.


We had 4 baptisms this week. 4 siblings named Tamaapa'a, So'otaga, Sefulua'i, and Blessing.
With young kids sometimes it seems that they don't really understand the gospel when they are first baptized, but when I baptized these kids I remembered the scripture that says "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it". While these kids don't understand perfectly, they know that what they are doing is right, and they will eventually come to know why in it right. In John 7: 17 it teaches that the way to know if something is true is to do it. These kids will be blessed with powerful testimonies as they continue to live the gospel.

Here in Samoa they actually celebrate Pioneer day as well. I taught our whole ward the "Cotton-Eyed-Joe" dance and they did it at the Stake Pioneer Day celebration. They were all really...funny to watch.
 

Giant okualua (centipede) - Yum.

Alofa atu ia te Outou!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Chopping through the jungle

This week my comp and I got to baptize 2 people. Their names are Julie and Tutulu. Julie is 15 and she and her mom are the only active members of their family. Tutulu is 12 and the only member in her family. It is neat to see these two gain a testimony on the restored gospel and act on that testimony. I know that they will face a ton of opposition from family and friends as they remain active in the church, but I also know that they will be blessed by our Heavenly Father for their faithfulness.

It's interesting to see how people come to know of the truth of the gospel and are blessed as they accept it. Many people don't accept the gospel because it is hard to live in accordance with it's teachings. But I know that after this life we will receive a reward of everything that our leader has. There are only two eternal leaders, Jesus and Satan, If someone chooses to follow Satan then they will receive a fullness of everything that Satan has to give them. But if we follow Jesus then we will receive every thing he has promised us. So lets be careful in all of our decisions to follow the right leader.

I have learned this week that its a lot easier to do something hard if its your only option. Haha I thought of that when I was taking a shower, a cold shower because there isn't any hot water in Samoa. I laughed when I thought of it but I found that its a good way to make hard decisions. If you know that the right choice it going to be hard, then just eliminate the other options.  Haha I hope that makes sense, it make sense to me.

Always make sure that yous are doing all the little things, like reading the Book of Mormon every day and saying prayers morning and night. There is no better way to keep the spirit with you. That's the wonderful thing about the gospel, it is really quite simple, but there is no greater reward. 


We baptized 3 primary kids too.
 
Haha no, I can't get shoe goo here. Yeah my sandals died. I got my replacement shirt. The pants that they sent me  were the wrong ones. They sent me some grey ones instead of the tan khaki ones, its not a big deal... but I really liked the tan ones. ;)


 
Here's a picture of me doing a small service project of chopping through the jungle.

 
 Galuega fesoasoani mo se tagata o Samoa. Ou te fiafia tele le fa'aogaina o le sapelu.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Healing Blessing & Another Marriage


This morning we got awakened at 5 in the morning by the 2nd counselor of the bishopric knocking on our window. He said that an elderly lady in the ward was sick and wanted a blessing. We got up and put on white shirts and hurried up the mountain to her house. Her name is Velonita Lotomau Fesola`i, she is the oldest member of our ward and she loves missionaries.

Walking up to her house, I got to reflect on the sacred power of the priesthood and the obligation of those that hold it. When I received the priesthood I promised to live in a way that would ensure that I was always worthy to administer to those who need help.

The priesthood is a blessing to those who hold it only if they honor it by using it to bless the lives of others, and you can only use it to serve others if you are living in a way that you can receive guidance from the Lord. The Lord will not dwell in unclean temples, so if you are not living a clean life and you get called on to exercise your priesthood, then you will not have the guidance, or the power, of God with you. Needless to say that trying to give someone a blessing without the power of God, the priesthood, is 100% pointless.

Anyways, we arrived at her house and talked to her and she said that her entire body was numb. We gave her the blessing and I remember telling her that she would receive strength to her body and peace to her body and spirit. I remember saying that her work on the earth was not finished.

After the blessing she tried to get up, we told her not to but she said "leai,uma le ma'i, malosi a'u"  "no, the sickness is gone, I'm strong now". Pretty cool experience. I'm glad that my comp and I were living in a way that we were able to administer to her when she needed it.

We got to marry another couple this week. The guy's name is File and we will be baptizing him this Saturday. :D

Alofa atu ia te outou!
-Elder Lamoreaux

Sunday, July 5, 2015

3 Weddings!


This week my companion and I married 3 of our investigators. Like, got them married. ;) We have been working with these investigators for a while now and its awesome to see them take such a big step in their journey to Christ.

Elder Tutunoa and I got to be the witnesses for the weddings and sign the wedding paper and all that cool stuff. The couples that we got married were: Fa`aolataga and Sosefina, Mefi and Tina, and Sina and Puasa. We will be baptizing Sina this Saturday. Sosefina and Mefi will be baptized soon as well.

Everything is going well here, the work is very blessed and my comp and I are working very hard to bring people to Christ. I have found that this area has been totally dead as far as baptisms or anything for a long time. It has the reputation of being a very difficult area, but we have found that as we put in all the effort we can, and most importantly rely on the Lord, He blesses us to find  those who are seeking truth. When we give our weekly and monthly reports to the ward and stake, people are surprised to hear how much success we are having. As we have helped the work get up and moving in this area, the ward members have seen what we are doing and they are trying to help us at every opportunity. Almost every day we have ward members show up asking if they can come to our visits with us that day. Its awesome. The more they help the faster the work goes.

One of my favorite things to do is to take the long jungle walks to visits. We get to hack a trail through the jungle with machetes, heh heh. It makes me smile with savage delight. 

Food here is awesome. Funny story, the first day I got here I ate taro, lu`au, and niu. I tried them and I remember thinking that I had never had anything this nasty in my life. I knew that I would be eating these things every day though, so I prayed that I would be able to like them. The next time I had them I was amazed at how good they were. Now I like them so much that I have gained... a certain amount of weight. ;) haha.

Well, that's all for this week. Always remember to read your scriptures and say your prayers every day.
Alofa atu ia te outou!
-Elder Lamoreaux