Samoa Apia Mission - March 2015 - 2017

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