Samoa Apia Mission - March 2015 - 2017

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.