Samoa Apia Mission - March 2015 - 2017

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


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

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 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