That means "Hello, family and friends!" in Samoan. I'm not exactly learning that, but that is where my new companion Elder Leo is from. Which I guess kind of starts answering my mom's first question already, so I figure I might as well finish it off. Elder William Leo is my companion and trainee, and he is from the island of American Samoa. He is an extremely loving person, which is great. He also loves to joke around, which I am enjoying. Also, fun thing to know is that Elder Leo absolutely loves rugby. He played rugby for the Samoan national 19 and under team, so obviously he's pretty mahay (good). We are already having a great time together, for instance with us singing Mulan and Tarzan songs around the house last night. Great times.
Anyway, on to the next question: this past week went pretty well, as far as first weeks for the transfer go. Elder Leo and I taught a bunch of lessons, including eleven different individual father-led families. We are still waiting on and inviting people to come unto Christ through keeping commitments, but we have yet to have any of them really be diligent in doing so. That is, except for two new investigators that we have recently started to teach, who are AWESOME. But I'll save their story for later. Overall though it was a good week, and I enjoyed the work that we got done.
Thirdly, my mom asked a more inspiration question about what type of things Elder Christiansen, my trainer, taught me that I will try and impress upon my new companion Elder Leo. As far as things go with that regards, I'll be honest that there isn't one particular thing that stands out to me more than other things. But there are a few things that I learned both from training and just from the rest of the mission in general that I would want Elder Leo to learn from me and his time with me...and that would be first and foremost to love. To love the people, the work, the mission, and everything in between. I don't want him to be one of the missionaries that just suffers through two years and then goes home. I want him to LOVE it. And that isn't just something that happens overnight. It's a process. I have yet to become perfect at it, and I probably won't be perfect at it until the end of the mission, to be honest. But I love more and more things about the mission almost every day. It happens little by little, but I want to give Elder Leo a head start. I want him to love everything about this place, the mission, and most importantly the work. So I guess in answer to the question, I want Elder Leo to be his loving self, and grow to love the mission, the work, and everything about it. I recently heard a quote that says "Love is the fulfillment of the law." But I would change it to "Love is the fulfillment of [fill in the blank]" because love is much more versatile than just fulfilling the law. It is the fulfillment of the mission, of life, of marriage, or of pretty much anything else we can possibly think of. So, all in all, that is what I would want him to learn. Skill at Malagasy will come if he works for it. Skills at teaching will come with practice and dedication. But love is much harder. And, if he has love for the mission, for teaching, and for the people, then he will teach better, and he will learn Malagasy, and he will do what he needs to do. So that's what I'm going to try and teach him: to have love for things that may not be easily loved.
Anyway, onto question four, which is the last one. My mom asked me if I had an experience that stands out this week. As far as that goes, there are two things i would like to share. First off is our experiences with our new investigators Patrick and Julie. They are a young couple who we tracted into about three weeks ago. When we tracted into them, they seemed interested enough and were very nice, and we had a nice talk with them about what we do as missionaries. When we asked if there was another time we could set up an appointment with them, they told us that they were too busy, and when we invited them to church, they said they couldn't that Sunday, but would come in two weeks. At this point, Elder Walker and I were like "Okay, yeah, sure, whatever..." But then, miraculously, last Sunday, they just randomly show up! And we're like "Whaaaaat?! This never happens!" But anyway, they had a great time and then we set up a time that we could stop by them at their house. When we went to that time, there they were, all ready to learn. And then as we had a nice long talk about the church and whatnot, both Julie and Patrick said that they had already decided that this was the church that they want to pray/worship at from now on, due to the way they felt when they were at church (by this time Elder Walker and I were screaming "YEEEESSSSS!" in our heads). They told us that as of late they hadn't been very active in any church, and when they came to our church they said it felt as if they were coming closer to God and Christ. And then, to top it all off, they came to church again this last Sunday, which was just the cherry on top. I am very, very excited with where they will go in their progression and their process in coming closer to Christ.
But now, as for the second experience, that has to do with my new feelings as being a trainer. This has to do with my shift of focus from my last companionship to this one. And that is because my new companion is..well...new. He doesn't know the language, he hasn't had practice teaching--especially in the language--and he needs my help. I'm the only one who can help him, other than God. I've realized how truly like having a child or being married training is. You completely forget everything about yourself and dedicate your thoughts, time, and energy to the someone else. I have started praying for Elder Leo more than I pray for myself. And honestly, I've never felt better on my mission. Like the scriptures say, "Those who lose their life in my service find it." And I've seen that even just in the past four days or so. I've never felt better than when I've been pouring my heart out to God for my new companion. And that is an incredible feeling that I won't soon forget. Service truly brings blessings, whether that service is big or small.
But anyway, that's about it for this week. Thank you all for being so awesome and amazing all the time. I love you all and hope you have a great week!
|Elder Snell and Elder Leo|
|Colbert and his family|
|Our eveka or bishop|
This is a video of some Malagasy kids playing a game with beer caps.