Well we made it!! After over 24 hours of traveling and sleeping in airports and planes we have landed in the most beautiful (and humid) place I could have ever imagined. Words can’t describe and honestly, neither do the pictures. We landed a little later than scheduled but were greeted by many many smiling faces and welcoming arms! President Hannemann is incredible. He is so wise, so full of the spirit, and so full of love. What he wants from us to always have an “I Will” attitude. No matter how hard something might seem or look. And as challenges arise, just say “I Will” and move forward with the work! I am so excited to be here, to share this beautiful message to beautiful people in such a beautiful language! The people here are so humble and this is one of the biggest things I think we will learn serving here, humility.
This is actually week two here in Samoa but we are very limited on internet usage – just a disclaimer 🙂 My trainer is INCREDIBLE! Her name is Sister Long and everyone literally thinks we’re sisters… it’s so funny. She’s only been out 4 months so she just barely finished her training and now she is a trainer! We’re two palagi sisters who are just so ready to go to work and there is lots to do! We are basically white washing the area, which means we are both new to the area which is going to be challenging but we’re excited and we know we’re not alone in this. We are serving on the island of Savaii covering two beautiful areas, Salelolonga & Fataloa! We took a boat to get here which was so sad leaving my district as we all split up to our separate assignments. But the boat was so neat ahhh! It was about on hour long so we just talked about this new area and got to know each other! We are the only 2 sisters serving in this area! Palagi power!
Story Time: Firstly there are dogs everywhere. Everywhere! Just like walking around the streets. But not just dogs… horses, chickens and pigs too. They just do their own thing. Its hilarious, we go running in the mornings along a really pretty beach and sunrise and there are just pigs following us. There was this one time we were having a lesson my first week and my companion was doing so great and sharing a beautiful message, the spirit was so strong. And then there’s me, the new palagi girl who is having a dog literally trying to bite my ankles off while we’re standing there sharing a message! I was partly chuckling because we were warned of the dogs before coming and it was actually coming true, but partly terrified I was about to be eaten alive but this stray dog who looked like he hadn’t eaten in a week. But it was great because my soa and the man, (his name is Soia) were just going on paying me no mind. We got a return appointment too! God is good. P.s. No serious harm came from this dog.
We are also teaching a palagi man, his name is Dan! He is here doing vet work from Australia for a few weeks staying at a members house and he joined us at Fafaga one night. This man is so crack up. He told us he started reading at an early age… and that he finished the New Testament at age 4 and the Old Testament at age 5! He said they were “slight readings.” He always has us laughing PLUS we get to speak English to him! Which honestly was so weird teaching in English. But he keeps us on our toes. But he’s super interested in the gospel! He gladly accepted a Book of Mormon and even stayed up all night reading! Another nurse came in to help him this past week from Australia and really needed a haircut apparently and I told them I’d do it if they’d let us share a message with them! And THEY SAID YES! It was hilarious but hey, it was a great lesson! Checked off giving a lesson while giving a haircut from my bucket list hahaha.
My challenge for you for the week: Sit cross legged without changing positions for over 45 minutes. You can’t move! This is what we do each day for lessons, for meals, for any visit really! You’d think I’d be used to it now after 2 weeks but leai. I always dread when our visits come to a close because my feet are so asleep. And no, poking them through out the lessons does not help, I try. Me and my soa are hobbling out of there basically holding each other up. Everyone laughs at me when I get up because you literally cannot feel where your foot is when you go to take a step! I’d be lying if I said I haven’t fallen once…or twice. But it’s totally fine, everyone is so loving and welcoming and patient with us with the language! (mostly :)) We teach an English class here at the church building to meet to new people and because a lot of people want to learn or are serving English speaking missions or have family in the states so we get offered a lot of help with fa’asamoa. We are also teaching a sister how to read and write in Samoan, which is honestly helping us too! She’s the sweetest. She’s 15 years old and is actually getting baptized this week! We’re so excited for her, she has the light of Christ in her eyes and has such a strong testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I know this is long, but I wanted to leave you with my testimony of this gospel. I had the privilege of sharing my testimony in our sacrament meeting my first Sunday here in Samoan in our congregation and each day I have it confirmed to me that our Father in Heaven is aware of us, our struggles, our accomplishments, our every need and that we are all children of God. Each day we see tender mercies from the Lord and are grateful for the opportunity to serve here as challenging as the living may be. I know that He hears and answers our prayers and that through Christ we can receive strength. I know that I am not the teacher here, just simply the messenger. The Spirit testifies of the words that we say as long as we open our mouths (even if it’s not correct Samoan). I have a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon, I know that it is another testament of Jesus Christ and that the word of God blesses our lives. The people of Samoan are 98% Christian here and are many are just prepared to hear our message and are willing to progress. I am so blessed to be serving in this area. I wish I could send pictures but my camera was actually wiped clean as I tried to insert it into the computer :-)))))
I hope you’re doing well!! I’m not able to reply much but I do read, and take pictures of emails so I can read them all. I’m grateful to have the support that I do from you and pray that you are doing well!
Until next week!!