“Taaaaalofa Lava, Sister Coggins” My soa always makes fun of me for the way I answer the phone hahaha but hiii! Are these weeks flying by for you too?! Ia so mea masani, e i ai se taimi pu’upu’u mo imeli i le aso nei ae (This is a shorter time for email than normal, but) I’d love to share a few experiences, and MIRACLES from this beautiful week 🙂
I truly have felt that Sister Akauri and I have been close to the spirit and to our Heavenly Father this week. As we open our mouths, they are filled, and maybe not in perfect Samoan but the Spirit is there and those we teach feel it too.
So, Sister Akauri and I have been visiting a woman and her family since the first day we were called to serve in Letui. The mother of the family, Vai, was baptized in the church and even preparing for the temple with her toalua (hubby) but because of many different events, fell away, completely turned away and became strong in the Aso Fitu (Seven Day Adv church), and she actually brought that church into the village of Letui. But we visited and visited, she always let us in but sometimes in the beginning we couldn’t even have gospel discussions. Many many elders have visited there also so she was masani (often) with missionaries, but she was tough one!
As we continued to visit she softened up little by little. We would sing with her, when she’d allow us to, we’d share scriptures, little spiritual thoughts, teaching simple principles of the gospel. We’ve seen a big change in her from the first day we’ve been visiting her, and as we’ve invited her to come to church she shared with us that it was just too late for her to change, done too many bad things, and also because there is a Sa or a village rule that if you establish or bring a church into the village, you can’t change from that church… She began really enjoying our visits, we’d call and share on the phone on days we couldn’t visit (it’s about an hour drive from our fale (house) in Samalaeulu) Her heart was truly softened and she wanted to return back but it was just “impossible”.
We shared from the Book of Mormon in 1 Nephi how God doesn’t give us commandments we can’t keep, so we made a plan to fast together. To find a way for her to return to church, whether the rules in the village would change, maybe she would find an opportunity in another village, she has family in America who are strong members (also who has a son serving in this mission) so maybe there was an opportunity for her there, we were looking any way for her to return to the fullness of the gospel… We began the fast over the phone early in the morning, and as we returned to her to break the fast together, we shared how we felt throughout the day, things we thought about it, and she shared with us her feelings that she does know that God knows her. Also, she shared with us that she received a call from Apia, the main island, that she got approved to buy land she they’ve been working on getting for months… In tears she tells us that this is the way, clear and simple, from God, for her to return. It’s her “out” of this village that was holding her back. It’s a way for her whole family to have a new start. AND you can see the TEMPLE from it! How incredible…..
I know that as we rely on the Lord and exercise our faith, that the Lord provides. He always does. I have such a testimony of not only the power of humbling ourselves to fast, but a testimony of the love of God. We are His sons and His daughters. And there is always a way for us to keep His commandments.
There is a night and day difference about her, she’s happy, she shares things she learns. And I know it is because of our Savior Jesus Christ. He is the light. If we need help, His arm is always always always extended out to us.
Something that I’ve learned also is that it truly isn’t about simply teaching, you have to love them too! And as you teach with love they feel it, they feel the Savior’s love for them.
I just wanted to share this with you as it really has touched me. Also, the picture of me and her I attached, she’s pulling me down like that, I’m not trying to like lay on her hahaha love her 🙂
Okay since I took ages writing that I now have to go hahah but more stories to come se isi taimi (another time)!
Love you bunches!
P.S. My soa told me yesterday that I was talking in my sleep… IN SAMOAN. She thought I was on the phone at 2 am! She got really scared but then looked down and saw I was completely out. Hahaha she’s a nut 🙂