So this week was great despite a lousy weekly planning session on Sunday. We accomplished much and I definitely learned a lot because my Soa let me lead a lot more this week. We're working well together, my Samoan can hold its own, at least to some degree now, and we're getting planning down pretty well so I can almost guarantee that the work this week will take off very dramatically. A side note about Aso Tofi, (Thursday) is that while we were in a lesson with a crazy old lady named Tete, and her Daughter Lia a song came on that Mommy Jones really really likes. Any guesses? Well remember that one musical that all you crazy girls used to sing to me all the time, not Saturdays warrior, but the one thats about all the crazy girls in a different country. It was Mamma Mia!! We sat down and as we started greeting and chatting about weeks the memories started to rush in and my Samoan had no more space in my brain. I giggled a little bit but luckily Tete is crazy, and Lia was practicing some good old fashioned Samoan Culture (Aganu`u) and was whipping up some grub. Therefore she wasn't within earshot or eye shot to see the cheesy little grin on my face. After this happening I decided that was the house of things Robert past because about 2 weeks ago one of the little'ns came bounding in on His Fiery noble steed whom I know to called as Sprocket. I was on a split otherwise I would have got a picture of it for you but I'm sure that won't be the last time the knight and his champion horse will return. I almost broke down that day too but, (broke down in joy, there's no such thing as sad in the work of Salvation unless you don't fully understand God's perspective yet) even if I did the mighty Samoan Aganu`u saved me again and Lia was chasing her kids with a broom because they weren't very... ummm... Aganu`ufied... ;) Plus Tete was just grinning while holding one of the grand kids without a care in the world... ;) She's really not that crazy, just a bored old lady without a husband who just watches 9 kids all day long for her entire life.
(*disclaimer* I am worried someone will be hurt or offended by Robert calling Tete crazy so I would like to say when he says crazy I know he means like our home is crazy busy, silly, loud . Like being a mom with many kids can get erratic at times.)
We're also teaching another sweet old Samoan lady who's name is Otelia and man do I love this lady. She's already a member but fell away for unknown reasons, probably because someone invited her to another church. Either way we visit her and man oh man she has a sweet heart. She's very patient with our Samoan is very accepting of us and loves the book of Mormon. She's just trying to find God she says which makes me upset at the Elders who taught her initially because they didn't do this sweet old lady right. Anyways as far as stories about her go, this week she was talking with us about the tree of life and all of a sudden wanted to talk about the mini earthquake we felt the night before at like 9:30 at night. So we went with it because our Samoan isn't good enough to do any redirection that wouldn't offend somebody and then we all turned into a laughter fest. After the earthquake interruption Elder Redd summarized the plan of Salvation in a simple sentence and went to actually say the words "The plan of Salvation" and she said wrong! He kept trying and here's where the fun really began. `O le ata `O le Fa`aolataga. Thats the plan of Salvation. This is what he said. If you catch the difference the first time through I'll be very proud. O` le `ata `o le fa`aolataga... Did you see it? That one means the smile,or laugh of Salvation. Not a big slip-up but she was hung up on it and started to tease him for the way he said it. By this point I was giggling, laughing, joining in with her, etc... The difference is this, ata, and `ata. The first one means picture, second means laugh. (Samoan is very basic so there's no very specific words, especially for the gospel) IE: Faife`au tala`i they mean missionary when they say it but here's the exact translation; Fai-do, make, etc.. fe`au- Chore tala- story `i- somehow that makes it preacher, Tala`i- preacher. So the Samoan word for Missionary is Do the chore preaching. I couldn't have chose a better mission/language to learn at the foundation of the world. It was a great time with her. Shortly after we calmed down we gave here an assignment in the book of Mormon, closed with a prayer, and left as she continued to tease. I miss her. :)
Mommy Jones I hope you know that I'm having a blast out here! No place on earth other than here could make me happier a this point in my life. This is where I get to give everything to God. I get to be a part of his fulfillment of prophecy and I am literally helping him fulfill ancient covenants to His children about the gathering of Israel. The best part is how much work goes into it! Heavenly father gives me so much to do because I learn from it but none of it really matters. He's just keeping me occupied while He does His work. He does need us to gather His sheep. He just really really loves us. So much so that He allows us to be his instruments, very imperfect but still usable. I am very personally seeing the hands of God reach out to all those who let Him in. This time is time for me to just align myself completely with Him. He already knows what Fale o`o to walk up to, or which street to go down. He's got all of our lessons planned out for the next two weeks. But because He not only wants new members but rather He wants to retain old ones, so he commands His prophets to speak for Him and invite all who are willing and able into His work "that is to change the world" (The first great commandment) -Elder Holland, all so that He can watch over us. He calls us on missions so He can be within arms reach for two years before we're sent into the lone and dreary world. The mission field shouldn't be one of dread, misery, or woe because we don't get to indulge in the world for 2 years. It should be each of our very own very personal garden of Eden. The place and the time we are permitted to walk with God every step of our days so that when we can't anymore in the struggles of life within the dominion of Satan, we know who we are and who's presence we came from. I know that I am walking with God every day here in Samoa and luckily when I don't choose to walk with Him, He gave us someone to make up for that lossed time. The Savior is at the head of this Church and is definitely in the center of my heart where He rightly deserves to be. May we all clear the path for Him to rest within our hearts so that we all may rest in the sight of the Lord.
Love, Elder Jones.