We have been called as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Church President Thomas S. Monson to serve in the Samoa Apia Mission. Together with all other LDS missionaries, we have been called to “invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.”
Our Mission President, Arthur Hannemann, has given us the particular responsibility of making sure our young missionaries have adequate housing. The mission hopes for a nurse to be assigned to us soon, but while we are waiting we devote a good deal of our time to health concerns of our missionaries.
It is an honor and a delight to be supporting the young elders and sisters as they carry out their proselyting duties.
Our calling keeps us very busy and fully occupied. But as time permits, we are also privileged to share our testimonies with others and help introduce them to the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some time ago we had the opportunity of meeting a lovely young lady named Caroline who was working at a restaurant. Alicia and she seemed to have an immediate bond.
Soon the young lady was meeting with the missionaries and now she is a baptized member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
As we work with these young servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, we get to know and love them very much. When it comes time for them to complete their missions (2 years for the young men; 18 months for the sisters), we have mixed emotions. We are happy they have been able to serve the Lord with all their hearts, might, mind and strength. But we will miss them!
Those who will be leaving come to the mission home for a day or two. There some of them are met by their parents and other members of their families.
Those from abroad usually have only the mission staff to bid them farewell.
Recently the seven missionaries who were departing that week had the opportunity of gathering in a quiet, personal testimony meeting with the current President of the Pacific Area of the Church, Elder Kevin Pearson.
President Pearson’s counselors are Elder Vincent Halleck, a prominent Samoan businessman, and Elder Gifford Nielson, former BYU football star and NFL quarterback. Recently, however, the Church announced changes to area leadership assignments, and effective August 1, 2016, Elder Halleck will become the new Area President.
President Pearson bore a strong testimony of the reality of the Atonement
of Jesus Christ. He encouraged the returning missionaries to continue in gospel study and prayer.
“Get all the education you can,” he said, but “don’t put off marriage” in the
meantime. Finding and marrying the right person in the right place – i.e, in
the temple – should be “your first priority,” he emphasized.
|(Left to right:) Elder Halleck, President Pearson, and Elder Nielsen|
So here we are in Samoa, perhaps the most beautiful place on earth. None of our pictures can really capture that beauty, but we include here some pictures of the cloud formations we see and marvel at.