Monday, September 24, 2012


I have decided that I should never expect an uneventful week. A missionary in our zone was sent home for surgery and we have a new companion named Elder Pauga. Elder Sevison trained him when he first came on his mission and now we are all in a tripanionship! An added twist to all of this is that we will be covering three wards now! In addition to the summit ward we will be covering the palmetto Tongan and Rancho Cucamonga Tongan Wards! Since I came out on my mission I have always wanted to serve in the Polynesian wards, and now I have my chance. The cultural difference between the palangi (white) wardsthat I have served in and these Tongan wards is something I need to get used to. On Sunday a non-member family showed up for church to sing for the ward, and they held a feast for them after church! (a big feast) After the non-members got their food they asked usto come next. They treat Elders like we are royalty. One night we were eating dinner with a lady named Mafi who was recently baptized. when we showed up she went into her room to get into her Sunday best. It is humbling to see the amount of respect they show towards us. This week we will be fed by a Tongan family every night. I will need to get the stomach expansion. :) This week we started teaching a lady name Mele, who will be baptized this week on Saturday! She only knows Tongan so we have to share a simple principle and then wait for one of the members we bring to translate for us. At the end of each lesson we have with her she cries without fail. She expresses her gratitude to God for the chance she has to be baptized. She understands the lessons better than many I have taught without a language barrier. It is amazing to see so many prepared by the Lord. The next item of news I have is back in the Summit ward. We got a text-referral on our phone for a girl named Cora Kane. We knocked on the door and the high school aged girl named Cora answered. She is very eccentric and she has a love for musical theatre. We asked why she was interested in having us come over. She told us that she had just went to L.A. where she saw The Book of Mormon the musical. :) She told us that after she had seen the musical she felt like she wanted to learn more. I wondered if that musical would effect my mission. We taught her The Doctrine of Christ and committed her to be baptized. Despite her concern about her parents being obstinate she agreed to set the date for the 10th of November. Her little sister is interested too; her name is Kathryn. I think it is awesome that I can relate with Cora, seeing that I know a few musicals myself. :) I hope she stays as enthused about the church as she was in our last lesson. We have been blessed in so many ways this last week. I am happy. I just hope that my mission doesn't go too fast.

Ofa Atu

Monday, September 10, 2012

Read this,

It is going to be difficult to write with clarity about the miraculous weekend I just experienced. Serving in this area has been a unique experience. The Summit ward is well known throughout the mission as being a very slow area (or dead). The average income is quite a bit higher here than the rest of the mission, therefore the humility level may be somewhat decreased. This area has had some amazing missionaries in past years, and even then there were no baptisms. Recently they took missionaries out of this ward altogether. This weekend the ward had it's first baptisms for a very long time. On Friday we held a baptism for Addison(14) and Alexia(10) Shindling. Their dad was less active and we have been teaching them since I got here. They are the sweetest girls and they had a baptism to match. Addison couldn't hold back her tears as she was baptized by her father, and Alexia was beaming as she entered the water. There were so many in attendance that we had to move the service to the chapel. The other baptism that we had was on Saturday for Aaron Percy. As I have mentioned before Brother Percy has been meeting with the missionaries for years. The ward was stunned when he made the decision to be baptized. We taught him the lessons and then he was interviewed by President Godwin last Tuesday. The baptism was as spiritual as the last. Many came to support Brother Percy as well. The Stake President, President Sears, performed the baptism. While they were getting dressed our ward mission leader caught me off-guard and asked me if I would bare my testimony. I bore my simple testimony that Aaron Percy was following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ by being baptized by a man who held the authority from God. When Aaron Percy and President Sears came back from the dressing room, Aaron was surprised by a special musical number by his two kids. It was touching to see his two children singing "When I am Baptized." The meeting lasted longer than expected with additional talks and testimonys given. Elder Sevison and I were able to be the witnesses for the baptisms and we participated in the confirmations of all three the next day. The ward deserved this success after not seeing baptisms for three years. I'm sure no one was expecting to have three in one weekend. :) Now as if the hand of The Lord was not apparent enough the last few days, there came another miracle on Sunday, which is one of the greatest miracles I have seen on my mission. We met Keith Seagull because another set of missionaries told us that someone came to there church one Sunday who wasn't a member. He also lives in our area! We met him at the church building where he explained to us why he was coming to our church. He explained that he has been going through different religions his entire life. from Catholicism to Hinduism. He recently took a trip to Yellowstone National Park. Him and his family stopped at two Marriott Hotels on there way there and back. He told us that he has been trying to get a hold of The Book of Mormon for some time now out of shear curiosity. He found The Book of Mormon in the drawer at both Marriott's and when he asked the front desk if he could have the copy in his room both Marriott's responded "no." Continuing on their road trip they went to Zions Canyon. In one of the rock shops there was a stack of Book of Mormons with a sign attached saying "take one." Keith took one. He told us that he has been reading The Book of Mormon since August third. He told us that since he has been reading it he has felt closer to Jesus Christ more than he has in his entire life, and he said that he has been more happy this last month than he has ever been. When he went into these details I couldn't stop tears from coming to my eyes. I have never met anyone on my mission more prepared by the Lord than Keith Seagull. We taught him the Doctrine of Christ and set a baptismal date for the 29th of September. We met again with him last night with Brothers Rambo and Weins from the ward. It seemed everything that Keith said blew me away. Like when he said that he felt he knew Jesus' personality more by reading of him blessing the children in Third Nephi, and when he said that his entire life he has been walking through a desert looking for water and that The Book of Mormon was a tall glass of ice water that he has finally found. I feel like I could go on and write about that lesson for pages upon pages. I hope that when I read this down the road my memory can fill in the rest. I am excited to see how he progresses further in The Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is clear that God is at work here in the Summit ward and throughout the world. It seems all that I am doing is standing as still as I can as I witness the salvation of God. This will be a weekend to remember. I hope to have others like this and I hope to be worthy of them. I should stop typing before this gets included in The Journal of Discourses. :) I love ya all. This Church is true!!!!