What a week, I tell ya. Many blessings and counting.
Tuesday, we visited some less active members, Waikiki and Koko. Really cool folks with really cool names, but I'm still confused about who was who. I think the husband was Koko. I think... They were super kind and started to bring food out to us as soon as we sat down, which isn't uncommon here. Samoans are SO generous!
On Wednesday I went on an exchange with Elder McCall from Seattle. I LOVE this guy. He has always been a missionary I've looked up to and just really respected. Working in his area was awesome. We went and visited this guy named Dave who hasn't been to church in years. He spends most of his time working on this old workshop (kind of like a baby Home Depot that's privately owned). We helped him with side jobs and just talked for a bit. I could tell he was from Texas from his accent. Found out he's from Carthage! Like the movie, Bernie! He wasn't too interested in religion, but I know the Lord is working in his heart.
We also had dinner with the Land family. Brother Land is the stake patriarch. The spirit was so strong in their home. It just felt like a home of a family built on love. AND, I found out the Lands have a son in MCKINNEY, TX! Coincidence? I think not! It was just a Texas day, because later we visited a family in the ward and I found out the wife grew up in Plano.
And while I was out with Elder McCall, his companion Elder Owens worked with Elder Aguilar in Samoa. And Elder Owens is Samoan, so you better believe they had a powerhouse day. He and Elder Aguilar were able to get a lot of work done, and he gave us names and addresses of other Samoans he knew in the area. It was great.
Thanksgiving day was great. Had lots to eat. Taro, fa'i, crab, turkey, rice, and more. Much to be grateful for.
Friday was probably my favorite day ever. We brought Bro. Tia out with us and went to teach Jake. But he wasn't home. So we went through back up plan after back up plan. Nobody. I was getting sad for Bro. Tia because we had brought him an hour away from his home to see people. BUT, as we were driving away towards our last back up, I had a feeling to stop by this apartment complex full of Samoan families. We go by every so often, but most of the time everyone just scurries inside and closes the doors. So we drove to the complex, and found some Samoan women sitting outside whom we'd met before. We talked with them, then all of a sudden one named Sofia was like, "Oh, you should visit Joe!"
Then another said,"Yeah! Go to Joe!"
I'm thinking, "Who's Joe?"
Then asked, "Who's Joe?"
They told us that Joe just moved in from Long Beach and is Mormon and has been looking to come back to church. Sofia got up and said she'd introduce us. She knocked on his door and we met Joe. It was one of those moments where the world feels exciting and you just know that something amazing is about to happen. As soon as I met him I knew that Heavenly Father's hand was actively working in Joe's life. Joe was young and much thinner than the stereotypical Samoan. He was quiet and very polite. He told us that he'd been away from the church for a long time, but felt that it's time he came back. He said he never lost his testimony. He said that his mom has always told him that it's still not too late to serve a mission. I felt deep peace as we spoke with him and knew that the Savior loved him so, so much. Maybe more powerfully than ever before as a missionary, as I sat in Joe's place, I felt like I was exactly where I needed to be on earth at that moment. There was nowhere else I would have rather been. Bro. Tia gave him a hardback copy of the scriptures and he said he'd read Alma 36. I am so excited to meet with him more this week.
What I love about the gospel of Jesus Christ is the knowledge that God is literally our Father in Heaven. He cares about what we care about. He hears our prayers. He answers them. I don't know everything, but I do know that this is true. I have felt His love by the power of the Holy Ghost enough times to know that He is there.
So friends, if you haven't prayed in a while, please do. Open your heart to Him. Pour out your soul with your concerns and worries. He understands. He's there.
He has promised:
"I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led."