Monday, January 25, 2016

1/25/16 - Malo Lava La'u Aiga Faavavau!!!!

Malo Lava La'u Aiga Faavavau!!!!

I'm alive no worries! Haha whatever it was went away within the next couple days, and we were back at the work!! They called it Ziko, a flu that's been going around the island, where you get the flu and then  a weird rash, but then it goes away after a couple days, I just think mine escalated a bit cause we're constantly out in the sun and I think I got dehydrated that day which probs didn't help but it's all good now!! 
Can I just say one thing??....My new comp is such a skux, Elder Tuimauga!!!!!  He just came from the MTC and is from Kansas City, MO, but his parents are from Upolu and Savaii, Samoa.  He is further ahead than me in the language when I came out because his parents spoke Samoan at home.  He is awesome and I love him!!  We rocked it this week with visits, spiritual thoughts, coming home and falling asleep during planning because we can't keep our eyes open any longer.....LOVE IT!!!! Haha and guess what his favorite movie is...........MY FAVORITE, REMEMBER THE TITANS!!!!! Haha this morning after running 4 miles and lifting, we were doing a core workout and quoting basically the entire movie!! Haha it was awesome and we were laughing our heads off!! I love this guy!!! Haha my son!! Except he won't call me "Daddy" haha which is understandable, so I'm his "Uncle Brother" haha!! But this guy loves the work, loves the Lord, loves football, also played in his all star game, THIS GUY IS BOMB AS!! 

Anyways!! This week!! We put in work!!! We found out Thursday we were going to speak in sacrament meeting in Tafuna 2nd, and the rest is history!! I can't remember having so many lessons, where we just walked out on top of the world!!! The investigator had been progressing, kept the commitment, and wanted to learn more!!! AAAHAHAHHAHAHHAHH!!!!! We found a young 16 year old kid, Venci, a referral from a family and this kid is bomb as!! He loves listening and we just finished the first lesson with him yesterday after church, and he wanted us back tonight!! And he loves it when he can bring his brothers and neighbors to come listen as well!! We're gonna try and commit him to baptism tonight, so we'll see how that goes!! Oh man!! And another visit I really want to share!! So couple nights ago, we met with Lina, an inactive mom, of about 17 yrs, she's got 4 boys and her husband who aren't' members, and she's struggling to come back to church because of the tension it's starting to cause between her and her husband. She asked us what she could do to best help this situation, and neither my comp nor myself, knew what to say. Going into it we prayed for the spirit to help us remember something to help initially Leonard, her husband, but then he was busy so we ended up just talking with Lina, she explained that her husband's parents are way strong in their church, after she finished I asked if I could read a scripture. So as I pulled out the scriptures to flip to one, my mind blanked. I couldn't remember what scripture I had wanted to share. Luckily my comp saved me and asked her another question so she went on to explain how she kind of does a short family home evening with the kids every time her husband does a bbq, but I still couldn't remember the scripture. I went to the bible to get one for her husband but still nothing. We just sat and listened. And then she told us that the prior missionaries had shared a scripture with her from Psalms, "Be still and know that I am God". And then the spirit went to work! I remembered a spiritual thought we had shared with a less active lady the day before, in Ether 12:6. She began to cry a little as I explained how we may not see how much faith and trust we will put in Him to help us. The Lord will never give us something that we cannot overcome, but it may just be a while before the blessings from our trial of faith will come! And as for me...D&C 84:85..."Neither take ye before hand what ye shall say, but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man." She told us as best she could, because we could tell she was at a loss for we challenged her to keep going to church, and to continually pray for her husband and kids! And to continue sharing small gospel principles from the bible to help relate the similarities of this church, and her husbands church! We then left, and my comp and I both turned and just look at each other dumbfounded..he then told me that everything I had talked about in the scripture was EXACTLY what he was going to share!! It was way powerful and such a testimony builder for all 3 of us!! The spirit taught as we as missionaries are the messengers, NOT the teachers. If the teacher (the spirit) isn't there, then no teaching and edifying will be done! I love this gospel and I testify of the power of the Holy Ghost as our comforter to be able to help us as we prepare ourselves to let the spirit guide our thoughts "and it shall be given in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man!!!"

Love yous all and hope yous all had a bomb as week!! And let Ryan and Nat and fam know I got theres too!! Tell them thank yous!! I love getting letters!!

Elder Polbin Jacob Larson
Elder Tuimauga and Colby working hard and losing weight. This is Colby's first training opportunity and he is loving it!!

Colonoscopy -- Elder Shafermeyer told me to stand next to this plumber, a guy from my first area, just to show the kind of service we got at the hospital....haha it was soooo unsanitary, and I totally had forgotten we were in a third world country's hospital!

Monday, January 18, 2016

1/8/16 - Hey Fam!!!

Hello FAM!!!

I'm so sorry this is so late, we just got back from the hospital and I don't have a ton of time. I had a 104 fever on Wed.  I was at the hospital with another elder who's got the same thing, trying to get a diagnosis and really they came up with nothing....go figure. We couldn't proselyte on Wed cause I had the fever and a massive as headache, and then I was getting better the next day and then I got hit with a hives rash, which there's been about a hundred cases like this in the past couple weeks, 4 of us being elders. It's just gets way itchy at night and my hands and feet have been a little swollen lately, but they gave me Claritin, which is for allergies so we'll see how that goes....Yeah they have no idea what it is, haha they just said if it continues then we'll go back later this week and do some tests...hopefully it just goes away...anyways,
I'm a trainer!!! His name is Elder Tuimauga, from KC, Missouri!!  He's awesome!!
I'll send a quick spiritual thought! In the bible, in Ephesians 2:5, it says "by GRACE ye are saved". so some people take that as all we need to do is believe, then we'll be saved. BUT... In Eph 2:8, it says "by GRACE ye are saved...THROUGH FAITH". So we need to have faith, but some people still think, believing in Christ we'll be saved, but that's not the case, so we take it to one more scripture later in the bible, James 2:17-18..."faith hath not works, is dead....and I will shew thee my faith BY my WORKS". SO. for all those people that come to you and say, "all I need to do is believe, then I'll be saved", here's Your bible references to hand it to em!! Haha just a short thought if anyone gets hit with this question!! 
We'll just go get some roids from the "pharmacy" and it should clear, Bybee was on of the other elders that had it a couple weeks ago and it cleared right up! We've gots to go but I LOVE YOUS and I'll fill you in more next week! LOVE YA!!

Sorry I don't have a ton of time, not too much has happened this week, but know all is good, sorta, and that I'm praying for yous all!!  LOVE YOUS ALL!!! HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEK!! Sorry this week was short!! I'll explain everything next week!! LOVE YOUS ALL FOREVER!!
Love Elder Larson

Monday, January 11, 2016

1/11/16 - MALO LAVA FAM!!!!


Sorry we just got on a little later this week...

Hey hey hey!!! Welp, this week has been quite fast actually as well!! We were pretty busy with meetings, visits, and other things which was awesome!! I found out for transfers though that my comp is going to Leone which I'm really bummed cause Speakman's the BOMB!!!! Haha we sat up talking, just "bro"ing it up the last couple nights, went to bed a little later but man I missed those days!! Haha I'm staying here with my weight...and my new comp is a native from Upolu I think...doesn't know a lick of English and hates it when people speak English cause he can't understand any of it...haha so we'll see how this next transfer goes.../: But this week as busy as it was, we didn't quite get the results we were looking forward to. We wanted to get a bap date set with 4 investigators, but 1 we just found out doesn't like the church at all and has been kind of a pity visits with us cause she feels bad, 1 has a drinking problem we didn't know about, we didn't get to meet with one cause she was busy as, and then one hasn't come back from Manu'a yet): Haha so it was quite a struggle but what can ya do? Transfers tomorrow and I won't be speaking any English for the next 6 weeks at least, so you'll probs catch it in the emails! I do want to share a thought from personal study though....
We're teaching Maria today about the power of prayer and promptings from the Holy Ghost!! We had her read 2 Nephi 32 and Moroni 10:4/5, so we're going to go over in these GC talks, I began reading Elder Erying's talk, "The Holy Ghost as Your Companion" and I highlighted 2 phrases that stuck out most to me..."You have had times when you have felt the influence of the Holy Ghost...[and] you can treat those moments of inspiration like the seed of faith that Alma described (Alma 32:28)" and "As you obey, the impressions from the Spirit will come more frequently, becoming closer and closer to constant companionship. Your power to choose the right will increase." I've found power, conviction, and courage in these verses because just listening to a John Bytheway talk, the adversary will continue to come: and when we get stronger, he works harder, so as Alma says, "...give place that a seed may be planted...[and] it beginneth to enlarge my soul and beginneth to enlighten my understanding"!!! BOOM BABY!! 
Haha word for word!
I've realized this week, the adversary will throw just about anything at you to get your mind off the work, and it's been a testimony builder for me as I strive to continue to be obedient, that it becomes so much easier to teach, testify and invite people!! Now I am so not perfect at this, I'm continuing to work on it, but it's helped me so much and I'll need it going into this next transfer cause my new comp doesn't really like to love, lead by example, and attempt to communicate haha(: It'll be lots of learning!! We were talking with Alex Willis last night and he said that "ya don't have for very long, the comps you really get along with" which is so true!! Speakman's the man!! I wish I had a least another transfer but alas, I don't so lots of learning this transfer!!! Welp, pauaga!!

That's been my week, not too shabby, I'll be sending Mark and Conner emails no worries!! And I'll thank Buddy and Grandmama as well!! Send em a letter probs!! Haha loved the story of the bros at bball with Jarett!! Haha that's bomb as!! Sorry not much to write this week, been kind of crazy getting ready for transfers, but know I love yous all and hope you have a bomb as week!!!

Elder Larson

Ps. Could I possibly get a jump rope and like a charger that chargers regular like AA batteries?? Batteries out here are way expensive and I don't think they even sell them in Upolu or Savaii....if not no worries!! I'll be here at least another transfer so yous can send the package now(: Thank you so much for doing that, love yous all!! 
This is Elder and Sister Shafermeyer!!! Haha we had to drop by after district meeting and get bus reimbursements and we got to pick their lemons in their backyard for some service!! I'm gonna miss em they're bomb as!! Makes me so pumped to serve another mission later with my wife....(;

This is us this morning...Speakman got his work out bands and we pumped and we actually feel sore which is phenomenal cause I haven't felt sore after a workout in ages!! Haha we're gonna try 6 weeks to sexy and compare at the end of this transfer at zone meeting haha! we both gained over 10 lbs this transfer aaaahahhhh!!

Haha so I kind of ate for this fafaga a large nachos from CJ's, large fries, and a 1/2 pound mushroom burger in 30 min!!! I'll send you a pick of the food baby!!!

haha I wasn't pushing my stomach out at all....I look about 3 months along(: After this though, it's made me realize I really do need to stop gaining weight...when we were over at the shafe's, we weighed ourselves and I'm 184....about 12lbs this transfer...oops

1/4/16 - MANUIA LAVA LE TAUSAGA FOU!!!!! Happy New Year!!!


Hey hey hey!! I loved yous emails!!!! Got the cake you sent, but we had gotten a little bit of a chocolate craving and ate it all in one day....about 8000 calories we counted each after our fafaga haha, no wonder I'm tubby! And I got the bomb pic of all yous after midnight!! Haha but yeah didn't do much partying for my bday, just split an entire cheesecake in half and ate out of a gallon thing of ice cream haha!! And then the next day, Maria, the investigator behind our house, the older lady, brought a turtle pie and spaghetti over, and then the Willis' gave us a new tie each and more fruitcake, so until today, we've been eating junk as well!! I LOVED BOTH PACKAGES!!! Haha yeah the boxes were opened both before Christmas but I didn't open the presents til Christmas and New Years eve. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR EVERYTHING YOUS SENT!!! I LOVED IT ALL!!! Loved to hear about the week too!!! Sounds like the party was a total blast!!! Haha we played the card game Idiot and Sweepies after we planned and went to bed around 10:15ish, so exciting!! 

Welp, this week was better than last week with trying to contact people...mainly because about half were hungover from the night before but we contacted em!!! This is my journal entry Jan 2nd...Heaps of people were home today and yesterday and we had opportunities to share heaps!!! Haha and I'm becoming to really LOVE the mission as I learn the language better, the people and conversations become more real! Just messing around with kids in the street, to joking around with old ladies about going to go gamble at the bishops house! Haha, it's a total crack up!! It makes the work more enjoyable to joke around because that's how Samoans are....hilarious!!! Today we waited at the fale sa (chapel) for 45 min for a no show on the ward council of a ward, so we were kicking with these kids while we waited and they were hilarious! haha we gave em chocolate that we got from our fafaga that night, and they loved us!! Way fun!!......
And when we got to fast Sunday, we wrote down all of our investigators and specifically fasted for each one of them to be able to progress in faith towards baptism! Whether it was reading the BoM, or coming to church, or quit drinking, any situation, no matter who it may be, we knew that the Lord would bless them with the faith they put forward!! With investigators, we gave Maria the Ensign to read about the talk Why the Church by Elder Anderson! It's a bomb as talk and definitely a re reader!!! Haha read again talk!! They all are!! Haha just do it!! Alright I'm done.....with another investigator we have, Lilio, it hurts me because she's so unhappy with where she's living and her boyfriend she's not married to, but they have an 8 month old, is a total jerk and abusive drunk, and she wants to move out but can't because the family wants her to stay and do all the cooking and cleaning while they're gone at we've been talking with her and her little guy TJ is way cute and she really wants to be baptized so she can go do baptisms for the dead for her family, but she either needs to get married or move out, and she doesn't want marriage, but can't move hurts because all she wants is to be happy and she finds it when she comes to church even though the family wants her to stay and clean so they can have food when they get back from church...but she comes to church anyway because she knows the Lord will bless her and her son when she puts God first! She has such a powerful testimony and it strengthened me to see her struggle yet overcome each and everyday! Her grandma is coming for a funeral and when she gets here she's going to go visit Lilio and when the grandma sees the situation, it'll be the window Lilio has been looking for to move out, so please pray for her to overcome all this!! This is when missions become more than just baptizing, but helping people overcome and strengthening our own testimonies!!! LOVE IT!!!!!!

Hope all is well back home and love YOUS ALL!!!!!
Love Elder LarsonπŸ˜¬πŸ˜œπŸ˜‹πŸ˜

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH!!!! PS>>>>>>>> Maybe hold on the package and don't send it yet, because I just found out if I get transferred over to Upolu or Savaii, I won't get the package for  a few months! They won't ship packages from here to Upolu anymore cause its too expensive....the new shipment address if or when I get transferred is 

Elder Larson
Samoa Apia Mission
PO Box 1865
Apia Samoa

And this will also be the address to send letters to, when I get transferred off this island!!! Just FYI!!!
This was last pday!  We found some blow holes and got some skux pics by the ocean!
Another pic from pday
Colby, Elder Loto, and Elder Speakman...This is us and Elder Loto from NZ!! He's so skux and funny as!! Haha he's bomb as and just a fun dude to be around!!!
We got a bomb as salad from Maria, behind our house and mom and Audge, yous'll never gues what was in it that I actually ate!!?!?!? Peppers! Haha it's not way exciting but I'm appreciating healihier food more out here!!!

Haha and then there's the cheesecake and ice cream we ate for new years eve....and I wonder why I'm comp and I for the rest of our missions will take pics of how we look at the end of each transfer and watch our bodies either go to the dogs or....yeah pretty much just how chubby we get(;

12/28/15 - Malo Lava Aiga!!!!!!!

Malo Lava Aiga!!!!!!!

SO PUMPED TO CHAT WITH YOUS AT CHRISTMAS!!!!!! I absolutely LOVED it!!!! Sorry if I wasn't emotional at all I was super excited and so the tears just never came,.. I LVOED every minute! AND HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!!!!! ANY FUN PLANS FOR TODAY!!?!?!?!?!?!? 

This week was pretty much dead, besides chatting with yous one really wanted us in there house and right after I complained about it being too hot hasn't really stopped raining since the morning of Dec 26th.....soooo, there's puddles everywhere, and we got so wet...we kind of just walked straight through one cause we were going home to shower and change our sopping wet clothes before we went to a ward council!! Quite fun!!!! And the umu we did with the Willis family on Christmas was sooooo bomb!!!!! I'm going to send as many pics as I can!!! Welp, like I said this week, was quite difficult cause no one wanted us, but it was a big learning experience!! It also gave us time to read over conference talks from Oct!!!! One I really enjoyed reading again was Elder Bednar's!!!! The last one where he talks about how its so awesome that this church is run by old men!!!!! Haha I didn't realize how much I had forgotten until I went back and read them!! Real talk, they were so bomb and I couldn't put down the Ensign!! I think I talked about this earlier in the mission, but his talk goes really well with D&C 1:38 (or 39 or both haha can't remember exactly)!!! But it was so awesome because its scripture for our's the talks and revelation given to the apostles and prophet to be able to give us all hope, peace, and a strengthening of our faith as we continue to read and ponder their words!! Because it's coming straight from the Lord!!! I believe that's what the scripture says!!! And one more thing this week, on Christmas Eve, Elder Speakman and I went out and took some little gifts we made for some investigators and a couple member families, and we dropped by Lui's, (the drug lord), haha after he told us not to give him anything because he didn't want us to come while he was drunk with some friends and he didn't want to say anything he didn't mean, but we dropped by anyways just to give him some brownies we had gotten from a member, and it was like the happiest day of his life!!!!! I had been meaning to take it to a different investigator but Speakman thought we should take it to him, and the beam in his face when he saw us was indescribable. I've come to realize that Christlike love, Charity, is something that when given, you receive back in joy and thanksgiving because of the change and help that you give to that particular person!! Which takes me to the other talk I really loved, was Through God's Eyes by Elder Renlund!! When I reread it, my mind immediately put his talk into missionary work!! When we see people as they're parents see them, as our Father in Heaven sees them, there is no one that we can say that we do not want to help them in ANY way we can!!! We have quite a few investigators who are really trying to do the right thing, and the biggest thing they need is just encouragement from us...we can only do so much to help, but with constant encouragement, prayer and fasting, it's incredible to be able to see and help these people in what seems like their darkest hour!! And with this new year coming up, that's really all I wish that we all find someone, who may just need encouragement, love, support, the Atonement, whatever it may be, we can be the link from them to Christ, and that can make all the difference! I LOVE YOUS ALL AND HAVE A BOMB NEW YEAR!!!!!!

Hey and thank everyone for the video that yous sent of the fam singing happy birthday!! I loved it!!! Oh and could I possibly get some work out bands?? Once I leave this area, I probably won't have a weight set, and nothing to work out with/: OH and possibly a great read if you can find it I would love it!!! It's called Defenders (or Defense) of Faith and it's a book written about a debate between a pair of elders and basically all the religions in Samoa! I don't want it to bash, but it's nice to know what in heavens name all these religions believe and answers to some insanely hard questions they ask! 

I LOVE YOUS ALL AND HAD AN AMAZING AS TIME SKYPING WITH YOUS ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have a very happy new year and an amazing as week!!!!

Love Elder Larson
Rain doesn't stop the work of the LORD!!!! It just causes us to go shower cause that puddle has heaps of dead and alive frogs in it.

UMU FO DAYS!!!  This is me valo se popo!! Getting to the baby coconut! 
ULU - The thing in my hand is the ulu or breadfruit....we're taking the skin off with a ripped can bottom

Beginning...this is what it looks like at the beginning       

This is palosami...basically taro leaves and coconut meat smashed into cream
Taking all the hot popo husks and rocks off
This is right before we put all the banana leaves on top and rugs

UA UMA...the finished oven umu!!!

Same thing we did with the ulu we did with taro...which is the thing in my hand