Sunday, December 28, 2014

Happy 19th Birthday Gator!!

Malo Soifua Aiga!!!

Dang crazy week all around! Not really too much to write because I got to talk to you all on Christmas which honestly was my favorite gift. So happy that you all got the box, and I hope you enjoyed your gifts!

Mo'o and Mom at Christmas breakfast. DELICIOUS!!! :)

 Here's the update:

-Elder Mo'o and I were going to a lesson when I had an impression to get on my knees and say a prayer. It was kinda strange because we were on a kind of messed up road in the jungle--but we listened to the prompting and it was a really cool experience. The rest of the day we had really good lessons and gave out a Tusi A Mamona (Book of Mormon).  Sometimes we get small strange and sometimes seemingly awkward promptings.  But I promise you that as you listen to them, you will receive unseen blessings.

-Transfer calls were last night and Elder Mo'o is going to Upolu. 
I have been Malolo'd and am no longer a DL. However, I am now a trainer! I pick up my new comp wednesday. His name is Elder Auguso (I think) and he is from Australia. I'm a little worried about my language but the family says they will help me out.

-It's weird but I'm officially 19! Dang this year went by so fast! 

Thank you Valentine for my pug shirt ;)

-Thank you soo much for the Birthday gifts!!! I love the Uke. Can't wait to have a jam sesh haha
Remember to be thankful for all of the little things.  For me I'm thankful for:

-Freedom of Religion
-My Family
-A hot slice of pepperoni pizza
-Filberto's California Burritos
-Washing Machines
-Hot showers

That's honestly the biggest things that have happened. My mind is still racing from the transfers! It'll all go well though. I'll make sure to write more next week. I LOVE YOU ALL! 

Alofa Atu,
Elder Hunter S.G.

Gator Humor:

I got bored and wrote "SH" on our fan that is an AKIRA fan.
It makes me laugh whenever I see it haha

Some see cute little puppies....Elder Langi sees two little plump steaks hahaha
PS. Is Tilley still fat?

PPS. Is there a Jenny Craig thing for dogs?  JK Love you big booty Judy!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

"Linda"-she's a killer...

Malo Soifua Aiga!

Dang it's almost Christmas/My Birthday and I'm away... Kinda brutal but it'll be all good haha.

I got your boxes!!! THANK YOU! So tempting but I haven't opened them yet. 
OH I also got all of Nana's. Fa'afetai tele lava!!! (Thank you very much)  

Well here is the update:

-We had a Christmas activity at Vaiola and Fusi this tuesday. It was for all of the kids on the island and it was pretty fun!

They chased a greased pig which was pretty funny haha

-O a'u o se tulimanu!!!!  haha I have officially killed two rats with the black rat trap!

 Mo'o and I have named her "Linda". She's a killer... 
Haha honestly our new favorite toy! :)

-It's not a real mission until you do laundry out of the same bucket you use to shower haha

-We have a family who wants to come back to church and get sealed in the temple. We are trying to help her quit smoking and come back to church, but she is determined to get sealed in the temple which is really awesome! 

-Transfers are on my birthday. A little worried because I think Elder Mo'o is going and I will have to take over the area. We will see what happens. 

All is going well here. I Love you all soo much!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Alofa Atu,
Elder Hunter (Tulimanu) (Chicken Chaser) S.G.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Had to force my gag reflexes to relax

Malo Soifua Aiga!!!

Well not too much to write this week sorry, but here is the update:

-I'm done with the Chigen Gunia. It was miserable but I'm over with it so alls goods

-I ate U'U three times this week. Apparently the village is determined for me to love this stuff by the time I leave. Seriously had to force my gag reflexes to relax a couple of times, but you know all is good.
The nasty U'U aka Lobra

-We committed two people to baptism this week! Pretty cool. One is an older lady who is 74. She's really sweet but there is some concern with regards to her health. I almost lost it because she said, "I got my white dress to wear for my baptism or my funeral." It made me sad, but hopefully it will be for the first. Her name is Avea and she is such a cool lady!

The second is a girl who is dating the bishop's son. They are getting serious so she may have to convert, but we aren't going to force her into the font, we will make sure she knows what she is doing is right or I won't let it happen.

That's really about it sorry. Very excited to call home next week! Happy to hear all is well at home.

Alofa Atu,
Elder Hunter S.G.

My favorite kid in the Nu'u
Cute kids in the village

A family's cow haha idk why I wanted to send it :)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Chikunguna-I don't plan on going back to Taga anytime soon

Malo Soifua Aiga!

Well this week has been....long haha. I really only have one story so here I go:

On Tuesday we had a split with the Elders in Taga. 

Taga is a village on the island of Savai'i in Samoa. It is situated on the south east coast of the island in the district of Palauli.[1]
The population is 753 (2006 Census).[2]

I went to Taga and it was cool because I got to split with Elder Afuvai from my intake. He's the man and it was a good split. 

But the next morning was brutal. So you have an idea...I'm pretty sure mosquitos originate from the village of Taga. There are so many!!!!! 
Well, in the middle of the night my mosquito net blew over from the wind. I woke up to at least 15 mosquitos in my net and a body covered in a rash... I called the mission nurse and told her my symptoms: rash, sore wrists and ankles, migraine, fever, aching body. She told me that I had Chikunguna-- a disease only transmitted by the namu.

Chikunguna Rash

She then said that because I was on Savaii she couldn't really do anything so to just drink a lot of water, rest , and wait it out. So yeah that's been the past 4 days. I'm getting better but still pretty itchy. Haha I was dying on Sunday because I went to sacrament meeting, and everyone asked my sickness. I told them and they all started laughing because no one in my village gets the sickness...
I don't plan on going back to Taga any time soon...Haha
Well, that really is it this week, couldn't really go out. 

On the plus side, I've had a lot of cool things to do out here.  I tried a star fruit the other day. that was a first.  It was good!  It tasted like a sour green apple.  

Haven't eaten dog yet, but I feel it coming soon.  There is a Tongan Elder in our zone who eats them all of the time.  Dogs are like pigs in Tonga, so he loves them.  We are pretty close friends and he always says he's going to cook one for a zone p-day. Its a different world out here.

The cool thing about Samoa is that it's a developing country, but no one ever goes really hungry. They have so many natural resources here and they use all of them.  Especially the coconut.  

Pretty cool how many uses it has.  The husk  can be used as kindling. You drink the coconut water and it is full of nutrients. You eat the coconut meat inside as a tasty snack. You can grind up the inside to feed pigs/chickens or you can use it to squeeze out coconut milk to use for sauces.  Pretty cool. 

All is good though. Man I miss the Holiday stuff. Seriously I'd love to hear an original Christmas song. Every song here is just like the rest of them. Heavy Bass, reggae up beat, and a Samoan singing with a T-Pain sucks... 

I miss you all and can't wait to call on Christmas!!!
Alofa Atu,
Elder Hunter S.G.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The mission is such a cool thing!

I'm pretty sure I'm losing 5 years off of my life from Koko Samoa.

Malo Sofuia Aiga!

Don't get mad, but I really don't have too much to write about this week. I'm surprised that it is already Monday here, the time is honestly flying!

Life is all good. And that's about it.  haha.
I'm enjoying the people in my area. The mission is such a cool thing.  Everyday I get an experience or a story.  Someone once told me if you don't come home everyday with a story, then you aren't working- SO TRUE!  I guess I'm doing well because I have tons of stories!

Thanksgiving was a little depressing. Elder Mo'o and I got the Thanksgiving box from you all though so we had the food. Delicious thank you! Haha we couldn't find a microwave so we just fried it up.
False Advertisment….

 Well, here is a list of things I am very thankful for:

The Gospel, My Family, Freedom of Religion, Hot showers, My bed, flip-flops, washing machines, mosquito nets…the list goes on, but unfortunately I get to enjoy very few of these in Samoa.
 So in the words of John Mayer, "You don't know what you got till it's 

We got the Christmas box too. Sorry we had to open it because there was food in it and the ants here destroy anything with food. Thanks it was awesome!!!

Trying to cool down!

I feel kinda fat and the little girl I live by tells me I'm fat so that's my motivation to exercise haha Idk  I've been jump roping and doing push ups every night. Haven't changed pant sizes though so that's good.

Tell Brother Schwenke he's the man. I can't wait to speak Samoan when I get back :)

I'm doing good, and the work is progressing. One of our investigators says she wants to be baptized so hopefully we can set a date this week.

Elder Mo'o and I are all good, he's honestly a stud. 

So for Christmas, I can skype, however I have to find someone in our village with a computer to let us...which won't happen. So I'll call on the 26th here, which will be Christmas there. They give me 30-40 minutes to call. Looking forward to it :)

That's it for me. All is good here. I love you all and look forward to hearing from you!
Alofa Atu,
Elder Hunter S.G.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Three strikes and I'm Uma!

My New District

Talofa Aiga!!!

It was a good week in Samoa! Some random stuff happened so never a dull moment haha. Here's the update:
-The work is starting to pick up in our area which is cool.  We have really focused on praying for each individual family. 

-I was sitting in a lesson when I felt something on my head. I grabbed it and it was a lizard. I threw it away from me. At the next lesson, another lizard crawled on me... Pretty random but I thought, "What are the chances twice in one day?"

-Everyone asks "Have you got a girlfriend yet?"  Haha, yeah- no.

-I bought a belt made out of a cow from this guy. 
It's really cool looking and I named her "Lola." :)

-I was able to give a blessing to a less-active member which was really cool. She is staying with her uncle right now now who is strong Loku Kaiti (Tahitian Church), so he makes her go there. Once she leaves she says she is going back to our church. It was a cool experience and she says she is going to try and share Le Tusi A Mamona with her family.

Spiritual Experience:

There is this guy named Avii in our village who just got home from his mission in Australia. His testimony was very powerful, and it was very clear that he returned with honor. He said how before the mission, he was a strong smoker and really didn't like the church, but that the missionaries would always visit him and befriended him. He said that they convinced him to go change and to go on a mission. He said it was the best decision he ever made. Everyone in the village is so impressed by how much he has changed, it was really cool!

Funny Experience:
I'm a three strikes your out type of person...So when I found the first piece of hair in my food at a Fofoga I thought, "Oh that's just the mission, haha awesome." 
The second piece I thought, "Man it's just not my day." 
Finally, third piece of hair and I was like 
"Uma."(Finished-done)  haha 

I want you all to know that I love you all very much. The Gospel is so true. I love hearing about home, keep it up! 

Alofa Atu,
Elder Hunter S.G.

Wish List: .....Christmas is coming: Old fashioned rat traps and a Hamilton Sticker

This is a guy in my ward feeding his chickens

Friday, November 14, 2014

Describing Samoa Letter

          Well, I just got a letter from you all with envelopes and stamps, so I guess I have to write back huh?  Ha ha.  Glad to hear all is going well with you all.

Well, here is one of those describing Samoa letters.  At this point, I'm used to the food pretty much.
I'm pretty used to finding flies in my Koko and the occasional hair in my Saimini ;)

         I live in a small house/shack think on a family's land.  Elder Mo'o and my pieces of foam are right next to each other.  We have some mats, a couple of chairs, mosquito nets, a fridge and that's about it.  Food isn't really a personal thing here.  If it's in the fridge, it's fair game!

         Culture is very different.  cool, but different.  For such a humble people, they are also very proud. Walking on someone's land we have to say a speech.  Going into a fale, another speech. After Fofoga, another speech.  Always have your legs crossed, never pointing at someone. When you pass food or go in front of someone you have to say "Tulou" or in English, "excuse me.

         The language is hard...The order doesn't make sense in English.  The translation often doesn't mean the same thing.  Samoan has many words that have multiple meaning for the same word. T's turn to K's when you are speaking in a more informal tone, and you must know when to be formal and when not to. For example,  "Sa ou tala'i i le nu'u a FaleLatai" would turn into, "Sa ou kala'i i le nu'u o Falelakai," depending on who I'm talking to.  I'm getting better, but it's not easy for me like Spanish was.  In fact, Spanish gets in the way a lot haha.  I often try to think of the Samoan word, but the Spanish word comes to mind.

          Missionary service is different out here.  Everyone lets us into their home. But only a few are interested in what we have to say. Difficult sometimes to see if they are actually interested or not.  It is extremely religious here, but there isn't a freedom of religion.  Some villages, it is Fa'a Sa (forbidden) for Faifeau talai (missionaries) to proselyte.  Other villages you have to be Catholic or you can't live in the village.  Frustrating sometimes, but not much to be done.

           I do bucket laundry every Monday.  It's a process, but I'm getting better at it.  Everyone tries to give us free stuff here.  They believe they receive blessing for it.  Service can be difficult.  No one wants us to serve them , so sometimes even if they say no- we do it.

          Days I love it here. Others I can't wait to be home.  But I know I need to be here. By now you've probably gotten my last letter.  i've had a lot of feelings of inadequacy out here.  Mostly language and culture. At times, I can honestly say I've considered coming home. But then, there are those days when I give an entire family a blessing, or when i see the light in investigator's eyes and I think it's absolutely worth it.  I've done hard things before: trek, Hamilton Football, etc.  This is by far the hardest.  However I can say with all honesty that it is the most rewarding.  I want time to go faster, but I know that I need to enjoy this opportunity.

           I love and miss you all so much.  Writing these letters are always very bittersweet for me.  i look forward to the day when I return home with honor-knowing that I truly was an instrument in the Lord's hands.  The gospel is so true.  Go forth and bodily declare it.  Nothing in this life will bring greater happiness.

Ou te alofa ia te outou.  E mumua, ona ou sii le viiga ma le faa'fetai i lo tatou 
Tama Fa'alelagi noa lenei avanoa e fa'asoa atu lenei molimau. Ou te iloa emoni lene: 
Ekulesia. Ou te iloa o Ieso Keriso o le Faaola o le Lalolagi. ou te molimau atu afai outou
 faitau le Tusi a Mamona aso uma, olea outuu mava pota ma mava se laona filemu. 
Ou te ioloa o Thomas . Monson o se perofeta moni. 
Ou te ilou emoni le Togiola ou te molimau atu o le Togiola emafai ai ona. 
Tatau Sa'olato mai agasala. Ou te molinau atu a fai outou usiusitai a le poloaiga, olea outou maua fa'amanuiaga. I le suafa o le alo o le Atua, Iesu Keriso, Amene.

Alofa Atu,
Elder Hunter

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Cussing in church

Sunday, November 2, 2014

I can literally play connect-the-dots across my body

Malo Soifua Aiga!

An interesting week, but at the same time not to much to report. 

First though, two big shout outs to my boy Tanner and my sister Rian. HAPPY (belated) BIRTHDAY!!! You two are both huge parts of my life and I love you both!!! Hope it was a good one! Alright, here is the weekly update:

-I get eaten alive every day...I can literally play connect-the-dots across my body and I'm pretty sure it would make a pretty detailed picture...

-I got a little sick this week, I think it was the flu, but I'm getting better.

...And that's about it haha sorry. I'll definitely write a letter home this week. 

On the Spiritual Side:

Since my time in Samata/Fagafau, two people have died. The second just happened on Friday. It was really sad because we were over at a house teaching a lesson when the woman received the call that here husband had died. She lost it in font of us, pounding the floor and screaming, "He was the one who was supposed to strengthen me" and "He didn't even get to kiss his kids goodbye"... It was difficult for Elder Mo'o and I to watch and we tried to comfort her. 

I do know that the Plan of Salvation is so real, and it gave her comfort to know that she would see her husband again. 

I love you all so much. 

If you are a part of this Gospel, stay with it. If you are not, please come, Feel the joy and peace that comes through living it's teachings. 

I hope you all have a great week!

Alofa Atu,
Elder Hunter S.G.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Will I eat it again?…..NAW

Talofa Aiga,

Since my time in Samoa I've come to learn the golden rule of Samoa:
Expect the unexpected

I apologize for not writing last week. Email is a serious struggle sometimes here. It was extremely difficult because we had enough internet gigabytes to read our emails but not enough to send any out. 

When I read mom's email last week, I had a very difficult time. I know we have grown apart a little over the past couple of years, but I've known Brady for a long time. I was crying and praying for his family that entire night. That next morning, I felt a certain peace. I knew that this was an extremely difficult thing, but I also was so happy for the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation.
 I know that we will see our loved ones again. 
This life is not the end. 
Please let the Greens know of my love for them and their son. 

Well, here is some of the info you were supposed to get last week:

-I officially got my first baptism! Her name was Ituau and it was an amazing experience. No big deal, but I said it in perfect Samoan. :) The Baptism was awesome!!! the water was nasty though. I probably have some type of skin disease haha

-A Tongan elder in my district ate a dog last week, and it happened to be a family's dog…so that was fun haha

-I am currently in the lead for most bizarre mission food. First the U'u (Lobra)but I've recently topped it with a delicacy here. It's called Palolo  (I know Auntie Amy is smiling right now :) ). It only comes once a year so it's very expensive here, and the whole village shuts down to go catch it... Very salty, but its alright. 

Will I eat it again? 

Palolo is Coral Sperm…So to all my friends in the mission field beat that haha

Very grateful that Amy and Lucky are good. SHOW THEM THIS NEXT EMAIL haha I know they will love it! 

I have a feeling I'm getting transferred in the next three weeks for follow up training. FOBing out hahaa

Congrats to Nate! 

I asked about what he liked in his care packages. Here's Gator's response:
Breakfast- Bars
Healthy food!!!! mostly snacks  idk
stuff with fiber. Nature valley bars. regular cliff bars. anything that I can eat throughout the day. The apple sauce was good, just not too filling. I'll take anything. BEEF JERKEY please!!!  I asked for a salad one time, and they didn't know what it was...

I love you all so much and hope you are all doing well. The Gospel is so true. Tell everyone and anyone. Be bold.

Alofa Atu,
Elder Hunter S.G.