Comings and Goings

This week brought us a new missionary, Elder Falema'i. We are thrilled to have him join our mission. He carries an incredible spirit and determination. Welcome Elder Falema'i!

We said good-bye to three remarkable missionaries this week. I told them we would feel a "loss in the force" as they return home. They have been noble missionaries and representatives of Jesus Christ. They have come to love the people of Samoa. We were able to witness some of the sweet farewells with those they had loved and served. What they have learned in Samoa will bless their lives. The Samoan people have taught them generosity, charity, friendship and faith. They will be missed by many. Tofa soifua Elders.

Left to right, front row: Elder Swenson, Elder King, Elder Massey
Back row: Elder Shepherd and Elder Si'ilata (our assistants)

Our shipment container from home came this last week. It felt like Christmas morning as I unpacked each box of belongings from home. I was anxious to find the box that contained my most prized possessions. Of course, it was the last box I opened! As I unpacked and arranged the pictures of our family, my heart was heavy. I miss them. And yet, I somehow know somewhere deep inside of myself that the blessings they will receive in our absence will be far greater than anything I could provide by being home.

Before we came to Samoa, we spent five days at the MTC in Provo being instructed by the twelve apostles, seventies and other authorities. Many times our family was mentioned and many promises of blessings were given. I am so grateful for those promised blessings.

Leaving family for three years was a difficult reality to accept. This kind of an assignment causes deep searching. Can we do this? Is it even possible? The bottom line is that we serve because we love Him; we serve because we have made covenants.

Bishop Caussé taught at the seminar that the Savior's invitation to "come and follow" Him requires two distinct actions on our part. Coming to the Savior requires sacrifice on our part, but following Him requires us to live the principle of consecration. When we follow Him the journey is likely to never be easy or comfortable. We must be ready and willing to face the same experiences that He faced as he overcame temptation and trials.

Elder Bednar taught on a different occasion, "The principle of sacrifice is a lesser law-preparation for the principle of consecration. Consecration includes and encompasses sacrifice and so much more." Bishop Caussé taught that we cannot be content if we limit ourselves to the law of sacrifice. He went on to teach that consecrated missionaries are valiant in their testimony of the Savior. They have no fear of being rejected or mocked because they know that the Lord will accompany them and protect them always. He went on to teach, "They are not satisfied with a reasonable effort, but work to the very limits of their strength."

These teachings have bolstered my faith and resolve to be a consecrated missionary. I want every promised blessing for my family. I want them to grow in power and testimony. I want them to feel the effects of the sacrifice and consecration that they make by supporting our efforts. They are amazing people. Each member of our family blesses our lives in some unique way. They reach out to us and find ways of showing support from 6000 miles away. Consecration requires the very best of what we have to offer. It requires that we do hard things like travel to a distant land very different from our own. It certainly requires finding faith we didn't think we had.

To our children, their spouses and our grandchildren: we love you. Thank you for who you are and who you are becoming. You motivate us to work a little harder and stand a little taller. Your examples inspire us. Your love for each other comforts and strengthens us.

1 comment:

  1. Sister Tolman, Thank you for your blog posts! They have quickly become a highly anticipated part of our Sabbath Day.
    As a parent and grandparent I think I can understand what a sacrifice it must be to leave beloved children and adorable grandchildren to consecrate yourself to this effort. I pray your family receives all the blessings you rightly desire for them during your absence.
    As the parent of one of your missionaries I testify that we are experiencing those blessings in our family. As both of our sons have served, we have seen increased power and testimony in our family. We glory in the results of the sacrifice and consecration they have made and we count it a privilege to support this great work. What we give in separation from our loved one, financial support, and anything else is such a small price for what we have seen in return.
    God bless you and your family as you serve.