Walking to the Edge of the Light

It is hard to believe that another six weeks have passed since the last transfer and yet here it is again. We received 17 new missionaries and said good-bye to 10. It is always a stressful/happy/sad/exciting/worrisome/thrilling and wonderful week. Make sure to check the Life with Missionaries page for individual pictures.

New Missionaires

New Missionaries and Trainers

Saying good-bye is always difficult. Many of these missionaries live here in Samoa; we look forward to watching them progress and become powerful leaders among the Samoan Saints.

Tofa Soifua--We love you!

We also called two new assistants, Elder Wengert and Elder Suiaunoa. Elder Hodges and Elder Suianunoa will be in the office working with us to support and train missionaries. Elder Wengert and Elder Moe are what we have termed "proselyting assistants." They have been given the task of traveling the mission and spending time with companionships. Sometimes it may be a 24 hour exchange; sometimes they may be a few days in one area. We believe they will bring great strength to the missionaries in the field, especially those who are in remote areas. We are grateful for each of these four young men. We see such earnestness in their faces as they work to serve God and keep pace with Him as He hastens His work.

Elder Suiaunoa, Elder Hodges, Elder Moe, Elder Wengert

I read something by Elder David A. Bednar  this week, which has application to all of these changes in our mission. He said, "Faith as the assurance of things hoped for looks to the future. This assurance is founded upon a correct understanding about and trust in God and enables us to "press forward" into uncertain and often challenging situations in the service of the Lord." There are so many times when we and our missionaries must "press forward into uncertain and often challenging situations" as we serve Him here in Samoa. I am sure that every mission has its challenges; our's certainly does. Heat, humidity, illness, temptations, language, culture and on and on. Elder Bendar went on to say (and reference Elder Boyd K. Packer), "And assurance and hope make it possible for us to walk to the edge of the light and take a few steps into the darkness--expecting and trusting the light to move and illuminate the way. The combination of assurance and hope initiates action in the present."

I see missionaries every day taking those first few tentative steps into the darkness as they exercise their faith unto doing and working. I have witnessed it as a young missionary holds onto a priesthood blessing of healing. I have witnessed it as a missionary has let go of who he used to be and fully embraced himself as a missionary and servant of the Lord. I have witnessed it as a missionary has committed to change and begins to plan and prepare with a full heart committed to the Savior. I have witnessed it when I hear a missionary's apology and sincere commitment to do better. I have witnessed it as a missionary has turned over worries about his family to the Lord. I witness it every day.

If a mission is meant to change a missionary we have to be willing to let them walk into the darkness by faith. Sometimes that is difficult for me; I want to protect them. I reminds me of when our oldest son served his mission in Brazil. One day I was listing in silent prayer everything I needed the Lord to do for him; it was quite a list! And then the quiet but powerful reminder from the Lord came into my heart and my head, "I have trusted you for 19 years won't you trust me for two?" I am grateful for the remarkable and clear way that the Savior of the world is mindful of every missionary and every one of us! Walking into the dark doesn't seem so scary knowing He walks with us.


  1. Pres. and Sis. Tolman, THANK YOU for your awesome leadership and for sharing your wonderful experiences and insights in this blog! Also, thanks for reminding us that as parents, we can be at peace knowing that our missionary sons and daughters are in the hands of the Lord, and that is the safest place they could possibly be!

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