Zone Conference and a Final Good-bye

We met with the zones here on Upolu. They are learning and growing right before our eyes. Missionaries who were shy and quiet have become powerful agents. They teach doctrine with their comments and testify of the Savior in ways that change lives.

Northeast and Northwest Zones

Central, Apia and Southwest Zone

We sadly announce that we have been given a medical release by the Church. President Tolman has struggled for many months with health issues and has developed a new condition that cannot be diagnosed or treated here. There are not words adequate to express the sadness we feel leaving these remarkable disciples. We love every single one of these missionaries. We know they have great things to do and to accomplish here in Samoa. They will continue to have our hearts and our prayers.

An interm mission president couple has been called. Elder and Sister Saunders have been serving for 15 months in American Samoa. They have run the mission office there and are extremely capable. They know most of our missionaries and already love them. These missionaries will be well-cared for and will continue to grow under their inspired and loving leadership.

A new mission president is being called. We do not know the timeline for their arrival, but I am sure they will bring wonderful things to the Samoa Apia Mission.

It is in times like these where nothing seems to make sense that the only thing we can do is to trust in God. I read a quote a few months ago. It went something like this, "When trials seem unbearable, do not trust your feelings. The only thing you can trust is the doctrine you know about God." Trying to find the whys in a situation like this only leads to unproductive places, so we have chosen to trust the doctrine we know about God. We know he loves us and is working in our lives to bring about change and growth. That doesn't mean that sometimes it won't hurt. One of our missionaries said this week at zone conference he believes God does His best work in times of darkness and despair. I think that says it all. We are deeply grateful to have spent time with your sons and daughters. We feel privileged to have cared for them and loved them!

If you wish to continue to follow the happenings of the mission, you can do that on the Saunders blog. It can be found at http://saundersmission.blogspot.ca.

President and Sister Saunders




21 comments:

  1. I have grown so fond and loving of the two of you. Thank you so much for looking after our boys and girls. May the Lord's choicest blessings be upon the two of you President & Sister Tolman. Alofa atu...

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  2. Thank you so much for all that you have done for the missionaries is Samoa. Our son has expressed his sadness at your leaving. Know that you are loved and appreciated by the missionaries you served. Thank you for your service, love toward our missionaries, and this blog. Blessing to you both as you journey home and get the medical care necessary for a speedy recovery. Thank you, Thank you!
    The Wallwork's

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. We pray for you and President. Thank you for your love of our missionaries and your wonderful service.
    Love, The Samasei'a's

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  5. Thank you for the love and wonderful example you have been for the missionaries in Samoa. You will truly be missed! I wish the best for you and President Tolman! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!

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  6. Mahalo nui loa dear President Tolman for creating a climate of obedience and spirituality in the Samoa Apia Mission. Mahalo to you and Sister Tolman for your inspired and devoted leadership as you trained each one of our missionaries. Your missionaries who remain behind in Samoa will carry forth in the work of the Savior, "facing" the Lord in all that they do, just as you have taught them. They will, in turn, teach the incoming missionaries the lessons that you taught them: Use the Spirit in all that you do. Face the Lord at all times. Create a culture of obedience and spirituality in the mission. Remember that you represent the Savior and the true church in all that you do and say; let your conduct reflect the high commission that you have been given.

    Your dedicated service in the face of physical adversity has sanctified your efforts. Moreover, your missionaries will never forget how much you love them and how much you love the Lord. We pray that you will be completely healed and return to full health and vigor. We send our prayers and deepest aloha to you!

    Fa'afetai tele lava,
    Clinton and Shellie Naungayan (grandparents to Elder Forsythe)

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  7. President and Sister Tolman,

    Our son said it best when he told us last week, "President and Sister Tolman have been amazing, and I have learned so much form them. I would like to model my life after his, and he has really helped me to become the missionary and person that I am today.Thank you so much for everything President and Sister Tolman!"

    We echo his sentiments and thank you both for the love, devotion, dedication and hard work you have given. Thank you for your examples and the legacy you've given-

    Mark and Heather Hunter

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  8. Talofa Lava Dear President & Sister Tolman,

    Although our Family History assignment to Samoa was brief (middle of February to the middle of March of this year) we were so blessed to be part of the team for that short time. Know we will continue to hold you both in our prayers. Elder & Sister Bennett

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  9. thanks for everything you guys have done for the Mission and for us that have been Returned With Honor we love you and pray for a speedy recovery..
    Alofa Atu
    Formelry Elder Taufa
    Samoa Apia Mission 2013 - 2015

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  10. Thank you President and Sister Tolman for teaching, guiding and helping our missionaries. What a blessing you have been to them! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for helping our son, Elder McWilliams. He speaks highly of you and love you both. We hope to see you when President Tolman feels better. So glad we live in the same state! Love you both!
    Faafetai lava!

    Matt and Elsie McWilliams

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  11. I was just corresponding with an old Samoan missionary, Paul Cox, and shared this link about our friend Reed Tolman. I was so surprised to scroll down and see my photo of the Sacred Grove behind President and Sister Saunders. Bruce Barnes - Samoa mission 1971-73.

    Hello to Matt and Elsie McWilliams (previous post). They are in my ward here in Arizona.

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