Sunday, June 14, 2009

Spud is doing awesome! He's been out almost 6 months and he's developed such a love for the people and the country. The language is starting to come and I think he's pretty much over the homesickness. He has had a lot of success and he is increasing his testimony and love for the gospel every day. We look forward to the next 18 months!

They love to have a good time and enjoy life. It's good to know that Spud hasn't lost his dancing skills. (Did he ever really have them?)

The islands of Samoa are so green and beautiful!

Sorry... couldn't figure out how to rotate this picture. This is the way they have to shower and do their laundry. If it is raining, they will go out into the rain with a bar of soap (and a lava lava) and enjoy a shower in the rain.

Here's Spud enjoying his time with his Samoan friends.

Spud is getting his first hair cut. He said the sissors were really old, but it turned out fine. He doesn't seem as concerned about his hair as he used to be.


Here is a sample of the food that Spud gets to eat. He has tried just about everything they have made for him and he is beginning to like the food. They are so generous and will give the missionaries the very best they have. They eat on the floor on these woven mats. Usually the men of the house, and the missionaries, eat first. Then the women and children can eat.

This is Spud's first house where he and Elder Anderson lived. He said the entire house was about as big as his bedroom. There is no indoor plumbing and they would have water if it happened to rain. This is laundry day.

Spud loves the kids there. He said they really like him too, probably because he is a "palagi" - a white boy.

They have had a lot of success in Samoa. The work is going great and the people there really love and respect the missionaries. They are great to give referrals and it seems there is always someone to teach.

I just had to throw this one in. This is when they were getting ready to leave the MTC for Samoa. Spud said this way really hard. They had too much stuff to try to pack. He sent a couple of boxes home.

Samoa is such a beautiful country. As Glen said it best, "Samoa is truly paradise." Here is a picture of the temple in Apia.

Here is Spud with Sepa and his companion, Elder Anderson. He said that she has become such a strong member. She attends every meeting, firesides, baptisms, and loves to cook for them.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Spud is doing awesome! The work is really going strong in Samoa. He ended up baptising Sepa and three others. When Spud was baptising Sepa, he said the fonts are all outside and the ward mission leader filled up the font for her. When Spud got there, he said that they didn't rinse out the font first so the water was the mirkiest brown ever. He said that she was supposed to come up clean but she came up dirtier than when she went down. He and Elder Anderson are currently teaching 7 new investigators and hoping for more baptisms this week. He told us that last week he was teaching a man named Sio. While he was bearing his testimony, the spirit was so strong and he said the words just flowed out of his mouth. He said it was one of the best lessons he had done and he knew that the Lord was helping him. The language is finally starting to come, but he is learning every day. Elder Anderson hurt his knee playing rugby, so he had to go to Apia and have surgery. While he was gone, Spud worked with other missionaries on Savaii. He got a chance to work with Elder Wiscombe, Derek's cousin, and he had a great time with him. He said he helped him a lot with the language and they got along great. Elder Wiscombe goes home in about a week and Spud said he will really miss him. He has had some really weird things to eat... pigeon, eel, octupus, bat, along with chicken, pig, coconut, taro, and other fruits. He is starting to get used to the food there and he has not been sick since he arrived. He usually eats two meals a day, called fafaga's, and the food is prepared by the Samoans. They take really good care of the missionaries. It rains a lot and sometimes that's how they shower. They take a bar of soap and go outside in their lava lavas and get clean. How would that be? Spud loves to watch the sunset. He is one of the very last people to see the sun go down each day. Samoa is a beautiful place. I hope to get some pictures soon.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

We got our first e-mail from Spud the following Monday. We were so excited to hear from him but he seemed a little overwhelmed. He was sent to the Island of Savaii with Elder Anderson. Elder Anderson is a zone leader so we knew he would work hard and teach Spud well. He was adjusting to the heat and the food, can't understand anything being said, has to bath out of a bucket, and he missed his family. On the positive side, he got to baptize someone two days after he was there. He thought that was great. Also, he and his companion contacted an elderly woman named Sepa that was interested in talking to them and learning more. She had attended an LDS church once in New Zealand and was interested in what she saw and learned there. But then a week later, we got his next e-mail. He was like a completely new missionary! The island is beautiful, the people are wonderful, and they shower in the warm rain wearing their lava lavas. He is still teaching Sepa. He has learned how to crack open a coconut and next he wants to learn how to climb the coconut trees. He was doing great and loving it! He still can't speak the language very well and the Samoans like to tease him but that's o.k.. He is craving pop-tarts so we will send him some in his next package.

Here is Spud and President Haleck in front of the Samoan temple. The day there got there, they got to go to the temple. I had to call Derek Wiscombe and spell out the words behind them to make sure it was the temple. He assured me that it was. They stayed in the mission home that night and the next day was transfer day and they got their new companions and areas where they will be serving. Spud got Elder Anderson, from the Salt Lake area, as a companion and they were sent to the island of Savaii.

Here he is in the Samoan airport. This was taken with his companions and his mission president, President Haleck. I know the temperature was pretty hot there... why are his companions still in their suit jackets? Looks like Spud has the right idea.
Spud left the MTC on March 3. His flight left Salt Lake City around 5:00 and he flew to Los Angeles. He had a four hour layover in Los Angeles and we got to talk with him for quite awhile. He actually gave out a Book of Mormon to someone in the airport. He's starting his missionary work already. He left Los Angeles around 11:00 at night and flew all night until he arrived in Samoa.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Spud only has one week left before he heads out. He will leave on March 3 around 5:00 in the afternoon. He will fly to Los Angeles and stay there until 10:00 at night. They will fly all night long (about a 10 hour flight) and arrive in Samoa early in the morning. He's excited and ready to leave the MTC. He's looking forward to a Big Mac at the airport. He's also nervous and wishes he had the language down better. Ready or not, here it comes!

Just another fun picture I liked...

These are some of the missionaries in Spud's district. They had a lot of fun together. They gave out MTC awards... "I want my mommy", "most likely to go bald first", "most likely to bible bash"... and Spud won "the biggest flirt". I'm not sure how he won that when there are no girls to flirt with. I think it's from all the mail he gets.
On Valentine's day, we sent these guys a fun package. Today they are sporting their Valentine ties. Don't they look sharp?!? I'm sure all the other missionaries were envious of these guys!

I just thought this picture was cool. This is Spud's ring. I like the heart that the light made on his scriptures. What a photographer!

Here is Spud with Brother Hunter. He says that Brother Hunter is one of the most gospel sound, smartest men he has ever met. He thinks he is one of the three Nephites... or a prophet in disguise. He has really enjoyed him and all his teachings. He is one of his branch counselors and an institute teacher at UVU.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Spud has made it over hump-day in the MTC. He said that now they are speaking only in Samoan. This is a little frustrating to him, as he still feels he doesn't know as much as he would like. He's determined to keep pressing forward and working hard. Here is our newest addition to the family... the next best thing to Spud being here. We just keep moving him from room to room. (Sometimes we put a Red Sox hat on him)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Here are Spud and his MTC buddies in front of the Provo Temple. They go every Thursday at 3:10. He tells us that if we ever feel the desire to attend a session in Provo, 3:10 is the ideal time to go. It's tempting! I will say the Elder Teaupa wins the contest for the ugliest tie. A couple of these Elders are from Samoa going to Denver. Hopefully Spud will see them back in Samoa at the very end of his mission.

Here's Spud with Brady Thompson. He lived in Grandma's ward and his dad is grandma's bishop. Brady played baseball at Bonneville High School and now the two of them are already planning on playing softball together when they get home. Brady will be serving in the Washington D.C. Mission.

Spud's buddy, Cameron Oldham, was in the MTC at the same time for about a month. Cameron actually went in a couple of months before Spud, but he had to stay a little longer to learn his language. He was called to the Ukraine Mission. He should be there now.

Spud's Aunt Karen and Uncle Bruce were in the MTC at the same time. They entered on Jan. 5th and left on Jan. 10th. They are going to serve in India. It was great for Spud to see them while they were there! Good luck Kinneys.

Here's Spud and Elder Vaenuku during class. Check out the language in the background. These Elders are in class for 10 hours a day. This language looks hard and a lot of vowels. It's fun to think that Spud will be speaking this fluently before too long... even though he doesn't think so right now. There are just the 4 of them in their class and their sikivi (teacher) is Brother Stevens. Actually, Spud said the language is starting to fall into place just a little.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Spud has almost 3 weeks under his belt. He says that the language is hard and he's gets discouraged, but he'll just keep working hard. His teacher said he's improved a lot, but he doesn't feel like that. He said they're in class over 10 hours a day and when they're not studying, they're eating. Therefore, they spend a lot of time in the bathrooms. He said that the MTC has some of the nicest toilet seats he's seen. He is doing really well and in his words to Lantzen, "A new day has come". - Celine Dion. He has had some great spiritual experiences and he has gained a deeper understand of the atonement. Spud says he has had a lot of mail and he appreciates that. Keep the letters coming!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

After his first two weeks in the MTC, Spud is doing great! The first week, his companion, Elder Teaupa, was sick. Spud got the opportunity to give him a blessing. The language is hard, but he is picking it up little by little. His favorite part is personal study time and singing. He said that when all of the missionaries sing together, it sounds amazing. "We sound like the Tabernacle Choir". There are only 4 missionaries going to Samoa. They all get along great and he said they have become his second family. They play volleyball during gym time and his team rocks! He said the spirit in the MTC is awesome, but sometimes he gets homesick. He gets a lot of mail and his mom sends him fun packages!

Here's Spud with Elder Tyler Brooks. Tyler entered the MTC the same day as Spud. He's going to Spanish speaking Macon, Georgia. It's nice to have friends in the MTC at the same time.

Here is Spud with his Soa (companion), Elder Teaupa. They have a lot of fun together.
Spud and the other 3 Elders here are all going to Samoa. They are Elder Chappell from Delta, Elder Vaenuka, Elder Teaupa (he's Spud's companion), and Spud. Spud loves these guys and says they've become his second family. Don't they look great?

After Spud got all checked in, mom got to pin on the official badge. Now he officially looks the part. Then we all went into the meeting and said our final good-byes. It was such a great day... and a sad day all in one. Go get 'em Elder Toomer!

Wednesday December 31, 2008, the big day finally arrived. His check-in time was at 1:00. It took 2 cars to get all nine of us down there. Spud seemed pretty calm... we even stopped at McDonalds on the way down to get him some lunch.
After dinner, went to have Spud set apart. President Mauer did the honors and the blessing was wonderful. From that time forward, he was an official missionary.

Dec 30, Tuesday night, we went to eat at Tepanyaki. This is one of Spud's favorite restaurants. We requested Paraseth as our cook and we lucked out and got him.

Friday, January 16, 2009

On Friday, Sept. 26 (mom's birthday), Scooter and Spud both got their wisdom teeth out. Scooter got really swollen on the right side and Spud swelled on his left side. Misery loves company!

On Sept. 22 - 25, we took a trip to Nauvoo. It was fun and we saw a lot of interesting things. Spud, dad, mom, and grandma went. We also managed to see a baseball game between the Cardinals and Diamondbacks.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Spud entered the MTC on December 31, 2008.