Monday, November 28, 2011

LAST EMAIL

Uala! lol

Well, we have been just as busy as ever these last few days! Me and my companion got the privilege of accompanying President Leota at our Stake Conference this last Saturday and Sunday. I felt like an AP, LOL! That's the last thing I want to do! He keeps them so busy! They barely have time to think, and I thought me and my companion were busy! LOL But it was really neat at the same time! He gave a very powerful talk in the Priesthood Session and I know that it touched many people to want to be better individuals not only for themselves but also to start helping more with the Lord's work here in Samoa. My President didn't know Samoan before he came so he is still learning, but you should see how far he has come even from the time I have gotten here! He could understand it before he came but he has had a lot of people look down on him because of his Samoan not being very good. It's amazing to see him though, he doesn't let that get him down and he has very good Samoan now! Not perfect but he can hold a conversation and that talk he gave! Wow, he let the spirit do the talking there! It's funny, every time I am with him I either learn something new or I want to be a better missionary. Sometimes he doesn't even have to say anything, you can feel his spirit. I know that he is what the Lord wants for this mission, my companion says that he has never seen the mission progress this fast before. He wishes he could stay longer just to see how the mission is going to be in the future. I'm so thankful to have him as my Mission President. I remember when Elder Pearson came, he said not only are you sent to the mission to help certain people out in the field, but you were sent there because the Lord knew that you would benefit most from your President if you give him the chance. My mission has taught me so much already. My companion says that is how your mission goes. He says in each phase of your mission you learn something new, that will help you on later in life. Sometimes its patience, sometimes its how to be diligent, sometimes its communication with a comp you don't get along with, etc. It seems like everyone that takes there mission seriously, says that each phase taught them something they needed to learn. I know that this whole e-mail thing is going to be hard. My President even said it isn't a bad thing, hearing from your family is a very good thing. It's just right now the Samoa Apia Mission needs this new change. He says maybe it will change in the future when things start to change or when the Lord wants it to change. President does EVERYTHING BY REVELATION. When I finally figured out that, it made me think to myself, am I doing everything by REVELATION! Elder Pearson told us, keep in constant contact with the spirit. He says not only try to do this as missionaries but also when we get home. The Savior taught that we need to never cease to pray in our hearts, as he taught the Nephites in 3 Nephi. I know the world can keep you really busy, but I learned this in my PST the other day.

We can't be idle. If we are idle we are allowing Satan to come an tempt us. Being idle involves being lazy or not doing anything. When we get idle we become bored very quickly and we do stupid things that we know wouldn't please the Lord. We can not allow ourselves to become idle, because idleness is the Devil's Workshop. On the other side. We can't become to busy either. We can't get so busy with the things of the world that we have no time for God. Remember Good, Better, and Best. There are a lot of things that we do that aren't bad, but they keep us away from doing the Best things. When was the last time you attended the temple? When was the last time you and your spouse had a real conversation about gospel principles and helped each other learn the mysteries of God, or the gospel of Jesus Christ. When was the last time you gave service to someone, because you wanted to help them. Are you truly having a gospel study that allows you to learn gospel principles or allowing the scriptures to fill you with the Holy Ghost. Elder Christofferson taught, that sometimes it is good to read straight through the scriptures so we can get a general idea of the history and the topics contained in the scriptures. But most of the time it is better to choose a time limit rather than a set amount of scriptures we should read. If we choose a time limit and take our time reading and FEASTING on the WORD. Then we will gain more insights while reading the scripture! When something doesn't make sense in the scriptures, which often they don't! Read it again, and maybe a third time, read cross references, look up words in the Bible Dictionary. Ask yourself questions! Write those questions down! Ponder what things mean! You probably wont understand everything fully the first time you come across something. But I promise you the more you ponder about your questions and ask yourself why did King Benjamin write that down. Why did Mormon keep this chapter in the Book of Mormon. The more you will be given ideas. You'll get answers! You'll get ideas on how to gainthose answers! Ideas will pop into your brain and most of the time you won't even realize it's Personal Revelation. You'll think it's your conscious! But that doesn't matter! If it's an idea that is related to the gospel, do it! It's a prompting, I promise if you continue to ponder and act on those little ideas of yours, you will be given answers! And it will be fun! Getting personal revelation is the most fun thing ever! I thought that since I was a missionary, things would just come to me! WRONG! I have to do those things too! Even PROPHETS aren't exempt from the things pertaining to the gospel. The reason they have so much power is because they are the ones that follow it! They are the ones that gain faith and Christlike attributes from the gospel and in turn they are given power through the Holy Ghost. The gospel promises us blessings that even little kids can understand! Think about it. All we are asked to do is to live the commandments and we will be given Eternal Life. But there are only a few that will obtain it! WHY! If something like this is so easy to understand, and we are promised something so BIG! Why do only a few people obtain Eternal Life? Because we don't take the time and try to become like little children. We don't take the time and humble ourselves as little children. We don't take the time to become childlike. Not childish. But childlike. Ask yourselves, do I have as much faith as Grace, or Ashlin, or Baylee, or Jimmy. I bet if you really answered yourselves, the answer would be no. I can tell you this, I don't have as much faith as they do. That is something that I am trying to obtain everyday! I need to build my faith! I have come a long way but I have so much more to go. I want to thank you all for what you have done for me, you have all been remarkable examples to me. But I know that we all can improve a little bit each day. The Savior doesn't expect us to be perfect by tomorrow, but he does want us to try our best each and everyday and to become a little bit better each day. When you come to the end of your life, will you be able to say, I tried my best, I gave everything I had and I kept trying to progress each and everyday. It's ok if you had a couple of rough spots here and there, we all do! We're human! That's why repentance is so beautiful! But don't be the person at the end of your life saying, wow, I could have done so much more with my life. That's my biggest fear. With my mission. Is at the end of my mission I hope I don't say, Wow, I could have done so much more with my mission. But by then it will be too late! No one can take back time... But what you can do is, REDEDICATE YOURSELVES TO THE SAVIOR TODAY. That's my motto, everyday before I go preach, I look at that sign! I do want to commend you all for who you are and what you have already become! I read in the December Liahona, and one of the Quorum of the 12, sorry can't remember his name right now! But he said the most meaningful gift we can give to the Savior, is being temple worthy.

Well sorry everyone, I just went off on another preaching moment. I don't know why, you guys should be the one's giving me advice LOL. Ha no, I love when you all give me advice and help me work on things. Believe it or not, it's not easy being a missionary sometimes. Sometimes you get down on yourselves, when you shouldn't! That's the faith thing that I need to work on! Sometimes it isn't easy being exactly obedient! Which I know everyone thinks it's a lot easier for missionaries to be obedient. But there are challenges! We live a strict schedule and life and sometimes Satan tries to get you to sleep in or to distract us. I know it's nothing like the temptations and challenges you face in your everyday life. Satan sure is good at what he does, but I know that you can defeat him if you cling on to the Iron Rod. The Word of God and a prayer in our hearts are simple to understand but hard to actually do. In the Book of Moses, Moses a Prophet, had to ask Satan to leave 5 times(I think 5 LOL) before Satan actually left. When he comes with a temptation, actually TELL him to LEAVE. Do it 4 or 5 times! Just don't let him bring you down. I remember my bishop told me that when temptation comes to him, he has to change the physical environment, which usually means getting up and leaving wherever he is.

I love you all so much and know that your missionary is doing well! I love you all and please write me often through the mail! MOM will you send some stamps, they can't provide as much stamps as missionaries need anymore, and also can you send a lock for my travel suitcase. Sorry, I love you all so much and thank you for your love!

--
Elder Boren

Monday, November 21, 2011

Was Up Yo‏

What's crackin home slices! LOL Sorry yesterday I read about how I'm not suppose to use slang even when I'm writing to yal back home... LOL Sorry but I couldn't resist!

First and foremost! THANK YOU MOTHER! I got 3 packages last week and they were all Christmas! LOL! I wasn't going to open them but my comp said that it was pretty much all food and decorations! So we opened them, sorry I guess I got Christmas really really early this year! Ha but thanks so much mom! And my comp decorated a little part of our house that's got all Christmas, and Jake is the star lol. So if you send a extra camera SD card then I'll send this one I have to you... We have made a couple videos for you that I think you will enjoy lol. Also thanks everyone for the letters! I got one from Shauni, two from Lindsey, one from the Millecam's. It was a pretty good haul! LOL Mom can you send me some teeth whitening things. I guess missionaries have a hard time keeping there teeth white here because we drink cocoa samoa every visit and it's full of sugar. I brush twice a day but I can tell they are starting to lose there whiteness LOL. but don't worry they aren't too bad! So dad a couple of questions for you: Why don't you think the gospel will be preached in the middle east, what do all the scriptures mean that say the gospel will be preached in every nation, kindred, tongue. Does the word nation have a different meaning? And where is the revelation that the US will be hanging by a thread and the priesthood will save it. And where can I learn more about the 12 tribes of Israel. Like how they started and ended up being called that? Ha sorry I'm giving you some hard questions but I always asked you hard questions sometimes. People ask hard questions sometimes, but the main thing that I have learned is that I need to help investigators realize that the main question is, 'Is the Book of Mormon true.' Because if the BOM is true then that means that the Prophet Joseph Smith was a true prophet and that the Church is the Lord's Kingdom here on earth. Usually it's pretty easy to help people realize that that is the most important question. But sometimes they just want you to answer some of there bible questions that they don't understand. It's like they are testing your abilities in the bible. LOL, anyways!

I have some good news! I get one more week to write, so YA! President said if it doesn't work out then we can always change it, but I doubt it will be changed anytime soon. We might get to do an e-mail once a month kind of deal, because I bet the ZL's will be sick of buying everyone's groceries at the first of the month. LOL

So I called Elder Walker this last week. It was good just to talk to him and see how the work is doing over where he is. He is in Savaii so he is in the more less developed part of Samoa. It's more traditional then where I am and I guess he has lost a lot of weight! He is 160 pounds now, he lost like 20 pounds being over there lol. Hopefully we get to be at least in the same zone sometime before he leaves. He only has 9 months left! Holy cow! LOL. But the mission is seeing a lot of changes right now and it's making some people really mad. It's kind of sad that some of the elders aren't supporting President. So are AP's are going to change because they are going home. President called one new one about 3 weeks ago so he would get some experience before the other two left. And transfers are coming up on Dec. 4th and so I might get a new companion. LOL everyone always gets nervous when transfers come up and I can definitely see why now. You are always with your companion and you feel like he is glued to your hip. LOL This whole mission thing teaches you a lot. Because you have to be able to get along with your companion in order to go out and proselyte. It teaches you how to have patience with each other. There are times when we get a little annoyed with another, but all in all we get along great! We have a lot of fun together!

This week we had a baptism! His name was Lualua which means 22. Ha dang Samoan names. He is actually my companions cousin. Pretty cool right! He was one of my favorite investigators because we have been working him since I got here. My last lesson, my companion turned the whole thing over to me. He wouldn't talk, the jerk! LOL, I had to teach the principle and then my companion would double testify. My companion would also answer his questions because I still have a hard time understanding everything. Hopefully that will come soon. But it was by far the most Samoan I have ever spoken. I felt good afterwards and then I realized that it wasn't me. Because right after I couldn't speak again lol... It gets frustrating at times but i've gotten used to it. My companion gave me a compliment, he's like you have handled this situation really well. Most new missionaries stress out a lot, but you seem like you are never stressed. I was like really! It's been stressful but I guess he says I either don't show it or I handle it well. It's probably a little of both.

Ha Lindsey! You want to keep the blog going then. Ok sounds good I guess I'll start sending my big long blog letter to you then! Ha i'll try to write legibly so everyone can read it! Ha thanks so much for doing that too! I know that you are so busy! Thanks everyone for you e-mails and letters! They mean a lot! They always make the work that much easier. Sorry if I sound like a preacher sometimes, I should probably cut that out huh... Bet it gets annoying sometimes... It's just I'm learning so much and just want to share with all of you. Even though all of you spiritual giants have already learned that by now! Ha Samoan's are funny. Like the members, if you share a spiritual thought with them, they call you 'e ke fie agelu!' Which literally means 'you want to be an angel! But it's like the equivalent to our 'he's a peter priesthood or molly mormon.' They think that since they are already members they don't need them... It's kind of funny, but our president said in our mission conference on friday that if someone calls you fia agelu tell them yes, I do want to be an angel. And he turned to Alma 29:1. It was great, but most people are ok with it if we tell them it's something our president asked us to do.

All in all, I have been so blessed to experience this mission. I thought the Lord was sending me to Samoa because Samoa needed me, little did I know that Elder Boren needed Samoa. I wouldn't trade this experience for the world! It has given me so much already! It's hard being away from my family, but I know that you will always be here for me and that means so much! This experience has been incredible and I know that as long as I serve faithfully the Lord will bless me. I have obtained such a stronger relationship with my Heavenly Father and Christ. I know that my redeemer lives and he is the only way back to our Father in Heaven.



--
Elder Boren

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pics






A lot has happened! LOL‏

Malo Soifua tou Susuga, faapena foi le mamalu i tou faletua, aemaise lava le nofoalo!
Congratulations on living your Honors, the same honor goes to your prestigious wives, and especially to your heavenly children.

How is everyone doing! Well not too many complaints on this side of the vineyard. Everything is going a lot better! Sorry for my last letter, I felt like I was just a 'CRYBABY'! It's about time I suck it up huh, lol... But seriously thanks for all the supportive e-mails and letters! They help a lot! Happy Bday Mother! I hope it went really well! I wish I could do more. But, MOM seriously thank you for everything you have done. You mean so much to me and you have and always will be here for me! You have always put up with my nonsense and done so much for me that I will never be able to repay you back! You are part of my motivation that helps me to keep going each and everyday! I want to be the elder that you think I am mom! I'm trying everyday to make sure that I'm not just here to do my two years and then I'm done. I wan't to make the most out of them. You and dad have always taught me to work and you have given me so much. But the thing that I am so grateful, that you both gave to me, was this GOSPEL. Without it, I don't know where I would be! This gospel has helped me realize and see that the things of the world are not what make you happy. Thanks so much mom! I love you! Thanks for you determination to become faithful members in the church and you passed that on to me! That alone, has helped my life in ways that I can't even begin to explain. 

More than ever, I have learned that Heavenly Father is all-knowing! I have always looked as commandments as 'can't do's' or 'forbidden things.' Now I have learned that we need to have the mindset that if God knows all, then He knows the things that will make us happy. If we do those things, they will keep us away from falling into the temptations of Satan. Not only are they guidelines that help us stay away from getting into trouble, but He promises to bless us, for being obedient! And if you don't know what the things He has promised you, start searching for them in the scriptures!  

So this week, we had a meeting with President Leota. It was the train the trainers meeting for all the newbys lol. About an hour before the meeting started, my companion got a call and he told me that I was doing the spiritual thought at it. I was so scared! Ha especially since I have horrible Samoan. I found a scripture and practiced explaining it and then bearing my testimony after, and knew that I would be giving a very simple Spiritual Thought. When I got to the meeting I said a completely different thing than what I had practiced and right afterwards I had no idea what I had even said. About half way through the meeting, President pointed me out and said, you're a miracle Elder Boren. You have only been here for two months and you used all Samoan in your spiritual thought. I commend you for your work and he said some other really cool stuff, for about a whole minute. Right after the meeting he came up to me and said, Elder Boren, you are right on track, you're a good missionary! Wow, it was a really neat experience. I know that that wasn't my Samoan at that moment. It was perfect by anymeans and it still needed work, but everyone could understand and knew what my point was. It was such a confidence booster, to have President come and say that. I still have a long ways to go with the language, but to be honest, I know that I will be blessed with it in the time of the Lord. This experience has helped me realize how cocky I was before the mission. I know the Lord sent me here to help teach me some things too.

So I also have some bad news. This week at our Zone Meeting the ZL announced to us that we only have this week and one more week of e-mailing. The president has felt that missionaries are starting to view P-day as playday rather than preperation day. He says I wish I didn't have to cut the e-mail, because you need that contact with your family, but Samoa is a third world country and the only places we can do e-mail is downtown Apia. So that allows all the missionaries to get together and there has been so activity that missionaries are forgetting who they are on Pday. He said if Samoa was more advanced, we would still be able to do e-mail. He also said that it's hard because I have to take away a good thing to take care of a bad thing. It's hard knowing that I'm a missionary that doesn't break any rules and I still have to get my e-mail time taken away. Especially since I just barely started my mission. But I know that my needs don't outweigh the needs of the mission. So I guess the blog is going to die lol. But it lasted for a good 4 months right! Dang I've been out 4 months! Can you believe! The problem with missions is that just when you start to enjoy them most you have to go! I can tell that it's going to be the same way for me! Ha, It's going to be hard not to hear from all you every week! To be honest, the e-mail is a nice refresher and helps me focus on the work. Because I have the best brothers and sisters and parents in the whole world! I also love your letters Grandma, Kim and Annette, Angela, and Andrea. Thanks for helping me get through this rough spot in the mission. Know that I pray for you all almost everyday! 

So, Lindsey, mom and dad, told me how they were doing with lesson 3 of PMG. How are the rest of you all doing? I know that you don't need anything else to drag you down with your lives. But I really think that if you take the time to read and ponder the message. It will help you gain knowledge that you have never gained before. If you think about it. The lessons are what the Quorum of the 12 and the First Presidency want to share with the world about our beliefs, and what makes our church so special. If you think it's only applicable to investigators, you are wrong. These inspired men teach you something through these lessons and they explain it so well that you can not understand. Read the extra scriptures too and you will gain new insights on the gospel. Sorry to burden you all, but I really do think that it will help you all. Because they help me. Every time I open up PMG, I learn something new, and usually it's lots of new things! And I have read through it twice now! Sometimes I read through it, and sometimes I will study a certain topic. But this book is scripture! It has material that only applies to missionaries yes, but every member is a missionary. And by you learning what the missionary duties are, helps you help the elders stay on task and find new people to share this wonderful message! 

So I have finally seen the light of keeping a study journal! It has taken me 19 years and a lot of prompting from prophets and apostles and close friends and family. But I have finally seen the light in keeping a study journal! I'm like obsessed with my study journal now! Ask my companion, I won't put the thing down! LOL I read a quote by Elder Scott talking about personal revelation gained can be gained but unless there is someway to bring it back to remembrance, it will be forgotten. This quote made me feel about two inches big, but I have now started to keep the journal. Every time I read the scriptures or read PMG, I have my study journal right next to me. It's amazing how much more revelation comes to you!   It's almost like, Lord I'm doing my part and I'm ready to receive whatever you want to give me. And the things you write down, are going to stay on that paper, so they will last and help you in the future too! I have finally seen the light on keeping a study journal and invite you all to do the same. I wont be mad at you if you don't, because I too took forever to finally come to my senses in starting to keep one. If anyone else keeps one and would like to share with me any other ideas they have, please do! 

I love you all so much and please write me through the mail if you want to stay in touch. I think next week is my last week so everyone e-mail me! ha I might get one after that! But thanks everyone for your love and your encouragement! 


--
Elder Boren

Monday, November 7, 2011

Talofa Lava‏

 
Malo Lava

Wow! 
How is everyone doing! Just finished reading all of the e-mails everyone gave me! The letters and e-mails really do help! I think if you haven't been on a mission you won't know what I mean by. They help a lot because they come from people you love. You're e-mails and letters are wonderful! And they don't make me miss home anymore! I view them as encouragement to help me stay on this path. Wow I can honestly say I have the best family and friends in the whole world! My Lord has blessed me with so many good examples in my life. Just now my two sisters, my brother Brett, and my Parents wrote beautiful e-mails of comfort and encouragement. Thank you so much for you experiences that have been similar to mine. They help a lot! Brett, thanks for finally e-mailing! LOL JK but your e-mail really helped! I wasn't laughing in those parts, but I'm in that boat right now! Like you, with athletics, whether it was two-a-days in football or basketball conditioning, weights. I had pushed myself beyond what I even though was possible, physically that is.  But when I look back on it, if I hadn't put myself through all those very challenging times and the whole time I wanted to just give up, I wouldn't have had near the success. Thanks for taking me through your mission. It really did help, as well as your experiences Shauni and Lindsey. 

Sometimes during this mission I have wondered why have I been called to a foreign country. Why didn't I just get called to an English speaking mission with a similar culture. I'm getting sick of getting laughed at everyday, everytime I sit down my legs feel like they are going to explode! Samoan's don't beat around the bush either, they tell you what they are thinking and it hurts your feelings sometimes. You might all think I'm sounding like a baby but there is some rude things sometimes. Usually they are nice, but... Anyways... Washing my clothes in a bucket is getting old and taking ice cold showers every night isn't so pleasant. The food gets bland a lot and I feel like a worthless missionary. Ha I remember crying to my companion my second day out. There was literally tears flowing through my eyes. I have never in my life encountered something so mentally and spiritually demanding! And it's even worse when everyone is the KNOW IT ALL and can just throw out advice to you like it's nothing and they been in a situation like this at all... Not you guys, other Samoans... It's been a rough experience and sometimes I would think to myself.... Why has God let me go through this... 

But to be honest! Everything is starting to become a lot better. I read Chapter 4 PMG with all the scriptures and extra activities last night. It was raining and so we couldn't go out and proselyte. Such a comfort. The Lord promises us if we are worthy of the Holy Ghost, He will comfort us. Wow it was a neat experience. I put everything I had into it and so many thoughts popped into my head, I was learning so much. I was writing everything that came to my head and when thoughts ceased to come, I would continue with the reading. Everything is starting to get a lot better. Although I can't speak the language and I can barely understand. I'm getting more adapted to the culture. I got really lucky with a companion that doesn't sleep in until 10 like Brett's did. By the way, there is a lot of Samoan's who do that. My companion said that most people here don't like the Samoan Companions because they don't take it seriously and they just mess around all day. But then they don't like new white people either because they can't speak the language, lol. It's been good. I don't know if the people and the culture is helping me that much. But this experience is really challenging me. I'm starting to relax more and I'm starting to see the light. How can I expect to have it all fun and games, when the Savior Himself didn't. He was Perfect and he had to go through everything just to save me and you. I have learned to not care as much what other people say about me or when others laugh at me. I can't even imagine how bad the Jews and Romans treated him during the end of his life. Like Brett, Lindsey, Shauni said... This by far the most challenging thing I have ever encountered. Right when something seems to start to get a little bit better, or I have a reason to rejoice. I get to have another humbling experience. I thought to myself when I left the MTC that I would be such a good missionary right off the bat, if I would have went English speaking. I felt like I had prepared so much for my mission. With Seminary, BYU, and I felt like I had read my scriptures a lot. During my time that I worked with Aaron, he would ask the most outrageous and difficult questions, and it would cause me to ponder. Think about his questions that I had never even thought about. It had not only taught me some doctrine I had never known before, but it also taught me how to search for answers. I had the BIGGEST HEAD and thought that I would be the BEST Missionary. Well, Heavenly Father had just the thing for me. I thought I was going on my mission to help save others. I thought I was going to try and help them find the light of this gospel. Boy I was sure wrong. I found out very soon that I wasn't going to be doing that until I SAVE MYSELF. This mission has pushed me to the limits. And anyone that hasn't been on one or in a similar situation like Shauni's or Lindsey's can try to understand what I'm saying, but you really don't what this experience is like until you really DO IT for yourself. I know that If I endure it well Like Joseph in Carthage, I will be blessed to start finally seeing some success...

By the way we had two baptisms this last week and we are suppose to have another one in two weeks! The work is going so much better and thanks for all the encouragement! I love you all and sorry for no pictures but the computer was being dumb!

--
Elder Boren

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween in Samoa!

Talofa Lava
O a mai outou?

How is everyone doing up there in The United States of America! I'm just doing great and been just as busy as ever! I hate to break it to you all but there is no Halloween in Samoa... So I don't get to see a bunch of costumes or anything like that. But i'm glad, so I can actually e-mail you all this week! So the World Series is over huh? Sounds like my boy Holliday came to play... Ha. So our Cougars are having a rough year huh? That's too bad. Thank you all for the letters and mom I got the package! Loved it, down here cereal is a luxury. The cheapest half decent cereal is 20 bucks. So we enjoyed them a lot! Thanks

So since I got some letters I can answer some questions! Ha...
The houses... Everyone is wanting to know what the houses look like. Next week I will send some pictures on what some of the houses look like. There are two kinds. There are houses that they call 'White-Man' houses and then there are the traditional Samoan Houses. White man houses have walls around them, thats the only difference. Most people have there regular house, a house that they hang out it, and a little tiny house out in the back that they cook in. Most of the houses are about the size of dining room we have back home. Some houses, the richer people own a house about the size of the merrill house. People really don't have much down here. If you remember on the Other side of Heaven, the traditional houses look like that. The very fortunate people have a little 15-20 inch t.v. and very few have a little mini fridge. Our meals we have a morning meal, usually cereal and a little snack, and then we have a dinner at night at one of the members houses. Sometimes you feel really bad because they are so poor and you are taking away from their meal... They sacrifice more than you can imagine sometimes to feed us. But if you don't eat there food you hurt their feelings really badly. One because of all the effort they did to go and get that meal for you, and two they wasn't blessings. Ha, sounds bad, but if you were in their position, you would do the same thing. And they truly believe that they get blessed if they feed us, and I believe that they do too. We specifically ask God to bless them in our speeches and we always remember to pray for that family that sacrificed so much. Our house is NW of the chapel and it's all by itself, and Andrea helped me realize I was exaggerating a little bit. The house is more like 12*12 not like 8*10. And the other day I went to take a shower and there was a huge like 8 inch spider sitting there waiting for me lol. Angela i'm sorry about the migraines and Chase's talk made me smile.

Well the work has been really good, I can't write a very long e-mail this week sorry but I will get a longer one next week with some pictures next week I promise. We had a really amazing blessing experience this week. This boy that lives next to us went to the hospital because he was really sick. He woke up one time and he said he saw this really weird man throwing cards on the table and doing all kinds of weird things while he was sleeping. They think he was practicing witchcraft. He was really sick for about a week and couldn't stand up on his own. The father asked us to stand in the circle while he blessed his son. So we did and he commanded that any evil spirits that were in him to leave immediately. Within 30 minutes of giving the boy a blessing the boy was sitting up and felt a lot better. It was such a testimony builder to me. I was also able to baptize an old lady and a nine year old and then they had me baptize a primary baptism too. The old lady, a week before she was baptized we had to bless her so she could walk. She couldn't even walk a week before her baptism and then she could barely walk the day of the baptism. I was so scared when I had to baptize her. It was scary! But I guess I won't be as nervous the next time I baptize an old person. ha ha. So, the work is progressing really good. We are taking part in a service project. We are going to build a bus stop and the people that are helping us want to name it after me and my comp! LOL they are awesome! Anyways I want you to all know how much I love you and your dedication to serve our Savior. Please continue to keep up the good work. I do need to check up on how everyone is doing with the PMG reading. Thanks for telling me mom how you and dad are doing. So next week I want to hear how everyone is doing lol! Keep up the good work!

love you all!

--
Elder Boren

Monday, October 24, 2011

Samoa

Howdy yal!

Ha am I still enough of a country boy to be able to say that? Or am I turning into an islander? LOL I don't think you'll ever be able to take that away from me, no matter where I am at. How are all of you? How is the weather like where you are all at! Thanks for writing me everyone! I still haven't received any letters through the mail, are you all sending the letters to the American Samoa address? Because if you send them straight to Samoa, then they cost twice as much and take like 3-4 months to get here, because they come on a boat. That's why we send them to American Samoa so they will get here a lot faster. Anyways how is the United States? How is football? Are the Broncos doing any good this year? Down here all the talk was about the Rugby World Cup that New Zealand just won. They all love their Rugby, and if Samoa doesn't do as well then they all cheer for the All Black (New Zealand) because they have a few Samoans on their team. Ha they are always making fun of football because we wear pads and helmets and stuff, but the funny thing is none of them have ever played football so how would they know ha, but who cares right. Are the Cougars doing any better or are they not playing well this year again. I guess it's alright to have a couple of re-building years right? So I heard what Shauni's kids are for halloween! That's legit, they all sound awesome! Especially the cowboy theme! Ha ha, what about everyone else, what is everyone else going to be for halloween. No, I don't think they celebrate it down here, maybe they do, I'll have to tell you next week.

So I think i'm a little more adjusted to the lifestyle down here. Some people have a really hard time getting fa`amasani (becoming acquainted/getting used to) with the culture and lifestyle here. The hardest things for me is the sitting crossed-legged all day and the language. Some of the food is hard to get down, not going to lie. And eating here gives me some bad habits. Like you eat with your hands in every meal and stuff like that LOL. There isn't much hygiene practiced here. They do wash their hands before and after the food though, so that's good. I think my stomach is just barely getting used to the water here, lol. Ha my MTC comp said you have to bless the water and all of the parasites in it, LOL. It's good though, the members are always feeding us big meals, and they always try to provide the best they can. Yesterday alone I had breakfast, like 3 times where people brought snacks, ice cream, and two dinners. It was hard to get all the food down. That was the only day that was like that though, like usually I try to eat more because I feel like I will lose weight if I don't. I'm still the same weight so I'm not too worried about it. I guess if you are in Savai'i you usually lose like 20-30 pounds and if you are in American Samoa you usually gain 20-30 pounds. Ha so it's quite the interesting mission.

The work is going good though! We have a baptism set up for this Saturday and next so I'll try to get you guys some pics. This will be my first time actually doing to baptism so it will be cool! We have some other investigators too that seem like they could potentially become baptized too! We are working hard, and mom didn't I say what my companion's name was... Elder Tanuvasa. He is from L.A. area and he is a Samoan too. He is a hard worker and we are having a great time, I don't think our companionship could get any better. I have been really lucky so far. I have had two really good comps! I think it helps a lot because we don't ever have to worry about having contention between each other. I'm starting to be able to read a lot better in Samoan. Like I am starting to be able to understand the meaning of most sentences. My vocabulary still isn't very big, but it's getting bigger every week. The conversations are still shaky though. I can pick out a lot of words I know but I can't put them all together by the time the sentence is over. But Hey I can't complain too much, it has come a long way since day 1.

Our Mission just had our Mission Tour. Elder Pearson from the 70 came out! He was so good! He got up in our faces a little bit and challenged us to get better. But I know that anyone that has a testimony of Jesus Christ, If they were to meet him, would know that he was a representative of Jesus Christ. He flat out told us that our mission could be doing a lot more. That we aren't using Preach my Gospel enough. He was sure that he wasn't going to leave Samoa before he tried to help fix everything. He thanked us for devoting 2 years of our time and for sacrificing everything we had in our lives and that most people are age wouldn't even consider doing this. But he said that if you want success, it's going to take even more faith and more sacrifice then that. He helped me realize that PMG is the only book in our times that was written by 15 apostles of the Lord. So use it! It's inspired, it has everything we need to become better missionaries. I believe that if we all read PMG that it can help everyone of us. Don't read like Ch. 7 learning a mission language, and the last 2 Ch. 12,13. But I believe that the rest can help everyone. It even states that in PMG itself. Especially Ch. 3, read the lessons please! That's your commitment! I will check up with everyone in 2 weeks and see if you read Ch. 3 with all the scriptures. K! I know that as you do, you will be able to feel a lot closer to our Heavenly Father and His will foryou. Please don't take this gospel for granted, and especially don't take the Boof of Mormon for granted. It can help you and bless your lives more than you can know if you read it, and search, and feast on it's words. Like Elder Scott said. Scriptures are like packets of enlightenment. They can help fill our souls with light. I promise you all that if you start reading the scriptures a little more diligently than you already are, then you will start to feel life's everyday stresses easier. You will be able to get through them without as much of an effort. You will feel a happiness inside of yourself that you won't want to lose. There's a reason that all of the prophets that wrote these inspired writings sacrificed a great deal to bring this message to us. If you don't take the scriptures serious, then you are telling them that you don't appreciate their sacrifice for you. Especially Joseph Smith who went through all of these challenging storms of the adversary to bring this to us. Read the WORD, it's a commandment. Read it constantly so you can be the person that is holding fast to the Iron Rod, and when you get to the Fruit of the Tree, God's love for us. You won't be the one to walk away from God's Glory when a little persecution comes your way and you don't have the testimony to stand up to it. Remember President Monson said When the time comes for testimony the time for prep is over.. Love you all

--
Elder Boren

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wow

So this week has been crazy!

We are having our mission tour with Elder Pearson and so the whole schedule has been switched around. So our P-day is today. Lol but how is everyone doing? Dad, Mom, Lindsey, Andie it was good to get your e-mails! Hey I have received one letter! Mom I got your driftwood letter! Ha it was nice to get a handwritten letter! So how is the fall season! Here it's just hot and humid. Yesterday I thought I was going to die how humid it was! Still not quite used to it, don't know if I will ever be though. Our area is huge and we went and got our bikes fixed last week and they already broke. So we get to walk again. I think they lasted about 3 days, oh well, they weren't that great anyways. I only had one gear and so I couldn't even peddle up; the little hills, I had no breaks except for my foot, and our helmets that we get to wear are about to fall apart. Ha so I don't know what I would rather do, walk or ride those things lol. Made me realize how lucky I was with my bike at school. Ha, so I guess I am not talking enough about Samoa, so here is a rundown of the day.

Wake up... 6:30
Prepare...7:00
Breakfast...7:30
Personal St...8:00
Comp St...9:00
Language...11:00
Proselyte...12:00
Dinner with Member...6:00
Return Home...8 or 9

We get 2 hours of companion study with the new 12 week program that greenies get. The reason we return to the house before 9 sometimes is because in Samoa people find it disrespectful to come to their homes after 6, unless you have already made an appointment. So we try to get appointments after dinner but it doesn't always happen. You have to be very careful about not being disrespectful to their culture, especially since they consider us ministers. Most people respect us but some still don't like Loko Mamona ha mormons... You can tell that Satan works everywhere in the world. One thing that Samoan's have problems with is their Samoan Pride. You would think with the way their lifestyle, being meagle and everything they would be a lot more humble. But some of them are so stubborn it's not even funny and they think Samoan is by far the best place in the world LOL. They think that America is full of gangsters because of all the TV shows they see and movies. Because I guess in American Samoa is a bunch of wannabe gangstas! LOL The people are nice though, they always get after me for not knowing Samoan though, gets annoying. Ha and they always through in random english words to show how smart they are, lol. Most of them have very broken english. Because they watch TV and Movies in english all the time so they can pick it up. Some people though have really good english, but in my area there aren't very many people that can speak English and I'm glad so I can try to learn Samoan.

People's main concerns are: Wonder what others would think about them, their family will dis-own them for switching religions, they are scared of the Chiefs. The Matai's are dumb. They are the ones that make up all the rules and some of them think they are kings. Like in some villages they made it so if you switch religions you have to pay $500 or something dumb like that. We have two villages where the church can't build a chapel their because of the Catholics have taken that area over already. So everyone in those villages are Catholic and if you switch then everyone will gossip about you and all this dumb stuff. So the work is hard that way. Like everyone gossips, I guess that is just how people on islands are. There isn't very many people so everyone knows everything about everybody! LOL... People even talk bad about the Bishop, and their is a lot of pride about being the bishop or in the Stake Presidency, lol. But I love the people. If people weren't scared about what others thought then there would be a lot more people joining the church. Everyone I have talked to besided one street contact, likes what they hear about our church. It's good though. We just baptized our first investigator Saturday, it was legit! I get to baptize for my first time this next Saturday probably. A little boy named Day... LOL Samoan names are hilarious! Then next week we are suppose to baptize a really old lady. We are working hard and my companion is a really good teacher. When we are in lessons I can understand a lot more than I can everywhere else, because that's all they taught us in the MTC. He helps me a lot with the gospel side too. The language is hard, it's not like spanish or german or other big languages where you can translate it completely over to english. It's such an old language it's almost like cave man talk lol... But the main thing is I just have to be patient, because it will come with time.

Well I love you all and thanks for all of your support! I can't wait to get some of the letters that some of you have promised lol... But I hope that life is going really good up their in the U.S.A. It's a lot different here than there I can assure you that. Kind of hard to keep up with all the culture rules. My buddy from the MTC that had surgery finally arrived Saturday I guess. I bet he was glad to get out of the MTC, lol. I'm so glad that I chose to come on a mission. It has already taught me so much about our Savior's love for all of us, I have learned so much about the gospel, and I will never get another chance like this to spend all this time devoted to the gospel. So I need to make the most of it. The work is good, we work hard, sweat a lot, my legs kill in almost every visit, get laughed at a lot. I seriously get to embarass myself everyday! It's a very humbling experience, I guess I needed to shrink the size of this head a little! LOL I love you all and please still write...
--
Elder Boren

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Woah

From: Collin Boren
Date: Mon, Oct 10, 2011 at 3:28 PM
Subject: Woah


Well to be honest... This has been a crazy week. Yesterday was White Sunday, which is Children's days at all the churches, and they take off monday so the whole town shuts down... So that means we don't get to e-mail. And President doesn't want us to e-mail another day in the week so we can work. So sometimes I am not going to be able to e-mail every week, but don't think I'm dead or somethings wrong... Just remember it's the island life and they take any excuse to get off of work... LOL But my Companion is legit and has a uncle here and got the hook up to let us e-mail today. I don't know if we can do this everytime but it's nice that I can now!
Anyways, DAD HAPPY BIRTHDAY! How are you Pops? Did mom spoil you? What did you do? The new bailor sounds like it works a lot better! Hopefully it still works when I get back so I can try it out, ha ha. But, I wish I could be there and give you a big hug and spend some time with you! You are the best dad I could have ever asked for. I was thinking the other day that I couldn't have been raised in a better environment. I couldn't have been raised somewhere else and enjoyed it as much as I did with you and mom. You're the best parents and I love you dearly.
So, It has snowed in Utah huh. Wow that's crazy to think it's freezing there and it's hot and humid here. I went into the office today and the President's wife came up to me and said, "Elder Boren, You've gotten a nice tan already." Ha ha, when you are out in the sun almost all day you start to get darker lol. It's a nice missionary tan! LOL Elbows down and from the chin up is dark, but the rest of me is pail white lol... We live right next to this family, and the father of the family is the mayor of our village. They are all really nice and they are all trying to help me with my Samoan. I can tell It's starting to get better. The people don't sound like they are talking Chinese anymore, but I can actually pick out the words. They are still too fast for me to understand everything and I don't have near the vocabulary but It's getting there. I'm studying diligently to learn and learning another language is a process. You learn a lot from this experience ha ha. You guys are probably sick of hearing me complain about the language so I'll stop now. The food is usually really good, sometimes you look at it like really, you want me to eat that. But it's neat, the people really try to provide the missionaries with the best they have. Even if it isn't much they still try their best to provide us with the best. You feel bad that they are sacrificing to feed us but you realize the Lord does bless them for it. You start to love the people for all they try to do for us. They are stubborn though, ha Samoan people are funny. The church here isn't as strong here as it is in the U.S.A. Like the people have callings and stuff but sometimes they don't really magnify it. Like the Ward Mission Leaders, hardly do anything, usually because they are lazy or they have like 5 other callings. Ha, but it's good, you realize that all you can do is worry about yourself. The people are willing to give us referals, but most of the time they aren't willing to come to the lessons with us. They say, you're the Ministers! We don't need to help... Ha ya in Samoan missionaries are called Ministers that Proselyte. And EVERYONE believes in God so they respect us a lot. Most people anyways. And if a White Person knows how to speak the language, they all are surprised ha ha. Because there isn't very many white people that speak the language. I mean there really isn't much of a point for a white person to speak it, because the only white people here are working for the government and in Apia a lot of people speak English, so when white people can speak the language, they love it! I think that's why white people get called here, people are willing to pay attention to them, because they want to hear the Palagi speak the language. And I stick out like a sore thumb lol. You get used to being the only white person ha ha. Like the other day at church I was at church and we were singing a hymn, and I looked over and everykid in the whole dang chapel was staring at me lol. Ha ha. But a lot of members like the Palagi missionaries and the Samoan's from outside of Samoa, because they are the ones who usually work harder and obey the rules. The Samoan's from Samoa, most of them are disobedient, they are in their own country and everything they are used to doing just sticks with them. It's kind of sad that you hear Samoan people saying that about the Samoan missionaries, but hopefully it will get turned around. President is trying to put the best missionaries in the mission as Trainers. I think its a great idea! My companion is helping me a lot, and this new program that they gave us is helping me a lot too! I think it's another inspired program the church has developed. I hope that with these advantages I can be that much better of a misisonary. I want to be the missionary that always haves the spirit. After only being on a mission for 3 months. I can already see the changes it has made in my life. I think I was a pretty good person before my mission, but this mission, if you allow it too, can teach you so many things! One thing I have learned is don't let a day pass without reading the scriptures. To continue to have a strong testimony we need this daily scripture study. Like they said in General Conference. Scriptures are like packets of enlightenment! Those 4 books are the most sacred and most important things we have in this world! We shouldn't take them for granted. By being on this mission, I have come to realize even more. The happiest people in this life are the ones who serve others. The most miserable people, are the ones who always think of themselves and what things can make themself happy, but happy people are always wondering how they can help others to become happy and then act on it. Don't be afraid to share your testimony! Everyone is worried that others are going to think they are weird for bringing up religious topics, but if you really love them, you will tell them about this gospel and how it has helped you be happy. People aren't going to be mad if you ask them how they are doing, what church do you go to, oh really, well I attend the Church of Jesus Christ of Ladder-Day Saints and we believe that... God has blessed us again with a living prophet, or hand them a Proclamation to the World and tell them how it has blessed you and your family. You don't have to go all gospel on them all at once. But take small steps, every now and then bring up the topic of God and your religion. Why is our church unique. I know that this church has blessed my life. I know that my Savior loves me and you. He loves us so much that he provided us with this plan. This wonderful plan that most people don't know about. I give you ALL a CHALLENGE... Ha, Please read Preach my Gospel Chapter 3. The chapter with the 5 lessons. Read them and read all the additional scriptures. It might take awhile, but if you read it everday for 30 minutes, then you could get it done in 2 weeks. And I know that God will bless you! You will have a stronger testimony! I think everyone should read preach my gospel, especially Chapter 3. It states what we believe simply and I promise you if you read it, you will learn something. I learn something new everytime I read it and I know that he will bless you for your efforts.
Love you all.

--
Elder Boren

Monday, October 3, 2011

Week 3

From: Collin Boren
Date: Mon, Oct 3, 2011 at 3:01 PM
Subject: Week 3

Well the work has been awesome here in Samoa! How is everyone doing in the United States? I just sent some pictures to my mom so hopefully she gets them on the blog! I have been really blessed to have a really good trainer! He has taught me a lot so far and it has been a good experience for me... The language is still coming slowly, ha if I would have known how hard it was to learn another language I don't know if I would have signed up for it on my papers ha ha... But it's all good, I'm learning a lot of patience and it motivates me to work hard. Well this last week Samoa lost to the Spring Box in Rugby and everyone's mad now... Ha you should have seen the island when we beat Fiji. Our bishop said that his neighbors kept him up until 1 in the morning. But I didn't like the games, because we couldn't proselyte at all... The whole island shuts down. No shops are open and everyone is watching the game. And the last thing they want is for us to come by...I've been really good though, we meet with our invesitgator who is getting baptized on Saturday tomorrow. I hope he says that he hasn't smoked, because then we will have to push the date back. We have 4 investigators right now. So that's nice, we are just barely starting the lessons with them. We found one guy that is my companions cousin. Ha isn't that crazy! How cool would that be to convert a family member! But he has a lot of questions I guess for us. Last time we stopped by he wasn't able to make it because he had work but his wife said he was very interested. She is a returned missionary and she hasn't been able to go to church because he has been going to catholic and he didn't allow her to go to another church. She served her in Samoa and her Mission President gave her to goal at the first of her mission to have 70 baptisms. Well she got 69 during her mission and she feels like her husband is going to be the 70th... Ha isn't that a neat story! I have learned a lot by being here. I know that once I start getting the language down I will start to enjoy my mission even more, but I still somehow learn something new everyday! I have learned how important reading my scriptures each day is! I have found that my personal study right now is my favorite part of the day! It's when I feel the closest to my Father in Heaven. I know that by reading the scriptures daily we are nourishing our testimony. If we want to keep a strong testimony in this gospel, then we have to build it up. In preach my gospel, it states, Your ability to teach the principles and doctrines of the gospel is determined by your time spent in them. It makes sense doesn't it. First seek to obtain my work and then declare it. By the way, wasn't General Conference awesome! WE are so blessed to have these inspired men lead our church. And we can learn so much from every talk if we simply pay attention. I think sometimes we as members take for granted this conference. I don't think we really think that we are the only people in the whole world that have a living prophet. We can be blessed in innumerous ways if we listen to their counsel and do it. It's that simple. I know that we all mess up at times. But if we are trying to become better every day and work on replacing some of our bad habits with good ones, then our Father in Heaven will be proud of us. By coming here, I have learned so much more about how commandments shouldn't be viewed as dont' dos... They should be viewed as, My Father in heaven created me and this world, He is all-knowing! He is the one who set up this plan for us, so don't you think he is the one that knows what is going to make us happy in life. Too often I think people think they are missing out if they don't partake in the world's definition of fun every once in awhile. And then later they can repent. I'm sorry but our Father knows what will make us happy and if we follow those commandments, he will bless us! Don't make this gospel a complicated one, because its not... Life is complicated, and hard, but it won't always be hard if we follow our Savior's plan for us! I know that my Father in Heaven loves me and you. I know that he wants the best for us. I think we all need to make sure we apply the things we learned in General Conference to our lives.

I love you all and I promise I have sent letters! But the mail here to the states is so slow. I haven't received any either ha ha. But I love all of your letters! Thank you all for your wonderful examples and for
helping me want to be a better missionary!

Tofa Soifua!

--
Elder Boren

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

2 Weeks in Samoa

From: Collin Boren
Date: Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 1:27 PM
Subject: 2 Weeks in Samoa

Well hello world! How are you out there!

Ha i'm starting to like this island thing! It's hard not understanding but I can pick out a lot of words! But I can tell I'm getting better each week. We have a lot of pretty views of the crystal clear water. I can't wait for you guys to see this one picture of me and the water! It looks so good! Ha the island is pretty and the people are nice! When we are at church I like it though because I can understand a lot more! Because that's all we learned in the MTC was gospel talk. Noteverday talk. And in church they talk with the T's and N's and not the K's and G's... You wouldn't think it would be so hard to hear the difference. But when they talk as fast as they do, my mind can't register it ha ha. I'm in the village called Tuana'i. My companion said that it's probably the biggest area in the whole mission. We have 3 villages in our area and my bike broke so we either have to walk a really long way or we have to get taxi's to drive us all the way down there. Sometimes we get lucky and the members will see us and give us a ride. Mom yes we have a fridge, shower, and bathroom. We use the church bathroom and our shower is really nice! Nice cold water every night and you get to become well acquainted with the dozens of spiders in their. Oh yea, sometimes you get to see some long centipedes in their with you as well... But it's better than bathing with a bucket right! We soak our clothes in buckets all day with detergent. And then we scrub and rinse them out in the shower. It's fun! But it takes too long! Makes you miss the machines ha ha... We don't have stoves but they are suppose to install stove tops here pretty soon... I don't know where we are going to put it. Our house is so small... Like 8 by 10 i bet... Just big enough to have two small beds and two small tables we use as desks. Oh I thought the beds were uncomfortable in the MTC! Oh my goodness. We have little tiny foam pads as our whole bed. And when I lay on it I am practically laying on the wood... Ha ha but I'm ok! It's making me tougher huh! I don't mean to complain, I actually don't mind this life style!

We are working with a man named Agele and he is supposed to be baptized the Saturday after General Conference. We are excited. He has a smoking problem though so it might not fall through if he relapses.
But me and my companion are working hard. Trying to be as good of missionaries as we can possibly be! We have a really neat family that lives next to us. They are considered the missionary family because
they always have the missionaries over. We go over on Sunday nights and they give us some treats... Ha, its fun and they are trying to help me with my Samoan. Being hear has taught me to appreciate my life
back home, and how good I had it. It has also taught me the value of the things we have in our life. Things we take for granted or think are trash in America, is worth a lot here in Samoa. I have also learned to try and face the challenges I have been given and become stronger from them. I know that if I am obedient and work hard and do the will of the Lord's he will help me become stronger. I know my Savior lives! I know that his sacrifice was the ultimate sacrifice! I know that if we follow this gospel of his. It will make us happy. Too often we think Commandments are holding us back. But I have seen already how it is sins that are holding us back. We can't be happy with a sinful life.

I love you all and hope the best for you! Thanks for everything!

--
Elder Boren

Monday, September 19, 2011

Arrived in Samoa, Week 1

From: Collin Boren
Date: Mon, Sep 19, 2011 at 2:19 PM
Subject: Arrived in Samoa


Wow, This week sure has been full of surprises and lots of getting adjusted to!
The culture is completely different! The people are very very poor! The only part that is rich is above Apia and that's mostly the people who work for the government. Anyways! Everyone loves the elders though! Not everyone will listen to us but they all say hi and they all want us to say hi back! Except here everyone say bye ha... This experience is crazy! I don't know anything that is going on, and I can't understand anyone! Ha you just have to tell yourself my time will come! You definately have to be patient, but I know that this experience is helping me to rely on my Lord's strength. Because honestly, I have none! Especially here in a different country not knowing what the culture is like and not knowing the language. So in a way I'm glad for it, but at the same time it's hard! I know the language will eventually come! But I am enjoying myself! The members feed us well and they think it's an honor to have the opportunity to feed us! And at the end of each meal we give a speech that pretty much we are asking God to bless them and their family and they love it! They hold those very special! I did my first one the other day and the father was about to cry because a white person is trying to learn their language and he was asking Heavenly Father to bless his family! They are really nice people! You have to show your respect to them by using very respectful words and they always show the missionaries respect! There isn't very many people that don't like the missionaries! We found one lady though that didn't like us though! She told us the Book of Mormon was evil and she told us we didn't need a prophet in these days. She was a lady in some kind of church that believes they have seen God and they always receive visions. They feel like they are prophets of God. Kinda weird. But I have already seen some people that the Lord has prepared to receive our message. Agale has just committed to baptism! It's really cool! He goes to church every week! But he needs to quit his smoking problem! So hopefully he stops soon! We have a few other investigators that I'm really excited about! Fa`afoina is a 17 year old boy and he was very receptive to our message! But anyways! This has been a good experience! I can't wait till I can talk to people! There is a lot of people here that are really neat! Anyways how is everyone? How is Utah and the USA? Don't take Vernal and Utah and the United States for granted! It really is a wonderful place! Being away from it makes you realize how much you love it! Ha but sorry I couldn't send you a long e-mail today! But I will get one in next week I promise! I know that my Savior lives! I feel his presence in my life everyday! I think that that's the only reason I can continue to go blindly into the mission because of the comfort he gives me! I love you all and wish the best for you!

Tofa Soifua!
Elder Boren

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Arrival in Samoa!






THE CHURCH OF
JESUS CHRIST
OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS
SAMOA APIA MISSION
15 September 2011

Dear Brother and Sister Boren,

We want you to know that your son Elder Collin Lyle Boren arrived in the Samoa Apia Mission safely and in good spirits.  We have enjoyed observing his enthusiasm and great desire to do the Lord’s work.  We deeply appreciate his willingness to come to serve our Heavenly Father and…“cause His church to be established” among the people of Samoa.  (D&C 28:8)
Weekly contact through correspondence is a great source of strength to both missionary and family.  We express our hope that it will continue throughout his mission.  We keep in contact with all missionaries through island conferences.  We conduct quarterly interviews as well as personal interviews as needed.
We thank you for supporting your son in the choice he has made to serve our Heavenly Father.  May you find joy and happiness through his service.

Sincerely,

President Johnny L. Leota
Samoa Apia Mission

Monday, September 12, 2011

Week 9

From: Collin Boren
Date: Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 6:27 PM
Subject: Week 9

How is everyone! I hope you are all doing really well! I'm really excited to get out of here! It's crazy for me to look at how much I have learned here and it is a lot! Who knew when you spend all day everyday studying about this kinda stuff that you learn more!? LOL It's been a neat opportunity but I am excited to head out of here. I'm also nervous, really nervous. Completely different country and culture and all that kind of stuff, but it's been really nice to learn about it here, and now I get to go and live in it ha... I have learned so much in the language since being here but I also know very little about it... We are getting put into this pilot program the church just established. It has the 'greenies' be in charge of a lot of things instead of just being the trainer. The trainer teaches the newbie how to do it and then we have to take charge... It's kind of intimidating, and it's programmed to help us become better missionaries. So hopefully I will take advantage of it! Ha and if the Mission President needs us, we are suppose to be good enough after 3 months to be a trainer. Hopefully that doesn't happen because that would be crazy! Their is a lot of things you have to know about the culture and things like that! You have to give speeches to ask for permission to go inside the home. You have to give a speech to thank them for allowing you to come in. You have to give a speech to let people know who you are and get to know each other. You have to give a very long thank you speech if they prepare a meal for you and it goes on and on... I'm really excited to go experience it finally and go see what real missionaries actually do ha ha... Tomorrow we leave the MTC at noon and fly out of here and arrive in LA at 4:15. So I'll probably call around 6:00. Cause we have a 5 hour layover in LAX, and then we fly to New Zealand and only have a one hour layover there. Hopefully we don't have a lot of winds, because that will cause us to miss our flight to Samoa. Anyways I sent a package so hopefully it gets to you soon...
Alofa

--
Elder Boren

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Week 8

From: Collin Boren
Date: Tue, Sep 6, 2011 at 2:17 PM
Subject: Week 8

Talofa Lava! O a mai outou? O a mai lenei aso?
Hey everybody! How are you guys? How has your day been?
There has been a lot happening here in the MTC you know! We had Elder Holland come and talk to us at our last devotional! It was awesome! He is by far one of the most powerful speakers there are. He teaches with such love and conviction all at the same time! Anyways his talk really inspired me to get this work done, to do my best and to give it my all! Then this fast sunday we had a Mission Conference and our MTC spoke to us! Right before he got up he had them turn off the teleprompter so he could speak to us from the heart! He told us about a sister in New York that died and the spirit was so strong when he said. I know that Her Savior is happy with her and that she is teaching in the next life. He told us you never know what could happen. We can't afford to continue to think we will get better tomorrow. We have to make our decision to become better now! It really touched me, and it was clear to me that I need to continue to get better. Although, the thing that touched me the most in his talk was when he said. We must REDEDICATE YOUR LIFE TO THE SAVIOR. Starting now I want all of you to give it to our Savior. It made me realize how lucky I have been to come here and learn from these Men of God and how they help missionaries become better representatives of what we are doing. So I wrote this statement on a piece of paper above my desk and I challenge anyone who is reading this to do the same. I can already tell the difference. When I take a minute of my time and look at the paper. Think about what he has done for me and my life, and what I can do to serve him better. I know that Heavenly Father's work is here on this earth. I know that all of the prophets in the scriptures prophecied of the word getting preached to the four corners of the earth and this is the dispensation that they all prophecied. No other period of time has their been such a vast amount of saints. I know that I have been blessed with this gospel in so many ways. Without it, I don't even want to think where I would be. But I do know that whatever problem we have, if we allow this Gospel to touch our life, such as giving a little bit of our time by reading the scriptures and praying sincerly then we can become new people. We will still face the same problems, but we will be able to handle those problems better because we will fall to our knees and ask for the help of Our Father in Heaven. And he will bless us if we are faithful and keep his commandments. I know this because I have found out for myself in my life that he does bless us. He can make us stronger than we are on our own, to face the problems we have in this life. I want to thank all of you for being such great examples to me. I know that I am in a sheltered environment, and away from the real world challenges. It's been nice to not have to worry about the daily challenges. But I have also never worked so hard either! So there is pro's and con's to both but I really am enjoying this experience so far! I hope that I can continue to become a better missionary and I know that everything I have been taught here has been inspired. They have such an amazing schedule and plan to help every missionary be best prepared for the field.
Anyways! How is everyone! I have enjoyed all of your letters! I am trying to get back to you as much as I can! Sorry if it takes me awhile to reply! Has anyone done anything fun lately? Dad and Andrea that is AWESOME! I am so jealous that you both got to see tons of Elk and some Bear! It's been so long since I have seen a bear! Like I think the last time was when I was like 14! And you guys go and see some right after I leave! Geeze Dad! You must be taking Andrea up on the good trails! LOL JK But seriously that is such a neat opportunity! Don't you just love the great outdoors! There is nothing quite like riding up on Hoy Mountain and getting away from the world for a little bit! A lot of favorite memories come up there! Including getting knocked out of the wind and such... Please everyone continue to keep writing me! I love all your letters so much and it is so nice to hear how all of you are doing!
Wow I can't believe that I am leaving for Samoa next week! It's awesome and scary at the same time! LOL I know that the Lord has blessed me with such a neat opportunity! I can't wait to actually get out in the field and see what missionary works all about! But I have come to realize that I am not going to understand them for awhile! We had some Samoan natives come by last night and talk to us and stuff and I couldn't understand a thing! They were talking so fast! And they were talking in the street style! It makes words sound so much different! Especially when they are going so fast! Ha ha but I know that it is what missionary work is all about! You get to have a period of time where you don't know what's going on! My teachers say it's really hard somedays but you just have to work hard and attempt to speak. One of my teachers was senior companion after 5 months! Ha and that's saying something because he had to know all these different speaches and things! In Samoa the whole culture is based on respect! You talk to someone else and show them respect with respectful words. Like you call them Your Heiness and everything about them and what they do you use respectful words and for yourself you lower yourself below them! But I guess they all love the missionaries and hold a lot of respect for them. They know that you are representing Jesus Christ and that you are working for him. So it's cool to go to such a culture with a respect for everyone. I guess some people won't show that respect but you are expected to always give respect. Anyways I love you all and wish the best for you!
Tofa Soifua!
--
Elder Boren

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Week 7

From: Collin Boren
Date: Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 1:46 PM
Subject: Week 7

Hello everyone in the outside world!
lol
How is everybody! Thanks everyone that has written me and mom thanks for the package! It was awesome! Is there anything that I can do for anyone? Just let me know!
It's crazy being in a place that you are volunteering at and you feel like a prisoner sometimes. You can't do this and you can't do that, you hear it all the time! LOL and they make it hard to even see anything outside of the MTC with the fence and the trees surrounding the whole place. The only time you can feel free is when you head to the temple! ha ha but other than that it has been an amazing experience. It's neat to see all of our district improve in a lot of ways. Our language is starting to get better, and our testimonies as well. Although, we are starting to see the end in sight and some of us are starting to get 'lepa'. Lepa direct translation is you are rowing into an island and you stop rowing and let the waves take you into the island. Our Branch President and teachers have explained to us how much more we can still learn if we take advantage of this place. I feel like I can take advantage of what the MTC has because my dad has taught me to work and I went to a year at BYU and learned how to study. It's almost like the Lord has blessed me to have both of those opportunities. Now I just have to keep being obedient and the Lord has promised me with lots of blessings. That's the thing. Whenever we are obedient to the commandments the Lord has given us, then he promises to bless us. We can't receive those blessings unless we are faithful in keeping the commandments. D&C 121 explains this principle. I'm still working on being exactly obedient. Sometimes I slip up now and again, but let me tell you it is hard not to break a rule once in awhile. Not because you say no but that time doesn't allow for you to get everything you want to do in. Or it's just a very strict environment and you are expected to keep a lot of rules. Anyways it has been awesome. Sometimes it is easy to get frustrated but I have learned to be a lot more patient with myself, because if you aren't then you are mad all the time, and that drives away the spirit. It's also neat to be teaching an investigator and you know right after the lesson there is no way that you did that on your own. You understood every word you said and understood most everything they said, one because you studied it but mostly because the spirit is helping you along the way reminding you quickly of the materials you have learned. Some people here only focus on language study and they study the language during gospel study. I have found that you I am much more effectful when I have invited the spirit first. I have found that I will read 30 minutes of just english and then 30 minutes of both samoan and english. It has been working great so far.
Our teachers are starting to use the K style with us in teaching appointments. It makes you so mad! Why do they have to make things so complicated by having so many ways of speaking! ha ha They have the K style and the T style and then you have to know the respectful language when you are talking to someone else and when you talk about yourself you have to speak the normal language. And then we haven't even gotten into the Matai language yet. Which is when you are talking to a Samaon Chief. Our teachers say it's like 3 languages in one. So it's fun ha ha but I know that I will eventually get it when my Savior needs me to. I will continue to work hard so that someday I will get the language down and hopefully I will be able to help people recognize the promptings of the Holy Ghost. I know that if I can do that then I have helped them in so many ways. I know that the Savior has a work for me in Samoa and that if I stay faithful he can make me into a better missionary then I can on my own. That is why I have to be a hard worker and an obedient missionary.
I can't believe that there is only 2 more weeks! I am starting to get really excited! But i'm also starting to get really nervous! I have never been out of the U.S before and had to speak another language. It will be hard at first for sure but I know that it will be well worth it! We are starting to go over the culture stuff a lot more in class it's actually pretty cool! They say that lot's of people stop you on the street and ask you to come inside to eat some food. He says it's ok to say no but you have to say a really nice no and it takes awhile. He also says people won't even have any food ready and if you say yes they will yell at their kids to go and hurry and grab food, while you talk with the parents. He says if it's apparent that they don't have any food, it's better not to be a bother and just to decline the offer. But he says it's funny because so many people will basically tell you to come over there and have some food. And every house you go to they offer you food, it's their way of saying thank you for coming to my home. They really like missionaries a lot down there. They are a very God-fearing people. So there is a lot of superstitions or however you spell that lol. He said during the Tsunami that they spent like 2 hours giving blessings to people and that most of them weren't even members of the church. Obviously you have to be very respectful to them and the way you show them respect is using words that show respect to them and using words that make you lower than them. Like when you go to their house you say sorry for stupidly trespassing on your house, but will you let us in. Then you say things like thank you for welcoming me to your palace your heiness. ha and when you talk to people you have to be on the same level as them. So if they are sitting down you either have to bend your knees or sit down with them. Because if you stand up then you are making yourself above them and that's not respectful. It's actually pretty neat to think about. Oh and the kids pretty much take care of the parents. The parents just tell them what to do and when they are no longer needed then they can go do whatever. The boys of the family have a little house out back most of the time and don't stay in the same house as the family.
Anyways I love you all and thanks for all of your support! It means so much and thanks for being such a great family to me! I have also had the best of friends and they are the best. Love you
--
Elder Boren

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Week 6

From: Collin Boren
Date: Tue, Aug 23, 2011 at 2:24 PM
Subject: Week 6

Holy Smokes...

I can't believe it has been six weeks! Wow only three more to go! We just barely sent out the Tongans and it was really crazy... They have been here the whole time we have and we have grown really close to their district. It made me realize that I'm going to be doing the same thing that they are in 3 weeks! Crazy! Life here in the MTC has been really fun and really busy! We have been teaching a lot in Samoan and I have gotten a lot better than where I was, but I still have a lot to go. I know that it will come eventually and that I will be able to say what my Savior would have me say, but I've been working hard to learn it and to gain a stronger testimony. Our teachers said the spirit can not draw anything from an empty well... That hit me really hard, and then our Branch President had us read a scripture. It's a scripture mastery in D&C that talks about how we take knowledge with us from this life into the next life. After he read that and explained what the doctrine meant to him, he switched life to MTC and he switched resurrection to Mission Field and person to Missionary. It was really neat to see how much more that scripture meant to us at this time because it was directed at us. It talked about how much more of an advantage we will have with the knowledge we gain here. I know that to be true and I know that I need to maintain the spirit here so I can learn that much more effectively and to work hard. Hard work and Obedience are key for a successful missionary! I'm working on trying to get both down and hopefully I will become the missionary the Lord wants me to be.


So how is everybody? Are you all having a nice summer? It's crazy that Chanses and Andreas summers are over and there headed back to school. I wish the both of you the best of luck out there and remember to study hard but also to take some breaks as well. I learned in a study last year that students that spent an hour exercising a day did better than those that studied and didn't have any exercise. Thanks mom for the package, it was very thoughtful! How is everyone else. Jack and Abby thanks for writing me! I always love to hear from you. Good luck with try-outs bud. I hope Shauni and Lindsey got my letters, for awhile their I had a hard time getting a letter to you guys but hopefully they got their. It's still just as hot as ever out here in good ol Provo. Hopefully it's cooler where you guys are at ha ha.


I'm still learning a lot! It's amazing to see how much a missionary can learn if they use their time wisely and have the spirit. I know that I wouldn't be anywhere near where I am now on my own. It's just another testimony to me that the church is true. We have learned a lot about accountablity as I already stated. In preach my gospel it talks about all the blessings missionaries obtain but that they are accountable for their use of time. Because we aren't on our own time anymore. We are on our Savior's time. It's interesting to think about that. Like I used to always pick out the missionaries and notice how quick it is to pick them apart from everyone else. Now I can't even imagine how easy it is going to be able to pick me out being a Palagi and in clothes that nobody else wears down there. It helped me realize that I always have to be doing the Lord's will, because how bad would it look like if I was breaking the rules and acting like a teenager with this nametag on.


The other day in the TRC I totally froze in our first lesson. I had a very hard time understanding anything and I could barely speak any Samoan. It was humiliating! The next lesson went a lot better! Not like way better, but I could at least understand some things that they were saying and say some things. Afterwards it hit me hard to even study harder than I was in the language. I have never studied so hard in my life, even more than I did at BYU and he was asking more! I couldn't believe it! I had a bad attiude about it at first but then I knew that I needed to push even harder! My Savior has done everything for me, why can't I try a little harder! Studying has been good and in teaching sometimes I shock myselves at what I just said. I know that the spirit can help me speak whatever needs to be said. There is still a huge language barrier but I know that that's how it's going to be for the next while. Especially in Samoa where I won't be able to understand anything they are saying! ha ha I know that this place is an amazing place. I know that if you take the most out of this place that you will be that more ready for Samoa and that you won't have to waste time in the field learning stuff I could have been learning here. I never knew how much you could enjoy the scriptures. Since being here I can hardly take my hands off of them and you actually can't wait for church to start. You get anxious about everything! It's such a spiritual environment here and it has been a blessing to my life. It stretches you more that you could imagine but that's really good right! It's good for us to be pushed and challenged so we can conquer those challenges and become stronger, but here it seems like you conquer one hill and once you get to the top of it you realize there is another huge one standing right in front of you... Ha it's insane! But at the same time you look back and realize I have already learned a lot! I want you all to know that I love you. Thank you for being my friend and always being there for me. I want you all to know that I know that my Savior lives and that he loves all of his children. I know that God wants all of us to return to Him, and the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way we can reach that final destination. Cherish the scriptures, and liken them unton yourselves. Make them fun! I love you all so much and God be with you till we meet again!


Tofa Soifua!



--
Elder Boren