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


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


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
Personal St...8:00
Comp St...9:00
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


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