The Umu

January 9, 2011

Hello friends and family,

Umu Cooking

Umu cooking

Today, our P-Day, we have had what the Samoans call an umu, which is a way to cook food.  You make a fire over a bunch of rocks about the size of a fist, and then put rocks on top as well.  Once the rocks get really hot, you put the meat and taro inside and cover it with leaves, paper, cardboard, whatever.  Then you let it bake for an hour or two.  It was especially fun to chop up the wood with a machete. 😉  We have the whole Pakenham zone coming down for a feed and then we have some activities planned.  Hopefully the rain will go away.

So today looks good, but this past week has been, again, very stressful.  Elder Savelio and I really butted heads this week when we were on companion exchanges.  We were supposed to trade back in time for a Ward Council meeting, but Elder Savelio decided he didn’t want to go, so he did some other work without telling me.  I didn’t know where he was.  We missed the meeting because I was looking for him.  He’s been frustrated about things I’ve been doing as well, although we both have trouble understanding each other simply because our culture is completely different.  We’re still working together and getting things done, but we had to have the Zone Leaders and AP’s come down to try to sort things out.

Fortunately, the rest of our district is doing very well.  We had some miracles on Sunday with people who just showed up, ready to be taught.  In Narre Warren, a brother introduced himself saying, “My wife is a member.  I’m not, but I will be in the next three weeks or so.”  Elder DeWitt and Elder Adams then decided they needed to talk to him.  Tecoma also had a brother who had been coming to meetings for a few months, but just missed the memo about the whole missionary lessons thing.  Wonder how that happened?  The Bishop called up Elder Talataina and Elder Hawkins saying, “I have someone for you to meet!”  In Dandenong, we had a less active member who said, “I decided I needed to come back to church.”  So now we all have new people to teach.  Nice little miracles.

We taught an investigator this week named Zoee.  She’s a single mom.  Her life has been insane.  She has some mental illnesses due to drug use and trauma in the past, but she has managed to come out on top of it all with confidence and wisdom.  She’s fun to teach, because we agree about everything.  We were teaching her about the Plan of Salvation, which is the big picture about life.  She pulled out her journal and read something she had written years before.  She said, “A lot of the things you’re talking about are things I had learned and written down here long ago.  It’s kinda freaky.”  But you can see how experience and God’s words line up.  That’s because He can see the big picture.  So that was one of my cool teaching moments this transfer.

I’m running out of time.  I also need to thank everybody over in Belmont ward who signed that christmas poster for me!  I loved it!  It made my day.  I’m going to hang it up in my room.  I appreciate everybody who asks about how I’m doing.  I’m glad to be from such a strong ward.

I miss you.  I love you.  Keep in touch.

-Elder Scott Baker

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