Monday, July 13, 2009

Elder Ah Loo

Elder Ah Loo (on the left) is one my, and my family's, favorite people. He now is known by his real name Afa Richard Ah Loo:) He has great stories about growing up in Samoa and adventures at BYU Hawaii and even more from his mission here in Salt Lake City. Last week one of his most excellent stories was published in the Church News and in my mind is a classic missionary story. It follows:

"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." — 2 Timothy 4:7

"A little over a year ago, I was in the Provo MTC and struggling really hard with everything. I was very homesick and to complicate the matter, I had caught pneumonia and had been very sick. I was really struggling. It seemed to me that suddenly my world was compacted into a small black hole.

Waking up every day at 6 a.m. and sitting in a classroom all day learning about the scriptures was not my idea of fun. This was something that I had never done in my life. To top everything off, I did not like the snow. Coming from Samoa, where there is warm weather all the time, this was a huge adjustment for me. I was used to wearing sandals or going barefoot every day. I was not used to the cold winter weather of Utah and was cold most of the time because my body had not yet adjusted.

That same week, I wrote my mom and told her about my feelings and how I was struggling. Her reply came the very next week and I was very excited to hear what she had to say. I was sure she would encourage me and understand my feelings. I opened it and saw that the reply was only two short lines, which read: "My dearest son, We don't miss you. Love, Mom."

Needless to say, this was not what I expected! My heart just sank! I felt very emotional, to say the least.

Later on that week, I read 2 Timothy 4:7 and it really touched my heart. I thought to myself that someday I would return home and would hope to say those exact same words from that scripture and mean it.

The day I received the short letter from my mom was a very emotional day for me. It took me some time, but I realized I must press on and do the work I came to do. My Mom's words of tough love were just what I needed, even though I couldn't see that at the moment. I knew in my heart she loved me and wanted what was best for me.

I am grateful to Heavenly Father for the opportunity to serve a mission. I have had life-changing experiences and have met some wonderful people. I don't know who changed more, me or the people I have been able to teach. Some will be lifelong friends. I know this Church is true and I am so glad to be a part of it. I would never give up what I have grown to love missionary work and bringing souls to Christ. I would encourage any young person to seriously consider going on a mission."

—Elder A Loo, Utah Salt Lake City South Mission

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