Saturday, August 13, 2011
Grandpa Welch--- Fitisemanu
We are so grateful for Tom and his good life and Mission to Samoa.
We are thinking of him today on his birthday.
Happy 12th Birthday!!
You are now old enough to have the Aaronic Priesthood conferred upon you and be ordained to the office of a Deacon. I want to tell you a story:
In the Islands of Samoa there are three royal families, and the king is always a member of one of these families. He is chosen by the chiefs of each of these families holding a council and all agreeing on the person to be the next king.
Fitisemanu's family was one of the three, and it was time to choose a new king. The chiefs met and after much debating, it was decided that Fitisemanu should be the next king. Then someone said, "Do you remember that Fitisemanu is a member of the Mormon Church?" It was then decided to offer the Kingship to Fitisemanu but only if he would denounce his membership in the Mormon Church. he was called into the council meeting and was told of their decision. He immediately replied, "I would rather be a Deacon in the Mormon Church, than to be the King of Samoa." He knew that a "Deacon" held more Authority and it would be of a much greater value to him, and he could help his people in more ways than being king could ever do. At the time, Fitisemanu was an elder in the Church, he had served as Branch president and District President, and was one of the official interpreters for both the church and the government.
When I first arrived in Samoa he served as my interpreter when I had to talk in meetings. I didn't, however, know anything about him at the time. Later in my mission, when he was serving as district president, I had the opportunity to travel with him. During those travels, we visited much and often ate together. Occasionally I slept in his home.
I know this story is true, as I have heard him tell it many, many times. And he would bear testimony of the importance of the Aaronic Priesthood and the need to magnify your calling and of doing the best that you could at all times. I hope that you will remember this story and that it may help you in times when you have to choose between things of the world and the Church.
Remember that I love you and pray for you to always do and say the things that our Heavenly Father would have you do. If you will do this and remember to say your prayers, He will bless you and help you in all your endeavors.
Love, Grandpa Welch