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Elder Spencer Potrie
Mission Office
Sandalwood Apt Hibiscus #14
PO Box 1412
Port Villa

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Back in Vanuatu…for the last time as a Missionary

Sunday May 26th, 2013

Mom, I am now in Vanuatu, and have to finish the remaining week here.  Having been pulled out of my area, I am unsure of what to do really, until I leave. I follow the AP’s again, and just assist and teach for the last week in the area of Mele:) Oh what fun to be in Mele again!  First p-day again, and well last p-day haha.  Here we go, the summary to the ending ,or the beginning of the end for this old cowboy at least… I feel as if I’ve been up the creek without a paddle and back again:)

The plan in my mind, is to get these last lessons in and see the people I love here for the last time, before I see all of the people on the other side of the world that I love:) and then I will get the plans set for the rescue swimmer program in those next three months and have it settled with my schooling and then have a foundation for the future….All the workings of a mixed up missionary brain…desiring to serve with all I am and having a short amount of time to do so…


Almost to the finish line

Sunday May 19th, 2013

So I guess in a few sentences, I am not fully capable of explaining the all of it; in correlation to what was, where I have been and the essence or attitude of the here and now. If I had to say anything about the mission; it has lead me to be motivated from within, act according to a plan and finish what I began. Finding the trust in my Savior and expect more from myself, has made me that much more committed to the causes and principles I stand for.

I hope these few thoughts written on the last p-day in Solomon can help.  Not sure, but I  just wrote a brief blurb or thought that came to mind with the given prompt. It will probably take years to see all of the effects of the mission but that’s it for the present moment :)

Love you mom, dad, and all the others. See you guys in a couples days more or less:)


The Laborer is Worthy of Hire

Sunday May 5th, 2013

So, this week had a really good fast and testimony meeting. We didn’t get to teach all that many lessons, however, it’s not about quantity but rather quality. When the time for sacrament came we saw that our labors were not fruitless, we had our success and it was the best to see all of the five people that we invited come into sacrament meeting and see the members bear testament to the message we continuously share night and day with our thoughts words and actions.

Thomas may have been bothered by the kids all running around but when I got up to share my testimony, I felt as if the place went quiet and the room was fuller than full… I got a little afraid of the crowd at that moment but went on and shared the testimony that was in me…went on to thank Thomas for being the good companion he had been and how he had helped me in these my last days…In turn, he got up and also shared a testimony to be remembered, and I felt throughout this time it may have been a special witness for me that indeed, the lord had chosen us as companions for a reason and that I may leave the area in a couple of weeks but the effects of the work Thomas and I have accomplished will go on, and that means more than a hundred baptisms ….

The laborer is worthy of hire, has been a thought I have been thinking about and looking back on the mission. I feel as if I am worthy of hire, but these last days are just as important as the first… It’s kind of like swimming a 500 meter race in the pool, they keep a lap counter to keep track of the individuals efforts and the countdown starts at 20 and slowly works its way down in twos; but up until this point I have only been on the first lap and now the important part starts where the race and the challenge begins; where they actually start counting down the lap counter….there really is only 20 days before I leave Solomon and there’s  conference in there and a couple district meetings….


There is no greater calling to be the servant

Sunday April 28th, 2013

So, all family and friends, this week was great.  I did the best I could and even this morning gave a blessing to the investigator of a lifetime, that needed it more than anything to help her testimony grow…If the mission has done anything for me, it has really grown my potential to look upon others as the Lord would have me see them and not as I would or the world would.  I don’t know how to fully express this in words, but as you sit down with a man who has all the worries of the world and feels that the only thing now that can change that is the love of the Savior and his truth. How can you assist in the work;  all you can ask for is to just glimpse the change or the happenings of the next steps in the man or woman’s life…

My companion and I shared experiences of the mission this week with each other, and it was the first real spiritual conversation we’ve had. I know how to make him laugh and how to make him angry with me, that’s the easy part, but to bring out the best in him as the companionship should be, that’s the hard part that I strive for…

I know there’s only really four weeks in the mission field yet, but I don’t feel like that at all.  I feel as if I just started in this area and I have the potential to see the first baptism; to see the area and the church progress and t the things I am helping to put in motion now…I don’t think I’ll be able to see the next chapters unless I come back and visit…There are those here and in Vanuatu I’d love to see again and if time and the future permits I’ll find a way; but it’s the work of the Lord I’m doing, and there is no greater calling to be the servant. In Solomon they have printed on their money “to lead is to serve” a truly profound statement….

Love you all, and hope to see you all when the time is right.


PS  Dad, I’m not sure about Yosemite, but mom has offered to send me up to Canada for a trip when I am free?

We all have our part

Sunday April 21, 2013

So, I won the battle with the dengue fever this week by Thursday, and we managed to get in some lessons and teaching opportunities.  It’s one of the greatest things to be a missionary, even if I only have about 6 weeks left, and only about four weeks in Solomon where I can still focus on those the Lord would have me teach and prepare for the latter Elder’s who come behind.

My companion and I had a great talk the other night and it is a difference of perspective in that he sees the mission as a duty or a service he is required to do and I have tried to live it as an opportunity.  It changes the world with the perspective or the way we look at things.  His perspective alters his ability to see the rules and white handbook as grudgingly kept rules, and  I see them as merely the correctional guidelines in having success in the mission field  It’s not like he has to give up much, in retrospect he earns and qualifies  for so much more that it’s not even comparable…If only I could stay a bit longer…But everyone has their time.

Wow Ben’s engaged and so is Wesley…if Sam or Josh is too, I would just be astonished ahaha.  I promise not to be engaged for a while Mom and Dad,  I will go to school and try to make something of myself and get on the rescue swimmer program first before all of that stuff.

This week it was general conference, and I was super bummed out at conference with the amount of people that were unable to attend.  It was a little heart breaking,  but I will get over it and move on to the next week. We have only watched two sessions so far, and are planning to watch all the others on a different day, but as of now, we have only watched the Saturday and Sunday session…they were great talks on obedience and peace in the home…there was even one about marriage.  I think that was for Ben and Wesley haha, Pumba and I are still in the dog house for a while longer :)

This week’s experience has been the spiritual confirmation that we all have our part to play in the lord’s plan. I will be remaining with Thomas until the end, and we will be able to work together and do what the Lord would have us do. We had arranged for the whole district this week to pray for an investigator and have him in our prayers continually to enable him to quit smoking…In answer to our prayers, the guy’s sister showed up, and has been a constant helper in the non-smoking ring:) Even though she does beetle nut and her mouth is red every time we meet her, she is against smoking hahaaha!  The lord works in mysterious ways, I’ll have you know :)

Any ways here’s looking at you guys. :) No worry about the small things in life!

love you all,

Elder Potrie

Dengue Fever

Sunday April 14, 2013

This week I contracted the Dengue Fever and have to spend the next week in the house, so that isn’t the best, but I pushed through this week, and we had a pretty successful week and taught the most lessons this area has ever seen.

We also had a few experiences with our investigators being drunk when we showed up for appointments but it was kind of a wakeup call to them…”Oh, hello missionaries I didn’t see you there…haha.”  They made sure not to be drunk when we came again. :) It allowed for some  good talks with them;  word of wisdom problems are probably the most challenging out of any other commitment here in the Solomon Islands.  They all can commit to baptism and Sabbath day and even the law of chastity but beetle nut and drinking and smoking is more than a habit for these people, it’s what they do. They take some friend go to the beetle nut stand and talk or “stori” it’s just a way to pass the time of  day or their life away. It takes a big change in one’s life to actually continue to keep the word of wisdom because many of them started smoking from the age of 5 or so and then to ask them to stop is real hard but the workings of the spirit and the free agency of individuals is important. We can never convert the smoker or beetle nut attic but through the spirit, priesthood blessings and the faith of the investigator we see the miracles.

One of my favorite families right now is this pair of twin moms. Both of their husbands left them but they have at least 5 or more kids that we teach. They are the best at asking questions and are really interested in what we have to share with them every time we visit.  They seem to ask all the right questions and when they actually read the Book of Mormon they are super prepared for the lesson. They should’ve come to church last Sunday, but there was a crazy rain storm and even the members almost didn’t come, plus there was a mix up with conference this week. Conference got canceled and postponed to next week and all the Elders in the branch ended up giving talks, I spoke about Captain Namaan and if the Lord asks us to do things that seem beneath us or things we can’t comprehend, it tests our diligence, and our obedience to the Lord…everyone said it was a good talk but I kind of rushed preparing it, as I only knew about it a couple hours before. :)

But, so far so good, I will let you know about the continued fight with the Dengue next week.  As to the money, I have the $300 that I took out that one time, so I have some cash to help me get back, and as to off campus housing just do a nice apartment place that I don’t have to walk too far to school haha I did like the dorms because it was close to the pool and school but the room was a bit worse than all the missionaries apartments here in Vanuatu haha as to the song I’ll think about it….


Mission Life….

Sunday April 7, 2013

Wow, Sammy my boy  :)  is home, that’s crazy!!  He looks super French, and super sophisticated, but hey, I wonder if I truly look like the bushman or the black man everyone says I have become. Along with all of my well learned eating skills; get the food in your mouth and down your throat haha!! Oh what a contrast to the French, or even serving State side…

This week we scheduled our first baptismal date for the fourth of May!!!! Yeah, so proud and we even had three investigators come to church and more said they would come with the opening of the new chapel in White River next week! Now that is what I’m talking about!! Hurray! That is also when the road show is going to hit the stage, next Saturday or Sunday my youth will perform. :)  They are jazzed haha. Tons of them just like to see me give examples of how to act or do the drama, while others are really into it haha. My companion has decided he sounds like Josh Groban this week and has been singing “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” like every night haha.

This week we had a bit of a dispute, I corrected him on some doctrine and he got really upset and didn’t want to proselyte or anything, he wouldn’t even talk to me ….for hours man.  I called the district leader just to let him know we had sat around all day and he took initiative, upon my request, to bring one of my companions brother in laws  over, who is also currently serving in Solomon to talk with him and find out what the deal was. Apparently he just was upset, and said he was about to boil over. I have no idea, but it was alright after they left, he started talking to me again and finally we got things worked out.  I’m starting to realize exactly why I was sent here rather than anywhere else in the mission. At first I thought it was to the area of zeros, so I could change that around, but here I am correcting or training in a different aspect. I seem to be teaching the learned and less humble, and in the same way it takes a heck of a lot of patience and humility to do this.  I am trying my best.  It’s not exactly how I saw myself ending my mission. This is probably the hardest situation, but it’s what I have, and even though the area is now running at full speed, we’re taking a hit with the  companionship things going on… So here goes the Potrie talking skills to the test for the last months of the mission. If I can just hold out until the end…I know the Lord has a plan for each of us.  I just hope I can fulfill my purpose here and now so it can benefit those who come after me.  If I can be anything for those who follow, I would want it to be a help rather than a hindrance….but all is well in the mission, and in the missionary. Nothing can shake that, the world may shake around the individual but this Missionary will not quake or shake, he will hold the faith for as long as he lives. :) I hope all is well on the family end.  If you see any of the boys, let them know that June is the date, and by the way, I leave Solomon on May 26th to go back to Vanuatu and then stop in Vila for a couple days to prepare things for the round trip home….



Sprint to the End

Tuesday April 2, 2013

Man, this week I find myself repeating the phrase “keep the faith” more and more as the area progresses.  It’s different to see the effectiveness of my companion….Its’ a little bit like when we’re doing the most good he’s the most slack, but on the days where I’m dying, he’s just waiting and ready to go where ever I lead….What a great support system– one pulls when the other drags haha.  Put your shoulder to the wheel  :)

Wow pretty crazy to hear that the gang is all coming back. Now Kyle, Ben, Kevin, Josh, Stuart and Sam will all be home before me and I will be joining the party there shortly, but there is a time and season for everything haha.

Here, I am getting ready for yet another road show performance with the youth here in the White River branch.  This time creating a whole new drama and teaching them a little dance as well haha.  Oh it’s great to see them try and white man dance J However, we do the best we can with what we have.  It’s also how the lord views us as one man’s treasure…If anything, the mission has been an eternal pursuit for that treasure, the pearl of great price, and when we the missionaries have found it, give all we have to it so it ensnares the senses and drives us to be our very best. We may never convert a single soul but we must always remember that we ourselves count as the Lord’s treasure if we but remain faithful to the end.

We have definitely had the uphill climb and it’s been a blessing to see the rise rather than the fall haha.  I do feel with April here, the time is even shorter that I have to stay focused and sprint the last weeks with the remaining power and testimony that I have. :)  I have had experiences throughout my mission that I wish I could write every one of them down, but it’s like Nephi and other prophets have said, the lord makes us very capable with the spirit but in writing he can’t really fill our mouths with that same spirit that fills a room upon committing someone to baptism or having them receive a witness of the truth of the messages we share….things we take for granted….things I hope to carry with me throughout the rest of my life, a man forever changed…..


Feeling a little “Green” all over again

Sunday March 24th, 2013

Well, I am, and always have  been outspoken and friendly.  Charissa was the ever spiritual and more talented out of the two of us.  While I bounded in and out of chaos, she breezed by on well organized and orchestrated plans; if anything she will be the Ammon of the family :) I have supreme confidence in her:)  I was always the quick start, and would try my best to follow through and when the Lord worked his miracles, he gave me the benefit of the doubt to work things out on my own.

So here in the Solomons we lay the firm foundation for the future, and hope that what we do now still stands in the years to come. Having no knowledge of the previous circumstances of the church we focus on the future, and the seeds that we can plant and those that will have the opportunity to harvest them.  I have a few prospective investigators and families that love the missionaries here and will hopefully accept the invitation to be baptized but I have the feeling that I was called here to prepare rather than baptize; it would be nice to finish with some more baptisms, however it’s not about the number of those baptized while in the service. I believe it is more a personal experience between myself and Heavenly Father that I share with others as their life comes in contact with my own and they come to know some the truths that we as latter day saints hold dear…I feel as the disciples of Christ, going into uncharted waters and being on the edge of something much bigger than myself and that is why we as missionaries strive to progress, strive to carry on and keep the faith…Sometimes it weighs on me that I have so little time to set goals and do things that I can see accomplished, however, I will try to help Thomas know the plans and ultimate vision I have for this new born area which has really taken wings here under a little prompting and a little pushing.

We taught 9 lessons last week and we had the opportunity of teaching 18 this week with a whole lot of new investigators, so basically the area that had been zeros for the last transfer isn’t a bad area. The people want to know the message we share, it is the fear of being accepted or rejected that sometimes held the missionaries at bay, however, fearing not,  I’m learning and teaching in the ways of Solomon and although pidgin is different it’s a great place. We have half of the area on the outer edges of town and the upper half of our area is on a big hill which definitely brings forth the sweat as you climb to the tippy top to see the people there:) Believe me the sun is really hot haha and I carry a little hand towel to wipe my face often haha.  But I have the feeling I will be very black haha and this is the rainy season! Haha

So here we go, the last two firey months of the mission of trials and most of all the joy in the labor:) This past week I had one of those embarrassing incidents of the “like greenie” experience as white people are a big attraction here haha.  Watch out for the girls, even the old catholic ladies haha which wash your feet …. It was a little awkward, I just wanted my sandals clean from the mud and she got a bottle of water and washed them for me! I tried telling her to stop but nope she went ahead….so awkward being white haha.  Man, here I thought I was finally becoming one of the ni-vans and bam, now a white guy again living the black life haha . But there are so many experiences here that really just blow your mind.  This week we found out one of our contacts that we went to go back and check on, she had a death in the family, but what really got me was that at the time of contacting her I reached to give her a restoration pamphlet and then switched at the last moment and gave her a copy of the plan of salvation …we came back to check on her, and she was off to the funeral. She came back the other day and scheduled an appointment for Tuesday….wow just weird stuff like that. haha

Mission huh?


Breaking Ground in the Solomon Islands

Sunday March 17, 2013

So I have had a heck of a week, and the area of complete zeros had some numbers this week.  What a surprise! It’s a whole lot different here, the missionaries just talk with people and continue to talk with them until they feel they really are friends and then they just ask them if they can teach them the gospel.  So what I did this week, was go to every one of those friends, and I taught them the basic truths of the restored gospel.  There wasn’t one time that I did not receive an invitation to come back and share more….my companion Elder Thomas is from Vanuatu and is a little home sick, he doesn’t like the food here and doesn’t like having days where we don’t teach lessons. So I can handle the lesson part, but he is afraid to contact a person here in Solomon…haha.  He doesn’t care who I contact, he’ll follow my lead but he won’t make the first move.  As much as I try to push him out of his bubble and put him in front to contact he’s not up for it. haha But he wants so much to be finished with his time here.

I see a big change in him and in his missionary work and teaching; he obviously has changed here in Solomon and I think for the best:) He’s sure that he will not be my last companion he says that he only has until May until he goes back but that can’t be, because I only have until the end of May, so he’ll have to go on in this area or they  will have to transfer him in April and give me a new one…but I just don’t know…we’ll see what the lord has in mind.

The rove area has potential, like people stop us on the road and ask questions and such, but as for members and recent  converts that’s a big zero here, and church is a long ways away so it’s hard to invite people to come to church when their previous church is so close. But hey, we go on our own breaking the bush here in Solomon so others can benefit from the ground work we lay. It’s the stones on the bottom them get tread on the most ….that’s why we walk so much. J My body has dropped haha but it’ll be good to come home skinny and then just build up some good swimming muscle :) but we’ll see the months go on, and like Sam said,” it’s crazy how little time I have left”. I  just hope I can do what I can for the next generation and they are glad that we laid the foundation for them…I try as I might to influence those here in the time I have, to see that I can do all I can and reach everyone that the lord has prepared for me …a scripture in 2 Nifae (2 Nephi) states that he preached the gospel in such dire circumstances  so that he would not have their blood upon his hands, that he would stand blameless at the last day…as do I…at the tops of the mountains I call, at the bases I climb until every road has been tread, every door opened to the gospel, and every heart touched to its depths…. I alone can’t fulfill this, but I will strive to do all I can…this is the last time the lord will see this missionary sent forth in his last months of service… keep the faith:) love you all