The Final Exam

Iaorana tatou faahou! So Friday night, I was thinking back on the time that I've spent here on Raiatea. There have been high and lows,...

Iaorana tatou faahou!

So Friday night, I was thinking back on the time that I've spent here on Raiatea. There have been high and lows, as always, and I've truly come to love my little town of Uturoa. Our members are wonderful and I've learned so much. Knowing that transfers are next week, I was wondering if Ive accomplished everything I was sent here to do, if I'd really left my mark on this secteur, or if the Lord would give me a bit more time. Just as I was sitting there thinking (and praying) about all this, the phone rang. The sisters of Pirae 1. I figured it was for my companion, since her friend Soeur N- serves there (Soeur N- was also Soeur S-'s companion for our first six weeks here), but I answered anyway since Soeur M- was in the shower. "Soeur Ladd! So are you transferred? Soeur Me- is coming to Faataua 1." I was confused because transfer calls were still a week away, they always come the Friday before transfer week (next Monday). So I tell her I have no idea, we haven't gotten any calls, she updates me on the transfer news up to that point, I hang up and call Soeur Me- and Soeur J-, who also haven't gotten a call from the assistants and shush me before I reveal Soeur Me's transfer. Well I didn't get any other call that night, so I figured either they'd call Saturday morning as they sometimes do, or I will stay for another transfer. In any case I had trouble sleeping because I was not at all mentally prepared for transfer calls a week early! Finally, at 6:29 am the next morning, we woke up to a call from the assistants. "Hey Soeur Ladd, sorry we forgot to call you last night. You will also be transferred!" Long story short, I am headed back to Tahiti, to serve in the Mahaiatea ward at Papara, and to adopt (finish the training of) Soeur Lu-. Still don't know when exactly I'm leaving, should be sometime next week. And coincidentally, Mahaiatea was my mom Soeur D-'s first secteur! That means I've served in two of her three secteurs. If I finish at Faaa, that will be really weird. Sorry for the unnecessary details, it was a pretty eventful weekend.

Another highlight from the week was our stake Relief Society activity on Saturday. All the wards prepared some songs and dances, and the sisters all showed off things they've made this year - dresses, quilts, and other crafts. Each ward was assigned a vegetable and made food based on that vegetable. We got tomatoes. While I've gotten over my dislike of some other vegetables and fruits through my mission, I still don't like tomatoes. But it was fun!

Oh and I forgot to say in my last email - last Monday we hiked the great Mount Temehani, and saw the ultra rare Apetahi flower. This flower only grows on the plateaus of Raiatea, and is super delicate and beautiful. It's the symbol of Raiatea and there's a legend behind it, but I'm not exactly sure of the details. They say if you haven't made hiked Temehani, then you've never been to Raiatea, so I'm glad we got the chance before I left!

Tiare Apetahi

This week Soeur M- and I have been studying charity and love. Yesterday in Relief Society we studied a message from the prophet Howard W Hunter, charity is the measure of our discipleship. Ever since that I've been thinking about a story I once heard, and with a bit of digging around on, I found it:

"A group of religion instructors [were] taking a summer course on the life of the Savior and focusing particularly on the parables.

“When the final exam time came, … the students arrived at the classroom to find a note that the exam would be given in another building across campus. Moreover, the note said, it must be finished within the two-hour time period that was starting almost at that moment.

“The students hurried across campus. On the way they passed a little girl crying over a flat tire on her new bike. An old man hobbled painfully toward the library with a cane in one hand, spilling books from a stack he was trying to manage with the other. On a bench by the union building sat a shabbily dressed, bearded man [in obvious distress].

“Rushing into the other classroom, the students were met by the professor, who announced they had all flunked the final exam.

“The only true test of whether they understood the Savior’s life and teaching, he said, was how they treated people in need.

“Their weeks of study at the feet of a capable professor had taught them a great deal of what Christ had said and done. In their haste to finish the technicalities of the course, however, they failed to recognize the application represented by the three scenes that had been deliberately staged. They learned the letter but not the spirit." (James E. Faust, April 1998)

As we learn about and come to know the teachings of the Savior, let us put them to use so that we can truly come to know the Savior as we try to follow His example of love and charity.

Je vous aime,
Soeur Ladd

p.s. Celine is with some neighbors now, but now our new next door neighbors have a cat that won't leave us alone! She's too cute for my own good.

The view from Mount Temehani, Tahaa (right) and Bora Bora (left) in the background


  1. Soeur Erin, the scenery is stunning. The flower is gorgeous. But, I do love your insights most of all. I am amazed at all you've learned. Thank you for sharing, sweet girl!. ♥