Posted by: monsonmadness | August 16, 2011

Lost wallet

Today I was doing our finances and was writing out a tithing check to our church. I needed some information from my wallet so went to get it. It wasn’t in my purse. I remembered that yesterday I had put it into my laptop bag which I had taken to the hospital with me so looked there. It wasn’t there. Strange. Looked everywhere I could for a few minutes then sat down to back track, AKA early freak out (credit cards, Utah bank card, American Samoa bank card, temple recommend, drivers license, $45…)

Yesterday morning was a nightmare. The hospital is the only place on the island to get prescriptions and three of us have ear infections right now. Getting into the hospital system is a joke, you have to take your passport, your social security card, your birth certificate, your drivers license, a copy of your employment contract etc. You get the picture. Anyway, when I had taken Emma and Hannah to the hospital on Sunday it turned out that one of the 20 pages of Michael’s work contract had not been initialed. They would not accept the contract. Were they serious? Oh yes. Went back yesterday to go through the whole rigmarole again. Unlike Sunday afternoon when Michael had stayed home with the other kids, I had all 6 kids with me this time. Sunday’s ER visit only lasted 2 hours. Not too bad, but yesterday I was there for 3 hours with all the kids, JUST to get my contract sorted out, get health cards, and pick up some amoxicillin. Not fun.

I had taken my lap top so that the kids could watch a movie while we waited. Mistake. I had the kids sit on the floor along the wall (we have the same floor in our house as the hospital, except theirs is cleaner. How sad is that?) because all of the chairs were full. I should have known that, because the hospital car park was completely full and I had to wait about 20 minutes to find a parking space. Anyway, as soon as my kids were lined up and behaving perfectly, a policeman came along and told them they weren’t allowed to sit down. What? What difference does it make if they are sitting or standing? Dumb. I realise I’m rambling, but I feel like I need to vent for a while.

I remember having my wallet at the hospital because I had to pay for the medicine and had to get the hospital cards which I put in my wallet. On the way home, I stopped by the school to see if my classroom was finished yet. It wasn’t. One wall short. It was lunch time by now, so I stopped at a store and bought a couple of things for lunch. I had my wallet, paid for everything, and remember carrying it out to the car because I wasn’t carrying anything else, the man at the store took my other things to my car for me.

So that was the last time I remember having my wallet. When I got home, I heard men’s voices from inside the house. Turns out that it was our neighbor/landlord and a couple of other guys who were fixing our broken sink. See photo below. Yes, this photo is taken the right way up!

I dumped all my groceries, lap top bag etc on the table and went to get lunch ready for my kids. Moved on with the day. So now I am here today trying to figure out where on earth my wallet is. I figure it must still be in the car from after the store so go outside to look. Clean out the car, even check in the boot, nothing there. Ransack the house and recruit the kids to help. No wallet. I ask them what we should do next, and of course, Hannah suggests that we pray. We said a family prayer and went back to work. Some of you may think that the wallet may have just shown up, but that didn’t happen. We kept looking and working hard.

The thought came to me that maybe one of the babies picked it up and put it somewhere, we check everywhere. No wallet. Then I wonder if one of them put it in the garbage. Gross. American Samoa garbage is not like UK or US garbage. It is hot and humid here and everything rots FAST. I call Michael and sure enough he had taken out a bag of garbage last night. I start with the garbage that we already have in the house. We keep one for food with a sealed lid for the bugs, and one for everything else. I check the everything else one first which has stinky diapers in it. No wallet. I check the food one, no wallet. I go to take those bags out to the outside trash and realise it is already on the lane for pickup, I’m walking out and I see the garbage truck coming down the lane! I rush to pull out the bag that Michael had taken last night and try to rummage through it (I hope none of you are laughing at this story). I can’t even begin to tell you the stench of rotting food and the flies that are swarming all over me at this point. Rotting food from the last few days and everything mushy and deteriorating. So gross. Oh, did I mention no wallet?

At this point I’m starting to get a little worried. Do we need to cancel all our credit cards? If so, it would take weeks to get new ones shipped out here. What would I do without ID? They ask for it everywhere here. I have tried to get an American Samoa driving license and I have the receipt but guess what? Their printer doesn’t have ink and I couldn’t get an actual card. I’ve been checking back periodically for the last 4 weeks now, but still no ink has been shipped in…

The one thought that keeps coming to me is that my wallet was probably dumped on the table with the groceries and laptop bag when I came home, and I just left everything there while I got lunch for the kids. I wonder if the three men working on the sink had anything to do with it? They walked past that table several times while we ate lunch. Could one of them had taken it?

Now I involve my kids again and tell them some of my thoughts. Benjamin is adamant that no-one would have stolen it because “Samoans are really nice people”. I agree with his reason, but am not convinced that it can’t be true. Where else could it be? This process continued all day long for about 7 hours altogether. More prayers were said.

Five minutes before Michael came home from work, I was in the kitchen preparing dinner when the spirit put words into my mind, “you haven’t checked under the car”. Without hesitation, I walked outside and looked underneath the car to find my wallet laying perfectly where it must have fallen out when we got home yesterday lunchtime.

I hope that you don’t find this ending anticlimactic. I feel so much peace from what I learned today. I have a stronger testimony of personal revelation. This concept may be foreign to many of you, but is so important to me. This is not the first time that I have had the experience of the spirit putting EXACT words or images into my mind that have helped me find something that was missing, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. If I had found the wallet just looking by myself, I wouldn’t have learned anything. I could have seen it the next time I backed the car out of the garage, but I wouldn’t have learned anything. The key was to recognise that I was being prompted. That’s the important part. The Holy Ghost has blessed my life by giving me inspiration, guidance, comfort, and much more. As I learn to discern the promptings I get, and act on those with faith, I am blessed. Being worthy to have the Holy Ghost guide me is something that I strive for every day and week of my life.

I love this quote, “The Holy Ghost is not restricted to men, nor to apostles or prophets; it belongs to every faithful man and woman, and to every child who is old enough to receive the gospel of Christ.” (Wilford Woodruff). Click to learn more about the Holy Ghost.

You skeptics out there might be thinking that it was just a coincidence, or that my thoughts were not guided. Perhaps you are wondering why I would be required to spend so long looking for my wallet all day, even digging down in the disgusting garbage. Couldn’t I have been prompted earlier on in the process? Perhaps. But I feel that I looked everywhere and did everything I could to find it. I learned to exercise my faith a little longer, that I am dependant on the Lord (I would not have thought to look under the car at all), and I am learning be patient and endure. This was just a small thing, but I grew a little from it.

I was also able to share sweet experiences with my children as we prayed together in faith, and as we prayed in gratitude afterwards. Children are so humble and believing, and I have a lot to learn from them.

Oh yes, and Samoans really are very nice people.



  1. What a great experience! Almost my entire testimony is built on these small but significant experiences that help me to remember that I need to rely on the Lord and that he has me in mind all the time.

  2. Thanks for sharing your experience. That’s a wonderful faith building experience to have with your children. Sorry about the garbage part though- yuck!!!

  3. Nephi had to do a lot of unpleasant leg work too before he found what he was looking for (i.e., the brass plates). You’re in good company.

  4. I have had similar experiences in receiving exact direction. I always find it so humbling and reassuring that God cares enough about me to care about the ‘small stuff’. I think those kinds of things give me the most joy of all. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I definately have a testimony that prayers are heard and answered, and I am grateful for that. I’m so glad you found your wallet.

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