All my letters are always unorganized but hope they suffice. Man my english is already slipping. This is the first time I've talked in english for a good while. It's amazing what the lord can help you accomplish. I don't have the language fully down but I can now get my point across and teach. I just need to learn some formalities but because of my prayers and yours I've made some big strides. So right now I just made my first exchange(s). On saturday Elder Fotukava (of tonga) came and we worked together. He is really cool, we had a lot of fun and taught some good lessons. Yesterday I had Elder Namariel (Of tanna - Vanuatu) He's so funny. It's so crazy how much there is to learn here. I feel like I've learned so much in such a short time and I have 100x more to learn in the other 23 months of my mission haha. Yesterday was pretty crazy. I gave my 1st talk. I chose the topic of endure to the end. I shared the incredible story of Job and after shared Mosiah 2:41, It is so true. I love the members here. Especially in Palon. Our house in Palon is on the land of one of the members named AMMON. On his grounds it has a huge grass field, our house, his, and the church, he donated it. He has a brother named clement who is so awesome. He served a 4 year mission. Here they have district missionaries. They are missionaries who serve in vanuatu until they get their call or visa. So this upcoming saturday will be my 1st baptism! We have 3 and I will step into the water for the 1st time since my own baptism. I am so excited. When I think about our investigators who have chosen to get baptized I'm SO happy but it can't compare to how happy our heavenly father is. Last night I participated and witnessed my 2nd miraculous blessing. One of the Elders with us got really sick and was shaking and in horrible pain. We all came to him and a blessing was given. He stopped shaking immidiately after and got up and hugged us. The priesthood is so amazing. It truly is acting in behalf of heavenly father. As far as teaching it's going really well. We have a lot of investigators. I love this work, It is so important. It's like our mission scripture, 3 nephi 5:13. So here in Vanuatu there are 22 missionaries but by september we will get 18 new ones. I will train in august or september, haha I need to learn quick. As far as sports I've played soccer, basketball, and volleyball a lot. Basketball every P day soccer in palon, and volleyball a few nights a week in fanafo. I wish I could summon the powers of vintage vince sears and be good at volleyball haha, they are really good. It's so weird how I have changed foodwise. I love lap lap, It has manyoak if thats how you spell it and 'islang cabbage' (basically leaves). They have a fruit here called bablimus, it is so good I eat like 2 a day, it's taken the place of candy haha. I also tried flying fox for the 1st time. They get a slingshot and a flashlight and stone one while their flying around at night. I eat lots of rice and the only meat I eat is tuna or tin fish which is intact fish in ketchup haha. Anyways thank you so much for your prayers in my behalf. I'll keep em coming your way too. Love you lots!
Alright where do I start? Well first of all I love it here. My companion/trainer is Elder Mafi. (Papa blong mi, I'm his pikinini haha) He's awesome. He's from tonga/ australia and we get along gloriously. We both love everything basketball. I do have electricity and water sometimes haha. The water is collected from the rain in a tank and filtered. The shower drips out cold water haha. So the language is pretty hard not gonna lie. It's hard because the ni-vans talk hurriup tumas (very fast) and blend 3 or 4 words together. I'm getting better and better each day though. The 2nd day I said alright, NO more english. Thats helped a lot. I don't speak english anymore unless I don't know a word. I said fiji was beautiful but vanuatu's better haha. It really is 'the bush' or jungle here. All huts and sheet metal houses. Tons of naked kids running around haha. They love the missionaries here they all latch onto my arms.The people are so nice even if I understand half of what their saying to me. I'm already less picky haha. The first day or two I was so hungry because I ran out of goodies you gave me and I didn't want to venture into uncharted territory. Now I eat everything I'm given. The food is quite bland. I mostly eat tarro and lap lap. Basically their form of potatoes. It all comes from their gardens. I haven't had much meat. So There are animals here everywhere. They just run around and come inside peoples houses all the time. In a day I'll see about 8 dogs and puppies and lots of kittens ,TONS of chickens cows, goats, pigs everything just wandering around. They think I'm weird because I pet the kittens. In all honesty they eat the cats and dogs here. Who knows what I ate the other day. On the wildlife subject the spiders here are HUGE. Thats the ONLY thing I don't like here. We'll see if I adjust. When we go through the 'bush' or jungle they are everywhere. I told a small girl that I was afraid of them and she kept grabbing them and bringing them to me. I'll keep it to myself from now on. I had my first authentic coconut also. So good. Closest I'll get to candy here. I crave candy and fast food a lot haha. I've been having one almost every day and eating the insides also. It's so laid back here. We get up study get ready and go out at 1130 and come back around 6 to 7 because when it gets dark it's bedtime. Everyone goes to bed at like 8 at the latest and rises early. At the end of every day they play volleyball. There are nets set up in the middle of most villages. We play a lot on the way home haha. Its funny here small talk isn't about the weather its about the mud and how soft/hard it is. It's rainy season so they all lament over 'sof mud'. I like it personally I take my sandals off out of necessity and get super muddy. My shirts are going to be so trashed. They kinda already are. I really love it here, just need to get better speaking the language. It's funny I'm such a novelty here. I'll be walking and a bunch of small kids will yell "waet man" haha. Yesterday we watched the other side of heaven after church and I relate so much. It's so close to my experience so far. I just can't wait till I can be an effective teacher and bring others unto christ. I've been reading Jesus the Christ a lot. It's an amazing book you learn a lot. I reccomend it if you haven't read it already. It helped me realize we teach lots of things and know a lot but at the end of the day it's all centered in christ. The church here is great. It's some logs with a tarp over it and a bunch of chairs and a homemade podium. Lots of people come though about 75 on sunday. I'm getting a new tag made in bislama. It will read Elda Sia haha. The other day we had a guy named felise come with us to teach. He's 18 and a recent convert. We all taught together and after he started shaking and shivering really bad from a fever he didn't tell us about. We gave him a blessing and about 2 minutes later he was still and healed. Priesthood power. Alright gotta go I'm going to try to send you some pictures. I love you very much and pray for you every day. Endure to the end.
Olsem wanem famle! I am now in Vanuatu! I was told to let you know I’m here and alive. My first area I’ll be serving in is the Palon area on the island of Santo. It’s the hottest area and I’ll be walking A LOT. My companions name is Elder Mafi and I’ll meet him tomorrow. Check back in with you on P day. Tata
Hello from beautiful Suva, Fiji. It's so incredible here I wish you could see it. It really looks like the garden of eden haha. Everywhere you look it's green and fruit is growing. So I'll go in chronological order. First I get on the plane in salt lake and head to LA. PS taught a jewish/catholic lady sitting next to me, gave her a pass along card, we'll see how well that goes haha. Once we were in LA we had a 6 hour layover and we were waiting for a sister from maryland to join us. Her flight to LA was delayed 2 hours so she made it on the flight to fiji with about 10 minutes to spare. The flight was pretty long the sleep wasn't great. After that we got picked up by two missionaries from the Nadi, fiji area. We had some time to kill so we took elder frei to see the ocean in person for the first time in his life haha. After that we went to the local church to study. While I was reading about 10 fijian primary kids came in and we all played with them. I shot some hoops with a few while others played rugby. They were all so cute and small, they love the missionaries. After that we got on a bus to suva. It was a 4 hour bus ride through the countryside of fiji. We saw the more humble villages. I can't believe how green and lush it is here, it's just a sea of tree's and plants. After that we got picked up by the elders serving in suva. We ate and talked and crashed big time after that. The next morning we went to church here in suva. Parts of the sacrament meeting were in english some fijian. I counted 22 ceiling fans in the chapel and all the many windows were open. After that was the coolest part. They had a sunday school in english, fijian, and bislama so we went to bislama. We got to meet some of our first ni-vans. (people from vanuatu) They are such amazing people. They are so warm and inviting. They were all there from vanuatu to get sealed in the suva temple. At the end I said mi lovem olgeta yufala. (I love all of you) most of them didn't know how old they were haha. After that we met the mission president, president ostler and his wife. They're great. Too bad they'll only be here till july though. Yesterday was my favorite so far though. Elder potrie, frei, and I went around in the english speaking area here to teach with elder keenan. We taught 3 lessons to families. They were all in tin shacks. We'd say hi and take off our flip flops and come in and sit indian style on their mat. Thats the thing witht the fijian people. They are so warm and inviting, You have to pick and choose because they will all let you in and feed you and listen just because thats how they are and they love missionaries. From what I've heard it's even more so in vanuatu. These are some of the best people I've ever met. Today I meet with the boss man to find out my first area and companion. I fly out to vanuatu tomorrow to start this adventure! :) We'll see where I end up. One area is a little cooler kinda hoping for that one. My second pick would be in an area where you get cool trucks haha. It's funny the wheel is on the opposite side of the car here and you drive on the opposite side as well. I've heard so much lately about vanuatu before I go. I've never heard a bad thing and I couldn't be more excited. Anyways enough about me what new back home? Tigers @ the top of the division? How was ragnar? EFY? Keep me posted. Anyways gotta go I love all of you and your always in my prayers. Tata.
(Their making me a bislama tag so this is how it will read)
Great to keep getting your dear elders every day. It lifts my spirits. Soon as I'm in Vanuatu our letters will be much more rare haha. Hope you don't mind if i don't reply to every question because I don't have much time and I'd have to read through every letter. So I just opened your package haha. FYI we can't get them till the next day usually. I love everything in there and I ate my brown sludge haha. So I'm down to a few days! I report at 1:30 pm and my flights at like 5. After that we fly to LAX and have a 6 hour layover haha. Luckily I'll be with 2 of my good friends elder frei and potrie also going to Vanuatu. After that the 16 hour flight to nadi, fiji begins. When we arrive we will be greeted by our mission president and meet our trainers. SO excited! I start my anti malaryia meds today haha. So my stay here at the MTC is short but I've loved it so much. I love my companion and my district. I also enjoyed being zone leader and helping out everyone, mostly the new district. Yesterday I got a good compliment from sister lewis from the new district. She said she noticed a "goodness" about me. That made me feel pretty good, hopefully the ni-vanuatu agree haha. So while I've been here I met an elder from vanuatu! He was the most awesome guy ever! He said everyone will want to listen and have you over. He also showed us the handshake they do there. Its the coolest thing ever haha. On the business side could you reload my debit card before I leave back to $100? I've had to buy a few things. I feel really blessed here though. The first day or two I missed you guys so much. I still do but I'm able to focus now. The lord has helped me out so much. So the other day I played my last game of basketball for 2 years! I miss it already haha. I also just read an e mail from Anziano Larsen! It made my day it's so crazy we'll be so far away from each other. I feel like my testimony has grown here so much. We have the best message/news anyone could ever recieve. Christ's true church has been restored and it's on the earth! What a blessing! I cannot wait to love the ni-vanuatu and share these wonderful things I know. FYI i hugged my companion for you mom haha. It was a hug by proxy haha. Thank you for your letters though really. I love reading them and keeping track of what your up to. Mom I really liked what you said about we love you and miss you but don't let us be a distraction. Thats so true I'm out here to serve the lord and people are being prepared for me even now. I've ran into a few people I know here. Most notably my friend austin or Elder Metcalf. We took a pic together and we're planning on meeting tomorrow night before bed to say our goodbyes. There's an elder in the new district named elder collett. He's having a really hard time with homesickness. I've been trying to help him as much as I can. He's a great guy and I think he'll make it. I love teaching. It's so fun. Especially when your worthy to have the spirit as your companion. I've learned how to be a really good listener and to really focus in on their concerns. Being able to help these people is my biggest joy. Anyways I'm running out of time so family I love you very much. I would invite you to pray often. I pray so much more since I've been here. When you do you have the spirit with you to guide you. Also read your scriptures. They are the word of god for us to guide us back to live in his presence. I know you already do but the more you devote yourself you'll notice a huge difference. I pray for all of you and I love you very much.
Fyi my P day is tuesday haha I didn't forget to write yesterday. Well I'll be honest I've been missing you sooo much. I couldn't read your notes that you gave me before I came till now. Haha dad the coneheads reference brightened my day. If only anyone here understood that. Glad to hear the Tigers are puttin in work. Make sure they don't play TOO well I don't want to miss any championships. I liked the my dog skip analogy to grandpa. You were so patient with him I admire that. Thats so awesome look at you MR. HIGH PRIEST. Well right back at ya call me zone leader sears haha not really just elder sears but we are zone leaders over 3 districts now. It's fun we get to welcome the international missionaries. Mom, thank you so much for the letters. I can tell your missing me as much as I'm missing you haha. So I can't get new music on my ipod or anything but we can't listen to it here anyways. Thanks for the package! I haven't had time to open it yet its so busy here haha. PS SEND MORE TIES don't be stingy sending them haha. Oh yeah and thank grandy for the letter too! haha sierra your the best your letters keep me up with what your doing and all of your letters make me cry a little. Even now a little. I'm glad to be here though. I couldn't leave you guys without the help of our loving heavenly father. I've gotten so much help and reassurance through prayer. Pray more SINCERELY, your life will be blessed so much. So we've been practicing teachign lessons to fake investigators with scenarios. Yesterday we taught a real investigator with his problems. I prayed the night before to have the spirit to help me teach. Without that what your saying won't sink in and touch them. I also prayed to convey why I'm here and what I enjoy. Helping others and charity. Thats all we talked about with jose. I shared personal stories and found and read scriptures I didn't even know haha. I also talked to him about his hurt ankle and paralleled it to your knee, dad. I shared Mosiah 4:9. Read that. I've also seen my buddy elder metcalf a few times and we always give each other the biggest hug ever haha. The food is pretty dang good I'm excited to weigh myself. I don't know if I told yo but there are 2 other elders going to vanuatu in my district. (3 of the 30 to be in vanuatu, 10% haha) I have some way cool new friends here. Elder scott and harper are from georgia and australia. I play basketball with them a lot and talk music a little haha. I feel pretty good about myself when I ball here haha. They call me "Ray allen". Our district has 4 pairs of elders and 2 pairs of sisters and we're really close and strong. I don't see any of us not making it. I've been blessed with a great companion we get along so well. We both have the strong desire to get better. I've learned SO much here in less than a week technically. Sierra that translation of my name is so awesome!!! I shared it with my bretheren. I'm sorry you have to be the lone child but you do have good friends like you said. If you ever feel alone pray to your heavenly father he wants to help you. We'll all be blessed during this 2 year period. It's incredible in here I really love it everyone is so nice and our hearts are in the right place and we just want to learn so badly. I hope you know I love all you SO SO much and I think about you every day. This scripture put it into perspective for me though. 1 corinthians 13:11. Anyways I better go but just know I love it here and that our heavenly father loves us so much. I know this church is true and that it changes lives. I'm so excited to be able to help people come to christ and feel the love that I've felt.