Monday, August 29, 2011

August 28th, 20111

Hello family,

    So where do I start? So the other day we were walking out to a distant village. Here in Vanuatu there are over 100 languages so everyone says goodnight to you in their own language. A small boy was bathing under a pipe and he yelled out to me "aeyea". I was walking in front and deep in thought. After he said it again, then a third time. Then he was frustrated. "WAET MAN, AEYEA!" after I realized and laughed a little and responded. The kids here are so awesome. Except for the fact they all know of my fear of spiders. They love to bring the really big green ones and try to put them  on my shoulder. Next area I'll keep this under wraps. So this week young single adults from all the islands were flown in to have a week long conference. Last night was the concluding fireside. We were told the missionaries would  have a part to talk about the restoration. Elder Hilliman played the part of Joseph Smith and my part was the voice of Heavenly Father and the Savior. (I was chosen because of my deep authoritative voice haha). Also, they had a sports competition for soccer and basketball. I played on my area of Palon's team (in white shirt + tie) and we took 1st prize. Next week we'll be going to President Kelly's house to have a big feast to celebrate. So here the missionaries do just about everything because they have units and branches not stakes and wards (meaning the mission runs everything) Yesterday in sacrament meetingfor example we were asked, " Will you bless the sacrament?, will you give a talk? will you teach sunday school? haha so a little about fanafo, one of my 2 areas. It's a custom village. It's not as strict as it was before but before if you walked around it without  pants ( in loin cloths) , they would make you change or leave.  haha. Anyways next week I think I'll brainstorm about what to write before I come because I'm spending lots of time thinking.

Love you all,

Elda Sias

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Jansen's safe and sound...

Hello family all is well,
     So yeah I hadn't even heard about the earthquakes until I read your letter. Our phone got a warning to go to high ground for a tsunami but it was later recalled. No damage, same old same old haha. It was great reading your letters! Sounds like your having lots of fun. So over here it's getting better and better. My bislama has grown by leaps and bounds. I have a big desire now to try all new foods. Last night I ate turtle and it was really good. I also made chicken for the first time and plucked the feathers and cleaned it out and everything. Next week president klingler will come to vanuatu again and we'll be in town for a week. Looks like I'll be going to get some chinese.
     So I got my new companion yesterday but I haven't gotten to know him too much yet. He's a ni-van who went to serve in santa rosa california for 7 months and had to come back because of a back problem. He's really funny I think we'll get along well. So as for my 2 areas I love them. I love all the people especially. I've gotten pretty close with a lot of them. I love being out in the bush and I've embraced the lifestyle, hope I don't have to serve in town too much. Everything here is different. One of the biggest obstacles are the customs here. To get married you must literally buy the woman from the parents. It's really expensive so a lot of people just live together.
     I'm really enjoying this great opportunity. To share the restored gospel to a great people. Besides the food the biggest miracle is probably the language. Now I can converse and understand and read totally in bislama. I even think in it now haha. I knew before but my eyes have been opened to a lot of things. It's such a blessing to be able to know all that we know. To have a prophet to lead and guide us, to have the scriptures, to have the chance to talk with the all knowing father, and to have the saviors church on the earth again. We know everything we need to do to go back with our heavenly father, we just need to remember it at all times. I know that my heavenly father is looking out for me and has helped me so much. I read a quote from elder uchtdorf that I liked a lot. "we're incomplete, but he loves us completely, we're inperfect, but he loves us perfectly". Anyways better go, love you all very much.
         Elda Sias
         Jos blong
        Jisas Kraes
Blong ol lata dei sent

Earthquake in Vanuatu

A series of earthquakes struck off the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu on Sunday, causing minor damage, but there were no immediate reports of injuries. Local tsunami advisories were issued but later lifted, and no tsunami was recorded.
The U.S. Geological Survey said a magnitude-7.1 quake struck at 3:55 a.m. (1655 GMT Saturday) at a depth of 25.2 miles (40.6 kilometers). Its epicenter was 39 miles (63 kilometers) south-southwest of Vanuatu's capital, Port-Vila.
The temblor was followed by several aftershocks, including a magnitude-7.0 quake that struck at 5:19 a.m. (1819 GMT) at a depth of 17.7 miles (28.5 kilometers). Its epicenter was 42 miles (69 kilometers) south-southwest of Port-Vila.
The Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory said it issued four local tsunami advisories that were lifted after about two hours. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue a tsunami warning.
Some minor damage was reported in the southern part of the country and in the surrounding areas of Port-Vila, said Esrom Molisa, an official with Vanuatu's National Disaster Management Office.
Vanuatu, a chain of 83 islands, lies just over 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers) northeast of Sydney. It is part of the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of earthquake and volcanic zones stretching from South America through Alaska and down through the South Pacific.
A magnitude-7.3 quake struck near Vanuatu on Dec. 26, causing a tsunami a few inches high but no damage.

Monday, August 15, 2011

August 15th 2011

Hello family,
Limited time today, it's another holiday and only the dumb e mail place is open. So news,  next week I'll be getting a new companion. Elda mafi will go serve in Luganville and I'll be with Elder Tokalolo. We'll probably be together for a short time and after, I'll either take Palon or Fanafo as my area and train a new one. All is well here, loved reading your letters. Know that I'm happy and having a great time and learning SO much. Love you all,
Elda Sias

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

more photos

August 8th

Sias family,

Hello! So where do I start? this week has been pretty good. My bislama has gotten so much better. I'm not there yet but I'll get it. I'm now to the point to where I pray, think, and converse in this language. Just a few formalities to fix. It's hard switching back now haha. So this week I ate the best meal ever. In town though. We went to a meeting here in Luganville and after us and all the branch presidents (bishops) went to eat chinese. I was grateful for this. I got a letter from Josh. It was really good, he had some really good insight on teaching a mostly Christian already population. I also got your letter too. That guy is awesome he's playing for the 2 best teams, heavenly fathers team and the detroit tigers haha jk. So I found something awesome in an ensign here. On the last page it had a painting of the draper temple overlooking the valley. I ripped it out and put it up on the wall promptly. I greatly regret not going through the salt lake temple before. Since it's P day I was watching a film about building it. This week my thoughts have been lead to how grateful I am to be on a mission. It really has opened my eyes to everything. Everything makes sense. This makes it much easier to share this message because it's a perfect message and can bless your life immeasurably if you allow it to. Ok advice: if you haven't already, read Jesus the Christ, amazing book. Also, I think back to the sabbath days of before. I was completing one step of a proper sabbath. Go to church. I wasn't making this day any different. This day belongs to heavenly father and is to rest and learn/ think about the savior. A good sabbath day makes for a good week. So business now, unfortunately I need to buy a new camera. The batteries run out fast when used for a camera and it's 880 vatu or $8.80 every time I buy one pair of batteries, I calculated the cost over 2 years and yeah. I ordered one through the mission president and he'll bring it to conference at the end of the month so I will be withdrawing money close to then. Anyways now we will chat, Ale family, love you all very much and thank you for the great letters and prayers on my behalf.

With love,
Elda Sias

PS Elda Waimini said to tell my family hello from him so, hello sias fam

Monday, August 1, 2011

From Pioneer Day to Independence Day Vanuatu Style

Hey family,

Sorry I couldn't write you last week. Or yesterday. The internet was broken. I loved your letters! It made me reflect back on my trek experiences. A few days back it was sunday the 24th. It was childrens day here. (They have it figured out, fathers, mothers, and childrens day) But also none of the members here knew pioneer day, although they do celebrate it in Vila. With all the members we discussed the incredible sacrifice these members made. This was almost everyones first time hearing this. I had the great opportunity to sit down with one of our great investigators and talk in depth about this. In preach my gospel it says you learn while you teach if you have the spirit. As I bore witness of this I felt my gratitude grow for these brave members. So I just got news I'll most likely train in september. Wow haha. I better kick it into high gear. So this week I got lost for the 1st time. In palon all the roads are just paths through the jungle and it's quite hard to find your way at night. We had just made another exchange and we wandered for 2 hours before finding home. Also, I'm very glad celebration is over. It was basically a week long celebration of Vanuatu's independence. Everyone would go down every day all day so needless to say the work suffered a little. Anyways now I'll type the letter I wrote last week it's longer

Elda Sia

One Day in Vanuatu

So much of this letter is in response to Jansen's mom's many questions and request for him to describe a typical day as he knows it in Vanuatu...

Hey family,

Sorry I couldn't write you today but I decided to print out your letters and take time to reply. It's pretty crazy trying to learn this language, but I have recieved A LOT of help. (Thank you for your prayers again) Foodwise it is kindof a miracle huh? The other day I ate cow intestine. I hope I'm maintaning my weight, no way of checking really. Yes I do have a shower and flush toilet, but sometimes we run out of our collected rain water so we have to use the spicket outside. On our P day I go into Luganville and do errands and relax basically. As far as the blog picture no formal ones! Ni-van only haha. After reading everyones letters I'm quite humbled, I'm in no shortage of prayers in my behalf. Dad, your "I feel so alive" was the best. Be grateful you can swim! I decided I'll sing that line every morning as I step into the cold shower. So the average day. I'll get up at 6:30 and go swim (Thats how you say bathe or shower) After is personal study and companionship study, after we head out. We work till about 7 when everyone goes to bed to get up at 5 the next morning to go to the garden. The best part though is the commute. In fanafo it's half "bush" and half dirt road. In Palon it's all cattle coconuts and palm trees mixed with even thicker bush. Most of my time is spent trekking through the jungle. It's very hot and humid so i'm sweaty about 5 minutes after I've left the house in the morning haha. My pants are always rolled up and lately I've been wearing my flip flops I got here in town.
Ok first baptism. I'll start at the beginning of the day. So first thing in the morning, one of the members brought me a brand new pair of crocs. The day before I said his were cool so he went and bought me a pair. After our transport picked us up. (PS all our driving is standing up in the back of the truck bed through bush and dirt roads) We got there and had some time to kill so we went into one store since we were in town and I found gummy bears! next was the baptism. First I baptised a man named Dan and after a woman named Anson. After I kept thinking how awesome it felt to help someone recieve this lifesaving ordinance. After we headed out to go see one of our investigators named cristof. When we arrived, him and his stringband were about to practice for the competition at celebration. It became a performance for us and they even went and changed into their outfits. Him and his family have been taught for a long time but I'm glad to announce that him his wife and 2 of his children will be baptised on the 13th. As far as your question about the poverty here. Yes it is very impovrished but they just live off the land and build everything. They're quite content. Anways Im going to try to send pictures so I better go. Love you all so much and I'm glad to hear your having awesome experiences.

Elda Sia