Monday, July 9, 2012

Hello family,
Thanks for the letters. It's always good to hear from you guys. PS sierra never replied to that e mail I wrote her about her favorite scriptures, etc. and be sure to tell thank you to the scotts! They're the coolest. So this week was very good. The VANUATU PORT VILA MISSION is official! Our new mission president and his wife arrived last saturday. They are so awesome! President is one of the most  motivational people I've met haha. He served his mission among the native americans in montana. He knows poor housing and lack of comforts well enough to be with us. We had our first zone conference. I had my first interview with him as well. He was really happy about my companion and I elda samuel. He saw how well we got along. He commended me for humility. We talked about my district for a bit as well. My companion and I get along super well. He's happy all the time which is great to be around. We know each others strengths and use them. So my area is very large. We look after 3 areas in Port Vila.: Etas, Teouma, and Eratab. Our house is so nice. It's nice to feel clean and be comfortable again. I've gained weight! You can't see my ribs anymore haha. Everyone has said I look way healthier and coherant haha. In gaua I ate as much as I could but the heat and long distances walking got to my body. I really like my new branch. It's functional and I don't have to do everything haha. It's nice to not have to be the spiritual leader as well. Now I can just focus on missionary work. Etas is a branch that's been around for a good while. It's got some of the first members ever to join the church here in Vanuatu. There are a few families that have a few generations in the church now and they're the heart of the branch. Famle Hilliman is an awesome family. In the family they have 7 returned missionaries in 2 families of hillimans. I'm now starting to get to know the members. They're great .. We've asked our new branch president to help us out and find us a branch mission leader. We've been asking for  referals from everyone but haven't gotten one yet. Elda Samuel and I have been contacting a lot. Serving in town is a tad harder than on the island. Can't complain though because I know some my buds are serving in places much harder haha. We have some really good investigators though. Last week we had a baptism for E. She's from the island of Malekula. She is epic. When they first taught her she wasn't too interested and she was catholic. Through the proccess of the lessons she had a change of heart and grew to love the book of mormon and the church. She was baptised and gave an awesome testimony at the service and on sunday as well. She really wants to go on a mission. She has that new convert glow and wants to learn all she can. I got her a copy of preach my gospel at her request. Her sister and her man, S and M  are also our investigators. They are so awesome! S is from Tanna. He's a humble guy. He will be getting married and baptised this month. He taught us the custom dance of Tanna. Last week as a welcome to President Brewer they organised a welcome activity with all the members in vila. Each branch presented a custom dance from one island. I almost joined the custom dance for Banks group (Gaua and Mere Lava). So this week was a really good learning experience for me. It started to hit me that I have less than a year left! I thought about my progression and I'm nowhere close to where I'd like to be. I had a humbling week as well. Something didn't feel right. Our companionship is great so we should be teaching well but I felt off. I prayed really hard and often to know what was the matter. I had a really good study just on the basics of the gospel. My teaching has become more focused on the Savior than facts. Everything points back to him. I taught a class in our investigator class on sunday. (during sunday school for investigators, answer questions and take it at their pace) They asked some really good questions and I taught shortly about THE topic. The atonement. I feel thats all I want to teach about all the time. You can ponder it and be amazed by so many different things. I'm also enjoying being district leader. My district has the two assistants to the president (AP's) and 4 sisters in the areas of Pango and Freshwota. All the names of places are taken from things in their relative location. My sisters are awesome. I assigned them to give what they learned in companionship study in district meeting tomorrow. Tomorrow we'll talk about the importance of teaching our recent converts. So many missionaries teach people until they're baptised and then the "on to the next one" reflex kicks in. There isn't enough retention. I assigned Elda Samuel to teach and I'll follow up with a training on recent converts. Anyways I've realised my letters are probably pretty boring. I never tell any funny stories or cool cultural stuff anymore. I'll try to spice it up more next time. Thanks for everything!
Elda Sears

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Hello family,

Greetings from Eluk, here in Port Vila. I'm in a senior couples house currently, just down the road from the brand new mission presidents house. Vanuatu, Port Vila mission is official! Haven't met President Brewer yet but zone conference is this week. Before I get to current stuff I'll go back to my leaving Gaua. So once I found out about  my transfer I reluctantly started to let people know. I told President Jansen first. (Its funny whenever I say Jansen it feels like his name and not mine now) I had some great last goodbye's and feasts. The first was with Morey. She's from Mere Lava and lives in Gaua. She's married to an ex France world cup player. Her husband is retired from playing and works for the world cup organization, AKA, they're loaded. Her husband built her a huge house here because she likes living in the island better (as opposed to vila where you have to have a job and buy stuff). Her house is so nice. It has massive solars to power her icebox, plasma screen, internet and everything. She's always been a good bud of mine because  we go to her small store. I'd always shoot her a text saying," throw 4 fanta's in the icebox," and we'd come get them at the end of the day. When I told her I'd be leaving and going to Etas she was quiet for a second and then said to come eat at her house on saturday. What a meal, haha. We had sausage! fish with lemon pepper, spanish rice type stuff, Naora (mini lobsters) potato salad made with kumala (our version of potato thats really sweet). After I told her a big thank you I brought out  a Book of Mormon to give to her. I gave it to her and we started chatting about the church. She said she already had one. Lots of years ago when she lived in Vila she dated a returned missionary. She took all the missionary lessons. She read the BoM a lot. She went to church every sunday and all the activities. Everyone thought she was a member already. She said she saw some bad examples, especially with this returned missionary. (who ironically I know in my new area here now) It's such a shame when that happens. We chatted some more and I asked her besides those bad examples you saw," how did you feel when you went to church? were taught by the missionaries? read the Book of Mormon?" Then she gave a really good testimony. She said she was glad to have a Book of Mormon again and that my companion and the next one coming could come teach her again. Then on sunday I gave my last talk. I talked about the importance of keeping the sabbath day holy. I addressed every excuse in the book haha. After church I started a tradition for them. They don't know the hymns super well so I suggested learning one every week after church before everyone goes. It went really well. Afterwards He was  waiting for charles who kinda knows english," Hey i know english!" He and I filled up his papers, he was really excited. His dad, Paul Saaky has come such a long way. When elder bacon and I were here he was barely active and we'd see people bringing kava over to his house. When our unit got approved to become a branch they gave him the calling of Elders quorum president. It saved him. Now he's totally clean and he looks so much better and smarter. He blessed the sacrament and I was so proud. He was having trouble with home teaching and I told him about how we did it in my ward. He was really glad and announced out the companionships the other day. Also went to go teach Fred. He's so awesome & eccentric. He told me when he heard I was transferring that night he woke up crying. He said we had come and picked him and his family out of the garbage can and saved them, haha. He talks so much and is such an interesting guy that I almost didn't believe him about the crying. Today I saw it. Lastly had an EPIC last kakae (feast) with the members. They totally planned it. President said they usually don't do this for a single person. It was packed. Just about every member came with a bunch of investigators as well. Presidents daughter Asnet hung the salusalu on my neck (flower necklace) and President sang "Mi nidim yu oltaem" (i need thee every hour) on the guitar and sang. One by one they shook hands with me and all the women did the kissy thing on my cheeks, haha. (miss. pres. says don't encourage it but don't stop it either and disrespect them) I felt REALLY loved. I don't know if I'll ever feel so at home in another area. So loved by my branch president and so tight. I felt like a member of their families. Lots of people cried, some suprised me. I really like Elder Thomas my companion. He's super funny but also pretty stronghed because he's from Tanna haha.

So now I'm here in Etas! I LOVE my companion. Elder Bacon trained him after I finished training him. He's refreshing haha. He has drive and he's funny and happy all the time. I'm also district leader now. It's funny, there was no district meeting on Gaua so I had to sit and think for a while what a district meeting was like. I really liked our first district meeting. I taught about repentance. I felt us missionaries were really good at focusing on stopping as far as the word of wisdom and the law of chastity and then keeping the commandment. BUT where's the repentance and applying the atonement? We had a great discussion on that and how our investigators could be really changed. Anyways there's more but time is going. Next week!

Love Ya'lls

Elda Sias