Monday, August 13, 2012

August 13th, 2012

Dearest family,

Sorry I couldn't write last week. I enjoyed reading all your letters. When I think about my home and all the things I knew before it really seems like another world. I forget what watching sports was like. I've forgotten most of the music I like. Occasionally I really miss watching baseball in the basement with dad or I miss listening to the music I like. Being here is different. It's so completely opposite in every way. Nothing is similar. Because of that, nothing jogs my memory of home. I know it's going to be weird coming home. I hope some day you guys can see this place. If you guys came at the end of my mission you  would love it. It would be unforgettable for sure. I'm aware it's way expensive haha. So everything here is pretty good. Not great but good. I've been here in Etas for about a month and a half now. Still with Elder Samuel, thank goodness. I survived a transfer, just barely. It was going to be me or Elder Bacon going to the island of Tanna to take the place of a He's going to love Tanna. It's the fastest growing island as far as the church and missionary work here. Elder Bacon is such a good missionary. I'm so glad I got to serve with him and find a great friend for now and after the mission. I talk to him a lot as we exchange ideas and help each other out. I should be here for a good while longer. I've heard I stayed for a reason and that they have a plan for me, haha, but we'll see. I like it here. I like being District Leader because you really get to know the missionaries better as you serve them and it motivates me a lot. We're facing a bit of a struggle now. The members here are so awesome. They're the pioneers of the church here in Vanuatu. They know the church well. I've befriended lots of them and have had some great conversations. BUT they don't help their missionaries out for some reason. They kinda take missionaries for granted. My companion and I have spent this whole time trying to rally the troops if you will but it's yielded exactly 0 referrals and 0 help in missionary work. Our branch president has a big work load in this branch so I don't want to trouble him. I've realized that honestly if we want to get any success here it's Elder Samuel and I and the Lord. We're working really hard, I think we'll get there. Yesterday was a bummer kinda. We're teaching a young girl named M. She's 17 and she's from Tanna. She comes every sunday and loves the Book of Mormon. She know's the church is true. She came here to Vila to go to school. She was raised in Tanna by her grandpa. Before she left tanna he told her "remember don't go to any other churches". Her grandpa is a strong SDA. We weren't aware of this as she's been coming to church for a long time now and has been coming to all the activities. When we found out, she said she would get baptized secretly. We told her she had to get permission from  her grandpa (basically dad). She told him and he was really angry and said to never call him again and basically said he was disowning her. I felt horrible. I fasted last week in her behalf and I've been praying really hard for her. Of her own free will she wants to join the church and has a testimony. I told her to pray every day and read the Book of Mormon every night. On the other hand, our two investigators, S and E who just got married should be getting baptized. They should be already. We've worked with S for a long time to let go of Kava. He stopped for a long time and he told us he was ready to take his interview and be baptized. We showed up with the AP's and he was drunk and very ashamed. The next day we were sure to let him know we haven't given up and that we still care. Poor E, she's ready. Besides them we're trying to find honest people. We're trying lots of ideas and meeting lots of people. (Here everyone will say yeah you can come BUT the amount of people who are sincere is about the same as other places) We're trying our best and I'm praying hard. Anyways not lets get to a lighter note. I'm getting bigger. I have meat on me now and I look like before. Last night I made taco's! I found taco seasoning and tortillas. The smells made me feel like home. Ok here's a funny irony. I don't know if I already told you this but I'm getting payback for years of picky eating. Now I'll try anything and all I eat is vegetables. My companion can't really cook (I can barely) so I do most of it. I'll find white people food at the nice store and cook it and he won't try it, or he'll be afraid and stubborn. I try to tell him it's so good and I know he'll like it! I kinda know how you feel now mom haha. Today Elder Samuel and I bought some knock off ray ban glasses with the Vanuatu flag trim on it. They look super awesome. We'll be pretty "FLASH" once we wear them in our truck this week. I had a sad realization. My english is awful. It's ok when I talk to Elder Bacon. The other day Elder Samuel asked if we could talk only in english so he could learn. I struggled so hard to tell a story. I felt weird and felt so much more natural telling it in bislama. Last night I had a funny chat with Elder Samuel. I found out how dating and courtship is done here. It's pretty middle schoolish haha. If anyone see's you they'll talk about you so bad you'll want to move so it's almost done in secret. This morning I chatted with Jansen and his family again. From time to time he'll call. The church is doing great over in Gaua now that they've moved in to (my) the new chapel. They would welcome us back for sure. He says all of my converts are dong great. Also something kinda negative here is that lots of people are terrified of me because I'm white and tall. They think I'll speak in english. We taught this one family and for some reason the mom is terrified of us. One time we were walking on the road by her house. She saw us but it was too late for her to run away now beacuse we were close. She's a large woman. She hid behind a small pillar. Then she darted out behind another house thinking we didn't see her. She was then out of sight but then her small son followed her and stood right next to her and was saying her name hahaha. Then another time we were teaching S and E and she was going to cross through their yard. We were in the middle of a lesson and we had our backs to where she was. S and E saw her see us and inhale huge like she had seen a lion. She started climbing through a small barbed wire fence instead of passing through, meanwhile we had no idea and we're teaching hahaha. Also we taught a guy named L. He thinks he's a prophet. I think we made a mistake teaching him about prophets because he claims he's one now. He got a cold and said he's suffering like the prophet Job. We were teaching him and we found out he wouldn't be accoutable enough to be baptized. We heard a story about him watching the sky and counting stars for two days in the middle of a public park. He's really kind though. Also at our house we have been proselyted 3 times now by Jehovah's Witnesses. We live in an area where it's semi nice so they like it I guess (they don't go out into to bush). The first time they came I was inside the door talking on the phone and Elder Samuel was riding a bike in circles in the yard in normal clothes. They approached him and he sent them at me haha. When I told them we were missionaries they were pretty suprised. Ok those are some random funny stuff I could think of. I'll make an effort write more down. Love ya'lls.

Elda Sias

Monday, August 6, 2012

July 29,2012

Thanks for the pictures! Glad to hear your all doing well. I liked the california pictures as well as seeing grandpa. This last week was decent. Unfortunately lots of distractions. President Brewer assigned us a truck to use in the area which is very nice. Before we were on the bicycles which weren't safe at all. Our truck got destroyed on the island of Tanna because the roads are horrible and it's being repaired, should be out on wednesday. Unfortunately in Etas my ipod got stolen :(. If you haven't sent the package yet PLEASE CD's! lots of them. Sent it to PO box 1412 not sandalwood apartments. Things are going well in Etas. I really like our branch president, president hilliman. We're still looking for more people who are genuine. We had a sad experience as well. When I got here there was a woman named Chantal. She was the sunday school teacher and apparently well known for being good at it. She was very sick but they couldn't diagnose it. She suffered for some months. We visited her a few times in the short time I've been here. She was exemplary in a time of hardship. She kept her faith and prayed a lot. When we or other members would visit she's temporarily be happy again. On thursday we were doing a service for family Toa. We were helping them in their garden to dig kumala when we heard that she had just died. I was blown away and really saddened. That whole day we were with the branch president trying to arrange for the funeral and buying the burial plot. The district president came to dedicate the grave. He asked me to conduct. There were a lot of people there. People were wailing and her husband was distraught. I know that she is happier now than before and she was prepared. Also this week we had a marriage. S and E, our best two investigators finally got married. They were so happy. S wants to get baptised so bad but he still has one habit to break. We met with him a lot and I shared dads story of the man he taught who was able to give up smoking in a miraculous way. Afterwards we gave him a priesthood blessing. This week it's independence so there's lots of temptation around so he opted to go down to  stay with some of his family down by the river, far away and secluded. We'll be having 3 baptisms next week. 3 girls who are awesome and come every sunday.
 Love you all.

Elder Sears

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