Monday, September 17, 2012
Another week in Etas. Better than others though. I had a week of deep pondering. I was thinking mainly about the most basic part of our lives, God. I studied a lot about His character and about how to gain a close relationship with him. I got some talks on my iPod from Bruce R. McConkie. He's great. He has a great talk "Our relationship with the Lord". I studied a lot about God and how to improve my prayers. I've been making a bigger effort as I pray. What happened on Tuesday was what David A. Bednar described as "Tender mercies of the Lord" (good talk). We went out to teach and right as we got out of the truck we met 2 girls from Tanna. They were very approachable and we had a great discussion. Afterwards we taught a man named Richard from Malekula. We talked a lot about our Heavenly Father and how we can draw closer to him in this life. We also got into the restoration. He said he wanted to become a part of Christ's church. We assured him we would continue to meet with him and learn together. I felt really good about him and he was surely a blessing to us. After we ran into a woman named Mara from Paama. We came out of a yard when I saw her pushing a wheelbarrow with water containers in it. I greeted her and she smiled. I grabbed the wheelbarrow and started pushing it as we chatted some more. She was baptised in 1983 with some of the original members here. She has a big testimony still and has a great knowledge of the gospel. Some unfortunate choices have given her a little bit of a hard time. We grabbed all her water containers we could find and threw them in the back of the truck and filled them up. (Water is hard to get, you have to go down to the river and bring it back in large containers to cook and bathe) We went and she and her husband of another faith were glad to see us. I've been trying to improve my teaching. This week was a definite breakthrough. I felt the spirit guide me a lot as I taught and we chose what they needed. Missions are great. I've thought a lot about what it will be like when I get back. On my mission I've continued in a "change of heart" that I started to experience before my mission. I feel like my interests and desires have been centered in good places. I have a big desire to do whats right when I get back and never lose the conversion feeling/desire to learn+study. I miss you guys and I love you a lot. Thank you so much for everything. All is well here.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Another week here in Vanuatu. Good old Etas and her 'sofmud'. The highlight of this week was definitely the mission tour that went down. Elder Hamula, an area seventy came to visit the new mission. He's pretty epic. So is President Brewer. Both of them gave incredible talks. President Brewers got me pretty pumped. He talked about good vs. evil and beating the adversary. He made an example with Lord of the Rings haha. He enthusiastically described the scene where Gandalf stood on the bridge as it was collapsing and the evil monster/spirit was going to consume him and he shouted "Thou shalt not pass!". He talked about being strong and winning against temptation. He focused our thoughts on our weapon we were to use, out of the hymn book, "Let us oft speak kind words to each other". After Elder Hamula went in depth on the gospel. His first words were, "Why are you here?". Some shared their ideas. He went into 3 nephi 27:19-20
( And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom: therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in his blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end
Now this is the commandment; Repent, all ye ends of he earth, and come unto me and be baptised in my name, that ye may be sancitified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.)
. He helped us get in depth on each principle. He asked us to think about how we would feel, being unclean, in the presence of holiness. He told a story of him being late for curfew and missing family home evening. He got home late opened the door and his mom was sitting in the doorway. He talked about if we got back from our missions and saw our family for a minute and then were separated forever to go live somewhere else. He focused more than anything on the "WHY" of the gospel. I was also chosen to have a personal interview with him. It was awesome. We chatted about the mission and then he answered some questions I asked. We talked about good scripture studying. Later that evening Elder Hamula spoke to the members of the Port Vila district. He put a goal of having a stake here in 2 years. He detailed what had to happen. He talked about a gigantic swamp. Countless members are in there and need help out. He talked about home teaching.
So here's another S/E update. We talked to them about desire. We asked them about their life goals. It was really good. After, the next day my companion, while on an exchange, saw him drunk. He said," I want to see you at church tomorrow." Sunday morning we saw his wife and kids come but he wasn't there. Just as sacrament meeting was about to start we saw him come in the back. I smiled and looked at Elder Kalomtak. I was glad to see him not give up. Our former branch president, now elders quorum pres. had a good long heart to heart chat with him during sunday school class.
We've been doing weekly service projects for him and praying for him a lot. We're doing a lot of fun service projects the last few weeks. This week we did 3 on our day for service, thursday. Firstly, we tied down 10 pieces of long tin roof about as long as our truck. We then transported it for a member. After, we went to Elder Kalomtak's village, Pango and cut 10 pieces of bamboo for Sam. Afterwards we painted the whole inside of our elders quorum presidents house. His name is Andrick Vano. He served his mission in Tahiti. We've become good friends and we've had some great chats. I gave him the Infinite Atonement book and the newspaper pictures of Mitt Romney. (He was very interested) This week we'll be helping build a house for a less active family, famle Beri. So we're teaching a mama from Tanna, Rose. She is so awesome. Unfortunately she has a bad situation going on. She works on a large plantation/farm/garden owned by a infamous millionaire from Vietnam. She's worked for him for 15 years. She is the manager of all the work boys. This guy is the worst. He makes everyone work 7 days a week. He doesn't want them to leave and go to town. Every day he'll pass in his truck and honk the horn and everyone has to run and greet him. In the evenings he'll come do somewhat of a family devotional then he gets 4 or 5 massages. They'll cook for him and he'll make jokes. He has a wife from vietnamn but he comes with diffrerent ones all the time. If someone asks to go to church on sunday, he'll make them dress up in church clothes and go hunting and bring back birds. Before, if you drove on his property he would shoot the tire on your truck. There are bullet holes and targets all over the coconut tree's. He is in every way the modern KING NOAH. Now he's tamed a little and we're fine to come in the morning because rose has some leverage. Rose really wants to get baptised and come to church every sunday but he doesn't let her go. Twice she has gone to church only to have this guy come pick her up church clothes and all and take her back. Rose is great though and she will find a way.
We also had another interesting experience. We went to teach S and S the other day. They are from Tanna. Tanna is a pretty well known and interesting island here. We started chatting with them and they started to tell me that I and all other Americans were in tanna before. Then thousand of years ago everyone left to all the big countries. He then proceeded to tell me that Noah's ark landed in Tanna and that the paint used to paint the ark is there. Mount Sinai is here and the place where Moses came down and pieces of the golden calf are broken and in pieces. Also there is an area named Nazareth. They said Jesus' tomb in there as well. There were 100% serious and explaining all the places. It was pretty awkward. I was polite and showed interest but not belief, that's for sure haha. Anyway that's all I can think of. Just want you guys to know I love you and I appreciate everything you have done for me.
Monday, September 3, 2012
Olsem Wanem? How are things in the states? How's the ward? I'm pretty good here. So one of my 2 current companions, Elder Kalomtak will be going to Australia fairly soon after being approved for his visa. I really liked serving with him. He's from this island I'm serving on, Efate. So it will still be Elder Samuel and I. He's a great guy. He's really short so we look pretty funny together. Especially when he wears my clothes haha. So same old same old here in Etas. Still trying to find people ready to hear the gospel. I think I'm here to learn long suffering. Being here has made my try a whole lot of ideas I've never tried and be aware of lots of things. I feel I'll be a better missionary because of it. We're still trying with S + E, and m. All I want to see is them get baptised. They are so great. This week we got to contact and teach a man named Abel. He is from Gaua. I baptised his dad and 2 siblings and recently his mom and 2 other brothers joined the church. I was friends with him before on Gaua before he left to go work construction. He saw all his family joining the church and he also had the desire. He asked for his phone number to be passed to me because he heard I happened to be working in the area. We taught him and 3 other guys working on building a small school. They're all from gaua AKA awesome. This week we also had a fun service. We went to pango (where elder kalomtak is from) and filled up rice bags with coral and sand. We filled up the whole truck bed and did 2 trips for sam and lenet. It was good visiting all of our recent converts and some less actives this week as well. I'd say the highlight of my week was on sunday. It was raining super bad. Our area here in Etas is notorious for mud. There's no pavement so it's total mud roads. When it rains it gets huge muddy pools and slick sludge. On sunday morning it was the worst. When I got to church I saw Samantha and Rota, 2 of my recent converts. They're 2 girls age 9 and 14. I was glad to see the sacrifice they had made that a lot of the other members hadn't. Sorry, probably not the best letter. Everythings good. I've been praying a lot for s,e, and m and to be able to find success here. I'm trying my hardest. Hope you guys are well. I always love hearing from you . I enjoy the pictures as well. Love you!