Sunday, September 25, 2011

Second Week in Fiji

Bula Vinaka everyone!

Well I have now been in Fiji for 2 weeks! pretty crazy how fast it is going by. I dont really get to teach in Fijian like at all in this area so that has been kind of a bummer but I know that I will get my chance to go to an area that is all in Fijian soon enough. I am actually going on exchanges tomorrow up to Kuku which I think is more in Fijian so that should be sweet. I will go tomorrow after district meeting and stay until Thursday morning. I think it will be good. It will be sweet to be able to go see some different parts of the Island. Elder Stock is out on Vanua Levu so the other island so he is a long ways away from me but we are having mission tour in November so a general authority will come and everyone goes into suva for a couple days so that will be good to see him and everyone else.

This week has been really slow teaching wise. We had a lot of other things we had to do so we weren't even in our area for a couple days except to sleep. On Wednesday we went into Suva to have a training for all of the trainers and new ones that came in with us. Only me, Sister Longley and Elder Neider and our trainers could come because everyone else is out farther away but it was good to see them. The training was pretty good. Nothing new really haha it was good though because we got to go shopping in Suva after so I bought a white sulu and and Fijian bible and just some other stuff that I needed so that was good. I dont know if you guys sent a package yet but I need a usb card reader thing so that I can send you guys pictures. I just use my companions now but I should probably get one for myself so that I dont always have to use his haha thats the only thing I can think of that I really need but you can send me whatever you want haha

So we are teaching a man named David and he is from an island called Rabi and they are totally different from fijians, it is a different language and everything but he speaks english so we just teach him in English but his wife and family are all members but he isnt. Him and his wife actually aren't married yet so we have to get them married before he can get baptized but I committed him to being baptized on October 23 and he seemed determined to get it all done by then so I really hope he does. It is amazing to see how much faith some of these people have. Him and his wife now both were married before and both of there spouses died so I am not sure which kids are theirs haha they are all awesome though.

The other night we went to teach a boy named Jone and I hadnt met him before and they hadn't taught him any lessons yet but when we got there, there was like 5 boys there and they are all in like their 20's and they all wanted to sit down and be taught. So we taught them the whole first lesson. They all seemed very interested and had lots of questions but they accepted everything that we taught them. After the lesson I realized that I had pretty much taught like the whole thing myself haha I didnt mean to but it was one of the first times that I have really felt guided by the spirit that much in a lesson. Especially when I was sharing about the first vision I could feel how powerful that event is and I know that they could feel it too. They all said they wanted to come back for the next time we come and teach so hopefully they do.

On Sunday we were at the church all day because there is another ward that meets their after ours and it is the ward that the sisters are over and they had a baptism that they were doing after church and my companion is the one that baptized her. It was an older lady. I cant remember her name but she is awesome. Seeing that really motivated me to work hard so that I can baptize people because I could see how happy it made her and also how happy it made us even though it wasnt even our own investigator. I know that when you are the one to teach them from the start and see them change and everything it will make it even more special and happy.

We watch conference on the 8th and the 9th so we just get to go to the chapel in our area and I think our ward is combining with the Makoi ward and we will all just watch it together. I am really excited for it. I know that being a missionary will make me look at conference in a whole different way then I ever have before.

Well I miss you guys but I know this is where I need to be. We are so blessed to have such an amazing family. not only our family but all of our extending family is just filled with such great people and great examples. I am so thankful to have grown up in this gospel and have the knowledge I do about these things that help us so much in our lives. Keep being the awesome people you are! cakava cakacaka na luvequ!!

Lomana, Elder Hawk

Sunday, September 18, 2011

First Pictures from Fiji

In front of the Suva Temple with the Mission President and his wife
The Chapel
A Fijian Home

First week in Fiji

Bula Vinaka!!

I don't really know what time it is there right now but here it is about noon on Monday so this is about the time I will probably be emailing every week.

Well I am in Fiji! Pretty crazy that I am actually here. When we are walking around sometimes it will just hit me that I am actually out on a big rock in the middle of the ocean haha everything has been good. I will try to start from the beginning haha

So we flew out Saturday and the plane we got on to come here was HUGE!! I have some pictures and I will try to send them in this email. So we got to Nadi at about 5 in the morning local time and had to go through customs and everything but we didnt have any problems so it went by quick. One of the Elders that was there at the airport to pick us up was Elder Inu that was in the MTC with us for a week or so before they came here so it was good to see him. Him and his companion took just me and Elder Stock to a place called the bread kitchen to get these cream filled roll things for everyone haha they were way good. So after that we got on the longest bus ride I have been on in my life haha it was beautiful though. The pictuers I have of the ocean and stuff are from the bus ride. So we finally got to Suva and the mission president and a couple of the Elders came and picked us up and took us back to the mission office and mission home which are in the same complex as the temple which is awesome. So that night we just hung out there for a while and had our interviews and they ordered pizza for us. It was a little different but really good haha Then we all got assigned which flats around Suva we were going to go stay at and luckily me and Elder Stock got paired up to go stay at the same flat. The 2 elders that stay there came and got us and took us straight to their dinner appointment at the Bishops house of the ward they are covering. The 2 elders we were with were kind of weird and I pretty much did all of the talking the whole time haha but it was crazy because one of the ladies there served in our home ward a couple years ago!! she was like asking me about people in the ward and stuff so it was crazy haha and her husband that was there too is the brother of the sister missionary that was at Harry's house in Florida! haha pretty crazy how small the world is sometimes even when your all the way on the other side of it.

So the next morning we went back to the mission office and had our whole orientation thing and went to the temple which was really good and then got our assignments. I am in Naulu! I was actually pretty bummed when I opened it because it is only like an hour outside of Suva and pretty much everyone here speaks english so my Fijian really isnt going to get a whole lot better in the next couple months haha but now that I am here I like it and it has been good to be able to help so much in the lessons and everything. My trainer is Elder Ikafanga! He is Tongan but lived in Australia and New Zealand. He is way cool. I take the lead on a lot of the teaching we do because he isn't as confident in his teaching, but it is good for me. You would be sooo suprised at some of the things I have eaten haha I have been quite suprised myself. The first night I got to my area we ate at the Bishops house and we had like eggplant in some kind of sauce on top of rice haha it was weird but not too terrible. We mostly eat a lot of rice and noodles and vegetables. We also eat a lot of chicken curry but when they cook chicken here they just get the chicken and chop it all up bones and all and cook it and serve it like that so when you eat it you just put a piece in your mouth and suck all the meat off the bones and you put them back down on your plate haha I haven't gotten very good at it yet haha there are tons of tiny bones and stuff so its not always easy. Our flat isnt too bad. If you guys saw it you would probably think that it is pretty nasty but its not too bad haha pretty much all of the houses here are just made of tin and wood and then some are nicer and made of cement and things. There is a lot of garbage everywhere. They don't have a good garbage system so everyone just throws their garbage around or puts it in piles by the road and burns it. pretty crazy haha

So we have about 5 investigators right now so I have taught quite a few lessons. It is amazing how accepting these people are to the gospel. Some of them will just say "hey I want to get baptized on October 9th" or whatever and we just say ok cool sounds good to us haha We go to one families house almost every night and they are so awesome. It is the tin house in the pictues that I hopefully can send with this but the dad is this Fijian guy with a huge beard and he is methodist but he knows all kinds of stuff about the church because he used to teach with some missionaries here back in the day haha he doesnt want to be a member but he lets us teach his family. He is one of the funniest guys I have ever met haha His wife came to church with us on Sunday so that was good. They also have a couple kids and they are all awesome. We play this card game called lock with all the kids and they love it haha They call me Elder Manulevu which means big bird haha I love it so I tell pretty much everyone to call me that haha I am going to get a name badge that says it.

So yesterday was my first Sunday. They actually have a pretty nice chapel. It is small but nice compared to everything else here. It is the white building in the pictures. On every third Sunday the missionaries speak so we had to speak in sacrement meeting. It was really easy though. I just talked about the things that Elder Holland talked about when he came and talked to us at the MTC. I thought it was really good. When I was bearing testimony at the end about how powerfully he spoke when he spoke to us and how I know that this church is true because of it I felt the spirit just like I did when he was talking to us. I really do know that this church is true and that it is for everyone.

Alright well I better get going but hopefully this answers most of the questions you guys have about whats been goin on! O and I didnt feel the earthquake. This is actually the first time I heard about it so I don't know haha alright well I love you guys!! Keep being the great people you are. Good luck with all of the injuries and surgery and stuff haha hopefully that will help your knee out alot in the long run. Au lomani kemudou!!

Lomana, Elder Hawk

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bula Vinaka from Fiji

Bula Vinaka na noqu matavuvale!

Well I made it! It was a long journey haha a ten and a half hour flight and then a four and a half hour bus ride that seemed even longer than the flight. haha The mission house is awesome. It is so nice. It is in the same complex as the temple. I dont have very much time to write because we have a lot of stuff we have to do but I will write you all about it next time I get to e mail. It is beautiful here!! I took some good pictures from the bus haha we should find out what areas we are going to get sent to tonight, all the Elders that are here in the office right now said we are so lucky because all of the ones we have a chance to get sent to are all way cool areas. Most of them are out in the bush which is awesome haha Alright well I better get back to work. Hopefully I can send some pictures on my next Email. It was awesome talking to you guys last night. Hope everything is going awesome for you guys! AU LOMANI KEMUDOU!!

Lomana, Elder Hawk

Week 9

Bula Vinaka na noqu matavuvale!!!

AHhhhhhh 4 more days and I will be on a flight to FIJI!! It has gone by so fast. I am so ready to get there and start working though. We got our flight plans this week. Our flight leaves at 5:00 PM from Salt Lake so I will have a little bit of time to call you guys from there probably between like 3-4 and then we fly to LA and we have like a 5 hour layover so I can call you guys again from there. Our flight leaves at 11:30 pm on Saturday night from LA and we get to Fiji at 5:10 AM on Monday haha pretty crazy. and then we have a 4 hour bus ride from Nadi over to Suva so that should be sweet haha I'll be sending home a box later this week of just a bunch of stuff that I dont need to take with me and some pictures and stuff that I finally got to print of today since the machine has been broken haha
This week has been awesome. It has definitely been one of the best weeks I have had here which is pretty hard to beat when I havent had any bad ones haha the first thing that made it awesome was that on Tuesday our speaker for the devotional was Elder Holland!! It was an amazing talk. I have never heard anyone speak with that much power and authority. He talked alot about how his mission means everything to him and I really want to work my hardest and do my best so that I can look back on my mission in the same way. He also talked about how we have more prayers for us then probably anyone and how we should trust in the Lord and it really made me feel like I never should have a reason to feel down or feel discouraged about any situation I am in out here as long as I am working my hardest because the Lord is going to bless me with the things that I need. Hearing him talk really motivated me to always work my hardest and to love the work as I do it. I havent had any problems with that yet and I know that it will be even easier for me to love the work once I get to Fiji.
We also went to in-field orientation on Friday which was really good. They talked a lot about finding people and just all kinds of things that will help us to be better missionaries. One of the things that really stuck out to me from it was the amount of faith that I need to have in every part of this work. I think a lot of the time missionaries get caught up in focusing on how much faith the investigators have when really we as missionaries should have so much faith that they can do these things because we know that it is true and we know how much it can help them.
Sunday was also an awesome day. It was fast sunday and I bore my testimony in sacrament meeting. I talked about a talk that I had read I cant remember who it was by but he said that he was at a funeral of a teenage girl that had died and her father was speaking and one of the things he said was "our families faith is centered on Jesus Christ and is not dependent on outcomes" and then I talked about our situation with Jace and how I am so thankful that I have such good parents that had that same attitude because I cant imagine going through a situation like that in any other way. That is how we need to be in all parts of our lives. We just need to do the best that we can do and trust that the Lord truly does know what is best for us. Even though a lot of the times it may not seem that way. Us 7 Fijians also sang "Come thou Fount" in Fijian for sacrament meeting. I thought it sounded really good. I loveee singing in Fijian. Maybe I will sing you guys a song when I call you on Saturday haha We also had mission conference on Sunday which was really good. And the departure devotional with the MTC presidency. There were 500 of us set to leave this week. Pretty crazy. The MTC presidency is so awesome. You can really feel how much they care about this work and how much they care about us and they are all hilarious haha
The new Fijian district gets in tomorrow so we are getting kicked out of our classroom haha we just have to go into the one next door though because it is empty for another week until the new Tongan district gets in. We met one of them today because he is from Australia and internationals get in on Tuesdays. He knew me and Elder Stocks companion Elder O'Connor that left. He told us that he is getting married in 2 weeks haha pretty crazy!!
Well everything is still going great! I cannot wait to get there on Monday!! It doesnt really even seem real yet though haha I dont know if you guys sent me a package yet our not but the stuff you guys said you would send in the letter is really all I need. I ran out of gel today so hopefully you sent some of that haha Alright well I will talk to you guys on Saturday!!! AU LOMANI KEMUDOU!!

Lomana, Elder Hawk

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Mission Home Address in Fiji

Tanner will be flying to Fiji on Saturday.
His address in Fiji will be:

Elder Tanner Hawk
Fiji Suva Mission
Suva, FIJI