Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tolu na papitaiso e loma ni uciwai (3 baptisms in the river)

Ni sa bula vinaka na noqu matavuvale!

Well this week's email might be a little different than a lot of the
other emails that I have sent home in the past, but I promise that you
will love it.

So this week the transfers were happening so we had to figure out how
to get all of the people leaving our zone onto their flights back to
the other island and how to get all of the new people coming into our
zone to their new areas as well. It all actually worked out really awesome.

So for a lot of the week we were driving people all over the island
and putting them on boats and things to get to their new areas. Elder
Tamuera and Elder Tremea are going to Rabi island where they speak
Kiribati language so we had to go and put them on the boat to get over
I am way excited for them. They are going to do awesome work out there
because Elder Tamuera knows the language and Elder Tremea is really
excited to learn it. Pretty much all the other white Elders that have
ever served there didn't even really try to learn the language which is
sad, but I am way excited that Elder Tremea is so pumped and willing to learn
it. We also got sisters in our zone which is going to be really weird.
I don't really like being a leader over sisters because it is just a
whole lot different than dealing with Elders and there are like all
kinds of rules that go along with it. But it should be all good. We actually did get
a ton of work done in our area too though because we were able to go
on splits alot with other missionaries that were staying at our flat
for a little before they headed out. The highlight of the week of
course was the 3 baptisms.
I had probably one of the biggest spiritual experiences of my life and
so that is pretty much the only other thing I am going to write about
in my email today.

So we woke up on Sunday morning, the day of the baptism, and it was
POURING rain. It was super windy too and pretty much like a hurricane.
I was upset because our baptism was just out in the river in the
middle of the bush and the only shelter that we had for the service
and stuff was going to be a blue tarp tied to the trees and proped up with bamboo and mats on
the ground for us to sit on. But I knelt down and prayed hard that the
Lord could show us that he was aware of us and what we were doing and
if he could please keep the rain away from Vunivesi so that our
baptism could go well.
About ten minutes after I prayed the rain almost stopped completely
but it was still super cloudy and looked like it was raining over on
the other side of the bay where Vunivesi is but I knew it would all
work out alright. So we go over to Vunivesi for the baptism and it was
raining on the way there but we get out to where the baptism is going to be and I asked all the
members if it was dumping rain out there like it was at our flat and
they said that it didn't even rain at all. So that was just the
beginning of the awesome day, to know that Heavenly Father heard my
prayer and really was aware of where we were and what we were doing.
SO then there was about 43 people that showed up for this baptismal service
 out in the jungle. And more than half of them were non-members. That unit usually
averages an attendance of less than 20. So the baptismal service goes
really awesome. It was so cool having it all outside underneath the tarp covering
 sitting on the floor. The spirit was really strong. So then after all that we had a little break
and then we had our sacrament meeting service at the same place. We
did the confirmations for all three of them that were baptized and
then our branch president that came out there with us to preside got up and said
 the speakers today will be Elder Muir, who is our senior couple missionary,
 Elder Moaalii, and then Elder Hawk. So I was just planning on sharing just
any normal old short talk when I got up, but then I really felt like I
should try to be guided by the spirit and share something that would actually
 mean more to these people and invite the spirit more than just some little thought that
 I put no effort in on. So I started looking through my scriptures and I wanted
to kind of try to tie in the restoration some how and Christ too, so I
found this scripture in Moroni 7:41-42. It talks about how because of Christ
 and his atonement we have hope. And so I really felt like that is what I should share.
So it was my turn to talk and I got up and I began to talk and I
shared a scripture from 2 Nephi 31:17-21 where it talks about the
gospel of Jesus Christ and how it is the only way to return to live with our Heavenly Father
 and I also talked about how we can return to live with our Heavenly Father
and with our families for eternity in happiness if we follow this
gospel. So then I shared the scripture from Moroni about the hope in
Christ and talked about that, and then I started talking about how we now have a hope
 today in this life to return to live with our Heavenly Father and our Families for eternity
because God called a young man named Joseph Smith to restore his
gospel, and this hope back to the earth. As soon as those words left
my mouth about Joseph Smith and the restoration I was hit with the feelings
 of the spirit like I have never felt before and I could not hold back the tears. I paused and
began to cry. As I looked up at the congregation sitting on the ground in
front of me almost everyone was crying along with me. The spirit
filled our little shelter for church.
I finished off with my testimony as I continued to cry. I felt so much
love for all of these people there and so thankful that I now had an
experience that I will remember for the rest of my life of the day
that I gained a true unshakable testimony of Joseph Smith and the
Restoration of this gospel. And the coolest part about it is that it all happened,
in the middle of the jungle, while I was speaking in Fijian.

Well I love all of you so much. Thank you so much for helping me to
get to this point in my life, to be here in Fiji with these people
that I love so much, and to be able to have such amazing experiences
as this. Au lomani kemudou!! The Church is TRUE!!

Loloma levu,

Elder Hawk

 Alena,Sereima,and Aisake ready for baptism
Our chapel in the jungle

1 comment:

  1. Loved reading this one to the boys, especially because our FHE have been on baptism getting Isaac ready!! Tanner is pretty amazing.