Well this has been a pretty crazy week. It has been good though. About the whole new missionaries thing that you talked about mom, we heard from President Klingler that in the 2 weeks after conference there were over 10,000 new missionary papers that were started. Usually they get only 700 a week. But there was 10,000 in 2 weeks. And over half of them were for sister Missionaries. Insane. It will be way awesome to have so many more missionaries out.
Well I guess I will just start from the beginning of the week and work my way up to now. On Monday night we went out to Vunivesi, that village that we cover in Savusavu. They had a HUGE feast for me and they made me a way sweet salusalu (which is that flower necklace type thing that you guys saw that guy wearing from the olympics) it was made with real flowers so it was way cool. I bore my testimony to all of them and I spoke all in their dialect for them. It was sooo cool. They were all way shocked that I could speak their dialect that well and so was Elder Moaalii haha it was really hard to leave there. We will have to go back there for sure.
On Tuesday we had our zone training meeting in Savusavu. All the missionaries on that island came in and even my replacement and the other missionaries coming to that side were there because they rode the boat over too. The training was way awesome. I cried in front of everyone as I was talking about my mission and all of the experiences that I have had and how thankful I am for all of them and how humbling it is to be called to this position right now but that I know I will learn so much from it. It was really good. Probably good for everyone to see that side of me. Then we went to dinner at President Vatus house and they made me this raw fish stuff that they make on Rabi Island where his wife is from. It was WAY good!!! I loved it. They gave me some stuff too. Then we got on the boat that night at about 9:00. It was me, Elder Inu, and Elder Tay. The boat left Savusavu at about 10. It was a pretty decent boat. We had an ibe (mat) so we spread that out and slept on that on the floor for a while. At about 2 am we stopped at Koro Island and so we went out on the deck so we could see it. It was super dark though but it would have been way cool to see in the light. Then we went back in and slept some more on the ground until about 6:30. We went out onto the front deck of the boat and just hung out there until we got into Suva at about 10. When we were coming into the bay in Suva there was a bunch of dolphins jumping up out of the water at the front of the boat! It was the coolest thing ever. And right when I pulled out my camera to take a video they stopped haha it was so awesome though. When I got to the office Elder Myer, the Elder I am replacing took me into a room and did a sevusevu ceremony to give me all the keys for the AP stuff haha it was really funny.That night we had all of the departing dinner and testimony and things for the outgoing Elders. It was crazy to be at President's house with all of the Senior couples and all of these Elders that I have looked up to my whole mission. I left like a little mouse among all of these spiritual giants but it was awesome.
Then on Thursday, our job was to take all those Elders going home around town in Suva so that they could go souvenir shopping. It was really fun. Then we put them on the bus and they were off. We also got to go to the temple with all of them that day too so that was really awesome. I will probably get to go to the temple pretty often now. The mission office is literally like 100 feet away from the temple. It is in the same compound. We are pretty much the mission travel agents. We buy all kinds of plane and boat tickets and plan where everyone is going to stay and all of that stuff. We deal with a whole lot of church money so it is kind of scary sometimes haha This week we also have all of the Elders and Sisters that are training and all of their trainees are coming in and we have to do trainings for them so this week will be insanely busy. We also have a new intake of 3 Fijians coming in from New Zealand MTC so we have to do all of that orientation stuff too. We are also planning all of the stuff for our mission tour and Christmas party. This is the busiest time of the year for the APs. It is crazy. President Hamula, the area president for all the pacific will be coming for our mission tour and we will pretty much be his personal drivers while he is here. It will be cool to have time with a general authority like that.
Yesterday we had to drive all the way to Lautoka on the other side of the island with president and his wife to do a missionary fireside. It is like a 4 hour drive. We drove presidents car. I drove back. It is really cool to get to know president better and be with him all the time. He is an awesome guy. I really hope I get released as AP towards the end and get to proselyte more again at the end because I am going to learn so much during this time and have a huge fire to want to proselyte again haha We actually have a ton of way good investigators here if we can ever find the time to see them ha
Well I have tons and tons of pictures that I want to send you from this week but my card is not working. So I will try to get that figured out. I love you all so much. Thank you for your prayers and support! Keep em comin! Au lomani Kemudou!!
That is way cool that you guys met that girl that Elder Moaalii knows! He said that she was one of his really good friends back in American Samoa. They both served together on the Young Single Adults council thing together. That is way cool about Elder Patenaude too! He is a pretty funny guy. I think I asked him while he was here if he knew Judy and Randy but he said he didn't. I think that would be really cool if Rand could leave right after I got home. I would really like to get to see him before he leaves for sure. When we went to Suva this week I met one of the newer Elders and when I went and shook his hand and told him my name he said that his family is following that blog that you guys are making for me haha pretty funny. He said when he got his call they just started trying to find stuff about Fiji and the mission on the internet and they came across my blog and thought it was awesome so they have like been following it haha I also found out that Elder Wall, the one that I know from AZ that was supposed to be coming here soon went home while he was in the MTC. That was a big bummer. I was really looking forward to seeing him. We also just went on Daylight savings time here this week so we went an hour ahead, it is 12:30ish right now.
Well this week we were in Suva from Tuesday until Saturday. It was wayyy too long to be out of our area. It was really good though. We had our zone leader council meeting and then also we had a specialized district leader training where they brought in all of the DLs in the mission. Me and Elder Moaalii gave a training at that and it went super good. We also got to go on splits with the Suva ZLs which is Elder Stock and Elder Seila. I got to go with Elder Seila. It was really fun teaching with him again. He is the man. He finishes his mission on Thursday. Pretty crazy. We had a really cool experience though where we were walking to an appointment and this indian guy came running up to us and told us how his wife just ran off with their two little kids and how he wanted us to pray for him so that he could find them. Elder seila told him we could go into a house close by that he knew so that we wouldnt have to just pray right out in the street. So we walked over there and there is a really old lady that used to be a temple member but she has been less active for a long time. When we walked up she started crying really hard. We went in and said a prayer for the indian guy so he could go and then we started talking to this Fijian lady. She had a stroke a while back and her family that she is living with isnt really taking good care of her and they live in this terrible tin house in like a swamp pretty much and she said she was feeling so alone and down and then she saw us walking up and she felt like God still knows who she is and cares about her. It was a really cool experience to see how God really does know every single one of us and cares enough about us to have things like that happen.
There is also 2 boys in our branch here that got there mission calls this week!!! One of them is going to Ghana, Africa and the other one is going to Kiribati islands (where Elder Tamuera is from). I am sooo excited for them!! They are going to be awesome. One of them opened his call in sacrament meeting on sunday and he was bearing a super powerful testimony about how excited he is and things and I started crying too because I feel sooo amazingly blessed to be here on my mission. I cant even begin to explain of how big of a blessing it has been for me to be here.
Well now for the big news and the reason for the subject of this email. I also spoke in that sacrament meeting and it is because it was my last Sunday here in Savusavu.... I have been called to be the new Assistant to the president... AP.... I am still in shock and I think the whole mission is. Usually the AP is just called for the last 4 months of his mission or if an intake gets skipped than 6 months. But I still have 8 months left. Everyone in the mission is like in shock. The last person to be called to be the AP at this young in the mission was Brother Matheson, one of my teachers from the MTC. I am very very humbled about the whole thing and feel very unprepared and inadequate to be called to a position like this at this point in my mission. But I just need to have faith that it is the Lord's plan for me and that he will strengthen me to do my best and help this mission progress. I am super sad to have to leave this area. I love this area and especially the people in it. I cried a bunch while I was speaking in sacrament meeting ha big baby. I don't think that I will be the AP all the way til the end of my mission. I might get released towards the end and go open up some island or train again. I hope that is what happens at least. I am just going to do my best... All of the planes are booked up from here to the other island so us 3 that are getting transferred from here have to get on the boat tomorrow night and ride it for like 10 hours through the night to get over to the main island. Should be pretty crazy.
Well please keep me in all of your prayers that I can be strengthened to fulfill this big calling. I need all the help I can get. ha I love you all so much! Au lomani kemudou!!
Well it sounds like you guys are having a lot of fun up in Utah! Rand and especially Parker look so big! crazy. That will be good if Rand at least waits until I get home haha I really want to see him before he heads out too. It will be really exciting to see where he goes. I am excited to get to write him while he is gone and help him with things that I also learned here on my mission. I am sure it will be a way different experience somewhere else in the world but there will still be a lot of similarities. I am way excited for him. I know he will be a way awesome missionary. Did you read Isaac the letter that I sent? Hopefully it was alright haha This week will be pretty weird. We are flying over to Suva tomorrow and then on Wednesday we have our zone leader council. Then on Thursday all of the District leaders from the whole mission will be coming in and we will have another training for them that day. Me and Elder Moaalii have to give a training. I think that it will be really good. We based it mostly off of a talk by Spencer W. Kimball called "Jesus Christ: The Perfect Leader" or something along those lines. It is a way good talk. Especially for comparing it to being a leader here in the mission. And then they couldn't get us a flight back on Friday so we have to wait until Saturday to fly back to Savusavu. It really sucks because we have so much stuff going on and we are going to get taken out of our area for pretty much a whole week! We will be alright though.
As far as this last week goes it was really awesome. The APs came over for a few days and we did splits with them so we were able to get a ton of work done. We just keep finding more and more people to teach. We really need another set of missionaries here to help us out since we are gone so much. One of the days that we were on splits I was with Elder Estill and we were walking through a village called Yaroi. As we were walking through a man just came walking up to us and told us to come into his house and teach them. He is a pretty plump guy and he is missing a lot of his teeth but he is the man. We went in and had a good intro lesson about our purpose as missionaries with them. He just kept telling us that he was feeling the Spirit. Me and Elder Moaalii went back the other day to teach them again and they are way awesome. He was so thankful for all the new stuff that he has already learned from us and for the Spirit he says that he always feels as we teach. His name is Jimmy. His wife is half Chinese and half Fijian. Pretty weird mixture haha they are all awesome though. they have 5 kids. hopefully things will work out well with them. Me and Elder Estill also taught a lesson and we were sitting outside of this ladies house in a different village because there was no man home so we couldn't go in. As we were teaching her tons of kids just started coming and gathering around us because they were so amazed that we could speak Fijian haha Their dialect has some similarities to the one in Vunivesi that I have been learning so when I started throwing in some of that stuff they were going insane haha it was awesome.
So the baptisms in Vunivesi were really awesome. There was a ton of people there again, and we had an amazing feast again. Every Sunday pretty much they have a big feast out there and they make you eat so much haha pretty much the more you eat the more they love you, so I am starting to gain wait from eating so much. It is way good food though. I can't wait for you guys to come and try the food. It was a bummer that Semi wasn't able to get baptized with them but he is still the man. On Tuesday night me and Elder Myer the other AP went out there and we taught him a lesson and I thought that he would be all down and embarrassed and stuff about not passing his interview and the smoking thing and stuff but he was just super happy and kept saying how he knows with the Lord's help he will be able to stop smoking so that he can get baptized too. It was really awesome. We had a really good lesson with him about the atonement and about how Christ took on EVERYTHING that we will ever go through in this life so that he would know how to best help us. I got some better pictures from the baptism this time so I will send those haha.
I also just found out this week that Brother and Sister Bavoro, the old couple that I baptized from Naulu and that has been in the bishopric for a long time now, well they are going through the temple at the end of next month!!! I REALLY hope that it will work out to where I will be in Suva for meetings that week so that I can go with them but I don't know if it will. That would be SO awesome to be able to get to go through with them. It is awesome enough I guess that they are going through anyways. haha
Well I am glad all of you are doing so good! Say hello to everyone up in Utah for me! Au lomani kemudou!!
WOW! How about that announcement!?? Right when Elder Muir, one of our senior couple missionaries told us I instantly thought of Rand. I know that he will pray and fast about it and make the right decision for him. Just because they changed it does not mean everyone should go right at 18. It will be hard if he leaves before I get home but no matter what he does I will just be glad that he goes. That is way funny that he was homecoming king! haha he is the man. Shows the world that you don't have to do all the things the rest of the world is doing to be popular and liked. People will like and respect us even more when we live the standards of the church. We just got to listen to the audio of the Saturday morning session this morning because Elder Muir put it on my flash drive for me. He is going to download the other audios onto my flash when he gets them in the next few days so I will be way excited to get to listen to them. We won't get to watch any of it until the 28th of this month when hopefully we will get to see 2 of the sessions for church.
Well this week was really awesome. Lots more traveling. On Tuesday we were up in Labasa and we did our zone training meeting there. Came back to savusavu that night. Then woke up Wednesday morning for the 3 hour bus ride and then 2 hour boat ride to Taveuni and then did our zone training meeting there with those elders. Then woke up on Thursday morning and did the 2 hour boat ride and then the 3 hour bus ride all over again haha pretty crazy. But our trainings went really good. We are really excited though because this week we actually get to be in our area for the full week! I think that will only be the 2nd time in the whole time that I have been here haha
In Taveuni I met Sister Maiwiriwiri's dad! That picture is of me and him, so you will have to send that to Harry so that he can show it to her. Me and Elder Moaalii had to meet with the district president because that is one of the things we have to do as ZL's and her dad was at the church so I was talking to him about how you guys took his daughter to lunch in Florida and stuff and he thought that was pretty cool haha Taveuni is a cool place too because the international date line runs through the island, so technically it is a different day on the 2 different sides of that island but they don't follow it haha But it is cool that we are the first ones to live the new day every single day.
So the work here in our area is still exploding. We are having 2 baptisms again out in Vunivesi this sunday. Semi didn't pass his interview yet because we found out that he smokes so we will have to help him with that before he can get baptized. He is the man though. We should also have like 5 more baptisms next month which will be way awesome. One of the guys we are teaching is an 80 year old man named Inoke. He is the one that just called us over to his house one day while we were walking through his village. We were on exchanges this week because of baptismal interviews and so me and Elder Inu went and taught him and we had a way awesome lesson with him about baptism and he was just explaining to us all these reasons why he knows that his baptism as a child was wrong and how he has such a desire to be baptized by us because he knows it is the right baptism and we used the picture book thing and I explained to him about receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost after baptism and we showed the picture of the girl with the hands on her head receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and he started bearing his testimony and he started to cry and told us how when he sees those hands he felt like they were the hands of God that will be giving him this great gift. He bore testimony of his desire to be baptized and receive that peace in his life before he passes away so that he can pass in peace and know that he will be received by God. It was way powerful. He is the man. I love him so much.
So my favorite talk by FAR that I heard just from conference so far was President Uchdorfs talk from the Saturday morning session. It was amazing. How he just talked about living life and enjoying the journey and being happy with every day that we live and making the most out of our lives and becoming who our Heavenly Father wants us to be. I felt so blessed to have lived such an amazingly happy and blessed life so far and am so looking forward to everyday that I still have to become a better person and be happy! this life is so great!!! What a blessing. And what an amazing blessing and opportunity I am living now by being here in Fiji and serving the Lord. I have honestly never felt such happiness in my life as I have this past year and a few months. I am going to continue to enjoy everyday of it. My favorite of his many amazing quotes from the talk was "don't wait until we are ready to die before we truly learn to live" I feel so blessed to know how to truly live when I still have to much life ahead of me, and that way to live is to live this gospel to its fullest and enjoy its blessings in our lives. I love you all so much and am so thankful for the times that we have had and the many more to come!! Au lomani kemudou!!!
I am glad you all liked my email so much last week. It is going to be hard to ever top that email haha I know this week for sure will not even come close. This week was some traveling, and this week isn't going to be any different. Today right after this we are actually driving up to Labasa which is like an hour and a half away and we are doing our zone training meeting there tomorrow and then on Wednesday we are taking the boat over to Taveuni and then doing the zone training meeting with them there too. Our training should be really good. Me and Elder Moaalii have given a lot of really good trainings, we work really good together so it is way fun. We even made this way sweet like spread sheet thing with graphs and all kinds of stuff to show all of the areas in our zone how they have been doing so far this quarter. When we were making it in the office this week when we were in Suva all the other zls saw it and they all took it so that they could use it too haha it was a whole lot of work filling it out this week but it will be really good. Our training is going to be on setting good goals and how to actually achieve the goals that we set.
So this week on Monday we went out to Vunivesi. The same village where we baptized those kids last week. We taught the adults that are going to be getting baptized next week. They are probably the most humble and thankful people I have ever met in my life. It is so cool to see how thankful they are to have the knowledge of this gospel now in their lives. Especially about the Plan of Salvation. It is funny how we really take for granted a lot of the time that we actually have a knowledge of where we came from, why we are here on this earth, and where we can go after this life. I have really gained a testimony a lot lately about how important the lesson on the plan of salvation is. I think a lot of times on my mission I have focused a lot more on like the Joseph Smith story and that part of it, but a lot of times the part that most people are more interested in and the part that makes them want to convert is actually the lesson on the plan of salvation. Out in Vunivesi this week there was 31 people that came to church. We didn't get to go out there because we didn't have the truck but that is way awesome that there was that many people without a baptism or anything going on. It shows how powerful that baptismal service really was last week. It is awesome too because there is probably only like 20 members total that live out there so that means there are a ton of non members coming to church that we can hopefully start teaching soon. It could end up being a whole lot of baptisms out there.
This week when we went to Suva we had the zone leaders council. It was really fun to get to be with all the other zls. It feels really weird being there because I still feel so young in the mission but it makes me realize that I am actually in the older group now. So crazy. I love going to those meetings too because it gives us a good feel about what is going on in the rest of the mission and we talk about all kinds of things that we can all do to help the mission be better. All of the leaders right now are way awesome. We don't have any of the type of Nazi leaders that just point people out and tell them they are doing things wrong and force them to do things right and stuff like that. It is really good because all of the missionaries really are respecting the leaders now because they actually like us haha It has been so cool to see how much this mission has changed just in the time that I have been here. There are so many things about it that are WAY better now then before and it just keeps getting better.
Wesley wrote me a letter. I am sending him a letter back today. You guys should write to him. He is doing really good. I am way proud of him. He is going to get to baptize some people this week so that should be way awesome. He is doing really good.
Well I love you all so much. Sorry kind of a more boring email. I love you all though!!! Au lomani kemudou!!!