Tongan Beach

Tongan Beach

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Week 10: Office- A Small Miracle

Dear home,
Thank you all for the emails you wrote me this week. I really appreciate the love and support and I love hearing the stories from home home? This week has been a blast. I didn't take any really good pictures so I don't really have anything to send today. Kataki (sorry). This week started out really funny, we were doing our morning study and we get a call from president. I was like oh dang, here comes trouble! We answer the phone, and president happened to tell us our food came to the office. We were all keyed up for something major to happen and instead it was our mission president telling us someone brought us food. I don't know, I thought it was pretty funny. The next day he sent a text saying he wanted to interview us in the half an hour, which was fun. Just a regular interview, nothing exciting.
We kind of just had a regular week, lots of office work. I’m still organizing the office but I’m running out of room to put stuff, so I don't know what I’m going to do, oh well. Our area is small but we've been setting up days with people to bring kau fiefanongo (investigators) so we can teach. We’ve had some success; I think we have a lesson on Sunday for sure. The guy sounds a little crazy but that will just make it more fun ehh? We plan to share about family history with him. Hopefully that will peak his interest.
So updating my investigator, S. He's been doing really well. We keep forgetting to bring a member with us when we go and teach him but he's been responding really well. It's weird, he is recognizing all the blessings in his life from what we are teaching and tells us that he feels closer to God and he feels good when we teach him. He’s improving the quality of his life, but he hasn't decided if it's the will of God to join our church. We will keep teaching him and hopefully he will understand I guess. We really need to him read the Book of Mormon. We teach about it probably every lesson and commit him to read every time, and he always says yes, but he hasn't done it yet. So frustrating. We love this guy and he's so ready and he pays attention and loves the lessons, but he hasn't read yet. Hopefully he will get an answer to his prayer and know this is the will of God.
On the other hand, today we had a miracle. We were just hanging out for p-day, (took a nap). We had just woken up and were preparing to go email, and all the sudden we get a call. It was the family in our ward that brought T. They called us and said they had a person to teach right and they can pick us up whenever, we were like, uh okay! So we get dressed as fast as we could and made our way to their car and went to their house. If you look a map at Liahona there is a dirt road that goes out the back to a little farmhouse. That's where they live. They have this distant family relative who wasn't a member. She lives in another town, and she’s 20 soon to be 21. She accepted the first lesson with open arms, even though I suck at Tongan, She said her family was all Catholic and they wanted her to become a nun, but she didn't want to because she wants to get married eventually. She has been trying to find Mormons because she heard they support marriage. She prayed for help and then her cousin who was a member came from Alaska and brought her to this family. She totally accepted everything and promised to pray and she was really excited about it. I have hope for this one. She accepted to be papitiso (baptized) on the 23 of December (we have a zone papi (baptisms) on the 23). I'm really excited and very happy the Lord has blessed us with this opportunity. That's all I got this week, I’m excited to Skype on Christmas! I love you all and hope you all remember to pray! 


Week 9: Office- Beware of Pride

Dear kakai,  

Thank you for all the people who wrote me this week! I really love to hear about what you have to say and about your lives. I literally miss out on everything so you gotta tell me if you want me to know. I've had a really good week. I need to start writing down everything that happens, it seems forever in between times that I email. To start off, today I woke up really early with my companion and ran to the blowholes. It's a corral type part of the coast and it’s super cool. It was low tide so we walked around the corral shelves. There are a billion tide pools with lots of cool stuff. I took some pretty scenic pictures. On the way back we ran into a senior missionary, he's like 65 and he came here to do dentist work. He was jogging to the blow holes and back and we decided to run with him. He totally kicked our butts! I was huffing and puffing and he just kept cruising. What a stud!
Today the washing machine broke. (Probably because of my pride- I told another elder about how awesome it was to not do laundry by hand a week before) Sooo, we did laundry by hand. It’s with a bucket and stick, super fun! I’ll send a picture of me working hard. Other than that, this week for me has been a lot of lifting stuff. Since I’ve been in the office, I’ve noticed the storage is really unorganized, so I took this week to organize it. I've been moving boxes all over the place all day. It's pretty annoying, but lots of hard work and I squished armies of spiders, which is fun. I've been working hard enough that when the president's wife saw me moving stuff, she gave me her two sons, age 12 and 14 (the 14 year old is taller than me and has like 12 kg on me) and I’ve been working them pretty good. We’re almost done! I like doing this work a lot more than sitting at the computer, which is been good!
Our missionary work is slow but it's starting to pick up. We've been fasting and praying and we've committed a lot of families to bring a non-member to teach. Hopefully they will remember and if not, we will teach them. Lesson either way right? Anyways so we received a new investigator. His name is T. He's 20 and is going to mechanics school here. He’s pretty interested and I think he's heard the gospel before because he knows every lesson before we teach it. He wants to be baptized but something is holding him back, we think it is family. Changing religions with your family is really difficult in Tonga, and his grandpa is a devote Wesleyan. Hopefully he will understand and gain the faith to decide for himself what he wants, I pray for him a lot. I also pray for S, the guardhouse guy. During one of our lesson's he said he didn't really believe the Book of Mormon because it was new and stuff. We have taught about the Book of Mormon probably 4 times now, but we will keep teaching it and other lessons until he will take the time to keep the commitments we give him and read and pray about it. He is progressing, just very slowly. My area is about 150x200 square yards I’d say, by the way. 30 homes roughly. All members. 
As for culture, this place is awesome. Everyone is a friend basically; we can go talk to everyone on the street! It is considered rude if you pass someone without saying something or a car drives by and you don't wave. It just doesn't happen. When you pass someone usually you need to ask, "where are you going" and they will say like "I'm walking this way" or "I’m just going over there" it doesn't really mean anything, but it's customary. If we say hi to someone instantly you tell them "hey there, how are you? I’m going to [e.g. members house]." Then they will talk about how it's their fifth uncle or whatever. Everyone here is related; I guess that's what happens when you live on an island for forever. Everyone loves it talk and joke. It's the greatest!! The only bad part is the mosquitoes and the humidity. The mosquitoes are like black ninja's, they strike and you don't know you've been hit like 30 times until you start itching everywhere! With the humidity, it's so hot. It’s not even hot outside temperature wise, but the humidity makes it like 30 degrees more! You guys are all freezing but I’m going into the heart of summer. I like the service though and sweating builds character right? That's all I got today! 


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Week 8: Office- The Reasons Tonga is Totally Awesome

Kau kakai.

Malo e lelei! Fefe hake kimoutolu? So today was a really good day. We started off by waking up early, and with permission from the president, we went out of area and to the beach. It was really sweet; we visited the blowholes. I'll include some pictures. So this week has been really good! It’s been hard, but good. In the office I am learning how to do stuff. I'm starting to get more responsibility and being able to do more things. I am the secretary, so I do everything besides finances pretty much. I don't have a car; my area is literally across the street, but that's okay. It’s pretty hot here; I sweat like crazy through everything. The humidity is bad too, especially right before it rains, and right after the rain if the sun is hot. We do a lot of walking from house to house. The work in my area consists of visiting members and committing them to bring an investigator for a certain date. Sometimes that works, sometimes not. But we are faithful and obedient and we will keep working towards our goals. The benefit to the member-only area-no one ever kicks us out and everyone speaks English. I try to speak in Tongan as much as I can, but sometimes I really can't speak. The 2 wards we cover are English wards. 2 of the 3 in all of Tonga, so I don't learn as fast there either, but I’m trying really hard and I think I’m improving pretty fast.
So my companion's name is Elder A, He's from Riverton, Utah and he's pretty chill. Last week we had this great experience with Elder Pearson. He spoke in general conference a while ago. He is our area presidency for the South Pacific. He's super funny, but really, really smart and really spiritual and we had a great meeting with him. Also we've had some success in preaching the gospel, our friend S who works at the security booth in Liahona. He’s pretty receptive. He doesn't really do our commitments though which is frustrating. People in Tonga don't like to say no, so he always says he will read and I think he's pretty serious but maybe not. He said he read when we called him though so maybe we've hit some luck.
Tonga is totally awesome.
1.    Dogs everywhere.
2.    If hungry, the people will eat the dogs.
3.    On Christmas the bishop said he'd cook dog for me.
4.    Everyone asks if you've eaten, if you ever say no, be prepared for lots of food. The feasts here are huge. Way more food than anyone ever really wants so lots to eat.
I've done some pretty funny things in Tonga since I’ve been here. One funny thing, I was saying a prayer with my companion, and I accidentally asked to bless us to do adultery tomorrow. He told me after the prayer and we got a good ole laugh out of that one! Another time, during a lesson with S, I must've zoned off pretty good. I was doing pretty well understanding the lesson, but I guess I got distracted. It was after the lesson and I didn't think we had prayed so I asked S to offer the prayer, he looked at me funny and said we've already prayed and everyone started looking at me. I was like "wait what??" Everyone busted up hard core. In Tonga people love to laugh and make jokes, sometimes at your expense, but they never try to offend and I ended up laughing too. BTW I met the Tonga version of Daryl Conley. If Daryl were as tan as this guy, they’d be twins. That's all I got, I’ll send some pictures. If you have questions feel free to ask.

Elder Sitaki

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Week 7: Tonga- Arrived!

Dear kau kakai, 

Hello everybody! It's me again. This is quite different form last time I emailed. Right now it's about 4:21pm, Saturday the 21st. I'll email on Saturday's from now on. So life here is awesome! I love it! When I got off the plane it hit me for a second, like what the heck am I doing in some dinky little island in the middle of the Southern Pacific, but then I got over it. I went through customs just fine and met President Tupo. He's a big guy but super nice and friendly. I was still kind of freaking out so I didn't say much. Everyone was still speaking English to us, which was nice. We drove to the mission home, had a little snack of pineapple and tuna sandwiches, and then went to bed. We woke up early, and starting packing stuff. We are only allowed to bring one suitcase with us wherever we go, so everyone took like half of his or her stuff and we put the rest in storage. Then we had breakfast in President Tupo's house. It was all American food still except for fried spam. That was new. After that we interviewed with President. It went well; he said he doesn't normally do this, but I was assigned to be an office missionary with this Palangi (White) guy. His name is Elder Anderson. He's super chill; he's been out a year so he speaks well so that helps. He's from Riverton, Utah. Anyways, I’m learning a lot, but I can barely understand anything.
We got to our MQ (mission quarters). It's pretty ghetto, so totally missionary worthy. It's an offshoot from a member’s house. We live exactly next door to the temple. It's got 3 rooms; bathroom, bedroom and front door room. Yeah. Anyway, I’ll give you the square footage next week and I’ll put pictures this week. It’s small. Actually just yesterday they put a hot water heater in. It's a classic job; they wired power from a nearby light, and then put a new outlet and the plug for the water heater right above the shower. It works really well!! Except it flips the breaker for our whole house every time we use it. I think they are fixing it right now.
Anyway, so I work in the office. I work there until 5 then we go preach. The weird part about our area is we don't have any non-members. We teach in a little neighborhood and the Liahona high school. (Church high school). There are 0 nonmembers; 100% of people are baptized. We have 1 inactive family, and we teach a guy who works at a guard station. It's not too bad; the members are awesome. To teach, we ask members to bring in friends and non-members and we teach them. So we almost always have a member present. The first lesson we taught was funny enough, in English. This lady understood English better. She brought her boyfriend though who was fairly anti-Mormon and tried to argue to whole lesson. We decided not to bring him again. The other person we teach a lot is S. He works at the guard station and he's a champ! Before i got there, they asked him to pray about the Godhead being 3 people, not the Trinity. He got an answer to his prayer and now he's super teachable and prepared. We teach him in Tongan and he loves to learn. We challenged him to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. I also invited him to be baptized after he received an answer to his prayer. I didn't understand him, but he said, according to my companion, "Why are you asking? Of course I will be baptized if I know it's right! That’s why I’m here listening to you!" That's awesome. All right this email is too long, I’ll send some pictures. 

'Ofa atu!