Tongan Beach

Tongan Beach

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Week 21: Office- I've had a really good week

So Hello, or Malo e lelei, or Malo 'etau lava,

 I've had a really good week! I actually had lots of people to teach. And I think I will have my first baptism next week. It’s good to know I’m doing something productive. So there was a guy who came to church with a member that he is working for. The member pays this guy and another guy with food for their families in return for work. I think he gives pretty generously to them too, which is always good. We met the first guy (A) at church where we taught the first lesson. We set up to come back Tuesday at 5. When we went there, we met his friend (F) who was working with A. We invited him to join the lesson too and we taught the Plan of salvation. It was really nice because the member joined and was able to explain the parts we couldn't. The language is really tough for me sometimes. We invited them to read the Book of Mormon and pray about our message. F seemed really excited about it; we came back the next day and taught the gospel of Jesus Christ, which they both liked again a lot. We invited them to be baptized on March 5th, and they both said yes and were excited. I'm shocked at how easily they accepted it. I think they are pretty humble due to their circumstances. We came the next day and taught about the word of wisdom and the law of chastity. They both have a smoking problem, but they said they are willing to change to be baptized. When I asked if they had both told their wives, they responded in the negative. A’s wife is already baptized and won't have a problem with it, but the wife of F, her family is of another church and they are really strong and he doesn't want to tell her incase she and her parents get mad. I told him he had to talk to her about it and get permission; I told him how families are really important and we won't baptize him until his wife gives consent. I talked about how we don't want to split families; and we won't. He understood and said he would try to talk to her on Saturday, and then report on Sunday about his efforts. I'm praying my butt off about him and our other investigators. But yeah I’m excited!
I have another investigator named E; he's super awesome! We were supposed to baptize him on Friday, but his parents said no. He's a student at Liahona High School; he is the most awesome guy ever. He belongs his parent’s church, which is the United Church of God. It’s like a seventh day Adventist, so he doesn't eat pork and does the Sabbath on Saturday. He has amazing standards and is great to get along with. He even has better standards then a lot of church members I know! He's been going to seminary for 4 years and already knows all the doctrine in the lessons we taught, we quickly reviewed with him. We asked him to pray about the church, and he did and has been feeling really good at about it. He was really excited, but when he asked his parents they said no. They said they wanted to talk about it on Saturday though. Hopefully they will listen to what he wants and let him decide. I am praying for him too!
We also taught someone who was of the Hindu faith. He came from Fiji, and his parents are from India. Something interesting that happened this week was that we went to our friend from Wales house this morning and supported him while he watched the Rugby tournament in Europe. He insisted that we wear Welsh colors, so we came and had some fun; made pancakes and that kinda stuff. That's all I really got. I love wearing skirts. The language is slowly getting better. I kinda just try to talk and say stuff and hope they understand. I don't really think about doing to correctly, hopefully being brave will help me =)

Ofa atu,

Elder Sitake

Friday, February 26, 2016

Week 20: Office- Challenge Accepted!

So this week was exciting with lots happening. We were able to teach the guy from Wales about the Plan of Salvation. He was very interested, but I think in more of an academic sense. I’m not very confident that he believes any of this; in fact I know he still doesn't believe in God. I planned an activity tonight however where maybe he will have to chance to feel the spirit and see God's effect in his life. There is a family living in my ward that the wife is from Utah, and the father is from Tonga. He was deported here from the United States and the family decided that they were going to move with him. They have been living here for about 2 years and have been experiencing some wonderful life changes and are coming back to God. They are already members of the church, but were inactive in America. As they have been working to return to full activity and are working on getting sealed in the temple, they have grown with a huge and awesome testimony of the Gospel and how it blesses family and it's reality. I arranged with them to bring the guy from Wales to a family home evening and if the weather is nice we can make otai (a fruit drink made from water sugar coconut milk and fruit). Then we will talk about the importance of family. I want this because it will not only help him see the importance of family and the joy that it brings, but also help him to see the Gospel is real and God is there and will help families be together forever. It's going to happen later today and I’m really excited to see if something comes out of it. Hopefully it works out with everyone.
So along with the crazy cyclone came a bunch of wind and rain. Man, when my Dad emailed me last and predicted rain he wasn't kidding. It was smashing us; I took like 10 steps out and got soaked instantly. There was no way to avoid it; it was left, right, up, down and sideways. The cool thing is unlike the USA, the rain here is warm and pleasant. All day on Monday everyone was outside enjoying the rain. Lots of people got soap and would take a rain bath and clean up; the whole island was enjoying it, despite the fact that a hurricane was coming, but that's Tonga. We tried to stay out of the rain as much as possible, but sometimes life is unavoidable.
On Monday we had the chance to teach a lesson to a woman who worked as a janitor in Liahona. She was pretty cool, fairly quiet didn't say much, but I think she was kinda scared. Luckily, the members we were with jumped in and taught basically the first 3/4 of the lesson. They did a really good job and I am very, very, very, very thankful they were there. Man it's hard doing all this in another language. We taught the rest of the lesson and it went well enough; she accepted the invitation to read the Book of Mormon and she seemed a little excited about it, so hopefully it will help her.
So the cyclone that was hitting our area first went through Fiji, and then hit Vava'u, and island in Tonga, Then turned around and hit Vava'u and is heading towards Fiji again. The day that it hit Fiji the first time was interesting. It was a decent storm here, but I guess it was really bad there, because it knocked out the Internet in Tonga. That sounds weird right, maybe a house loses power or the phones don't work in a town or something, but no, the whole nation of Tonga was completely Internetless. There were no flights, no Wi-Fi, nothing. We were off grid, cell phones seemed to work okay, but that was about it. Yeah, so office work was really easy that day because I didn't really do anything at all.
So we asked president if we could start doing missionary work in a nearby town (Makapeo) that is about a fifteen-minute walk from Liahona. He said yes, so we walked out there one day and started trying to visit people. There are only about 15 houses and the people there were less than excited to talk to us. We have 1 member family living there and we eventually made our way over to their house, battling angry dogs the whole way there. (I’m bringing a stick next time to whack them all). We got to the member’s house and talked to him about the work in this town. He told us that the entire town is of the Wesleyan faith, and that they are pretty strong in it. He also said that the local minister would get made at anyone we talk to, and not just us, any other faith that comes and tries to talk about their religion. The minister gets pissed off and will get mad at people for talking to them. This appeared to me to be quite a challenge, but as a good person would say "Challenge Accepted.” So we have made a plan to stop in the town about once every week so people get used to seeing us. We are going to try to find opportunities to do service and show the people that we aren't crazy devil worshipers or whatever. We also want to go and talk to the Minister, just chat and get to know him, not preach or anything. Our plan is to get to talk to all the hardhearted people and eventually soften them up enough to where they will give us a chance.
Lastly some good news; the dog that lives at my house had puppies! Yay! Adorable, squeaky, brown and black things. They are pretty cute I guess. I'm naming one of them Stark for sure. The mother decided to have them in the worst place possible; it’s like right next to a big old field and not covered from the rain or wind or anything. She had them on some gross old tarp too, so I gave them a little towel I found to lay on, and then later the guy who lives at the house made a crude shelter for them; they seem pretty happy now I guess. The puppies haven't opened their eyes yet, but maybe soon.
I had an experience this week where I was really frustrated at the way some missionaries act; a lot of people don't obey the rules and it makes me frustrated when I’m trying to hard to obey every stupid little rule and I can't find the success they are. It’s petty, but still annoying. I was wondering if being obedient was really even worth it; I didn't see very many benefits from it and I miss out on a lot of fun that goes on. I studied about it and figured out that yes, it is important and I hope that I will be happier in the long run from choosing this, but I guess I’ll choose to try to follow all the rules even if I’m alone. I really wish I could have a good time like everyone else, and it's not like they’re doing bad stuff, just not what they are supposed to do, but whatever! I’m more scared of God than I am of men.
Ofa atu

Elder Sitake

Friday, February 19, 2016

Week 19: Office- I got a new companion

Email time! Well this week was hectic to the extreme, yet one of the better weeks in my life, maybe. So the last time I emailed I was under quite a bit of stress; the office kicked my butt a little, but I’m back on my feet now. Last week I forgot to mention that I got an infection on my foot, which made it annoying to walk. Luckily, the mission doctor gave me some stuff and it fixed me right up so now I’m at operating speed! Later during the week, there was an Elder who had to be flown in from Vava’u; he got an infection in his hand that was really bad! Like nasty, gross surgery bad. He got released and sent home because of it. I am not going to include any pictures in the public email because they are not very pleasant. He got released because he didn't have very long left to serve in his mission and his hand required surgery. We got to hang out with him for a while the night before he left, he's pretty cool, and he is a cousin to Elder M.
So Elder M got transferred out from the office the night of the really bad infection guy. I never saw him again, but I supposed he's good; finishing his last transfer in Sopu. He was a really awesome companion and I really enjoyed serving with him. The best part about Elder M was teaching with him. He is a really awesome spiritual teacher; he can make the gospel so simple and easy to understand, it makes it illogical to not follow it. Plus, he knows his Bible, at one point I told a member, “Man, this guy can quote the Bible like a Methodist Minister!” I don't know how accurate that statement is, but he can just throw out verses like none other. We had this awesome experience where we taught a girl who's already heard all the missionary lessons. She wanted to be baptized but moved to Vava'u right before the day. She came back and we taught her and the spirit was so strong. I have trouble following everything in Tongan, but basically we reminded her of how she felt before she went to Vava'u, how it made her happy, she said she got the happy feeling when the missionaries taught her and when she read the Book of Mormon. She said she stopped reading the Book of Mormon in Vava'u because her family didn't want her to join the church. She also said that was the last time she felt that happy feeling. We told her it was the Holy Ghost and we talked about how she can feel it again if she will start reading again. We also talked about before she left, she felt good about being baptized, we committed her to be baptized this weekend if she could meet with us everyday and read a certain part of the Book of Mormon. The spirit in this lesson was palpable; afterwards when we were walking away I almost spontaneously hugged Elder M, I was so happy and that feeling is pretty much the greatest! Sadly, in spite of our and the family’s best efforts, we haven't seen her since. I asked the missionaries before and they said she would just disappear of the face of the planet sometimes so I guess it's normal. I just hope she didn't return to Vava'u. Oh well. But anyways yeah, I love Elder M; he's awesome!
I got a new companion halfway during the week. His name is Elder C. He's been out on his mission 6 weeks longer than I have, which is interesting when it comes to speaking Tongan. I end up speaking a lot because I’m not afraid of being embarrassed and awkward. I figured it going to happen anyways, I might as well say as much as I can and hope it makes some sense. Sometimes it doesn't and I awkwardly say goodbye from a conversation or something, yeah that part sucks. On the other hand, it’s way fun to talk to people! I will literally stop and talk to everyone on the street, no matter who they are or what they’re doing. It's hard to think of what to say, but I manage, I know if I try as hard as I can to speak, then Heavenly Father will bless me with learning. 
Funny experience this week, I lost my keys during a dinner with an investigator. This is bad because the office key I have is like a grand master key; it unlocks a lot of the Liahona high school, lots of churches, the mission office, and who knows what else. We were hanging out with Me, the guy from Whales. Then we went to Malakai's and had an umu, which means underground oven. We made some Luu, which was super delicious. Me had a good time taking pictures and all that. We kind of had a short little discussion about faith right before and it gave me some ideas on what I want to teach next. After all the fun I went to grab my keys and was like, oh no, crap, I can't find them! I looked everywhere I could think of, even Me’s house, and couldn’t find them. I was praying my head off because I had to go open the office so the new missionaries coming in had somewhere to go. I ended up not finding them, and went and woke up the Senior missionaries who work in the office and asked to borrow their keys. Luckily, they are pretty nice. We went and looked for my keys the next morning but couldn't find them. I was quite worried and I found out if I report it, the church would go through and re-key all the locks in the places where mine works. Uh oh... I said a little prayer and later during the day I went to grab something out of my bag and I saw a little shiny thing. Sure enough, my keys were with me the whole time and I didn't notice. Haha gotta love life. That's all I can think of.

Ofa lahi atu,

Elder Sitaki

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Week 18: Office- Two new investigators


I am here to report to you this week. Lots of stuff has happened this week and it's been quite a lot of change for me. I will do my best to describe said changes. First off, we received 2 new investigators; they are really awesome and really prepared. One is a Tongan guy who's 19 and attending Liahona High school for his last year. He's really cool and lives really good standards but his and family’s religion is a big part of his life and he's not sure about changing. I really hope I can bless their lives more than they know is possible. The other investigator is kind of an odd ball here in Tonga; it's a man from Wales, yes, like the UK Wales. He's 24, not married and just finished dental school. He wanted to kind of travel around and experience the word, so he did some traveling then offered to serve in the LDS humanitarian dental clinic here in Liahona. They see people for absolutely free and do dental work. He serves with a senior couple from West Virginia. He's really cool and very open to talk about anything and he loves to try new stuff. He's pretty much willing to experiment with anything and isn't afraid of new stuff. He's been very interested in the LDS religion; he himself doesn't believe in God, but he said he would try praying and give it a go. He speaks Welsh and England and he has a sweet accent. He said the only Mormon he knows in Brandon Flowers from the Killers. He saw them in Poland he says. I'm very excited about talking to him and I think this is the most unique opportunity to teach someone. He lives halfway across the world and now he's here, and he's listening to the message of truth. I'm very excited. Plus, I can be like my dad and baptize a euro!
On the other side, this week has been very difficult and frustrating. I took over the office on Wednesday and I got a new companion Tuesday night. He's a Tongan from Salt Lake; he's really cool and very good at becoming friends with the members and getting close to them. However, he is not a fan of office work. In fact, I think he quite doesn't like it at all. He was only supposed to be with me for a week but now President said maybe 2 weeks. So let’s see where that goes. We get along well enough; we are very different, but we have a connection because we both did concrete work before our mission and we know a lot of the same stuff. The problem though is I don't have the time to teach him all the office stuff and there is a LOT of stuff to do. I've had to pull a couple late days and work lots of hours and deal with lots of stress. It’s a good challenge, but I don't want to fall behind and fail and it's been kicking my butt a little. I've had to do things I’ve never done before, and neither has any officer elders and I don't have room to learn, so yeah. Kind of just going about my life. I guess if something happens I’ll fix it and see where it goes. My old companion went to Niua too, which is way cool. It's like to most rare island to go to, we only have 2 elders there at a time. I didn't eat any weird meat this week, pretty average. I don't have any pictures either. SORRY!
OFA ATU my friends,

Elder Sitaki