Tongan Beach

Tongan Beach

Monday, June 6, 2016

Week 34: Vava'u- Thanks for the prayers

Dear family and friends. 

I don't have any clever ways to start this email so I guess I’ll just start off with saying thank you for anyone who's been praying for me. I appreciate it. Overall this week has been positive, obviously there have been challenges but the improvement has definitely overcome the negative things. First thing to improve was my relationship with my companion. We were walking back for the church, just finished our emailing and it started to rain, which was kind of dampening my spirits. We put our bags in our house and decided to go Fakauha, (this means playing in the rain, or can mean a rain bath (as in you get into your short shorts and grab a bar of soap and just take a shower in the middle of the rain) Needless to say, I did not get into my short shorts (because they are in America), but we walked around in the rain, completely soaked, pretty normal. I don't know if this was God-sent rain, but it began to lift our spirits and we began to talk. We ran around and did our fakauha and then changed and prepared to go to a family home evening, which ended up being a little spiritual experience. 
So we went to family home evening with these 3 families combined, but it was intensely muddy. Like I don't know how to explain how muddy it was, but my slippers (flip-flops) were like 8 inches tall because of all the mud stuck to the bottom of them. We went anyways and talked to the families and decided it was canceled. We were planning to do it with bishop's family too; he was going to meet us there. Towards the end of our visiting the 3 families I get a call from a number that I had saved in the phone as this lady who lived across town. (This was a mistake because it was the bishop's wife) she asked us if we were going to do family home evening. (Me thinking it's the lady across town) I was like crap. Yeah sure we can come over. So as we are walking down to a different road, bishop is coming to the house by the top road. We finally get to the lady's house (she a single mother with 5 little kids, one of which is an adorable baby) and ask her to start family home evening. She was confused but like, oh, sure. We asked her if she called and she said no, so we called the number back and found out it was bishop's wife and it was like woops. The family home evening we just canceled was back on and bishop and all them were waiting for us. Luckily bishop is a boss and said he would do it and we should do it with the other family. I think it was God's hand directing us over to the other house; there was no man in the house and everyone was laughing and having a good time and I think maybe we blessed them. I don't know, good experience though.  
Okay, other experience. This week I felt like I wasn't doing anything to help the people and that thought gave birth to two different thoughts. First, one morning as I was doing my work-outs and listening to church music I had a inspiring thought, I would ask God how I could give more of myself to the people to help them. Then later during my studies I was directed to read the Preach my Gospel book from the church and I read about charity and love as Christ-like attributes I should try to develop. This section of giving of myself and loving the people stuck out to me really hard and I determined that I needed to love these people if I want to serve them more. Just another prayer answered by God. The other thinking is with the lack of work and success, I feel like I am not so much helping other people, but I’m in a highly intense and demanding school to learn how to be a man of God. I am learning patience with the language and other people, I’m learning to love others even when I really don't like them and they tend to make me really angry, I’m learning to work diligently when times are rough and more importantly, stay positive and hopeful and keep a good attitude (this one is very difficult.) I’m also learning humility, I know a lot of people have suffered a lot more than I am and they don't complain and still praise God, and here I am, a little sweaty, a little dehydrated, a little sick and fed up with the people and language, and I’m complaining my butt off. I've thought a lot about the pioneers and the crap they had to wade through and they have always been happy singing songs, and here I am being a grumpy gus and blaming everything on everything else. I decided one day to make a change and love what comes. I've been happier and more fun to be around and the language has started to make more sense to me and I understand me. So my "Man of God" school kind of sucks sometimes, but I’ll just try to love what comes and maybe I’ll be different when I come home.
The last experience was a culture thing. So on Thursday this guy got married, he's part of the Mormon Church and he married a girl from the Seventh-day Adventist church. Or in Tonga you say 7-day church. On Sunday, Bishop asked us to speak (supposedly there was going to be like 30+ 7 day church people) so I was like.. hmmm... I’m gonna pull some serious preaching. With prayerful consideration, I wrote my talk, and it was the entire first missionary lesson. I was going to deliver it from the pulpit to the non-believers. Well I was very nervous, my public preaching skills have never been the best but I felt supported from God so I went courageously up there and began to preach. Here's the bad/good part. First, my method of giving talks is interesting. What I’ve found to be most effective is I write my talk in English, and then when I get to the pulpit and just translate what I wrote and if I forget what I wrote I can check and keep going. Maybe I have a future in public translation, but I doubt it. I'm not super flowing but whatever, it gives me opportunities to pop in whatever the spirit wants me to say. The good/bad part is the 7-days people came, but they arrive like 2 minutes after I sat down. So my talk was wasted. But, oh well. The next part is the culture thing. They had a huge kaipola, which means like feast for the wedding. Tons and tons of food, the bishop told us after we are done with our talk we should head over there, but we had to stay for the other ward. The culture thing is, we can't just walk over there. Its super embarrassing and shameful if we just come over; we need an invite, as in a person to walk with us and bring us over. It was supposed to be bishop but he was unavailable and couldn’t walk with us, so we had this momentous feast and it was our lunch, but we couldn't go to it because we didn't have someone to walk us over. Luckily some other family was able to feed us, but I was a little disgruntled until the other family had this really good sausage and I was happy again after filling my stomach with chicken ufi and sausage and luu. So that's life. The rest of the day was fun and Monday (today) we cleaned the crap out of our house so now it's clean. 

Ofa Atu,

Elder Sitaki

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