Dear friends, families, people I associate with and co-workers,
I wasn't able to email last week; we went from town to town to find Internet (with permission) and we finally found it in Tefisi. We had about 2 hours time and both of my companions were dying to use the computer and talk to people so I tried to be a good Samaritan and I gave up my emailing for the week.
Last Friday we got an addition of Elder L. His companion went back to Tonga for certain reasons so we have him until the end of the transfer, roughly two weeks. The day that we got Elder L we had a baptism of a 12-year-old kid we've been teaching. His name is F, which translates roughly to "spreading lots of love". He’s a pretty cool little guy. Then Sunday we confirmed F and made him a member; it was a really good day. In the afternoon we had a huge kai pola, which means feast. It was for the bishop's wife's mother's birthday, and man we ate really well. Following these events on Monday I had the no emailing day. Really frustrating and I was kind of just fed up.
We had a big ward Family Home Evening that night, so we started off with a prayer and song and then every family did a short activity involving other people or just them. It was super fun and just a good time. I did the activity of musical chairs with all the youth and everyone died laughing watching the kids fight over chairs. Someone did an activity where they got all the Melchizedek priesthood holders to dance in really funny ways (including me) and after the activities we had food and ice cream. It was really great because a lot of less-active people came to the activity and we got to talk to everyone and have a good time. Church yesterday was noticeably more people.
Tuesday we had a district meeting, which was good. I ended up teaching for most of it, which funny enough I did a lesson about love and it was especially good, more myself because I saw all the places where I was lacking.
I learned another cool thing this past week: Faith is about quality, not quantity. So this week I’ve been struggling to do the work, not from lack of effort though. So I try to bust my butt everyday trying to do the work, which is great, that's what I need to get a lot done. But I haven't been in the right mindset. I haven't been serving with all my mind. Sure it's great to serve with all your might and strength, but you need your heart and your mind to actually get lots of stuff done and help lots of people. I realized I was doing a lot of this for myself, not for others. I was working hard, not out of a desire to help others, but out of a selfish desire to become the best, so I was lacking those traits. In the scriptures, faith is likened unto a mustard seed; a mustard seed isn't very big, but it can move mountains. Now let’s say you have a haystack worth of seeds, like a bunch! But they are all dead, then you got nothing. I keep all the rules, I work as hard as I can, but it’s meaningless unless I do it for the right purpose. If I do all those and don't have the right desire, it's dead. But anyone can get a mustard seeds worth of faith, and do miracles. So I’ve been trying to change myself, to not just do the
missionary things, but to be the missionary, which is exactly what President Tupou (my mission president) taught all the missionaries last week. His whole point was the difference between doing and being. You see how my president is guided by revelation, to know my problem before I know it myself. Doesn’t that give you a little bit of faith that this is God's work and church? Funny enough, we got a new mission president this past week. I have never met him but I assume I will someday.
We spent one night in Mataika, which is a neighboring town because our room was going to be painted. I will educate all you in a little Tongan Culture with this experience. So on Friday, the day we got Elder L, the painters came in the morning and said they would come at noon. They didn't show up until Tuesday the next week, and they painted the outside and said they would be back tomorrow to paint the inside. So we moved all our crap to the next town over, and what do you know, they didn't come. So that night we moved everything back and went to work the next day. To our great frustration, they came Thursday, made a massive mess of our house, clothes and suitcases all stack in a huge pile in the middle, and got paint everywhere. We moved our stuff again to the next town over and slept there because the paint wasn't dry and they said we'd get sick if we slept there. We came back the next day and cleaned for like three hours to return the house to where it was.
Sunday was great. I was trying really hard to have that grain of faith and it turned out okay. We had a vilo hoa with a guy who was just baptized and we had a really good spiritual experience. We went to visit a lady who is less active. In Tonga if a woman is Catholic and marries a guy who is Pentecost, she is obligated by culture to join the church of her husband. The same with Mormons, many LDS girls marry outside of the church and they are bullied by the people and culture to join the other church. Rarely, does that bring other people into our church, which is odd... Anyways, she really wants to go back to church but her husband won't let her so she stays in another church. So we went to this woman's house and she was kind of just chilling. She was really happy to see us and we were able to help her with some stuff after which we shared some spiritual thoughts, mostly about how she should keep the commandments and trust the God knows her position and will help her with what she needs. So that's my week.