I’m sorry I didn't get a chance the past two weeks to email you guys. I recently became the zone leader and being busy has made it really hard to email. It’s made it really hard to write in my journal too. I was doing so well; I hadn't missed a day until I got called to the position, then I missed like a month. July 2016 will forever be a blur. I think I’m starting to get a hang of things though.
So I’ll start with a quick summary of the past two weeks in Vava'u. I became zone leader and instantly got really busy. We are literally driving all day, every day; we are always moving stuff to here and there and the 7 areas we work in are all far away from each other. So if you want to look up the different places I work in, I work in Okoa, Utui, Taoa, Vaipua, Toula, and two islands, Nuapapu, and Hunga. And recently we went to an island called Ofu and might start working there. So between twenty missionaries and the 7-8 towns we work in, it’s been crazy. It’s a lot harder/different to work with so many people and places because I don't have as much as of an opportunity to get to know people and really become friends. But I like being busy; I hate being idle. So far my favorite places to work in are Okoa, Taoa, and Nuapapu, particularly Nuapapu. It’s like my favorite place to visit. I’ve become friends with this one guy there who has promised me if I come to live there (I often joke I’m going to marry a Tongan girl from Ha'apai and then move and live in Nuapapu) a place to build my house (we've already picked it out), a horse I can ride (Nuapapu doesn't have any cars on it) and a piece of land I can make my uta (bush farm). So I’m pretty much set up. I simply need a girl to marry at this point.
The other place I really like is called Okoa. Okoa is an awesome town because it's in two parts. One part is on the main island of Vava'u the other is a little island that's connected by a land bridge. It is super beautiful and I really like the members there. I like the bishop a lot too; he is super helpful and funny and loves to go fishing. In Okoa I’ve eaten a raw sea thing (not sure what they are) and also raw clams. Let me tell you, raw clams on baked tapioca root is really freaking delicious; I had a bunch. I can also report that I have had sea turtle; it's really good. It’s like the texture of chicken but it has a slight fishy taste. In Okoa we went there on my first day and met this golden investigator, who is really awesome, and we were super excited to teach her. We finished about 2 lessons when the less active husband (he's only 18 and she's 19) stopped the lessons because he doesn't want to stop smoking and he thinks if she is baptized he will have to stop. So that is really upsetting to me and it's really bothered me, but we're not allowed to teach or baptize people unless the spouse is willing, so I don't know what to do. We are working with the husband’s family, who are all super active in the church, but they worry so much about infringing on their son's agency that they never do anything and it makes me really sad. So we are praying lots of working really hard to help this family. I hope a lot will change for them and we can help them to be happier.
I’ve been really blessed being able to see all of Vava'u and go to all the islands all the time and work with president a lot. I think because of all my blessings God has smitten me so I don't get prideful. I’ve developed all sorts of pala, which is like infections. It is really lame and it's all over my knee and a tiny bit of my face. It’s starting to get better, but for a week or more I’ve had it and it's really annoying and painful. I’m trying to repent of all my sinful behaviors and be healed. Haha, plus I got a bunch of medicine from the mission doctor so it's starting to clear up.
I keep trying to work hard and be the best I can. I’m trying to incorporate all the good things the handbook says and really use it as a way to serve more people, serve the missionaries. A lot of it starting with loving the people, something I have been trying to develop and it's been working out pretty well When you have your purpose in mind, to invite others to come unto Christ, and you work for that purpose and strive to find ways to actually do it, it is really helpful, it generates actual love for others and helps you to literally seek their well being and eternal welfare. That’s been a big thing I’ve noticed this week is loving other people. I can't wait to go home and love all my friends and family.
Ummm... so my mission is the best. I get to ride a boat twice a week and go visit tropical islands for fun. I also got to drive the boat (don’t tell anyone) but I captained the Alma for about 30 minutes until we hit a rough spot. It actually got so rough later on I was just standing there chilling and I got launched off my feet and split open my knee a little bit when I landed. It was super funny; I died laughing even though I was bleeding. So that's like a really bad update of what's been going on, but yah. That’s life. That’s my email for the week.
One final, cool experience: I got to see the King during the yearly craft show here in Vava'u. I didn’t shake hands or anything, but I got pretty close. I also took a picture of some of the fish at the show.
Ofa Lahi Atu,