Tongan Beach

Tongan Beach

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Week 50: Vava'u- A Huge Abscess!

Hey guys,

I know it's been a little while since I emailed. I was really busy and Vava'u doesn't fare very well in the reliable Internet sector, so sometimes I can email and sometimes I can't. But President is really awesome and he told us we have to email our mothers/family, so if we don't get the chance, he gives us an opportunity to do it.   
A huge abscess in my neck occupied most of this week. I got a really bad infection and it got huge. For about a week my neck was so swollen I couldn't turn my head and sleep was a nightmare. I got very little rest and I would also randomly get terrible headaches and I was sick a lot. I got it lanced in Vava’u, lost a ton of goop, but it came back and got worse, so they flew me into Tonga to get medical treatment. I got it all squeezed out (no numbing what so ever) then bandaged. It continued to cause problems, so the next day the doctor (still no numbing) sliced it open and drained all the stuff out. The missionaries watching the operation described it as a fire hydrant. He then shoved it full of gauze (very painful) and gave me some heavy pills. I take 3 at a time and I believe it's the most powerful antibiotic in pill form he has. He says if it doesn't work he is going to inject me with antibiotics. So that's life; it's really exciting. I have another boil on my leg, which is doing better; it's not nearly as bad. But now I’m good!!!!  Just lots of bandages and pills.
Another big thing was last Monday we had our zone P-day! I organized a huge water balloon fight at the stake center and it was super fun! Man, I love water balloons. We had almost everyone participate. That was fun. The mission president came up to Vava’u for a big meeting. It was really cool and he set up some cools stuff. He said if we get a certain number of baptisms, he would fly us to the temple. So there is a lot more incentive I guess, but I really am excited to work with him and change my zone. I want us to succeed, and I’m ready to change it. 
Work wise, we got some new investigators and some new people to talk to. The branch president in the town of Utui is doing a lot of work with us and helping a lot; I’m really excited to see if we can get some stuff going. Well yeah, that's about it. I know stuff happened, but I’m tired and hungry and technically post operation, so I am going to cut off there. I’ll include some gross pictures.

Ofa atu,

Elder Sitaki

Week 49: Vava'u- No Email

Hey sorry this is short, but I want to be obedient and I don't really have time to email. I love you a lot though and wish the best for you. Thanks for your love, and dad, you're right, I think I have changed a bit. I'm more manly now than ever ;)

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Week 48: Vava'u- We accidently accepted a challenge


So I am going to report on this week. I had a pretty exciting week and it was really fun to read all the emails you guys wrote. I don't really know what happened this week to make me excited; it was kind of lame work wise. We didn't really get a lot done and not much seemed to work out, but it was just fun. I had good time with my companion; we get along really well and he's really fun to joke around with. Some of the fun things we did this week: we climbed the highest mountain in Vava'u, (Mounga Talau) three times. My comp and I wanted to see how fast we could run up it. So it’s not really a mountain, just a average hill; you drive to the base then climb this horrific staircase to the top. It starts off at a gentle climb, and then gets steep, but I can handle steep, the hard part is about half way through the staircase gets near vertical. If you stand flat on it, you feel as if you are going to fall backwards. Lots of people go up on their hands and knees. But no, my comp and I decided to be the boss and run up it. Well I have never climbed elevation that fast before. Man, it felt like the first period of a wrestling match. My whole body hurt; I ran up in one minute and 21 seconds. Afterwards my comp almost threw up and we just lay in the dirt for half an hour then went home, promising never to do that again. So the next day, we accidently accepted a challenge to run up the thing again, so we raced the other elders. I ran it in 43.5 seconds. The other elder ran in 42.0 seconds. So not only was I in a lot of pain, I had to buy ice cream. It really sucked.
This week we had Stake Conference with a member of the Seventy from Samoa. He was really cool and really funny and he would always talk faster than his translator; the translator would never finish his sentences. But he gave a lot of really good talks and I started to get this hope for the work, I feel like it’s possible we could be organized and get a lot of work done. We are working right now to turn one of my branches to a ward. I think I’ll be able to be here when it happens. I’m not sure if the form has already been sent, but we will see. We are working to help them get a convert baptism so the leadership will see that they can do work.
In my areas, (I was reduced to a ward and a branch) there have been missionaries for years. All the non-members know every missionary that has been here for the past 5 years. So it's really hard to think of new things and do the right things to convert these people who have been preached to many, many times. But I have hope we can listen to the Spirit and get some stuff done. We must listen to the Spirit; nothing else will let us know the right thing to change these people. I love you all!!

Ofa atu!

Elder Sitaki

Week 47: Vava'u- This was an awesome week

Hey people,

I hope you guys had a good week. So I’m going to try to remember all the things the happened, but I’m not sure I will.
We had a baptism this week; it was on Friday and it was that golden investigator I met right at the beginning of my work as a zone leader. Her name is O and she is really awesome. She had a lot of opposition from weird places and I wasn't sure that I was going to be able to baptism her but we set a day a couple weeks ago and we have been working towards it. It came to the Tuesday before the baptism date and Elder A and I went there to see whether or not she'd be ready. We went into the house and shared a message about the law of chastity and the word of wisdom. Then I asked her if she has felt like she had changed during the time we have been teaching her. She then shared a really powerful experience and talked about how much she has changed and how much opposition she had and it was really touching. We both felt the Spirit tell us that she was ready. So we finished teaching the lessons and got her set up for baptism. I was the one who did the baptism. When I lifted her out of the water it was such a special moment; she stood, cleared the water out of her eyes, then looked at me and quietly in a humble voice said, “thank you.” Man, that blew me away. I almost hugged her. (Key word almost) I actually told her because she spoke English, I said "I’d hug you if I could, but I can't". Man... that was so awesome!
We also had another awesome experience. So if you remember that lady who didn't feel ready to be baptized, we did our fasting and a member of the seventy came. Well, we visited the lady and now she's ready to be baptized! I was like blown away. Hahaha! I've been getting blown away a lot.
I don't speak English with my companion... that is really fun; I am learning and getting a lot better at understanding. So all thumbs up. I can't really remember anything else. I love you guys. This was an awesome week.

Ofa Atu,

Elder Sitaki

Week 46: Vava'u- We had a miracle

Hello guys and girls,

This is Elder Stark reporting a little bit late because of transfers and things were a bit busy. So the big news for me, Elder O, the guy from California I was working with, has returned to the main island of Tonga to go work in a place called Lapaha. I received a new companion named Elder A; he is a native Tongan. He doesn't really speak much English and I haven't spoken to him in English yet, so I imagine my Tongan will improve some as we go about our labors. The mission in Vava'u has changed a little bit, there are now two zones, and so I am only the zone leader of half the island. Elder L leads the other half, if you remember I had 3 weeks with Elder L in Leimatu'a. He’s a really good guy and will do great. Right now in Vava'u there is only one car, my car, so Elder L is on foot until he can get a Tongan license and a car. So until then I’m kind of still in charge. Haha. I’m really excited about the work this transfer, Elder O and I were killer busy with all the stuff we had to do; I’ve never accomplished so much work before in my mission unless you include office work. It was pretty awesome, but with the change is management in Vava'u, I am going to lose a lot of my areas and then be reduced down to 2 or 3 I think. So the busyness I enjoyed might not be so busy, but I’m going to try my best to convert these two towns, even if I have to go scrub every inch looking for people.
So cool stories: we were teaching this couple named V (the father) and N (the mother), all the kids have moved out. V was baptized in April and has loved the church and is doing really good. N loves to listen about the church, but doesn't feel ready to be baptized. We have been trying to help her to work towards baptism, but she just doesn't want to. So Elder O and I were reduced to fasting, we fasted twice actually. And what do you know? We had a miracle. Last Saturday, a member of the Seventy came to Vava’u to do a stake conference. On Saturday he visited this family (we had nothing to do with this) and they talked about V being baptized and talked to N. Apparently N said the same thing to him; she doesn't feel ready for baptism. That Sunday the Seventy talked about the priesthood and invited V to speak and share a testimony. He did so, which was really good, and then the Seventy said after the meeting they are going to give the Melchizedek priesthood to V, and his first assignment is to bless his wife with the Seventy and the Stake President. We haven't been to their house since before Saturday, but I believe/ fervently hope something changed with that blessing.
We also have another blessing. I believe the Golden Investigator from my first day with Elder O will be baptized this Friday. We really got to help her understand the meaning of repentance and she will soon be ready. Other than that, I think that's about it. I can't think of much else work related. I’m pretty happy. Yep, so that's about it. I love you all. I’m sure I will think of more once I get off. I love you all and am grateful you support me.

Elder Sitaki