Tongan Beach

Tongan Beach

Friday, November 4, 2016

Week 54: Kolonga- Life in Kolonga

Hey family and friends,

So my email this week isn't as exciting as the week before, but I have some news.  I work in the town called Kolonga; it’s on the eastern side of the main island of Tongatapu. It’s fairly large; there are three different wards in Kolonga alone and they are decent sized, nothing compared to American wards, but it's pretty good. Kolonga is right next to the ocean so I see the ocean everyday and it's cool. I always see crabs crossing the rode and I try to catch them or run them over sometimes. I am still the zone leader, which is cool I guess. I am in charge of most of the eastern half of the island. I cover from Fuamotu (the airport) to Kolonga and everywhere in between basically. It’s pretty awesome.
So my town is a pretty normal town, it's even got a really small eating-place. I don't remember what you call it. Restaurant? Yeah. So you can order like 1 of 7 dishes and eat there. They have chicken or sheep curry, horse cooked in coconut milk, fish cooked in coconut milk, turtle cooked in coconut milk, octopus cooked in coconut milk, fried chicken, normal cooked fish, and sea anemone (cooked in coconut milk). They also have raw fish you can eat there which is really good too. All meals come with a side of boiled tapioca root. It’s really good, especially if you have a little salt. There are a bunch of little stores where you can buy your corned beef and bread and laundry soap. Kolonga goes along one big road that goes through the center of town; on one side is the ocean on the other side is the rest of the town. There are lots of little dirt roads that make up a grid and all the houses are located within. We have a decent amount of vao (wild bush areas) and a lot of uta (cultivated bush area where crops are grown.) The beaches aren't super good, but it’s okay. I also work in a place called Afa; it’s about a two-five minute drive from Kolonga going east. It’s a neat little town and has really strong members and the church building is really pretty and cool; I am emailing from there right now.
The people in Kolonga are probably the best part. I really like them; they are generally really nice and easy going (that's how Tongans are), but it's peaceful here. Well, I guess I shouldn't say too peaceful, there are a lot of people here around the age of 16-30 that aren't married and don't do anything but play volleyball and mess around. There are also a ton of returned missionaries, but the lack of progress is big. Lots of drunk people. I have been kissed by a drunk man for the first time, sad part is that he is a returned missionary, but is like 30 years old and not married. All the bishops here are really cool too, I really like them and the members. We have been making friends with the massive amount of deported guys from America who were all basically gangsters and are covered in tattoos and get drunk all the time and have no purpose in life. But they are really nice and fun to talk to. Hopefully we can make a positive impact in their lives. The rest of Kolonga is really chill and everyone is happy. Just living life, putting food on the table. They love volleyball, there is a volleyball game going on from 6am-9am and from 5pm-sunset. Basically the life of the average Tongan here is: wake up, volleyball or go to the bush, work in the bush, come back, eat, volleyball or go back to the bush, come back, hang out until nighttime, sleep. Repeat. It’s a simple, easy and fun place full of doing nothing. I love it.
So for the work, man it's really good here. We’ve got five people we are looking to baptize this month, and we have the challenge from the mission president that if we baptize five people in a single month the two missionaries get to go to the temple and do a session. If the zone gets 30 people then we get to go as a zone to the temple. My zone went last month because they got 31 and I’m hoping to make it two times in a row and go myself because our work was good. Really, I’m starting to understand it doesn't matter as much about me but the members; they are the key to the work. When members bring you people to teach it is so much easier than finding people on your own. And it is so much faster too. We have a little girl named T; she's 9 and really funny and always smiles. I really like her, her little sister is really cool too, her name is A, she's only 6 but we teach her the lessons too. I figured since they are young I’ll teach to their understanding, so our lessons aren't super complicated and we have a lot of fun. We have another investigator who's name is S, she loves the church. She’s 14 and her parents don't want her to join, but she always goes to the programs and when the youth go to do baptisms for the dead, she goes too but sits in the waiting room. We are working really hard to talk to the parents and set it up so she can be baptized and can join fully. There is another girl named L; she married a returned missionary. She was sick this last week so we weren’t able to teach her, but we got permission to go to her area with the bishop and give her a blessing. She’s really awesome and I think she'll be a good member. The last investigator is a girl named C; she lives in Kolonga and has been taught a ton of times. She’s 19, and really funny. She wants to serve a mission, but likes going to parties and drinking and smoking. So we are working with her and I hope she will choose to the change those things. She has a really good member to help her and I have high hopes.
My zone is really good, I am I charge of 20 missionaries not including my comp and myself. There are three districts, but only four sisters, which kind of sucks because sisters are really fun. We have some good district leaders; get this, my old comp Elder O is one of my district leaders, so is Elder A. So yeah, that’s my week. 
Funny story: so they are working on our house to make it a little bigger and one day we left a checker board out and the table. We were super surprised to come back and open the door and the people that are working on our house were all inside. There were like 7-8 grown men all watching two of them playing checkers. I think this had been going on for about an hour. Super funny. Then my comp went in and whooped them all in checkers. Checkers in Tonga is actually kind of a big thing and I’ll teach all you Americans the way to play Tongan checkers.

Ofa lahi atu you guys!

Elder Sitaki

Me doing some welding

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