Fiji Suva Mission

Fiji Suva Mission

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Isa Isa

"For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps." (1 Peter 2:21)

My whole mission, I've lived by a quote that our beloved prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, said several years ago. It's a motto, of sorts.

"There are lives to brighten; There are hearts to touch; There are souls to save."

My time here in Fiji has been in this service, with this goal and this watchword, that I am "in the service of [my] fellow beings...[as I am] in the service of [my] God" (Mosiah 2:17).

For those of you that don't know or don't understand what it is I've been doing, it's been declaring the good tidings of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is so beautifully described by the Savior Himself as he visited the Nephites after His Resurrection. Said he, "Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me. And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil. And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works" (3 Nephi 27:23-15)

I've had a lot of trials here in Fiji, and a lot of hard times when I didn't know if I could keep going, or if I was making any difference. The words of Nephi helped me to put into perspective how God fits into the picture: "My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep." (2 Nephi 4:20)

In addition to the trials, though, I've seen literally countless miracles and blessings. I feel like Ammon, whose heart was "brim with joy", for "many mighty miracles [that has been] wrought in this land, for which we will praise His name forever". "Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel." (see Alma 26:11-12, 16) My experience in Fiji has been indescribable. I love the culture - so welcoming, so loving, so deep. I love the beauty of this land - especially Taveuni Island. Most importantly, though, I love the people - there isn't a people like this upon the face of the earth. There's no one like them. I love them so much, and have made so many amazing relationships with them that I can never forget them. They will be forever imprinted on my memory and my life. I'll leave Fiji on November 19th, 2016, but the Fijian people have stolen something from me, something they won't give back: my heart. It will always be here in my island home.

Like you have no idea how much I love this people. I feel like I'm leaving home all over again, it's going to be so hard to be gone and not see them for a long, long time, especially those people I've been able to work with closely, namely my Recent Converts and those who I've helped come back to church. My companions as well, I'll definitely miss them too. Honestly, this goodbye is going to be the hardest thing I've ever done. The mission experience has changed me - you'll see. I'm different now, because of these people and my Savior's blessed Atonement, which he performed in order "that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations", including Fiji (see Luke 24:46-48).

Au via wasea na noqu ivakadinadina ni'u kila ni bula tiko na Tamada Vakalomalagi, vaka tale ga kina na Luvena Duabau Ga ko Jisu Karisito, sai koya na iVakabula kei na Dauveivueti kei Vuravura. Au lomani koya, oqori gona na vu ni noqu veiqaravi vakaoqo. Au sega ni kila tu na cava na qai yaco e na gauna e muri, ia au sega ni vakatitiqataka tiko ni'u vakararavi tiko vua na Tamaqu mai Lomalagi. Au vakadinadinataka ni dina na lotu oqo, sai koya oqo na lotu dina duadua ga i vuravura kece sara, sai koya na Lotu i Jisu Karisito. Au vakadinadinataka ni dina na loloma ni Kalou, vaka tale ga kina na Nona Veisorovaki na iVakabula me baleti keda. Au dau lagata na sere ni lotu talei duadua vei au, sai koya na ikaciwasagavulukavitu ni sere, "Liutaki Au". Dou kua ni rere se dou taqaya; e na liutaki keda tu ga na noda Kalou vinaka. Au lomani kemuni, me vaka au sa lomani ira na iTaukei eke i Viti, sai noqu vanua dina. Au lomana vakabibi na noqu matavuvale, ka'u cavuta na veika kece oqo e na yaca talei i Jisu Karisito, o koya sa vakaukauwataki au, Emeni.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Na Veitacini (Lautoka 2nd Area, Week 12)

LautoKlan District in our District shirts at our Beach P-Day!

So just to explain the title of this email, we went to see Sireli, Sereima, Elesi, and the gang on Saturday like we set up but we got there and everyone was sleeping (Fijians just leave their doors open during the day, that's how peaceful this country is), so we left and came back the following day. They told us that after we'd left, one of the little kids woke up Sereima and said, "Na, rau na veitacini sa qai lako oti!" (translation for those who don't know the celestial language: "Mom, the brothers just left!") But funny thing is, the word "veitacini" means brothers as in siblings - like, brothers in a family, not like referring to other people as "brother". So it was pretty crack up, just thought it put a perfect spin on our week.

Monday we hit up that beach P-Day down at a beach in Nadi called Wailoaloa (which means "Black water", which was a little unsettling at first but we got there and realized it wasn't actually black). We had a blast playing touch rugby and playing frisbee on the beach, and we took some sick District and Zone pictures too with all the missionaries here in the Lautoka Zone. Tuesday we had our Zone Training Meeting, which went very well, and we had a local barbecue stand cater for us and it turned out to be one of the best zone lunches any of us have had on our missions. Just a way fun day, and we ended it off with some splits in Nawaka area and then heading back to Lautoka.

Wednesday was pretty fun too, but Thursday is where the real fun started. We
brought two of the YSA with us, Lusi and Manu, and we went to see Rupeni, who schools at Fiji National University (FNU) and came to church last week on Lusi's invitation. He really wanted a Book of Mormon, like really bad, so we gave it to him and taught him the Restoration. It was a pretty legit lesson, and we talked again about the Book of Mormon when we saw him on Saturday. He said he wanted the English version because he said it was "titobu" ("deeper"). We were like, "Okay, this guy is for real". He didn't end up coming to church, which was unfortunate, but that's okay, he's still new with the lessons and everything.

Left to right: Lusi (member), Rupeni (investigator),
 Manu (member), Elder Afatasi, and me.
Eroni, who just 
got baptized last week!
Our lessons this week with Sireli and Sereima were just boss as, we saw them on Thursday with Manu and Lusi, and then again on Sunday afternoon with two more YSA who are preparing for missions, Uthro (our Ward Mission Leader's son) and Nunia. Sireli and  Sereima have been opening up tons lately, they have been really interested in the Plan of Salvation and it's brought out a lot of interesting comments and concerns. We talked again about baptism on Sunday when Sereima said that she was sometimes worried that her past mistakes would stop her from getting to heaven. They seemed so keen about being baptized that after the lesson,  Nunia and Uthro both said that they were really sincere investigators. It was just so nice to have great member presents this week. If youse are free, try going out with the missionaries in your area and you will be a great help to the missionaries and the investigators. It's really amazing actually the influence everyday members of the church have on people taking the missionary lessons.

Me and Elder Mong-Yen,
 the man himself
Saturday we also got to go to Nadi to do some baptismal interviews for the Nadi Hindi Elders. The two candidates were some of our favorite interviews both Elder Afatasi and I have conducted. It was super fun to see that progression and how ready they were for baptism. We were hoping for Sister Taukei's baptism to be this week, but she was never home when we went to see her and she didn't even come to church, so that was a little
disappointing, but that's okay.

Church was awesome, though. This part-member family came to church, and the mom (the only member) is less-active and said that the family members wanted to start taking lessons. So that was a cool little miracle. Best part of church, though, was the Primary Program - it was way cute and funny, and during the third hour they had a little Primary party and invited Elder Afatasi and I to join them. So we sat there with all the Primary kids eating cupcakes and ice cream. We did some visiting and then ended the day at the Lals' house with a way good dinner. Definitely one of my favorite Sundays on my whole mission.

Some pictures with members I know 
and love here in Lautoka 2nd Ward
Well, you'll see my final update a little later this week, my lovely mother will post it on the blog. Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Elda Barnaby

Primary Program Party - we got the invite!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Lord's Not Letting Me Finish Easy (Lautoka 2nd Area, Week 11)

Last MLC picture!
Wow! What a week! It's been one thing after another - first, I was sick on the way back from Suva. And then I had a fever. And then I got pink eye. And then I lost my voice. I couldn't believe it. I haven't been sick for months, and then BAM! Elder Afatasi was just like, "Hey it's cause you're going home in 2 weeks, the Lord's not letting you finish easy!" (that's paraphrased, but at least it sounds cool)

Tuesday and Wednesday we were in Suva for our Missionary Leadership Council. It was way good, and tons of changes were implemented to help the mission become so much more efficient and better at the work of salvation. It was a pleasure to be on the MLC during such a time. I had to give me departing testimony there too, and it was hard sara ga, but don't worry, I didn't cry (yet).

Thursday we got back and went straight to drop off all the tons of stuff we brought from Suva for the missionaries out here - everything from washing machines to microwaves to chairs - you name it, we probably had it stuffed somewhere in Pattie. Gotta love Pattie. But we were just exhausted - in fact, we've driven probably 800 kilometers total this week. Just nuts!

This picture is very special to me even though I wasn't there...

This is Atu - the big man in white, also from Samabula! The amazing thing about this is that when Elder Kahia and I were together, we just talked to this man outside his home, it was nuts how well he progressed and when I heard he'd been baptized, I was elated. The power of the Spirit to work in the hearts of the Lord's servants is amazing!

The rest of the week was spent getting ready for Eroni's baptism, which was awesome (pictures to come next week). We got there Sunday morning, though, and found out at 7:30am that the font was not filled the day before like we thought - and the baptism was at 8:30am. So we were rushing around, filling buckets, dumping them into the font, trying to get it filled on time. It was actually really funny - reminded me of Sister Matanatabu's baptism, when we had to change the dirty water last minute. Our Ward Mission Leader, Brother Lal, and his family helped us out and it was way fun. Stressful as, but fun.

At church on Sunday Eroni's cousin, Nunia, invited her friend to come to church and he really enjoyed it - he and I really hit it off and we easily got a return appointment with him for Thursday. His name was Rupeni, and we're way pumped to starte teaching him. After church we went on splits with some of the YSA and we just smashed out 6 lessons in 2 hours. It was way fun, and we got some new investigators too who accepted a soft baptismal invitation. We're way excited for what's coming next.

This picture is very special to me even though I wasn't there...

This is Deborah Matanatabu (the 9-year-old girl in white) from Samabula. She was the last one that needed to be baptized in their family, and when I was there we got her excited about being baptized, but the problem was she was living with her grandparents who are very against the church. Now, though, she stays with her immediate family and her dad, who I helped bring back to church, was able to perform the baptism. You'll recognize Sofaia Matanatabu too, her mom, who is still my favorite convert.

While in Suva, I ran into Sister Sautu, wife of the Bishop from Samabula 2nd, and she told me that the ward is getting way big - in the 90s and 100s now every week. When I got there in February, it was hitting maybe 30s or low 40s, and when I left in July it was hitting 60s and 70s, but hearing those numbers and hearing about all the wonderful people I know being blessing and getting baptized, it just brought amazing joy to my soul. Best of all, remember the Matanatabu family and their living conditions, where they were kicked out of their house? Now they have a place of their own!

This truly is the Plan of Happiness - and even though the Lord's not letting me finish easy, I'm loving every minute of my time here serving Him. I know He does it because He love me and wants me to grow.

Love you all!

Elda Barnaby

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Oqo (Lautoka 2nd Area, Week 10)

Got to go back to Nasivikoso - one last time!

Well this week has been quite a week! Sorry, it takes too long to explain this week's title, suffice it to say that it means, "This" in Fijian. Things are still moving here in Fiji Suva Mission, here's the run-down!

Monday we had a fun combined Family Home Evening at the Stake Patriarch's house, followed by a boss potluck dinner. It was potLucky for us! #letsgo #dry

Tuesday District Meeting was fun, we had some fire cooking from the Sisters (though Elder Mokie did knock my plate on the floor). After a few fallthroughs to start off all of a sudden the work picked up and we were able to see a bunch of our investigators and less-actives. One of our investigators, Eroni, we invited to be baptized on the 13th on next month, my last Sunday. He happily accepted, but when he came to church on Sunday, he asked, "Hey Elders, can I just get baptized next week?" So we're getting excited to have him for baptism next week, along with Sister Taukei, whose records are missing and has to be baptized again in order to recreate them. Probably best part of our day, though, was getting to sit down with Niko. He's still the man - his church attendance since his baptism has been on and off, it's been hard because of his work, but we're trying to help him see the wonderful benefit of coming to church every week and putting the Lord first in his life.

More shenanigans with Elda Afatasi
Wednesday we went up to Nasivikoso with the Dratabu Elders, probably for the last time. The area has been handed over to them so we, being the only one who knows the way up through the mountain road, took them up to show them around and introduce them to the members in the village. It was a fun time, especially when I was talking to a recently baptized 10-year-old girl up there and asked her who baptized her. She replied, "Elder 'Ita and Elder Painapiu!" I just laughed because I (Elder Painapiu/Pineapple) hadn't baptized her, she had just forgotten the other Elder's name.

Thursday we hopped right into an exchange with Rakiraki elders, and I got to go with Elder Masoe, who was my MTC companion. It was actually ridiculously fun, we told stories and laughed the whole time and had a boss day of laboring in the Lord's Vineyard (see Jacob 5 in the Book of Mormon). We got some new investigators, two Indian girls named Jana and Jyoti who are ons tu mada ga. Jyoti asked some really soul-searching questions, so we came back on Sunday and started teaching the Plan of Salvation to help her out (for more on the Plan of Salvation, go to

Friday we got back from exchanges with Rakiraki elders and, after a quick lunch, went straight on exchanges again with the Nadi Hindi elders. It was a fun day of lessons in their area, though it was funny because we taught only Fijians, when their primary focus is supposed to be the Fiji Indian population. One family we visited (who the Nadi elders are hopefully going to baptize next week) was way funny as we taught them about the law of tithing. The father wanted to give an example, so he pulled out one of the pamphlets, gave it to Elder Howard (of Nadi) and said, "Here, let's say this is my tithing. I give it, and"--picking up his empty glass of water--"the Lord pours out His blessings upon us." He then tipped over the not-so-empty cup and out came water, all over Elder Howard's lap. We all died laughing, it was a classic gag.
Lots of exploring this week - gotta love Fiji!

Peni got baptized!
Saturday was a really slow day, but we were able to get Peni approved for his baptism, which was held before church on Sunday. We were so happy for that event, because it's been well over a year in the making. He finally made it, and it was a special experience to watch his wife hug him right as he came up out of the water, and as he bore his testimony he started crying and it just showed how much this man has hoped for this day, trying to overcome past mistakes in order to align his life with the Savior and His teachings. It was just a great end to a great week.

I love you all, and I am ready for another awesome week!

Elder Barnaby

he Naicker kids were looking for crabs while 
we walked with them to visit one of their friends.

I made pudding pie with an oreo cookie crust for District Meeting. It was pretty good!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Me + Christ = More (Lautoka 2nd Area, Week 9)

Picking up Pattie again with some of the elders - happy happy, joy joy!

My oh my, it's already been 9 weeks in this one area - that's so fast! I love it here in Lautoka, and even though this past week was long and hard, I think I finally know how much worth each minute is here on the mission.

At District Meeting, the Sisters got each of us jellybeans 
with Disney characters that "represented" us - I got Yoda, cause I'm small haha
What made this week long? Just lots to do, most of it spent traveling back and forth from Nadi in the car. But we finally got Pattie from the garage and gave the Nadi Hindi elders their car back, so everyone's happy now! It was kind of unsettling how they fixed the doors on Pattie, though - we watched as probably four or five mechanics pried from the outside with screwdrivers and kicked and pushed from the inside until the door got unstuck. Only in Fiji, folks. But hey, I should be grateful, however ghetto it was, it worked, and now the doors are unstuck.

My universal charger broke, so I went all MacGyver on it
Like I said, it was a very busy week, but one of those busy weeks that drag on because a lot of the business is spent sitting waiting or driving places. We did have the Assistants over on Thursday after
our self-reliance class because of the Leadership Training meeting on Friday, where President and Sister Layton came and taught us leadership skills. It was a good, intense meeting with some lovely pizza in between (as lovely as pizza can get in Fiji).

We had a good lesson with Sereima, Sireli, Elesi and Fina on Saturday - we had challenged them to watch the "Restoration" dvd that we'd given them and some of them watched it, but I felt like we needed to be more serious with them about all of this. They seem to like the Book of Mormon and understand that what we share is good and might be true, and they're like right on the threshold of revelation but haven't quite made that final step to know for themselves. So we challenged them to try their faith and come to church. We even offered to walk with them. They said yes. On Sunday morning we walked to their house (a good 30+ minute walk) and only Elesi and Fina could come, but we brought them anyway. They seemed to really like it, even though the chapel was far and transportation was hard to find. We tried hard to get as many people as possible, especially the YSA group, to introduce themselves and make them feel at home. We were really proud of them making that step, and we're hoping that Sereima and Sireli will soon follow afterwards.
Powerful zoom on my camera reveals the stowaway - hope he doesn't fall off!
I've learned a lot this week about love - the divine love that our Heavenly Father has for us, His children. I also learned that being positive goes a long way in making a better day - a lot of the time this week I was pretty down because of missing appointments and the amount of travel in order to fulfill our duty as Zone Leaders, but when I was happy and positive, everything changed. Finally, I learned that I can't do all this on my own. Me + More does not equal Christlike. No, the correct equation is Me + Christ = More. (see

Use Christ's enabling Atonement this week, and I promise I will too. Remember, the Atonement is for much more than just blotting out sins; it's about making sinners celestial.

Love yous!

Elda Barnaby

Monday, October 17, 2016

I Love Walking (Lautoka 2nd Area, Week 8)

Ulunikoro family, definitely one of my favorites here in Lautoka

Wow! This week has legit been one of the craziest, most exhausting weeks of my life - every single night I hit the hay way hard and woke up still sore and tired from all the running around the night before. We had several unexpected transfers and other errands to run, this week was just crazy.

We were hoping for Peni's baptism this week, but unfortunately, he his interview didn't go as well as we hoped, and he will have to wait a few weeks to make sure he's fully ready to make the commitment to be baptized. We were disappointed, but proud of him, because he asked us for a Priesthood blessing ( to help him to stay strong until the time that he can be baptized.

My newest (and last) companion, Elder Afatasi!
We were able to find several new people to teach this week. One is Eroni, a friend of some Recent Converts that has now come to church twice. Another is Sini, the husband of a member who has also come to church two times. We're excited to start working with them this coming week.

We were also able to go on exchanges with the Nawaka Elders in their area. Boy, I was so excited to walk again - it's kind of funny how that works. But we had a great time, got a lot of work done, and had some funny moments - like when I interviewed a baptismal candidate and then we found out afterwards that he had already been baptized a member of the church and had just forgotten. That was hilarious. Kind of disappointing, but very funny nonetheless.
Our District Leader, the sisters and I spent the 
morning making donuts to surprise Elder Afatasi for his birthday!

Sorry this isn't very long, we spent all morning making donuts for Elder Afatasi's birthday (which is tomorrow, but we want to celebrate with the Zone for P-Day) and I didn't have a lot of time today. But I do want to share one thing from General Conference, which we were able to watch this past week. Here are two quotes that I loved:

"Someday 'every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess' that God’s ways are just and His plan is perfect. For you and me, let that day be today." - President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

"There is only one way to judge righteous judgment, as Jesus Christ does, and that is to be as He is." - Lynn G. Robbins

Love yous all!

Elder Barnaby

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Reality Check (Lautoka 2nd Ward, Week 7)

I think that the beginning of the end is almost harder than the actual end. Last week, we had transfers, and thankfully I didn't go anywhere, but Elder Fitisemanu got transferred to be Zone Leader over in Suva Zone, in the Suva 2nd Ward, while Elder Afatasi, former Zone Leader in that zone, got transferred to be with me, as my final companion. We've now also been told that Nasivikoso will be handed over to the Dratabu Elders, along with our truck (we'll be getting the van from them - that's right, Pattie's back!) I've now officially had 16 companions and 7 areas, and this is my final transfer.

Tuesday we had our Zone Training Meeting, and it went pretty good, though we ran out of time at the end so Elder Fitisemanu and I greatly shortened our training, to the point where we really didn't say much at all. But it was still a good meeting - lots was learned, and to be honest, I learned a lot about running a meeting, almost more than the actual topics discussed. The same thing happened last ZTM, and Zone Conference as well. The Lord designs these missions in an amazing way.
The Beginning....
(me entering the MTC on Dec 3rd almost 2 years ago)

Later that day we got the transfer calls, actually right as we were waiting with Miri for Peni to get home so we could review the Baptismal Interview Questions with him. It was way funny, too, cause after the call from President, we waited until it was dark out and then we turned to Miri and told her we'd come back another time and just closed in a prayer. In the prayer we asked that the Lord would help Peni prepare for the interview on his own and that he would remember everything, and to our shock, as we closed in the name of the Savior and said amen, who should walk up at that exact moment than Peni. It happened again later, as we had a wonderful lesson with the Vunibola's about the Temple and, as we talked about giving Niko the picture of his baptism, Niko walked up right then. It was awesome, because Elder Fitisemanu was then able to say goodbye to him before getting transferred.

Elder Fitisemanu left on Thursday, and I hung out with the Dratabu Elders until Elder Afatasi came in. We then worked on Transfers until Saturday, when we helped out the Dratabu Elders with the outgoing missionaries. That was a long, hard day - not only because of all the logistics, but also because it was hard seeing them go. Elder Ta'a finished his mission, as did Elder Noble, and two of the Sisters that served in my district in Samabula, Sister Fiu and Sister Taufa. It was hard saying goodbye, but I was so proud of them all - especially my comp, Elder Ta'a. Overall, though, it was just a big reality check, because I'll be in the next group of missionaries that goes through that airport to the plane home.
The Middle...(me on the beach of Taveuni over a year ago)
The Finish Line is not far ahead.....

Sunday was a nice dive back into missionary life - we had a packed house at church during the watching of General Conference. In fact, we had 4 investigators and something like 7 or 8 less-actives that came. We had to go into the overflow, there were so many people! It was a great introduction for Elder Afatasi into the ward. We were hoping to have Peni's baptism on Sunday, but Bishop asked for us to have it next week, so we obliged and so did Peni. We're so excited for him, though, and the rest of our less-actives and investigators we're working with this month.

Even though I know reality is catching up with me, I'm going to work hard and achieve much in my life these last few weeks. No need for "Ready, Set, Go" because I can see the finish line - but before then, I think I'll be on my knees a lot, and then on the move towards victory.

Loloma yani!

Elder Barnaby