"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.