I've learned a lot this week - and I mean a lot! That's probably the wonderful secret of missionary work - the harder you work, the more you give, the more you serve and help and invite other to come unto Christ, the more you get in return. I think Elder Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency of the Church said it best: "You can't give the Lord a crust without getting a loaf in return."
Last week, my companion and I set up many lessons. We prepared for the week we thought would be "The Storm". But, halfway through this week, Elder Carlson made a very apt observation: We weren't getting the Storm of Success we hoped for because we thought that we controlled the weather. This isn't our Storm; it's the Lord's. We're just the weathermen (hence the reason our prediction was wrong). The Lord will prepare people here in Tavua and everywhere where his servants are, and sometimes there's a hurricane of lessons and baptisms, and sometimes there seems to be a drought. But it's all up to the Lord and His own timing.
That doesn't mean we're not supposed to work hard. In a time of drought, sitting around is a good way to get killed. We worked as hard as we could - maybe there was more we could have done, but we did try. The Lord blessed us with success - not quite the storm that we had hoped for, but that's not the point. The worth of souls is great in the sight of God (see Doctrine and Covenants 18:10) and even if we had just one lesson this week - we helped one person draw closer to the Savior of the World. As long as we're doing our best and giving our all, the Lord will make up the difference. The best advice I've gotten from my wonderful mother is to give what I can and ask the Lord to make up the difference. And He does, every time.
But it was still an awesome week. We're helping Nina to prepare for baptism - which, by the way, is THIS WEEK! I'm so excited for her. This baptism is special to me - I started teaching her, and she's getting baptized. George's baptism was wonderful, but I was just the tail end of the process. I didn't really teach him anything he didn't know, he was just waiting for his baptism day to come. Nina, though, I had the privilege of teaching from beginning to end - from Lesson 1 to Baptism. I'm so happy for her - and she is too! Transfers are this week, and I'll be finding out if I'm leaving Tavua or not tomorrow. I hope I stay long enough to see Nina get baptized this week. If I don't, my joy will still be full.
Riding on the bus back from the Special Stake Conference
with my buddies - Neumi and Solomone!
We also got "Bible Bashed" this week. For anyone that doesn't know what that means, basically this guy tried to prove the Church and the things we teach wrong using Bible verses. The natural response is to defend what you believe - pull out counter-verses and questions (which are abundant, since this is the true Church of Jesus Christ). But what my companion taught me in how he responded was very touching. He simply shared his testimony that he knew it was true - only when he shared his testimony did the Spirit enter the room. The contention was over. No one can argue a heartfelt and Spirit-assisted testimony, especially from a humble young boy of 20 years. By the time we left, the man agreed to hear us out and accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon.
Our purpose as missionaries is to invite. To invite others to draw closer to Jesus Christ by accepting our message, the wonderful message of the Restoration of the true and complete Gospel of Jesus Christ. Not every person will accept it (see 3 Nephi 22:9-10), but I know it's true, with all my heart. And I will testify that it is true every day of my life. That's why I'm here. To help people come not only to the knowledge we possess but also the wonder and happiness, too.
(a.k.a. Ratu Pinapew, or "Chief Pineapple")
I joined Elder Mong-Yen in Ba on Wednesday for a companion exchange
(just a one-day change, then I went back to Tavua).
Elder Mong-Yen from Tahiti!
He's way funny and one of a kind!
Cool shot of Vatukoula - Emperor's Gold Mine!
From a distance, of course - we only visit the surrounding settlements.
|The Obsession Continues...|
Elder Carlson is obsessed with this one goat, Simoko. Like. Obsessed.
To the point where he wants a goat when he gets home.