Fiji Suva Mission

Fiji Suva Mission

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Fiji, Man (Tavua Area, Week 24)

This is it. This is Fiji.

Elder Vole and I bought a cake for the members 
and distributed it - just to show our love! It was super fun!

Boy, what a week! Tavua area had some crazy moments. On Thursday, I was way sick - all day, in bed. Nothing like too bad, but the pain was incredible. The Mission Nurse gave me some medicine, and I'm doing a lot better now - but that was the longest night ever. All is well, though, I'm loving the work and loving being in Fiji 

Got to go to Rakiraki area this week, from Friday to Sunday, because Elder Vole had to go back to Suva for another tooth operation. I was with Elder Lemusu from Australia and Elder Beniamin from the Gilbert Islands while in Rakiraki. It was crazy, because my trainer, Elder Beilman, served there, and he told me all these stories - and then I got to live them. Rakiraki is a way pretty place, too. We got to go to the seashore, because a lot of villages there are right on the beach. It's crazy. Fiji, man.
I was in Rakiraki area from Friday to Sunday 
this was with Elder Lemusu and Elder Beniamin in Navolau koro!

We found out this week that George (Jioje), our recently baptized member, is considered the best guitarist in all of Fiji. He's so good that one of our members told us that "other good guitarists are ashamed to play in front of him". My mind was blown - apparently he's amazing. That was way cool to find out.

I love people. That's what I've discovered this week. I love people, no matter who they are. Yes, I have differences with them and opinions and such, but I can say that I truly love the people of Fiji. I think at first, I saw them as inferior, but now I see them as superior. Think about others first, and that's when miracles happen.

Onward, ever onward! Fiji!

Elder Barnaby

Went for a run! Boy, I'm not made for this...
Just thought this was cool - this is a Fijian kitchen right by 
the seashore in Namoimada koro in Rakiraki

Just for mom!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy (Tavua Area, Week 23)

Ba District! (minus one)
Just goes to show our mission's diversity - two Samoans from Australia, one Samoan from New Zealand, one half Tongan-half Tahitian from Utah, one full Tahitian from Tahiti, one Kiribati from the Gilbert Islands, and one American from New England!
Dear Friends and Family,

You are amazing. My email was flooded with love and support today, and I hear about your love from my mother and I just want to give you all a huge hug from Fiji.

This week was trying. It was stretching. It was painful. And it was great. I changed this week. I don't know how exactly - one day, I was full of negativity and inadequacy. Then all of a sudden, light flooded my life. And I was happy. Now I can't stop joking around, having the time of my life, and seeing the true joy that comes from serving the Lord and His people. Honestly, I know for a fact that it was because of your prayers and your faith that I was lifted from the gall of bitterness to the heights of heaven. I didn't really notice the change - it happened so fast, but looking back, there was no way I did that on my own. Someone from On High was definitely carrying me. If anyone has any question as to whether Jesus is the Christ and whether or not his Atonement is real, I am now living evidence! I am changed, and even though I'm not done, I am on the right path again.

We got a new phone - we are so "kai colo" about it though. ("kai colo" is kind of another word for "redneck", referring to the interior Fijians who don't really have any technology)

This week, we were in the bush a little ways and this truck stops and the guy asks if we want a ride. Turns out he's the directing manager of the Island Chill water facility - and he gave us a pack of bottled water for free!
This week was insane. Elder Vole and I worked it, and we killed it. We had the most lessons I've ever had in a single week - and we don't have a vehicle, we only have our legs and the aid of angels. I was entirely exhausted. We did our very best this week, and I look back and am amazed at both the love of God and His matchless power in the lives of His children. Twice on Saturday, we had lessons where the Spirit brought people to tears. Everyone talks about those kind of lessons, but until then I'd never experienced one. Let me tell you, it was unforgettable.

We've had a lot of fun this week, too. We had lots of funny transportation issues, we met a guy who thought he was God, we went through four phones this week, I accidentally said in a prayer "Solia vei keitou na nomuni Yalo Tabu me tiko vata kei keitou ni keitou mate" ("Give us Thy Holy Spirt to be with us as we die"), and man, the list goes on and on!

Samsen Family!
The best part of this week happened at church, though. I was blessing the sacrament with Fesa Amoi and I saw some of the less-active members sitting in the congregation. And then more. And more. Until I'd seen over a dozen of them, sitting there, ready to partake of the sacrament for the first time in a while. It almost brought me to tears. I'd been thinking about why I was in Fiji, why here and why now. I felt very strongly that it was because of them. These people. I'm here because of them. Almost every one of those people we'd visited and invited to come back to church over and over and over again - and finally, the Spirit had done something we couldn't have on our own. I was happier than I could imagine.
Dakunimata Family!

Yes, there will be hard times. Yes, there will be ups and downs. But I am happy. I am changing. I am serving the Lord.

"And this is my joy." - Alma 29:9

Elder Barnaby

On exchanges in Ba, Elder Mong-Yen made me a very nutritious breakfast 
of cookies and chocolate milk...

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Darkness Cannot Gain Victory Over the Light of Christ (Tavua Area, Week 22)

Bula everyone! I wish I could be sending my love in a happier time, but I'm going through a rough point in my life.

We had a fun week - we brought Nancy on Tuesday and Saturday to some appointments. She's waiting on her mission call, and she is extremely bright and good at missionary work! I'm a little jealous! When she serves, she will be so ready to go. She was a great help, and with her we were able to help some people draw a little closer to Christ.

We had a wonderful time at Zone Conference on Thursday. There, we talked about the Book of Mormon and how powerful it is in our lives and in the lives of those we teach. I definitely gained a stronger testimony of the Book of Mormon, and especially learned a lot about Lehi's vision of the Tree of Life. Way cool stuff! My invitation to you today is to pick up a copy of the Book of Mormon and try reading a little bit. If you've already read it, read it again and ponder the message of Christ it contains. Then pray about it. This invitation is for everyone - young, old, male, female, tall, short, powerful, weak, member and non-member.

The Fiji Suva Mission is doing a "Book of Mormon Read" together, and we are going to determine the top 50 chapters of the Book of Mormon. Each missionary will read the Book of Mormon by November and record his or her 50 favorite chapters. Then, all of the results will be compiled and we will see once and for all the Fiji Suva Mission's 50 favorite chapters of the Book of Mormon. If you want something fun to do with your family, do this too!

Like I said, I've been having a bit of a hard time, and I would appreciate prayers in my behalf. Not because I want you to do things for me, but because I know of the power of prayer and of faith. I'm in a bit of a low spot, but I know there's hope. Like President Dieter F. Uchtdorf says, "There's always the hope of God's light."
He also says, "Darkness cannot succeed. Darkness cannot gain victory over the light of Christ."

It's always darkest before the dawn, and the greatest growth comes with the hardest challenges. Here's my promise to you: I will work hard and become better this week, and next week, you will hear from a changed man. You will hear from a man who is happier, healthier, and holier - changed through the Atonement of Christ the Lord.

"Hope on. Journey on." - Jeffrey R. Holland

Vinaka vakalevu. Me vakalougatataki kemudou na Kalou.

Elder Barnaby

Brother and Sister Tuilawa

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Atonement is the Center of Everything (Tavua Area, Week 21)

And I live here!

My Zone Leaders, Elder Brower 
and Elder Hokuin
Boy! Another crazy week where I wasn't even in Tavua for most of the week. On Monday, we went to Lautoka for Zone P-Day and Zone Qito (pronounced "ngito", but with an ng as in "finger") (means "to play" but we use it as a noun for some reason). That was awesome. That night, we went on splits with the Zone Leaders and stayed at their flat. Crazy thing happened that night: someone broke into the house! They broke into the landlord's half of the Zone Leaders' house, but they stole some shoes from the Zone Leaders' porch! (not mine - everyone else's, but not mine).

My Zone
ZTM was way good, but afterwards, we had to put Elder Vole on a bus to Suva. He had some gum or tooth infection and he had to go to Suva City for a root canal. I stayed with the Lautoka Zone Leaders for the next few days. They taught me a lot while I was there - Elder Brower and Elder Hokuin are nearing the end of their missions, and they are excellent missionaries! It was way inspiring, but on Thursday, I was happy to go back to Tavua. I've been away from my area for way too long these past few weeks.

When we got back on Thursday evening, we wasted no time: we dropped our stuff, came up with a quick plan, and went straight back to work. Somehow, even with just three days of proselyting, we taught 14 lessons. Usually, we get around that much for the whole week, but now I see that I've been holding back from my full potential. Many missionaries are helping me to realize that potential,
the potential to help as many people come unto Christ as we can.

And the best part about Fiji: 
every kid you meet is your best friend!
Elder Vole and I had a bit a of a heart-to-heart talk this morning. Among the things we talked about, I learned that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is at the center of everything we do, and not just as missionaries. It's at the center of all the lessons, and I wasn't focusing on it as I should have. My very life wasn't focused on it. I felt the Spirit tell me, very powerfully, that I needed to consider the Atonement more in my life; how to think about it, how to apply it, and how to help other to learn and know and feel it's wonderful blessings. The Atonement of Jesus Christ began with His suffering for our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane, His death on the cross of Calvary, and His glorious Resurrection. His Atoning sacrifice in all our behalf made it possible for all mankind to change and become like Him. Because of His Atonement, we will all be saved from physical death, and we are all given the opportunity to be saved from spiritual death, or separation from our Heavenly Father. The Atonement not only provides the means but also the power to change from fallen to holy, from sinner to saint.

Went teaching with Nancy in Tavua and Vatukoula. 
We even taught a few pigs!
I can't begin to describe the price that the Savior paid to accomplish this sacrifice; I can hardly fathom it. But I can testify that it is real and true and is available to every single person who has lived, ever will live, and who lives right now. No one, not one, is exempt. His Atonement is infinite and eternal. We can all embrace it and become better, more perfect, and more Christlike. This is the truth of heaven itself, and I've missed so many opportunities to share it with these people. Never again will I forget the reason I'm here, nor the true message I carry: Christ has overcome the world so that we can all overcome it, too. This is His Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and in His Church is His true power and Priesthood authority to perform the ordinances of salvation. Repent, all
ye ends of the Earth, and come unto Christ, and be perfected in Him. It's not a command; it's an invitation to receive the best deal of eternity. We hand ourselves over to Christ; He gives us eternal life and joy and everything His Father has in return.

That's a pretty good deal.

Elder Barnaby

This was the day I rode from Suva to Tavua (5 hours) 
buried in boxes and suitcases.

This was crazy - out in the middle of nowhere in Vatukoula and then, 
all of a sudden, "A wild Carnival appeared!"

With the Zone Leaders again - 
the Indian guy is Jonas, from Lautoka 2nd Ward, 
who's waiting on his mission call.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Lord's Work Will "Roll On" (Tavua Area, Week 20)
That is a direct quote from Mormon 8:22 (look it up, it's true). Things happened this week to shake up my world just a little bit, and it's good to read a scripture like that to get that reassurance that Heavenly Father is in control.

Actually, lots has happened in the past week. All of a sudden, on Wednesday, my companion and I companion! his name's Elder Vole, he's Samoan from New Zealand! 
And he's the man sara ga!

went all the way to Suva, the capital of Fiji. There was a special transfer going on and I ended up with a new companion - Elder Vole! He's Samoan from New Zealand, and he's been out for 1 year and 9 months. He's arguably one the best missionaries I've ever met! And his Fijian makes me sound like a try-hard tourist!

President Layton, the Fiji Suva Mission President, told me that it was time for me to "step up" and learn as much as I can from Elder Vole. He's seen it all, he's been to more areas than most missionaries, and he's had a wide variety of companions. He humble, patient, and very good at helping people - whether they be from Fiji or Massachusetts. President Layton said to me that the Mission Field is the best place for me to change - to change from who I was before to who my Heavenly Father wants me to become. It's already started to happen, and I've got about a year and a half to do all I can to learn and grow and change into that person.

Finally got my Fijian badge!!!
(For such a huge week, I don't have anything to say)

This week marks five months total in Fiji - and I love it. I am filled with so much peace knowing that what I am doing is for the eternal benefit of anyone that will listen to my voice. I may not be perfect, but the message I carry is perfect, and the Person I represent is perfect. Always remember the Savior. It's His work. It's His plan. He's been through everything you have, and He knows how to best help you. And all you have to do it let Him lead you on.

That's what I'm trying to do. I testify that it is the best way -- and He is the only way.

Elder Barnaby

P.S. I was really sorry to hear about the passing of Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. Please keep his family in your prayers. Naka :)

The Tora family - different from Bishop Tora's family! 
But still just as awesome.