Fiji Suva Mission

Fiji Suva Mission

Sunday, September 27, 2015

It's a boy! (Matei/Qeleni Area, Week 11)

Na luvequ taleitaki! Elder Jonutz!
Extra, extra!: Elder Barnaby is training a brand new missionary! Meet Elder Jonutz, the man himself.
He's from California, he loves surfing and snowboarding, playing the guitar, and he is so excited to serve a mission for the Lord. He has 3 sisters, all younger than him, and this is his first time out of the country. He reminds me so much of myself - it's fantastic.
Elder Sarufa from Papau New Guinea - 
we were both waiting for our new companions together

That also means I'm "senior companion", which means that I have full control of the area in which I'm serving and full responsibility for the work here. It's a big deal. Also, we're reopening Qeleni area this week for proselyting, which will be tough because neither of us know many people here. It's a lot to stress about, but I know and feel that my Heavenly Father is on my side - I'm ready for anything now!

This week, we helped a member of the Church who hadn't been coming to church to come back to full activity. In missionary terms, she was a "Returning Member". In the Fiji Suva Mission, we have goals each month to help a certain number of people become what we call "Saints" - either Returning Members or convert baptisms. It's really special to help someone come unto Christ like that.
Elder Jonutz getting off the boat! (Not that you can see him)

Branch-baptism in Matei! 

Speaking of which, on Sunday I baptized a little 8-year-old girl! She's one of my favorite little girls
from one of our families here in Matei Unit. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe that people must make their own choice to be baptized, and that when a person turns 8-years-old, they understand well enough to make that choice for themselves. I was so happy for Faith yesterday.
Her name is Faith Liahona Nasici Ratunigaloa.  A member's daughter that wanted me 
to baptize her, and I was so honored

Had to say goodbye to Elder Carter -
 my companion and my friend!
This week, Elder Noble (my District Leader) and I are reopening Qeleni. Next week, we'll be going to Labasa on the island of Vanua Levu for another training meeting. I'm so excited for all that's happening, the Lord really loves us all and His work is true and real and moving! Onward!

Elder Barnaby

P.S. In the Fiji Suva Mission, if someone trains a new missionary, they are that missionary's "dad". So I have a son! Hurray! Love you all!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Foretold Harvest (Matei/Qeleni, Week 10)

Me and My friends!
It was a tough week, we had our baptism fall through again, and he won't be baptized for a while for extenuating circumstances. It's okay, though, someday in the future there will be someone to baptize
Sikeli! This kid read the whole 
Book of Mormon in Fijian in a month!
him. Sikeli is the man. I have faith that the Lord will provide for him.

We finally got out and about this week, and I'm not sick anymore! I'm still using the crutches, but my
ankle feels so much better now. It's getting hot here on Taveuni - way hot. But I'm doing great health-wise! I still move slower with the crutches, and getting home in the evening is tough because I'm so sore from walking all day. But things are looking up. The work here is moving slowly - very slowly. But that's okay - I know I'm planting seeds for a harvest in the future! I do want to share a few experiences from this week.

One was with one of our new investigators, Dipika. She's an Indian lady (for those of you who don't know, Indians make up almost half of the population here, because of Indian laborers that the British brought a hundred-plus years ago), and she's way nice! We had invited her to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it's true, and she said that she did, and it was interesting because she recognized her answer after about a week of waiting and praying. She said that she just felt and knew it was true, and that the Church of Jesus Christ was true. She currently goes to the Assembly of God church, and she's not ready to be baptized yet, but she is interested and wants to know more. God works in mysterious ways!

Cutest. Little girl. On the face of the planet.
Her nickname is Goldilocks
We only had 15 people at church this week, which is always sad - we work hard all week to fill that little building we meet in, and only 15 people show up. But they are 15 of the best. One of them was Sister Talei, a member who hasn't been coming to church for some time, but just recently, she decided to come back. She's loved it the past two weeks. We've been going over to her house and trying to strengthen her ever since I got here 10 weeks ago, and she has finally heeded that prompting of the Holy Ghost to come back to church and partake. I love it. Everyone knows I love stories - and a redemption story, that's the best kind.

Transfers are this week, and we think that Elder Carter will be transferred! Stay tuned!

Elder Barnaby

This week we attended a funereal for a church member.  It was a wonderful celebration of life.  There was lots of love and lots of food. 

And an epic card game... Go fish Fijian style!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Week I Starred On The Travel Channel (Matei/Qeleni Area, Week 9)

Missionary of Steel - 
on Crutches... 

I didn't actually star on the travel channel, but with the amount of travelling we had to do this week, I should've! We had Zone Conference in Labasa this week, which is another island and a 4-hr bus ride away from Taveuni. Travel was absolutely nuts - After Zone Conference, we had to wake up at 3 am to catch the bus from Labasa back to Savusavu and the boat back to Taveuni. I can't even describe. We spent full days this week just travelling. To top it off, I got some crutches for my sprained ankle - my arms are way sore, but at least I can go out and work now.

View of  the island of Vanua Levu.
Tuesday we left on the 8am boat to Vanua Levu island - I was way excited to be riding a boat, because one of our rules as missionaries is that we aren't allowed to ride in boats or participate in water sports - just for safety reasons. But we got to ride a boat called the Taveuni Princess and it was cool classic-looking wooden boat.

When we got to Vanua Levu, we rode a bus to Savusavu and then on to Labasa. It was really warm there! Vanua Levu is the northern island in Fiji, the second largest and it's nickname is the "Friendly North". When I got to Fiji, my dream was to serve in Taveuni or Vanua Levu. Now I've been to both.

Cool training during 
our Zone Meeting in Labas
We had Zone Training Meeting on Tuesday evening, we went and got some FANTASTIC food (I got Mongolian beef - it was so good, you have no idea). I also got my crutches on Tuesday, so by Wednesday I was using them everywhere I went. Zone Conference was on Wednesday, and boy, it was so good. For Zone Conferences (every 3 months), our Mission President, President Layton, always comes up from Suva to visit us and give us some training. This time, it was focused on finding people to teach and retaining recent converts after they are baptized. It was a really good day, I learned a lot - especially that our efforts often have a ripple effect that we could never have realized. President Harward, 2nd Counselor in the Fiji Suva Mission Presidency, told a story how after 50 years of being off his mission, he got a call from a girl who thanked him for baptizing her mother. Since then, that one lady President Harward had baptized has had several children and many grandchildren, many of whom have since served missions of their own, in turn blessing hundreds of other lives. All because President Harward served his mission and baptized that one person. I love it! It gives me hope that even just one person whose life I touch could have an effect that would bless dozens, hundreds, even thousands of lives. It's a wonderful thing.

We ate at this one place in Labasa, "Horseshoe" - 
man, they had some way good $4 burgers. 
We never, ever get burgers in Fiji, let alone for $4.
The trip back, as I said before, was a nightmare. We woke up at 3 am and for basically 10 hrs we just traveled. And then, after a little bit of down time, I went straight on an exchange to Vuna with Elder Brown, who is a new missionary in training. I was exhausted, but it was definitely a fun experience. Until on Friday, when we went to one area called Navakawau. All of a sudden, I came down with a high fever, and there was no cell service, and the bus was 3 hours late coming down to Navakawau. So I was taken care of in the home of a few members of the Church, the Muri family. They took care of me until the Senior Missionary Couple, the Vermeerens, were able to drive down and pick us up (we found cell service after searching for a while). The fever was gone by Saturday, though.

This is from the Vuna Flat on the 
southern side of Taveuni Island.
Elder Lautogia is serving in 
the most bush-area of the mission - Nakawakawa. 
As you can see, it's doing interesting things to him.
Unfortunately, we had Sikeli's baptism planned for Saturday, but he didn't show up. He also didn't come to church, which was unlike him. We're really unsure of what's up, but we're going to work hard this week to answer his concerns and help him to make that covenant of baptism, which can only bless his life. He already wants it, he just needs to take the step of faith. It would mean a lot to me for him to be baptized. But it's up to the Lord, and Sikeli. All I can do is work
From the Taveuni Princess boat to Vanua Levu from Taveuni
and pray.

Tough week, but only good things are ahead! Toso!

Elder Barnaby

Sunday, September 6, 2015

God Helps Those Who Sprain Their Ankles (Matei/Qeleni Area, Week 8)

Teaching the Word of God under a Mango tree
Just a little note my mom sent me and
I thought it applied perfectly right now
Here's the story of a lifetime: Last Tuesday, Elder Carter and I ventured out to Somosomo to stay with the Elders there for part of the day. I decided to use another Elder's shoes - they were so comfortable and only a little bit big for me. We bought some breakfast pies with fruit fillings and the like, but as we returned back to the flat, I took a wrong step down and ate it. Not the pie, the ground. However, I did NOT drop the pie (to my everlasting credit). My foot, however, is now severely sprained, to the point where the Mission Nurse had me in bed for more than half of this week.

So not a lot else happened! Elder Carter and I had to get pretty creative with our time - we made up games, we watched church videos, we even played battleship - on paper! But we were so bored, we were stuck inside from Friday until Monday morning. Thankfully, our District Leader, Elder Noble, came up to visit on Sunday afternoon so we could go on splits and Elder Carter and Elder Noble could go visit some people. Elder Brown, who's a new missionary, stayed with me while the other two went.

Elder and Sister Vermeeren and Elder Roth with me and
Elder Carter
However ineffective our week was proselyting-wise, we had a great day on Thursday, with help from the Senior Missionary Couple, the Vermeerens. They have a truck, so I was able to go out proselyting and visiting several families, and each visit was just filled with the Spirit of the Lord - they were all powerful lessons! It was very enjoyable day - I loved it, even though I didn't go out again the rest of the week. When Elder Carter and Elder Noble went teaching on Sunday evening, though, they visited Sikeli, who will hopefully be baptized this week. They asked him how his reading was going in the Book of Mormon, and he said that he'd finished it - and started again. First of all, the Book of Mormon (Another Testament of Jesus Christ - which we use alongside the Bible to testify of the Savior and of His Gospel) is 500 pages long. Secondly, Sikeli is only 15 years old - and he finished the whole book in a month! We were over the moon when we found out! He's gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon and knows that it too is the word of God, working with the Bible to help us to know how we can prepare ourselves in this life to return to live with our Heavenly Father.

Here's a verse from the Book of Mormon that really gives me comfort, especially after a week like this:
As you can see, my badly-sprained ankle and 
I have a very agreeable relationship.
"And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities." (Alma 7:11-12)

That's Christ. Sure, I couldn't help His people this week, like I wanted to. But I definitely feel that He remembers me. You, too. Here's to a great week ahead! 

Elder Barnaby

This is Paula, one of our investigators, and his way funny kids.

This is Sister Koroi and her son Keli - they're fantastic members!
Keli will be baptized sometime this month, he's 8-years-old.

My attempt at french fries - they weren't too bad...

We Love Mail Time... Thanks Mom!!