Fiji Suva Mission

Fiji Suva Mission

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Pineapple Overload (Matei/Qeleni Area, Week 20)

Both the fruit and the Elder - that's me, Elder Pineapple (Elda Painapiu in Fijian). We actually ate probably four or five whole pineapples each this week, with the amount the Fijians gave us.

Seriously, though, this week was just the best thing to ever happen. It was so good, and we could have done even more! See, when you're consecrated and ready to go and willing to work as a servant of the Lord, He does amazing things, and there's just so much to do and so much more we can do each and every day! It's mind blowing! I love it!
It's also pineapple season on Taveuni - you've never had such good
 pineapple in your life, trust me. 
As the Fijians say, it's "kamikamica".

On Monday we saw Pat and Sister Koroi and read from the Book of Mormon with them. It was a special lesson! We also coordinated with the Czieps Monday night. They are the Austrian/American couple from Idaho that are living in Matei for half a year, and they were just called as Branch Missionaries in Qeleni Branch. They came out teaching with us on Tuesday and Wednesday and worked with us during a service project on Thursday. They are going to be a huge blessing to this area. They already are - they fed us Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday night! Sister Cziep is a saint, she even made us pumpkin pie.

(This one will make Mom happy)
 Brother and Sister Cziep, the American LDS couple 
that live in Matei, fed us Thanksgiving dinner! 
And yes, that is chicken, a turkey costs $120 to get to Taveuni.
Tuesday was fantastic, we saw Roberta and started sharing about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She lost the first pamphlet we'd given her, so we gave her a second one two weeks ago, and she'd lost the second one too. But this time, it was for a purpose directed by God - apparently, her dad, who's a taxi driver, was taking an American tourist to the airport when they passed by the LDS Chapel in Matei. The tourist asked if Roberta's dad knew anything about the church, and he told him that Roberta was taking lessons from us. Before they went to the airport, Roberta's dad stopped at home and picked up Roberta's pamphlet - the second one we'd given her - and gave it to the American. Roberta was so embarrassed when she told this story, but we thought it was the greatest thing ever - not only is it a funny story, but she's already doing missionary work, and she's not even a member yet! Super funny.
Thanks Grandma!!

We had another way intense lesson with Tabale and Polonia. We tried to share about the Plan of Salvation, but they had so many questions and remarks that it was just impossible to teach. Every time we'd try to answer a question, they would interrupt with another question or an assumption. I really love their family a lot, so we were trying our hardest to help them realize that by reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it, they could know for themselves of its truthfulness.
No one can know simply by study - absolutely no one. They need faith, and need to ask Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ if the book is truly Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Then, the Holy Ghost will bear witness of its truthfulness. There is no other way. The one question that got me that night, though, was from the wife, Polonia. She asked, "How do you get an answer?" The Spirit directed both Elder Jonutz and I to testify that we'd both received our answers through a wonderful feeling that only the Holy Ghost could bring. As we testified, they stayed silent, and really listened to our words. That same Spirit filled the room as we testified - it was a special experience for Elder Jonutz and I. As we walked away that night, I felt the confirming witness from the Holy Ghost that we had done our part - it's now up to Tabale and Polonia to show their faith and pray about these things with sincere hearts and real, true intent.
Service at Nau Mari and Nau Rosa's house! 
This is the Branch President, President Bautarua, 
using the brush cutter in their yard. 
Fijians don't believe in lawn mowers or something, 
so they cut all grass with brush cutters. I also enjoy his cowboy hat.

Our visits in Qeleni are harder - we just haven't spent as much time there as we have in Matei. But things are happening there too. Slowly, the Lord is helping us to touch the hearts of these people. So many amazing things are happening here on Taveuni, and I know they will continue to happen so long as the missionaries are obedient and work hard and lean on the Redeemer of the World, the Holy One of Israel - Christ the Lord. So much to be grateful for. I love you all, and I know that you love me - I can feel it. But first, love the Lord. He's the best.

Elder Barnaby

Navakacoa Village in Qeleni Area

t's crab hunting season - every night, all the Fijians are out with flashlights, searching for "Lairo" (land crabs). Sometimes cars get them first, though.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sivia na Koniferedi, Sivia na Marau (Matei/Qeleni Area, Week 19)

Another day in paradise - what should I do???
Maybe sprain my ankle again!
Maybe we need to start praying for Max's Ankle!

It's kind of hard to describe the word "sivia" in English. Basically, it means "exceedingly much", or in more modern terms, "a ton". Translated, the title means, "A ton of conferences, a ton of happiness".

This week was absolutely nuts (or should I say, Jonutz) - and of course, it started out with a nice new spranged ankle. The same one as before. Obviously there was a lesson that Heavenly Father was trying to teach me before that just didn't get across or something. When I fell this time, I was walking on flat ground. So. It's even less cool of a story than last time. This time, though, when they sent the crutches, they were too big and didn't adjust any smaller. Thankfully, it's not as bad as last time.

More importantly, we had the Taveuni District Conference - all the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Vanua Levu Island (second biggest island in Fiji), Rabi Island, and Taveuni Island come to Taveuni for a two-day spiritual feast (and a few literal feasts, too). This time, Elder Kevin W. Pearson of the Quorum of the Seventy (one of the main leading bodies of the Church) came to visit and speak to the Saints in Taveuni District. Elder Pearson is currently the President of the Pacific Area of the Church, so the Taveuni Saints were really excited for this event. We also had our Zone Conference in addition to the big member-attended District Conference, so from Thursday until Sunday we had meetings.

The Sisters fed us well!
District Conference was simply filled with joy. I can't describe the wonderful feelings we had as we saw the Somosomo Branch Chapel overflowing with members. So many wonderful people came to the Conference from all over Vanua Levu and Taveuni. So many less-active members we've invited to church a thousand times finally came to meet together and hear the word of God. It was a priceless experience. Elder Jonutz and I were all over the place on Sunday - greeting members, saying hello to everyone, even helping out an elderly Sister Mariana to get safely from a taxi into a wheelchair and then into the chapel. The best part was, these people were so happy to see us.
And they kept feeding us - ymmy!
Lots of food for the District Meeting
Members were happy to see all of their favorite missionaries from the different areas they serve here in the North Zone, but I felt special and priveleged to serve the people in Matei and Qeleni. As we greeted and served them on Sunday, there was a special spirit that radiated from every member we met, and they all were so happy to see us. They were so happy that our new Zone Leader, Elder Fong, who served previously in Matei, came up and gave me a hug, thanking us for taking care of Matei and Qeleni. It was a special experience that I don't want to forget.

Junior and Hinckley, two youth from Matei
I just wanted to mention some of the things that Elder Pearson and the other speakers told us in the various sessions of the Conference:

"We're not proving anything to Heavenly Father - He's proving to us that we can do more than we think we can." - Elder Pearson

"We can open the floodgates of heaven if we help the missionaries." - President Petero

"The reason we as men receive the Priesthood is because it's Heavenly Father's way of helping us to become more like His Son. If, as Priesthood holders, we look and act like the Savior, others will see an example of Him." - Elder Pearson

"The Lord calls you because He loves you, and He trusts you, and He wants you to do His work." - President Kalougata

"We are not objects; we are agents." - Elder Pearson

Elder Davis and I with our trainees!
 Elder Davis and I are in the center - we were friends in the 
Mission Training Center and haven't really seen each other for almost 
a year!
And too many more to put in this update! We were so richly blessed this week. Next week, Elder Gifford Nielson, also of the Seventy, will be doing a "Mission Tour" of the Fiji Suva Mission - two General Authorities in less than two weeks! I love it here!

I felt and had faith that the Lord would bless Taveuni as a result of this Conference. And the blessings are already on their way. Let's see what Elder Jonutz and I can do.

Vakarau tiko? (Ready?) Sa Set? (Set?) Lako (Go)

Elder Barnaby

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Consecration Nation (Matei/Qeleni Area, Week 18)

I love Taveuni. Maybe I should just stay here.
This week

I don't know if I can describe it all. It was crazy, I'm going to have to pick and choose, it was all just so good. Elder Jonutz and I decided to "consecrate" ourselves this week - in other words, give it our all, be exactly obedient to the commandments and mission standards, and just let the Lord lead us. And it worked.

Monday was great, the LDS couple from America that are now living in Matei for the next 6 months, the Czieps, fed us way good food, and on Wednesday we were able to go with them to visit a few members of the church. They'll be coming with us every week to help us out and visit members and investigators with us. We're way excited. After going with them on Wednesday, we were able to see Roberta, our new investigator in Matei, and share a little more about our purpose and missionaries and our message. She let us know
The Vono family
that she likes to do her research and not believe things just because she hears them, and we were so excited because that's exactly what we encourage everyone to do - to read and pray and find out for themselves. That's when our Father in Heaven can bless us with answers to our prayers. We also saw the Vono family, who have officially been members for one year. It was real inspiration from the Holy Ghost to go there, because Sister Vono was suffering from a lot of pain that day and they had no pain killers to help her. But I had started carrying them around with me, and they expressed what a huge blessing it was that we came by.

Photo creds again, to the wonderful, Elder Jonutz
There was a public holiday, Diwali, this past week, 
and the Vono family (recent converts in Qeleni) 
got into the spirit with sparklers and fireworks. 
Thursday was our absolute best day all week - we saw so many people, it was nuts, the Lord was just using us like crazy. We did service with Sister Taylor and had a cool object lesson that involved a card trick (I'm proud to say that it was me who did the card trick, and they were definitely tricked). Later on, we saw a recent convert Ela, who came with us to see Rosi, a 17-year-old girl who we met a month or two ago but haven't had the opportunity to sit down with. She's really sincere, I'm super excited to teach her, I think the lessons are gonna go great. I did leave two fresh pineapples at her house by accident, though. Elder Jonutz wasn't pleased.
Elder Jonutz walking with Marika Vono after church.
My loyal, $5 Fijian crocs broke this week. 
Time for a new pair!

Work in Qeleni-side was tough this week, but as we worked hard and endured, the Lord was able to help us to meet new people and help others to draw closer to the Savior. Brother Tabaiwalu, who hasn't been to church in a long time, said hello to us in Qeleni village and said he would come to church on Sunday. And he did. We met new people to potentially teach - Wani in Qeleni village, Luisa in Navakacoa village, Maria in Korovou village, and more. The Lord wants us to do work there - to really work hard to bless those people!

We just had such a good week, and I know that it's because we chose to consecrate ourselves - to give ourselves up to the Lord and let Him lead His work. All I have to say is...let's do it again.

                                                                            Love you all!

Some members were going to cook this guy - 
they barely touched him and he went all Sparta on us!
Elder Barnaby

We got some fresh fruit from members!
 We ate like healthy kings all day 
(they were gone by the next day)

This is our store in Matei - the grand Sun City.
They sell Mars Bars! (and I love my Mars Bars!)

Photo creds to Elder Jonutz

This is the Catholic cathedral in Qeleni Koro - one of our new investigators said
they spent 13 years building it, all on their own power and
out of their own pockets! What a sign of faith!


Sunday, November 8, 2015

You Say Goodbye, I Say Bula (Matei/Qeleni Area, Week 17)

Last picture with old District

Transfer week! No changes with me and Elder Jonutz, but the rest of the island changed! Elder Noble went to Naulu area, training/District Leader, Elder Brown when to Tuvalu (my DREAM area), and Elder Sarufa went to Korovou to train. Our new District Leader is Elder Afatasi, who's Tongan from Salt Lake City, Utah. He's way cool. The new Vuna Elders are Elder McClean and Elder Dunn, and we have two sisters on the island now, Sister Malito and Sister Fanene! This is like the best district ever!
First picture with new District

We were stuck in Somosomo most of this week, except for three days, because we had to wait with Elder Tera for his new companion. It was pretty fun, but also really boring, and all Elder Jonutz and I wanted to do was go back to Matei and get back to work. It was an interesting time to endure, but when we got back to our area, that's when things started happening. I'll talk about just a few things that happened this week.

Translation: Welcome to Taveuni (I drew the dragon - not bad eh?)
We tried to see Dipika on Wednesday, but she was MIA, so we were about to head back when Elder Jonutz said, "Hey, why don't we say hello to Brother Celua?" Brother Celua is our Unit Leader here in Matei, and I thought, hey, why not? We got there and he told us that he had a question about a verse that he'd read in Ether chapter 3. It wasn't a testimony-shaking question, but I'm glad the Lord helped us come answer his simple question.

Way crazy, though, Elder Jonutz and I went to
Elder Jonutz and I thought this house looked cool.
see the Lasaro family, and I don't know if I mentioned this before, but last lesson they Bible-bashed us, so Elder Jonutz and I had lost hope for them. But when we went to see them, they were so happy to see us, and it turns out they had actually been reading the Book of Mormon. In past lessons the Spirit had been noticeably absent, but that day, it was definitely there. The truth of the Restored Gospel is real and powerful - I love sharing it every day here in Fiji!

There's so much potential here, and I know my purpose. I read this morning a verse in 1 Nephi chapter 21, verse 8:

"Thus saith the Lord: In an acceptable time have I heard thee, O isles of the sea, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee; and I will preserve thee, and give thee my servant for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages."

These are the isles of the sea, and I am the servant the Lord has sent. I am one of many, but I know that I was sent to Fiji, and Fiji was ready for me.

Have a great week!

Elder Barnaby

Elder Tera surfing on concrete

Wet but happy - during the great flower hike last week!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Just. Miracles. Everywhere. (Matei/Qeleni Area, Week 16)

This is me and Tukai, one of the youth in Qeleni, at the Qeleni chapel.

I can't even begin to describe all the miracles and blessings that happened this week. So many wonderful miracles, I just feel like the Lord is spoiling me! I'll share a few from this week.

Washing up in a river after the hike!
There were some way crazy things that happened - which mostly happened on Thursday. Elder Brown from Vuna Area came up for exchanges this week and we went to find someone we'd met on the street, a man by the name of Banz (yes, that is how he spelled it). We went to where he said he lived and met a nice girl there named Roberta. We asked her where Banz lived, and she said that she didn't know anyone named Banz. There were all of like 4 houses in this area, so we were way confused. We came to the conclusion that the man was either trying to avoid us, or he was drunk. But we got to sit down a little bit with Roberta, and she was way cool! She had a really interesting story, and from what she told us, the message of the Restoration is just what she's mission in her life. That was cool.

Peniasi Vono! The coolest kid!
One sad thing that happened was that we visited Phoebe to see if she could be baptized this week, but her mother let us know that Phoebe would not be taking lessons anymore, and that we didn't need to come by to see her again. That was way sad, I've been trying for about 4 months to help Phoebe get baptized, and it's rather disappointing. But it wasn't wasted time. It's never wasted time when it's the Lord's time.

Elder Jonutz got new sunglasses
This is a picture of Viliame Driti, from Tavua. 
Elder Beilman and I found him, 
Elder Carlson and I started teaching him, 
and finally, after 6 months, 
he got baptized. I'm so happy for him! So so happy!
Another miracle that happened this week was when we visited Sister Koroi. She's really active in the Church, and her husband is taking lessons right now. We were waiting for her husband to come to the lesson, but he was a little busy, so we decided to share a little message with Sister Koroi, just because we knew that we would have to leave. I just shared about what I learned in my own personal study of the scriptures - how in 1 Nephi 11, the angel answers Nephi's questions about his father's vision by showing him the Savior's life. I compared it to us as people, how as we put the Savior first in our life,
other questions and problems are answered. After the lesson, Sister Koroi started crying and shared with us that meeting us today was an answer to prayer. I felt the Holy Ghost so strongly in that lesson. I was so happy to have been in the right place at the right time and been worthy to bring a message that would touch the heart of a daughter of God. Simply amazing.

Found it! Here's the Tagimoucia flower!
Tagimoucia means "Come cry with me"

As for fun things that happened this week, we went on an adventure today to find the fabled Tagimoucia flower, which only grows on the tallest mountain on Taveuni Island. It was way fun! Wet, muddy, I'm covered in scraped and bruises, but I have the pictures to prove it! Way fun!

Transfers are this week! We'll see what's up!


Elder Barnaby
We went on a district hike today - Elder Noble and I are the worst, aren't we?