Fiji Suva Mission

Fiji Suva Mission

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Old Saint Nakelo (Also, I'm 20) (Nakelo Area, Week 2)

Merry (belated) Christmas! And Happy New Years from Fiji!

This is the back part of a large village called Lomainasau - 
the house on the left belongs to one of our investigators, Susana.
Boy, what a week! Where do I begin? So many big things were going on this week, and it was just so much fun. I'll start with the days leading up to Christmas, because that was the only time we had to proselyte this week.

Tuesday we got to see a bunch of people, but we biked our hearts out trying to get everywhere and
see everyone. Probably my favorite lesson of the day was with Susana, a woman who wants to be baptized. She took lessons when she lived in Samabula (where the Temple is in Suva), and now she's really liking having us come over every week. She's way nice - I hope she can start coming out to church and then she can be baptized sometime next month. She's really curious and really questions everything we teach her - which is good! We want people to know our message is true for themselves, not just because we told them it was true. Our job as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to present the message of the Restoration clearly, testify of its truthfulness, and live in such a way that the Spirit of the Lord can be with us to help people come to the knowledge of the truth for themselves.
This is how Fijians decorate
for Christmas

This is Elder Sooula!
Wednesday was a long, hard day, but it was also super fun - our dinner appointment with the Tawake family was way good. I love sitting down to eat with members - we talk, we laugh, we build good relationships, and if you eat a lot in front of them, it makes them so happy. Island culture, especially Fiji, is best represented when you sit down to a meal with them. I really like the Tawakes, we're going back there on Wednesday for dinner and I hope that as we visit them and talk and laugh with them that they will have the desire to come to church every Sunday.

Sweet new watch for my birthday! 
Thanks, Mom, Dad, Emma, and Zac!
Christmas day was great - definitely not the same as being home, and I already opened my presents on Taveuni, but it was still a good day. We had a Christmas Devotional as a Zone, and I gave a talk on the Savior's birth. It was really special to get to learn more about Him and His birth as I prepared for the talk. After our Devotional, we went to a big field and we played touch-Rugby for like four hours straight. It was way fun. I didn't even hurt myself! It was a Christmas miracle!
My birthday, though, was the best day. I opened the gifts my family sent me - some fantastic ties and a nice new watch and even a few LEGOs! But then we got to Skype our families - we get to talk to them twice a year, and when we Skyped home on my birthday, it was Christmas at home (due to the time difference) and it was just the best thing ever. I was so happy I could hardly speak. They've all changed so much, but at the same time, they're the same as when I left them. I loved it, though. I bore my testimony in Fijian, and (don't tell them I told you) but we all started to tear up. I love them! I'm so glad that our family was sealed in the Temple and that we can be together forever!

Best Birthday gift of all - 
Skype with these hooligans!

The power went out on all of Viti Levu island
 Sunday night - not sure why.
Killed a giant centipede during the night. Apparently,
their bites hurt like nothing else.
To top things off this week, the whole island of Viti Levu had a power shutdown on Sunday evening. We still don't know why, but we lost power, and we talked to some other missionaries and all of Suva City was out of power, too. It was crazy - but we lit some candles and told funny stories until it came back a few hours later. I'm glad the Light of Christ never goes out in anyone, even temporarily, and if we exercise it and use it right, it can grow "brighter and brighter until the perfect day" (Doctrine and Covenants 50:24)

Happy New Years! Vakamarau na Yabakivou! Hope 2016 is the best year ever!

Elder Barnaby

I never thought I'd find the best Strawberry milkshake 
in the world in Fiji. But I want another one.

This is in a village right next to Lomainasau, called Nabitu

This is the view from Nabitu village - I don't know what it's called though

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Back to the Mainland (Nakelo Area, Week 1)

This picture almost made me cry - goodbye, Taveuni
Moce, old district! 
(missing are the Vuna Elders, they couldn't make it to the farewell)
Transferred! I was so sad to leave the North, specifically Taveuni. I love that place so much, I wish I could have stayed. Noqu vanua, man. Elder Jonutz is now with a Fijian on Taveuni, Elder Vitiarai. In the mission, he's my "wife", because he's Elder Jonutz's "mom" (2nd companion). He's way tall.
One last peek!

But Nakelo is the place! I'm back on the mainland, Viti Levu, but it's cool to be back. I get my other bag too - I forget what's in it, to be honest. I'm here with Elder Sooula, he's the man himself! He's Samoan from Melbourne, Australia, and he's been out for about 10 months. He's been in Nakelo for the past 3 months, and he's done some good work here since being in the area! Nakelo is kind of a laid-back, slow area, and the church isn't super strong here, but I love a challenge! We have a pretty big area, but we have bikes - it's way weird to ride them in a sulu, but it's cool.
This Elder Sooula (or his back at least) - we have bikes! 
It's the weirdest thing riding in a skirt

Another perk I'm liking of being here in Nakelo is that I'm in the same district as Elder Beilman! He finishes his mission in January, but I'm way excited to be here with him. He's one of my favorite companions. He's currently the Zone Leader here. I just found out Elder Masoe, my MTC companion, was just called to be a District Leader in Suva. I'm so proud of all my companions!

Church was way cool - the chapel is sweet, and
I already love the members. We got roped into teaching Primary, and it was way funny - we sang Christmas carols and taught them a song to get them to be ready for a prayer. I loved it - these kids are way funny. Plus they love my nickname - Elder Painapiu (Elder Pineapple). Another thing I love about this area are the dinner appointments - every night. I love eating with the Fijians, and not having to eat ramen noodles every night.

It's a bit of a different life here than on Taveuni - 
this is what a lot of the houses look like, even in the villages.

The work here is cool - I'm super excited! New beginnings! Perfect timing too, with Christmas and New Years around the corner, I'm ready to get started with the final year. I'll be skyping home on Christmas too - Christmas in America, my birthday here in Fiji (the 26th)! I can't wait! I love my mission, I love my Savior, and I love Fiji. Everyone go watch the Church's Christmas Initiative, "A Savior is Born" at

Love you all! Merry Christmas!

Elder Barnaby

Saying Goodbye to people I Love... is not easy

President Bautarua and I

Brother Lagi with Elder Jonutz and I

Shalei, Faith, and Sister Taylor

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Noqu Vanua (Matei/Qeleni Area, Week 22)

Bula Vinaka and Merry Christmas everyone!

This week has been one to remember - it was hard, to say the least, but it was worth it. It was so worth it. Where do I begin?
Matei Taveuni.
We had a bomb lesson with Roberta on Tuesday - she was so excited to sit down with us and when we taught her about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon, the only question she had was, "Can I read the book?" I can't wait to see her next week so we can follow up on what she thought and felt about the Book of Mormon. We also had a very Spirit-directed lesson with one of our less-active members. The Lord truly knows His children!
This is Ela Radaniva, a recent convert, and Brother and Sister Cziep!

Wednesday was the beginning of our troubles. From Wednesday to Saturday, this giant rugby tournament was held up in Qeleni Village, so literally everyone was gone. We walked all the way back from President Bautarua's house after we found out that they were gone (we found out the hard way, of course). But it was okay, as we struggled and pushed ourselves, the Lord was able to bless us with the lessons we needed and the people that needed a visit.

Left to Right: Nau Rosa, Nau Mari, Elder Barnaby
and Elder Jonutz
Thursday we had Zone Training Meeting and the Zone Leaders came to Tav from Savusavu. It was a way good meeting, we learned a lot about how to ask "inspired questions", or questions that provoke thinking and soul-searching and further questions. These type of questions are really what helps people to come unto Christ - teaching them just gives them the information, answering questions and asking their own gets them further, and applying it in their lives - well, that's conversion. We've truly seen it, real change in people's lives. I just realized this week how wonderful our message is to the world - I've seen hearts softened and relationships flourish under the influence of the message of the Restoration. The Holy Ghost testifies of its truthfulness, and my testimony of its truth is only a small part of a much bigger picture. An eternal perspective.

Cool Christmas present from 
mission president and his wife - custom made 
Temple Recommend holders 
for the Fiji Suva Mission!
Elder Jonutz taught me a wonderful principle this week. He taught me that we need to be studying and applying the Atonement every single day of our lives. Not just here and there when we need it or we get into trouble, but every day. It's there to help us, lift us up, and make us what we can't make of ourselves. It's way cool, I've never thought of it like that. Elder Jonutz officially finished his training this week, and this coming week is transfers, so maybe by next week I'll be emailing from a new area! But my time with Elder Jonutz has been fantastic. He's going to go far, in the mission and in life, and so many people will be blessed for knowing him.

The closest village to Matei, about 10 minutes 
walk from our place
And then there was the miracle of Siga Tabu - Sunday. Matei Unit has been struggling, chugging along but not showing the church attendance that should be there. A few weeks ago, we had 8 people at church. Now multiply that by 6, and you'll get this week's attendance. We had a total of 49 people at church in Matei. It was packed - we ran our of seats when we hit 40 people, and then another family came late. A good 6+ people were standing, and it was just a wonderful, peaceful feeling.
Elder Jonutz and I were happier, though, than everyone else - because we love these people, and this is what Matei Group deserves. These people are Latter-day Saints, not just in word but in deed and in their lives. I love them. They are my family. I love and miss Tavua. I love and miss Suva 4th. But Matei and Qeleni have a special part of me. Taveuni has a special part of me.


There's a Fijian song about the Tagimoucia flower, which is only found on Taveuni. The chorus starts with a declaration: "Noqu vanua" - "My land". I concur wholeheartedly.
Yes, that is a refrigerator. Fiji.

I love you! We'll see what happens next! Vakanuinui vinaka na Siga ni Sucu!

Elder Barnaby

Sunday, December 6, 2015

A Seventy and an Eighty (Matei/Qeleni Area, Week 21)

This was taken on a beach called Sawana 
near our house in Qeleni. Totoka vakadina.

This week has been so so so good, I can't even describe it. On Monday we took a nice trip up to Labasa on Vanua Levu island and then on Tuesday, Elder Nielsen of the Quorum of the Seventy came to speak to us. For those of you who don't know what it means to be a member of the "Quorum of the Seventy", go to

It was awesome. Elder Nielsen of the Seventy came.
Elder Nielsen and his wife were absolutely fantastic speakers, and the Spirit testified of so many things to us, it was amazing to be there. Of the things they taught, some of the most powerful were his witness of Jesus Christ and the Living Prophet, Thomas S. Monson. When Elder Nielsen testified of President Monson, I felt the Spirit confirm to my heart that Thomas S. Monson is truly a Prophet of God. It was special. Elder Nielsen had President Layton, the Fiji Suva Mission President, do a roleplay with him to demonstrate a concept. It was the first time I've ever seen President Layton nervous. It was way funny. I loved it. At the end, Elder Nielsen left a blessing on us that was so inspired and specific for us that I won't mention what he said. Mission Tour was a truly special experience.

After taking the 4am bus from Labasa and the 9am boat back to Taveuni. The waves were calm, and as we came back towards the harbor, a pod of dolphins came up to the boat and started jumping for us! It was way legit! Anyone who knows me knows that I love dolphins, so the Lord must love me or something. It was so so cool, like I'm still pinching myself over it. And as soon as we got back to Taveuni, we got straight to work. Ever heard of "no rest for the wicked"? The wicked ain't got nothing on us missionaries.

We had some special lessons in Matei this week. One of my favorites was a new family that we found that let us in and had lots of questions for us. They were pretty poor, we had to bend under a tin flap to sit down in their house, which was more of a covered mat than an actual building. Taito and
DISCLAIMER: I did not ride with them,
 I just got in to take the picture.
his wife Teresia were way welcoming though, and they were very happy to hear our message. They want us to come over every week, so I'm excited to start visiting them. We saw Roberta too, but we didn't sit down with her. Apparently (and this is our bad) we set up an appointment with here for Tuesday when we were in Labasa that day. She had been waiting for us, and had even made us cake - what a loss. That's okay, next time, next time. We've been taking the Czieps with us, as Brother Cziep just got called as the new Branch Mission Leader and we visited a lot of investigators with them this week. We had a fantastic lesson with Siteri and Paula up in Vunidawa on Thursday. We taught and testified of the Temple and invited them to be baptized. They said that if they found that our message was true, they would be baptized. I think Siteri is more interested than her husband, but that's okay.

Look I got Mail!!
It was a hard weekend working in Qeleni, there wasn't a ton of work for us there and one of our
investigators, Mata, asked that we stop coming to see her. That was disappointing, as she was doing so well. Elder Jonutz was leading the area and all proselyting activities this week, and even though it was hard, he kept it up way good and we ended up getting a great amount of lessons in just those four days. But the biggest blessing of the week was Sunday.


We went to Tavoro Falls in Bouma, 
Taveuni today! Way fun!
That was our church attendance. Not 20 or 30, not 40 or even 50, but 80. It was insane. There were two baby blessings, callings given, and testimonies borne. It was such a fantastic day. When I bore my testimony, I told the members, "Ni'u raici kemuni, sa vuabale na noqu marau." (Translation: "When I see you all, my happiness overflows.") And I was speaking so truthfully. I was so happy. This might be my last time to bear my testimony in Fast and Testimony meeting to the members here in Taveuni, and it was just a wonderful feeling to do so with so many of them there.

Transfers are next week, and I'm not sure if I'll be leaving Taveuni or not, but I have been here for
nearly 6 months. It may be time for me to move on to another part of Fiji that needs me and the gospel of Jesus Christ. But I don't want to go.

Love you all - loloma levu!

Elder Barnaby

Elder Jonutz - he doesn't like this picture

Tavoro Falls

A Crab!!

Taveuni District