Fiji Suva Mission

Fiji Suva Mission

Sunday, January 31, 2016

3 Elders + 1 Baptism = Happiness (Nakelo Area, Week 7)

Transfers came and went this week -- and I'm still in Nakelo! Boy, I was so excited when President
Layton told me that I would be staying. I was asked to formally train Elder Tabala, who's now changing to his real family name, Elder Raiqisa (rine-geese-ah, for all you non-Fijians). I've also been given a third companion, Elder Lemusu. If you remember, Elder Lemusu was in Rakiraki area when I was in Tavua. He's half Samoan half Maori from Sydney, Australia. It's way exciting to be his companion - I love the guy! He's way funny, and we get along way good. I'm hoping it will be an enjoyable companionship -- there are three of us, after all!

One other thing that I was asked to do was to be the new District Leader over the Bau District, which includes four areas and nine missionaries. My duties as a District Leader is to plan and prepare a weekly meeting for the missionaries, perform baptismal interviews for those who wish to be baptized, collect information on how each missionary companionship is doing, and meet the needs of the missionaries. It's a big responsibility, and I'm a little scared to be asked to do this - but I'm excited as well. It's a new challenge, a new adventure to face. I'm lucky to have some great companions to support me.

Tuesday was both the day I was informed of all these changes by the mission president, and the day
of Susana's baptismal interview. Of course, she passed with flying colors, just as I predicted. We kept in touch with her throughout the week, and on Sunday, we held her baptism! Boy, it was a special day. Actually, she was half an hour late to her own baptism, but she made it and she was so excited to be there and to make a special covenant with the Lord to always follow Him, and keep His commandments. She bore a powerful testimony after her baptism about the truthfulness of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Restoration of the Gospel, and the happiness and peace it's brought to her life. She's a special person. I felt honored when she asked me to perform the ordinance of her baptism. It was happy day.
Throw back to the beginning of my mission
- boy have I grown

Do not fear the Lord is with you
even if the bridge you have
to cross looks like this!
Most of this week has been spent in Suva, though - Elder Raiqisa and I went for some training on
Wednesday and Thursday, and Thursday I said goodbye to the greatest missionary I know: Elder Beilman. He's been my Zone Leader here for the past six weeks, and on Wednesday and Thursday I got to spend a lot of time with him. Saying goodbye to him was the hardest goodbye I've had in my whole mission. He's going to do great things.

 I also had say goodbye to Elder Carter.  An amazing missionary and a friend for eternity! He has blessed my life and my mission more than he will ever know.  Fiji will miss him and I will miss him more than I can express.
Elder Beilman 2nd from the left, Elder Carter top right

Rockin the Fijian coolness!!
After church on Sunday, we went to visit some relatively new investigators, Peni and Laite Waqa, and we had a bomb lesson with them. They just fired question after question, and they were so interested in what we had to say. They kind of went off on a rant near the end about some hipster-preacher they listen to on the radio, but they still want us to come back and they want to come to the Temple Open House on Wednesday! Boy, they're way cool.

Fijian cuteness gets me every time!

Nakelo is on it's way. Lots is happening in Fiji, as the Temple Open House is coming to a close and the rededication is coming up on the 21st of February. This is it! Here comes the kingdom!

Elda Barnaby

P.S. my Ponderizing scripture of the week is Helaman 5:30

Some rugby on the beach!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Here Comes the Kingdom (Nakelo Area, Week 6)

The view from Lomainasau is pretty breathtaking at sundown

My "ponderizing" (memorize + ponder= ponderizing) scripture this week was from Doctrine and Covenants 65:5, and it talked about how we need to call upon the Lord for His kingdom to come. And here it comes.

This week was just a blur of miracles - I'm so exhausted and can hardly collect my thoughts.  Heavenly Father has been so good to us this week. Let me see if I can explain it a little.

(Side Note: I just totally blanked on my English there - I could think of the Fijian word for "explain", but I had no idea what the English was)
Can you tell which one is Elder Tabala? #justkidding #ruanavuaka

I was praying so hard this week, and Elder Tabala and I worked as hard as we could. At first, it was rough - maybe one lesson per day, but then it started picking up near the end of the week. By Saturday, we'd committed 7 investigators and their families to attend church, and 4 of our "returning members" as well. Sunday morning came, and we got a phone call from Susana. She told us she would be at church that morning - I just about exploded. After I hung up, I started jumping around the house, overjoyed. Her coming to church on Sunday solidified her baptism for the 31st, as she needed to attend just one more Sunday to qualify for baptism. If that wasn't good enough, while walking to church, we saw Miri, one of our returning members, and her investigator-husband, Tevita, headed towards the chapel. In total, we had 4 investigators and 2 returning members at church. I was so, so, so happy. It was a fantastic Sunday, a fantastic end to the week.

In addition to that, we kept handing out the Temple invitations, and we saw so many people get excited. The Open House starts today, and some of our members here in Nakelo, Brother and Sister Ligica, are some of the tour guides. They attended the VIP Tour last Wednesday, when the Prime Minister, Bainimarama, and other government officials toured the newly renovated temple.

Check out the article at:
for pictures and more information about the Temple! The rededication of the Fiji Suva Temple is making waves in Fiji, and it's bringing miracles to these people like you wouldn't believe!

Looks like someone wants to go for a ride in the boat
Transfers are this week. I find out tomorrow if I'm leaving Nakelo. I hope with all my heart that I can stay, so I can attend Susana's baptism on Sunday and continue to work among some of the best people I've met in all of Fiji, maybe in all the world. I love it here. But I'd much rather that the will of the Lord be done. "Glory be to the Father," said Christ, and I want to be like Him, so glory be to Him whom we call Deity, our eternal loving Heavenly Father. 

Love you! Loloma levu mai vei keirau kei Elda Tabala!
Elda Barnaby

This is Brother Delana and some of his kids. And yes, that's Temple Run.
This is Ratuisoa Batidradra - 
just him and his grandmother are members

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Now I'm the Only Non-Fijian at Church (Nakelo Area, Week 5)

Elder Tabala and Elder "Nice-tan-line" (a.k.a. me)
That's right - we had another transfer! The official transfer is next week, but last week we had one a little early. Elder Sooula went down to Suva, and I'm still here in Nakelo with a Fijian Elder named Elder Tabala! He's the man - he stays in Suva, and is a convert of just 3 years. He's actually been called to serve in the Australia Adelaide mission, but he's waiting for his Visa to come in, so he's
serving in Fiji for the meantime. Not sure how long he'll be with me, but for now, we're going to have a good time!
Get over the cuteness of this face. I dare you.

This week has been tough, to say the least - a lot of people were gone, but it was still super fun pushing ourselves to see as many people as we possibly could. It was also a week of service. On Thursday, we helped Brother Ligica build and paint parts of his new house. It was so fun - and they fed us both lunch AND dinner that day, so I had no complaints. We had a fun village Family Home Evening at Brother Ligica's son's house in the village we live in, Muana. Yes, we live in a village. I think it's the coolest thing ever, even if we are on the outskirts.
Building a member's house!

Sereo Ligica, otherwise known as "Bo"
The other service project was at the Nakelo District School - we got together with the Kuku and Nausori Elders to cut the grass of their rugby field. Bo! That was way too big of a project! We were there for 5 hours and we only got half of it done, because Fijians always use brush-cutters to cut grass...boy that was too hard. We were able to visit a less-active and her husband, who just started taking lessons, right after the service on Saturday, and the less-active came to church. Her name is Miriama, and she's Brother Ligica's daughter (the one with the FHE - I know, it's confusing), and the Ligica family was so happy on Sunday, it was the best. Also, Anaseini, the less-active we've been working with, came to church too!

Boy, it's been a tough but awesome week!! I think we'll have to push back Susana's baptism, because she didn't come to church, but even that doesn't dampen my spirits. I love being here in Fiji!

Elder Barnaby

Lots of service this week!

This is a chief's house in one of our villages, Lomainasau. We've got an appointment there on Tuesday!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Miracles are Powered by the Prayers of the Faithful (Nakelo Area, Week 4)

Boy! What a week! I've had a hard time, but it's also been a wonderfully blessed week!

I really like Nakelo Area, and the people here. We had some killer lessons this week with Susana, Bale, and a new family of investigators, the Waqa family. Lots of crazy cool miracles happened this week as a result of these lessons. We had a fantastic lesson with Bale on Wednesday on the Restoration. She was so fascinated that we have living prophets and apostles in our day today. She told us that she was "nearly convinced" that what we were saying was true. She's just got to pray and read the Book of Mormon now - hopefully she feels the truth of our message!

The cool parts of this week revolved around a new challenge that we have as missionaries here in Fiji - to invite all that we can to come to the Suva Fiji Temple Open House. The Temple here in Fiji is reopening after 2 years of renovation, and this is a time of miracles in Fiji. The Temple is so sacred and special, and it's getting everyone excited. For two weeks later this month, the Temple will be open for the public to tour. After its dedication, it becomes a sacred edifice where only worthy members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may enter. It's really a special place - we have one near Boston, and all over the world, and now our temple in Fiji is reopening, after so long. The members here are antsy for it to be open! They're so excited! We've been giving out invitations to the Open House tours and even the non-members are excited for it!

The miracle, though, was when Susana walked into church this week. She made big sacrifices and got work off, just to come to church - and she felt good. She felt the Spirit, and she's even more excited for her baptism, which hopefully should be happening later this month. She had been praying and fasting all week to find a way to come, and so had we, and the Lord blessed us with a wonderful miracle. I was over the moon on Sunday - there's a special Spirit that permeates the work of salvation, and I get to feel it all the time.

I love you all! My scripture of the week is found in Mosiah 2:6 - go check it out!

Elder Barnaby

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Faith Is Like A Watermelon (Nakelo Area, Week 3)

Bula Vinaka, 2016! Happy New Year, everyone!

We had the outskirts of a small cyclone hit our area - nothing big, just lost power for a few days and the wind was strong enough to necessitate some cleanup.
Boy - this was quite a week. Supposed cyclones were supposed to be hitting us this weekend, but all we got was a bunch of wind and rain on New Year's Day. And that's it. It was actually kind of disappointing, actually.

In Fijian, "banana" is "jaina", but it's pronounced like "china"

This is our investigator, Susana, and her daughter Belinda - 
the little girl is way funny, 
when we got to their house on Tuesday, she told us in Fijian, 
"No, don't go, come, come inside, sit down with us, 
play with us, and then you can go home."
We did a ridiculous amount of walking this week, because our bikes are in the shop. On Tuesday, after walking for probably an hour and a half, we were able to see Susana. We talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and she still has a desire to be baptized. She didn't come to church, however - hopefully, she can start coming every week. I think work is an issue, but she said she's trying to
change her day-off to Sunday. Boy, she's way cool - she even invited us for dinner next week!

Cutest little Fijian girl!
Wednesday, we picked up a new investigator named Bale. She lives just up the road from us, in a village called Vunivaivai, and she's way solid. She has a big desire to learn more about the church, and she comes from a difficult family situation, so the message of the Restoration and Heavenly Father's perfect Plan of Happiness is exactly what she needs in her life. I've seen it influence and change lives before, and I know, even before they hear the message, that it will touch them in some way. We also saw the Qaniuci family on Wednesday - it was way good! Simione and Katalaini, the parents, are fantastic - they made me blush, though, when they told me that I had the best Fijian of any missionary that had come to their home (besides natives, of course). That made me so happy - but it made me more happy when I realized how well they understand the gospel and how it affects their lives.

Some members' kids showed us a shortcut this week!
Simione compared faith to his watermelon patch. He and others in his village tried to plant watermelons a few years ago, but their crops all died, so they all gave up - except for Simione. He tried again, and the second time, they failed as well. By the third time, the missionaries were visiting him after he hadn't been to church for 18 years. Missionaries had visited in the past, but he finally started listening, as did his non-member wife, who was baptized recently. His watermelon patch finally brought a crop - a giant crop, which in the first harvest alone brought his family over $500 (a lot, considering that on average a Fijian makes $3/hr). And he told us
More pictures from our adventures
that there are two more harvests before the end of February. He told us that faith is like a watermelon - you have to believe, and try and try, and allow the gospel to enter your life, and then comes the blessings. Cool parable, right?

New Year's Eve dinner was killer
New Year's Eve was fun - our crazy neighbors were shooting off

tons of fireworks - and New Year's Day, like I said, was spent waiting out the storm. Saturday and Sunday were absolutely solid
We started working in a new village this week - Natogadravu. 
Way cool looking Methodist church right in the center of it.
days. We started visiting in a new village, Natogadravu, a 20-minute walk from us. The first house we knock at? Turns out that's the chief's house. I almost had a heart-attack. But they said that we could come back sometime, and apparently there are a few less-actives in that village too. The Lord knows what he's doing.

I love you all! Happy New Years! Happy Birthday to my Dad, my auntie Pammy, my sister Emma, and my cousin Tommy, who's turning 8 years old!

Elder Barnaby

Fence Building - Part 1

Fence Building - Part 2