Fiji Suva Mission

Fiji Suva Mission

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Let's Go! (Samabula Area, Week 11)

the wonderful hearts and words of the Primary kids
First of all, I'd like to announce that prayers are indeed answered. Why? Because I left my SD card reader here in the internet shop last week, and it was still here when we came today. As my companion says, "The Lord takes care of His missionaries!"

Oh so Transfers were this week - but nothing happened. Elder Ta'a and I both stayed in Samabula. We were shocked. We were positive one of us was going. But after the initial shock of it, we realized how good it was too, and apparently there's still more things to learn and more good to do! That's right, a Tongan from Cali and a White Kid from Mass just here to be the hands of the Lord in Samabula area!
Our first-ever official, paper, real-deal referral for an investigator!

Samabula District at lunch
And boy, ironically, we've had to rely a lot on those hands lately. So many plans falling through, investigators not progressing, less-actives not coming, and just the usual aches of missionary life. But this past transfer has helped us to face these kind of challenges with a new perspective. It's like we're not so much worried about the cliff face or the impending storms, but focused on that horizon. I think that was Jack Sparrow - "Bring me that horizon" - but this time we're asking Heavenly Father for that. And let me tell you, he definitely brings it!

Sisa didn't come to Stake Conference - we were  so convinced that he would, but he had to work late on Saturday night and we just too tired to come. I am proud of his wife, though, who has just come back to activity in the church and just won't give up! The ward is just changing at an amazing rate. On Tuesday, we had the first Ward Council in several months, and it was powerful seeing the leaders of the Samabula 2nd Ward taking charge and charging on. Hopefully this Sunday we will have a Ward Mission Leader called so that we take this work to the next level.

On Friday, we had the opportunity to go do baptisms for the dead in the Temple with the ward, and it was a real special time. It's the first time I've been in a dedicated House of the Lord since leaving the MTC almost a year and a half ago, and it was so nice to be there. I felt a welcoming peace that I can't describe, and I just loved it. But the best part was that Sister Matanatabu was able to come, and she said that it was "e dua tani sara ga na ivakila" ("a completely different feeling"). She's doing so well - I love that family so much!
Samabula District at the Temple

We have some new investigators that we met this week - one is Vaseva, who came to the Temple Open House in February and we were finally able to make contact with her. She has lots of questions, and seems pretty interested in the church. Her husband, who also sat with us, was really quiet at first, so quiet that we thought he didn't like us - but then I found out he was from Ra province and I know a little bit of that dialect, and after I started talking to him in Ra dialect he opened up like a poorly wrapped burrito (not that I've had one in over a year). We also got a referral for a family who apparently want to be baptized - that's always a plus!

So, ready? Set? Let's go!

Elda Barnaby

Malo vinaka

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Maleka! (Samabula 2nd Area, Week 10)

Maleka is a great word in the Fijian language. It's used in Rewa Province to mean "good", but in the common dialect, it also means "delicious". That's what our week was. Good food, good work, good life. Where do I even start?

We had dinner and a show at t
he Rogosau's house on Saturday!
Tuesday we had a fantastic day for lessons, and it really set it up for a great overall week for sharing the gospel with the people here in Samabula. Wednesday was tougher, especially when we learned that some of the people who we usually see weren't home. One of the recent converts, Gloria, who was just baptized in November of last year, has actually moved to the Nasinu 1st Ward in Suva, which isn't even in our stake anymore. That night, though, we went to the Matanatabu's house for dinner and we had
Dinner (a.k.a. dessert) 
at the Rakatia's house
delicious kokoda that Sister Matanatabu made. It feels like forever since we've seen Sister Matanatabu, a.k.a. Sofaia, who was just baptized last month. It was a great reunion, way fun time too.

Thursday we had some
This is "kokoda", it's like a raw fish salad 
and it is the tastiest thing on the planet.
good service, but again, lots of fall-throughs. We were fasting on Thursday as a Mission to help the work here, as we're looking to fall terribly short of our goals this month. We were able to see Sister Vesikula, who just moved into the ward recently and has been starting to come back to church. After we saw her (and she made us find a free date for a dinner appointment), we went to the grocery store to buy something nice to break our fast with. We found some mexican food, so we did the natural thing and got it - but then, a member from the Samabula 1st Ward jumped into line behind us and paid for our food. We were shocked, and so grateful too.

Elder Ta'a and I just about died.
The Vuidreketi's told us they had to cancel their dinner 
appointments for the rest of the month, 
and they felt bad so they bought us...a lot...of food. 
That's 12 cartons of milk to the left.

Friday we had a really successful Priesthood activity, where we met and split up into groups to go visit several families around the area. We had a great time, and met back at the church for dinner. Sunday, though, was the culmination of everything. With an addition of the Stake President and his family to our ward, and all the hard work that everyone put in this week, we had a great attendance at church on Sunday - so great that when we sang "Master, the Tempest is Raging" in Fijian ("Jisu sa Laba na Cagi"), people from the Samabula 1st Ward stopped their sunday school classes and came to listen to it. It was like angels - I'm not kidding, it was so powerful I can hardly describe it. Transfers are this week, and I hope I can stay in Samabula 2nd just a little while longer!
Helping out LDS Charities at the Fiji Church Service Center

Loloma Levu,

Elda Barnaby

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Mai, Vakarorogo vua na Parofita Bula (Samabula 2nd Area, Week 9)

View from our flat - this is basically what Samabula looks like, but we work a lot in the "squatter settlements", where there are a lot more tin houses and Fijians.
Conference Weekend here in Fiji! Boy it was so good - such a great General Conference! Saturday morning we got ready to go to the chapel to watch the first sessions of Conference and I was like jumping around the house, saying, "Man, I'm so pumped for General Conference!" It was enough that my companion said, "Elder, now I'm way pumped for General Conference too!" And the hype-up was on point - it was way good. In fact, for our District Meeting this week, we're going to have "General Conference Jeopardy".

This is the Lami chapel, where we usually have our Zone Meetings
We had some really cool lessons this week. One was with Viliame, one of our investigators, who sat
down with us along with some of his extended family. When we were introducing ourselves, I said, "Na yacaqu o Elda Barnaby, ia na noqu nickname o Elda Painapiu" (My name is Elder Barnaby, but my nickname is Elder Pineapple). They all busted up laughing, and then Viliame's uncle said, "Na yacaqu o Sepo, ia na noqu nickname o Esipero" (My name is Sepo, but my nickname is Aspirin). We laughed even harder - he was way funny! They were also way interested in the Book of Mormon, it was a way cool lesson, especially when Sepo said that he believed that God's word can't be contained in the Bible alone. It was really cool seeing their attention, even the teenage girls that were sitting to the side, they were fixed on the lesson. Way good lesson.

Another cool lesson was with Sisa. We talked about the Prophet, and invited him and his family to come watch General Conference on Sunday to hear a prophet's voice. He said he really wanted to experience it, but he didn't come with his wife on Sunday. That was disappointing, but we were happy to see his wife, Sister Korologa, who is trying to come back to full activity.

Look at this. Yes, this is 
real Smuckers jam. We were just as surprised.
Probably my favorite talks from General Conference were "That I Might Draw All Men Unto Me" by Elder Dale G. Renlund, "The Price of Priesthood Power" by President Russell M. Nelson, and "He Will Place You on His Shoulders and Carry You Home" by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf (see They all had a profound impact on my and my desire to serve the Lord better and better every day. These days are days of change, and I'm hoping the Lord sees fit to bless me to change for the better.

To close, here are the words of the Prophet of God, Thomas S. Monson: "As we contemplate the decisions we make in our lives each day, if we choose Christ, we will have made the correct choice."

Loloma mai Viti,
Elda Barnaby

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Spirit at Work in Us (and some Pizza too) (Samabula 2nd Area, Week 8)

View from a member's house

Up, down, left, right - that's what this week felt like: all over the place.

This was the program for last Tuesday's district meeting. 
All the symbols stand for something -
 see if you can guess what they mean!
We had a pretty cool experience on Tuesday at our District Meeting. Every month, we set goals as to how many people that we're currently working with will be able to be baptized or return to activity in the church in the coming month, and then push ourselves to do all we can to help our investigators and less-actives to come closer to Christ throughout the month. This past month we fell short of our goal, so we discussed the people who are progressing most towards making and keeping covenants with our Heavenly Father and we came to a predicament: We couldn't decide between a goal of 10 or 12 "Saints" for the month of April (Saints = Baptisms + Less-actives returning to activity). So we decided to kneel down and ask our Father in Heaven which goal would be best for us - something that we could achieve but that could still push us. And we all got this powerful feeling, no doubt from the Holy Ghost, that the goal should be 11 Saints for April. It was honestly a very powerful spiritual experience, and we feel so empowered to help these 11 individuals to draw closer to the Savior of the World.

After District Meeting, we went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders and I went with Elder 'Ita to his area in Tacirua. We had a fun exchange - we just got good work done. It was fun being able to sit down again with some of the people I met last month on exchanges in Tacirua area. One of them, Taina, even remembered my name when we saw her, and for Fijians it's not really easy to remember a name like "Elder Barnaby" (hence the nickname, Elder Painapiu). That was a great experience though, and I learned a lot from Elder 'Ita on our exchange.

Brother Vuidreketi, the new First Counselor in the Samabula 2nd Bishopric. 
He's a funny guy - he and his wife bought us pizza the other day too!
Wednesday and Thursday we spent mostly at home - poor Elder Ta'a was sick again. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, though, we got good work done and we did our best to help out the people in Samabula. Friday was especially fun, because we got to go to a part of our area we've never been to when we went for dinner at the Vuidreketi's house. Actually, it was the very edge of our area - like, their house was the last house in the ward boundaries. But we had a lot of fun with them and they're preparing some people for us to teach as well. Definitely one of my favorite families. And only partially because of the pizza they ordered.

I know General Conference is now over, but we won't be able to watch it until next week. That's really what I'm excited about, to be able to hear from the living Prophet and Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, who let us know the Lord's will for us in this day and time. I testify that President Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God. I'm so excited to hear him speak and have my testimony of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ strengthened even more. This week has found me learning more than ever from the scriptures and from my experiences, and I'm getting ready for a spiritual explosion as we watch General Conference this coming weekend.

I love you all!

Elder Barnaby

My messy desk :)
look at all that mail from Mom - what a lucky boy:)