Fiji Suva Mission

Fiji Suva Mission

Sunday, May 29, 2016

O Viti, O Viti (Samabula 2nd Area, Week 16)

Wow - the Lord really can make something out of nothing. He made miracles happen when we least expected it. The big highlights of the week were, for me, the baptisms in the Samabula 1st Ward and Church on Sunday in our Samabula 2nd Ward.

As a District Leader, I am authorized to conduct interviews of candidates prepared for baptism. The interview is, in part, to check their knowledge and understanding of the doctrines and principles they've come to believe by taking the missionary discussions, and in part to check if they've truly repented of their past mistakes and are committed to following the Savior Jesus Christ for the rest of their life. It's less of a test, though, and more of a conversation about testimony. A testimony is simply what you believe - and it is gained through the Holy Ghost, who testifies to our souls of truth. That's really what's being talked about in baptismal interviews - testimony and conversion.

This past week, I was able to conduct two baptismal interviews, and both were powerful in a simple way. It was the simplicity and the calm atmosphere that the Spirit brought that made Te and Ben's baptismal interviews so special. They are both truly ready to make and keep covenants (promises) with the Lord. And they have already started - they, along with two others, were baptized on Saturday, and it was probably the highest-attended baptism I've ever been to in Fiji.

The special event of Sunday was that our recent convert, Sister Matanatabu, received her first calling - to be 2nd Counselor in the Relief Society Presidency. That, coupled with the news that Rosi and Jeri Matanatabu will be married so that Rosi can be baptized, just made everything so sweet this past week.

We have transfers this week, and I'm pretty sure I'll be going, but I learned this week that I love Fiji. I never want to leave. This is my home. And wherever I go next - or if I stay - it's still Fiji and it's still my favorite place in the world.

Elder Barnaby

Sunday, May 22, 2016

"In Remembrance of Me" (Samabula 2nd Area, Week 15)

I have a small print-out of a painting of the Savior above my desk in our flat. It's a depiction of the Last Supper, and it just touches my soul as I see Him breaking the bread in the painting in such a loving way and hearing His words repeated in my head, "This is in remembrance of me". It's touched me in a way that I can't forget, looking up at this picture every time I feel inadequate or down. I hear those words, "This do in remembrance of me" and I realize that that is what I'm doing right now. I'm doing this, I'm serving a mission, in remembrance of Him and helping others to come unto Christ so that they too can do all things in remembrance of Him who gave us all things, and saves us from all things if we will but heed the call, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest".

Because of Christ, people can change a lot faster than you'd think possible. I saw that in one of our less-actives, Jone Varawa, this week. Over the past month, he just made a huge switch and started coming to church on his own. As we've seen him and befriended him, he's made leaps and strides towards living a better life. He's about 25 years old, and people just gravitate towards him. He's so himself, so funny that everyone loves being around him. I have a feeling that he's going to do amazing things for the Samabula 2nd Ward and for the people around him as the Lord uses those talents for good.

The same goes for my awesome companion, Elder Kanongata'a. He's so powerful and all the members here love him. Our recent convert, Sofaia Matanatabu, even quoted him in her testimony during sacrament meeting last sunday! The Lord uses his talents in furthering the work of salvation here in Fiji and in changing me into a better person. I really enjoy seeing that picture every morning, and thinking of the words "In Remembrance of Me", because I'm realizing that more and more every day the truthfulness of the Prophet's words: "Our lives must become a meaningful expression, the symbol of our testimony of the Living Christ" (Gordon B. Hinckley, "The Symbol of Our Faith"). In other words, if we are living the way He would live, we live "in remembrance of Him".

So, that's the challenge this week: Are you living "in remembrance of Him"? Do people recognize Him as they interact with you every day? When you partake of the Sacrament on Sunday, are you willing to "take His name upon you" and be a remembrance of Him? That's what I'm trying to do right now, and it isn't easy, but it's so right.

Loloma yani mai vei keitou mai na veiyanuyanu i Pasifika!

Elda Barnaby

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Glory to God (Samabula 2nd Area, Week 14)

She knows He is listening!!

First of all, I have to say Skyping my family last week was fantastic! The internet was spotty, the conversation wasn't long and was cut short, but it was so worth it. That was the last one - next time I see them will be one of the most bittersweet days of my life! But, let's not think about that - let's talk about this past week.

Raijeli C may be the cutest
 little girl on the face of the planet.
We had exchanges this week - I went with Elder Tairua to his area and we just smashed out the work. I love Elder Tairua as a Zone Leader because he really cares about me - during language study, he just had me tell him stories about my life (in Fijian of course). He really loves these people, and they love him for good reason. One of the appointments was with a less-active family who had been given the challenge by Elder Tairua and his companion to teach them a lesson. It was way cool - and I think they learned a lot by preparing it (the amazing part is that they actually were prepared, with written out questions and everything). Super fun exchange.

On Thursday we had a special Leadership Training Meeting for the Zone Leaders and District Leaders (including me) in Suva and Suva North Zones. It was fantastic - we learned so much from President Layton and the Assistants about becoming better leaders, dealing with certain situations, and performing our different responsibilities effectively (I'm not entirely sure if that made sense in English).
One of the areas we go to is called Lovonilase, which is a small settlement in, well, a graveyard.
 It's kind of sketchy, but hey, who else can say that they proselyted in a cemetery?

One of our new favorite investigators is Rosiana, who is engaged to Brother Matanatabu's brother, Jeri, who is less-active but coming back to church. They live with the Matanatabus, who have gotten their eviction extended as they are waiting on the wood to build their house. Rosiana is, as they say here in the mission field "way golden" and really wants to embrace the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and be baptized. We're working with them to get married first but we're praying that all works out well for both of them! Rosiana has come to church two Sundays in a row (Sister Sofaia
Matanatabu, the one Elder Ta'a and I baptized, is a big help in this regard). This Sunday, we were surprised to see some other potential investigators who live with the Lord family at church on Sunday. They're from Tavua, so I always get pretty excited to speak in Tavua dialect to them. To top it off, we had over 75 people at church today for the second week in a row - an amazing change since I first got here to Samabula 2nd! When I first got here, the average Sacrament Meeting attendance was maybe in the 30s or 40s, but now we're getting into the 70s and 80s and it's just really nice to see the Lord's hand in His work.
Brother Vuidreketi is one of my favorite people - 
this was at our Ward FHE last Monday

This is Errol Qaqa - the man himself (honest)
I'm going to skip back as I close this letter - on Tuesday, we had District Meeting and I had been trying to come up with an object lesson to use for my training, which I'd titled "Glory to God". Finally, that morning it came to me, and I know for a fact that it was from the Spirit because it had a powerful impact on us. I pulled out a bag of Doritos (yes, we have them in select stores in Fiji) which had been mostly eaten down to the last few chips. I then dumped them on the floor and had the members of the District then race to see who could collect the most chips. After counting them up, we determined who was the winner and the winner began to eat his chips - off of the dirty floor! We talked for a little bit, and I asked if they really wanted to eat the chips off of the floor. I then gave them an alternative - to give all the chips to God. At this point, the winner had eaten all of his chips and had none to give, but the other Elders and Sisters put theirs back in the bag, and I rewarded them with a fresh, unopened bag of Doritos. The object lesson was that when we give what we earn (the glory) back to God, He will reward us more than we can know. I asked the winner, who had eaten all of his dirty, slightly stale chips off of the floor, which he enjoyed more, and he said that he liked the fresh chips a lot more. That's the kind of joy we can have when we return the glory to God - so much better than if we take the honor and praise for ourselves. It was super powerful, and the Spirit was strong as
Now that's what 
I call a full dinner calendar
we discussed the concept.

I love you all - hope you have a great week and always give the glory to Him whose glory it rightfully is!

Elda Barnaby

You don't know life until you haven't eaten Cap'n Crunch for a year and a half - and then you eat a whole box.

Monday, May 9, 2016

A Small Window Home (Samabula 2nd Area, Week 13)

After hours of technical problems and thanks to some awesome Fijian Members (Big thanks to Ezekiel), I got a glimpse of my home and family.  It was wonderful to see and hear them.  Even a world away our love and laughter is the same, and I get to be with these goofballs for eternity - Lucky Me!   I am so thankful for all the love and support so many have shown me.

"Hello from Fiji.  I love and miss you all.  I am having a great time here in Fiji.  And this work I am doing is the best work in the world.  See you all later this year!"

"When we reach out to lift one another, we prove the those powerful words, "No one goes his way alone." - Elder Ronald Rasband.  

I challenge you to reach out and lift someone up this week.  It will not just bless their life, but yours too!

Loloma Levu,
Elda Barnaby

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Swiss Miss and Clean Flats (Samabula 2nd Area, Week 12)

 Sorry, this will be a quick one - we have a big P-Day activity today with the Suva and Suva North Zones combined!

In his clean flat!!
This week was hard - and rewarding. Monday we had dinner at the Stake President's house, which prepared us for Tuesday, which was the scariest day of all - Flat Inspection day. And our mission president's wife came to do it. Thankfully, she walked in and told us that we had the best smelling flat she'd been to. That was good to know. We earned cookies as a reward.

We had exchanges later on this week with the Zone Leader and the Assistants to the President, where both Elder Ta'a and I learned tons of good things about becoming better missionaries. We were also able to participate in the Sister's baptism in Samabula 1st, which was exciting (hopefully I'll have the picture next week).

The Matanatabu's are getting evicted from their home, due to their association with the church, which is so sad but their reaction has been so powerful - Sofaia does not want to give up ever! She's so powerful, so inspiring.

Also, we got Swiss miss this week, a real blessing for us.

Elder Barnaby 

Next Week we get to Skype with Max for Mother's day!!
This is from Christmas and we can't wait to see and hear from our favorite Fijian Missionary!!