Fiji Suva Mission

Fiji Suva Mission

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Too Tired To Think Of A Clever Title (Samabula 2nd Area, Week 20)

Na Vale Tabu

And that's how hard we worked this week. So much work, we're so exhausted. I'll try to cover what we did this week really quick, if I can remember past what I ate for breakfast (I had pretzels that a member gave us).

Monday we had a combined Family Home Evening with the Matanatabu's, the Kasa's, and the Toga's. Two of Sister Kasa's kids, Serewaia and Carrissa, have started taking lessons and are going to be baptized probably next week. They're so solid, we've been seeing them a lot so that we can get them baptized before the end of the transfer. We're also still working with Talei Ciri, who will now be baptized with Serewaia and Carrissa, probably on the 9th of July.
I love little Fijian kids!

Tuesday and Wednesday I was on exchanges with Elder Carlson, my old companion from Tavua who is now my Zone Leader. It was way fun - he's changed so much since I've last taught with him. I asked him if I've changed at all, and he said that I've changed so much he could hardly describe it. That was a bit of a proud moment for me - but I know that I have a long way to go, and I'm hoping to change just a lot more before I finish my mission later this year. But the exchange with Elder Carlson was way fun - I worked him so hard that we had to take periodic breaks in walking (Elder Kahia and I don't take breaks - we walk until we get there*).

We ate something called "Moca" (moe-tha) at the Tuinisautu's house, it's some kind of green that's the midway point between rourou and bele (not that any of you know what that is). It was way tasty! We ate our fill that time, and the Tuinisautu's always give us a big plate of cucumbers too, which is pretty rare in Fiji (my brother Zac would die here without cucumbers). We have some fantastic families here in Samabula, and they never let us go hungry.

Sunday was a day of a lot of ups and very few downs - the only real downer being that the Kasa's couldn't make it to church. But Salote Ravosai could, and it's been 3 years since she's been to church! Elder Kahia and I were so happy when she walked in with Sister Korologa. Elder Kahia and I also spoke in Sacrament Meeting about people we've served here in Fiji. It was fun hearing the members compliment us afterwards on our Fijian.

We found this centipede on our way to a lesson on Thursday night -
 I've never been bitten by one, but I heard that it just hurts ca sara ga
I'm sorry, at the moment like everything escapes my mind. I just know that nearly every day, we worked until we dropped. And that's what's gonna happen next week too! Let's go!

Elder Barnaby

*unless we stop at the store for a snack

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Week God's Work Worked Us (Samabula 2nd Area, Week 19)

We found a cool little trail - it led to a pig sty (I mean a literal pen of pigs)

Sister Taufa tried to draw the
 "Avatar: The Last Airbender" symbol on my head with a whiteboard marker.
And I mean it! There hasn't been a single day this week that we haven't gone home just completely dead-tired. Allow me to explain a little bit the wonderful, joyful, hard work that Elder Kahia and I experienced this week.

We had the great "Suva North Zone Cup" last P-Day - 
District versus District. 
Samabula District's team color: blue (SamaBlua!)
Monday was super fun. We had a big Zone-wide tournament and each District had a color and there were different events like Basketball, Volleyball, relays, and "Pani" (a Fijian game involving stacking cans and throwing balls). It was awesome - even though we lost by one point to the Tamavua District. That evening, we had a Ward Family Home Evening, to which came several of our investigators.

Behold - Tukana "Tuks", king of dance

Tuesday we had our first-ever District Potluck Lunch after District Meeting. Definitely worth it - Elder Carlson cooked some mean curry and fried chicken. This next week Elder Kahia and I are the chefs, so beware! But Tuesday, that's where it started. We started getting into so many houses and so many appointments that by the end of the day, we were just so exhausted. We started teaching Talei, Sister Ciri's daughter who is 9 years old and hasn't been baptized yet. She's really shy and quiet, but she really wants to be baptized so we're excited for her.

Fijians know how to make the most of life
The rest of the week was just work - work, work, work, work,
work. I've never sweat so much and had so many people just stop us and say hello and ask us to come back sometime. No one has come up to us yet and said, "Hey Elders, baptize us" but that's not our entire purpose anyway. Our real purpose, as we explained to Shane and Asinaca Suka in a very Spirit-led lesson on Saturday, is to invite all to come unto Christ by helping them receive the Restored Gospel and its blessings, through faith and repentance and keeping covenants with our Heavenly Father. The other purpose is, of course, to bring families closer together. One observation we made this week is that our well-known name tags carries to names in bold: the name of our family and the name of the Savior, which is part of the name of the Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). That is our purpose - baptism is just a step in that process we make to draw closer to the Savior.
It was fantastic! Rosi's husband, Jerry, performed her baptism!

LDS Primary School children just know 
the most important parts of the gospel
The main focus this week was Rosi Matanatabu and her baptism. And was she ready? You better believe it. She opened up so much this week, passed her baptismal interview with flying colors, and was able to be baptized by her husband Jerry. It was such a special day. To hear Rosi bear her testimony was powerful - she was quiet, and very nervous, but the Spirit was strong. This girl is converted. We're so proud of her, and Jerry, who have made such changes and sacrifices in their lives to become more like the Savior of the World, our Master, Jesus Christ.
We're not the best at selfies

This week brought heaps of work - and next week, now that we're stronger, the work better watch out!

Elder Barnaby

My home Fiji!!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Members Are Calling Me Fat (Samabula 2nd Area, Week 18)

This little guy's name is Josevata - we did service at his family's house this week

This week has just flown by, and somehow tons of work got done in between. I don't know where to start!

On Wednesday we had our Zone Conference about the Atonement and it was fantastic - so inspiring, we learned so much from it! President Layton has a great understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and it was exciting to get to tap into some of that wisdom. Probably the most quotable thing he said - "Some people try to atone for their own sins, but that is impossible - except to the Savior."
This is Immanuel, he's from the island of Rotuma and he's about to leave on 
his mission to the Gilbert Islands (Kiribati) this week!

Throughout this whole week we've been seeing Rosi and Jerry, getting her ready for her baptism next week. She's so prepared! She comes every week and has kept all the commitments we've asked her to keep. Jerry is also a big help - he wants to be at every lesson to help and support her, and he often asks her unspoken questions. Ever since they got married a few weeks ago, they've been much happier and more open with us. The Lord truly does bless those that put him first. The ward is getting pumped for her baptism this week, in addition to two other activities and our Ward Conference that will be happening this coming week. Seems like we'll be at the chapel every day!

Service at the Suka family's house
One of our favorite new families that we found is the Suka family. Shane Suka is the brother of Sister Williams, who runs the Church Distribution Center on the Temple compound. He and his wife have had a lot of interaction with the church over the years, their kids school at LDS Primary, and they were super welcoming when we first met them, on request of Sister Williams. We went to their house on Saturday and spent all morning helping them cut and clean their yard. It was a very enjoyable experience, and a great first-contact with them. They invited us back to have dinner there next week, and we're so excited to get to know them better.
Elda Kahia and Tukai just chilling

How 'bout those headphones? Kelepi is 
determined to get the experience out of his game
Every day was filled with food this week - some days we ate four times, between the hours of 12 and 6pm. It was actually very hard. Never thought I'd have that problem on my mission. In Fijian culture, they give you everything - and the best of everything. And it's very rude not to accept the offering, so we just ate as much as we could without it coming back up (with one exception...). At our dinner appointment on Thursday, Sister Tuinisautu pointed out that since I've gotten to Samabula 4 months ago I've gotten fatter ("O iko sa levulevu mai!"). And those were her exact words. Several other members agreed throughout the week. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but I guess it is a blessing that the members love us so much.

And I love them too. This week was so great, and I can't wait for what next week holds!

Elder Barnaby 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Lucky Number 13 (Samabula 2nd Area, Week 17)

Elder Ta'a's last day in Samabula - we had a race with Ben and Isikeli Dunn 
for exercise that morning (Ben won by a landslide - and he was the only on barefoot)
Transfers! Elder Ta'a left to go to Toga Branch in Nausori South Zone, and I am still here in
Samabula 2nd! I tend to spend a good amount of time in each area - at the end of this transfer, it will be nearly 6 months in Samabula 2nd (same as my stay in Taveuni and Tavua, the latter being my first and longest area).

My new companion is named Elder Kahia, he just finished his
My newest companion - Elder Kahia!
training in Dratabu, Nadi and he is my 13th companion. Lucky number 13! Not often do people have this many compnaions - I'm just lucky I guess! Elder Kahia is from Brisbane, Australia, he's 18 years old and he's way funny. He loves the Fijian people and is just a great positive guy to be around. I feel like this is going to be a way fun transfer!

photo credit to Ezekiel Dunn

We got Elder Ta'a all ready to go on Friday to Toga Branch (which is funny, because it's pronounced the same way as "Tonga", which is where Elder Ta'a is from), said some goodbyes, Sister Matanatabu made us a big pot of kokoda (raw fish salad - and she made us finish it ourselves), and we parted ways. Elder Ta'a is my longest companion, and I definitely learned a ton from him in our 3 1/2 months together. He's a really fantastic missionary - and nothing stops him!

Rosi and Jeri are officially married! They put the Lord first, and to be honest, I haven't seen them happier. We sat down with them on Saturday and set Rosi's baptismal date for the 18th of this month. She's really excited to be baptized, and her husband wants to sit in on every lesson to help her to understand everything! Those Matanatabus are so inspiring. Sister Matanatabu is having a bit of trouble - she got a new job, which requires her to work on Sundays. Prayers for her would be great, so she can figure out that situation to be able to keep the Sabbath Day holy and come to church.
Just outside the temple, we ran into the Tora family from my first area - Tavua! 
Nina, the one in the center, was my second convert in the mission.

Nice view from Nauluvatu settlement
We're doing lots of finding, trying to expand our teaching pool and see more people this transfer. We're hoping and praying for miracles, which I know will come as we work hard and are obedient and prayerful to the Lord. After all, Elder Kahia is lucky number 13! Let's go Samabula! Go Fiji go!

Elder Barnaby

I got a new name tag - Fijian style!