Fiji Suva Mission

Fiji Suva Mission

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Back to My Roots (Lautoka 2nd Area, Week 3)

"O iho hoi vai?" "Qi luve boto ehe - ahwe na lequ horo."

This week was packed, crazy, and just fantastic. Definite highlight of my week: I went back to my first area on exchanges.

I went to Tavua.

Crossing to Nasivi from Matanagata in Vatukoula, Tavua, just like good ol' times!
Here in Fiji Suva Mission, we embrace Fijian culture and say that wherever our first area is, that is our "koro" (village, specifically referring to your father's village) and our second area is our "koro ni vasu" (mother's village). So I am Kai Tavua (i.e. my ethnicity is Tavuan), Vasu i Taveuni (i.e. my "mother's village" is on Taveuni Island). That's how most people refer to themselves here in Fiji, by their father's village followed by their mother's village. Anyway, I got to go by to my koro - Tavua. (Also, that line at the top of this entry is in Tavuan dialect)
"So, we meet again, 
Buzz Lightyear, for the last time!" - Zurg

We had our Zone Training Meeting on Tuesday, the first I'd led with Elder Fitisemanu, and it went pretty well. We only went a little over-time and I feel like we got the messages we wanted across. Immediately after lunch, we went on exchanges with the Tavua Elders for me to train one of the elders how to properly train a missionary. But to be honest, my heart was racing, because I was gonna be able to go back to Tavua after over a year of being gone. We taught a few lessons to some people I didn't know, but along the way, heaps of memories flooded back. The poor elder I was with had to listen to me rant about how new the stores looked and how I tripped on that log and how the flat smelled identical to when I was there (it really did!) - ah! It was the best!

Everyone's done it, it's about time I made a tag-in-the-sand picture

Especially when I got to see some of my favorite people, including Sister Vauvau, the Vunisa's, the Tora Family, and Nina, my not-so-recent convert! We stopped by their house and they like mobbed me, it was like the happiest day of my life. They were amazed at how my Fijian has progressed (quote, "When you were here before, your Fijian sucked!") and I found out one of the less-actives we were working with was now ready to start filling out her mission papers - it was just a grand day!
Me, Navi (recently baptized), Lucy, 
and their younger brother, from Tavualevu village in Tavua.

I took the Tavua Elders out to Vatukoula to show them around, and while we were looking for a referral that lived out there, we decided to ask someone and he then invited us into his home. We walked in and saw a big painting of Jesus Christ on the wall, the very one that many LDS families have in their homes (see attached picture). We thought, "Hey, are these less-active members?" and then the guy proceeded to explain that his uncle was a Bishop in one of the wards in Lautoka. I was surprised and asked which one. He replied that it was Bishop Tuwai, who just so happens to be the Bishop in Lautoka 2nd Ward, the ward I'm serving in right now! We chatted and invited him to try out our message, and he accepted warmly. It was a way cool experience.

The past few days I've been on exchanges with Elder Luatua, my district leader and fellow-intake member (i.e. we were in the MTC together). Our companions took the truck up to Nasivikoso to check on the unit there and have church there, at the request of the Lautoka Stake President, President Kaumaitotoya, who we met with on Wednesday to discuss missionary efforts in the stake. It was a
Didn't even know they had Koolaid in Fiji
way fun exchange with Elder Luatua too, catching up on old times in the MTC and enjoying how much we've changed since then. We were disappointed when Niko didn't come to church again, and our returning member, Sister Labalaba, failed to meet with Bishop to receive her calling and temple recommend interview. We were excited when Sini, the non-member husband of a member showed up to church. We were especially excited because we realized we were scheduled to have dinner with their family on Monday night, just a day after they'd had a spiritual experience at church.
Scenic shots from Natabua seaside

I love serving my mission. If any of you are considering going, I say pray and ask Heavenly Father if He will consecrate your desire to go. He will answer you, and give you direction in all things (see Alma 37:37). But seriously, especially you guys, don't wait - go now and serve the Lord and see if He will not open the windows of heaven and pour out an indescribable blessing upon you (see Malachi 3:10 and 3 Nephi 24:10).

Elder Barnaby

Lautoka 1st Ward youth practicing Polynesian dances for an activity

Scenic shots from Natabua seaside

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