Fiji Suva Mission

Fiji Suva Mission

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Isa Isa

"For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps." (1 Peter 2:21)

My whole mission, I've lived by a quote that our beloved prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, said several years ago. It's a motto, of sorts.

"There are lives to brighten; There are hearts to touch; There are souls to save."

My time here in Fiji has been in this service, with this goal and this watchword, that I am "in the service of [my] fellow beings...[as I am] in the service of [my] God" (Mosiah 2:17).

For those of you that don't know or don't understand what it is I've been doing, it's been declaring the good tidings of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is so beautifully described by the Savior Himself as he visited the Nephites after His Resurrection. Said he, "Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me. And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil. And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works" (3 Nephi 27:23-15)

I've had a lot of trials here in Fiji, and a lot of hard times when I didn't know if I could keep going, or if I was making any difference. The words of Nephi helped me to put into perspective how God fits into the picture: "My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep." (2 Nephi 4:20)

In addition to the trials, though, I've seen literally countless miracles and blessings. I feel like Ammon, whose heart was "brim with joy", for "many mighty miracles [that has been] wrought in this land, for which we will praise His name forever". "Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel." (see Alma 26:11-12, 16) My experience in Fiji has been indescribable. I love the culture - so welcoming, so loving, so deep. I love the beauty of this land - especially Taveuni Island. Most importantly, though, I love the people - there isn't a people like this upon the face of the earth. There's no one like them. I love them so much, and have made so many amazing relationships with them that I can never forget them. They will be forever imprinted on my memory and my life. I'll leave Fiji on November 19th, 2016, but the Fijian people have stolen something from me, something they won't give back: my heart. It will always be here in my island home.

Like you have no idea how much I love this people. I feel like I'm leaving home all over again, it's going to be so hard to be gone and not see them for a long, long time, especially those people I've been able to work with closely, namely my Recent Converts and those who I've helped come back to church. My companions as well, I'll definitely miss them too. Honestly, this goodbye is going to be the hardest thing I've ever done. The mission experience has changed me - you'll see. I'm different now, because of these people and my Savior's blessed Atonement, which he performed in order "that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations", including Fiji (see Luke 24:46-48).

Au via wasea na noqu ivakadinadina ni'u kila ni bula tiko na Tamada Vakalomalagi, vaka tale ga kina na Luvena Duabau Ga ko Jisu Karisito, sai koya na iVakabula kei na Dauveivueti kei Vuravura. Au lomani koya, oqori gona na vu ni noqu veiqaravi vakaoqo. Au sega ni kila tu na cava na qai yaco e na gauna e muri, ia au sega ni vakatitiqataka tiko ni'u vakararavi tiko vua na Tamaqu mai Lomalagi. Au vakadinadinataka ni dina na lotu oqo, sai koya oqo na lotu dina duadua ga i vuravura kece sara, sai koya na Lotu i Jisu Karisito. Au vakadinadinataka ni dina na loloma ni Kalou, vaka tale ga kina na Nona Veisorovaki na iVakabula me baleti keda. Au dau lagata na sere ni lotu talei duadua vei au, sai koya na ikaciwasagavulukavitu ni sere, "Liutaki Au". Dou kua ni rere se dou taqaya; e na liutaki keda tu ga na noda Kalou vinaka. Au lomani kemuni, me vaka au sa lomani ira na iTaukei eke i Viti, sai noqu vanua dina. Au lomana vakabibi na noqu matavuvale, ka'u cavuta na veika kece oqo e na yaca talei i Jisu Karisito, o koya sa vakaukauwataki au, Emeni.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Na Veitacini (Lautoka 2nd Area, Week 12)

LautoKlan District in our District shirts at our Beach P-Day!

So just to explain the title of this email, we went to see Sireli, Sereima, Elesi, and the gang on Saturday like we set up but we got there and everyone was sleeping (Fijians just leave their doors open during the day, that's how peaceful this country is), so we left and came back the following day. They told us that after we'd left, one of the little kids woke up Sereima and said, "Na, rau na veitacini sa qai lako oti!" (translation for those who don't know the celestial language: "Mom, the brothers just left!") But funny thing is, the word "veitacini" means brothers as in siblings - like, brothers in a family, not like referring to other people as "brother". So it was pretty crack up, just thought it put a perfect spin on our week.

Monday we hit up that beach P-Day down at a beach in Nadi called Wailoaloa (which means "Black water", which was a little unsettling at first but we got there and realized it wasn't actually black). We had a blast playing touch rugby and playing frisbee on the beach, and we took some sick District and Zone pictures too with all the missionaries here in the Lautoka Zone. Tuesday we had our Zone Training Meeting, which went very well, and we had a local barbecue stand cater for us and it turned out to be one of the best zone lunches any of us have had on our missions. Just a way fun day, and we ended it off with some splits in Nawaka area and then heading back to Lautoka.

Wednesday was pretty fun too, but Thursday is where the real fun started. We
brought two of the YSA with us, Lusi and Manu, and we went to see Rupeni, who schools at Fiji National University (FNU) and came to church last week on Lusi's invitation. He really wanted a Book of Mormon, like really bad, so we gave it to him and taught him the Restoration. It was a pretty legit lesson, and we talked again about the Book of Mormon when we saw him on Saturday. He said he wanted the English version because he said it was "titobu" ("deeper"). We were like, "Okay, this guy is for real". He didn't end up coming to church, which was unfortunate, but that's okay, he's still new with the lessons and everything.

Left to right: Lusi (member), Rupeni (investigator),
 Manu (member), Elder Afatasi, and me.
Eroni, who just 
got baptized last week!
Our lessons this week with Sireli and Sereima were just boss as, we saw them on Thursday with Manu and Lusi, and then again on Sunday afternoon with two more YSA who are preparing for missions, Uthro (our Ward Mission Leader's son) and Nunia. Sireli and  Sereima have been opening up tons lately, they have been really interested in the Plan of Salvation and it's brought out a lot of interesting comments and concerns. We talked again about baptism on Sunday when Sereima said that she was sometimes worried that her past mistakes would stop her from getting to heaven. They seemed so keen about being baptized that after the lesson,  Nunia and Uthro both said that they were really sincere investigators. It was just so nice to have great member presents this week. If youse are free, try going out with the missionaries in your area and you will be a great help to the missionaries and the investigators. It's really amazing actually the influence everyday members of the church have on people taking the missionary lessons.

Me and Elder Mong-Yen,
 the man himself
Saturday we also got to go to Nadi to do some baptismal interviews for the Nadi Hindi Elders. The two candidates were some of our favorite interviews both Elder Afatasi and I have conducted. It was super fun to see that progression and how ready they were for baptism. We were hoping for Sister Taukei's baptism to be this week, but she was never home when we went to see her and she didn't even come to church, so that was a little
disappointing, but that's okay.

Church was awesome, though. This part-member family came to church, and the mom (the only member) is less-active and said that the family members wanted to start taking lessons. So that was a cool little miracle. Best part of church, though, was the Primary Program - it was way cute and funny, and during the third hour they had a little Primary party and invited Elder Afatasi and I to join them. So we sat there with all the Primary kids eating cupcakes and ice cream. We did some visiting and then ended the day at the Lals' house with a way good dinner. Definitely one of my favorite Sundays on my whole mission.

Some pictures with members I know 
and love here in Lautoka 2nd Ward
Well, you'll see my final update a little later this week, my lovely mother will post it on the blog. Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Elda Barnaby

Primary Program Party - we got the invite!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Lord's Not Letting Me Finish Easy (Lautoka 2nd Area, Week 11)

Last MLC picture!
Wow! What a week! It's been one thing after another - first, I was sick on the way back from Suva. And then I had a fever. And then I got pink eye. And then I lost my voice. I couldn't believe it. I haven't been sick for months, and then BAM! Elder Afatasi was just like, "Hey it's cause you're going home in 2 weeks, the Lord's not letting you finish easy!" (that's paraphrased, but at least it sounds cool)

Tuesday and Wednesday we were in Suva for our Missionary Leadership Council. It was way good, and tons of changes were implemented to help the mission become so much more efficient and better at the work of salvation. It was a pleasure to be on the MLC during such a time. I had to give me departing testimony there too, and it was hard sara ga, but don't worry, I didn't cry (yet).

Thursday we got back and went straight to drop off all the tons of stuff we brought from Suva for the missionaries out here - everything from washing machines to microwaves to chairs - you name it, we probably had it stuffed somewhere in Pattie. Gotta love Pattie. But we were just exhausted - in fact, we've driven probably 800 kilometers total this week. Just nuts!

This picture is very special to me even though I wasn't there...

This is Atu - the big man in white, also from Samabula! The amazing thing about this is that when Elder Kahia and I were together, we just talked to this man outside his home, it was nuts how well he progressed and when I heard he'd been baptized, I was elated. The power of the Spirit to work in the hearts of the Lord's servants is amazing!

The rest of the week was spent getting ready for Eroni's baptism, which was awesome (pictures to come next week). We got there Sunday morning, though, and found out at 7:30am that the font was not filled the day before like we thought - and the baptism was at 8:30am. So we were rushing around, filling buckets, dumping them into the font, trying to get it filled on time. It was actually really funny - reminded me of Sister Matanatabu's baptism, when we had to change the dirty water last minute. Our Ward Mission Leader, Brother Lal, and his family helped us out and it was way fun. Stressful as, but fun.

At church on Sunday Eroni's cousin, Nunia, invited her friend to come to church and he really enjoyed it - he and I really hit it off and we easily got a return appointment with him for Thursday. His name was Rupeni, and we're way pumped to starte teaching him. After church we went on splits with some of the YSA and we just smashed out 6 lessons in 2 hours. It was way fun, and we got some new investigators too who accepted a soft baptismal invitation. We're way excited for what's coming next.

This picture is very special to me even though I wasn't there...

This is Deborah Matanatabu (the 9-year-old girl in white) from Samabula. She was the last one that needed to be baptized in their family, and when I was there we got her excited about being baptized, but the problem was she was living with her grandparents who are very against the church. Now, though, she stays with her immediate family and her dad, who I helped bring back to church, was able to perform the baptism. You'll recognize Sofaia Matanatabu too, her mom, who is still my favorite convert.

While in Suva, I ran into Sister Sautu, wife of the Bishop from Samabula 2nd, and she told me that the ward is getting way big - in the 90s and 100s now every week. When I got there in February, it was hitting maybe 30s or low 40s, and when I left in July it was hitting 60s and 70s, but hearing those numbers and hearing about all the wonderful people I know being blessing and getting baptized, it just brought amazing joy to my soul. Best of all, remember the Matanatabu family and their living conditions, where they were kicked out of their house? Now they have a place of their own!

This truly is the Plan of Happiness - and even though the Lord's not letting me finish easy, I'm loving every minute of my time here serving Him. I know He does it because He love me and wants me to grow.

Love you all!

Elda Barnaby