Monday, November 16, 2015

Mama Rachel was baptized!

Sister Tagini, Mama Rachel, Sister Draper, and Elder Iund
This week started off with an exchange with the sisters in Etas and Freshwota.  There is a major drought in Vanuatu right now and there is no water in Etas so the sisters are staying in Freshwota.  I went to Freshwota with Sista Lianos (from Micronesia) and Sista Monu (from Tonga).  We had so much fun in the area doing service together.  Sista Lianos even taught us how to bake a cake on the stove.  It so neat to learn things from people who grew up so differently than I did.  Teaching styles, life styles, everything is so different!  I can't wait for more exchanges to come.  We go to Malapoa this week and next week we'll fly to Tanna and stay there for 4 days of exchanges. . . that means I get to see the VOLCANO!!!  And I get to meet Sista Norton, the only other American sista in Vanuatu!  Ahhhhh!!!  I'm a little excited:)
Simone and Allison are doing well and come to church every week and Simone goes to Young Women.  The other day I helped her with Personal Progress.  Because the church is so new here, no one really understands what it is.  It was good to help her because I know what a blessing it was and is in my life.  

Sista Tagini's leg is doing better.  President Granger gave us money so that we could ride the bus to and from our area and that has seemed to help a little.  She still complains that her leg is going numb, but the pain is gone.  I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but we talk to the nurse again today to see what she thinks.  We also celebrated Sista Tagini's birthday this week (even though it was a month ago).  We bought her a cake and sang happy birthday.  She loved it!
Elder Willoughby, Sister Tagini and her birthday cake and Elder Aka
We continued teaching Papa Pakoa this week.  He is around 65 years old and has lost a leg due to diabetes (or "sugar" as they call it here).  We teach him what we've prepared and he contributes the most amazing and spiritual comments!  He's reminds me of Steve Christaens from my home ward in West Jordan.  His trials have made him an incredible person with an eternal perspective.  He KNOWS that God lives and is aware of him and because he KNOWS that he trusts God 100% with everything in his life.  I love teaching him and feeling the spirit he brings to the lesson.  

On Thursday night our stake had the opportunity to hear from the area presidency as well as the Young Men's general president and the second counselor in the Sunday School presidency.  They focused on getting young men ready to serve missions and how it all starts in the home.  They also encouraged every member, who is of age and worthy, to get a temple recommend.  The closest temple to Vanuatu is Fiji and it is currently closed, but they promised blessings to those who hold a temple recommend and live worthy of holding it.  I learned a lot and it was nice to have other white people in the room!

Mama Rachel was baptized on Saturday!!  Oh man, I love that lady!  She is so sassy and so funny and just loves the church.  She was super nervous about her baptism but was completely calm when it finally took place.  She is solid.  She bore her testimony after her baptism and even though it was short, it was powerful.  I love my job!

Yesterday I had the chance to speak in church about missionary work.  Great opportunity, right?  Yeah!  If I was only fluent in Bislama!  But I tried to do my best and I can say the gift of tongues is real!  Heavenly Father helped me give a talk in Bislama and helped the people understand my message, even if it was only just a little bit of what I said.  Every day I am amazed at how aware Heavenly Father is of us individually.  He helps us and carries us through so many hard things.  What a blessing!  I love you all!  God is real!  He loves yumi everiwan!! 

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