Monday, December 14, 2015

Zone Conference

This week started out with family house night over at the Bishop's.  We shared a small scripture and then the Bishop bore his testimony and then we ate dinner.  Our Bishop is awesome and is so solid in the gospel.  I feel so blessed to serve with him because he has the power to help the people of Vanuatu establish a foundation for a church that is just starting out here.  The people I’m teaching here are all pioneers in their own land.

Because we had zone conference this week and our zone consists of the islands of Efate and Tanna, the Sistas from Tanna flew in on Tuesday and stayed with us until the end of the conference on Friday.  We had so much fun!  Sista Lape is from Papa New Guinea and Sista Norton is the only other sista from America in Vanuatu!  We didn't get a lot of sleep, but it was well worth it:)  

My mission zone which includes the islands of Efate and Tanna.
Zone conference was fantastic!  The first day was full of training given by the mission president, his wife, the zone leaders and the assistants.  We learned about communication, safety procedures, using Preach My Gospel and many other things.  We all ate lunch at a Chinese restaurant that looks over the ocean.  The eldas had a fun time competing with the mission president to see who could eat the most food.  These islanders can eat TONS!!  After lunch we went back to the church and played games in the field and planned what we are going to do on Christmas- this Christmas is going to be soooo different from what I'm used to. . . .  That was followed by interviews with the mission president.  The next morning Sista Tagini and I were in charge of a musical fireside and, I have to say, Russ Whitelock (a musical genius from my home ward in West Jordan, Utah) would have been proud!  We went through the life of Christ using hymns, piano solos, singing, scriptures and quotes.  It turned out great--thanks to everyone's participation.

This is how we cook our root vegetables here in Vanuatu!
On Friday three sisters from New Caledonia who have completed their 18-month full-time missions flew in and stayed with us until they left to go back to their homes today.  They were adorable and a lot of fun, but it was stressful to have so many in our small home.  We also had the chance to help Sista Granger and her daughters prepare the food for the departure dinner on Saturday night, which was a ton of work!  The Granger's two daughters are the best though, and we get along well.  We already have plans to take turns visiting each other in America and Australia after the mission!  The dinner was a BBQ out in the President's back yard, which looks out over the whole island.  After dinner all the Eldas and Sistas going home shared their favorite scripture and bore their testimonies.  It just reaffirmed to me that the choice to let a mission change you or not is just that- a choice.  You can go through your mission or your mission can go through you.

 Transfer calls were on Saturday night as well.  I will be staying here in Ohlen with Sista Tagini for another transfer.  I'm excited to stay in Ohlen because the investigators are awesome.  We taught Netty this week and she, along with Latup, are scheduled for baptism on Saturday.  Netty is a house cleaner and she has two pinikini who are just the cutest things ever.  Her husband is abusive, so she moved on top of the hill to get away from him.  She is really struggling with money issues now that she has to pay rent as well as feed and clothe her pikinini.  She has so much faith and trust that God has a plan, and I love her to death for her goodness!

Kissing the graduation party pig for good luck!

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