Monday, February 29, 2016


Elda Moala, Papa German, Me, Sista Sellesin, Mama Margret (his wife)
I just want to thank you all for all your prayers and fasts on my behalf throughout the week.  My ears are feeling heaps better and I know it's because of all of you and the help of our Heavenly Father.  I'm learning that Heavenly Father gives us trials and most of the time we don't understand why they happen.  But what I do know is that God will help us when we rely fully on Him and show Him through our actions that, no matter what, we are willing to do what He needs us to do.  In Ether 12:6 is says that we "receive no witness until AFTER the trial of our faith."  Life is full of trials and the people I teach can testify of that!  I guess I thought that by coming on a full-time mission I was giving up so much, but I've come to learned that I really didn't give up much for what I am receiving in return.  I'm surrounded by those who love me and help me through all the hard things a mission brings.  I have those at home who pray and fast for me when things get rough.  I have a Heavenly Father who is aware of my every need and a Savior, Jesus Christ, who knows exactly what I am going through.  Later on in Ether 12, in verse 27 it says, "I will make weak things become strong unto them."  Trials make us stronger, and even when we don't want them, we need to CHOOSE to learn and grow through them.  I know this gospel is true.  I KNOW it!  

The main highlight of this week had to be Saturday.  Mama Doris, her daughter Lenka, and Papa German were baptized!  We have been working with both of them for quite some time now and it was incredible to see them finally take the step of baptism.  We had 30 baptisms total that took place on Saturday in our zone, so it was a little stressful getting everything to run smoothly, but for the most part it went well.  Nothing beats looking at rows of people you love dressed in white and smiling from ear to ear!  Now German and Margret can begin to work towards the temple with their 3 pikinini!  Next time we'll see them in white will hopefully be in front of the rededicated Fiji temple! J

Dorris, Lenka and the Ohlen support group
This week we went to go teach Patricia again, but she was out visiting some friends.  As we were walking away from her house her daughter, New Jennie, sung out and asked us to come teach her.  We (of course) went right in and taught her about the restoration.  She is in her early 20's and has a little boy that is just 5 months old.  She has taken the missionary discussions before, and was asked to pray about the Buk Blong Mormon.  She did. . . and then the missionaries never came back. . . sooooo we picked up where they left off.  Now we are teaching her and Patrica together on Tuesday.  We plan to go back on an evening when New Jennie's husband isn't working so we can talk to him as well.  New Jennie and Patricia are both very educated, which is rare here in Vanuatu, but I love it because they ask lots of questions and have a hunger to learn. 

Oliva is progressing as well.  He came with his Mom to support Doris and Lenka at their baptism on Saturday as well as help him know what to expect when his turn comes around.  He got super excited and ran over to me about half way through all the baptisms and started tugging on my hand asking me if he could just be baptized right then!  He's the cutest kiddo ever, and we really love teaching him.  His turn is coming!

Thanks again for what you each do for me.  I love you all so very, very much!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Fiji Temple Rededication

After the Fiji Temple Rededication
We moved to a new house this week!  My third house in the same area, but this one beats them all.  Not only is it a 23 minute walk closer to our area, but it's COLD!!  I've had to sleep with a blanket on for the last 3 nights and nothing has ever felt so good! J  I have to say, I love the

So this week has been crazy with my ear!  I woke up on Tuesday and couldn't hear anything out of my left ear.  I woke Sista Sellesin up crying saying I was going to be deaf the rest of my life.  It was the scariest thing ever!!  We called the nurse and we went to the doctor again, but they only gave me MORE medications that didn't work!

Finally Saturday came and I went to my appointment with the Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor.  He is from New Caledonia and was educated in France.  He told me I have a “mushroom infection” and gave me more meds.  He said it could take up to three more months to heal and that I pretty much just have to deal with the pain and underwater feeling until then.  I wanted to cry!  I am so stinking sick of this ear infection!!  The mission nurse told me on Monday I would probably have to go home because of it, so all week I've been freaking out about that, but after the appointment she just said, "Ok, this is an easier fix than I thought!"  But it’s not an easy fix because the meds aren’t helping!  The ENT prescribed me the same ear drops as before and gave me a decongestant for my nose.  I've already dealt with two months of this misery, I guess I can handle three more!  Opposition in all things, right?!  Please pray for me!

We were led to two new investigators this week:  Patricia and Oliva.  Oliva is a boy who is nine years old and belongs to a part-member family.  We are teaching him and working with his family as well.  It's so fun to teach him because all his friends gather around to listen.  We usually have 5-10 pikinini listening in on our lessons with him. 

Patricia is older, but has apparently been watching us as we've taught Enet the lessons.  She just came up to us the other day after a lesson with Enet and asked if we were busy on Saturday.  She wanted to set up a time for us to teach her (miracle or what?!).  We, of course, said we could teach her and had a great lesson with her on Saturday.  She is Protestant, but after we taught her about the Restoration, she said she believed everything we said and would pray and ask Papa God about the Buk Blong Mormon.  We go back to teach her again this coming Saturday.
Teaching Oliva and his friends
This week Sista Sellesin and I decided to spend our "finding hour" out visiting less-active members asking them for referrals.  We went to visit Mary Yataka, but she was busy. As we were walking out of her yard her less-active sister, Rebekah, called us over.  We started talking with her and she told us that her little boy had fallen out of a swing about a month ago and had landed on his back.  It made his back swell up for a while, but then he was fine.  Well, last week, his back swelled up again and he got super weak and shaky and now he can't even walk or move because of how much pain he is in.  We called the Eldas to come give little Thomas a blessing, and they were able to do so.  We visited young Thomas a few days later after he went to the doctor for an X-ray.  They are still waiting for results from the X-ray, but Rebekah told us that after the blessing Thomas took a nap and then stood up and walked!  He still limps and is in a lot of pain, but he is walking!!  Sista Sellesin and I were overjoyed and so were the Eldas when we told them.  The church is true!!  Priesthood power works!  I am so thankful for the constant source of priesthood power in my life, at home and on my full-time mission.  

On Sunday our stake had the chance to watch the Fiji Temple re-dedication broadcast.  It was incredible!  The spirit was so strong and having the chance to hear from Quentin L. Cook and Henry B. Eyring was unforgettable.  I learned a lot and just cannot wait to go back to the temple again.  We had a few recent converts attend, as well as Mama Emily.  I felt like it is super important to start working with them to get to the temple, even if it is a ways a way.  More work for this week!

I love you all!  MAKE it a good week and go out and do some missionary work, it makes you so stinkin happy! J
Sunset in Vanuatu

Monday, February 15, 2016

Zone Conference in Efate

Elda West, Hilliman, Sista Sellesin, me, Elda Fidow, Crowell, and Bramell
This week was zone conference! The theme was "Be clean. Be ready.  Be busy."  As always, the mission president made sure to make the training VERY entertaining!  Sista Sellesin and I got to give training on being clean on the outside (showering every day, using deodorant, brushing your teeth, etc.).  You would be surprised how many of our missionaries here don't actually use soap when they shower, and don't see the need to wash their clothes . . . so we did our best to teach them basic stuff.  We even made up a song and dance to help everyone remember to brush their teeth! J  President talked about the importance of companionship unity and how everything starts with you.  If you want to change your relationship with your companion, change yourself.  If you want your district to be more successful, change yourself.  If you want the mission to be more obedient, start with yourself.  He also read the mission blessing Elder D. Todd Christofferson gave while he was visiting the Solomon Islands a few weeks back.  One thing I loved that he said was that people may choose not to accept what we teach, but they won't be able to deny that it is true.  Pretty amazing promise if you ask me! 

My favorite part about zone conference though had to be MLC (mission leadership conference).  We wrote up on the board problems that our zone is facing, and then started to figure out solutions.  I don't know how to explain it, but everything people said seemed to be exactly what I needed to hear.  I have been praying for answers to a few questions and as we talked about our zone and how to fix things, I was able to find my answers.  When we were finished President said that it had been the most incredible MLC he has ever been to, and that revelation had been shared.  So true!  God is aware of us and he does answer prayers! 
My missionary zone
Sista Sellesin and I also made an exchange with the sistas in Beverly Hills this week.  They have been having a few issues.  With the help of the spirit we were able to help them find a few solutions.  One attribute I am working on right now is charity.  I have found that praying to have that love, as we read about in Moroni chapter 7, helps a ton.  It's not easy, but with the Lord's help it is possible.

You asked how I wash my clothes.  Well, we have a "washing machine," but it's just a thing that spins the clothes.  You have to fill it up with water, and then drain it, and then rinse it, and then spin it, and then hang it out to dry.  It takes a good 1-2 hours to do our laundry.  But it's all good because it makes the clothes cleaner than washing them by hand (which I've done, and the clothes never actually get clean that way).

On Monday we had family house night at Emily and Shem's house.  It has been amazing to see the change in their whole family since they were baptized just a few months ago.  Because people here live in groups of extended family, 3 of Emily's less-active sistas have started coming back to church.  On Monday Emily's son, Jaron, told us that he has started to fill out his mission papers!!!  He turns 18 on August 1st and I could not be more excited for him!!!  We really enjoyed playing games and spending time with them.

So guess what!  If the ENT doctor this next Saturday can't fix my ears, I get to go to New Zealand or Australia to fix it!  Pretty cool huh?!  I'm kind of hoping he won't be able to just so I can go! Not really, because I want this pain to go away . . . but kind of!  I’ve had a double ear infection for over two months.  That can’t be good!  I’m going to come home partially deaf or with some kind of balance/equilibrium problem!  The antibiotics they’ve given me haven’t helped at all.  This is NOT the United States!  The nurse thinks it's because I can't clear them, and so the bacteria is just staying inside.  At this point it just needs to go away! It's getting worse and worse, and now the pain is always there.  Sometimes I feel like I have the flu.  But I've got to say a trip would be sweet!  If life gives me lemons, why not make lemonade?!  

Well that's it for this week!  I know this church is true and I love sharing that knowledge with others.  Thanks for your constant support and love!
Family House Night with the pikininis

Monday, February 8, 2016

Walking and Walking

Washing Abo Mirriam's clothes with Bong and Maowi
 Another fantastic and extremely hot week here in Vanuatu!  I think my double earache is on its fifth week without relief.  Antibiotics don’t seem to work here.  I hope it doesn’t permanently damage my hearing!  I'm just getting to the point where I feel like I'm going to crack with all this heat and sweat and pain haha. I just want it to end!  God is testing my patience for sure! 

Not a ton happened this week, just a lot of working and walking!  On Tuesday, Sista Sellesin and I had the chance to make an exchange with the Sistas in Erakor Bridge (Sista Lape and Sista Kara).  They are both from Papa New Guinea and are just darling.  I got to work in my area with Sista Kara.  She just got here about a week ago, but has picked up the language and was teaching like a pro.  One scripture she shared with an investigator was Ether 12:27.  God gives us weaknesses, but if we humble ourselves and have faith in Him, He can make those weaknesses into strengths. I guess it hit me that we need to trust that God will help us.  Trust and faith are very closely related and once we show God we trust him, that's when miracles happen. Sista Kara is super quiet and very little, but knows how to work hard.  She comes from a very strong Catholic family who was not happy when she joined the church and decided to serve a mission.  Sista Kara said she had a dream that made it very clear that this was the right choice for her.  She fell asleep on our couch just a few minutes after we walked into the house, and didn't wake up until around 9 p.m.  So I think I worked her a little too hard!  I enjoyed my time with her and learned a lot.
Baptism of Sonia

On Saturday, Noel and Sonia were baptized!!!  Sonia and her Mom met us at our house, and then we went to the church together.  Noel didn't show up until the baptism program had already started.  We were just a little anxious, but couldn't have been happier to see him, his less-active mother and a bunch of his siblings and cousins too!  Because so many missionaries in our zone had baptisms scheduled for Saturday we decided to combine the baptismal service.  We had over 20 baptisms take place on Saturday!  The work is moving forward and I couldn't be happier to be part of it!  Sonia even shared her testimony after her baptism and her mom was smiling from ear to ear.  It was a great day! J

Papa German, Frank, Mama Dorris and Lenkap all came to church on Sunday = a miracle!!!  We helped introduce them to people and they all seemed to enjoy it.  Fasting works!!
Baptism of Noel

 I don't have much else to tell you . . . one random thing that I realized this week is that the whole country of Vanuatu doesn't have one stop light in it!  Crazy huh?!?  These people just drive like crazies and no one cares!  We also found a huge centipede in our kitchen the other day that was still alive, but we smashed it until we were 110% sure that thing was dead!  Yep, that's it for this week!  

I love you all!  Make it a great week!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Miracles All Around Us!

Zone training with Sista Sellesin, Me, Lianos and Omae
This week just flew by and I can't believe it is Monday again!  We had two sistas stay with us this week that are headed off to New Caledonia today.  Sista Vogel is from America and Sista Decady is from Canada.  They had the chance to come out and work in our area with us for a few days and I was actually really concerned if they could do it.  It's extremely hot right now here in Vanuatu, and they really struggled with the heat and walking.  They didn't complain, but can't wait to get to New Caledonia where they have cars and air conditioning!  J 
Arriver's dinner at the mission home (Yes, that's a swimming pool that the mission president and his wife use.)
We had a few very special experiences this week.  On Tuesday, we went to teach Sonia a lesson and right as we sat down an old man yelled at us to come over and talk to him.  I got super excited and thought he wanted to hear what we were sharing. . . . well, I was wrong.  He told us that we were on his property and that we didn't have permission to be teaching Sonia there.  He also said that if we came back or if Sonia went through with her baptism, he would kick her out of her house.  He also informed me that Vanuatu has absolutely no problems and that I should go back to America and teach people who actually have problems and need the word of God.  I got a kick out of that once I had left, but in the moment I was just praying that Papa God would help me know how to respond.  He did, and we were able to leave without any harsh feelings, but we couldn't go back and teach Sonia.  We met up with her mom, Florence, once she got off work that night and talked with her about the problem.  She pretty much said she would go look for a new house, but for now we just had to stop teaching Sonia and not go back to her home.  I left feeling so sad because Sonia has such a desire to be baptized and go to seminary, and she loves going to church.  Well, that night around 10 p.m. I got a call from Florence saying that she had found a house and we could go over the next day and teach Sonia and we could go through with her baptism this coming Saturday!!!  If that isn't a miracle, I don't know what is!!  Sonia was sooooo happy and we were jumping up and down with joy!  Sista Vogel even did a victory dance!  God will help those who are doing what is right, there's proof right there!

Later that night, we went to the store because our support for the transfer was a day late.  While we were there a man approached us and asked us to teach his family.  We set up a time and went and taught him.  His name is Torah and he has three children and a beautiful wife.  It was probably the weirdest lesson I've ever taught just because Sista Vogel and Sista Decady taught half the lesson in French, I taught some in Bislama and Sista Sellesin taught some in English.  As missionaries we couldn't really follow the lesson, but you could feel the spirit and Torah just drank it up.  We go back to teach him again this week so I will let you know how that goes. 
Saying goodbye to Elda Card (from New Zealand)
Zone training took place this week as well.  As Sista Training Leaders we got to give a little bit of training as well as the Zone Leaders.  We all ended up speaking on following the promptings of the Holy Spirit when you teach.  My buddy, Elda Card, who actually went home this week, shared a few experiences from his mission where he either had or didn't have the Holy Spirit when he taught and the lessons he learned because of it.  I think all the missionaries there learned a lot.  

I love you all and hope you make the best of the week ahead of you!