Monday, March 28, 2016

I'm going to SANTO!

Wading through a "puddle" to get home after a rain storm.
This week was crazy busy!!!  We have been teaching quite a bit and helping prepare Olivier for his baptism this past Saturday.  He was so excited and was a bubble of excitement on Saturday.  He is so stinking cute!  On Saturday I also had verified that I am going to be transferring to the northern island of Santo to the Ban Ban area!!!  I will be serving with a Sista from Tonga, so that should be fun!  My mom was born in Tonga.  I was talking to one of our investigators about it on Sunday and she said that she will be moving to Ban Ban next week to be with her husband!  Now I can teach the couple together on another island!  God works in mysterious ways. J
Olivier, Mama Lucy, Mama Vero, Sariah, Sista Sellesin and I at Olivier's baptism
On Wednesday we had the “leavers” (missionaries completing their full-time missions) fly in from New Caledonia to stay for a few days and meet with the mission president before they went home.  We had the honor of hosting three sistas.  One was from Tahiti (Sista Mo) and two were from America (Sista Todd and Westerlind).  We took them around to see a little bit of Port Vila and just enjoyed the time with them.  I'm always amazed how much you can learn from "older" missionaries.  They just left early, early this morning and after only knowing them for a few days I can say they will be missed.

We have continued to work with New Jennie.  We talked a lot about baptism when we met on Tuesday but when we came back on Saturday she said she didn't want to marry the man she is living with, and who is father to two of her children.  As we were talking to her we noticed that her face was swollen and black and purple.  Apparently the night before her husband had gotten drunk and had come home and beaten New Jennie, as well as their six-month-old baby boy.  So sad!!  She will be moving out to live with her mom this week hopefully, and we are going over tomorrow to see how we can help her.  It breaks my heart to see such an incredible woman who is striving to do what is right suffer so much! Please keep her in your prayers during this difficult time in her life.
Papa Shem, Me, Jarom, Mama Emily, Jr, and Sarika at my "goodbye party."
On Friday night Mama Emily and Papa Shem invited us over for dinner.  I thought it would just be a normal "eat with a member" meal, but when we showed up they had streamers and balloons everywhere.  They had decided to throw me a good bye party!!  Jarom had put together a program and had me give a little talk.  Then afterwards we ate a traditional Vanuatu meal of simboro, rice, kumala, chicken and soup.  When we couldn't eat anymore they came out with island dresses and leis and calico and dressed me all up and then powdered me with baby powder.  Apparently that's what you do when you have a party in Vanuatu---put baby powder all over everyone. . . I was pretty emotional by the end of it all!  I am going to miss the people in Ohlen so much!  They have loved me since day one of my mission, and it has meant the world to me.  But I am excited to go to Santo and see how the Lord wants me to grow and serve there.

I know this gospel is true!  I love what I am doing as a full-time missionary!  Have a great week everyone.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Live'n the Life

Me and my best friend in Vanuatu!
This week was pretty mellow.  Sista Sellesin got the flu so we stayed home on Thursday and Friday, but that only meant that on Saturday we worked extra hard.  Teaching New Jennie on Saturday had to be the highlight of the week though.  The last lesson we taught her was about the Plan of Salvation (Plan Blong Sevem Man).  When we asked her what she remembered, she told us the whole plan and said she had read the pamphlet, and the first two chapters in the Buk Blong Mormon as well as the chapter in Alma we gave her to read!!!  She is just such a smart lady and is so interested in learning about the gospel.  She says that she wants to read the whole Buk Blong Mormon because she thinks it is so interesting.  She really hungers after knowledge and I love it!!  The only bummer is she leaves for the islands next week and won't be back for 3 weeks. . . hopefully I don't get transferred.  The longer I stay in Ohlen, the more I love the people that I'm around every day.  I love the way they talk, joke around, laugh, smile, live and just enjoy life.  Vanuatu really is the best mission in the world:)

Sista Sellesin and I also started teaching three young women in our ward English this week.  They are struggling in school because they can't understand English well, so we thought we would help them.  It's super fun actually!  After our first class though, Sista Sellesin told me she had been thinking about becoming a teacher but now has no desire to be one haha!  Being a teacher takes a lot of patience!  

On Monday, our district decided to have a "last supper" because two of our eldas are going to the Solomon Islands this coming week.  We went to a beach and roasted a pig!  The whole zone ended up showing up and we played volley and ate.  It was a lot of fun and a good way to relax and spend P-day.  
Roast on the beach with the district
Pictured are Elda Moala and Welegtabit
Another highlight of this week was going to church and seeing Emily and Shem and all their kids sitting together in church as well as Papa German and Margret and their family.  It just makes me smile from ear to ear to see them all together.  What's even better is knowing that this isn't temporary, it can be eternal!  The gospel is such a wonderful thing!

Grace came to church as well as Suzane!  They both stayed for the whole 3 hours and the young women just welcomed Grace with open arms, it was wonderful.  We need to work on getting the Relief Society a little more welcoming.  The members really do play a huge role in helping investigators feel welcome and loved.

Olivier is set to get baptized this coming Saturday.  He is counting down the days and couldn't be more excited.  Whenever he sees us walking around in Ohlen Mataso, he runs over and grabs our hands and tells us how many more days he has left until he can get baptized- he's just a little excited:)   I love you all.  Have a great week. 
My comp can do anything with my hair!

Monday, March 14, 2016


Happy Birthday cake for my Mom!
I don't have a ton to say this week because we mostly just worked in our area.  That being said, we had a lot of miracles this week as well!  We made an exchange with the sistas in Erakor Lagun.  While I was in Sista Lianos's area, Sista Sellesin and Sista Omae went to a part of the Ohlen area that we haven't really explored before.  They were able to hand out 26 pass along cards and set up six appointments.  During those six appointments we were able to find four more investigators, and during the week we found another two by just walking to our area!  We are running around trying to get to all these appointments and even though it's a little stressful, it's the most wonderful thing in the world! J  We love being busy teaching people about the true gospel of Jesus Christ.  

A few of the investigators we found this week include:

Jessica, Grace and Leann- We contacted Jessica on the street about a month ago, but were never able to actually find her house.  Sista Sellesin talked with Grace on Wednesday and set up an appointment.  When we went to the appointment with Grace we discovered that Jessica lives right next to her!  We taught Grace, Grace's Abo, and Jessica all together.  While we were teaching them Grace's Mom came in to listen, as well as her three siblings.  Her Mom is interested as well and asked if she could be taught the lessons as well (YES!!!!)  Grace's Dad is from Papua New Guinea.  We can't wait to go visit them again this week.

Roy is a father of one cute little girl and loves to play rugby.  He is a member of a brand new church here in Vanuatu but doesn't feel like what they are teaching is complete truth.  He was really interested when we taught him about the Buk Blong Mormon.  As we were getting ready to leave he thanked us for coming, and said that he would share what we taught to him with his family that night. 

My adorable companion, whom I love!
Dolcie was a referral from Papa Pakoa.  She is the mother of one of the ladies in our ward.  Dolcie had a stroke close to a year ago and can't move half of her body.  Apparently the missionaries were teaching her right before it happened, but once it happened Dolicie moved away to live with her son and stopped the discussions.  Now that she is back with her daughter again she wants us to teach her. She knows her stuff!  She can't say my name so she just calls me Sista U.S.A.  haha!  I love it! J

On Thursday we had the biggest rain storm of my life!  It rained and rained and rained!!  We were safe and dry inside our cement house, but kept thinking about all of our friends in Ohlen in their tin houses with dirt, now mud, floors.  The next day we had to wade through a lot of mud, but people were as happy as ever.  I guess you just get used to it after a while.

I just wanted to share one scripture that has helped me a lot this week.  It is found in Philippians 4:13 and says, "I can do ALL things through Christ which strengthens me."  My grandparents shared this with me right before I left, but this week I have come to better understand why we HAVE to rely on our Savior and that when we do, we really can do all things "which strengthens us".  I love you all.  Have a great week!

Monday, March 7, 2016


Frank and Lulu with their new puppies
This week started off with a bang!  On Tuesday we tried something new.  We had a market stall in the main market in Port Vila.  In the market stall we handed out pamphlets, pass along cards, Buk Blong Momons and contacted, contacted, contacted!!  By the end of the day we had handed out 600 Restoration pamphlets, 700 pass along cards and made 157 contacts and 24 of them are in the Ohlen area!!!  It was so fun to stand up with all the other missionaries and talk with anyone who would stop.  We had missionaries there from 8 a.m.-8 p.m.  We plan to do it every week.  Now the next step is to contact, teach and baptize!
The Market Stall
One sista in our zone found out on Monday that her mom had passed away.  She is from Kiribati and hasn't had any contact with her family since she left home almost 9 months ago, due to lack of internet access and funds.  Her sister somehow found her phone number and called her and told her the news.  Sista Sellesin and I have been doing everything we can this week to help her.  She talked to me the other night and told me that she and her mom were best friends and did everything together.  Before she left on her mission her mom told her to be strong and trust God no matter what happened. . . little did she know.  I am so very thankful for the Plan of Salvation because it makes losing someone easier--not easy, but easier.  The thing that is keeping this sista going is that sure knowledge and her faith in God.  She has taught me a lot this week. 

Sista Sellesin got super sick on Wednesday night due to abdominal pain.  She couldn't lie down because she couldn't breathe, and so she couldn't sleep.  We stayed home on Thursday because she couldn't even walk.  By the end of the day we had called the nurse and set up an appointment for the following day with the doctor.  She apparently has gall stones, and just needs to take medication and take it easy until they go away.  Please keep her in your prayers.

For service on Thursday we helped Mama Vero build a school.  We loaded up five truckloads of rocks and then unloaded them to even out the ground so that this week we can lay cement on top of it.  I was so stinking tired by the end of the day and could barely lift my arms.  I'm just glad that building this school will help a lot of little kiddos have the chance to learn how to read and write when they otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity.

On Sunday Florence, Jr and Francisca came to church with Sonia!!!  We were so happy to see them!  Florence just lost her job and is still having issues with her husband.  She feels like she needs something more in her life.  We were more than happy to teach her what that is. J

I love you all and hope you make it a wonderful week!  
Annie, her baby brother, and a friend