Monday, November 28, 2016

Thanksgiving in Vanuatu

Photo with a family in our area, the Rapdy Family
It's officially Christmas time!!!!  I keep trying to convince myself that it's almost December but my mind just won't click.  It's too hot and too humid for it to be Christmas time!

Zone Conference!
This week was a crazy week.  Tuesday and Wednesday was zone conference.  Our theme was "If love were the only reason. . . "  The training focused on love and charity towards others and companions.  I learned a lot and it was a good reminder of the things I need to improve on.  We played sports in the rain and ate at Hotel Santo and finished watching the new Christmas Mormon Message.  It was a wonderful two days.
Our Thanksgiving feast Vanuatu style!

Thursday was Sista Ouamambara's birthday.  She is now 24 years old!!  We were staying at the sista’s house in Sharpi because our house didn't have water.  We all made her a Thanksgiving dinner and chocolate cake to celebrate.  

Sista Ouamambara's birthday
We've continued to work with Papa Toa this week.  He is progressing so much.  He had his interview for baptism this past Sunday and he’s all set for baptism this coming Saturday.  The elders quorum has just welcomed him with open arms and he loves it.  As we were walking home from church yesterday he vocalized how thankful he is to have found this church where he feels like he is home.  Please keep him in your prayers this week so that everything works out for Saturday.  

We also had the chance to meet with Toa again AND his wife, Malaya.  We asked him if he had read The Book of Mormon.  He said he had been too busy, but that his wife had read a little.  I asked her what she had read and found out she had read 13 chapters!!!  I couldn't believe it!!  They are GOLDEN!!  

Sylvie is also doing really well.  She is reading every day inside The Book of Mormon.  She is in Mormon right now and even reads with her children sometimes.  It's slow, but she can see the change in herself and in her husband.  God really is working in the details of her life.  Watching Malaya and Sylvie progress because of their reading The Book of Mormon has taught me a lot and is just another testimony of how vital The Book of Mormon is to our spiritual growth.  If you're not reading it daily, DO IT!  I have no doubt that it is the word of God.

Transfers are this Saturday and we know that one of us will be out, so I'll let you know next week what happens!  I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!

Zone Conference with Sister Granger

Our Thanksgiving feast!

Monday, November 21, 2016


Mama Suzanne and Papa Isaac and their daughter Tina at the Suva, Fiji Temple
This week we had exchanges!  I stayed in Showground with Sista Rivera.  She was able to show me a lot of her previous investigator’s homes (from when she served in my area) and we were able to visit them again.  Most were still not interested, but it is good to know where they live.  We also had the chance to teach Shila and Kalo together.  Our last lesson with them they voiced some concerns about coming to church because they weren't married and they felt guilty.  We shared with them the story of the woman found in adultery and Christ's response.  It really helped them, and they have made plans to get married the beginning of next year.  They are going to Pentacost (another island in Vanuatu) next month to clear up things with Shila's Dad.  

Papa Isaac and Mama Suzanne
This week it has rained almost every day and the roads are muddy!!!  It's a good thing we can wear flip flops here or Sista Ouamambare and I would be having issues haha!  We need the water though, so it is a blessing.  

I got to teach a lesson in English!!  We were out teaching with a member named Walter who is waiting for his mission call when it started pouring.  We ran to the closest shop we could find to get out of the rain.  While we were standing outside waiting for the rain to stop, the shop owner called us in.  We started talking to him and he said he was from Tuvalu and his name is Sua.  He speaks really good English and so we sat down right there on the floor of his shop and taught him about the restoration in English!  I'm not going to lie, it was a struggle.  I haven't taught in English at all since I taught Sabrina over four months ago.  We shared with him some verses in the Book of Mormon and then Walter bore his testimony in English as well.  It was a really neat experience and the spirit was strong. Sua seemed really interested.   We go back this week to teach him again, hopefully with his wife.

Here are a few pictures of Papa Issac and Mama Suzanne at the Fiji, Suva temple a few weeks ago.  Papa Issac is now our new branch president and is doing a wonderful job.

Sister O. and I are working hard to contact every house in our area.  To me it's a very difficult goal.  I don't mind talking to people, but I HATE going into a new yard where I don't know if there is a dog or not!  The dogs here come out of nowhere and try to bite any open skin!  It's terrifying!!  And they always go for me because I am white and don't look like their owner.  I used to kind of like dogs, but now I dislike them very much . . . at least the dogs here!  Contacting does, however, help us find new investigators, and I haven't been bitten yet.

Tomorrow and Wednesday is zone conference, and Thursday is Sista Ouamambara's birthday so I'll have lots to say next week. Until then I want to let you all know how much I love each of you and appreciate all your prayers in my behalf.  These last few months have been rocky, but I am receiving so much help.  Thank you!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Branj Preseden (New Branch President)

Shila and her two pikinini
So for all of you waiting to hear about Tina. . . She got to take her exams!!!!  She will be moving on to class 11 next year with everyone else in her class.  It's a miracle!  Because she decided to put the Lord first He helped her.  Papa Isaac also was called as our new branch president this week in Sacrament Meeting.  He got up and bore his testimony and let us all know that a lot of things are going to change and to be flexible and willing to work with him.  So, it will be interesting to see how our branch is going to change. 

Elsie was supposed to get baptized this week and everything was ready to go, but when we went back on Thursday she wouldn't even come out and talk to us.  Friday we finally had the chance to talk with her as she was washing clothes.  She didn't even look at us, and told us she was busy all this coming week and couldn't story . . . we still don't know what happened.  We think it might have been one of her uncles or someone in her yard that said something, or maybe her parents said no.  At this point we have no idea, but we are praying.  We will go back and visit her next week to see if she is more willing to talk. 

Sister Draper and Sister O.
We've continued to work with Papa Toa and he came to church on Sunday!  He didn't say much during the meetings, but afterwards he said that he learned a lot and really enjoyed the spirit during the meetings.  He's a 68 year old man and has worked his whole entire life to be able to have money to pay for food.  He is very humble and although he can barely read, he tries his best to study the booklets and The Book of Mormon we gave him.  

Monique before she leaves for Panama next Wednesday
I read a talk by David A. Bednar this past week that I really liked and just thought I'd share a few bits of it.  He talks about the story in the Bible about the Apostles being on a ship in a storm.  They wake the Savior asking, "Carest thou not that we perish?"  Jesus responds, " Oh thou of little faith."  I feel like many of us face moments like this where we feel that the Lord doesn't care about what we are going through, that He's sleeping while we are facing the storms of life.  But in reality, he is ALWAYS aware.  He knows the storms we face will make us stronger.  "Many of the lessons we are to learn in mortality can be received only through the things we experience and sometimes suffer.  God expects and trusts us to face mortal adversity with His help so that we can learn and ultimately become what we are to become in eternity."  Christ is going through our trials with us and is helping us every step of the way.  

Monday, November 7, 2016

Showground for dayzzzzzz

Sylvie and her children in front of their house.
Not a lot happened this week so this email will be short and sweet.

Elsie is set for baptism this week if all goes well. We also started teaching her bobo (grandpa) and he is very interested.  However, he's having a hard time accepting The Book of Mormon as the word of God because he can't read . . . we invited him to have Elsie read to him so that he can gain a testimony for himself.  We'll follow up on Wednesday to see if they did.

We continued working with Sylvie as she works towards baptism on the 26th.  Her husband is a strong head and doesn't want to story with us at all. She's scared to make any big jumps because she doesn't know how her husband will respond.  She's reading The Book of Mormon as well.  We invited her to share bits of what she is reading with her family and see if that opens any doors.  She is an amazing lady and this gospel could bless her five children and husband so much!

We also found a Mama and her three girls to teach this week: Dora, Christy, Lindy and Cindy and Tiana.  They were taught before over two years ago, but when they white washed the area, (take out the missionaries and replace them with two new ones) no one ever came back to teach them.  They don't remember much, so we are re-teaching them the lessons.

Well, I think that's it for this week!  Love you all.