Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Now this is the testimony last of all which I give . . .

Fijan dance we performed at Zone Conference
I know that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us.  He hears and answers our prayers according to His will and His timing.  Our Heavenly Father knows our deepest desires and dreams and wants us to improve and so He gives us trials that will stretch us to our limits.  However, as He stretches us He is constantly there to help us.  In fact, He loves us so much that He gave His only begotten son, Jesus Christ.  He was one who could help us better than anyone else because He would suffer every sorrow, every challenge, every discouragement we face.  He knows us perfectly.  Jesus Christ made it possible not only for us to be forgiven of our sins and receive peace once again, but also to rely upon His grace and mercy when our own strength isn't enough.  Jesus Christ set the perfect example of love and service and it is a life long journey to try to become as He is.

I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God.  He saw God the Father and His son, Jesus Christ.  He restored God's one and only church to the world.  He translated a book that I have grown to love more than any other book, "The Book of Mormon".  It truly will bring one closer to God than any other book.  When I open that book, I feel as if the windows of heaven are opening.  Every verse can teach us something.  That book testifies of Christ and helps us come to know Him.  We have a living prophet who leads and guides this church through revelation.  He holds the power of God, Priesthood power.  This power is real and is so individual.  It is available to bless the lives of all of us.  I am so thankful for a Father in Heaven who has created a perfect plan for all of and a way to succeed.  I have experienced personally how this plan brings light into our lives.  I have watched as people hear of this plan for the first time and have the spirit witness that it is true.  I know that God is in the details of our lives.  He is in control.  I know that as we submit our will to Him that He will make more of us than we could ever become alone.

I have such a long way to go and so much more to learn, but I am so thankful for the time that I have to continue to learn and grow and become.  I know this gospel is true.  There is not a doubt in my mind.  I will forever be grateful for the time God has given me to be a full-time missionary in Vanuatu and to serve the people here.

I love you all and will see you soon!  Eight more days and I'll be home!
District photo: Sista Betero, Draper, Sellesin and Putri, Elder Hyatt and Naikasau

Monday, February 13, 2017

Sunshine and Rain

This week flew by!  We started off the week with contacting like crazy.  We found a few new investigators who are promising.  It's always amazes me how all you have to do here in Vanuatu is ask to share a message about Jesus Christ and people are more than happy to let you come into their homes and share.

We finally had the chance to meet with Mary, a lady that we contacted 2 weeks ago.  She has had a Buk Blong Momon (Book of Mormon) for a few years now that was given to her by some tourist who came on a cruise ship.  She has read parts of it and knows that it is true.  When she saw Sista Betero and I teaching Gwendaline and realized that we were Mormons she was so excited.  It was an incredible lesson!  She is so prepared and next lesson we will be teaching her, her husband, and her three children! Yesterday they all came to church together. We are so excited for them!

Thursday I had my first "last kakae" at Julie's house.  They made laplap susur banana and it about killed Sista Betero and I.  Eating laplap is like eating stones and for the next few days you regret you ever ate it.  However, it was really nice to spend the time with them and it makes me realize how short my time left here in Vanuatu really is.

We went over to teach Andre this week and before we taught him he said he had some things to tell us.  He said he wants to go forward with the marriage on Saturday but he doesn't feel ready for baptism.  He wouldn't share with us why, but Annie hinted it was due to some problems with the word of wisdom.  We'll continue to work plenty with him to help him get ready.  Please, please keep him in your prayers.

Papa Nicolas, papa blo Latisha, also came to church this week.  He had some wonderful insights that he shared in gospel principles class and especially loved priesthood class.  Their neighbor, Jenny, also came back from Ambae this past week and has been a great help in fellowshipping and involving Etna, Jinette and Latrisha in family house night and other activities.  She is a blessing to them and us.  I know God placed her next to this family so that she could help them.

I LOVE VANUATU!!!!  I am so blessed to be here and have the chance to know these people and learn with them!

Monday, February 6, 2017

More Miracles!

Sorry, we don't have a lot of time this week because we are leaving early to go for a district hike in Fanafol. . .  BUT this week was a good, busy week!  We worked a lot with a couple named Dona and Dean and our goal was to set a marriage date with them this week. Dona is Annie's brother (Annie is Andre's woman and will become his wife on the 18th) and so his family has been very supportive.  It's been really neat to watch Dean especially when we teach the two of them.  Dean is a member of the Church of Christ and knows a lot about the Bible but as we have really focused on The Book of Mormon when we teach and read with them, her eyes and heart have been opened.  However, on Saturday we went for an appointment only to find out that Dean is going to Ambae, a small outer island, and doesn't know when she will be getting home.  It was really hard to say goodbye, knowing that we probably will never see her again.  I just hope and pray she continues to read and study so that when she comes back to Santo she will be ready for marriage and baptism with Dona.

Annie and Andre are doing wonderful!  Andre is probably my favorite investigator to teach because his questions send me back to the house to find answers.  The marriage is still on for the 18th, followed by his baptism!

We finally tracked down a previous investigator of Sista Manly, Ocean.  She was all ready for baptism but then she went to the bush for a few months.  Tom, one of her best friends who is a returned missionary, also came back from Vila the same week Ocean came back from the bush.  Tom has been great about helping Ocean and involving her.  He has been a blessing to her and us.  She is also working towards baptism on the 18th of this month.

This week we had some fun times with drunk men as well.  We got stoned and followed on two different occasions.  It scared poor Sista Betero pretty bad, but God really is protecting us.  When we got stoned there was a mama outside her yard that pulled us in and went and yelled at the men. And we were able to lose the drunk man that was following us.  We're definitely trying to be more aware and cautious though. There's a reason why we have to be home by dark!

On Thursday night we ate dinner with our American neighbors and their Bahi friends from Kiribati and Iran.  It was a very interesting mix of people, but a good chance to share our beliefs.  We gave them a Book of Mormon as well as the Restoration pamphlet.  They were interested to hear about what we do, but unfortunately not very interested in the gospel itself.  We hope that they will read The Book of Mormon and pray about it, and then maybe they will be more receptive.

I've done a lot of studying about church history this week and it is fascinating.  It has opened my eyes even more to the massive plan that God has!  His work will move forward and nothing will stand in it's way.  I'm so thankful to be part of that work.  I love it!  Have a great week!

Monday, January 30, 2017


Monday, January 23, 2017

Working in Sharpi

Gwendaline is our newest miracle.  She is all set for baptism this Saturday at 10 a.m. She came to church yesterday with two of her nephews and they loved Primary.  Our branch has been having quite a few problems lately, but the Primary is the one program that seems to always stay strong.  The mamas that teach are phenomenal and are some of the strongest members in our branch.  Gwendaline has also learned to love the gospel principles class that just started and is taught by one of the returned missionaries in our branch, Dax.  He recently returned home from serving a mission in France and is also our district clerk.  He has been wonderful at taking care of the responsibilities of our branch president as President Granger tries to find a new one.

Sista Norton went back to Mango on Friday with her new companion, Sista Welter, from Micronesia.  We cleaned out their house the day before Sista Welter came.  We walked into an awful smelling house and came to find that the neighbors had turned off the fridge.  All the meat, fruit and veggies had been rotting in the fridge for over a month.  There was mold everywhere!!  We did a thorough clean but the house still smells awful.

We also filled out the papers for Andre and Annie's wedding yesterday.  Apparently you have to announce the wedding for three weeks in a row at a public setting so we have to push the wedding back to 18 February as well as Andre's baptism.  Both of them were understandably upset but, as stated in the 12th article of faith: "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers and magistrates.  In obeying, honoring and sustaining the law".  Therefore, we will just have to push it back to the 18th.  The thing that makes all of this tricky is that the municipal posts a paper announcing the marriage during those three weeks.  There is a place for comments and if anyone puts a comment against the marriage, the marriage is blocked.  Please keep them in your prayers that no one will get upset and make a comment.

We continue to visit Etna, Jinette, Latrisha and Anerose and all are doing well.  Nicolas continues to face a lot of doubt, but we are working with him a lot to help him see where the doubt is coming from and where he can find truth and answers to his questions.

I think that's a wrap for this week!  Love  you all and have a wonderful week!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Miracles and More Miracles!

This week was an eventful week.  Anerose was baptized on Thursday.  She requested a quiet, small baptism and that is just what we did.  She has already been such a blessing to us.  This past week she has given us three referrals, brought her friend to the baptism on Saturday, and has taught with us as well.  She is just so happy to help as well as involve her two little boys.

Sunday after church, Etna, Jinette and Latrisha were baptized.  They are our miracles!  We had scheduled for Amina's baptism this week, but because of complications she wasn't able to be baptized.  We taught Lisa earlier this week and she told us that she was no longer interested in storying with us.  As we were leaving her house Etna ran up to us and said that even if Lisa didn't want to get baptized she wanted to.  The baptism was one of the most amazing and spiritual baptisms I have attended on my mission.  God really has prepared them and has prepared their families as well.  We will continue to teach Papa Nicolas and Joseph with their children and wives.

Saturday my LAST TRANSFER CALL came!!!  I will be staying in Sharpi with Sista Betero and I could not be happier!  We set goals at the beginning of our first transfer together and we accomplished all of them.  Now we have six more weeks to do even more.

We also followed up with Andre and Annie this week and they are cleared to get married on February third and then Andre will be baptized on the fourth.   Just another testimony of how powerful prayer combined with fasting can be. Now we just have to go through the fun process of paper work to make it happen! 

I know this church is true and I love sharing it with others!  Nothing beats missionary work!!

Monday, January 9, 2017


John was baptized this past Saturday!  He was baptized along with the
branch president's little 8-year-old boy.  It was a great experience and he had
lots of his friends show up to support him.  One of his best friends,
Betero, was there to help him the whole time.  Betero will be a great
support for him.

We've continued to work with Annerose and she is set for baptism on
Thursday.  She doesn't want a lot of people there and so we
coordinated with the branch president to make her baptism small and
quiet.  I am so excited for her!  She has been working for this for
almost 6 months now.  She will be a solid member and the gospel will
continue to bless her and her two little boys more than ever.
Lisa is also set for baptism this Saturday.  She has been great!  She
continues to help Julie and without fail has a new person for us to
teach every time we go to her house.  We started teaching her Uncle
yesterday and he was very interested.  He actually already had a Book
of Mormon
and has read a little of it.

We met with Annie and Andre yesterday as well and set a marriage date
with them.  They will be married on February 3 if all goes as planned.
We fasted with them this past week and then went and spoke with
Annie's Dad to ask for permission, which was granted.  It was a
miracle and we are so thankful for God's hand in this whole process.

We made up a game this week called "mi save yu no wantem" or 'I know
you don't want it" when we contact.  We introduce ourselves and if
they say they are interested we teach them, but if they say they aren't
we take turns teaching a principle of the gospel before we go.  Like
this:  "I know you aren't interested and we're about to go, but before
we go I just want you to know that God is our Heavenly Father and he
loves each of us."  Then the next sista says, "We know you aren't
interested and we're just about to go, but before we go we want you to
know that this gospel will bless your family." back and forth, back
and forth and we see how much we can teach them.  Most people just
start laughing and it it's fun for everyone.  Even if we don't end up
teaching them it helps us make new friends with people that we pass on
a regular basis.

I love the work out here!  It is wonderful and God has so much in
store for the wonderful people here in Sharpi.  This really is the
true gospel and does hold so much truth and happiness!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Christmas and New Year's Celebrations

Sister Norton and I with native dancers just home from a performing trip on a cruise ship.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!  Since it's been two weeks since I have been able to email I'll give you a quick summary of what has been going on over here in Santo.

Christmas:  Christmas week we had the chance to share the message of Christmas with many, many new people in our area.  We taught using the church's picture/art book and it really seemed to bring the story to life for our investigators.  Our branch Christmas party took place on Christmas Eve. We loaded up a bunch of our investigators into a transport and drove to the church around 5 p.m. The program didn't end up starting until about 7:30 p.m. The definition of “prompt” is lost on many people here!  The Primary children acted out the Nativity for all the parents and then the missionaries performed.  The missionaries from the Philippines sang Christmas carols in Tagalog and then the Americans sang in English and the sistas from the Pacific danced.  The program was followed by a yummy giant plate of rice and soup. J  It was really enjoyable and our investigators loved every minute.

 Christmas day we went to church with a few investigators and enjoyed a wonderful program about enduring to the end.  Later that night we had a small devotional with all the missionaries in Santo, ate dinner and watched a movie.  The highlight was definitely skyping the family!!  

On the 27th we found out that Sista Norton from Vancouver, Washington would be joining our companionship.  She was serving with a sista who was waiting to go to Tahiti and when her visa came Sista Norton was left without a companion.  We are happy to have her and to learn from her.

Freshly cut pineapples
We've continued to work in our area like crazy.  Amina was doing wonderful and following the word of wisdom so well, but this past weekend she fell to temptation.  We'll have to continue to work with her.  She is working so hard but is having a really hard time.  She wants to do better, and I know that she will eventually become clean.  

John is set for baptism this Saturday.  He has been coming to church for months and months all by himself some weeks, and at other times with Annerose and her little boys.  While we were doing our planning we both had John pop into our minds and knew he needed to get baptized.  We talked to his dad and he agreed to let him get baptized.  We also hope for the chance to teach John's dad in the near future.  

Well, that's about it for this week.  The sun is shining and life is good over here in Vanuatu.  Thank you again for all your emails and letters and packages this Christmas.  It means so very much!