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!