Monday, July 17, 2017

Week 93 in Vava'u and Tonga's main Island- Last letter!

Hey everybody,

Hope everyones doing well, I'll be able to actually talk to all you guys next week so I'll keep this one short.

It's been an interesting week. 

On monday Poulsen and I made garlic bread and real spaghetti at the church. It was delicious. had some great talks. I convinced a fourteen year old member kid that I speak mandarin. 

On wednesday we had our zone conference meeting. My last one, President and Sister Tui'one are the best. I love them so much. Such a great meeting. They had all the kau osi (departing missionaries) bear our testimonies too. Also had to say goodbye to a ton of good friends that I'm not going to see again for a long long time. Elder Christensen and Bingham drove over that night to do our baptismal interview, and afterwards I showed them my engineering with the family history center room door. Bingham said I deserve the nobel prize haha. That was hecka fun. I love those guys. I've made such great friends out here on the mission and it sucks to think that I'm not going to be able to hangout with em all for a long time. I also chased what looked like a mini dinosaur out of our house that night. 

Thursday was a roller coaster. It was awful actually. Started out just like any other day, great conversations with Poulsen, good teachings with a couple of people... and then around five the zone leaders called and told me to pack my bags. The last plane going to Tonga in the next week had left, so the mission ordered a charter plane for that night. So I packed, we got picked up an hour later.  Got ripped out of my area and didn't get to say good bye to anyone or see our baptisms or have the party that my members planned for me. So that was sad. It was hard leaving Poulsen too with the other missionaries. I'm gonna miss that guy. Hope that he gets a good comp next transfer. So we landed in Tonga at 10:30 and all of us chilled at the mission home that night until two. Fun stuff. The next morning we got sent out to be in trios across the island until we go back to the office this wednesday. So I've been with Elder Stark and his Comp in my old area the past couple of days. Fahefa. So thats been nice. Lots of good talks with them and going back to my old investigators and members. Teaching them again. 

Stark and I have been having fun making future plans also. Came up with some good ideas and talked until 5:30 one night. 

Today we went and saw a giant rock that a tsunami took out of the ocean and tossed into a coconut field. We climbed it and took pictures. On the way down my flop bent on some coral and Im pretty positive I broke one of my toes. All swollen right now. But thats okay. I can walk and I'll be in america soon.

I'll see you guys, or be able to talk again come saturday! Live life and have fun. 

ofa atu kiamoutolu, Taylor

                            Zone Conference in Vava'u. Largest zone in the mission.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Week 92 in Vava'u

Hey Everybody! 

This weeks been good. 

On p-day I played basketball for the first time in forever. So that was awesome. 

Forgot to celebrate the fourth of july on the 4th so we did it on the 6th. Played basketball every morning that it didnt rain at the church from 6 to 7. that was fun. Poulsen has got a good shot. Hes better than I am. 

The work is going really good. I don't know if I've even mentioned this before, but we've been teaching this 11 year old girl named Meleseini (meley-sane-ee) recently and last week we set up her baptismal date for this next week on Saturday! So that's really exciting. She is really amazing and it's been super fun to teach her and to see her understanding just expand so much!

We also were able to visit with Emelita again! It went really good and she even agreed to read some of the Book of Mormon! One thing that I know for sure about the Book of Mormon is that if people will just read it and give it a chance they can gain a testimony of the truthfulness of it. All it takes is an open heart with a willingness to pray about it, and to do something about it, if they receive an answer.  The most important thing in this world is to at least test it, to see if it could be true. I love the Book of Mormon and I know that it is true.

Some kids helped us get proper form with the slingshot. They're snipers. One of them hit a knife from at least forty feet away. 

Also, I saw lots of my old members this week. Nuti and Moale from Ha'apai, Pulu from Houma in Eua, and Lani from Tofoa. That was awesome. It was so nice to get to talk to all of them. Man I miss Eua. 

Oh yeah! We saw some kids playing cricket one of the days while we were walking around in the rain... and I just had to teach them how to play baseball, so we played five innings of baseball in light rain with a tennis ball and a bunch of tree branches for bats. It was so much fun. I can't wait to play wiffle ball with the bros when I get home. 

On saturday we saw a truck drive down the road on its way to town, and it had four dogs standing on top of it.... not in the bed, on top of the roof!!! He was going about 30mph. We were both stunned, only in Tonga. 

Oh yeah, I found out that the ward is going to throw me a party because I'm finishing. They call it a mavai. There's going to be tons of food and lots of leis, but its going to be fun. 

Anyway, hope you all have a great week, and I'll see you soon!!! 

Ofa atu, Taylor

Monday, July 3, 2017

Week 91 in Vava'u

Hey everybody, hope you all had a great week. 

Brief rundown from the past week:

We set up a baptismal date with a new investigator for next week just before I leave, so that will be great. 

Found a ranch dressing bottle at one of the little tongan stores which was awesome. Made some delicious cracker-ranch sandwiches for lunch one day. 

We ate octopus at one of our investigators homes. Pretty delicious. Also, had a great lesson with him after we ate. I love teaching. 

On Saturday I literally walked out of my slippers. It was a very weird sensation, the strap broke once I hit the ground so the next step my foot came right out as if I wasnt even wearing anything. It was pretty funny. Then one of our members saw and made me wear her slippers, which were hawaiian sandals and three sizes too small for my feet... So then I went and bought a new pair of slippers, and took the other ones back to her, but then she demanded that I wear her "nice ones" because they're "durable", and then she took the ones I was wearing... Still trying to think of a way to give the slippers back without hurting her feelings. 

Yesterday we ran into another one of our investigators named Peni, who didnt come to church like he said he would, so when I asked him about it "na'e i fe koe?" he simply responded "Pisa!!" Pizza... Which was funny, because at least he remembered our deal and it seems likely he'll follow up with the pizza he now owes us. 

I cut Poulsens hair yesterday too. It looks pretty good. 

Also Mele Seini is the first investigator I've ever had who is literally doing everything backwards. She accepted a baptismal invitation before anything, she came to church this past week, and we teach her for the first time tomorrow. So thats cool. 

Been a good week. Crazy how fast the time is flying bye. Only two and a half more weeks and I'll be flying home. I still cant believe it. Hasn't hit me yet. 

Anyway, ofa atu kiamoutolu, ofa pe ke mou ma'u ha uike lelei aupito. Te tau toki fesiofaki osi ha taimi nounou aupito! Tay

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Week 90 in Vava'u

This week has been quite an interesting one.

Poulsen and I have gotten to know each other a lot more and it's been great. Lots and lots of talks about baseball and travel ball and old memories. Made me miss baseball a ton but it was good. 

We also ran into some kids on wednesday that would not leave us alone. We tried everything. And so finally I gave in and said alright lets play, and then we preceded to play dodgeball with four year olds using soccerballs. Tongan kids are really tough, so when we would peg them they would just laugh.  They loved it.

Also, that same day, we were visiting with a less active woman, and she asked me what I was doing after my mission, and then told me that I could have her daughter......"E atu a eku ta'ahine ke mo mali" or in english "Take my daughter to wife." So that was interesting. More so when I found out the daughter was only 16 years old!!! I thought she was way older. Yikes.

We got to see a very different church service on wednesday night that made me think a lot of the Saviors sermon on the mount. They projected a devil animation onto the wall entitled "HELL IS REAL" with the intent to scare people into being good and keeping the commandments. It was awful, babies and little kids were crying while watching it. I thought to myself "Fear is only ever a tool of the devil" and couldnt imagine Jesus ever trying to get his followers to follow him by scaring them. Then they all went into the church hall, and even out on the road and started yelling their prayers up at the sky, and they were yelling for a long long long time. It made me think of Mathew 6:1-8. I was just amazed at it all. 

We taught a bunch of little kids, a new guy named Fate (pronounced fa tay), and had some other really good lessons. Had a cool program at the church on friday, and the works started to pick up also. 

We witnessed a massive fight of 15+ people at the corner where we live two days ago. I've never seen anything like it before. Absolutely crazy. The punches sounded exactly like fake punches in the movies. Tons of kids got messeddd up really bad. At one point two kids were throwing big rocks at each other. A dad also came in at one point and threw down the hammer. It was crazy. 

All in all its been interesting. The scenarios we've found ourselves in have produced plenty of entertainment, spiritual experiences, and laughter.

Hope you guys have had an awesome week! 

Ofa atu, Taylor

Monday, June 19, 2017

Weeks 87, 88,and 89 in Vava'u

Letters are getting shorter and shorter, less and less info. Internet didnt work last week. I asked him to sum up the last 3 weeks. Here it is-

These past couple of weeks have been pretty good. Things that have happened. 

Got a nice new haircut. Possibly my last one in Tonga. Thats weird. Ate some delicious spit roasted pig for dinner. Had a service project in Tefisi. Grant and I got to talk about old times and have some great conversations. The service project was at the queens palace here in Vava'u. Cleaned up the grounds basically. It started raining halfway through though and we all got soaked. Fun service project though. We saw a yacht there in the Neiafu harbor that had a helicopter on it. The Governor was at the service project and he told us that that yacht has a submarine in the bottom of it and that it belongs to some billionaire from new zealand. Cool boat.

Sometimes I wish we ate something other than bread for breakfast, but we got hot sauce the other day and so thats been amazing. I honestly dont get very hungry at all anymore, we've eaten so little that I can go a whole day without eating and still feel fine since my stomach has already shrunken so much. I dont like how skinny its making me though. I think but I've lost all the good weight. I tried on my new comps pants the other day, and they were loose on me at a 30" waist.... I havent worn a 30" waist since before highschool I think so... thas no guda.

Made real american pasta again. Delicious. 

Last P-day we got a call for transfers and I found out that I'm going to finish my mission here in Leimatu'a, and that Elder Poulsen is going to be my last companion. So thats awesome. It's been great. P-day the internet was dead at the church so we didn't get to write home, but Poulsen came over so that was cool. Its been great. Very nice to work with someone again that wants to work, or I should say, is enthusiastic/motivated about the work. So thats a blessing. Nothing against my last comp, he was the man, just a little tired of being in the same area for six months I guess. On the other hand, Poulsen is super excited to be out of his last area, and onto a new area he was there a while. 

Oh yeah, Grant and Harmon came over to net at our church but the net was dead like I said, so we all had a movie day and watched "The work and the Glory" series. Good movies, but made me more excited to be around girls again and start dating. 

On tuesday I tried a new drink Poulsen told me to get from new zealand that everyone apparently says is delicious. It was called sparkling Pineapple something. Wasnt bad. That was interesting, tasted like pineapple soda though. 

Oh yeah, On wednesday this past week I met KOLIPOKI. Elder Groberg in the movie "the other side of heaven". I know, I'm just as surprised as you are that he's still alive. Cool experience though.

All in all things are going great. I'm loving it out here and having a lot of fun with my new comp. 

Also the work is starting to pick and we've had a lot of good lessons this past week. 

Sorry no pics. Ofa atu kiamoutolu, Tay

see you all in five weeks!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Week 86 in Vava'u

Hey everybody, sorry this is a short one not much exciting happened this week. 

On tuesday we walked eight miles in the pouring rain from district meeting back to our area. Soaked. At one point we used giant Taro leaves as umbrellas. Wish I took a picture of that. 

On friday we met a man named Sione Kuila, he was so excited to see me, a white guy from america, that he pulled out his wallet and started showing us all his american stuff... including his greencard, and even his social security card... I know his social security number now 575-73-*&% hahah. If I ever decide to be a felon it could come in handy. Jk. That was interesting though. We had an awesome teaching with a new family that day also. 

Later in the day I was filling up waterbottles from our neighbors tank, and I came back into the house to find a little downsyndromed man sitting on our floor eating some ufi hahah. He said a prayer for us and then we left.

But all in all, its been a great week. Hope you all had a nice one as well. 

Ofa Atu, Tay

Monday, May 22, 2017

Week 85 in Vava'u

This week was great. On monday we got to call home for mothers day. So that was awesome. Really nice to talk to everybody and joke around. Easily the highlight of the week. ​

Lots of walking and talking.

On wednesday we watched a bunch of kids get into a fight on the road. Entertaining. Also helped our stake president build his rockwall. 

On saturday I woke up to our next door neighbor lighting fires in a literal circle around our house to get rid of our trash.... what the heck. Very smoky. Excited for fresh air soon.

Also on saturday, our next door neighbor went crazy and started telling everyone that he was Sihova (Jehovah). Very interesting. He tried to preach to us but he would continually interrupt himself.

We got up at four this morning to go climb a tall mountain and got cool pictures of all of Vava'u. Here is the worlds first sunrise.

 I'll send more pictures next week

ofa atu kiamoutolu!