Friday, December 23, 2016

Week 63 in Pangai for Christmas

Happy Birthday Taylor! 20 years old this week

Hey Mom, I'm doing good. Its crazy to me to think that I'm twenty tomorrow. Still don't really believe it. I'll be here in Pangai for christmas. I don't have any idea when I will skype though, could be on friday, saturday, or sunday for you guys. Its hard cuz its not my area, I'm basically just depending on the zones here. Also, transfers are on christmas day, and so I dont know if we are going to be able to skype on monday(your christmas) or not since people might be moving, in that case we'll probably try to skype on christmas eve for us, the 23rd for you guys. Who knows. Just be ready haha. I miss christmas back home. Next year is going to be the best. 

Hey Dad,  I'm doing good. I was happy to hear about the shyba game and you calling out play names that dont exist during the game. I miss stuff like that. Everyone says that sister Pupunu has sister Reids personality (who's freaking awesome, who I was in Eua with) I've been wanting to meet her for a while now, but shes in Vava'u so not yet. I'm doing better, not sick but still feel weird. I was in Ha'afeva the last two days with Elder Gardiner and its been way fun. I dont know if you know who he is or not, but hes in my intake, hes way cool and we think the same way about stuff, business and ideas and so on.. so its been really fun the past couple of days. Gardiners from vernal, and has grown up going to Flaming Gorge also. 

This last transfer has been by far my hardest transfer on the whole mission.  Its been so frustrating. My companion gets angry faster than anyone I've ever met. I've learned more humility and patience this transfer alone than I think I have in the past two years. I wish I would've had this transfer before I was a leader because now I handle things entirely differently than how I used to. I'm ready for a  transfer. Anyway, I cant wait to hear about the Christmas day ping pong tournament, Dad you better win again. 
I cant wait to skype. Its going to be so nice. 
Love you, Tay

Monday, December 12, 2016

Week 62 on the Island of Nomuka

Hello! This is Elder Enos as a scribe for Elder DeSpain (once again). I made it back to Nomuka and I've been sick all week. I think it's strep. It's been a rough week. This has probably been my hardest transfer. I just can't wait for Christmas and Skype. I'm glad you all are still working on the Mazda. I'm hoping it's still there when I get home. That's exciting that SHYBA started. It feels like yesterday that Jack and I were playing on the same team. Sounds like fun.I hope you're doing well, and I hope you're having fun preparing for Christmas. Tell Jack, Hogan and Luke to eat extra caramels for me. I love you a lot, and I miss you so much.


Just an old picture of your son with my camera. No worries, he asked me to send this!  -Elder Enos

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Week 61 on the Island of Nomuka

This picture popped up on Facebook this week, Always fun to see your missionary.

Hey Mom and Dad, 

I'm doing alright, the mission tour was fun. My favorite part was just getting to hangout with people that speak English and having fun with the other elders. Right now I'm in Ha'afeva with two other missionaries because my comp is flying to Tonga tomorrow to get his tooth fixed, so I won't even get back to my area for at the very least another week.  It's cool that dad is coaching Jack and Hogan in basketball.  That will be fun, especially with the Grollers too. I've been thinking a whole ton about the future this past week. I can't wait to get back and eat Taco Bell on the way home and just relax with all of you guys. No one ever talks about how hard and stressful missionary work is but they should, I'm exhausted and I'm not going to lie Taco Bell sounds really freaking good right now. I'm excited to get back. Elder Gardner and I have been talking about the future, college is going to be fun. I hope Luke's hands are healing and feeling better. Glad to hear you are doing well. 
Love you, Tay

Monday, November 28, 2016

Week 60 on the Island of Nomuka

Elder Hau and I

Hey guys, 

Its actually me today, we got a members smart phone and decided to pay for internet, so here I am.

It sounds like you guys had a good thanksgiving weekend. I totally forgot that it was thanksgiving this past week. I still remember last thanksgiving eating at Tuifios house in Tongamama'o. Crazy how fast time flies.  I'll have to see Dr. Strange when I get back. its going to be a fun time. Tonight we are getting up at twelve to go and take a boat to get onto a big shipping boat in order to get to the mission tour in Ha'apai this coming week. Were going to be in Ha'apai until saturday I'm pretty sure. Which I'm excited for because I'll be able to hangout with Gardner for most of the week which will be nice. The island here is pretty tiny I'm realizing. Really really tiny, and there arent that many people. We can visit all of the members in under 2 hours haha. We get to all of 'em once every day. There is only 10 families in the branch. I made otai for the first time on friday. So that was cool. I'll have to make it for all of us when I get back. Not much has really happened though besides that. Oh yeah, I found out last week when i was in the office that my kau hu finishes July 22... thats when I will be flying home. Craziness. For some reason one of the short transfers we had due to the native speakers time changing in the mtc has finally caught up with us and pushed forward everyones release dates in the mission that entered before the MTC change. So now I'm coming home more than a month less than two years. Crazy. 

Something that my week here has shown me so far, more so than all my other areas, is how incredibly fortunate and blessed I've been growing up. I feel like I've gotten used to and adapted to the humble living conditions pretty well out here in Tonga, and then every once and a while I'll realize I'm sitting in a building with half a roof missing and with dirt for floor, or pumping water from the nearby swamp into our water tank to shower with, or be eating kapa pulu off of the floor for lack of plates, and I'll think to myself "what the heck, this is crazy". I'm so grateful for the life that you guys gave me. I've been so blessed. 

This past week I read the whole book of genesis and a fourth of exodus. Learned a ton, the byu study books really help out too. Good stuff. I'm doing well, starting to get more and more excited to come home, but I think thats just cuz of this tiny island and not speaking english literally ever. I cant wait to finally just have a full on good conversation in english again. So this week will be good in Pangai. 

Love you guys, excited to hear from everyone else. 

Ofa atu, Tay

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Week 59 I've arrived in Nomuka

District Conference in Hafeva before all departing to their individual islands.

Hey everybody,
     I am alive, this is me, well, it's really not me, it's Elder Enos. I'm talking to him on the phone and I'm on a tiny island with no internet. I'm having Elder Enos read and respond to the emails for me because he's a nice guy (he said it folks. I'm just typing what he says). Elder Enos read to me all your guys' emails and it was good to hear from you guys. 
    This past week has been crazy. I flew out to Ha'apai this past Thursday then took a boat to Hafeva that night, which was a three hour boat ride. Then we stayed the night in Hafeva and then stayed there for a district conference this past weekend. President Tui'one and his family came and we all hung out together, which was fun. President and them are awesome. Yesterday after the conference ended we got on a tiny little wooden boat about the size of our suburban, but perhaps a little longer. Then we sailed for nearly three hours across the ocean until we landed in Nomuka. It was probably one of the most exhilarating things I've ever done. The boat would go up and down twenty feet, depending on the waves. We got pretty wet. I also got the worst sunburn of my entire life. My arms and face look like they were painted red...
    We got there. The water wasn't running, and the MQ was filthy. We pretty much unpacked and went around the island, and visited our Branch President. The island is super super tiny and I think there's less people here than in Tongamama'o. 
    I was really happy to hear your guy's emails. I hope you guys keep emailing each week. It kinda stinks that I can't email, but I'm glad Enos is willing to help me out. 
    There is one store here. I'm pretty sure it has only three things...toilet paper, toothpaste, and dish soap. So it's kind of cool to be...cast away. We'll see how it turns out. but we're doing well. Love all you guys. Can't wait to hear more next week. I'll ask Enos to see if he can do the same next week. 

    Ofa lahi atu kiate kimoutolu.

                Love, Tay

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week 58 in Tonga

Elder Mahe, Elder DeSpain, Elder Leka, and Elder Ofa

Hey Everybody,

This weeks been pretty crazy. Especially the transfer. But I'll get to that later. 

Monday- Enos and Harmon and I split off from the zone pday and went to play pool at a members house. That was fun. Afterwards we went to the blow holes in houma. Oh yeah, I saw Pahulu, my first AP when I came in, at the zone p-day. Been about a year now since he finished. We were all supposed to eat dog at the pday, but it wasnt ready... Then when we were sleeping monday night, around 11:30 our phone started going off. We kept ignoring it until we got a text from Lisa in Utulau "ko maua eni ha'u moe kuli" haha then we answered the phone right away. Lisa is the best. The dog was ready at like 11 pm, and they decided to drive all the way over to fahefa to give us some dog to eat... Hahaha so we ate dog at like 12 that night. Delicious. 

Tuesday- We took Enos and Fakahu'a to the resort restaurant to celebrate the end of Fakahu'a's training. Love those guys. I also accidentally reversed over their stake presidents dog that day... it crawled under the car. Its alright though, its still alive. I started my vilo hoa that night with Elder Toutai too. 

Wednesday- Dreamt that I didnt have enough money for Ritas water ice. Sad dream. Taught the peace corp named Nick. He's really cool. Good lesson. Love teaching in english, even though I forget a lot of words. Toutai climbed some coconut trees for us and got us some coconuts to drink. Taught investigator named Pela, and then afterwards went to fafanga at Vaikonas. They fed us Ota Ika!!!! Delicious. With hot manioke too, and we heard all about the election and the results, crazy!

Thursday- Interviewed one of Houmas investigators for baptism, and found out that she was the older sister of one of the girls that Tafoya and I tried to teach forever in Tufuvai. That was cool, Ofeina Topu' is older sister. Good talk about that with her. 

Friday- Friday was crazy. I found out my transfer from Gardner at the office. We went over there to drop our car off to be serviced, and ended up hanging out there with the APs and office elders from 11 until 4. The finishing missionaries showed up and we got to talk to them, and then after they left I talked to Tua'one for a while. He just came back from Nomuka in Ha'apai and is having something done to fix his teeth. He's temporarily comps with Gardner... Then he told me my Transfer. Tua'one is coming to Hihifo and being the zone here with Elder Ieni... and I.... I am going to Nomuka and training a tongan.... Then Gardner later confirmed it. And then... They told me all about Nomuka....

NOMUKA- Nomuka is the most remote island in the Ha'apai island group. Its about a six hour boat ride from Tonga, and likewise, around the same from ha'apai. You can only get to it by boat, and ill be so far away from any other missionaries that I wont go to district meetings. I am basically going to Niua, except its not as hot in Nomuka. There's no internet, and there's only a tiny branch on the island. I cover two other tiny islands there as well, but will only go if one of the members say they have an investigator. The island has a fresh water lake in the center of it. Pretty cool. My prayers and letters to president about how badly I want to go back to the islands have been answered, except this is another level. 

So I'm pretty excited about all of that, and the opportunity to train again. Training is fun. 

Nomuka has been shut down to missionaries for years, and the missionaries that did cover the island before, lived on a different island.  (Mom don't freak out I'll be fine). Elder Tua'one just came from there, he just reopened the island last transfer and he was giving me a lots of information that will be really helpful, so thats good.  

So yeah... pretty excited, pretty sketched out, training, no internet, one of the supposed prettiest islands in the world... Should be interesting. Definitely going to be a once in a lifetime experience. Elder Gardner is going to be my new ZL in Ha'apai too, which will be pretty cool. I only go in to the main Ha'apai islands for zone conference, and maybe I'll get to net there. Tua'one told me some of the members on the island have cell phones that I could net from, but I dont know how expensive that'd be or not, so I dont know when I'll be emailing again. And I dont know about Skype for christmas either. Sorry Mom. But I'm going to try, and Elder Enos told me I could call him and he'd read me emails from my account from tonga over the phone to me and respond if I wanted haha. So thats an option. Should be fun. 

Saturday- We baptised our investigator named Pela.

Sunday- Confirmed Pela, packed all day long. Going to try and store my other luggage at my stake presidents house until I finish. Mahe gave me money to buy cards to skype home for christmas with a members phone or something in Nomuka if thats an option. Hes the man. Oh yeah and Otukolo gave me his really nice electric phillips razor to use there because he knows I wont be able to buy razors. Tons of other stuff happened this week that was awesome. But thats the wrap up.

 Love you guys. If I dont talk to you guys again for a while, you'll know why. Could be 4-6 months, but I think I'll be able to email at zone conferences, and there are rumors internet is coming to Nomuka but who knows. Hopefully I'll be able to skype for Christmas. I"m sure Prez will let us do something. Going to be fun. I'll keep you all in my prayers. 

Until Next Time, Ofa Atu, Tay

                         My ward mission leader -Sitaleki

Some P-day beach time

Friday, November 11, 2016

Week 57 in Tonga

Hey everyone,

Thats awesome that the cubs won the world series, wish I could've seen that. I hope the Eagles will do better next year. I'm glad to hear everyone is doing well. Looks like Halloween was fun also.

l almost forgot to mention last week that Prince Ata almost hit us with his truck near Liahona. That would've been a cool story.

Here is a quick update of last week:

Tuesday: Great conversation with one of our investigators named Kava. Leka gave me a haircut.

Wednesday: Great studies with the Book of Mormon and Hugh Nibley. The guy knows so much. I read along and listened to his hour long lectures on a chapter or two. Learning a ton. Its crazy how much cultural detail the Book of Mormon gives when Lehi’s family was traveling in the wilderness that Hugh Nibs expands on. There’s no way that Joseph Smith could have known all of that stuff. Really cool. 
     Nancy, one of our recent converts, told me she thought I was 25, also she admitted to hiding from us and telling kids to tell us that "she went to the gym" when we first started teaching her. Goes to show what persistence is worth. Now she goes to the mission prep class. 

Thursday: We gave one of the sisters a blessing with President Tui'one. That was pretty cool. 

Friday: Halloween activity

Saturday: Craziest storm I've ever witnessed.

Sunday: The time changed in Tonga so no one showed up to church haha.

Today: About to go eat the dogs in Utulau that were prepared for our PDay. FIVE DOGS!!!! 

Cant wait for transfers this coming week. Praying, I leave this place and go back to the outer islands. 

Ofa Atu, Tay

Here is the only pic that turned out this week. This is Elder Leka

Friday, November 4, 2016

Week 56 in Tonga

Overview of this past week:

Tuesday: Started our vilo hoa with the APs. I went with Hosea and Leka went with Pakalani. The vilo was awesome. We drove over to Holonga and talked to a bunch of missionaries there after their district meeting. I talked to Elder Hau, and Tavake and a bunch of great guys. I also lost my nice ta'ovala, kafa, and tie to those guys haha. It is what it is. The APs work in Liahona now so we went over there and I literally went door knocking for the first time in my whole mission. House to house, across lawns. It was weird, felt like I was serving in a different country. Also while in Liahona, Elder Va'enuku played his guitar for us, he is super good. Taught a really good lesson there with Hosea, and then after fafanga we drove to Tofoa to talk to Sulunga. Love that guy. Sulunga is the man. That night, we got back to the office really late, so we just decided to all sleep at the mission dorms. It was great. Elder Gardner and I and Hosea talked for forever. It was by far probably the best night of the past couple transfers. 

Wednesday: So Gardner is going to Niua next transfer, and Prez told him to pick his companion since he wants him to get along with his comp out there on a tiny island away from everyone. So I was talking to him about it, and he was saying how fun it would be, but then he told me "you're a zone bro, you can't". If it worked out it would be great, but probably isn't going to happen.  That night we had a teaching, and at the end of it during the prayer I had the coolest feeling of peace and purpose. Put me at ease here in Fahefa.

Oh yeah, Elder Leka wants to grow up and look for aliens and mermaids for a living. He's dead serious too.

Thursday: Vilo hoa with Elder Enos. Enos is the man. Its amazing to me that when I came from Eua to Tonga, he was still being trained, and now, after next transfer, he will have been out as long as I have left. Crazy stuff. Time is going bye so quickly. 

Friday: Enos and I boiled eggs and cooked buns using the iron. Good breakfast. That night Leka argued to me in complete seriousness how he "knows" that unicorns and mermaids are real, because he saw it on the news....

Saturday: Ive officially decided I'm naming one of my kids after Siope Piukana. He's the man, fifteen years old and probably the coolest kid I've ever met in my whole life. He made us banana bread yesterday night for us haha. Was way good too. 

Sunday: OTA IKA KI AI!! Love eating ota ika. Third week in a row. Heck yea.

Love you guys, Have a good week, Tay

Monday, October 24, 2016

Week 55 in Tonga

List of stuff that happened this week:

Monday: We got a call from the APs during emailing to take missionaries to the health clinique in Liahona, and got to witness an animal looking thing come out of one of the missionaries ears. Drove to Kolovai to play volleyball. Started our vilo hoa with the Lakepa elders.

Tuesday: Ended up teaching a new guy at the bus stop with elder Harmon, taught him the plan of salvation. It was good. Harmon unloaded to me at lunch all of the crazy awful things his last comp did to him while they were together. Man, that made me feel really lucky to be comps with Leka. It rained pretty hard and we took a rest at the MQ. The rain made me want to go back to Eua sooooo flipping bad. I miss Eua so much. Its an entirely different mission over there and I really miss it. We talked about Betos and Chipotle to... I would kill for a burrito. After one of our teachings wasn't lava, we got back onto the main road and I got a text from Sister Tui'one that made my day. Lifted my spirits a lot. Sister Tui'one is awesome. She's like a second mom to me out here, way cool. She said a lot of nice things to me and it was just what I needed. She's the best, our President and his family are awesome. Planned the agenda for our zone meeting.

Wednesday: Listened to a talk about Babe Ruth and attitude, great talk. Made me miss baseball. We went and taught the Peace Corp volunteer named Megan. Leka doesn't speak any English really, so I taught the lesson. It was awesome. Over the past three weeks shes gone from Agnostic, to believing that there is a diety through our conversations. Slow progress but progress nonetheless. Since she lacks faith and "needs" evidence of things, I decided to talk about spiritual experiences. Shared a bunch of stuff and she shared personal stories and then I logically turned her experiences into spiritual "evidence". It was pretty cool. I shared about Joseph Smiths "spiritual evidence" and then committed her to try and get her own. It was pretty cool. 

Thursday: Thursday morning the clouds were dropping swimming pools to the earth. We started our zone meeting in Matahau and it went pretty well. Afterwards the Matahau ward came through big time. They provided soooooooooo much food for us it was insane. Good stuff. Later in the day I had to do a baptismal interview, and afterwards, Sulunga, my man from Tofoa called and told me that my referral to him wants to be baptized. So that was really cool. Later that night it started to rain while we were walking home. I loved it. Reminded me a ton of Eua. Made me feel awesome. Found out also that the dad of one of our investigators just gave the green light for her baptism, which is awesome cuz shes been trying to get baptized for like five years. Got back to the MQ, and then I decided to faka'uha and just enjoy the rain. Went out and just laid out and felt the rain. Was awesome. Favorite part of the day. 

Friday: We went to Fo'uis baptism, and the kid that got baptised over there.... dang. He had one heck of a testimony about tithing hahaha. He explained the principle to all of us, and then he proceeded to give maybe fifteen examples. "If you have this much pa'anga then you give..." It was starting to get a little unreal, and I started wondering what the heck was happening. Haha funny stuff. 

Saturday: Listened to a great speech about Brigham Young by Hugh Nibley. We ate donuts for fafanga at Te'ekiu, and meanwhile I looked through the liahona magazines to determine who was "Miss Liahona" found someone in the November 2013 won I think, she was flipping gorgeous. I've already decided I'm going to find her sister when I get back haha. Cant wait for college. Made the best corned beef meal ever. 

Sunday:  Pisopes dad started an impromptu song in the middle of a lesson... Ate octopus for fafanga. Delicious. Nancy and Sa taught us lesson 1. It was awesome. I loved seeing the scriptures that we bought for her all marked up and full of notes. Way cool. She's solid. Shes going to ask pisope to request to shorten her waiting time before she can submit papers for her mission, since she just got baptised. For Fafanga at night, we ate ota ika!!!! Every time I see ota ika prepared for us, its like its my birthday. Ota ika is my favorite Tongan food. Soooo good. Its basically just raw fish with tomatoes and coconut juice, thats it. But its delicious. Its soooo raw, pretty much they literally catch the fish and cut out the meat and just mix it up with tomatoes and coconut juice. I'm surprised that I've never gotten sick eating it, but by now I think my immune system is so strong, that when I get home, if we ever go fishing and I get a good one, I'm not kidding I might just flip out a knife and ota it. Will feel like Gollum but its so good. 

Pretty good week. Love you guys, Ofa Atu, Tay

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Week 54 in Tonga

This week was pretty good, stuff that happened:

Monday: Went fishing off some tiny cliffs at the northernmost point of the island with Elder Manu and Elder Veamatahau. Love those guys haha. We caught 8 fish. The wind was crazy and the waves were insane, but we still had a good turn out. 

Wednesday: Had one of my recent converts roleplay a lesson to us instead of us reteaching her, that was way fun. Cool to see their progress. 

Thursday: Met at the temple at 11:45 for a session. That was way good, then afterwards we drove to the New Zealand owned hotel in Fuamotu for our MLC meeting with President and the other zone and sister training leaders. That was way fun, felt like I was back in America for a second. The hotel was really nice. After the meeting we played billiards, relaxed, and ate at the buffet. Then we were all given room cards by the APs to stay the night. So that was cool. Prez must have pulled some nice strings for that, expensive hotel. We had a cool home evening after dinner there with the mission presidency and so on. Then we all relaxed in our rooms, cool day.

That was the biggest things that happened this week. Enjoying the mission. Sometimes things seem to go super slowly though. Doing well. Hope all of you guys are too. 

Love y'all, Tay

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Week 53 in Tonga

Hey Mom and Dad,                                                                                                 Oct. 9, 2016

     I'm doing alright. My new comp is really really hard. He doesn't ever want to do anything, its frustrating. I dont think he's used to working. Teaching me to be patient, it is hard. He just wants to sleep all day. Just trying to figure out how to help him want to work. I'm doing alright though. 
     Glad Luke had a good birthday, and Happy Birthday Mom. I'm glad Dad and Luke are hunting hopefully they will have fun. That would be fun if next year all of us could go. I hope Hogan will win the baseball tournament today. 
     Sharks weren't caught last week. We caught some fish though. My camera batteries were dead though. We are going again today so I'll take some pic. 

Have a good week, Love ya, Tay

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Week 52 in Tonga

Things that went down this week-

Monite- Shark fishing was'nt lava unfortunately because the members coming with all of the gear were too late. But we have the gear now so we are going to go shark fishing today after netting. Should be fun. Instead of fishing last week we just went to the beach and ate icecream.

Tusite- Office visits, district mtgs, talk w/ sister Tui'one and office elders. Teachings

Pulelulu- Our fafanga brought us bread and kapa mo'a, so we decided to go to the store to buy more food, but saw the family's truck getting ready to leave, so we drove past the store in our village, not wanting them to see us buying food, and drove to Te'ekiu. Parked at the store and Soakai said "Watch them drive by and see us here", not two minutes later they drove past us hahah. Oh well. Great lesson teaching Kava about the Book of mormon. Love that guy. Really cool analogy I used comparing physics to math, teaching him about the bible and the book of mormon. Went and did baptismal interviews in Kanokupolu. 

Tu'apulelulu- HAPPY BIRTHDAY X! Went and lifted in the morning and did deadlifts. Was super dissapointed with how much muscle I've lost on the mission so far. Went to deadlift 90kgs and it was a struggle. I used to powerclean that in workouts with 30+reps no problem, so the fact that that was a struggle was really disheartening. Theres no way I could powerclean that much right now. Really really annoying. Want to be back in the shape that I used to be. Another trip to the office, Prez went on a walk with Soakai and told him our transfer. He wasnt allowed to tell me though. Also thursday, we blew so many kids minds with "miracles" hahaha. We had sooooo much fun. I've gotten really good at sleight of hand magic tricks, and I know a couple of tricks to "read peoples minds", we did a bunch of those on the kids.... man. That is sooo flipping funny. It was way fun. I did the reading minds trick on them and they were blown away " ko e mo'oni ia, na'a ne hiki ia ki he pepa!!!" At the very end, Soakai had the car keys in his pocket, I acted like I was forcing the car trunk open from afar, and he popped the trunk with the keys. Hahaha the kids went crazy. "Oku malohi aupito e fai mana a naua!!!!" - my favorite quote of the day - translated literally:"Their miracle performing is super strong!!!" Funny stuff. That night our investigators fed us fafanga. Crab salad ki ai. 

Falaite- Friday was super fun. Poteki came and hoa tolu'd with us since vito finished. So he stayed with us until this morning(monday). It was fun. Poteki is a crack up. Tons of watch and ta'ovala and kafa and slipper trading that day with all of the missionaries. We had to take the DL to kanokupolu to do interviews there, and so seven missionaries were trading up over there. I think I've gone through nearly over five hundred dollars worth of watches since being on my mission now in trades and so on. That night we went to kanokupolus baptism (all seven of us again haha) and ate the food at the feast. Good stuff. Then we had to drive to fafanga in Houma from there and eat again hahaha. Kai ke mate ki ai. 

Tokonaki- Saturday was pretty good most of the day. Fun vilo with Soakai and Poteki. Lots of laughs. Then I found out Saturday night that I'm really just staying in Fahefa. As you can imagine I was super super sad about that. That was really rough. Saturday night and all day yesterday were pretty hard days for me. Wanted to go to Vava'u really bad. But nope... Still just a zone here in Fahefa. It stinks too that Soakai got transfered, I loved being comps with him and we taught awesome lessons. Now my new comp is Elder Leka, He's a true Tongan from Tonga. No english.  Really anxious and nervous,  but Elder Leka is way cool. My tongan is going to be way better in a month. I'm starting to see more and more of the brightside. I think its going to be really good. Just wish we could have comped up in Vava'u instead of Fahefa. Oh well. Should be fun. 

Some other news,  Elder Pakalani, he's the new AP. He just finished his twelve weeks of training. He's great. So that will be fun.

Love you guys, I'm doing well, hope you're all great,  Tay

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Week 51 in Tonga, 10 months to go!

This week went by really quickly. 

Stuff that happened this week:

Monday- I washed some laundry in the shower. Gotta do what you gotta do.  After netting we drove over to Utulau to join in on their pday. There was music and volleyball and, two whole pots of freshly umu cooked dog. It was delicious. We left there with four extra plates full to share with the te'ekiu elders. Haircut. Lessons fell through. Talked with and ate dog with Te'ekiu that night.

Tuesday- Weightlifting in the morning, fafanga fell through so we ate at liku'alofa resort after district meeting. Lots of teachings lots of lessons, distributing needs.

Wednesday- I interviewed three people for baptism in Lakepa. That night we had a ward missionary activity that we set up to watch the first vision with investigators and member friends and so on. Started our vilo hoa with the Vaotu'u elders. Elder Enos is awesome.

Thursday- Vilo'd with elder Enos the whole day. It was really fun. Great discussions. Talk about his desire to be a chef, and the culinary arts. We had to run by te'ekiu that day and we got there and found that the kolo zones were at the mq. They had to bring a mandarin speaking missionary over. So I got to talk to Clay there for a long time about a bunch of stuff. It's been forever since the last MLC so its been a while since I've seen him. Elder Enos reminded me of Nick a lot to on that vilo hoa. We got to play an awesome game of chess that night. First time in forever. Also taught a bunch of good lessons with Enos that day. 

Friday- Bucket Showers. Trip to the mission office. Good talk with Sister Tui'one. Love Prez and his wife so much. Theyre awesome. Talked with Elder Gardner about all the pranks that Prez plays on them in the office. Hahaha i'd share but I dont think itd make sense to you guys. Prez is the best. I love that guy. Prez reminds me a lot of my Dad in some ways. He likes to mess with people. Oh yeah, when I found out that Gardner is going to Niua I called him and made him leave a note for Prez from me that said "I would love to be comps with someone that rhyms with todner in a place that rhyms with siua" (it was supposed to be a secret that gardner was going out there). When prez read my note he busted up laughing. Haha good stuff. I also got to talk with a Wesleyan priest on friday, and I got to talk to my recent converts Lupe and Se in kanokupolu after driving up there to talk to those missionaries. They're doing great. Lupe and Se are even bringing another whole family to the church. Awesomeness. 

Saturday- Got up at around five thirty to get ready for the temple. We took our recent convert from Fahefa who we baptised two weeks ago, to go do baptisms for the dead. The tongan temples baptistry was soooo awesome. Favorite temple baptistry by far. It was soo cool. Reminded me of an amazonian temple or something out of the tv show lost, except for nice and well lit and cool. Idk it was awesome. We did the confirmations in tongan. Oh yeah, I also met the first agnostic person on my mission. Shes a peace corp volunteer. She knew Jen from Eua too so that was cool. Somehow I got her to admit that there is a noticeable and evident spiritual part of the world. Things in her own life that she couldn't explain and so on. Cant wait to see how far her teaching goes. On the way to Kala'au after talking to her, we passed some kids slingshotting rocks at bats hanging from a giant mango tree, the bats have a wing span of 2 feet. 

Visited a home that night and an old lady, that was truly in unparalleled poverty. Some places snap me to reality and its like dang. This is crazy. I've been so blessed in my life.

Sunday- Sunday was a good good day. I love it out here. Love the people. It's fun. 

I'm doing well. 

Ofa atu,  Tay


only good pic on my camera this week. Sorry not a lot

Friday, September 23, 2016

Week 50 in Tonga

This week was busy. Fun. Tiring. 

On monday we went and did a service project at prince Ata and the crown princes homes. We cleared all of the trees and bushes that seperated his yard from the beach, so now they can look straight to the ocean instead of at the trees. It was a fun service project though. It was just our zone and President and Sister Tui'one and the APs. I got to drive the giant uta truck around too since im the only one allowed to drive in the zone. It was stick shift, so that was nice to finally drive one of those again. 

On thursday we got a phone call from President asking us if we could present an award to the crown prince of Tonga for his birthday. So we got some missionaries together and drove up to his home where we had a little presentation ceremony thing with the crown prince. Prez wasnt even there. It was just us and our stake president. So that was cool. Haha, during the opening hymn the princes two puppies were playing around on the mat, then they started "playing around" on the mat right next to the princes feet. haha pretty funny. I got to shake the crown princes hand too. So someday I'll be able to say that I shook the hand of the king of Tonga. Cool stuff. 

Those are the coolest things done this week. Not much else besides regular missionary work. We've had a ton of awesome lessons. Soakai and I are teaching lots of lessons out here. Its way fun. We set up 6 new baptismal dates this week, and should have another baptism come saturday. The work is fun. Really busy, tiring, but fun. 

 Love you guys, Tay

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Week 49 in Tonga

This past week was pretty good. Very busy. and ate cheesecake for the first time in over a year.

Monday: Pday was at the beach in kanokupolu, beach volleyball with the district, nice shade, climbing coconut trees and drinking coconuts. Good times. 

Tuesday: Had zone conference. It was good. First zone conference I'd ever even been too, and we were the ones doing half of the teachings. We led the first forty five minutes of the meeting, and then the APs finished off with roleplays on street contacting. Later tuesday night, we went on a vilo hoa with the APs. Hosea and Soakai stayed in Fahefa and Kilary and I worked in Havelu and in Liahona. I saw Tili matakaiongo at the temple in liahona and that was awesome. Love that guy.

Wednesday: Smashed a raw egg onto my clothes because of a magic trick gone wrong with the local kids. Haha they were so embarrased, started wiping me off with their shirts. 

Thursday: Helped an old man named Laulea do his gardening. 

Friday: Taught all the kids at the tiny elementary school nearby. Hahaha that was flipping fun. Fafanga was bread and butter... We vilo'd with the ward kids, bunch of lessons. Nancys baptismal interview. Did baptismal interviews for the sisters in matahau. 

Saturday: Went to fill up the baptismal font in teekiu for nancys baptism. That was a problem. The water was only like six inches high and we had two hours to go. So we got out the buckets. Too slow, said a prayer, and then right afterwards the pisope of the teekiu ward showed up to help us with the bucketing. Then we took the other firehose (we were already using the one to try and fill up the font) and cut that off from where it was connected, to drag it to the other side of the church to attach it to one of the faucets we were using for our buckets. Tongan ingenuity with knives and rubber and so on... But the baptismal font was ready. It all turned out great. Nancy gave a cool testimony too. I baptized her. Good stuff. 

Sunday: Confirmed Nancy a member of the church. Lessons. Ward council meetings. APs called and told us that our zone is doing a zone service project at Prince Ata's house tomorrow. 

Oh yeah!, Elder Brown and Mahe somehow got captain crunch!!! So we ate good american breakfast for the first time in over a year. Delicious. 

Good week. Busy. Ofa Atu, Elder DeSpain 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Week 48 in Tonga

Hey guys, going to make this quick because we're trying to hurry to go play some beach volley, but here's a brief explanation of what went down this week. 

Monday:  We went to Ha'alalo for the zone pday we set up, and ate dog over there. Delicious. Everyone loved that.

Tuesday: District meetings, district meetings, district meetings. Then we stopped in on Ha'alalos district meeting and found prez and sister Tui'one were in on it over there. That was great, after the meeting sister Tuione took the sisters to get food and we took prez back to the office. Haha I love prez. He is funny. I asked him about going on vilo hoa's with the kau tau (non DLs) and he just said "ko koe e lava ke ma'u fkha ki ho'o souni, faiteliha pe koe" I love prez. He said we should do whatever we think would be best. He's awesome, he spent an hour talking to church membership service center thing in tongan trying to figure out a membership number for our recent convert so that they can go to the temple. Then some "senior missionary named Elder Phelps" called and said that my visa didnt go through, I called Lisiate out on it in like five minutes though and then the office elders all started laughing. Thought I heard President lauging in the background too.

Wednesday: Woke up and drove to Nukunuku to play basketball for exercise with those elders. Good time. Ran out of phone credit so Elder Enos became our zone secretary for fafanga haha. Found out that the customs charge took fifty pa'anga out of my ninety pa'anga msf., whatever haha. Office trips for zone with gardner and pakalani to storage. Haha found out that pakalani can make his voice sound exactly the same as presidents and that he fooled me on the phone a couple times apparently when I thought I was talking to prez. Love those guys. Lots of new investigators be simply calling out "Sione! Sione!" on the road until someone told us where Sione was. Or "oh wei ikai ko sione ia?! ko Pita ene hingoa?...Pita! Pita!" found ya hahaha. Planning seems to always take us an hour until everything is full. 

Thursday:  Met a deportee who is really funny. Had a great lesson with our investigator named Nancy, it was awesome. I taught things that I didnt even understand until they came out of my mouth. I learned more about baptism and its dependency on the atonement in that lesson than I ever understood before or even thought about, and I was the one that taught it. Really cool. Left the lesson and was like "what the heck just happened, all of that stuff is true, but I never even knew that before" cool experience. Also an awesome family home evening with a siasi tonga family. Super awesome. Miss Eua so much. Brown and Mahe treated us to mint chocolate chip icecream before our vilo hoa because of my year mark. That was fun

Friday: Awesome Vilo Hoa with Elder Brown. So many great discussions about cool doctrinal things. Learned a lot, and thought about a ton of really cool things. Great day. Brown told me that one thing he learned is that he needs to plan better. Successful vilo. 

Saturday: Fasts. Decided I'm going to name one of my kids after one of the member kids here. Siope. He's probably the coolest, most mature, most helping, awesome fifteen year old kid I know. He made fafanga for us this morning and vilo hoa'd with us all day saturday. Such an awesome kid. Want my son to be like him. Leki does a hecka good job raising kids. Leki is the coolest ward mission leader ever.  Found out we will be having zone conference next week from the APs. Funny, I've been out over a year now, and my first zone conference will be one that I'm likely conducting. 

Sunday: Had probably the best lesson 1 teaching of my entire mission during church. It was awesome. Met with stake presidents and had a meeting with all of them and the bishops in the te'ekiu stake and proposed to them a new missionary program for the stake, which they agreed upon and gave us dates for us to distribute to the missionaries to be a part of. That was cool. The Te'ekiu stake president is awesome. Probably my favorite stake president to work with so far, and I never thought I'd say that cuz of prez Ma'u, but P. Langi is the man. Good week. 

So many more things happened than that but overall it was a great week. Went by so fast. 

Love you guys, Tay

Eating dog on our p-day. 

Another awesome sunset!