Monday, February 29, 2016

Week 21 on the Island of Eua

Hey All,

Good to hear that mom and dad had a good anniversary. La Cantina
sounds mexican, not fair.  

Hopefully you guys have a good day out on the slopes and can have some
videos for me of Luke next week. That would be cool.

I was really glad to hear that you all went up to Princeton to surprise Natalie at her game. I'm sure that meant a lot to her, thanks.

Elder Tafoya is improving ever so slightly, it's slow, but he is improving. We get along really well. I
'm dang jealous of X. He gets so many nice conveniences. He gets a flat with four elders to share it.
Thats got to be so much fun, and stores where he can buy real food, probably a dishwasher and laundromat to use. He's got it so good. They probably even have their own desks to study on, that's lucky.

I'm doing well. Lots of work, we have 7 new investigators. I'm very tired, but happy to be busy.

Hope you guys are doing well.

Love ya, Tay

Bits from his Journal-

I decided to print out a new, bigger and better map from google earth. Also printed a map of Houma and Tufu too. This  maps going to be huge, it's going to be way nice. I'm pretty excited aout it actually it will help us track all of our work and make our travel a bit easier. 

2/22/16 We then headed to the store to pick up some supplies. After we ate lunch we headed to our appointment with Sione They didn't really know how to run a family home evening, so I helped them out a little bit. We taught about the Book of Mormon with them. Afterwards we headed back to President Havea's to get our laundry. Sister Havea is so awesome and helpful. We showed up and all of our clothes were folded on the table in their living room and she was knitting a ta'ovala. She is so great, I apologized for all of the work she did, I didnt expect her to fold them or even hang them up to dry. She was happy to do it though and was all smiles, some people are just awesome. On the way back to our MQ the worst possible thing happened, I caught my flop on a rock and it snapped. There's no way I'm changing flops, I'' just have to tape it or super glue it or something. These flops are going to last me the whole mission whether they're held together with duct tape or other flops glued to the bottom or whatever.

2/26/16 Day 184 - 6 Months Out
I'm officially a whole fourth of the way through my mission today. Six months, I have been out longer than a whole year of school days. Crazy. 

We went to market as we were told that the markets usually sold some American goods, occasionally deodorant. So we went and checked for that and found none, then we did find some Tongan-Chinese deodorant circle tube brand stuff. So that might have to do in while. Butttt... We discovered an ice cream cone stand at the market at the DVD store. Ice cream ki ai!!! There's an ice cream shop in Ohonua! How awesome is that, flipping awesome. We are planning on saving 16 Pa'anga a month for ice cream twice a week. Its good New Zealand ice cream too, no restrictions on the amount of cream included. Delicious.
Then we walked to Tufu while eating our ice cream. On the way we saw Samiu and his kids soaking wet from fishing in the ocean. Samiu went snorkeling for crabs and got a big one. The beach on the way to Tufu and the road to Tufu looks like paradise. Sometimes it's hard to believe I'm serving a mission here, I'm pretty lucky. We got a ride from Sione Lonitenisi on our walk to Mele's. Sat on the front of his tractor hitch and held onto the edges. Haha along the way we passed some kids walking, and he slowed down just enough for them to run and jump onto the back of the trailer. No stopping haha. This is how we do it in Tonga.

We got picked up by Alisona to go to the Houma branch today for church. We jumped in the back of the truck, it was raining outside so our ride was a little refreshing. Our hair was soaked when we got the the branch but not much else because the truck was going fast. We met the Pisope for the first time there and he immediately asked us to speak in sacrament meeting in two weeks from now on missionary work. The second counselor asked us to bare our testimonies, so we did that. After sacrament Pisope had us teach an investigator with her fakafeohi and Alisona in the office. It went really well, it wasn't her first lesson. She then wanted to set a baptism date with us for Mar. 19th. This little church here in Houma gets it done. They set up a little pavilion tent thing outside after sacrament each week for Sunday school to meet in. The room used for sacrament was where the primary met and then I think the families garage is where they hold young men's and what not. We had elders quorum in the grass under the tent thing. After church Pisope and Alisona and us had a missionary coordination meeting in the office. Houma is going to be fun. Two new investigators there already. We got a ride back to Ohonua in the back of Alisona's truck. Traveling by truck bed is great!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Week 20 on the Island of Eua

Hey Mom and Dad,

Glad you were able to get that pic. from Mele. The language is good. Elder Tafoya will start to pick it up quick. Training is not that bad, just a lot of being on top of things. I'm feeling like I have a lot of responsibilities in the area, but it's good to be busy. 

The typhoon didnt really do anything to us. Just a ton of rain and strong winds. The internet still works haha.  

I'm ready for snow. I wish I was getting home from that cruise right now. I miss that trip. That was so much fun. I can't believe it was already a year ago. I hope the next one goes by just as quickly.

I hope Hogan has a Happy Birthday and that he's doing well. I can't believe that next year he'll be driving. Thats so weird, I bet he will fail three times just like me. Sorry Hogan but I think Jack got lucky! Mom you should feel very old, theres no problem with that haha. Im turning twenty this year.

Its nice to hear about everyone wanting to know about me haha. I hope they are all doing well.

Mom, good to hear that you're still doing lots of haircutting and stuff too. I need a haircut pretty soon.

The new area is pretty good. Still getting used to it. You'll read about it in my journal.

Love you all, Love Tay

don't think we are going out in the storm today asides from our dinner appointment. Tafoya doesn't have an umbrella and we can clean up our MQ. We had to figure out a way for our clothes to dry after we washed them. We took the line from outside and hung it in our bathroom. Our bathroom looks pretty funny right now. Clothes all over the place. We watched the light post outside short circuit and explode. That was pretty cool. 

It was freezing cold and the hurricane that hit last night was nuts. The wind kept hitting our house. I was worried our MQ might not hold up against it. The luvas above Tafoyas bed fell and water was spraying everywhere all around the MQ. We fixed that and a bunch of other stuff around 1 am and at 2 we both woke up because of a huge earthquake that hit. Things fell down and I was starting to worry it was going to break down the house. It lasted for maybe a whole minute. We also found out that the termites had returned and so we got tape out and started going over all the holes again. And then I discovered that the wall near the ceiling is just paint. The mites have completely eaten all the way through the wood and stopped at the paint. I accidentally poked a hole through it.  

We had Fafanga at President Havea's tonight. It was so good. They gave us roasted puaka and really good marinated cow. The pulu was really soft but dense and it was delicious. They also had really good freshly squeezed lemonade there too. Jen, one of our investigators showed up with freshly baked garlic pretzels. Mele who sent my mom and Natalie pictures this last week was there, and insisted that we got some pictures together. 

I got great news today, I was told I can go and be apart of Finau's baptism, back in the Tongamama'o area. And that Mele and Muli the investigators from my previous area have moved and I will be able to continue to teach them because they are in my new area now. We were able to get a ride to Tongamama'o, I love traveling by truck bed. 

It was great to be back in my previous area and getting to see all of my old members and friends again. It was so good to see Finau getting baptized.  

Had lots of great appointments this week and lessons. Felt like they went really well. Some asked us when we were coming back before we could even bring up our next appointment. Makes you feel really good that they can feel the spirit and know what you are teaching is true, and want to know more. On our way out the door of one of our appointments they offered us the dog they had just prepared. Sione who was teaching with us grabbed a bagful of dog and manioke for us and we headed to the church. We waited for our appointment that wasn't there yet so we feasted on dog for a good while. It was soooo good. I wasn't a fan a couple of months ago but now I can see why they talk so highly of it. Watch out Hank!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Week 19 on the Island of Eua

New pic just arrived from a newly returned sister missionary. Thanks Lupe!

Hey Mom!

I hope you guys are doing well. I am doing alright. This weeks been really stressful and difficult. But its alright. I got transfered to Ohonua, and I'm training Elder Tafoya right now. Its been a little difficult but you can read about that in my Journal. Good news though, I'm feeling more fluent in Tongan, its great.

Good to hear that everyone is still having fun and being crazy, and that you and Heather still go running all the time. Hopefully it will start to warm up soon. I was pumped when Hogan told me that the Broncos won. I 
was so glad they did. Thats awesome for Peyton.

I hope Jack gets well soon. That stinks. Good that I'll be able to wish Hoag a happy birthday on his birthday. Thats sweet.

I love you a ton mom, I hope youre doing well and that you enjoy my
journal this week.

Love you, Tay

Only 2 pics this week, but here is  a bit from his journal:

Kind of sad to leave the Tongomamao ward. I'm on the same Island though. Kinda nervous to be in charge of Ohonua now. Training, and a new companion, I've only been out for 3 transfers too, that's pretty flipping short to train someone. Or to be a senior comp and to whitewash a whole new area. Going to be interesting. The Pakalani's picked us up and we road in the back of their truck to the wharf to pickup our new companions. Elder Tafoya is my new companion, he came over on the mission boat from the main Island. Training is going to be flipping hard. It's probably going to be one of the hardest things I do out here. I'm doing all the speaking for both of us since Tafoya is pretty much straight from the MTC. It will be hard but will be good for me. My new companion is from Saratoga Springs, UT. I dont know him very well yet, but he seems like a hard worker.

Only pic I have of Elder Tafoya.

I'm pretty homesick for my old area right now. I miss all the relationships I've formed in Tongamamao. Sad that I can't be there for Finau's baptism. I will miss them all.

Here is a map of my new area.

Here is a link to where Taylor is on the Island. Little village of Ohonua, if you want you can zoom out and see where this is from the Main Island.,+Tonga/@-21.3434919,-174.9568582,2637m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x71f4b4d1a9d80c55:0xe32c6e6b2f6fbdf8!6m1!1e1

My MQ (mission quarters) is almost right on the beach and you can see the beach wherever you are in this area. 

We headed to the church to meet with Pisope (bishop) Havea. The meeting was awesome, we got to know a lot about him and what's going on in the area. He also got to know a lot about us. We set up baptismal dates for the next 4 months and set up dates to meet about the ward mission plan. I felt fifty times better about working and training here after that meeting. It's crazy to me how much I understand, I don't think I've missed nearly anything in 3 days. I've been able to say everything I've wanted to without much difficulty. 

At church today we greeted everyone in the chapel with handshakes before sacrament meeting. We ended up being asked to speak at the end of the meeting. The meeting was great and we also were given a couple names of new investigators that want to meet with us. The members here are great they are involved. Coming to Ohonua is like starting my mission all over again except that I know the language. 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Week 18 on the Island of Eua

Hey Mom and Dad,

I’m doing well. Trying to get everything sent out but the internet
is so slow and google drive wont even open. I wish there was a way that I could get my notes onto the computer without taking a thousand
pictures and uploading them.

Glad you were able to see the MLC pics haha. Sister Tupou was taking them and I thought to myself about how Mom’s going to be all over that. Thank you for the package too by the way. I got it on Wednesday and it was great, everything was inside it. Do you guys think I’m going to die out here? haha. I really enjoyed all the candy and just busted open the cliff bars today, thanks.

 Had a great time on the main island and got to hang out with a lot of other missionaries, it has been fun. Also had some great lessons this week and I can feel  that I’ve really been teaching with the spirit. Coming up with awesome questions. Its great. I set a goal to be the best teacher in the mission by the time I’m done.

That’s awesome that Luke got sponsored. I bet he's pumped about that. That’s so cool.

I’m trying to get my notes to upload but the internet stinks. I climbed a
coconut tree last P-day and got some coconuts to drink. It was fun, I hope you can get those pics.

Hope you are doing well. Love you all,

 Love Tay

Some parts from his journal:

We made some cookies to give to Sulietis family, that took longer than expected we used the sun to melt the butter outside on the metal sima house. We delivered them and found out the best news, she told us her husband is returning from Australia this week instead of in May. So I really hope I'm still here after this transfer. We find out about transfers on Monday. I can't wait to teach her husband also, and bring the whole family to church. 

Afterwards we went back to our MQ to write our testimonies in the triple combination that we got Alipate and then we went and gave it to him. 

I am definitely coming back to Eua someday to hangout with all the members and friends. I love this area. Finau's lesson was fantastic. I love teaching. It was so great we read 2 Nefai 31 with her today and then reminded her of what we taught in our first lesson together. It was a great lesson, Finau was highlighting in her scriptures and taking notes during the lesson and had a huge smile on her face the whole time, she was happy to answer all of our questions and open up to us. It was great. I brought up how the first time that we taught her she was clearly a little afraid to talk to us and was uncomfortable. I told her it was very clear to see how much she has learned and changed already, she loved hearing that. I feel like she's understanding and feeling the spirit. Seeing lives change because of what we are sharing is the best, most satisfying feeling. I love it, and I love this work. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 17 on the Island of Eua

Hey guys,

It was great to hear from you this week. Im typing this as fast as I can because the internet is really slow today. For some reason my journals were loading fine but LDS mail hasn't been able to load or
send anything. I was able to read most of your emails though. I fly into Tonga for MLC tomorrow so I'll probably get the package then, that will be great thanks so much.
The internet really slow. Been waiting to send this for like thirty minutes now.

Thats it for now. I'm going to go climb a coconut tree and get some coconuts.

Love you guys, Tay

After our appointments today we stopped by to visit Sione and his family. Before we left they pulled out 2 woven mats for us that they made themselves. They said we have been so nice to their family with birthday gifts and Christmas presents, that they wanted to make something for each of us. It was very nice of them, I'm sure it probably took them a while to make.

We found out that one of our neighbors tore down their entire house this morning. About 4 days later we were close to the same place and noticed they had built a whole new house already. Went up real quick. Take a look-

We've been preparing Alipate for his baptism and his baptismal interview. President Tupou came and interviewed him, about halfway through the interview a big earthquake shook the whole house. It was big, the walls shook back and forth multiple inches it seemed and we shook back and forth. It was kinda sweet. It was cool because you could hear it coming and then after it went through the house you could hear it traveling behind us. Finished interview with Alipate and then we headed home after filling out his baptismal record.

 The baptism service for Alipate was held at 5 the next day, it went really well. Erickson baptized him and there were some good spiritual thoughts shared beforehand. The bishop told us afterwards that there were more people attending his baptism today than he has seen in 11 years as Pisope in this ward. That was pretty cool to hear. 

Alipate showing us again how to climb and get coconuts down.

I finished the Book of Mormon again today. I really love Moroni Chapter 7. It's a great chapter about faith. I feel like I'm a real missionary lately. Not the junior companion that struggles with communicating with members. It feels good, and I feel more useful and responsible. Today has been a good day.