Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Week 29 on the Island of Eua

Dear Mom and Dad, 

This week was really good. It was slower than most and we didnt have that many teachings but we had two baptisms on Saturday. We also ate three massive feasts a homecoming party and 2 more because it was stake conference, so that was fun.
 Dad- Glad that you're not out of town anymore. Hows your back? 

I hope that the baseball party goes well too. Sounds like it will be a lot of fun.  Looks and sounds like you guys are all doing really well.
I sent a lot of pictures this week so I think you guys will like those. I'm doing well.
The days are going bye soo quickly its insane. Two weeks and its Mothers day and I'll be able to see all of you guys. That will be fun. 

Hope you're doing well

Love Tay 
We went to a missionary homecoming, it was awesome. Tongan celebrations are the best. So many laughs.

We started out hanging in the back shed with Sifa and Soni and Pulu and ate some weird sweet mini keke things. Sifa is the best, I love that guy. I want to be like him when I'm his age. He was wearing what I would imagine cool Eurooean backpackers would wear, with a red beer t-shirt haha.
 Didn't bother him at all and he hung out with the stake presidency and all wearing his beer shirt like it wasn't weird at all. Sometimes I forget he has just been released as Houma Branch President. He's like a kid, he's the best. I think I'm going to miss Sifa the most when I leave here. Our stake presidency is the best too, Lasalosi, Ma'u, Havea, they're all awesome. Alison's is the best also. I love Tongans. The celebration was fun, there was another long table that we sat at, piled with tons of food. We had just eaten Fafanga though so we didn't eat all that much. I mostly drank otai. There were speeches and so on while people were eating and the Elder Taufa stood on a mat thing and people came and put leis over his head. Head so many leis on at one point that his head was buried and you could hardly see his face. Candy leis too. It was kinda getting out of hand. Kaibolas are fun, it lasted three hours.

 Woke up and headed to the church to fill up the baptismal font. The ward was having choir practice there at 6:45 am. They love to do stuff at weird hours out here. Got the font going and then went to check on Jr to check on his tupenu. Then went back to the mq and finished personal study. I'm super close to finishing Jesus the Christ. We then booked it to the church for our baptism. I love our members. They are great, Samisi Vave and Elder Taufa are really cool. The start of the baptism was a little rough because Aunoa didn't have a white dress and was waiting for someone to bring it. So we ended up starting at 10:30. Overall it was good though. Aunoas brother baptized her and then Jr, they were pretty happy. The loafs of ice cream afterwards were good too. 
 Later we started the walk to Tufu for Stake conference. President Havea saw us and gave us a ride. When we got to the church we found Alisona, Kisione, and President Ma'us son hard at work cleaning the whole stake center. It made me think back to all of the ward service projects back home. Helping people move, cleaning the library, cleaning up parks and so on. I was watching them and thought to myself about how I want to be more like Alisona and Kisione and those guys. I've learned so much from the members out here in Tonga, they are awesome, such great examples.

Met up with Moala and Lolohea before the priesthood session and then Pres Lasalosi walked over and said "Why are you so happy Sipeini?!!" Haha I had a big smile on my face for whatever reason, I don't know. Then he started talking to me about how great our baptisms must've been this morning. He's the best, love that guy.

Stake conference was great. Pres Ma'u talked about raising a family. It got me thinking about my own family someday. And how grateful and happy I would be, to be trusted enough by the lord to take care of them, and how massive of a responsibility it would be on me to do so. Someday that's going to be the most satisfying feeling. After the adult session we were invited to another feast, unlike last time we feasted. It was delicious. Lots of fun, Tongan feasts are the best.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Week 28 on the Island of Eua

          Hey Mom and Dad,
Good to hear that things are going well back home. I'm doing good. We are expecting to have four baptisms this week. Its going to be kind of crazy. Friday is going to be back to back to back interviews for most of the night.
Mom I loved all of the pics that you were able to send me from your trip to TX and from home. I'm glad that you guys had a lot of fun down there too. From everyone's letters it sounds like things are going well back at home. Its great to hear about how well Luke, Hogan, and Jack are doing too.  
Love you all. Love, Tay
We returned Sunday night back to the church for the fireside. When we got there we found all the missionaries in the back near the stake offices. The APs had just called and told Erickson the transfer. Everyone's staying but Erickson, who's going to finish his mission in Vava'u. I think that's why Erickson has been a little sad. He was supposed to go to Niua Fi'ou to reopen the smallest most remote and least advanced island in the mission after two years being closed. But Prez told him if weather was bad at the end of the transfer he wouldn't have been able to get back to Tonga in time for his flight home. That really stinks, I understand why Erickson is sad. After the fireside Erickson and I talked about him going to Vava'u and so on. This district is really great, I love all these guys, we have a great time when we are able to hang out together. Later we got a ride back to Ohonua in the back of Prez Havea's van with all his kids. Viliami (Paki's son) is the best. He always yells as loud as he can "Spainieh!!!" he's great.  tomorrow after emailing, I think we are going to the beach in Pangai and eat a dog before Erickson leaves. That'll be fun!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Week 27 on the Island of Eua

Hey Mom and Dad,

I'm doing well. We were able to watch conference in english this past weekend since they had the dvd. so that was good. I really liked Elder Ballards talk about family councils, it reminded me of all the rides dad and I took to baseball or the movies. I loved having that time to talk to you dad. It made me miss you a lot. Thanks for being really great and someone for me to look up to. I'm really grateful for you.

Thanks mom for the package, it was great!  All  food is gone now though haha, everything else was a great surprise also. I shared the candy with my district while we watched conference it was great.

I'm happy that you guys enjoyed my experiences the last week. They were fun. This week was great too.

Love you Mom and Dad, Love Tay 

P-day started out as usual- laundry, emailing home, had Fafanga at the resort today it was fish, rice, onions, carrots and so on all chopped up nice with some good sauce over all of it. Then stopped at the store for a couple things. We saw some friends of ours and then booked it in the rain to President Havea's. He gave us a ride back to the MQ with all of our just cleaned laundry. It continued to rain so we decided to clean up the place a little.   

The next day woke up and it was still raining hard outside. It rained all day long and never let up for a single second. We studied for a while. We watched parts 1 & 2 of the district for comp study. Then had language study, it's getting so much easier, feeling I'm understanding most everything now. I felt like I was just studying the Book of Mormon and Bible today instead of reading in another language. Noticed ants all over the place again and we just deep cleaned everything yesterday. Great. After Fafanga we decided to head out in the pouring rain to our appointments and rescheduled them for later so we could go to Houma. Walked everywhere in the rain today, stopping and teaching lessons. It wasn't too long before we were sopping wet. By the time we got to Fafanga, they grabbed an old shirt and started drying our feet and legs off, they are great and the food was awesome. 

Our meeting with APs today was the best part of the day by far. I feel like I learned a ton, and it was maybe the most edifying meeting I've been in so far. It was awesome. The role plays were all really funny and we got a lot done. Afterwards Presdient Ma'u brought us lunch. After lunch we all went to Siomatanga. We rode in the back of Vailahis truck.

He took us to the cliffs at the south of the island and there were wild horses everywhere. 

We went to the ovava tree again. It felt weird hiking through the jungle in our missionary clothes. We decided to go into the cave again, the cave went so much deeper than we thought it did the first time around. There was an underground river and underground waterfalls that went deep down into the earth. The cave split into two so that there was a steep drop in between our legs. It opened up above us to a huge cavern of stalactites and birds and fruit bats. It went sooo much farther than we initially thought. When it got to the point where we couldn't see we decided to turn back or it wouldn't be safe. It was lots of fun. We then went back and got our packages, books and stuff and headed back to Ohonua for our lessons. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Week 26 on the Island of Eua

Hey Mom and Dad,
 I'm doing well. This week was good. We got a bunch of new investigators and I baptized our investigator from the north end of the island on Saturday. It all went really well, oops, I forgot to include those pictures, oh well. It was good though. I'm not a pro with the language, but I know enough to get by with most everything if I'm having a conversation. Reading in tongan helps, I feel pretty comfortable right now. 
I have gotten used to the conditions  and everything we have to deal with, and not much bothers me anymore. There was a spider on my wall the other day about the size of my hand and I just picked it up by the leg and tossed it outside without thinking anything of it. Its weird now that I think about it. 
That's cool that your friends daughter got called to my same mission. Maybe I'll run into Sister Pupunu someday. Probably not while I'm on Eua though.
Ofa Atu, Tay
3/28/16 P-day
Got our laundry to Luisa's, then headed to Maikolo for a much needed haircut. He gave me a good haircut, probably my favorite haircut ever. Maikolo is good. Worked out, showered and then headed to the church to email.   After emailing we left for Matamahina (cliffs with the worlds first sunrise).

Those were really cool as usual and I got a ton of pics. On the way back we had to roll the van down the hill to jumpstart it. Talk about memories from lost. The only thing  the island is missing is a Hurley. The van ride with the district to everything was the best part about Siomatanga. Conversations were so good and lots of fun. We were talking about our dreams at one point and everyone's first dreams in Tonga. Then Tafoya spoke up and told everyone that I woke him up a day last week because I was teaching a lesson in Tongan in my sleep. Tons of talk about old memories in Tongamama'o together and so on. Good stuff. The second site we went to was the big ovava tree in the middle of the jungle. We've been there before ( Erickson, Reid, and I) but this time I walked around and found a whole new perspective where you could see the whole thing.
And get this... We found a massive cave!!! The ovava tree starts at the opening of the cave and its roots go all through it. It was really cool. It was huge and we couldn't find the end of it. It got smaller toward the back and opened up into a little underground stream, then we starts hearing bats flying past us. They make little clicking sounds as they fly, so crazy. There was a hole in the top of the cave too.
                               We got some really sweet pics and saw some awesome scenery. On the way back some kids were swimming around in the stone pools that we went to before. All in their tighty whities haha. Jump started the van again, it had to be pushed. The van ride back was really good too, lots of good conversation.
We went to a welcome home party for Elder Vave at Filia Vave's for Fafanga. The party was insane. It was so much fun. All of the Ohonua ward was there and a lot of Houma as well. We got there as President Havea was speaking, sat down and they said a prayer, and then they unveiled the table...maybe four or so tables of food piled on top of food, literally the plates and bowls were all wrapped so that more food could be stacked on top of them. Three or four tuna puakas were on the table too. I've never seen food stacked that high before, there was no place to set your plate down to eat. The president sat us on each side of Elder Vave, he had just returned from serving in the Phillipinnes. We talked with him all through dinner. He told me my Tongan was really good for only being out 6 months. We would grab a plate of food unwrap it, eat it with our hands, then put it on top of other food and grab more. It was cool, I ate three bowls of crab salad (no salad just basically crab meat) it was really good. Then they came around with cake and ice cream and handed it to us. Lots and lots of food. Tongans know how to throw a feast. People stand up and pass around a mic and people will just talk or give a toast while everyone is eating. No one really pays attention to it everyone just continues eating and talking amongst themselves. Then they blasted Tongan dance music. Suli got up and started dancing to it with his ice cream and it was so funny. Everyone was laughing their guts out. It was awesome. It was a great party,  funny and crazy.  
         That night we went to go and teach Isi. We waited for him inside his house for a little bit and then decided to go and get him. We found him at the house across the street and he told us that he was too busy with the neighbors umu "underground oven" to talk, even though he set up that time to talk with us. I didn't let that happen. Haha looking back it was funny, all the stuff I did to get that lesson. "Ha'u! Ha'u! Taimini! Te tau talanoa!" He kept saying he was helping with the neighbors umu and I said that his neighbors were doing it just fine on their own and then I asked "ko e ha Oku majuningataha, e umu or ho'o fakamo'ui?" - "what's more important, the oven or your eternal salvation?" And 
he answered the umu. So then I said "io? E umu? Oku ke fie Ali ki heli? Te ke Ali ki heli koe'uhi ha puaka?" Hahaha interpreted- "oh yeah? The umu? Do you want to go to hell? You're going to go to hell because of a pig?" Hahaha maybe that was a little too much but it rolled off the tongue so easily. He agreed to have the lesson after that though. But then he didn't want to go back to his house for the lesson, and I wanted a member present. "Ha'u tau Ali!" I'm glad Tongan culture is rough cuz I basically pulled him over the fence and no one batted an eye. Haha afterwards I asked Tafoya what he thought of how I made sure that lesson happened, and he said "well, during the process it seemed a little excessive to me." Then he talked as if he was me and said "I'm inviting you unto Christ by pulling you over this fence!" It was funny. Effective though. Wanna go to hell Isi? We ended up having a great lesson. And he set up another appointment with us. 
We headed to the church to prepare the church for the baptism. Swept the room and set up chairs and then waited forever. I was wearing the white tupenu and it was way too big for me. I wrapped it around me and tied both ends to each other. At 10:50 people started showing up. The baptism was great. Most of the Houma branch showed up. I performed the baptism and all was well. President Havea gave a great talk and the Sela who was baptized shared her testimony. She covered so many things. We overheard one of the members say afterwards "man the missionaries did a good job teaching her doctrine". That was nice to hear. Others gave fakamalo (thankful) speeches and one was super funny. Everyone was busting up, I love watching Sifa laugh. It's great. He's got no teeth and it's just great. Love that guy! The best part of the baptism to me though, was Samiu. His leg was injured from something in Uta last week, and while eating Fafanga we invited his family to the baptism. I wasn't sure he would come because of his injury, but he was there ready to support. Samiu is great. That made me happy. He smiled real big at me when I saw him in the back. Good guy. One of the best parts of the day in my opinion 
On the way to one of our appointments we got to look at this awesome Sunset!

Another pic from the cliffs.

Clouds here are so cool!

Some more pics of the ovava tree.