Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Week 33 on Island of Eua

Hey Mom and Dad, 

I had a good week. I had lots of emails waiting for me last p-day. I heard from alot of people that I haven't  heard from in a long while. I love the pics that Cody sent me of his graduation party. It was good to see Sameer, DJ, and Kramers faces. Loved the pictures and the letters. After emailing we relaxed for a bit and listened to music. I finished reading Our Heritage, so I've finished reading all the books I have. 
We have had a lot of good lessons this last week. Our lesson with Toia went really well, he had read what we had asked him to and he had questions about the Bible and the Book of Mormon.  We went back and forth from one book to the other answering his questions. After our lesson he told us he would read the whole Book of Mormon cover to cover and tell us what he thought about it. He told us it's a small book, and he reads the bible four times a year. His lesson was great, it was a really cool experience. It felt good to be able to address his concerns.
Tuesday we had district meetings, it's so weird to see the sister missionaries without their Tongan braids. Seeing them with actual hair not braided to the side of their heads is super weird. Sister Pohahau is hilarious. From there we went to see Pisope's wife's mom, the mosquitoes in that house were insane. Probably fifty just swarming around my legs. Big suckers. We left there and made the jungle river mountain valley trek  to get to Hango agricultural college. We talked with Tina and she told us a little of her background with the church. She was baptized but married outside the church to a Methodist man. Her husband told us over the phone that he doesnt want us coming back to teach, but when he hung up his wife told us she really wants to talk and have us teach her, so she's going to call us and let us know when to come back. We also spoke to a lady named Sandra from Vanatua. She spoke English to us, she also studies at the college. On the way out Tina's husband respectfully kicked us out of Hango college in its entirety. From there we went to see Alifileti just outside the gates of the college. Checked up on his reading of the Book of Mormon. We talked about the priesthood and before we left we gave him a blessing. 
On Wednesday we went to Poasi's house, and was greeted by his sister Eleanor. She invited us in and we talked with her for a while. She only responded to us in English. Her English was really good, she sounded American almost. Then we found out that their mom is the principle at Eua High. Found out that all her kids are trilingual. They are way fluent in English. We were asked to teach the lesson in English it was really hard. As I started, I kept wanting to say things in Tongan and couldn't find the words in English to say what I wanted to. After a little while it got easier and was kind of nice. We taught the plan of salvation, Poasi is really smart, he would figure out a lot of things before we got to it. Really smart kid. It was a fun lesson, they will be fun to teach. From there we went to another house in Eua High where we found Kali. Had another great lesson. We taught about the restoration of the church and priesthood authority. Lots of discussion, at the end he said the closing prayer and thanked us a lot for helping him understand. It ended up being a very cool experience. That night the clouds were amazing. I'm convinced that there aren't clouds like these anywhere else in the world. 

We have a pet dog now. He likes to stay outside of our MQ and we always give him out leftovers. Tafoyas started calling him Rufus. 
We thought up this great idea, of not eating people's fafangas unless they have an investigator for us. We ran it by Paki, Pisope and President Havea, they think it's a great idea. They are giving me some time in sacrament meeting to announce it. I've been thinking about what I will say all night. I'm really excited to get this new program started. 
After church on Sunday we went back to our MQ, I decided to look up and tab scriptures until Fafanga. Went and had Fafanga and then returned back to our MQ before it started to rain. Tabbed and searched for more scriptures. Did some area book stuff. We emailed the Prez at the church and told him about our new program idea. Then headed to our next Fafanga at Fale's again. He served us rice and meat and spaghetti noodles. Talked about the new mission president coming in. Fale kept telling us that if we are ever hungry to give him a call. Haha, I told him he better be careful what you wish for. They all laughed a bunch. Then I said seriously, "hopefully you will think the same thing after our new program starts next week". He assured us that he was serious, so we are probably going to be giving him a bunch of calls for food in a week or two. After Fafanga, I finished my cut out tabs. Going to be great. 

Transfers are coming pretty soon. I hope I'm staying here for a while longer. Saw Jen this week, as we were walking by she called at us. She told us she missed us. She told us her parents were here in Eua and they were flying to Australia the next day for vacation. I had to tell her goodbye in case I get transferred this coming week. That wasn't fun and Jen didn't like that thought either. She told us she talked about us at dinner the other night with her parents. She told them she was going to miss us when we move. We will miss her a lot too. I really hope I don't move. She ran back inside and came back with a bunch of baked papaya granola bars she had made for us. It's hard to think I might be leaving here soon. Maybe I'll know next week. 

Hope you have a good week, 

Love, Tay

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Week 32 on Island of Eua

Hey Mom and Dad,

     I'm doing well. Not sick anymore, wasnt really super sick though. The weather is mostly just rainy and cloudy now, still humid but less scorching sun, which is nice. We got to ride some bikes this week. The usual hour and a half uphill walk to Houma took us about 15 minutes on the bikes. We had a couple of appointments and then rode back to kolo it was lots of fun. Four or five miles downhill the whole way. No hands! Almost hit a car because I forgot that they drive on the opposite side of the road. Lesson learned quickly. Didn't help that my brakes didn't really work anymore at that point either. We road then to Tufu to see if Ofeina was home. There was an awesome sunset there. 

Tafoya got a flat and we walked to the Deep Resort to see if Siope had a pump. He ended up taking us back to kolo with our bikes in his trailer because he's a nice guy.  
     We got a bunch of new investigators at the Hango agricultural college. The place was really cool, the trees and shrub paths made me feel like I was in a really rich private boarding school someplace in Europe. We set up a couple more appointments with some students and then headed to Alifileti Havilis across the street. We had started teaching him a couple day's earlier. Our visit with him was awesome, He had kept our commitment and had read the Book of Mormon and had questions for us. He told us he wanted us to keep teaching him and that he would keep reading. Before we left he insisted on feeding us. He's a really nice guy. We left there and decided to walk through the Kings palace in Eua to get back to the Ovava tree lodge. The view from there was really cool. 

While at the resort we saw a sign that advertised pizza night for Fathers Sunday. We asked Taufa how much it cost and she told us to come and eat free of charge. Pizza ki ai!!! We are pumped about pizza that! Later in the week we went to all of the houses surrounding Eua Highschool and set up about 7 or 8 appointments. Hoping at least half are solid for teaching next week.
     We had an awesome lesson on Saturday teaching a tongan priest. The guy's name is Toia, a priest in the seventh day Adventist church. We had lots of great discussion about the bible/law of Moses. We taught him about how the law of Moses was fulfilled in the coming of Christ, and explained how the law of Moses was designed to strengthen the people's faith in Christ, as it was a type of his coming. We taught the first vision and he was very receptive to it all. He agreed with everything we were teaching. He accepted the Book of Mormon and the commitment to read and set up another day to come and talk with him. Great lesson, he was very sincere. I feel like the first lesson is very hard to argue against. Anyone familiar with the bible logically agrees and understands everything that happens up until the apostasy. Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon is the curveball that throws most people. Anyway that was great. I love teaching. I felt goosebumps reciting the first vision to him the spirit was so strong. Cool stuff.  That same day we taught a acting priest in the Tufu's Tongan church, he had so many questions and was hanging on to my every word, I was able to answer with an appeal to the scriptures and so many things. It was truly an awesome lesson. We covered a lot of doctrine, it was the best. I was able to answer all of his questions and open his mind so much. My favorite teaching/conversation ever. It was beyond clear to me that he had felt the spirit so strongly, and knew everything we had taught was true. He wants us to come back and teach him more about The church Christ had set up and where it is now after Christ death and so many things. He told us that he wants to learn more and have us come here again soon, but he told us to do it quietly and as unnoticeably as possible because he didn't want his church members to see that he was learning from us. Haha! It was the best. 
     That night we walked back to kolo for Pizza Night!! We took off our flip flops and walked along the sandy beach the whole way back. It was nice. We got to big Ovava tree resort and ate real non-Tongan, real American delicious wood fire burning oven pizza. It was delicious. The crust was perfect too. Pineapple and bacon pizza, mushrooms, chicken and tomato pizza, fish pizza, extra cheesy sausage pizza, a bunch. It was so awesome. They laid it all out buffet style. Despite how amazing the pizza was, my favorite part of the night was watching a old man sitting at the table by the doorway. His grandchildren were running around playing with a balloon and every time that something happened that caused the kids to be surprised or something out of the ordinary a subtle smile would creep out on the old mans face. It made me think back to all of the pictures Grandma Polly captures of Grandpa Jim smiling at Wren or the boys, and also memories of my Grandpa Jack with his mustache always smiling at us. It was a great feeling. That old mans smile made me really happy. 
     As we left the resort that night Taufa gave us two Tongan pies. We were able to give one to Pipi and Tau and their family. They always take care of the neighbors kids and  when we got there they called all the kids in with their friends so we could share a spiritual thought with them. Tau had one of the little girls say the opening prayer. She knew both of our names and blessed us individually. I shared with them an experience we had at one of our lessons and how the field is white and ready to harvest, we just need to find who's prepared to listen. Tau and Pipi are great. Leaving there I felt super grateful that I was called here and able to work with these members and these people. They're great. I love them. 
     We left there and took the other pie and gave it to Paki since he will be all by himself on Fathers Sunday tomorrow. He was happy about that. Love these people. 

-Glad that Grandma and Grandpa get to be in town. I saw the fourwheeling Grandma did haha. Golf sounds fun. Miss golfing with all of you guys. It was nice to skype last week too. 

Love y'all,  Tay

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Week 31 on the Island of Eua.

Hey Mom and Dad,

     This week we have had lots of rain, we stayed inside for parts of some days due to the weather. Elder Tafoya and I must've eaten something that didn't sit right with us. Extra time in the MQ running back and forth from the bathroom. Figured out Monday after we got home that I left half my dirty laundry in the bathroom. So we ran out to get detergent and I washed them in a can with a umbrella. Those clothes have been trying to dry all week and had to wash again when they didn't smell so good. 
     We had Family home evening at Luisa's house on Monday. Prez started out with taumua as always, and had his kids, and the other kids of the invited families recite it. "Ake ke poto, ngaue fakafaifekau, mali temipale." "Go to school/university, serve a mission, marry in the temple." Then the Prez asked the kids in the room what they wanted to be when they grew up. Isi wants to be a lawyer. I wish him luck! Then the Prez talked about the plan of salvation. Afterwards they fed us dinner. 
    Tuesday it rained again all day and Erickson called to tell us their flight to MLC was canceled due to the rain. We talked to him for a while. He told us all about Vava'u his new area. It sounds like the whole place is a resort and there are yachts all over and so on. He talked with us about what somebody his plans were when he got home, his goals, etc... It was nice to hear from him. He doesn't have that much time left. Rainy days here are kind of like rainy days camping. Staying inside playing cards and so on. It's kind of a nice mix up. It hasn't stopped raining all day. We finally got out to go to the Chinese store for dinner. We literally picked what I imagine a group of ten year olds would want for dinner. Arizonas and strawberry ice cream. Had an awesome bicep workout with the groceries on the way back in the rain too. It's a long walk. It rained hard the entire day. We sat down and ate our dinner. 

     Next day our Fafanga was at the Big Ovava Tree resort. After we ate, we checked out the Ovava tree treehouse. 

It's pretty cool, I want to build a treehouse someday. After we left there I wasn't feeling so hot. So we went back to the MQ for a bit. I felt exhausted, dehydrated or just sick of some sort. I rested for a bit and then we headed to Tufu. No one was around but we did see some New Zealanders at the Deep Blue resort. Talked with a guy named Bruce for a while. He was nice, he speaks Papua New Guinean? On our way back in town we saw Pa'ane. He told us to meet up with him at his house. We waited for him, the weather got super stormy and  he never showed. Headed to Fafanga, Litani's baby who is maybe 18 months old couldn't stop laughing at us. He's great. Rain, rain, and more rain. We got a ride back to our MQ in Litani's intercoolerturbo 2800 van. The only thing it was missing was a table, very cool. 
     May 5th, Cinco de Mayo... No Mexican food. We were given money for Fafanga today. We bought fried fish, a watermelon and 2 chocolate milks. It was very humid and sunny today. Our MQ felt like it was raining indoors. After we ate we went to see Jen and help her labels books at the library. Went over to her garden and helped her dig some holes for some wooden posts, and planted some pele. Had a good lesson with Mosese at the big ovava tree resort, we taught about the restoration. It went well. That night the presidents wife made us Tongan pizza, a really good rice vegetable thing. I imagined it was Mexican rice so it was even better. Hot day today! 
     Saturday it rained again all day. Stopped at the church to figure what we were doing next because the rain kind of messed up our plans. Here is some pics of what happens to the roads after continuous rain. 

We got back to the MQ and both of us were not feeling to hot again. Napping and bathroom trips, not fun. Fafanga was delivered about 8 and we both looked at it, neither of us felt like eating anything.   
     On Mothers Day all of the talks were about mothers of course. Lots of Mothers Day thoughts. Pigs were heard squealing really loudly outside during the talks, only in Tonga. After church we went to a mini Kaibolo in Houma for Mothers Day. Lots of good puaka, watermelon, and vanilla ice cream for dessert. Good stuff. Later on we headed back to the mission prep class in Pangai. One of our converts is prepping for a mission. Awesome. After Fafanga we headed back to the church to get the key to the church for tomorrow. The Mother's Day Program was just ending so we got to wish all the mothers in the ward a Happy Mothers Day. 

     Can't wait to talk to you guys Ofa Atu. Mom, Ofa pe na'e fakalata aupito ho'o ago fa'e!

Love, Tay

Monday, May 2, 2016

Week 30 on the Island of Eua

Hey Mom and Dad, 

This week was good. Seems to go by sooo quickly. I cant believe its p-day already. Next week we'll be skyping. That will be nice. That's awesome that Hogan is playing A ball too. Garret is a good guy. I'm doing well. I'll be google chat calling you guys next week on Sunday for you guys, around 3:30 pm. That will be great, I can't wait.

We had district meetings this week they were lots of fun. The Pangai sisters brought a bunch of oranges to the meeting, really good. We made schemes of how to steal back all of the mission bikes on the island (past missionaries had just given them all away, there used to be 8, which are just layng around the island at people's houses right now). After the meetings the Pangai sisters told us they put their leftover vanilla ice cream from fafanga in the freezer and they shared it with us. So that was good. Afterwards we went to go give service at the Library with Jen. The school children were all outside for teeth brushing time. I think the school does that once a month or whenever  someone from the hospital visits. We talked with Jen about a ton of things and helped her label all of the Tongan kids books with colored stars and tape. At one point  in our conversation she found out that we both had just graduated and she was really surprised. She thought I was 26! That's seven years she's giving me. 7! Tafoya and I had a laugh about that. We then left the school and shook hands with probably a thousand school children. All of them yelling "Speini eh!!!"  "looo". I'm going to miss all the kids in Tonga someday. Saw a bunch of  awesome huge blue, green, and purple wild parrots flying around above the road on the walk back. On our way back we saw an awesome sunset. Talked with some fisherman and saw a cow in the back of a truck tied up and still alive. 

Water was dead couple mornings this week, listened to Monsons 2014 conference talk about courage.  I was also able to finish all of Jesus the Christ. Also finished True to the Faith. Also read a bunch in Alma about trusting in God. 

We were able to fix Tilema's weed wacker so she could cut her grass. Then we went and talked to Tala Fili, he was making kava bowls outside. he talked to us about making small ones for us if we wanted for 50% off. Then we talked about whale bone carvings. He told us that they are extra expensive because its illegal to kill whales, so the only way that they can get them is if they are beached. He then told us a story about a whale being beached when he was a kid here. Then he showed us how he worked on making kava bowls with his chainsaw. That was cool. We went to Mosese at the big ovava tree resort from Tala's and had an awesome lesson. Something Mosese said made me feel like we should teach the plan of salvation instead of the restoration, so we did. His lesson was awesome. He felt really good afterwards. He even said he was interested in baptism but said he wants to talk with Litani first. It was sweet, we left there and headed to see Jr, while walking up the the hill we saw Jr and Rodney looking around their pig pen with flashlights. They had a friend come over to shoot  two of their pigs for Rodney's nieces birthday party in Tonga tomorrow. He had shot two of the but both went running and broke through the fence. He told us they wouldn't be able to do the lesson tonight because of it. We said that was fine but wanted to help them find the pigs. So we went on a pig hunt, hoping to find them. We followed the blood trail and got all excited to find them but we never did, what a waste, poor pigs. Rodney still needed two pigs so we all got into the  pigpen and  started chasing them up the hill where Rodney and Jr were ready to tolomaka'i them. They ended up catching them. Exciting stuff. Then we learned how to prepare a pig from scratch. First they boil them, take em out of the boiling water and frantically tear as much skin and hair off as possible. Comes off really easy actually. Then they take a knife and pluck off the hooves. Then Jr. took a razor and shaved the rest of the hair off of them. We watched Rodney and Meite gut them too. Everything was done and they were ready for the freezer in about 40 minutes or so. It was really cool. I know how to kill and prepare a pig now, its easy. That was really cool.

Later on in the week we had a picnic with the district at the Stake Center under this huge tree. It was really fun. it was sports day at the middle school so a bunch of people were there. We brought our leftover keke and crackers. We ate chicken curry and tip tap chocolate things. Hanging out with the district is the best. We always have such a great time. Everyone contributes and makes it a better time. Lots of fun and lots of jokes. Tafoya and I noticed how perfect the tree was for climbing and decided it would be an injustice not to do just that.

On our way to ward leadership council, I caught a piglet. That was sweet, it started squealing like crazy though and before I could even think about getting a picture, the momma pig charged at me. She was a big pig. I dropped the piglet and got out of there. Finally caught a baby pig though!

On Fast Sunday I decided to bear my testimony about the power of fasting. That was fun. I talked about how I used to not appreciate fasting before and how I'd often take food and hide it and eat it secretly. They thought that was funny. Then I talked about how I've seen fasting work while on my mission. The whole meeting was really good. Afterwards Tala Fili told us that Tonga needs more missionaries like us. That was really nice of him to say and to hear.

I'll talk to you next week, 
Love, Tay  

Ofa Atu!