Sunday, June 26, 2016

Week 38 finishing last days in Eua, onto the main Island of Tonga

This weeks been crazy. Despite every effort not to, I finally had to leave Eua. I am missing that small island more than I ever imagined would be possible. Its ta'eoli and ta'elata as. After seeing the worlds first sunrise last week, Tafoya got on the plane for Tonga and I got my new comp for the next five days or so. Elder Brown, he was a cool guy. Prez told me to train him to take over as the new district leader in Eua, before I leave for Tonga and become the dl for the tonga central stake. So all week long I was introducing him to everyone important and planning out all of the things he needs to make sure he does and so on. Saying good bye to all of my friends and members was really hard. Taleni cried when she found out that I was leaving and so did others. It wasn't fun. I was able to go up and say bye to my main man Sifa though all the way up in Houma, so I was happy about that. I'm already missing them all so much. Fotu even said he was going to drive to the airport to see me off. 

Leaving Eua and going to Tonga was like entering a whole new mission. I went from the small forested island with cliffs and hills and secret trails and natural waterslides and trees that inspired the trees in avatar, members that were as hardworking as anyone I know, the best bishop and stake presidency, and a great district in the mission with some of the best missionaries, to just outside the biggest city in Tonga..... urban jungles of concrete, no skylines, tons of cars, pavement, no ocean, a whole new district, a new comp that I am to follow up training, and some other challenges with the new ward. Easy to say I miss my Eua family. A lot. But its all good. Change is good. Kind of ta'elata right now but I think it will get better. 

The good news, I'm going to get to start lifting again every morning, theres a place across from our street thats got a bunch of stuff so I'm excited about that. Oh and the fafangas are bomb. Ate four burgers for breakfast this morning, and fresh apples, and I saw grapes out on the road. I haven't seen a grape in ten months so that was really exciting for me. Pumped to eat a grape. 

Lots of changes ahead. 

Ofa Atu ka moutolu! 

Elder DeSpain

Saying Goodbye to Sifa and his wife. 

And to lots of others friends. 

I will miss all these views

Goodbye to Eua!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Week 37 on the Island of Eua

Hey Everybody,

Sorry it's' been so long. I decided it's finally time for me to start one of these mass email things. Hopefully more of you will be able to hear from me now. I'm doing well, Tonga is crazy cool. I've been on a little island called Eua for the past what almost nine months now. Yupp. Anyways crazy stuff has gone down this week. 

I flew in for MLC on thursday with our whole vahe. Our previous two attempts with the sister training leaders proved unsuccessful, and so after MLC was already finished, the APs called and told me that they were going to fly us all out so that we could still make the meeting. So that was awesome. Tons of fun. 

The meeting with president was great. I love that man. Afterwards Prez took me and Tafoya to go and pick up pizza with him. He left his phone in the car while he picked it up and I turned to Tafoya and said "Do you have any idea the amount of chaos that we could cause in the mission with that phone?!?". We were so tempted to text Moala and tell him to "Go wait at your house, do not text me, do not call me, just wait. We have a lot of talking to do. Your parents are very upset." but we decided not to after much debate. Haha that was cool. Got to eat dinner and breakfast with president and his family, play on their piano, share funny stories and so on. It was great. Loads of fun. 

Friday was crazy too. We had interviews and mine went nothing like I expected it to. "Elder DeSpain, you've been in Eua since october now? Yes, it is time for you to leave." that was how he started the meeting off. Then he showed me his transfer board and everything that is about to go down. Tafoya left for Tofoa in tonga this morning, and I am training my new comp here in Eua to replace me as the District Leader for a week, before I go to Havelu in Tonga and become their district leader over there. Tafoya will be in my district. So thats cool. I was disappointed and excited to find out about moving. I was really hoping to be able to stay in Eua for a whole year, and Im going to miss the motu feel. All week since getting back, while riding on top of truck cabins going fifty down bumpy roads or so on and so forth all I could think about was "Dang, im never going to be doing this again in Tonga." Im going to miss it here a ton. And our district here is the best district in the mission. Im going to miss all of them so much. 

This morning we went to the cliffs before tafoya left and were able to see the worlds first sunrise!

Ofa Lahi Atu, Elder DeSpain

Last P-day with Elder Tafoya

P-day with the district

Flight to Tonga (main island)

We call this the worlds only split coconut tree. 

Awesome pic

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Week 36 on the Island of Eua

Hi Mom and Dad,

    This week has been good and bad. We were supposed to go to MLC in Tonga on Monday and we got a ride to the airport from Falemasiva. We waited for the plane to come with the sister missionaries for a good while, we had a great time talking and laughing. Then we watched the plane fly in... and pull off. Too windy to land, so the flight was canceled. We didn't get to go to MLC. We really wanted to be there for the last one with President Tupou. We left the airport, dropped off the sisters bags and then we went and bought ice cream and noodles and a bunch of food to hangout at the stake center. We talked a ton and then found ping pong stuff and set up the ping pong table and Tafoya, Betteridge, and I played while Vimahi emailed. I decided to reach under a window for a ball and hit my head on the window. My head was bleeding for a while so we took care of that with a first aid kit. 

The rest of the day we hung out with sisters just talking and hanging out. We were all really bummed that we couldnt go to Tonga. The sister's FHE canceled on them and their Fafanga brought them food to the church, so Sister Vimahi made us all grilled cheese-kapa pulu sandwiches that were really good. Then we cleaned up the church offices and headed back to Ohonua. We had a great time, the sisters are awesome. 
    After our lessons on Wednesday we were invited to have Pizza at the Big Ovava Resort. It's starting to get cold here in the evenings and mornings. Do you like my new hat?

    On our way to pizza we stopped at a store to warm up for a bit. At the Resort the pizza was  delicious, so good just like last time. This time we were given bowls of fruit with almond ice cream, really good, and I got Tafoyas also because bananas were in it. 

After dinner we sat down talked with Mosese, reviewed the last lesson and taught about baptism. He is afraid to baptize because he thinks he would be kicked out of the house by his father who is a Tongan priest. But his brother was baptized and had to move out, but did it because he knew what he was taught was true. 
     Later that night we got a call from the AP 's and told us we are having MLC tomorrow with Vava'u zone leaders and sister training leaders. They told us we check in at 10:30 the next day at the airport. So we were going to Tonga after all for a mini MLC for all the zones that couldn't make it because of bad weather on Monday. I called the sisters and they freaked out. We packed and went to bed. When we woke up the next day it was pouring and windy. It was sketchy whether or not we would be able to go or not. We got a ride from Tonga Faeamani and we picked up the sisters on the way. We then hung out at the airport for about 5 hours. Our flight got delayed until 2, and then a flight came at 2 but the passengers who were supposed to get on the first flight had priority so we had to wait.  Then, of course the next flight was canceled. So no MLC for us. Weather was fine and we didn't get any explanation of why it was canceled. We did get to hangout with the sister for 6 hours, and that was fun. Joked a bunch and talked about college and lots of other stuff. Then we carried all the luggage back to the sister's MQ. Then we got a ride from old President Havea. 
     We visited a couple investigators and then went to the store and loaded up for a massive feast, of cookies and cream ice cream, cookies, bread, and cokes. We ate good. Didn't get to go to Tonga but we still had a fun day. 

    Found out the next day that President Tupou is flying out here for zone conference since we couldn't make either MLC. So we at least get to see him before he's gone. 
     Friday we were able to help Fotu Fili build his little store. We put the front window door thing up and finished the drywall on the front. Fotu talked with me about how our program inspired him and how he was surprised at some of the bishops reaction and comments about it. He said I will have you over for fafanga and have an investigator for you to teach. It was nice hearing his support and being able to build with him. I'm excited to build things in the future. 
     We later met the Pangai sisters to get the baptismal records for the Tongamama'o area. Sister Betteridge told us they got the rat out of their house today that Betteridge woke up to on her pillow Wednesday night. She said it was about the size of a football. Makes me think of the rat that scurries around at night inside our walls and in the ceiling. Not cool. 
     Saturday morning we went to the church to prepare the church for our baptism. It was really windy, cold, and raining. Had to climb over the chain link fence to get to the cliff face wall of the church, and then had to inch around the ledge around the outside windows in the wind to the font. Cleaned out the font, had to find the right vial to get the water turned on. Tried my hardest not to fall in while I turned the valve for the baptismal font drain to stop. Kind of sketchy. But was able to fill up the font. Then swept and put up chairs. We returned to the MQ when Tafoya told me he couldn't  leave the MQ today because he was so sick. So we are going to miss our own baptism. Tafoya was knocked out on his bed. I listened to conference talks while it poured outside. Tafoya was out the rest of the night. He felt better in the morning and church was good the next day. Baptism went well without us. We filled out Loloma's baptismal record and then headed back to our MQ. Fed Rufus and planned for district P-day. 
     Hope you have a good week, thanks for all the pics. 

Ofa atu, Tay

Monday, June 6, 2016

Week 35 on the island of Eua

Dear Mom and Dad,

Sounds like you had a good week. Ours was good too. We're emailing early today because we fly into Tonga at 1. Going to be fun. Viloing (splits) with the APs. Last night I listened to a giant rat run all across our ceiling and inside of our walls. Made sure to cover my feet. The weeks seem to fly bye so quickly. President Tupou emailed me this week too. He wrote and thanked me for the inspired work that we are doing for the program we set up. Then he told us he would be coming to Eua for interviews. That was crazy. I've never even heard of him ever emailing someone or responding to their weekly emails. That was awesome.
    We had district meetings this week, I had all the missionaries write down what their weaknesses for teaching are. We talked about obedience issues that would reduce the power of the spirit in our teachings. I taught about grace and the enabling power of the atonement, making our weaknesses strengths. Then I talked about how these weaknesses all come from either lack of love, faith, or understanding. Then I taught about those and asked some inspired questions about what they all are... spiritual gifts. How do we gain spiritual gifts?... Through obedience, prayer, and fasting. Which all tie in perfectly with the new program. Fast for not only investigators but for your love, faith, and understanding to improve, so you can have the spirit more fully in response to increased obedience. I felt like the meeting went awesome. The District is pumped, I want to be the most effective district in the mission.    
    We taught Poasi again this week about the Restoration, he is a smart kid. It's so nice teaching in English. We taught another new investigator this week Samiu's brother named Falemasiva Finau. We taught all of his brothers kids at the same time, it was a perfect environment to make him feel comfortable. Samiu's little daughter is adorable. Afterwards we all had dinner together, it was delicious, Puaka lahi (a big pig), crabs, oyster shell things, chicken, ice water and then big bowls of ice cream for everyone. It was awesome, afterward we set up a new time with Fale for his next lesson. We also taught another new investigator this week named Kaloni. She was great and the lesson went really well. We were also able to help out Fotu Fili's this week. We crawled into his giant truck dump truck and rode all the way to the lumber yard. Dump truck riding is the best. At the lumber yard we started loading up Fotu's truck with wood. Fotu would find pieces he liked and toss them to me and I'd toss them into the truck. Initially the wood passing was at a close distance and slow, then Fotu saw how easily I was catching long pieces of wood and throwing them  and turning around for more, it got a lot more intense. Haha it was really fun. Fotu and I were tag teaming the wood into the truck like pros. At one point I don't even think he was looking, he was just picking and chucking and I was catching and chucking and catching again. He started to throw two at a time super fast. Boards of all shapes and sizes, being caught and tossed at random with either one had or two. I wish I had it on video. It was crazy, my hands were covered in pine tar afterwards. All the other workers stopped working and just watched and talked about us. Haha it was really really cool. Best part of the day. We unloaded the wood at his house and raced to our MQ to change. Raced back to Fotu's so he could give us a ride to Houma before 5 for Loloma's interview with the Prez. All went well and we can set her baptismal date now. We had some great lessons this week and some that fell through. 
    Its going to be a fun week. I'm excited about flying to Tonga. I'm glad you guys are doing well and are having fun. I miss baseball a ton. Yesterday we were in elders quorum out on the lawn in Houma, and it smelt like hotdogs and was sunny and breezy. Made me think about going to baseball games at Citizens bank park, Spring training in Florida, baseball games on our road trip, baseball games at Harleysville. It was nice. Smelt and felt like baseball. I miss it. Those smells shouldn't be allowed on a mission. 
    I'm glad everyones doing well though. Wish that diving catch of Jack's was on video. That would be sweet. Have a good week. 

Ofa atu, Tay

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Week 34 on the Island of Eua

Hey Mom and Dad,

Mission life is good. We started our new program yesterday and I think its going to go well. The members are excited about it and everyones telling me how solid they are for having an investigator at their fafangas. So thats good. We had a vilo hoa (splits) this week and had some fun with that. Then, on Saturday I found out that there was an early transfer. Lolohea and Moala got moved back to Tonga, and I'm the new District Leader for Eua, and best of all I get to stay in Ohonua. So thats pretty exciting. So being the DL of Eua/zone now I get to fly into MLC again and go to a temple session every month with them. Which also means that I'll be able to be at President Tupous last MLC meeting before he leaves, and I'll be here for every MLC with President Tuione. So thats sweet. I think I am the youngest MLC attendant out too so I'll know Tuione really well by the end of the mission. I'm so pumped that I get to stay in Eua, because I really badly didn't want to leave Ohonua. It's awesome and I can now see our new program through and see the jump in teachings it gives us. 

On P-day I worked on my new slippers. Epoxy smells really bad. Cleaned them off really good, removed all of the rocks and dirt. Scrubbed the Nike soles down as well. Worked on them for about 40 minutes. I'm very pleased with the results. They worked really well, no rocks, just feels like there is super heavy logs on my feet.  

We had a pretty good week lots of lessons some good and some rough ones. Lessons with Keti Havea about living with her family forever, we taught Rodney and Mele about the temples, taught Havili a quick lesson about the Holy Ghost and checked up on his Book of Mormon reading, talked with Poasi at his house and set up a time to talk with him again on Tuesday. At that point I wasn't sure if I was going to still be here. I'm so glad that I am, because I really want to teach Poasi, that kid is awesome. At our lesson on Saturday night we sat down to teach Lovelies husband and we felt a massive earthquake shake the whole place a whole lot for a minute or two. Biggest one I've felt yet, I think. Taught him about the world of wisdom, he really wants to go to the temple and be sealed. I felt like the lesson went well. I really like teaching.

I gave my announcement to the kaingalotu to establish the new program during sacrament meeting. Some members were clearly surprised, but we're smiling the whole time. Then Pisope got up and supported us and explained to the members that this plan was not just our missionary plan, but it's the ward missionary plan. He said "it is our time to find." "Embrace this program and you will receive more blessings from the missionaries than ever before." It was awesome, after sacrament meeting tons of members told us how solid our program was going to be.

Sounds like you guys are doing well, I'm glad. I can't believe that its already that time of year, thats crazy. I'm glad to hear Hogan's team is doing well. Dad you are still the head coach right? Hopefully, I will see a picture of a trophy next week. Good luck with your race Mom, that will be fun.

Ofa atu,Taylor 

My new slippers

Awesome Sunsets