Monday, August 29, 2016

Week 47 in Tonga, officially one year down and one to go!

Hey guys, this weeks been good. Busy. Lots of changes. 

Cool stuff that happened:

Pday- Became comps with Elder Soakai, he's awesome. President called and told us to go to the office so that we could get our new car! Brand new 2016 Hyundai, Prez drove it in and it still had plastic on all of the seats. Awesomeeee. Sooo nice. And so nice to drive. We went to the blowholes and hung out over there, watching the ocean erupt, ate at a beach resort for dinner. Yum. Elder Soakai gave me a haircut too. 

Tuesday- I had to lead district meeting since the district leader (Elder Brown), hadnt gotten back from Eua yet. Feel bad for Elder Brown, he was only out there for a transfer and a half, wish he could've been in Eua longer. We met a ton of new Elders and Missionaries in the zone. Everyone in our entire zone is training except for the two of us, and two other companionships. The whole rest of the zone is training. So thats awesome. I love it. Great trainers too. I'm excited for what our zone's going to accomplish. Transported tons of missionaries around. Had an incredible teaching with one of the investigators that we have set up for baptism. It was awesome and the lesson went so smoothly. Then that night we had an activity with the ward where we projected a video for them all to watch and then got referrals afterwards. It was good. 

Wednesday- Water Dead, drove to Te'ekiu to shower instead of a bucket shower. Took one of my favorite pictures on the mission.

 Had one of our recent converts teach us instead of us teaching her. Pila Katoa called us at night and asked us to come over and bless him cuz he was sick. Got to the house and the whole house looked like they were about to die. Not literally but they were all sick. So we ended up blessing the whole family haha. Then, also Soakai had been sick all day, so I gave him a blessing back at the MQ, he was better the next morning. 

Thursday- Had to go to the mission office to take care of a ton of newbys. Tonsssss of new missionaries. Thirty five in total, and tons of white people. Lots of craziness over there. We took Brown and his trainee and dropped them off in Te'ekiu, and then basically spent the rest of the whole day running other missionaries around and distributing needs and figuring out problems with what missionaries dont have etc...

Friday- Phonecalls from other missionaries wishing me a happy 1 year. Even sister Pohahau called. haha that was cool. Ate lunch at liku'alofa, ate and watched the whales crossing at the same time, that was cool. Elder Pritt and Elder Cho, they got me two pizzas from kolo for my year mark, that was super awesome and nice of em. Love those guys. Then before eating pizza at night, we went and did my tutu outside. My first tupenu that elder erickson gave me, and a shirt. That was really cool. It lit up super quickly, large flames. Fun stuff. Good pizza. Cant believe that its already been a year since I started the mission. Its flown by soo quickly. Less than a year left now. Dang. Lots of thoughts about the future that night. 

Saturday- Soakai told me his conversion story. Man I love my comp a ton, and have so much respect for him. He's awesome. A random member invited him and his friend to "learn more about jesus christ" at the mall. They said okay and drove with him to a chapel where there was a young single adult dance. Talked to the missionaries and was taught all the lessons over time and then set up a baptismal date. Anyway, he worked to pay for his own mission, he's awesome. He's about as happy as anybody I know too. So far he's been a great companion. We had a great week we also got a new family of investigators. 

Sunday- Flat tire. Fixed the flat at the church. Teachings. Met with stake pres. Langi. Lots of errands and collecting things for prez for monday. 

All in all. Things are going well. Love all you guys, Ofa atu, Tay

Monday, August 22, 2016

Week 46 in Tonga

Man, this week was awesome. So much happened and so much went down. Great week. 

Super brief summary of the things that happened this week. 

Tuesday night we had a family home evening with the recent converts that we just baptized at the beach with the va'enuku couple. That was really cool. We ate a bunch of good food and Elder Va'enuku jammed on the ukulele. That man knows how to put on a show. It was really cool. I regret not videoing it. 

Tuesday night we had a family home evening with the recent converts that we just baptized at the beach with the va'enuku couple. That was really cool. We ate a bunch of good food and Elder Va'enuku jammed on the ukulele. That man knows how to put on a show. It was really cool. I regret not videoing it. 

Wednesday morning we went to check up on and study with the Te'ekiu elders before Tui finished his mission. They had a guitar and so Tui played and Vailea sang a tongan song. It sounded super good.  The song was nice and hawaiian sounding I guess, and then mid song, we heard a massive "BANGG" outside. We instantly all turned our heads and Tui goes "What the fuss was that!?!" hahaha we all went outside and saw the dead pig that had been hit and run. Funny. That night we visited a blind lady. That was really cool.

Oh yeah, that night, we ran into a man named Michael Funaki, he told me he was from Parramatta Australia. I recognized that place and quickly put together that X served in his ward. Found out that he was actually Xs ward mission leader. So that was really cool. 

Thursday night we were starving. Fafanga gave us a loaf of bread. So we decided we were going to find a way to get pizza. In the end, a district leader, his comp, two ha'apai elders, the zone leaders in hofoa, and the two of us, and The Prince of Tonga, combined efforts in order to make it possible. I told you guys before the princes number is in our phone right? First name basis. haha. That was cool. The pizza was way good too. 

Bucket Showers

Filled up a baptismal font with a firehose. 

Went to the blowholes.

Oh yeah, on saturday, Lupe and Mino Mani, our recent converts, they fafanga'd us. Man, they must have sacrificed so much for that meal. It was awesome. This family is so poor that their roof isnt intact, the transition between outside the house and inside the house is a piece of wood, dirt floor, walls falling apart, whole house the size of my old bed room and six people live there. The fafanga they made for us was so awesome. Superrr good. Ota ika too. Theyre awesome. Blessings coming their way. The church is going to be building them a whole new home starting this week. Way cool. 

Yesterday was transfers. We waited in Vaotu'u at the stake presidents home while Elder Enos and Otukolo made us german pancakes. Delicious. The transfer never came though. We headed back to the mq and then finally got a call at 10:10 from the APs telling us that Tuha was leaving to zone in folaha and that my new comp is Elder Soakai. They didnt even tell us the rest of the zone. Found out that no zone leaders knew the transfer and that the APs were calling everyone individually. So that was super weird and frustrating. Lots of changes. My new comp Elder Soakai is really cool. He's 24 from new zealand and converted in 2013. He was in the mission presidents stake and ward before he left.  Getting along well, reminds me of Elder Tua'one. 

All in all, I'm loving it out here. Lots of cool things. Lots of changes, lots of work too. We have three baptismal dates set up for september so thats cool. Teaching a lot, its good. Oh and Soakai's first language is tongan. So that'll be good. 

I'm doing great. Loving everything right now and can't wait for the future. 

Ofa atu ka moutolu, Elder DeSpain

Monday, August 15, 2016

Week 45 in Tonga

This week has gone by as fast as any week that I can remember. Feel like I was here netting yesterday. This week was awesome though. It was the hundred years celebration of the misiona tonga mission, which was huge. The whole nation seemingly joined in. 

Stuff that happened this week:

- Was deathly sick for most of the week. Stomache upset and dead tired pretty much everyday until friday.

- Had to figure out clothing for all of the missionaries in the zone for the misiona tonga presentation to the king on tuesday, since for some reason none of the elders in our zone had black tupenus. 

- I broke my speaker on monday, so no more talks or speeches in the morning. Hoping to get another one soon from some store or another, but pretty much all stores sell here is bread and canned beef.

- We've driven 800+ kilometers in the past 15 days alone we've been so busy with everything for the zone. (800 kilometers on this freaking tiny little island is a ton, good thing the office elders said I was good for this month haha cuz we've been busy)

- We took care of the Eua Elders, who stayed in our northern MQ in kanokupolu for the week for the celebration.

- The Celebration at King Tupou's Palace: That was really cool:
          We drove to kolo with the Eua boys, and parked near the palace. Met up with all the missionaries in tongatapu and took pictures with my kau huu, and President Tupou and so on. Then we were directed by President Tui'one into the palace gates, where we unloaded tens of thousands of dollars worth of ufi (a starchy plant) into piles on the lawn. Then we unloaded massive pigs in crates from trucks, a tree plant thing, and woven mats and tapa cloths. After all of that we regrouped and sat crosslegged to the side of the lawn with everyone else that entered the palace gates. Everyone that goes to the palace has to sit cross legged on the lawn. Even the prince. President Tui'one gave the opening prayer. A crazy opera lady sang. The ufi and pig presentation was hilarious. Soooo weird. Tongan traditions are very different. Lots of yelling. "UFFF TAHA" "UFFF NIMAA" hahaha. I wish that cameras were allowed. I saw stake president Ma'u from Eua there. After the Ufi was presented along with the pigs and tree stuff and everything, the elders all got into a line and systematically took everything off of the lawn to the side, while the choir sang. Then after the ceremony we put all the stuff back into the trucks and took them to the kings storage buildings, where we formed an ufi chain and loaded up storage. I was the end of the chain stacking all the ufi. Cool stuff

- Beach resort meals with the Eua Boys. 

- Found out tuesday night that MLC would be on wednesday, and that we would be having an early morning temple session beforehand. Which was awessooommeeeeeeee, because... Eua's temple trip was in town. And so I saw sooooo many of my members in the temple and went through an endowment session with them all. It was soooo great. I saw Sona, and Sione Kauvaka, and President Ma'u, President Havea, Fane, Pele, a less active that Erickson and I reactivated, so many members from both tongamamao and ohonua and houma. It was sooooo awesome. That temple session was my favorite part of the week. Especially getting to talk to all of them from tongamamao who I hadnt seen in ages. 

- MLC was awesome. I love Prez Tui'one so flipping much. I aspire to be like that man so much. 

- Held a coordination meeting with our District leaders right after MLC.

-The nationwide feast for the celebration at liahona highschool: 

         Every ward and stake in the kingdom prepared a massive feast for themselves on thursday. Hundreds of tables were set up for everyone and the king and the prince and queen sat in the middle of everyone. Sooooo much food. Elder Tuha and I had a whole pig for the two of us, along with octopus and raw fish and fruit and so on. It was awesome. It was fun to be with all of the missionaries and to see all of my old Eua members too. Good time. Oh yeah I saw Sinai there. She gave us kit kats and recorded me for home. 

- Found out that the water filter we used in ohonua for four months had such great water pressure because there arent actually any filters under the cover. Awesome...

- I vilo hoa'd with my brother Elder Moala this week it was awesome. It was great to hangout with him again and talk about the old Eua days and Erickson and so on. We had some really great conversations. Talked until two thirty in the morning and didnt even realize it. Good vilo hoa, just really tired. Our fafanga that night treated us to the vakaaloa beach resort buffett. So that was awesome. We ate with President Loseli. 

- Running tons of missionaries in our zone from ha'apai around, andddddddddddd the most exciting part of my week... We had to take them to storage, and I asked Gardner "There doesnt happen to be a Ta'ovala wrapped up in paper towels lying around in storage by any chance is there?" There wasssss. My Ta'ovala wasnt stolen,, I got it back from storage. SO that was awesome. Made my week. The nicest ta'ovala in the mission from my loving members is back in my possession. 

- Got a package from the fam. Awesome. 

- Sister Vimahi called me and told me that she found Maile Si'i and Maile Lahi that Erickson and I set up baptismal dates for in Eua but who moved away without us knowing. Shes teaching them and they told her all about me and erickson. So that was awesome. Theyre going to be baptised in the next week or two. 

- Havent eaten a morning fafanga in over a week. Too busy, eating once a day. 

- Oh yeah, I stopped a house from being burnt down this week. I decided we should check on one of our fellowshippers, got to the house and everyone was asleep, turned the corner and saw that the stove was on fire. So we ran into the house and put it out, then we woke the family up. Haha that was cool. 

- Stake conference was had this week. Prince Ata is in our stake so we saw him on sunday. Also President Tui'one joined all four sessions of our stake conference and called me a lot to talk. He wanted to know what I thought the members needed and so on. Talked to him a bunch. Then saturday night he texted me about what I felt the members needed for sunday. All night long I was thinking about it and then I texted him my thoughts sunday morning. When the seventy spoke, he addressed everything that I texted prez about and told him I thought the members should hear. I looked at Prez on the stand and he gave me one of those knowing smiles cuz he knew what I was thinking. Haha so that was really cool.

Busy week. Today we are having zone pday at the beach in kanokupolu at the otuhaka resort. Should be fun. This sunday is probably going to be insane too. Its the transfer and AP brock goes home, as well as four other zone leaders. The whole mission leadership is going to be super new. Fun stuff. 

Love you all, Tay

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Week 44 in Tonga

     This week has been good. Time is going by so quickly its crazy. I feel like I was emailing a couple of days ago. 
     This week we worked in the APs area until friday and got them two new investigators while they were in Vava'u. That was fun. Spent some time in the mission office on friday meeting with the APs after their trip to go over everything, and found out that we will be getting a new car. Heck Yes!, thats going to be nice. Tuhas dad flew into tonga for the kingdom wide celebration of the missions hundred year anniversary this week... he's been visiting us a lot lately. but its all good cuz he's given us tons of food and chocolate. Seriously a ton of chocolate, I'm sick of candy right now. We've given a ton of the chocolate away to the sisters. They're always very grateful. The sisters in our vahe are awesome. 
     Went to Houma's district meeting and taught them about planning and instituted the new zone wide planning program with them. Sister Vimahi flew in from Eua that morning and is working in Ha'alalo in our zone. So its been cool to talk with her again. Two favorite sisters from Eua are in our zone now. Thats cool. She gave us a bunch of chocolate.
     Been blowing our money on beach resort meals lately. Well worth it. Our fafangas seem to constantly be falling through, or we are so busy that we dont have time for fafanga, so we've had plenty of days this week where we plan fafanga as a back up plan in case teachings fall through. Actually most nights we have too many appointments for fafanga anyway. Haven't been all that hungry actually for some reason. Just really busy. The Kolovai sisters gave us fafanga on wednesday after the day because we called and were so hungry hahaha. They're the best. Its good though now. We are loaded with chocolate. 
     Saw and talked to President Tupou on Friday on his way back from Uta while we were in utulau. Good to see him again. Really weird seeing him wearing a byu shirt and jordan shorts. 
     Had a vilo hoa with one of the DLs, found out that the car I'm driving right now is the same one that Diehl from the MTC flipped over and showed us pictures of. 
     I love the office elders. Gardner and Carbone are by far my favorite missionary companionship in the mission. They are freaking hilarious. Love it when I'm in the office. They have the best p-days with the APs on saturday too. They went fishing for sharks two weeks ago. Sounds fun. I hope they stay in the office for a while because I want to work with em. They're hilarious. 
     On saturday we got up at five in the morning to drive to kolo and do a mission wide service project at the hospital in Havelu. We painted the fence. That was fun. Talked with Carbone and Gardner the whole time. It was lead paint, washed ourselves with gasoline to get it off. Was fun. I talked to President while there and he told me that he liked all of the ideas I was putting in place in the zone. So that was cool. 
     Yesterday it just rained alllll day long. Not a whole bunch else happened. I came up with some awesome ideas for after the mission though. College life is going to be awesome.
     Oh yeah, I nearly forgot, on friday we baptized two of our investigators in Kanokupolu. Then on sunday I confirmed the daughter. First time ever confirming someone before, also first time ever doing it in Tongan. That was cool. I was nervous but it was all good. 
     Internet kind of slow this week so not many pics. I'm doing well. 

Love all you guys and hope you're all well.  
Ofa atu, Taylor

Eating at Resorts

Baptisms in Kanokupolu

Another awesome view

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Week 43 in Tonga

Whatsup everyone, 

This week has been awesome. One of my favorite weeks out on the mission. 
     Last p-day was kind of busy because we had to do a whole ton of things for the APs and the mission office, we also taught a lesson in Kanokupolu right in the middle of it, so that was that. Oh yeah I also hit a dog with the car on monday, just his head. I swear they're trying to get killed, so stupid. He's fine though I think, just knicked him.

Tuesday, President and Sister Tui'one joined in on our district meeting in te'ekiu, so that was awesome. We went over baptismal invitations and I basically taught them all what we need to be doing. How to get them to say yes after just having said no by explaining some things and so on. It was really cool. During the meeting President said "I have something to add, Elder DeSpain, Stand up." then he said "Elder Tuikolovatu and Elder Vailea, is there anything you notice about him?- This is how missionaries should look every day." Haha that was cool/funny. Then Tuha and I drove to another district meeting in the zone which president and sister Tui'one also joined. That meeting was great. I taught about the importance of teaching all five lessons before baptism instead of just the first four as the pmg says and as so missionaries do, and then also other ways for us to retain recent converts by going to the temple and so on. I also taught obedience. President and Sister Tui'one are the best. I have so much love for them. Afterwards, Sister Tui'one thanked me for conducting a great meeting and that she was grateful to learn from me today, and President told me that he wanted to interview me before the mission meeting wednesday morning. He also passed our car on the road back to fahefa with a smile after the meeting hahaha.
    So then the whole zone was supposed to have interviews with president before the meeting with all of the missionaries on tonga, but my interview with prez was so long that it didnt happen. It was awesome. Man I love Prez so much. The interview was awesome. He told me that he was really happy to see that I am a leader that "leads by example". It felt good to hear.  He also really liked what I'd been doing with the DLs. So that was all really cool.  President then gave me a ton of advice for the things I asked. He's awesome. Then, during the meeting President revealed to the mission his new vision and rules and standards and so on. And one of the big changes that hes making... is that the fifth lesson will always be taught before baptism. I was happy to hear that because I feel it's very important also and had taught that to the DL's on Tuesday. That was way cool. 
So I've taken my interview with prez seriously and as such have started to change a ton of things up in our zone. Specifically focusing on planning and obedience. Trying to get all missionaries motivated.  Every district meeting now we are going to be checking planners and comparing them to ours, and DLs. Another thing, ever since the meeting, every day this week we've gotten up at 6:10 and driven over to another mq to wake them up and exercise with them without them knowing. Every other night we are going to another mq and sitting in on their planning session to see how they do it. We ended up roleplaying with the Vaotuu boys the other night and we were able to help them out. Needless to say, we've been flipping busy recently. Its been great. 
    The weeks been really good. One of my favorite weeks so far. Last night we had to drive to the kolovai sisters to check on them because they lost their phone. Love those sisters. Theyre great. They left it in kolo during a teaching hahah. Then this morning we went and excercised with a pair of missionaries and during that the APs called me and asked me if Tuha and I could cover their area for the week while they are in vava'u. I know Kilary trusts me but that was kind of shocking. Coolio though. Might stay there Wednesday. Who knows, good week. 
     We were supposed to have a zone pday at the beach resort in kanokupolu today, but its been raining. So that stinks. Overall great week. Loving it out here. Love the work. Having fun. 

Love all of you guys. Hope this is a good update, Tay

sorry no pics