Monday, November 28, 2016

Week 60 on the Island of Nomuka

Elder Hau and I

Hey guys, 

Its actually me today, we got a members smart phone and decided to pay for internet, so here I am.

It sounds like you guys had a good thanksgiving weekend. I totally forgot that it was thanksgiving this past week. I still remember last thanksgiving eating at Tuifios house in Tongamama'o. Crazy how fast time flies.  I'll have to see Dr. Strange when I get back. its going to be a fun time. Tonight we are getting up at twelve to go and take a boat to get onto a big shipping boat in order to get to the mission tour in Ha'apai this coming week. Were going to be in Ha'apai until saturday I'm pretty sure. Which I'm excited for because I'll be able to hangout with Gardner for most of the week which will be nice. The island here is pretty tiny I'm realizing. Really really tiny, and there arent that many people. We can visit all of the members in under 2 hours haha. We get to all of 'em once every day. There is only 10 families in the branch. I made otai for the first time on friday. So that was cool. I'll have to make it for all of us when I get back. Not much has really happened though besides that. Oh yeah, I found out last week when i was in the office that my kau hu finishes July 22... thats when I will be flying home. Craziness. For some reason one of the short transfers we had due to the native speakers time changing in the mtc has finally caught up with us and pushed forward everyones release dates in the mission that entered before the MTC change. So now I'm coming home more than a month less than two years. Crazy. 

Something that my week here has shown me so far, more so than all my other areas, is how incredibly fortunate and blessed I've been growing up. I feel like I've gotten used to and adapted to the humble living conditions pretty well out here in Tonga, and then every once and a while I'll realize I'm sitting in a building with half a roof missing and with dirt for floor, or pumping water from the nearby swamp into our water tank to shower with, or be eating kapa pulu off of the floor for lack of plates, and I'll think to myself "what the heck, this is crazy". I'm so grateful for the life that you guys gave me. I've been so blessed. 

This past week I read the whole book of genesis and a fourth of exodus. Learned a ton, the byu study books really help out too. Good stuff. I'm doing well, starting to get more and more excited to come home, but I think thats just cuz of this tiny island and not speaking english literally ever. I cant wait to finally just have a full on good conversation in english again. So this week will be good in Pangai. 

Love you guys, excited to hear from everyone else. 

Ofa atu, Tay

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Week 59 I've arrived in Nomuka

District Conference in Hafeva before all departing to their individual islands.

Hey everybody,
     I am alive, this is me, well, it's really not me, it's Elder Enos. I'm talking to him on the phone and I'm on a tiny island with no internet. I'm having Elder Enos read and respond to the emails for me because he's a nice guy (he said it folks. I'm just typing what he says). Elder Enos read to me all your guys' emails and it was good to hear from you guys. 
    This past week has been crazy. I flew out to Ha'apai this past Thursday then took a boat to Hafeva that night, which was a three hour boat ride. Then we stayed the night in Hafeva and then stayed there for a district conference this past weekend. President Tui'one and his family came and we all hung out together, which was fun. President and them are awesome. Yesterday after the conference ended we got on a tiny little wooden boat about the size of our suburban, but perhaps a little longer. Then we sailed for nearly three hours across the ocean until we landed in Nomuka. It was probably one of the most exhilarating things I've ever done. The boat would go up and down twenty feet, depending on the waves. We got pretty wet. I also got the worst sunburn of my entire life. My arms and face look like they were painted red...
    We got there. The water wasn't running, and the MQ was filthy. We pretty much unpacked and went around the island, and visited our Branch President. The island is super super tiny and I think there's less people here than in Tongamama'o. 
    I was really happy to hear your guy's emails. I hope you guys keep emailing each week. It kinda stinks that I can't email, but I'm glad Enos is willing to help me out. 
    There is one store here. I'm pretty sure it has only three things...toilet paper, toothpaste, and dish soap. So it's kind of cool to be...cast away. We'll see how it turns out. but we're doing well. Love all you guys. Can't wait to hear more next week. I'll ask Enos to see if he can do the same next week. 

    Ofa lahi atu kiate kimoutolu.

                Love, Tay

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week 58 in Tonga

Elder Mahe, Elder DeSpain, Elder Leka, and Elder Ofa

Hey Everybody,

This weeks been pretty crazy. Especially the transfer. But I'll get to that later. 

Monday- Enos and Harmon and I split off from the zone pday and went to play pool at a members house. That was fun. Afterwards we went to the blow holes in houma. Oh yeah, I saw Pahulu, my first AP when I came in, at the zone p-day. Been about a year now since he finished. We were all supposed to eat dog at the pday, but it wasnt ready... Then when we were sleeping monday night, around 11:30 our phone started going off. We kept ignoring it until we got a text from Lisa in Utulau "ko maua eni ha'u moe kuli" haha then we answered the phone right away. Lisa is the best. The dog was ready at like 11 pm, and they decided to drive all the way over to fahefa to give us some dog to eat... Hahaha so we ate dog at like 12 that night. Delicious. 

Tuesday- We took Enos and Fakahu'a to the resort restaurant to celebrate the end of Fakahu'a's training. Love those guys. I also accidentally reversed over their stake presidents dog that day... it crawled under the car. Its alright though, its still alive. I started my vilo hoa that night with Elder Toutai too. 

Wednesday- Dreamt that I didnt have enough money for Ritas water ice. Sad dream. Taught the peace corp named Nick. He's really cool. Good lesson. Love teaching in english, even though I forget a lot of words. Toutai climbed some coconut trees for us and got us some coconuts to drink. Taught investigator named Pela, and then afterwards went to fafanga at Vaikonas. They fed us Ota Ika!!!! Delicious. With hot manioke too, and we heard all about the election and the results, crazy!

Thursday- Interviewed one of Houmas investigators for baptism, and found out that she was the older sister of one of the girls that Tafoya and I tried to teach forever in Tufuvai. That was cool, Ofeina Topu' is older sister. Good talk about that with her. 

Friday- Friday was crazy. I found out my transfer from Gardner at the office. We went over there to drop our car off to be serviced, and ended up hanging out there with the APs and office elders from 11 until 4. The finishing missionaries showed up and we got to talk to them, and then after they left I talked to Tua'one for a while. He just came back from Nomuka in Ha'apai and is having something done to fix his teeth. He's temporarily comps with Gardner... Then he told me my Transfer. Tua'one is coming to Hihifo and being the zone here with Elder Ieni... and I.... I am going to Nomuka and training a tongan.... Then Gardner later confirmed it. And then... They told me all about Nomuka....

NOMUKA- Nomuka is the most remote island in the Ha'apai island group. Its about a six hour boat ride from Tonga, and likewise, around the same from ha'apai. You can only get to it by boat, and ill be so far away from any other missionaries that I wont go to district meetings. I am basically going to Niua, except its not as hot in Nomuka. There's no internet, and there's only a tiny branch on the island. I cover two other tiny islands there as well, but will only go if one of the members say they have an investigator. The island has a fresh water lake in the center of it. Pretty cool. My prayers and letters to president about how badly I want to go back to the islands have been answered, except this is another level. 

So I'm pretty excited about all of that, and the opportunity to train again. Training is fun. 

Nomuka has been shut down to missionaries for years, and the missionaries that did cover the island before, lived on a different island.  (Mom don't freak out I'll be fine). Elder Tua'one just came from there, he just reopened the island last transfer and he was giving me a lots of information that will be really helpful, so thats good.  

So yeah... pretty excited, pretty sketched out, training, no internet, one of the supposed prettiest islands in the world... Should be interesting. Definitely going to be a once in a lifetime experience. Elder Gardner is going to be my new ZL in Ha'apai too, which will be pretty cool. I only go in to the main Ha'apai islands for zone conference, and maybe I'll get to net there. Tua'one told me some of the members on the island have cell phones that I could net from, but I dont know how expensive that'd be or not, so I dont know when I'll be emailing again. And I dont know about Skype for christmas either. Sorry Mom. But I'm going to try, and Elder Enos told me I could call him and he'd read me emails from my account from tonga over the phone to me and respond if I wanted haha. So thats an option. Should be fun. 

Saturday- We baptised our investigator named Pela.

Sunday- Confirmed Pela, packed all day long. Going to try and store my other luggage at my stake presidents house until I finish. Mahe gave me money to buy cards to skype home for christmas with a members phone or something in Nomuka if thats an option. Hes the man. Oh yeah and Otukolo gave me his really nice electric phillips razor to use there because he knows I wont be able to buy razors. Tons of other stuff happened this week that was awesome. But thats the wrap up.

 Love you guys. If I dont talk to you guys again for a while, you'll know why. Could be 4-6 months, but I think I'll be able to email at zone conferences, and there are rumors internet is coming to Nomuka but who knows. Hopefully I'll be able to skype for Christmas. I"m sure Prez will let us do something. Going to be fun. I'll keep you all in my prayers. 

Until Next Time, Ofa Atu, Tay

                         My ward mission leader -Sitaleki

Some P-day beach time

Friday, November 11, 2016

Week 57 in Tonga

Hey everyone,

Thats awesome that the cubs won the world series, wish I could've seen that. I hope the Eagles will do better next year. I'm glad to hear everyone is doing well. Looks like Halloween was fun also.

l almost forgot to mention last week that Prince Ata almost hit us with his truck near Liahona. That would've been a cool story.

Here is a quick update of last week:

Tuesday: Great conversation with one of our investigators named Kava. Leka gave me a haircut.

Wednesday: Great studies with the Book of Mormon and Hugh Nibley. The guy knows so much. I read along and listened to his hour long lectures on a chapter or two. Learning a ton. Its crazy how much cultural detail the Book of Mormon gives when Lehi’s family was traveling in the wilderness that Hugh Nibs expands on. There’s no way that Joseph Smith could have known all of that stuff. Really cool. 
     Nancy, one of our recent converts, told me she thought I was 25, also she admitted to hiding from us and telling kids to tell us that "she went to the gym" when we first started teaching her. Goes to show what persistence is worth. Now she goes to the mission prep class. 

Thursday: We gave one of the sisters a blessing with President Tui'one. That was pretty cool. 

Friday: Halloween activity

Saturday: Craziest storm I've ever witnessed.

Sunday: The time changed in Tonga so no one showed up to church haha.

Today: About to go eat the dogs in Utulau that were prepared for our PDay. FIVE DOGS!!!! 

Cant wait for transfers this coming week. Praying, I leave this place and go back to the outer islands. 

Ofa Atu, Tay

Here is the only pic that turned out this week. This is Elder Leka

Friday, November 4, 2016

Week 56 in Tonga

Overview of this past week:

Tuesday: Started our vilo hoa with the APs. I went with Hosea and Leka went with Pakalani. The vilo was awesome. We drove over to Holonga and talked to a bunch of missionaries there after their district meeting. I talked to Elder Hau, and Tavake and a bunch of great guys. I also lost my nice ta'ovala, kafa, and tie to those guys haha. It is what it is. The APs work in Liahona now so we went over there and I literally went door knocking for the first time in my whole mission. House to house, across lawns. It was weird, felt like I was serving in a different country. Also while in Liahona, Elder Va'enuku played his guitar for us, he is super good. Taught a really good lesson there with Hosea, and then after fafanga we drove to Tofoa to talk to Sulunga. Love that guy. Sulunga is the man. That night, we got back to the office really late, so we just decided to all sleep at the mission dorms. It was great. Elder Gardner and I and Hosea talked for forever. It was by far probably the best night of the past couple transfers. 

Wednesday: So Gardner is going to Niua next transfer, and Prez told him to pick his companion since he wants him to get along with his comp out there on a tiny island away from everyone. So I was talking to him about it, and he was saying how fun it would be, but then he told me "you're a zone bro, you can't". If it worked out it would be great, but probably isn't going to happen.  That night we had a teaching, and at the end of it during the prayer I had the coolest feeling of peace and purpose. Put me at ease here in Fahefa.

Oh yeah, Elder Leka wants to grow up and look for aliens and mermaids for a living. He's dead serious too.

Thursday: Vilo hoa with Elder Enos. Enos is the man. Its amazing to me that when I came from Eua to Tonga, he was still being trained, and now, after next transfer, he will have been out as long as I have left. Crazy stuff. Time is going bye so quickly. 

Friday: Enos and I boiled eggs and cooked buns using the iron. Good breakfast. That night Leka argued to me in complete seriousness how he "knows" that unicorns and mermaids are real, because he saw it on the news....

Saturday: Ive officially decided I'm naming one of my kids after Siope Piukana. He's the man, fifteen years old and probably the coolest kid I've ever met in my whole life. He made us banana bread yesterday night for us haha. Was way good too. 

Sunday: OTA IKA KI AI!! Love eating ota ika. Third week in a row. Heck yea.

Love you guys, Have a good week, Tay