Monday, July 17, 2017

Week 93 in Vava'u and Tonga's main Island- Last letter!

Hey everybody,

Hope everyones doing well, I'll be able to actually talk to all you guys next week so I'll keep this one short.

It's been an interesting week. 

On monday Poulsen and I made garlic bread and real spaghetti at the church. It was delicious. had some great talks. I convinced a fourteen year old member kid that I speak mandarin. 

On wednesday we had our zone conference meeting. My last one, President and Sister Tui'one are the best. I love them so much. Such a great meeting. They had all the kau osi (departing missionaries) bear our testimonies too. Also had to say goodbye to a ton of good friends that I'm not going to see again for a long long time. Elder Christensen and Bingham drove over that night to do our baptismal interview, and afterwards I showed them my engineering with the family history center room door. Bingham said I deserve the nobel prize haha. That was hecka fun. I love those guys. I've made such great friends out here on the mission and it sucks to think that I'm not going to be able to hangout with em all for a long time. I also chased what looked like a mini dinosaur out of our house that night. 

Thursday was a roller coaster. It was awful actually. Started out just like any other day, great conversations with Poulsen, good teachings with a couple of people... and then around five the zone leaders called and told me to pack my bags. The last plane going to Tonga in the next week had left, so the mission ordered a charter plane for that night. So I packed, we got picked up an hour later.  Got ripped out of my area and didn't get to say good bye to anyone or see our baptisms or have the party that my members planned for me. So that was sad. It was hard leaving Poulsen too with the other missionaries. I'm gonna miss that guy. Hope that he gets a good comp next transfer. So we landed in Tonga at 10:30 and all of us chilled at the mission home that night until two. Fun stuff. The next morning we got sent out to be in trios across the island until we go back to the office this wednesday. So I've been with Elder Stark and his Comp in my old area the past couple of days. Fahefa. So thats been nice. Lots of good talks with them and going back to my old investigators and members. Teaching them again. 

Stark and I have been having fun making future plans also. Came up with some good ideas and talked until 5:30 one night. 

Today we went and saw a giant rock that a tsunami took out of the ocean and tossed into a coconut field. We climbed it and took pictures. On the way down my flop bent on some coral and Im pretty positive I broke one of my toes. All swollen right now. But thats okay. I can walk and I'll be in america soon.

I'll see you guys, or be able to talk again come saturday! Live life and have fun. 

ofa atu kiamoutolu, Taylor

                            Zone Conference in Vava'u. Largest zone in the mission.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Week 92 in Vava'u

Hey Everybody! 

This weeks been good. 

On p-day I played basketball for the first time in forever. So that was awesome. 

Forgot to celebrate the fourth of july on the 4th so we did it on the 6th. Played basketball every morning that it didnt rain at the church from 6 to 7. that was fun. Poulsen has got a good shot. Hes better than I am. 

The work is going really good. I don't know if I've even mentioned this before, but we've been teaching this 11 year old girl named Meleseini (meley-sane-ee) recently and last week we set up her baptismal date for this next week on Saturday! So that's really exciting. She is really amazing and it's been super fun to teach her and to see her understanding just expand so much!

We also were able to visit with Emelita again! It went really good and she even agreed to read some of the Book of Mormon! One thing that I know for sure about the Book of Mormon is that if people will just read it and give it a chance they can gain a testimony of the truthfulness of it. All it takes is an open heart with a willingness to pray about it, and to do something about it, if they receive an answer.  The most important thing in this world is to at least test it, to see if it could be true. I love the Book of Mormon and I know that it is true.

Some kids helped us get proper form with the slingshot. They're snipers. One of them hit a knife from at least forty feet away. 

Also, I saw lots of my old members this week. Nuti and Moale from Ha'apai, Pulu from Houma in Eua, and Lani from Tofoa. That was awesome. It was so nice to get to talk to all of them. Man I miss Eua. 

Oh yeah! We saw some kids playing cricket one of the days while we were walking around in the rain... and I just had to teach them how to play baseball, so we played five innings of baseball in light rain with a tennis ball and a bunch of tree branches for bats. It was so much fun. I can't wait to play wiffle ball with the bros when I get home. 

On saturday we saw a truck drive down the road on its way to town, and it had four dogs standing on top of it.... not in the bed, on top of the roof!!! He was going about 30mph. We were both stunned, only in Tonga. 

Oh yeah, I found out that the ward is going to throw me a party because I'm finishing. They call it a mavai. There's going to be tons of food and lots of leis, but its going to be fun. 

Anyway, hope you all have a great week, and I'll see you soon!!! 

Ofa atu, Taylor

Monday, July 3, 2017

Week 91 in Vava'u

Hey everybody, hope you all had a great week. 

Brief rundown from the past week:

We set up a baptismal date with a new investigator for next week just before I leave, so that will be great. 

Found a ranch dressing bottle at one of the little tongan stores which was awesome. Made some delicious cracker-ranch sandwiches for lunch one day. 

We ate octopus at one of our investigators homes. Pretty delicious. Also, had a great lesson with him after we ate. I love teaching. 

On Saturday I literally walked out of my slippers. It was a very weird sensation, the strap broke once I hit the ground so the next step my foot came right out as if I wasnt even wearing anything. It was pretty funny. Then one of our members saw and made me wear her slippers, which were hawaiian sandals and three sizes too small for my feet... So then I went and bought a new pair of slippers, and took the other ones back to her, but then she demanded that I wear her "nice ones" because they're "durable", and then she took the ones I was wearing... Still trying to think of a way to give the slippers back without hurting her feelings. 

Yesterday we ran into another one of our investigators named Peni, who didnt come to church like he said he would, so when I asked him about it "na'e i fe koe?" he simply responded "Pisa!!" Pizza... Which was funny, because at least he remembered our deal and it seems likely he'll follow up with the pizza he now owes us. 

I cut Poulsens hair yesterday too. It looks pretty good. 

Also Mele Seini is the first investigator I've ever had who is literally doing everything backwards. She accepted a baptismal invitation before anything, she came to church this past week, and we teach her for the first time tomorrow. So thats cool. 

Been a good week. Crazy how fast the time is flying bye. Only two and a half more weeks and I'll be flying home. I still cant believe it. Hasn't hit me yet. 

Anyway, ofa atu kiamoutolu, ofa pe ke mou ma'u ha uike lelei aupito. Te tau toki fesiofaki osi ha taimi nounou aupito! Tay

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Week 90 in Vava'u

This week has been quite an interesting one.

Poulsen and I have gotten to know each other a lot more and it's been great. Lots and lots of talks about baseball and travel ball and old memories. Made me miss baseball a ton but it was good. 

We also ran into some kids on wednesday that would not leave us alone. We tried everything. And so finally I gave in and said alright lets play, and then we preceded to play dodgeball with four year olds using soccerballs. Tongan kids are really tough, so when we would peg them they would just laugh.  They loved it.

Also, that same day, we were visiting with a less active woman, and she asked me what I was doing after my mission, and then told me that I could have her daughter......"E atu a eku ta'ahine ke mo mali" or in english "Take my daughter to wife." So that was interesting. More so when I found out the daughter was only 16 years old!!! I thought she was way older. Yikes.

We got to see a very different church service on wednesday night that made me think a lot of the Saviors sermon on the mount. They projected a devil animation onto the wall entitled "HELL IS REAL" with the intent to scare people into being good and keeping the commandments. It was awful, babies and little kids were crying while watching it. I thought to myself "Fear is only ever a tool of the devil" and couldnt imagine Jesus ever trying to get his followers to follow him by scaring them. Then they all went into the church hall, and even out on the road and started yelling their prayers up at the sky, and they were yelling for a long long long time. It made me think of Mathew 6:1-8. I was just amazed at it all. 

We taught a bunch of little kids, a new guy named Fate (pronounced fa tay), and had some other really good lessons. Had a cool program at the church on friday, and the works started to pick up also. 

We witnessed a massive fight of 15+ people at the corner where we live two days ago. I've never seen anything like it before. Absolutely crazy. The punches sounded exactly like fake punches in the movies. Tons of kids got messeddd up really bad. At one point two kids were throwing big rocks at each other. A dad also came in at one point and threw down the hammer. It was crazy. 

All in all its been interesting. The scenarios we've found ourselves in have produced plenty of entertainment, spiritual experiences, and laughter.

Hope you guys have had an awesome week! 

Ofa atu, Taylor

Monday, June 19, 2017

Weeks 87, 88,and 89 in Vava'u

Letters are getting shorter and shorter, less and less info. Internet didnt work last week. I asked him to sum up the last 3 weeks. Here it is-

These past couple of weeks have been pretty good. Things that have happened. 

Got a nice new haircut. Possibly my last one in Tonga. Thats weird. Ate some delicious spit roasted pig for dinner. Had a service project in Tefisi. Grant and I got to talk about old times and have some great conversations. The service project was at the queens palace here in Vava'u. Cleaned up the grounds basically. It started raining halfway through though and we all got soaked. Fun service project though. We saw a yacht there in the Neiafu harbor that had a helicopter on it. The Governor was at the service project and he told us that that yacht has a submarine in the bottom of it and that it belongs to some billionaire from new zealand. Cool boat.

Sometimes I wish we ate something other than bread for breakfast, but we got hot sauce the other day and so thats been amazing. I honestly dont get very hungry at all anymore, we've eaten so little that I can go a whole day without eating and still feel fine since my stomach has already shrunken so much. I dont like how skinny its making me though. I think but I've lost all the good weight. I tried on my new comps pants the other day, and they were loose on me at a 30" waist.... I havent worn a 30" waist since before highschool I think so... thas no guda.

Made real american pasta again. Delicious. 

Last P-day we got a call for transfers and I found out that I'm going to finish my mission here in Leimatu'a, and that Elder Poulsen is going to be my last companion. So thats awesome. It's been great. P-day the internet was dead at the church so we didn't get to write home, but Poulsen came over so that was cool. Its been great. Very nice to work with someone again that wants to work, or I should say, is enthusiastic/motivated about the work. So thats a blessing. Nothing against my last comp, he was the man, just a little tired of being in the same area for six months I guess. On the other hand, Poulsen is super excited to be out of his last area, and onto a new area he was there a while. 

Oh yeah, Grant and Harmon came over to net at our church but the net was dead like I said, so we all had a movie day and watched "The work and the Glory" series. Good movies, but made me more excited to be around girls again and start dating. 

On tuesday I tried a new drink Poulsen told me to get from new zealand that everyone apparently says is delicious. It was called sparkling Pineapple something. Wasnt bad. That was interesting, tasted like pineapple soda though. 

Oh yeah, On wednesday this past week I met KOLIPOKI. Elder Groberg in the movie "the other side of heaven". I know, I'm just as surprised as you are that he's still alive. Cool experience though.

All in all things are going great. I'm loving it out here and having a lot of fun with my new comp. 

Also the work is starting to pick and we've had a lot of good lessons this past week. 

Sorry no pics. Ofa atu kiamoutolu, Tay

see you all in five weeks!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Week 86 in Vava'u

Hey everybody, sorry this is a short one not much exciting happened this week. 

On tuesday we walked eight miles in the pouring rain from district meeting back to our area. Soaked. At one point we used giant Taro leaves as umbrellas. Wish I took a picture of that. 

On friday we met a man named Sione Kuila, he was so excited to see me, a white guy from america, that he pulled out his wallet and started showing us all his american stuff... including his greencard, and even his social security card... I know his social security number now 575-73-*&% hahah. If I ever decide to be a felon it could come in handy. Jk. That was interesting though. We had an awesome teaching with a new family that day also. 

Later in the day I was filling up waterbottles from our neighbors tank, and I came back into the house to find a little downsyndromed man sitting on our floor eating some ufi hahah. He said a prayer for us and then we left.

But all in all, its been a great week. Hope you all had a nice one as well. 

Ofa Atu, Tay

Monday, May 22, 2017

Week 85 in Vava'u

This week was great. On monday we got to call home for mothers day. So that was awesome. Really nice to talk to everybody and joke around. Easily the highlight of the week. ​

Lots of walking and talking.

On wednesday we watched a bunch of kids get into a fight on the road. Entertaining. Also helped our stake president build his rockwall. 

On saturday I woke up to our next door neighbor lighting fires in a literal circle around our house to get rid of our trash.... what the heck. Very smoky. Excited for fresh air soon.

Also on saturday, our next door neighbor went crazy and started telling everyone that he was Sihova (Jehovah). Very interesting. He tried to preach to us but he would continually interrupt himself.

We got up at four this morning to go climb a tall mountain and got cool pictures of all of Vava'u. Here is the worlds first sunrise.

 I'll send more pictures next week

ofa atu kiamoutolu!


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Week 84 in Vava'u

Pretty good week this week. Highlights: 

Tuesday: My comp and I were both finally feeling well and so I finally got to see more of my new area. It is awesome. Huge area, and really cool views. That night I met one of our new members, who is from Hihifo in Ha'apai (my last area). So that was awesome. Got to talk about all my favorite people over there with her. 

Wednesday: We had zone conference with the mission Presidency, and it was great to see so many old missionary friends that I haven't seen in forever since I was in ha'apai. Prez is the coolest too. I love that guy. Want to be like him someday. He's such a great example for all of us. President Fetani (one of presidents counselors) did something about us being proud of representing our countries and had everyone sing their national anthem. New Zealand did the Haka instead. After the meeting Vele'ika had the district leaders give a fakamalo after our food, and so Ieni got up, and he gave his fakamalo in mandarin... haha he threw in little tongan words here and there though and it made it pretty funny. "chinese.... ongo AP.... chinese.... eva noa ia" hahaha we were all dying when he said that. That night we set up two new appointments and got four new investigators, so that was sweet. 

Thursday: Met a woman who is family with Sione Kauvaka, my old ward mission leader from Ohonua so that was cool.

Friday: Watched a pig run in front of a truck and get destroyed. Also, we did a companion exchange and so I went to Tefisi, they had HOT WATER!!! So that was awesome. I took my first hot shower in over seven months. Felt soo good. 

Saturday: Traveled all around Tefisi and talked to a lot of cool people. Tefisi is freaking beautiful. Cool sights. 

Sunday: Mothers day, Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers out there! Church was good, Fafanga was even better... Our fafanga prepared a massive kaibola for us (feast). And I'm not exaggerating at all, they prepared two full tables of food for the two of us to eat... homemade pizzas, mashed potatoes and ground beef and cheese and crab salad and clamshells and so many other good things. Ice cream and american chocolate cake afterwards. Delicious. I haven't eaten that well in ages. Later that night, we had to go and help the Tefisi boys get a ride, so we rode in the back of Muhus uta truck up there, no hands mom. I love riding in the back of those trucks. I had to use the bathroom while truck bed surfing, and looked at the situation as a challenge to be conquered, and I'll tell you, it wasnt easy to do on those bumpy roads going 50+, but I was succesfull. Good times.

Great week. Hope everyone back there had a great week too. 

ofa atu kiamoutolu katoa! ofa pe ke mou ma'u ha sapate fa'e lelei! Kai ke mate, oua fo'i!​


Some more pics of our Zone Conference

Monday, May 8, 2017

Week 83 in Vava'u

Hey Guys,

This weeks been rough. I got off the plane on Tuesday and it was raining really hard, also the other two elders in the mq below us were staying with us for some reason while they waited to move to their new area. Then, my companion got super sick and was bed ridden for the remainder of the week. I've left the house twice for a combined total of maybe 2 hours, including church... 

Its been very boring, and makes me miss Hihifo in Ha'apai a ton. I'm just hoping I don't get sick now cuz I have a migraine right now... not fun. 

Hopefully good things to come soon. This week I've literally just studied, and I figured out how to solve the rubix cube in four new ways. I just cant wait to finally move into the place after it gets cleaned up and I can feel somewhat more at home. I've gotta go, it hurts my head to look at the screen, sorry I dont have more for you this week. Hopefully more next week. 

I hope your week went well! 

Ofa atu kiamoutolu, Taylor

Monday, May 1, 2017

Week 82 in Ha'apai and heading to Vava'u

Hey guys, This week has been great. 


Tuesday: Sickkkk. No guda. 

Wednesday: Still sick. I found out why everyone was laughing so hard during our ward council meeting though...

One of our less actives is pretty much universally called Tevita Pupu by the people in this town... but apparently (unkown to me) thats just his nickname. His real name is Tevita Tuifua. But anyway... 

I referred to him as Tevita Puupuu during the meeting, and everyone erupted in laughter. Siale told me on wednesday why: Puu is a really crude way of saying uncircumcised, or calling someone a little child since no one goes under the knife until they're older here. Pretty sure its a curse word. but, when its said together twice like Puupuu, it becomes another curse word that basically means someone is incredibly tiny in that general area... Sooo.... What I actually said is "tic tac dic* Tevita"... Hahaha oops. 

Tongans are very harsh with their nicknames...

Friday: Was overcome with Gratitude for how great my life and family and friends all are. So grateful. I'm a lucky guy. Finally got to listen to the Saturday morning session of conference too, good stuff. Lots of good teachings. Taught an albino man. Cool dude. 

Saturday: Made Pasta again! good stuff. 

Sunday: Transfers, I'm going to VAVA'U! Plane leaves tomorrow. New island ki ai! Gonna be fun. 

It also was really hard saying goodbye to the people here. I'm going to miss them all a lot. Gotten pretty close with em all. Great people. 

All in all, Great week! Hope all of you guys are doing great! 

Ofa atu kiamoutolu, Tay

Monday, April 24, 2017

Week 80 & 81 in Ha'apai

Good couple weeks: 

Quick rundown: 

Two weeks ago: Had a family home evening where the lady gave a 12 minute prayer..... I'm not even kidding, the Dad of the household and the investigator both fell asleep during the prayer... I kept looking up and looking around because I couldnt believe it. I think she asked for blessings for everyone in the town... I specifically remember her even talking about the inmates at the local prison. That was interesting. 

One of our investigators is a straight angel from heaven. Awesome!

On sunday one of our member kids just walked into our mq unannounced, and set our dinner on the table (it was 10 am), opened and took a drink out of our fridge and left, all without saying anything haha. Tonga. 

Easter Weekend was awesome. Three feasts were had. Lots of delicious awesome food. Good stuff. We ate with the area seventy also so that was cool. 

This week:

On monday, we were told that one of our members sons was in the hospital after trying to commit suicide... that was sad, we went straight to our bishop and informed him though, and then the three of us went to the hospital. The family asked us to give him a blessing while he was still in critical condition. It was the hardest blessing I've ever given in my entire life, and will probably hold that place until I die. Not because I was speaking or because of the situation or anything like that though. His bed was against two walls, and his head was in the corner while he laid down. Pisope stood right next to him, then my comp, and then me.. so in order to get my hands onto his head, I was leaning super far over his bed, balancing on one foot like a ballerina and stretching all the way out with my chest parallel to the floor. Try doing that for a three minute blessing.... my body was shaking tremendously and my side killed afterwards haha. But it was all worth it. Right after the blessing, the kid sat up in his bed, and immediately demanded some milk. All was well.   

ALSOOOO WE ATE PASTA FOR FAFANGA!!! Fafanga wasnt lava so we went to the store and found american pasta sauce. Del Monte, the good stuff. So we bought it not knowing how to cook it cuz how could we pass that up, and some noodles. Thirty minutes of trying to figure out how to heat it up with only a teapot... but it worked, and we had the best pasta meal that I've had in nearly two years. It was sooooooo good. We ate a pound of pasta in under four minutes. Good stuff.

Ate octopus again at one of our fafangas. Delicous stuff. 

Found out one of my old investigator families is getting baptized soon. Good stuff. 

Oh, and yesterday I found myself wondering whether or not Creed from the office was ever mentioned traveling to Tonga.  Because, I've recently started buying onions to un-bland the food we eat in our mq. When theres nothing much to eat, onion makes the crackers better believe it or not. And so yesterday our knives were missing, and so I'd take a bite out of the onion, and then the crackers..... and it reminded me of the office episode where they bet whether or not Creed will notice the difference between an apple and an onion or a potato. Cuz I can now say I've done that. Little bites of course. 

Anyway good weeks. 

Ofa atu kiamoutolu, Elder DeSpain

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Week 79 in Ha'apai

This past week was pretty good as usual. Not much new though. 

On Tuesday we got round 2 of mashed potatoes. That was absolutely delicious and this time I went another three plates full of em. So good. I miss american food. Can't wait to eat breakfast again. 

We didnt have many teachings in the beginning of the week, but towards the end we got some good onesWeee. We're preparing a girl named Mele for baptism, and her teachings have been going well. 

On thursday Siale and I found ourselves discussing old tv shows, focusing on the Power Rangers. Brought back that memory when I was four or five in mexico, and I think Whitney was visiting, we drove past the outdoor playset park with all the wood chips and then stopped at a movie rental store and I got the power rangers movie of the time. Went down the stairs to my room in the basement and turned it on in the old vcr tv that sat on the dresser. Good times, good memory. I remember that time specifically because I was drinking red cool aid on the bed while watching and I spilt it all over, so I took precautionary measures in hiding the spill from mom. Anyway that was a nice memory to have. a little throwback. 

Friday we taught a girl named Alisi about the restoration of the gospel. It was a great lesson. She loved learning about the apostasy because she had always wondered why there were so many different churches and sets of differing christian beliefs, when the original church that Christ established through his apostles taught one set doctrine. Good lesson.

Friday night, we were able to teach Naki and Taufa about the gospel and the atonement and so on. It was a great lesson. One of those lessons where they start out wanting to argue things and not really wanting to listen, but then you're able to get away from that and by the end of the lesson you can see the light and understanding shining from their eyes, it's awesome. Such a great great great feeling. Truth has a way of testifying of itself. It was just really cool to see the change in the entire way that they held themselves and from wanting to debate to wanting to listen and learn. At the end of the lesson, Taufa asked us "when are we going to speak again?" and added "I want to know more about your church." That, is one of the best feelings in the world. 

I love teaching, especially when the spirit can testify to these people of truth and you can see the understanding and desire in their eyes. It is the most fulfilling work I have ever been a part of. I'm going to miss teaching when I get released back home. 

General Conference was also this past week here in Tonga. So that was awesome. Conference is like Christmas for us out here. Always great to listen to the living Apostles and Prophet.

Okay, and now one of the coolest parts of the week.... Before we left home on Friday after studies, Siale was shuffling cards, and so I said "wait let me pull out some cards from the top of the deck" (just wanting to do it noa ia and see what I get, nothing really in mind) and then I pulled out the cards, which read of the exact time of day to the minute (straight coincidence). and I told Siale "look at the time." we were both blown away, but then I tried to play it off as if I did it like a magic trick. He didnt believe me though.  But Siale has been trying to figure out "how I did it" ever since. Pretty funny. 

Good week. 

Ofa atu kiamoutolu taki taha, Taylor

Monday, April 3, 2017

Week 77 & 78 in Ha'apai

Hey everybody, 

The past couple of weeks have been good. Slower than usual so theres not a whole lot to say, but its still been pretty good. Mostly me and my new comp have just been getting to know each other more and more and having tons of great conversations and good laughs. Its been really fun. 

Gardiner and Grant flew to Vava'u two weeks ago, so we've been missing them.  Last saturday, we went to a stake service project and helped to build a new church at the prison for Ha'apai. There were sooo many members there though and not enough tools, and Tongans, being how they are, wouldn't let any of us work. So we just watched a church get built and then afterwards the prison warden and people invited us to attend a big feast. That was fun. 

On monday, we had a family home evening with a new family in our area. They invited one of me and Grants old investigators to be taught (Tonga, who we prepared to be baptized but then his dad stopped it), so I led the family home evening focusing on the family and him, but then Tevita and Siale kinda honed in on Tonga and said a bunch of stuff and made promises about what he can gain from listening to the missionaries and so on. It was really awkward because he and I were the only ones that knew he had already been taught everything, and so yeah, it was awkward. When I finally had a chance to speak I said that and their faces went embarrassed as. Haha. Yeah... 

We go and pet our pet horse Shilo everyday near Mele Vaivelas house. 

We've started doing our studies in the AC in pisopes office at the church instead of in our mq because its sooo freaking hot. Thats nice. 

Got interviewed by President on thursday, and that was great. I love Prez. He told me a bunch of really cool stuff and it was just awesome. Then on Friday we had our zone conference with all of them. It was cool to go to the wharf and hangout with the APs too. It was nice to catch up with Pakalani and Soakai. The meeting was great. They did a funny activity where they had us all form a tunnel and hold a string in between us, representing mists and darkness or whatever (tree of life comparison), then they had the zones blindfolded and the APs were supposed to guide them through the path so that they didnt hit the string. But the funny thing was that once they got blindfolded we took away the string and so Paka and Soakai were just getting them to do a whole bunch of funny dumb stuff for no reason until they made it to the tree of life. It was hilarious. The rest of the meeting was great too. Makes me want to be more like President he's the best. Sister Tui'one is the best too. I'm so grateful for the both of them. Such great people and such great examples. 

Also, perhaps the happiest and most awesome moment of the past two weeks: we showed up to fafanga at the new member family's house, and they had mashed potatoes prepared...... I haven't eaten those since I left. It was heaven. I ate three whole plates full of only mashed potatoes. It was sooo good, delicious. Man I miss american food so much. It was awesome. 

Finished the book of mormon another time, started again. 

Yesterday we went to a priesthood leadership meeting, and it was hilarious. I wish I could elaborate but you just had to be there. Siale and I were replaying it over and over again last night in the mq and couldnt stop laughing. Really funny stuff. Good couple weeks. The works a little slow. But we're still making the best of it. 

Hope you guys are all doing well. 

Ofa Atu, Tay

Friday, March 31, 2017

Week 76 in Ha'apai

This week was pretty good. Rained a lot.

Tons of good stuff. Brief Summary:

Monday: We were finally able to talk with Melaia again, and it was one
of my favorite lessons ever. Easily one of the best. She speaks
perfect english, so Elder Grant didn't have any problem saying what he
needed to, but the rest of the conversation went smoothly in Tongan.
We taught her about the restoration and she couldnt stop smiling. She
had so many questions about why all these churches here do so many
different things and it was awesome to just see her eyes light up when
the lightbulb went off. At the end of the lesson we shared the first
vision with her, and it was so powerful. I asked her what she felt
during it and she spent a good five minutes telling us about how she
had never felt so much peace and warmth inside her heart before. It
was so cool. I explained to her about how that was the holy ghost
testifying to her of truth, and she had another light bulb go off. It
was way fun. I love teachings like that. She asked us to speak again
the next day.

Tuesday: Witnessed one of the chinese store owners jump over his
counter and chase down a little tongan kid that had stolen a dollar
soda. Was pretty funny actually.

Wednesday: Had some more great teachings with some new investigators,
then at the end of the day we went on a companion exchange with the
zone leaders. Elder Gardiner has these really cool blowdarts, like
legit hunting blowdarts... I didnt even know that was a real thing...
Anyway I played around with that for a good while. Really fun.
Snagging lizards and so on. Gardiner woke up one night with Vele'ika
and Tai pointing two of the dart guns at his bed, there was a rat, and
it got killed with darts. Fun to hunt with them haha. Anyway, that
night Gardiner and I went back to Hihifo to start the exchange and we
had a good time, we actually ended up having a really great talk that
went on for nearly 7 hours!! Didnt even realize it until we looked at
the clock at 4:50 am... Jeesh. Good talk though. I have incredible
blackmail material on him now hahaha. Man I love that guy.

Thursday: A dog tore my nice slippers to shreds...dangit.

Friday: Had an awesome teaching with the doctor at the Ha'apai
hospital. Cool guy. I love teaching people with lots of questions.

Saturday: Locked ourselves out of the MQ and learned how to brake in
with a knife and hanger.

Sunday: Two of our recent converts were given the priesthood last
week, so they got to help us with the sacrament during church. That
was cool. Also transfers. Elder Grant is getting moved to Vava'u.
Lucky dude. I'm staying and being comps with Elder Siale from Arizona.
He's a cool guy so it should be fun. He gets here later today.

Anyway thats the week.

Ofa Atu kiate kimoutolu Fakafo'ituitui!! Mou fai lelei, fakatefito kia
Luke! Oua toe faikovi he fale ako! masi'i., Taylor

Week 75 in Ha'apai

This week was pretty good. Slow. We had a baptism on saturday though and got to confirm her on sunday. At one point during the week a drunk man tried to kiss Elder Grant, pulling him towards him hahaha. 

We also likely met the lady in "the other side of heaven" who if you remember, tried to seduce Kolipoki in Niua. Shes 85 now, but still remembers Kolipoki really dearly. 

Lots of good teachings with people. And very ta'emahino people that is sometimes frustrating. 

Anyway good week. Really really hot. 

Ofa atu kiamoutolu, Tay

Monday, March 6, 2017

Week 74 in Ha'apai

Was a pretty good week. Lots and lots of rain.

Weekly events

One of our members told me on monday "DESPAIN,,, I LOVE YOU". It was Saia Taufa, an older awesome member, and when he's trying to get his point across emphatically he tries to speak in english haha so that was awesome. Great guy. 

Tuesday: came up with "instant pasta" instead of instant noodles while eating my cup of noodles. Would be way cool. Instead of adding spices, add spiced pasta sauce. Also had a really cool experience during a family home evening where I was given what I needed to say on the spot. 

Wednesday: finished teaching a kid named Tamafua and had him interviewed for baptism, then after the zones left, found out that the kid was actually eight years old, and is a ward baptism haha. well, at least that kid really knows what repentance means now, we spent a good while on that. 

Friday: Baptized some of our investigators, and got ice cream with all the crazy kids after. Our bishop is the best. 

Saturday: Taught a minister for the Penticostal church, met a lot of cool people. 

Sunday: Got to confirm our investigators that were baptized on friday. 

Good week. Hope you guys are all well. Ofa Atu, Taylor DeSpain,

sorry pic attachments keep failing...

Week 73 in Ha'apai

This week was pretty same old same old. Lots of walking around and talking to people in the rain. Got splashed from trucks going through puddles a couple of times, that type of stuff. 

There was some really cool stuff that happened though. 

First, to start off: two weeks ago we held a family home evening with a man named Palu Matakaiongo and his two kids. Five days later, we watched him get buried at the nearby cemetery after having died of too much alcohol in his system. (He was found dead under a tree with a beer bottle in his hand) something like that, and we watched the neighborhood bury him at the cemetery. That was crazy to us because we had just met with the guy a couple of days earlier and got to know him. THEN... yesterday, a week and a half later, we were going around shaking everybody's hands before church as usual, and then I shook his hand....... Palu Matakaiongo was sitting ready for church..........................whattttttttttttt. That was insane. I still do not understand. Maybe there are two Palu Matakaiongos here or something, or he has a twin brother. but that was crazy.

Also, an eighty year old woman possessed with a demon from hell scared the freak out of me. We were trying to find one of our investigators and went to the neighbors house, where this woman cursed us out and yelled at us to disappear and never come back or that she would call the cops. She also told us how incredibly much she hated us and what we were doing. "Going around causing problems". I have never seen so much hate in someones eyes my entire life. It was quite possibly, literally out of this world. So much hate and anger. It was crazy. 

my response- "Sorry Maam, all we're doing is trying to bring happiness and peace to others by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ"...... we walked away from a verbal assault. 

"And that there is a crazy lady"- Nacho.

Good week. Love being out here. 

Ofa Atu, Taylor DeSpain

Here's a pic of one of our baptisms this week.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Week 72 in Ha'apai

This weeks highlights:

Monday- Ran out of ranch dressing. Sad day. No more crouton tasting breakfast crackers. Lots of teachings.

Tuesday- I got attacked by a vicious mother chicken, and yes indeed "the chickens have large talons." Went tracting around in the rain. Fun time. Lots of lessons. 

Wednesday- Met a crazy lawyer, ex-stockmarket conman from new zealand. Very very interesting conversation with him. He was actually a very smart guy, but also kind of crazy. Fun combination. More teachings. I freaking love our Bishop too, he is the man, so helpful. The family that we were teaching in his home this night, they've accepted the invitation to be baptized and they told us "we have been waiting for missionaries to come back for three years". That was awesome. 

Thursday- We went tracting in the rain again and at one point the rain started falling so hard that we hid under  a mango tree. Grant saw a fallen coconut and asked if I wanted a drink and I said yeah, throw it against the tree. So he did weakly and I picked it up and said "no grant, you gotta throw it hard like this" it was much more prepared to break than I thought it was, and shattered violently against the tree, pouring coconut water all over Grants shirt and tie.... hahah oops. One less white shirt for grant. Taught a minister of a another church just after that, and he asked us to come back. Also, we went searching for a guys house deep in uta (the forest/bush) and Grant started talking about how cool it would be to wander upon a tribe of really native tongan people walking around with loincloths around their waists and being super dark and all this crazy stuff, and then we both freaked out as our hearts stopped for a second and saw what looked exactly like the type of person we were describing staring at us. Turned out that it was a statue, loincloth and all. Super freaky. The freakiest part was that we walked another hundred feet or so and looked back at the statue... and it was turned around facing us! Freaking freaky tongan voodoo magic going on. Freaky.

 Later that day, we had fafanga at one of our members homes and the twenty four-ish year old guy there told us all about his time in Australia trying to learn english and being compounded with the refugees for overstaying, his iran refugee girlfriend and so on haha. At one point he told us that he didn't learn about the FLDS people (polygamists that call themselves mormons) until after a long while of people calling out "multiple wives eh!", and him not knowing english, yelling back "io!!!" (Yeah!!) hahahaha. 

Friday- Met a crazy breadman who told us all about his row team days. Fun church activity where we taught. Good food. Reminded me of the good old days when X and I would hangout and talk for hours while eating food on the couches in the church hallways at church activities back home. Good times. 

Saturday& Sunday- lots of great teachings. 

All in all this week was great. Things are going awesome right now. We have 8 baptisms set up for the next three coming weeks and are teaching 24 people. Its great. Nothing is more fulfilling. Its amazing how someone can change their lives so drastically by deciding to listen to the missionary messages. Its awesome. Love it out here. Hope you guys are all doing well too. 

Ofa Atu, Elder DeSpain