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