Monday, December 21, 2015

Week 22 - Merry Christmas From the Best Island in the Pacific!!!

Well it is almost Christmas time and it is a great time to be a missionary!!! The last week has been busy. A lot of people are more willing to listen to us because of the season. A lot of little miracles have happened as well. 

We had an amazing week and taught the most lessons Elder Paki or I have taught on our missions... 30!! It was amazing to get back to the flat at the end of the day and know that we did a lot and helped a lot of people come closer to Christ before Christmas. Throughout the week we tried to focus on our investigators and bring them closer to baptism. Well, it paid off and we should have some baptisms coming up very soon after the New Year. One in particular Falili, just got married to a returning member and she wants to pick the lessons back up and be baptized before she goes back to a different island to teach at a school. She is really good and loves the lessons!! I love teaching her and that leads me to the next thing that was great about this week. 

My language has improved so much. I was getting really discouraged and I felt like I was behind the pace for learning the language. Then I was reading in Moroni 7:42-43 where it says "wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope... And again, behold i say unto you that he cannot have faith and hope, save he shall be meek and lowly of heart." It reminded me of something I read in the New Era about a girl who was diagnosed with cancer. She was praying that the trails would go away. Nothing happened, but when she humbled herself and and started asking that she would be able to bear the trials, they didn't seem so bad anymore. This was the same for me. I was just asking to simply learn the language in my prayers but when I read those scriptures, I changed my prayers to "please help me know what to study for this day or please help me to remember the things that I have studied". Things became easier to me and I was able to start saying things in lessons. Just 3 or 4 sentences at the beginning of the week, but now this morning Elder Paki and I took turns explaining things about the Plan of Salvation and everything I said made sense!!! I'm not fluent yet but with hard work and continued faith I think I can get there before we go back to Fiji at the end of January. 

Well that about wraps it up for my week. Merry Christmas everyone and have a great week!!!

Alofa Atu,

Elder Brown 

Logotaus hat finally came in last week. Elder Harris got him this because he loves cowboys and country music!!! Its an authentic Brad Paisley hat!!! 

So Elder Paki's shoe got stuck on the runway heading to a visit. It was so hot that it melted the runway!!!

 Teruka and his pigs. He was feeding them and we came to watch.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Week 21 - Catching Fire

This was an amazing week!!! It is so hot here!!!!! Walking down to a lesson Elder Paki's shoe got stuck on the road because the tar was melting!!! But the work is heating up too. People are finally used to us being back and keeping their commitments!!! We had less fall throughs this week and ended up teaching a lot of people!!! And we had a lot of good lessons. Thanks to the members finding people, we gained 6 new investigators this week!!!! 

Monday and Tuesday were kinda uneventful but Wednesday is when we took off!! We planned out for 9 lessons and a lot of walking. We went off to go see 2 recent converts, Tema and his cousin Tion (Sean). We had great lessons with them. We finished off Tema's lessons and next time we see him we can start reviewing. Then we went to go see are best investigator Omeli. We invited him to baptism and he accepted the 9th of January!!! He is a way good investigator!!! Then we walked to the bottom of the island to teach this women named Seni. We have just shared bible verses with her but we decided it was time to teach the Restoration. She liked it all the way until Joseph Smith, then she got quiet and started to tell us that their where no other prophets after Jesus and that the bible is the only book of scripture. We got into a little mini bible bash and ended up getting her to commit to praying about Joseph Smith. After her lesson, we went back up to town and saw a couple more people. We had dinner with a member at 3T's then closed out the night teaching Teruka (Logotau's brother). That was by far the best day I have had here. 

The rest of the week was uneventful. We have our youth conference this next week and it should be fun. We have been invited to help with that and play some of the games too so that should be exciting. But that's all I got. Love all of you guys and hope that you guys have a great week!!!! 

Alofa Atu,

Elder Brown

Week 20 - Another Great Week!!! (and Baptism :)

Well this was a great week. Like the last, we didn't teach a lot of people, but we had quality lessons. We ended up with 3 new investigators this week!! Now putting the total of investigators to 15. All in all with the LA's and RC's we have about 40 people to teach. But when we go to teach them, everyone forgets or is gone or lives so far out of the way that when we go see them it takes half the day. But a lot is happening! All of them have great potential!!! 

One of the new investigators is named Omeli but everyone calls him Owen. He's the brother of 2 members and is very excited. We have seen him a couple of times and I love teaching him. It was in his lesson on Saturday that I spoke the most Tuvaluan since I have come here. The language is coming slow but I can start to see how it is going to come. I still speak way slow though.

I guess another thing is that we had a baptism!!! We baptized Tema Elijah Peleuila on Saturday!!! It was great!! I conducted the service and Elder Paki baptized him. We did it in the ocean again. :) Way cool! On Sunday, I confirmed him. We had some people show up to the baptism but there was a lot going on around the island. His mom came who is another investigator and she was very happy. We are teaching his entire family, except the dad and they all want to follow him and be baptized but have some problems in the way!! But they are making progress. 

We had a lot more rain this week and I have given up on trying to keep myself dry!! But the rain feels nice when it is so hotOn Saturday night we found that our water pipe had burst and drained 1 of our 3 tanks of water. We don't know what happened, but we have to replace the pipe sometime. That night we just went without water and planned how to get some to the flat the next day. The next morning we ended up rigging a plastic bag and some string to temporarily fix the hole. But it burst again this morning and so we went and got some glue. They were out of the piece we need (shocker) so we just glued it before we left oday and hope that it holds. 

The trade fair ended this week so hopefully people will start being able to see us more. On Friday, they had a concert to end the fair. It had dancing and a band performing, The band was called the Undercovers and one of our members is a lead singer. They are surprisingly really good for the small island. 

That about ends what happened to me this week. Hope all is still well back home have a great week!!!

Alofa Atu,

Elder Brown 

We made chocolate lollies for service on Thursday. This is Sala. Our hands got all brown from rolling them into balls but they where way good!!! 

Well this was a great week this week mainly because we had a BAPTISM!!!!

This is our washer. To wash clothes, we move the washer into the shower fill it up with water then turn on the pump to wash, drain, fill it up again, rinse, drain, then move to the spin side, then hang it up to dry. It takes me 3 or 4 loads to wash all my clothes each week.  

Week 19 - Blessings, Rats and Cyclone's

Well this was an amazing week!!! We didn't really get a lot of "numbers" but we did have a lot of fun and had some cool experiences!!! On Monday, we found out what was happening on the island, there is a trade fair!!! It is basically 2 weeks of music, food stands, and performances. It's kinda like the fair back home but lasts a lot longer. We have eaten there a couple of times and it is way good. Most of the time we have BBQ chicken, pork, sausages and rice of course!! 

Wednesday morning we woke up at 5:30 am by knocking on our door. We answered it and it was Sister Eritepa, one of the members asking for a blessing. She had some stomach pains and other stuff and drove over to our flat for us to give her a blessing. We gave her a blessing and she sat there for a while then said that she felt a lot better. She thanked us and then drove back home. The rest of the day went and taught some lessons then went to our dinner appointment. We went to a local restaurant, 3T's and had a feast!!! Sister Teikawea, the lady who was feeding us, it was her husbands birthday that day so they reserved a room and brought out 10 or so plates full of food. We had chicken, pork, fish, squid, fresh jumbo shrimp (my favorite) and then a cake after. I was way full after!!! It was fun because they don't have thanksgiving but I still got a feast, haha. 

The next day we got up to go do service at the very top of the island. We walked all the way up there and the guy was gone!!! Then it started to rain. Then the wind picked up and soon we where drenched and getting pelted by wind sped rain drops going sideways!!! But it was a fun walk back to the flat where we studied and made some mashed potato's in honor of Thanksgiving. The rain stopped when we went back out to do some work. We went all the way down to the bottom of the island to meet some people but no one had time for a lesson. So we walked back up and taught some English classes to some kids to finish off our service. At dinner we were warned that a cyclone was coming our way that night and as we went to bed it hit us. Hard. It was raining and way windy and thunder cracked about every 5 minutes. The thunder was so loud that it sounded like a bomb was going off. Needless to say we didn't get much sleep that night. When the morning came, it calmed down and we were able to go out. 

Friday night we walked into the flat and started our nightly planning when Elder Paki looked up and ran to the kitchen with his shoe. I turned and saw him chasing a rat!!! We had seen this rat a couple of times but it always managed to escape. But we cornered it in the kitchen and for the next 10 minutes we tried to kill it, me with my sele and Elder Paki with his shoe. Elder Paki got it a few times but it was still alive. It tried to run out of the kitchen but it ran right into my blade :) We think this was the only rat that was in our flat so now we won't have any more problems. 

On Sunday, we had the primary program. It was really good!!! The chapel was packed!!! We did not have an extra chair to spare!! The kids sang songs and said scriptures just like in America but it was in Tuvaluan. In church, we were asked to talk to the youth class about setting and keeping goals. It went way good and it was easy to talk about because we set goals each night as missionary's!!! After church we went to the prison and taught Brother Vi and his kids. They have a lot of questions for us. Ben the oldest was given a video by a priest from another church and it talks about the bible and how we know where Jerusalem is but we don't know where Zarahemla is and all of the other city's in the BOM. We tried to explain stuff to them but they just kept pulling stuff from the video. I think we are going to get it and watch it for comp study one day to see what it is about. 

That was my week i think. Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!!! Love all of you guys!!! Good luck to all of the people playing sports and stuff!!! 

Alofa atu,

Elder Brown 

One of the English classes we teach!!!  

So I had a feast of my own!!! This was what one of the members fed us on our Wednesday night. This was at 3 T's restaurant one of the best on the island.

We had a full building this week for the primary program!! They all wore matching blue shirts to it was way cute!!! 

Just about the narrowest part of the island!! 

Week 18 - First Real Week in Tuvalu

Well, this was a great week but a challenging one too. It was my birthday this week and since I was in a new area not a lot of people knew. Even my comp forgot until halfway though the day but, its all good. Logotau, one of our RC, and his brother got me a tub of ice cream!!! It was half melted by the time we got to the flat but it was way good. But that day started a week of a lot of fall throughs. We had set up appointments with people and they were either sleeping, fishing, or just gone. But we did a lot of OYM (open your mouth, basically knocking doors) and found a couple potential investigators.  

Wednesday, we went down to the bottom half of the island. We have 5 or 6 people to see down there so we headed down and no one was home. It seems like their is a cultural event or something going on this week or this month, because Elder Paki is saying their are a lot of people he has never seen before. We think this is why a lot of people are gone and summer is just starting and kids are getting out of school so it is getting way crazy. but Thursday was Logotau's birthday!!! He turned 19 just like me. We stayed away from his house so he could do his thing on his birthday, but he was looking for us to invite us to a restaurant to eat dinner with him and his little brother. They said it was for me too because not much happened on mine. The food was good, a lot of meat and rice. 

The members feed us way good too. A couple of times people have forgot or just been busy, so they give us money and send us to the closest restaurant!!! But we get fed almost everyday!! We had a couple of lessons the next couple days but nothing big. We did bump up a baptism date from the 12th to the 5th because he his progressing way good. It is Atema, he knows everything we teach him!! He is like a sponge. Hopefully he keeps it up and sets the example for the rest of his family. We are teaching his mom,and his older brother but they both have word of wisdom issues so they are taking a while but Atema is way good. We wrapped up the week with church and we gave the priesthood to Logotau and ordained him a priest, so that was way cool!!! Well, that's about it!! Hopefully the island dies down a bit and we can have some more lessons but we will see. Have fun this week, and good luck SJ basketball!!!

Alofa atu,

Elder Brown 

PS. If you want to send anything to me send it to: 

GPO 60 
Funafuti, Tuvalu

This is inland. I guess that is one way to keep a pig in!!!

Our church building

This is our front room. The front door is on the left and this is our study desk!!

So this is a grave. They are right out in front of peoples houses and for lessons sometimes they role out an ibe (a woven mat) on top and we do lessons sitting on the grave. We probably give our lessons half the time on them.

This is at the very bottom of the island looking to the top

Week 17 - Welcome to Tuvalu!!

Well, this was another great week!!! I finally made it to my little island safely!!! But before we left on Thursday, we had a Zone Conference that was way good!!! We received a lot of training on how to use our area books and planners more effectively I think the best thing I got was President Layton said to us, "let the spirit do its job and convert people. Don't force conversion on anyone." I love that because without the spirit, we might as well stop working because it is the spirit that converts people not us. But the rest of conference was really good. 

On Wednesday we had our interviews with President Layton. Mine went way good. For most of it he talked about this family here in Tuvalu the Vi family. They have had some trials in their lives. Their mom died of cancer around the start of this year and about that time the dad got drunk and beat up a shop keeper here and got a 5 year prison sentence. His 3 kids Marilyn 10, Lillian 22 and Ben 19, live with different family's but they are all members. He was telling me about how every Sundaythe missionaries go over and see Brother Vi in the prison and how Lily and Ben are preparing to serve missions. He was also was telling me we just need to help them out as much as we can. 

But the next day we finally flew out of Fiji and landed in Tuvalu!!! It was about a 2 and half hour flight to get here. When we got close the plane circled the island so I got some pretty good pictures from the air looking at the island. We had a taxi take us to our flat (one of the 2 taxi's on the island). We just dropped our stuff and then left, going out and teaching people. I can't remember all the names and stuff because it all seemed to go together, but they are all way friendly and really welcoming. The next day we did weekly planning and I found out about all of our investigators and less actives that we are working with. There is a lot of work on this tiny island!!! The rest of the day, we walked around and saw people. We saw this little boy whose name is Atema. He is way cool. He has been being taught for about 3 weeks now and he knows a lot!!! We are working to get him baptized. He is 8 years old and he would be the first member of his family to be baptized!!! But he is way good!!! There is also Laugotau. He is a way good, a recent convert that Elder Harris (the elder before me) baptized. He and his brother are way fun to teach!!! They play basketball almost everyday at a court right next to their house. Today, I will try and play!!! We have ice cream on the game this week so it is pretty serious :) 

But life is good here. Our flat is way better than Vuna. It has 24 hour power and a fridge!!! The food that people feed us here is really good too. There is a lot of fish so normally it is fish and chips or just some type of fish. 

Well I hope everyone is doing good!!!! Love you guys, keep up the good work back on the home front!!!

Alofa atu!!

Elder Brown

Week 16 - Well, I'm Leaving Fiji...

This was an insane week!!! I think the news that best explains the title is that I am being transferred to a different country!!!! I am leaving Fiji to go to Tuvalu!!! President asked me if I was ready for an adventure and I said yes. Then he said I was going to Tuvalu... I was shocked…haha

Tuvalu it is a little island north of Fiji and it only has two missionaries on it, me and my comp!!! They don't speak Fijian out there, they speak a dialect of Samoan called Tuvaluan. My new companions name is Elder Paki. He says Tuvaluan is nothing like Fijian, but Elder Paki says it is easier than Fijian so we will see!!! Elder Paki is from New Zealand and he is way cool!!! He has been on Tuvalu for three months already and I am really excited to learn from him. I will be on Tuvalu for six months; three months with Elder Paki and then I will get a new comp for three months. The other news about transfers is Elder Noble is going to Naulu, a place on Viti Levu near Suva and DL/whitewash training. Which means that he is the district leader in a brand new area and he is training a new missionary.  

So on Tuesday night I went down to Vuna and packed up all of my stuff and said good bye to a couple family's it was way sad!!! Sister Alafi was crying that both Elder Noble and I where leaving. On Thursday we caught the boat to Vanua Levu and then took a bus to Savusavu where the ZL's picked us up and drove us up to Labasa. We stayed overnight in Labasa at the Hindi elders flat. On Friday morning we flew out for Viti Levu. When we landed I met Elder Paki and he started to tell me a whole bunch of things about Tuvalu. We have just been staying with the Nousori North ZL's waiting for our zone conference that will be on Tuesday (tomorrow) and then we will fly out on Thursday for Tuvalu.

Well that is really all that happened this week. It’s just been a big travel week for me. I haven’t taught someone for about a week and I am dying!!! But, next week will be way crazy with Zone Conference and my first couple days in the new area. So until then love all of you guys!!! 

Tofa, (goodbye in Tuvaluan)

Elder Brown

A note about Tuvalu. Tavalu is located about 700 miles north of Fiji. It is a separate country with a population of about 10,000. The country is made up of nine small, inhabited islands and atolls. The land mass of the nine islands and atols is about 10 square miles. Elda Brown will be on the atoll of Funafuti, which is less than one square mile of land and has about 4,500 people

Everyone before we left on the boat.

Week 15 - Great Week!

Well, there was a lot that happened this week. So I guess the best way to do this is just start at the beginning . Monday and Tuesday were about the same. Tuesday night, we decided to change the exchange and move it up to that night, Wednesday and Thursday. Elder Barnaby and I were going up to his area, Matei. So Tuesday night we went out and saw this girl named Ella. She is a Recent Convert (RM) that stopped coming to church right after she was baptized. We went and talked to her and she told us that she had a plan to sleep over at the branch presidents house on Saturday so that she could go to church with them on Sunday. We were pumped!!! (but we found out later she didn't go) 

On Wednesday we had a run in with the JW Missionaries. They came and knocked on our door and tried to talk to us. We just deflected their words and kinda taught them and shared some scriptures. It was fun. Then we went down to the very edge of the Matei area and walked up this big huge hill to get to an investigators house. After 30 minutes of walking pretty much straight up, we got to the house and they weren't there!!!! So we rested and then went back down the road and stopped at some less active and investigator houses. All but one were gone. So after teaching her, we went down and went to 2 more villages but everyone was asleep. So we went to some members houses and talked with them.  That took up some of the afternoon and then we walked the hour and a half back to the flat. 

Thursday was an amazing day!!! We did our studies and ate lunch in the morning/early afternoon, then we went out finding. We were trying to find a guy, Banz, that Elder Barnaby and Elder Jonutz had street contacted. We walked up to the village that he told them he lived in and called into the first house. We waited like a solid minute until someone came out. We asked the lady if she knew where Banz was and she said that she had never heard of him. (in Fiji that is weird because everyone in the village knows everyone, just like Blanding) but she said that we could talk with her. Her name was Roberta and she was 20 years old. She was staying at her parents house in Matei because she had just had a baby. She used to live in Suva where she saw the elders a lot. But she had never sat down with them. She told us that her dad and mom were both in different churches (Catholic and 7th Day) but they both went to the Methodist church because it was middle ground. She didn't like any of them but she said she reads her bible everyday and she believes in God. We started to teach her and it was crazy. When I spoke I wasn't even thinking about what I was saying. Words were just coming out of my mouth and I was surprising myself with what I was saying. It was amazing!! The spirit was like a bomb and it was everywhere. We had to cut it short because she had to go to somewhere but she was very excited and wants to know more. She wanted us to come back the next day but that was when we would be changing back from the exchange, so they are going back tomorrow night to teach her.  After the lesson Elder Barnaby and I were talking and the same thing had happened to him. Words just came out. We were in awe and said a prayer of thanks right there. 

So, after that we started walking to a baptismal candidates house. Earlier we had tried to call another member lady (Sister Koroi) to go and teach her and her Catholic husband but she didn't pick up. So as we were walking to this other house, she came down from another village and walked right in front of us!!! So we talked and set up an appointment for later that day. Well, after that we were on cloud nine and we walked up to her house. The girl is 8 years old and has been getting taught for about a year. No one in her family are members but they are always happy to let us in. Well, we got there and didn't even get inside. The mom came out and very bluntly told us that she would no longer be taking lessons and that we did not need to come over anymore. Then she walked away and yelled at us to leave. So we walked away and Elder Barnaby was pretty down. He was supposed to baptize her this next week. But as we were walking back up the road, a car pulled up next to us with two Indian lady's. The older one driving started talking to us, she told us a story about how in 1999 she was way sick and she couldn't get better. So she asked so two missionaries to give her a blessing. Within a week, she was fine and she said that she has hardly ever been sick since. So she has made it a point to stop and talk to every pair of missionaries she sees. We talked to her and she lives in Suva. We got her info and were about to send it to the Hindi elders in Suva when she said that she was a member of the Muslim religion!!! :( (we cant teach them because it is very dangerous to convert Christian, some have been killed for doing it) so we thanked her for her story and delete the info. 

We then decided to head over to the Cheep's . They are an older white couple that own a house in Matei. They come and live in Matei from time to time. Never very long though. But this time they are staying for 6 months and had their records transferred to Matei branch. We went over to their house and had ice cream and talked about different people in Matei. They really want to help with the work. They both have callings now and there are plans to resurrect the dying Matei  Branch. After, we headed over to Sister Koroi's and waited for her husband to show up. After about an hour of waiting we were about to just get up and leave and head back to the flat, but Elder Barnaby and I both had a strong impression to teach her. So we ended up talking about 1 Nephi 11 about how the angel uses Christ's life to explain the story. The spirit smacked us all in the face and she started to cry. During her testimony, she shared how she had had some trials and had been praying for some answers and during our lesson she got her answers. She bore a strong testimony about how the church has helped her and it was amazing!! After we said goodbye to her we walked back to the flat and talked about the day, just to make sure we didn't dream any of it. it was amazing!!!! Even the words I have written don't really explain the full feeling of this week. It was a huge answer to my prayers. 

The rest of the week was good. Today we finally found the Tagimoucia flower and it was awesome. We got all muddy!!!! Well, sorry for writing this huge email. But I felt like I had to have all of it in here. Hope all is going good back home. Congrats on the W football team!!!! Go kick some SS butt!!!! 

Moce loloma bibi,

Elda Brown 

 The whole group at the top of the mountain

One of the cool sunsets we have. 

This is the flower, Tagimoucia, that we have been looking for!!!!!

Week 14 - Another Crazy Week in Vuna

Well this week was very unique. It was my week 11 in training so I was with Elder Noble but I led everything. I led studies,lessons, planning, everything. So that was fun. 

We were in Somosomo until Wednesday last week with district meeting and other stuff, so the Vermeeren's picked us up there and took us to Navakawau. We have some really promising investigators there. They just need to start going to church!!!! They like the message and are keeping up on their reading and other commitments. They are just scared to go to church. But I hope we convinced them this week. It would be great to get more baptisms in Navakawau. All we need is to get the ball rolling and I think we can get a lot of people interested if we can get their friends coming. We had plans to go there the next couple of days and encourage them even more, but Elder Noble got sick. So we had to stay in the next 2 days. During that time I caught up on some Fijian reading!! I read from 1 Nephi 4 to 2 Nephi 10 in my Fijian Book of Mormon and I could understand most of it. So that was way exciting! 

After those 2 days, we decided it would be better if he was in Somosomo where, if he got worse, we could get to the hospital fast. So we went up and he took a hot shower and rested a little more and started to feel better.  On Sunday, we went to church in Somosomo and me and Elder Noble both got called on to give talks. It's crazy how we could both get up and give 10 minute talks without preparing. But it was way fun. WE FINALLY WATCHED CONFERENCE!!!!!!! the Somosomo elders got us the English version on Sunday so we watched most of it. It was awesome. I think priesthood was the best session but it was great and President Monson looks way old!!!

We still had no hike this week. The couple is sick, so we had no ride. We all thought about getting up at 4am and hiking the whole thing, but decided that wouldn't be the best use of time. Haha But one day I will get to that lake and see that stinking flower!!!!! Not to freak you out or anything but we just heard that there are 17 cyclone warnings for Fiji and the South Pacific and Vanuatu had 4 cyclones and a 7.2 earthquake that some of us felt on Fiji!!! Crazy!!!! Last days?!?!  Well, hope all is going good back home. Good luck to the football team this week!!!! Kick some butt!! Love you guys!!!


Elda Brown

This is my one of my two favorite baby's on the island. He is the son of our RM Dorine. When ever we come, he yells "ELDA" and runs over and he is so cute!!!

A picture for Elder Palmer in El Salvador for his birthday, requested by his mom. :)

Week 13 - Another Crazy Week

Well, this was a crazy amazing week here in Fiji!!! On Wednesday I started another exchange with Elder Tera from Somosomo. This is his second week on Taveuni but has been out on the mission for over a year. It was one of the hardest exchanges of my mission so far. He had a hard time getting out of bed and wanting to go to work. But we got through it and we did have some good lessons. 

We have a little girl who is really close to baptism but her mom, who is a member, wants her to wait until she can understand everything. We are trying to help her understand that it is better for her daughter to grow up with the Holy Ghost then to wait but it is hard. Then the next morning, we woke up to what we found out was a mini cyclone!! The rain was coming down hard and sideways because of how strong the wind was. But, we had appointments so we headed out. I was wearing my hoodie and I was soaked in about ten minutes. We walked to all of our appointments and most of them where gone or didn't want us in their house because of how wet we were. (completely understandable haha)  But we did end up getting a couple of lessons. One was way good. We talked about the Holy Ghost and His role in helping with conversion and about reading the Book of Mormon. I went into that lesson ready to drop them and now I think they really want to change, we will see in our next lesson. :) I hope so, I really like this family. 

The next day we went back to Somosomo to switch back. The plan was for me and Elder Noble to get on another bus headed down to Vuna. But the buses were not going there because of all the rain. We actually caught the last bus to come out. So we stayed in Somosomo and helped with a baptism they had. But it stinks because all of my stuff was still in Vuna and we didn't go back down until Wednesday so I wore the same clothes. Haha! I was camping for real now!! Haha 

This week was definitely a trial for me and I had a lot of things in my way, cyclone, comp, sickness, but it all just made me want to work harder. One of the things that Elder Nelson said to us at the MTC was that we "are on the lords time not ours, so we need to do everything in our power to make the most of it." So I know that when I don't want to work or things get in my way, I think of whose time I am on and it gives me a desire to work. One of the quotes that Elder Noble has on his quote calendar for October 17 "FORGET YOURSELF AND GO TO WORK" Pres. Gordan B. HInckley. This helped me get out the door and working this week. I feel all of the love and support that you guys have and I don't want to let anyone down. "Today's trial is tomorrows testimony"! 

I guess the last adventure we tried to go on was a hike this morning. There is a flower that only grows on this island so we went this morning to go see it. Well, we tried to go without a formal guide and just have a villager take us but we ended up on the very top of the mountain not being able to see anything because of the fog. So we are going to try next week with an actual guide. But it is funny, we can relate this to following the prophet. We can find our own way without a guide, even find a road to drive on, and think that we will get to that same place as if we had a guide, but all we will be is in the fog. We need to follow the people that know so we are not lost.
Well, I love you guys and love hearing about things!!!
Elda Brown 

This is us with the Somosomo Elders and the Zone leaders and the best restaurant in Somosomo. They have a facebook page we are on a couple of times called "the meeting place" or just "meeting place".

 So this is stingray. Some members went diving the night before and got it. it was way good. but it tasted way fishy. I loved it! haha

This is a Lovo. They cook the meat in the ground and it is way good. This was after church in Somosomo.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Week 12 - Crazy Travel Week

This week was insane!!! After we emailed last week, we went to the church grounds and had a ping pong tournament and played a 4 on 4 game of football. We have Elder Condie as a ZL and he was the quarterback for American Fork and he was way good. After we went from Savusavu to Labasa on Monday night and then had train the trainers on Tuesday. It was way good. The main message for the trainees was to be a sponge and absorb all that we can from our trainers. After we went back to Savusavu so that we wouldn't have to wake up at2am to catch the bus to the ferry. We woke up at 5:30am in Savusavu and took the bus from there to the boat. :) 

We got back to Taveuni Wednesday and Elder Noble decided to wait until the next day to go back down to our area so that he could take one of the Somosomo elders on exchange. So I stayed in Somosomo and helped there. They have 2 golden investigators. One of them, his name is Timoci and they had given him a baptismal date for the 24th of this month but he came in and basically said I am ready right now can we move the date up. So he moved it up to this coming weekend. He his so good!!! Then right after that we went to go see a girl named Asinaca and she had written down all of the questions in the back of the pamphlets and answered them in 2 or 3 paragraphs!!!! Then she told us of an experience she had while she was praying at her house where she heard voices praying with her!!!! After seeing all of these investigators in Somosomo, it just makes me want to find people like that in Vuna!!!!! We have a couple but they are all scared to change because they are Catholic and all of their friends and almost everyone in the village is. It's hard but I bet once we get a couple of people more and more will follow.  

Well, glad to hear that everything is good back in the states. I still haven't seen conference. We have the CD's but they are in Fijian and even Elder Noble says that Fijian is hard to understand. I tried to watch the Saturday afternoon session but gave up because I was sick of hearing the same voice. The whole branch will watch it on November 1st because that is when we can get a TV and a generator to the chapel. Well, I hope all is going good, love hearing from you all and hope your week goes well!!!


Elda Brown

On Friday, the school had a track and field day and all of the kids raced. It was cool to watch.

Beautiful pancakes with the mix mom sent and fresh bananas right off the tree. They were AMAZING! 

Week 11 - Exchange Week!

Things have been going really well here in Vuna!!! We had another exchange this week. It was me and the brand new elder, Elder Jonutz from California, in Vuna. Elder Noble had to help Elder Barnaby open up Qeleni so that new missionary's can come in next transfer and have something to work off of. It's crazy that they are trying to run 2 area's at the same time!!! But Elder Barnaby is the man so they can do it. 

Well our exchange was good. I was really nervous because I would be leading everything because Elder Jonutz is fresh out of the MTC. But it turned out to be a great experience. My Fijian and my love for the people grew so much in the 3 days I was with him. By the end I was confident to walk up to someone and talk to them. Maybe I wouldn't understand all of what they said but I can get a lot. We gave out a baptismal date to one of our investigators and she accepted. So hopefully we have another baptism at the end of this month if everything goes according to plan!!!! I hope it does. 

Elder Noble is going to leave this next transfer and it would be good to send him off with a baptism. Me and Elder Jonutz worked really well together. When i would be stumped to say something he would jump in and say like 3 lines but it was enough for me to get back on track and keep the lesson going. It was a very humbling experience. 

So we had the funniest Ward baptism this week. The guy baptizing said the prayer right and everything but then he went to put her under the water and she fought back and wouldn't go under. She wanted to do it herself!!! After about 6 minutes of her fighting and the whole crowd yelling encouragement, the boy baptizing finally just picked her up and they both dove into the water!!! The branch president said it was the funniest baptism he had ever seen, and it was his grand daughter!!! It showed me that Heavenly father does have a sense of humor about some things :)   

For the question of how do we watch conference, I really don't know!! I think we wait for the recordings, then we get a generator and a tv and watch a couple sessions and then just read the rest in the Ensign. 

Well we have some meetings in Labasa this week. We are in Savusavu right now emailing and then tonight we will finish the travels to Labasa. Sounds like everyone is doing good!! I'm happy to hear about the new apostles!!! I can't wait to hear what they said and what else our apostles have to say. Love you all and hope that all goes well this week!!!

Us on the boat this morning headed to Vanua Levu.

Our chapel finally got a sign!!

Week 11 - My First Babtism

Well this week was great!!!! Elder Noble and I were in the service of others this week. The zone goal of saints was struggling. We needed like 8 saints in 2 weeks. So they told all the DL's to work hard and try and get as many as possible. So to help out Matei, we went up to try and solidify a baptism and do the interview and help with a returning member. We went up Tuesday around 5 and planned on going back to Vuna the next morning. Well, the girl who was wanting to get baptized decided to go to Suva for a party. The person we were trying to get back was gone also so we helped them with lessons and trying to get people ready but not much success. Then, I got sick. I went to bed with aches and kinda hot and woke up with a 101 degree fever. So, we missed the bus because I just couldn't move. But i took some pills drank a lot of water and the fever broke about 4 hours later. But we missed all the buses so the Vermeerens took us into Somosomo. 

The next day (Thursday) was their day to drive us around so we finally got to our area and just focused on Caroline. We spent 2 hours their teaching her the lessons. she had been going to church so she knew most of the answers but then Elder Noble interviewed her and she passed! We left and as we were walking Elder Noble told me that she wanted me to baptize her!!! The baptism was on Sunday morning before church so I couldn't wait!!!  The rest of the weekend we checked up on our less actives and couple other investigators. Sunday came and the Vermeerens came and picked us up. We got there and we all changed and walked down to the ocean. The baptism was great! It was the first time that I have baptized and the first time that anyone has baptized in that village. Normally it would be up with the branch but they just opened the group down there so it was the first one. 

We had some changes in the district. Elder Carter and Elder Alonzo left for diffrent areas. Elder Alonzo went to a island that speaks Gilbertise so he will have to forget Fijian and learn that. Elder Sarufa got a Tahitian comp Elder Tera and is senior comp and Elder Barnaby is training a new elder, Elder Jonutz.
Well that was my week. So happy to hear about dads calling!!! And good luck on the hunt!!! Requirement, if you kill a deer I have to see a picture :) Love all of you guys!!!!
Elda Brown   

We had to climb down into the ocean and all of those rock where way slippery. I almost fell like 4 times, haha 

Caroline Jane Wils, first baptism in Navakawau

One with us just before we climbed into the water

Waiting for the bus and these 2 ride by. They can't be older then 8!!! And no one else was around!!! 

As we waited for the bus

Week 10

Bula Vina'a!!!!
Hey everyone!!!! Sounds like all is well back in the states. We had a really good week last week. The biggest news I think is that everyone is healthy!!!! Well, except for my comp who is still having some trouble hearing but for the most part we are all back. 

So Tuesday Elder Noble and I got a Ward Missionary to take with us down to our area to evaluate to see if he is ready to serve a full-time mission. His name was Tabua ( pronounced Tambua) but Elder Noble ended up having to leave to go do a baptismal interview in another area so me, Tabua and an Elder from Somosomo, Elder Alonzo, went down to our area to work. Tabua was great! He knows all of the lessons, he has a huge spirit with him, and he got us into 4 houses that we just walk by, talked with them and they all want to take lessons. Probably the biggest is in Navakawau. We have had a referral that is always not ready to see us but he and Tabua got talking and we ended up teaching him the first lesson! We have a return appointment with him and his family!!! So when we went back up to get Elder Noble and give back Alonzo, I talked with Elder Noble and he said that that was enough, we thought he was ready to serve a mission and said he was good. We are really excited to see where he goes.

Then Elder Noble and I went back to Vuna and killed it. He was so relieved to be back in his area we got a saint this week and have a baptism lined up for next week!!! I had a really cool experience out here this week that involved the money that ****** (a friend) gave me before I came, which he told me to put in my scriptures and use in the work. So, this family has been a part member family for 6 or 7 years. The grandma is a really strong member. Her daughter (Arieta) and her boyfriend (Meli) are living their as well with their 4 kids. The oldest just got baptized. Arieta and Meli are not members but the missionary's have been teaching them for about a year now. Arieta wants to be baptized. But they have to get married first and they can't because Meli doesn't have a birth certificate. To get one he needs $40 FJD and go to the town hall, an hour and a half away. We found out last week he has today (Monday here) off from work and can do it but he doesn't have the money. I pulled my comp aside and told him I had money to help and we gave it to them and she now has set a date of Oct 10th for baptism!!! We are so happy!!! Five or six sets of elders have tried and we are finally going to do it. 

So, all is going really well and I am almost able to follow everything in lessons. I can also hold a conversation for about 5 minutes in Fijian. So its all coming slowly but its finally coming!!!! I have also had a couple encounters with cockroaches, the most recent was this morning, I woke up at 3 am to find one behind my ear!!! And they are about the size of a cell phone, so we have fun here in Taveuni  :) 

Well, that's about it for this week. I love all of you guys and love to get emails and hear of all the great things

happening in the states. 

Au lomana kemuni!!!!

Elda Brown

So what do we do when it pours and we have no umbrella?? Grab the closest banana leaf :)

This little boy, Matthew, fell asleep on my leg at one of our dinner appointments.

So after it rained, this is what i saw outside our flat.

Week 9 - Zone Conference

Zone Conference was awesome! We took a boat and a bus up to Labasa (pronounced Lambasa) and we had the conference there. Total it was about 5 hours travel. We had Zone Training Meeting (ZTM) that was fun. The Zone Leaders and the STL trained us, it was great. Then that night we had Unity Night where we basically just played a lot of games and had a lot of fun!!! I saw Elder Aoina from my intake and it was fun to just veitalanoa (swapomg stories) with him. The next day we had the actual conference so we had training's from Pres.Layton and the AP's and that was good. The spirit was way strong. Then the next morning we traveled back to Taveuni. The only bus to the docks left at 3 am so we were really tired when we got back. 

Then the sickness started. Long story short, I spent most of my week in Somosomo with trips to Vuna where my companion and the othr Elders have all been sick and had to come back to Somosomo. So there have been some trials, but I have done a lot of studies this week so that's a good thing that has come out of it. 

Well, that was my week. Sounds like everyone has had a great one back home. With a lot of people leaving for their missions and some people getting calls. It's great! I love all of you and hope to have a better report next week. 


Elda Brown

This is where we met this Sunday, it is in somebodies house

On the boat to Lambasa