Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Week 30 - What a Week!!!

So I'm going to let everyone know right up front, this is going to be a huge email. One of the greatest things of my mission happened this week and I have to tell the full story. There are also a lot of little things that made this a way cool week, so bear with me.

Ok, so I think it was Monday night or Tuesday, we found out that one of our investigators, Morite, would be leaving with her aunt to Vaitupu, an outer island of Tuvalu. We were all way sad because we were going to give her this Saturday to be baptized. She had been coming to church and she was loving the lessons. So we set up our last appointment for Wednesday to say goodbye and stuff. It was at that lesson, at her aunts house where she told us the good news. She wasn't leaving!!! And the next thing out of her mouth was so can I still get baptized? Elder Paki and I figured out that we could teach her everything that she needed to know before that Saturday, so we said yes!! We went back everyday that week and taught her. It was way, cool she was so interested and loved it all. And another cool thing, her birthday is the exact same day and year as Zach!!! 8/19/1999!! 

On Friday, when it came time for her interview, we asked her where her dad was so that he could sign the baptismal record. She looked at us and said that he was a pastor for the biggest church in Tuvalu. When we asked her if she had asked permission if she could get baptized, she said that when she asked him he just said "yes, yes go do what you want". Then she explained to us that she didn't live with him anymore. So we asked if her aunt would be willing to sign it and she said yes. Elder Paki did the interview and it went perfect!!! She wanted me to baptize her. 

So Saturday, we went down to the church at 8:40 because the baptism was scheduled for 9, but in true Tuvalu fashion it didn't start until 10. :) We had two people getting baptized this week, Morite and Teofoga. The service was amazing!!! I have had baptisms before, but the spirit was definitely stronger at this one, maybe because we worked so hard with each girl in different ways. We found Teofoga the first or second week that Elder Paki and I were in Tuvalu together and now the last Saturday before Elder Paki leaves she finally got baptized!!! It was crazy!!!!

But that was not the only fun thing that we did. On Saturday, after the baptism, Elder Paki and I walked back down to the flat to prepare for the monumental task we were about to try, to walk the whole island of Tuvalu in one day. We decided we were going to try this because we had an appointment at the bottom of the island as well as one close to the top and Elder Paki wanted to say goodbye to everyone that we see up top. So we left the flat and headed down to the bottom. Half way down, Morite drove past. We told her what we were doing and she said that she wanted to join us. So she dropped off her scooter and we walked down to the bottom. When we got there, the tide was low and it was dry all the way to the next island over, so we decided to walk to it and start our journey there. The walk was a little longer then we thought and it took almost 20 minutes to get there. When we got there, we turned around and to our horror we saw the tide coming in and so we just took a couple of quick pics there and then started back without resting. We got back to the shore of the main island right before the tide closed in. So that was a way fun adventure. We looked at our time and realized that it was 3:30 and we knew takes about 3 hours to get to the top walking. We had another appointment at 8 so we decided that we would just have to keep going. So me, Morite and Elder Paki walked for about 2 hours straight up to our appointment. She was busy, but Elder Paki did get a pic with her and said goodbye so that was good and then we continued. When it got to be about 6:30 and we still were not there, we started to get worried about not making it back in time, but we had come to far to turn around. So we continued and along the way we picked up two little kids that wanted to join too so the 5 of us walked the 30 minutes we had left to the top of the island!!! It had been about 6 hours since Elder Pakiand I had left our flat we made it!!!!! But we couldn't stay and rest because we had to make our way back down to a members house who had a car and ask them if they could give us a ride into town so that we could make it back to our dinner on time. That last hour was the worst!!! We had been walking for so long and we had not eaten all day and we were just dead!!! On the way Elder Paki and I discussed what would be the best thing to do if one of us passed out and I'll have to say it was fun talking about and it got our minds off of walking. We finally made it down to the members house and I guess we looked pretty hammered because he said his first thought was that one of us was hurt. He got us into town on time and we at dinner at Logotau's. I was so sunburned and tired but he had cooked a bunch of fish and we chowed and slowly started to feel better. I ate a whole fish, eyes, brain and tail too and it was amazing!!!! After, we dragged ourselves back to the flat and got in bed as soon as possible. I am still sore!!!! Walking a long way to a lesson where we sit down and rest is one thing, but walking 7 and a half hours none stop hurt way bad, but we talked to a lot of people and did it, bottom to top in one day!!! It was amazing.

That was about it for my week. I am looking forward to the temple dedication and hearing Pres. Eyring speak!!! We leave on Thursday to go back into Fiji. I know that it will be a great time but I am also sad to leave Elder Paki. He has been awesome!!! Way sad to part ways, but it's time to start a new chapter in my mission. I will be getting my new comp and returning to Tuvalu for 3 more months!!

Alofa Atu,

Elder Brown
A lot has happened this week but this was definitely a highlight. 
          Baptized by Elder Paki- Teofoga Lusama
          Baptized by me- Morite Bakate 

Me on our walk

Another Baptism Pic

The whole fish I ate

Week 29 - Elder Brown 2/8/16

Well this was a great week!!! We got a lot of things done and we finally are going to have another baptism!!!! 

Teofoga finally came to church when we were going to announce the baptism!! On Saturday I did her interview. I was way nervous but we got through it all good. I think that puts me in the small group of Junior Companions that have done the baptismal interview, haha! It was way fun. We went on our way afterwards to do Falili's but her and Tofikai came and found us and she told us that she was still not ready!!! That is the 2nd time that she has backed out of the interview!!! We don't know what she is missing!! We are going to ask her what is up the next time we see her but she comes to church every Sunday, but its way stinky. But the last Saturday before Elder Paki leaves, he will be baptizing a person that we found our first week together so it will be really cool!!! I still have no idea who my next companion is so I guess it will be a big surprise when I head back into Fiji!!! 

In other news, we had yet another rat in the flat on Saturday night but this one was the biggest one yet!!! He was over a foot long!!! It was way crazy and we chased him all over the flat before my sele descended on his neck and got him!! We had fun!! 

We also got a new investigator Morite and she is way cool. She and two of her friends just randomly showed up to church last Sunday. Her two friends are members but they left this week to go to another island to go to school. She is very interested and cool. The first lesson we had with her, every time I would talk, she would put her hands over her mouth and try not to laugh. I don't know what I was doing wrong. Elder Paki said that everything I said made sense. We think it is that I sound too much like an American when I talk so we are trying to change that!!! 

Other than that we are still the same. We printed our plane tickets yesterday at church and are heading out on the 18th to Fiji, looking forward to that!! Haha! Love you all and have a great week!!! 

Alofa Atu,

Elder Brown
This is what happens when you give Tuvaluan kids sugar and then try and take their picture!!! Way crazy!

Well here it is the rat compared to a normal length ruler!!! Way huge, we were scared to be in the same house as it!!!!  Don't freak out :)

Week 28 - Another Great Week!

This was a great week!! It is still insanely hot!!! According to weather reports (looked up by mom) it is 89 but feels like 107 and I agree!!! When we leave the flat, I am instantly sweating and don't stop until I have my nightly shower. 

As for the week, it was a week of little miracles. we started off on Tuesday and all of our lessons fell through, all of them! We didn't teach one person the whole afternoon and it was frustrating!!! We went off to our last scheduled appointment with Falili, she missed her baptism date a few weeks ago and has shown little interest in getting a new one. (even though she has come to church each Sunday for 2 months) We decided to teach her and her returned  missionary husband about the temple and temple marriage. It was a great lesson!!! The spirit was so strong and she loved it, she really wants to be sealed for time and all eternity. She asked what she needed to do for that to happen and we said she needs to be baptized first. So she set a date for the 13th and seems firm!!! It was one of the best lessons that I have had!!! Afterwards, we ate dinner with them and we had ota lolo, which is raw fish, coconut milk, and chopped onions. It is probably my favorite food here. 

On Thursday we had another missionary from Tuvalu leave. Ailini left for the Philippines!!!! With all of the people leaving, church seems empty. We also went and helped feed the branch presidents pigs for service and that was fun. On Friday, we picked up a new investigator named Tatese. She is 17 I think and is really cool. She is cousins with the Maumau's and lives right next to them. We started teaching her and she loves it. Saturday was a huge day for us, we taught a lot of people and walked most of the island. I found out that the restoration is the single most powerful lesson that we have and for me personally. It was the first time that I was not worrying about IF I could say something in Tuvaluan and I was more worried about WHAT the investigator needed. Elder Paki and I were on the same page the whole time and it was awesome!!! 

But that is about it for me this week. Hope all of you guys have a great week and HAPPY BIRTHDAY TY!!!!!

Alofa Atu,

Elder Brown
This is raw fish!! It's raw tuna (caught just that day) and coconut milk with chopped onions.

This is Ailini. She left for her mission in the Philippines this week!!

 Literally the weirdest fish I have seen in my life. (no we did not eat it) 

We have 3 of these tanks in our backyard. They collect the rain water.

Week 27 - Anyone Speak Dutch

Well this was a great week for us here. But it was a weird one. It felt really long but it went by really fast at the same time. It has been way too hot here!!! And it's only going to get hotter!!! 

On Tuesday, we said goodbye to a member who is leaving on his mission to Australia, Maumau, he is the one who baptized Iotepa. That was really sad, I loved having him come with us to lessons. But he will do great!!! He helped us out a lot with our lessons. 

I guess the big thing that happened was on Saturday Elder Paki and I were walking down the street and saw in front of us a big camera like the ones that the news uses and a guy holding a boom stick filming the street and people going by. We just walked by them, excusing ourselves as we walked by. Once we got passed, this other guy ran out of a shop and started to talk to us. I didn't think much of it until i saw, out of the corner of my eye, the boom stick being lowered over us!!! Then I saw the camera and got really nervous. Then the guy talking to us started asking who we were and what we were doing in Tuvalu and a couple of questions about the Church. All of his questions he asked me!!! So I answered him as best I could, trying not to talk about deep doctrine and other things that would confuse people. He did ask Elder Paki some things but he only asked him about 2 of the 8 questions he asked us. When he was done, the camera guy had us walk up and meet the host again because they missed filming the beginning. After, we asked what this was for. He said that he has a TV show in Bulgaria where he travels around to different countries and asks people questions about things. Its all in Dutch and they were speaking dutch but they all seemed to understand English. I think he said his name was Wes or Ves and the show is called Traveling Wes (or Ves) but in Dutch. So does anyone speak Dutch? haha. 

Apart from that this week was good. We taught a lot of people and found our investigators again and were able to teach them which was nice. I think the area is going to slow down though. A lot of people have left to go to school in FIji,Tonga, or New Zealand. Five of them were our friends here so that was sad saying goodbye. But that's about all I can think of so love you all and Happy Birthday to Channy this week!!!! 

Alofa Atu,

Elder Brown      

Week 26 - January 17th

Talofa toku kaiga i te tai au/tu tonu/te pou tenei. Au e fiafia ki i te vaiaso tenei.  Au e masaki malie fua. I could go on for the whole email, I love this language!!! But for the sake of your reading I won't :) This week has been ok. We have suffered some hard times here in the form of physical (on our part) and spiritual (our investigators) sicknesses. Elder Paki and I have been suffering from some bug or something that makes our stomachs hurt sometimes and on our investigators part because they are all avoiding us!! 

All of our investigators have disappeared!! We went all over the place but we couldn't find them. And the ones we did, were busy or didn't show up for the lessons!! it was way frustrating!!! But we were able to help out our recent converts and our less actives which according to president are just as important as the investigators so that was good. Also, this week we had Teruka leave on the plane to go to school in Fiji. We were way sad to see him go, he is a great kid and was way funny!!! But hopefully I will bump into him in Fiji!!! This week we are going to see about 4 or 5 more of our friends leave for school in Fiji and it is going to get kinda weird here without them. But a good thing is my language has gotten way better in Tuvaluan but as a result my English has tanked. I always double negative my self now and I keep forgetting simple words to describe stories. Elder Paki loves it because it makes him laugh. :)  

But I can't wait for the temple re-dedication and the blessings that will bring. That's about it for our week, not very interesting but it was a hard work week!!! Love you all and have fun this week!!!

Alofa Atu,

Elder Brown 

So this guy just came up to me and is just staring at my as I type this. Kids do this a lot because I have white skin and most of the time yell "Palangi hi" thinking that they are impressing me with their English :) I had been talking to him and he finally told me his name, Tepa.

My selfie with a piglet!!!

The sunset

Week 25 - Good Week!!

Well this was a pretty normal week. After all of the excitement of last week, this seemed slow if not tedious. But we got a lot done. Just a couple of highlights. 

I guess the biggest is that we had a baptism on Saturday!! Elder Paki and I got to the chapel about 15 minutes before 10am and no one was there. We were worried that no one would show!! But at 10am the 2 kids showed up Bill and Iotepa, along with their family's, but we still could not get into the chapel. So we waited another 30 minutes for  Bro Niko, the 1st counselor in the branch presidency to come and open the chapel. But  we finally started!!! I baptized Bill and Iotepa's brother Maumau (that is his first name as well as his last name) baptized Iotepa. It was good for him, he got his mission call this week to the Australia, Melbourne Mission. The tide was way low so we had to walk way far out into the ocean. It was really cool. Then on Sunday, I did my fist confirmation as I confirmed Iotepa. That was a cool experience . In addition to Maumau's call, another sister got her call to the Caveat, Philippines Mission. They both came at the same time because the calls take at least a 4 to 5 months to get here so its a long time!!! The rest of our investigators are doing good. We have a couple set to be baptized on the 23rd but nothing is final yet as that is a long way away!! That was really all of the things of excitement for me.

I guess the last thing is that when we go back into Fiji on the 18th of February I will switch companions and become senior companion and Elder Paki will go back to Suva. The Mission President informed us of that along with our plane tickets. 

But that is my week. Hope all of you guys are surviving the snow and cold and are not popsicles when I email again :) 

Alofa Atu,

Elder Brown

Me with the Eti Family

Making Sulu's!!!

Bill Eti and Iotepa Seti Maumau

Week 24 - There is No Way to Explain This Week... but i will try. Happy New Year!!!

Well, this was a CRAZY week here. I think the way that I am going to get this all in here is if I just start from the beginning of the week and work my way through. 

Monday- After we were done emailing, the rain and wind really picked up. Instead of going to the Church to see if there was volleyball, we just went to Tion's and played Sorry. This is a huge game here!!! Everyone has a board that they made and plays. We love playing, and games get really intense because Tuvaluans don't want to lose!!! But it was raining way hard and the wind was just as hard. But we still went out and saw people. When we came back to the flat, it really picked up. We tried to sleep but neither of us got much sleep with the noise of the rain and the wind. I can't even describe how loud it was!!!! But that was Monday.

Tuesday- We woke up Tuesday and looked out the window to find that all of the banana trees next to our house were destroyed!!!  All were blown over and the whole place looked different. As we left to go out and teach we saw the aftermath. Trees knocked over, roofs ripped off and houses completely destroyed. But the people were just the same!!! Just rebuild the house and get on with life!!! But because everyone was cleaning up and rebuilding most of the appointments we had fell through. But we managed to get a new investigator, Teofoga, Siatunu's older sister and she is great!! We saw her 4 times this week and she has accepted the 23rd of Jan for her baptism!!! She even came to church this week!!! At the end of the day we went back to the flat to wait for Omeli and Dani to bring us our dinner and then we were going to call the AP's to have a district meeting of sorts. But we walked in and a rat ran down off the fridge and under the cabinets. We closed all of the windows and doors so that it could not escape, then we went to work on killing it. I had my sele or naifi in Tuvaluan and Elder Paki had a shoe. It was a great battle!!! It ran all over the house and we tried for like 15 minutes and still hadn't got it when Omeli and Dani came with our food. They saw the rat and ran in and took the sele and a broom and went to work. It took them another five minutes to finally kill it. During that, Omeli had jumped and screamed because it had ran over his foot!!! But they got it and they threw it out. We thanked them for the help and the food. We took the food and the phone out to the runway to try and get service but there was no service and haven't had service since. I think the tower is broken or something, but oh well.  

Wednesday- We didn't get much sleep that night either because of another huge cyclone that came through. It was about the same as Tuesday. People were just fixing up, we tried to help as much as we could but they had no time for us. We decided that because we had the Mission Tour sent to us with the package the mission sent us we just listened to that and it was awesome!!! Elder Nelson is amazing!!!! He shared a lot of things that were just amazing! It was 5 hours long. So we listened to some and then went to appointments and if they fell through, we came back and listened to more. 

Thursday- There was more storm this day as well. We found out that it was coming from the north and it was just a series of cyclone that we would just have to wait out. That night we saw a lot of people drunk and celebrating the new year. It was another sleepless night with the rain and people celebrating .

Friday- We did our weekly planing and then went out to see people and again most people were gone. We just decided to go to all the RC's and hung out with them. After we came back, I burned a tie for my 6 month mark!!! It was way cool but it took like 8 tries because we were using a candle to light it and my tie wouldn't burn and the wind kept blowing out the candle.

Saturday and Sunday-  Great days, the storms calmed down a little bit and the sun came back out and we saw the full effect of the storms, like ships blown into the island!!!! But we finished doing a baptism interview for Bill and he passed and he asked me to baptize him!!! So this Saturday, we will baptize Bill and Iotepa. Falili says that she isn't ready yet so we are waiting on her. But she comes to church every Sunday and is married to an RM so I have hope. I am supposed to do her interview so I am excited for when she is ready.

Well, that sums up my week. I hope that it wasn't too long for you to get bored and also way confusing. But l love all of you guys and Happy New 
These were the banana trees by our house.

This house didn't fare so well.

This was Tuesday after this all started by Longotaus house.

Week 23 - Great Week!!

Well this has been a good week for us here. With Christmas being this week a lot has happened. I guess the big highlight of the week would be getting to skype my family and see them and actually talk to them. They are all doing great!!! 

Elder Paki are getting along great and I love working here with him. My language continues to improve. I love being able to understand and ask and answer questions that people have. Right now we are trying to get to where we can build off of what other people say to focus our lessons rather then what we want to say.  

We had a couple of investigators come to church and they loved it. On Saturday, Elder Paki and I were asked to speak in sacrament meeting the next day. I think we did a good job. I gave my whole talk in Tuvaluan. It was way simple and to the point but i made it through and people said I did good!! We are getting really close with some investigators and have at least 3 that I know will be baptized on the 9th. We taught a lot of people this last week but we had a lot of fall throughs too. Christmas was like a 3 day celebration here. The night club that is normally only open 2 nights a week was open all week long and blasting music. Christmas Eve there were a lot of different party's going on for different organizations, and we could hear them as we where trying to go to sleep that night!!! 

We have heard that the entire government will be shut down after today for a week to celebrate New Years so I am excited to see how that helps/hinders us with lessons. Most of the time when people get free time they sleep and that makes it hard to teach them!!! 

That is about all I can think of this week!!! Happy Holidays and have a great week!!!

Alofa Atu,

Elder Brown 

So this is the impound of Tuvalu. All of these are people were driving drunk so they said toget off and made them walk to whereever they where going and took the scooter. They have to go pay to get it out. 

Here is one of us doing service. We are mixing milk powder to make something called Paloka. It is milk, sugar and flavoring then they put it into like plastic pouches and sell them for like 20 cents each they are way good!!!

No caption :)