February 22, 2015

Somosomo, Taveuni Island - Week 2

Bula vinaka na noqu matavuvale!

Sa!  It's been a crazy week.  It has been good work, but not a lot of it because we had a few problems getting sidetracked.  So first of all, on Tuesday we had district meeting in the morning, and then we did a few things until we could catch the bus to Vuna later that day.  

In Vuna
Vuna is on the south part of the island; the reason we had to go there is because Elder Hosea is the district leader, and the Vuna elders needed him to do a baptismal interview for a couple that they had been teaching.  So the plan was to catch the bus down to Vuna, stay the night, and then do the interview the next morning so we could catch the bus back to Somosomo.  Se caught the bus down to Vuna (another sketchy bus on a sketchy dirt road), and I went with one of the Vuna elders to a dinner appointment with the ward mission leader.  

The people in Vuna are super nice!  All the kids were running around saying, "Eldas! Eldas!" and wanting to play with us.  Haha it was so cute.  Then the people were telling us about how like half of their kids were named after missionaries who had served there before!  It's crazy!  So I was excited about how cool that was, but then I found out we had an hour and a half walk back to their flat.....  But all part of the adventure:)  

Apparently Vuna is one of the most bush areas in Fiji.  Their flat is okay, but they don't usually have running water, and electricity is only for a couple hours.  They are really close to the shore though, and it's super beautiful!  Their area is huge, so they have a lot of walking.  

But we stayed there that night, and then we went to do the interview in the morning.  But the interview took longer than we thought.  We missed the only bus back to Somosomo!  So we went with the Vuna elders that day, and went back to Somosomo on Thursday morning.  We got back okay, but we missed a ton of work in our area while we  were gone, so I was pretty bummed about that.

My Companion Elder Hosea
But the last couple of days we did really good!  We didn't have very many investigators to start out with, and the ones we did have weren't keeping their commitments like we asked them to.  So this week we did a lot of finding.  Finding is kind of hard in Fiji.  Everyone will let you in the house, and they love to talk about the gospel, but getting them to keep commitments is hard.  So that isn't very productive.  We got a lot of referrals from members and less-actives, and now we have about 6 new investigators:)  I'm super stoked about that!  

Also, we have been trying to bring back a lot of less-actives, because the goal of Taveuni and Vanua Levu is to become a stake, and they need more people in church.  

So we have been visiting this one lady lately; she feeds us twice a week, and we have family home evening with her and her kids.  Her kids all come to church every week, but she hasn't been in awhile.  We decided t o share the scripture that talks about how the stripling warriors didn't doubt because their mothers knew.  I started talking about the importance of mothers in the gospel, and I felt prompted to tell her about my mom.  I told her that my mom was an incredible example to me, and that she taught me the gospel and how to help others and follow the commandments.  I told her that without my mom, I don't know if I would be on a mission.  The Spirit was really strong, and she started to tear up a little bit.  And she was in church on Sunday:)

Anyways, the work is good!  I love being a missionary.  I've never felt more purpose and more happiness than helping other people come closer to the Savior.  

I am improving my Fijian, but every time I think I am doing good we go to a lesson and I have no clue what is going on.  My hips are so sore!  Haha halfway through the lesson I have to lift my legs up because it hurts so bad.  But it's getting better.  Fiji is gorgeous, and the people are awesome!  It really is a super poor place, but the people are all content with what they have.  It doesn't seem real that I am actually here, sometimes I look around and wish I could capture the whole moment for you to see (imagine us in our sulus sitting in a little shack teaching a Fijian lady surrounded by jungle/palm trees).  Haha I love it so much.
I hope everyone is doing well!  I love you all.
Elda Harris

After District Meeting near Aroha

Fijian House

My Feet

My name tag I received after arriving in Fiji

February 15, 2015

Somosomo, Taveuni Island - Week 1

Ni sa bula vinaka!

All I can say is wow!  This week has been such an adventure!  We left the MTC on Monday, flew an hour and a half to LA, flew 11 hours to Fiji (I was lucky enough to be able to sleep for half of it), and then took a 4 and a half bus ride to Suva.  It is really green here, and it's also really hot and humid!  But it's so beautiful!  

We met our mission president and his wife, and then we had some orientation and went out with some of the missionaries around Suva to go to teaching appointments and stay the night with them.  I got to go with the APs, and it was pretty fun.  The next day, Thursday, we got our sulus, had more orientation, and then got our assignments.  I was assigned to go to Somosomo, which is on the island of Taveuni.  I feel pretty lucky because most of the missionaries are on the big island, and some never get to leave there.  So I'm trying to make the most of it!  So I stayed Thursday night north of Suva with the Nausori zone leaders, and the next day I took a plane up to Labasa on Vanua Levu, I spent that day with the zone leaders of the north zone, which is Vanua Levu and Taveuni.  We drove down to Savusavu where their flat is, and then the next morning I took a 2 and a half hour bus ride (this bus was not even close to being as nice as the bus we took to Suva), and then an hour and a half boat ride over to Taveuni.

I met my trainer, Elder Hosea, who is the district leader here.  He is super cool!  He's from Murray, and he is half Tongan and half Tahitian.  There are 8 elders and 2 sisters here in Taveuni, and one senior couple.  Somosomo is the center, and we share it with the sisters (we actually live right next door which is a little weird haha).  All the elders come here on PDay because this is the only place that has internet.  We are in this little internet cafe that costs $4 an hour haha.  Somosomo is nice because it's the only area in Taveuni with a fridge, so they didn't put me too far out in the bush yet haha.  
The branch here is good.  There are a lot of members, but only around 70 come to Sacrament meeting every week, so we have a lot of reactivation to do.  Yesterday we had church, and right before sacrament meeting started they asked me to give a 5 min talk.  Luckily I was last so I had all meeting to prepare but it was a little nerve wracking haha.  
We have a big area, and it is a lot of walking, but I am loving it anyways!  I realize how little Fijian I know because I don't understand anything, but I am improving I think!  The food is pretty good.  I have no idea how to explain it, but it tastes good and it hasn't made me sick yet so I'm happy:)  Anyways, I love you all and I will give more info next week!
Elder Harris


Flight from the island of Viti Levu to the island of Vanua Levu

View of the bus I road from Savusavu to the eastern side of the island of Vanua Levu as I was leaving on the boat

Arriving at the island of Taveuni

President and Sister Layton

February 11, 2015

Arrival in Fiji

Hey Mom and Dad, 

I am here in Fiji!  I am super excited!  I am going to the Somosomo area in Taveuni to start.  I leave tomorrow with a 15 kg bag on a plane ride and a boat ride.  I don't have much time, but I will let you know more on P-day!


Elder Harris

February 6, 2015

MTC - Week 6

Ni sa bula vinaka!

This last week at the MTC has been a good one.  It has been hard at times, but I felt like I have learned a lot, and I am ready to go to Fiji!  I leave the MTC on Monday at 1:30, and then we fly from Salt Lake to L.A., and L.A. to Fiji.  I'm so excited!  The MTC has been great, but I am ready to leave.  My Fijian is coming along, but I still have a lot to learn.  I feel like I have learned so much, but then I realize that there is still a lot of Fijian that I don't know at all.  I think once I get to Fiji it will be good because I will have to use it all the time, and eventually I will get the hang of it.  But I am praying hard for the gift of tongues!

This week I learned a lot about hope.  Not the word hope that we use everyday, like "I hope the Seahawks win the Super Bowl" (which I heard didn't happen haha).  Hope is having a firm belief that God is real and that He will fulfill His promises to you.  My mission prep teacher used to say that you can almost always replace the word "hope" in the scriptures with the word "testimony".  I know that if we have a steadfast hope in our Heavenly Father, He will fulfill His blessings to us.  

Some parts of this week were pretty crazy.  So in the MTC, the first night you get here, all the new missionaries go to this workshop where they watch missionaries start a lesson with an investigator up at the front of this big room, and then all the new missionaries are given the opportunity to ask questions and teach this investigator.  I thought it was pretty cool back when I did it.  But then my companion and I were selected to be the demo missionaries for the new missionaries!.....  I really like teaching lessons, but I was freaking out because now I had to do it in front of an audience!  

We did two demonstrations.  The first one wasn't very good haha.  The guy we were talking to was really hard to talk to, and my companion and I were struggling with what to say (my companion hardly said anything because of his English).  It was just really hard.  So I was kind of bummed about how that went.  But the next demo we did was really cool.  It was this girl that we were able to talk to and get her to open up so the missionaries could know what to teach her.  It was great!  So that was a little stressful haha but it was a good experience at the same time.

Looking back on my experience in the MTC, I have changed so much since I have been here.  I am a better teacher, a better listener, and a better missionary.  I have come closer to my Heavenly Father than ever before, and I know that he is watching over me.  I have become a better disciple of Christ.  Our branch's motto is 3 Nephi 5:13, "For behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the son of God; I have been called of Him to declare His word among His people, that they might have everlasting life."  I feel like I have come to better understand what that truly means. 

I would like to share my testimony in Fijian.

Au via wasea na noqu ivakadinadina
Au kila ni dina na kosipeli i Jisu Karisito
Au kila ni vosa ni kalou na iVola i Momani
Au vakadinadinataka ni noda ivakabula o Jisu Karisito
Au kila ni tawamudu na matavuvale.
Au kila ni cakacaka ni Kalou na cakacaka daukaulotu.
Au vakadinadinataka ni parofita dina o Josefa Simici
Au vakavinavinakataka na marau mai na kosipeli.
Ena yaca i Jisu Karisito, Emeni.

Thanks everyone for the prayers, next letter will be from Fiji!


Elder Harris