May 31, 2015

Tuvalu - Week 2

Toe Talofa!

Talofa kaiga!

Man I don't even know where to start.....  This is insanity haha! When I opened my mission call, I never could have imagined this haha.

So yeah I am on this tiny little island/country about a 3 hour flight away from Fiji.  The widest point is about a mile wide (where we live), but a lot of the island is just wide enough to fit the road and a house......the whole place is a big beach!  Just sand and rocks, so it is really hard to grow vegetables and such, so we end up eating a lot of meat.  

It is 10x hotter than Fiji which I never thought would be possible, and it seems more humid too.  Only a few people have cars, but there's about twice as many moped/motorbikes as there are people here.  

I figure the most dangerous thing here is getting hit by either a moped or a falling coconut;) 

The flight/airplane was pretty nice; there was a dog on the runway so we had to fly around the island a couple of times, which was pretty cool:)  

Our flat is pretty good.  We have two big containers for water which get all the rainwater that comes off our roof, but our filter is broken so I have to boil all the drinking water...  But we have a fridge so I'm happy:) 

Yeah so there's a ton of stuff about Tuvalu!  I love it here even though I'm really nervous/anxious.  The language is very similar to Samoan, and it's kind of fun to learn.  I introduced myself and bore my testimony in church from what I had studied, and the members said I did a really good job!  But the members are also really nice so they were probably lying haha.  

My companion Elder Pomate is Samoan from NZ, and he is the man!  He is way funny and easy to get along with (which is good cuz it's just us for 3 months).  We aren't part of a zone or district in our mission, we just report directly to the APs haha so that'll be fun.

Anyways I am doing good.  Although it is hard, I know that the Lord is strengthening me.  I know He is helping me learn this language so I can help His people.  I am grateful that I am here, and I know I was sent here for a reason.  The gospel is true!

Alofa atu,

Elder Harris

Tuvalu Meetinghouse

May 24, 2015

Tuvalu - Week 1

Dear family, 

I am writing this letter from......Suva!  Yeah that's right I am back on the main island.  I left Taveuni on Thursday.  It was really hard to leave that beautiful island and all the amazing people I met there.  I will definitely never forget it there.  

But here's the cool part....President called me last Tuesday for transfers, and he started off by saying, "Elder Harris are you ready for an adventure?"  And then he said I was being transferred to TUVALU!  I was completely speechless.  

Tuvalu is a tiny little island wayyyyy north of Fiji in the middle of the ocean.  It is actually a different country than Fiji, they speak Tuvaluan (a language similar to Samoan), and me and my companion will be the only missionaries there for the next little while.  Haha so I am like a nervous wreck right now.  

I was just starting to get the hang of Fijian, and now I have to start completely over:)  I will be there for the next 6 months, but I should be able to come into Suva in 3 months when I get a new companion.  My companion is named Elder Pomate who is Samoan from NZ.  So yeah, I don't have a lot of time so I will end it there!

Alofa atu!

Elder Harris

Saying Goodbye to Naliva

Boat Ride Back to Vanua Levu

Plane Ride Back to Suva
A note about Tuvalu.  Tuvalu 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 9 small, inhabited islands and atolls.  The land mass of all 9 islands and atolls is about 10 square miles.  Elder Harris will be on the atoll of Funafuti, which has less than 1 square mile of land and has about 4,500 people. It's shaped like a ring and is very narrow (look at it on Google Maps).  There is a lot of ocean around him; probably no other missionaries within 500 miles.

May 17, 2015

Somosomo, Taveuni Island - Week 14

'eitou dau 'ania

Well the weeks are sure flying by down here.  I have now been in Fiji for 3 months, but it has felt much shorter than that!  Tomorrow is transfer calls, and then the moving begins on Thursday.  So we will see whether I stay here in Taveuni or go somewhere else, but since my training is over I will definitely be getting a new companion.  I'm not sure how it will turn out, but I'm excited!  

This week has been pretty normal.  There was a death in Dreketi, one of our main villages, so tons of people were busy!  It was way hard to sit down with people while that was going on, so we kind of stayed in our other villages.  But Fijian funerals last like 4 days, so it messed with church as well.  

We had branch conference this week, and the talks were way on point!  Just everything our branch needed to hear!  Only problem....half the branch was missing  because of the funeral....  Haha gotta love em.  While in branch conference it was announced that we will start to have sacrament meeting at the beginning of the 3 hour block instead of at the end which we usually do.  Apparently this came straight from the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve.  So I am pretty excited about that, because it is going to make people come to church on time!  Haha usually our classes our empty and people just slowly file in until sacrament meeting finally starts.  But now people are going to have to decide....separate the boys from the men!  Haha no it is really good; the Lord is hastening His work.  

After church yesterday we got to go eat at the big lunch they had for the funeral.  Like 200+ people there and I was the only white guy!  Haha it's kind of intimidating, but once I get this language down I'm gonna be Fijian so there will be none of that anymore;)

So this weekend has been the London 7s rugby cup, so lots of people have been talking about it.  But apparently USA won!  Just heard about it.  Elder Hosea and I will probably be singing the national anthem for a few days to rub it in their faces;)

So yeah....I'm running out of things to say.  Thank you all for your support and prayers!  I love you all!  Missionary work is the best!  Choose the right!  Don't follow Satan!

Loloma levu,

Elder Harris

Cool view from up the mountain
Dinner - Parrot Fish

May 11, 2015

Somosomo, Taveuni Island - Week 13

Noqu mai butu'a!

Ni sa bula vinaka tale from the garden island of Taveuni!  Man I just love it here...the people, the scenery, everything! 

It was great to talk to you all for Mother's day!  I am emailing today because yesterday morning the rugby championship was on and after that all the wifi on Taveuni was out!  Haha they completely killed it, so most of the elders are going to skype today now.  Luckily I skyped on Sunday!  But yeah I really enjoyed talking to you all and knowing that life is going on without me;)

This week has been really good!  We have just been as busy as can be because we are now responsible for the entire branch since the sisters are gone.  So we have been trying to continue the work in our area while also getting to know/continuing the work in the other area.  But it is always good to be busy:)  

Also this week we had zone training meeting and exchanges with the zone leaders, Elder Peery and Elder Uta'i.  It was a lot of fun, but our flat is really messy because we have had a lot of people over more than a week, and we are also storing all the stuff from the sister's flat in our's until the mission office figures out what to do with it.  So I've got some good cleaning to do....

Another cool thing that happened this week was our movie night that we put on last Friday night for a finding activity/branch activity.  It was really good!  We watched Meet the Mormons in the chapel with a projector (the screen wasn't big enough so we stuck the sacrament cloth up on the wall!).  After that we had a barbeque for dinner and then we set up the volleyball net for the kids to play for the rest of the night.  It was way good; I think it boosted our support among the members and also helped the people realize that we don't just go around and drag people out of their houses and baptize them, we like to have fun too:)  As far as a finding activity, it didn't turn out too successful, but I have noticed that people in the village are more prone to talk to us now, so I think it was successful.  

Anyways, missionary work is great!  Va'anuinui vina'a!


Elda Harris

We hiked halfway up the mountain trying to find a less-active, couldn't find him, but it was a good view!

The home we skyped from

Too much walking!

Movie Night!

The hydroelectric power plant the Chinese are building here.

The barbeque!
Skyping with Elder Harris - Mother's Day 2015

May 3, 2015

Somosomo, Taveuni Island - Week 12

Bula Vinaka!

Well family it has been another great week down in Fiji.  Sorry I am a little late emailing today.  But lots of good things happened this week!  This week was my last week of training, so I am officially done with it now!  No more extra hour of study for me:)  I am way glad to be done.  But also, quite ironically, this week happened to be train the trainers in Labasa.  Basically just a meeting with the Mission President and APs about what training is like and how they want you to do it.  But our zone was the last one to do it and the other trainee in the zone just got here a couple weeks ago, so it was pretty funny to everyone that I was going to Train the Trainers with 3 days of training left!  But it was a good graduation present;)

On the way back from Labasa we came to the point where we had to take the 2 hour boat ride back to Taveuni from Vanua Levu, and it was way stormy!  The boat was rocking like crazy...I'd never seen waves so big!  Haha we were sitting up on the top deck and just holding on to the side rail like crazy (also making sure our sulus didn't blow open!).   One time I let down my guard and almost slid right off my seat!  But it was super fun:)

This Sunday we were able to confirm Senitiki a member of the Church:)  Also in our mission we have something called a Returned Member.  Basically it is a less active who receives the lessons, comes back to church 4 times, and gets a temple recommend.  It counts the same as a baptism as far as importance in the Fiji Suva Mission.  Well Sister Mohamed was our Returning Member yesterday, so that was exciting as well:)  Missionary work is just the best:)

I hope you all have a great week!

Loloma levu,

Elda Harris

On the Boat

The small island off the coast near Somosomo