June 29, 2015

Tuvalu - Week 6

Nanumaga e mafi!  

So there are a lot of traditions that Tuvalu elders have made up over the years.  One of which is picking an island.  So Tuvalu is made up of about 8 different far away islands that are one nation.  Funafuti, where I am, is probably the most developed and also the capital city.  It has the most people as well.  So lots of people are originally from other islands, and they have a lot of friendly rivalries between the islands here.  So us as elders decided to each pick an island to tell people where we are from (we do this by going blindfolded and pointing at a map).  So my first sentence says Nanumaga (my island) e mafi (is strong/beastly).  Haha so I have to stick up for Nanumaga when other people bag on it, and bag on other islands because I am a proud tino Nanumaga.  It's all good and fun!

This week has been really good.  First of all, one of our returned missionaries was walking by and said, "hey Elders, come teach my friend".  Next thing you know he is golden!  His name is Danny and he is set to be baptized on the 18th of July!  His sister is a member, and he has always been interested but to shy to ask.  But he understands everything so far and asks a lot of good questions!  He works for the Tuvalu navy/coast guard and this is his long break so it's perfect timing.  I am way excited about him.  We also have another girl we've been working with a long time who is really close to getting a baptismal date, so please keep her in your prayers.

Man I really love Tuvalu.  The members here are so awesome, the island is beautiful, and you eat until you can't eat anymore!  Most of our meals with members consist of chicken rice and fish but it is way good.  

I'm trying really hard to be a good islander and eat the fish eyes every time but the taste always makes me wanna gag haha.  But yeah it's funny I don't even think anymore when someone plops a whole fish in front of me.  I just kai(eat)!

One thing I have learned this week is the importance of scriptures.  For some reason Elder Pomate and I have been reading our scriptures more than just the 1 hr personal study (like during lunch or at night) and we get really excited about it.  We've both been reading from the New Testament and learning a ton.  I hope all of you are reading your scriptures every day!  Sometimes we take it so much for granted when we can receive the word of God so often right in front of us.  So if you can work on reading your scriptures, I invite you to work on it;)  Try it out, you won't regret it.

Te ekalesia e tonu!

Alofa ki a koutou,

Elder Harris

I love turtles!

All the different Islands of Tuvalu

June 21, 2015

Tuvalu - Week 5

Te fenua nei e vela kii!  E uke foki a kaumatagi!  Man this place is hottttt.  And when its not hot its pouring rain!  This week we had a lot of storms that like to pound on our tin roof at night and keep me up.  Haha but it is good because it keeps our water tanks full:) There were a couple of pretty strong storms.  But luckily this isn't hurricane season, so we should be good.  

Elder Pomate was telling me about when Cyclone Pam hit (when Tuvalu made the church news!), and it sounded pretty crazy.  They had to board up all the windows and such and stay inside for a couple days.  Yeah I'm not sure how I got off on this tangent....

This week was good!  Unfortunately a lot of our plans were foiled!  We got ditched by a lot of investigators, and basically all of our plans for baptismal dates aren't really existent at the moment.  But it's all good:)  We'll keep trying and hopefully they will listen.  

But I am really excited for a couple of new investigators that are just coming out of the woodwork.  We are teaching this young couple with 2 little boys (and a little pig) that seem pretty interested.  And one of our returned missionaries hooked us up with this guy whose sister is a member and came to church yesterday!  So hopefully we can get this island even hotter--spiritually speaking;) 

It's really funny because white people are such a scarce commodity here.  All the little kids always point and say Paalangi! and then practice their English "bye!"  It's pretty adorable; not gonna lie.

I've also started saluting some of the little boys that are playing in the streets.  And now they're doing it back.  I may have an army before I leave.

One thing I've learned this week is the importance of this restored gospel.  It really is the same church that existed in Christ's time. Led by prophets and apostles!  Not only that; it gives us real and lasting happiness that can be quenched by no other well.  Through it we can fully access the Atonement of Christ to give us forgiveness and peace.  It's pretty awesome!

In other news President Layton and a member of the Seventy are coming to Tuvalu in a few weeks.  Pretty nervous/excited about that.  Also I taught the youth Sunday School class yesterday in a weird mix of Tuvaluan and English.  But they're really funny so it was really fun.

Yeah I think that's it.  Tofaa!

Alofa atu,

Elder Harris

It took a few extra days for our money to come in so when we got it, we celebrated.

This is cooked pig's blood mixed with the heart.  Sounds gross but it was really good!!

June 14, 2015

Tuvalu - Week 4

Toku kaiga!  

Isa lei this place is an adventure.  As hard as it is, I love it here.  The language is actually coming along!  Slowly.  Very slowly.  But when I look back and realize I've only been here for 2.5 weeks, I can't believe how much I've learned.  That thing we all hear about in church called the gift of tongues???  Yeah it's real.  I don't know how to explain it but I remember things that I study and my mind is quickened as I put in the effort.  It's amazing!  The Lord promises in D&C 90:11 "Every man shall hear the fulness of the gospel in his own tongue, and in his own language, through those who are ordained unto this power."   Funny thing is for this language, Elder Pomate and I are all the Lord has!  So no matter how hard it is, He's going to help us speak.  It's way cool.

Tuvalu is way cool.  On one side you have the open ocean.  The waves are loud (and big!), and the water is a dark rough navy.  It is pretty intimidating when you look out and realize that we are in the middle of a really big ocean.  Haha I feel pretty vulnerable.  On the other hand the lagoon is some of the most peaceful water I've ever seen in my life.  About as clear and turquoise blue as you can get!  Haha lets just say I get distracted a lot!!

This week has been pretty good.  We have a lot of potentials, and hopefully this week will be full of giving baptismal dates so we can get them progressing towards that sacred covenant with their Heavenly Father.  

This week I have been reading a lot from the General Conference Ensign from last conference.  I love the words of our modern day prophet and apostles!!   I got so excited that I dug up all the old ensigns I could find and read them in my spare time.  If there is any scripture that applies specifically to our challenges today, it is General Conference.  Read it!  and then read it again!  I testify that the Lord speaks through His servants.

Alofa atu kia koutou,

Elder Harris

Panoramic of the Island with Elder Pomate

The church rents a bus (more like a big van that barely works) and this is everyone after church

They held a parade event out on the runway for the Queen's birthday

June 7, 2015

Tuvalu - Week 3


Man I still can't believe I'm here on Tuvalu.  It is really beautiful here!  The water is so blue and clear it makes you want to jump right in!  Too bad that's tapu (forbidden):(  But I love it here.  Despite being the only missionaries here, we don't get too lonely because the members take really good care of us.  They feed us way too good!  Haha I was freaking out because last week there was like a shortage of onions/potatoes/vegetables on the island.  But the boat came in so now everything is all good:)  Haha judging by your emails of wanting to send me vegetables it looks like I scared you too;)  

The hardest thing right now is the language.  After getting past the rough stages of Fijian, it has really been a mental game trying to find the motivation to learn this language.  But somehow it comes, especially after trying to teach a real lesson in a language with no MTC or anything.  But luckily my companion Elder Pomate is patient with me and does most of the teaching for the moment.  But I am improving a little bit; I just have to keep trying I guess haha.  

Just to brag about our branch for a minute......The Tuvalu branch has an average of about 50 members to sacrament meeting every Sunday (yesterday was worse because there were 3 funerals on the island).  But the branch has 11 missionaries out right now!  It's pretty awesome.  

The work is a bit slow here right now.  We have one investigator who is ready to get baptized but her parents are gone for a little while so we have to wait for them.  And all of our other investigators are playing hard to get.....   So we've been trying to talk to everyone to get more referrals.  

Funny note:  Tuvaluans love their Bingo.  They play all the time.  And when they play, they don't care about anything else.  We tried to talk to a guy while he was playing and he straight up ignored us!  Haha it is an interesting place.

Love you all!  Have a good week!


Elder Harris

The end (bottom) of the island

This is a cool little hut we had a lesson in the other day

The Nikos.  They're awesome!  They took us to a restaurant and bought a ton of food!  They're the reason this branch is still here.  At one point, the church had struggles and they kept having sacrament meeting in their house with just their family.  He has been branch president for a really long time, but they decided recently to give him a break and put him as 1st counselor.  They're awesome!

Haha we asked our recent convert (13 years old) to get us some fish so he showed up to our flat with a really big one and a bucket full of small ones.  He would only take $5 for it.