September 27, 2015

Tuvalu - Week 19

Tai gali.

Talofa everyone!  It has been another great week and now my countdown has begun for my last transfer here on Tuvalu.  

Lots of great things happened this week, but unfortunately S____ wasn't baptized.  It was a bit disappointing, but we are planning to have it in another two weeks, so hopefully it will happen!  We were excited for it all the way up until Friday afternoon, when Brother Niko came by and told us that he unexpectedly had to work on Saturday, and his boss wouldn't let him take it off.  Since she is his sister-in-law and he was the one that was to baptize her, we decided that we better postpone it.  Then we found out that next week is Independence Day for Tuvalu, so we are pushing it back two weeks.  We thought it would be really hard for her when we told her, but she seemed to be okay.  Maybe it will turn out to be a blessing in disguise so we can prepare her really well.

Other than that, this week has been fantastic!  I taught more lessons than any other week in my whole mission!  We were really busy and working hard and it seems like our work was paying off because we had 3 investigators come to church and they are all progressing really well!  

L____, the one who I challenged in basketball, is doing really well and wants to be baptized!  He has been really enjoying our lessons and church, and we are developing a good friendship with him.  Tuvaluans are really funny because all you have to do to make friends with them is to tease them!  So it's really fun to mix in with the culture!

One thing that has really impacted me on Tuvalu is the importance of the Book of Mormon.  It is sooo important in missionary work, and unfortunately we don't have a Book of Mormon in Tuvaluan yet, so it makes things very difficult.  It is the key to gaining a testimony of the truthfulness of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and building your life on that gospel through diligent scripture study.  We try to use the English one here, but most people don't really understand it at all.  I know that someday when Tuvalu gets a Book of Mormon in their own language the work here is going to explode!!  So I hope and pray that one day that time will come, but for now we just keep doing the best we can.

It is getting hotter here.  With the work and with the weather.  It drains all my energy, but I love those nights when I know I gave all I have!  It's the best feeling there is!

Manuia te vaiaso!

Alofa atu,

Elder Harris

A bunch of crabs someone caught

They have been pumping in sand from this big ship drilling into the seabed to cover these areas that are low and flood during the rain.  This one they pumped in a ton and everyone calls it the Tuvalu mountain!

Another Sunset

September 20, 2015

Tuvalu - Week 18

E too te vaiua

Talofa everyone!  It has been another great week here in Tuvalu, and it seems like the time is running way too fast.  This week is transfer week, so I only have 6 more weeks until I leave!  I really don't want to leave because I love it here so much, so I'm not very happy with the time moving by so fast.  But hopefully I can make these next 6 weeks worth it!

One thing about our house here in Tuvalu.  We seem to have a flock of chickens running around all the time, and they're really annoying.  The roosters really like to cockadoodledoo and it's driving me insane!  Everyone says they're the Tuvaluan alarm clock but the one by our house goes off from 5 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon!  When Elder Pomate was here we used a green laser we bought at the chinese shop to chase them away, but now he is in Fiji and Tuvalu is out of green lasers.  I'm still working on a solution that doesn't include me running outside and chasing them away!

This week the work has been pretty good.  The highlight of our week was the baptismal interview with S______.....she passed!  I'm so excited, and she should be baptized on Saturday if everything works out!  I had the opportunity to do her interview (because we have no district leader) and it was amazing.  She has been waiting a long time for this and is so excited to be baptized!

Last Monday, as usual, we went and played basketball with our recent convert, Teruka, and his friends.  Well, Teruka's brother came and played too, and we started to have some friendly trash talk as we played against each other (it's the best way to make friends here in Tuvalu:))   Anyway, I challenged him and said if I won he had to come to church on Sunday.  And with a incredible combination of my church ball skills and the fact that Tuvaluans are horrible at basketball, I won and he showed up to church on Sunday!!  The best part is he liked it and wants to start taking lessons!  So I guess church ball is an inspired program:)

The faith of Tuvaluans is awesome!  They all have been praying for rain because of the drought and their prayers were answered: it rained almost all day on Saturday and Sunday and the drought is over!  I know that prayers are answered when we believe!

Have a great week!

Alofa atu,

Elder Harris

September 13, 2015

Tuvalu - Week 17

Talofa everyone!  

It has been a pretty awesome week!  The work is moving really well here and I just love being here in Tuvalu!  I couldn't think of a better place to be and I thank my Heavenly Father every day for this amazing opportunity to serve here.  

Right now we are working really hard with our less-active members of the ward, because there are SO MANY.  It seems like every time we visit a member's house they point to a random person who drives by on their scooter and say "Look that person is a member!"  It can get pretty overwhelming, but we try to see all of them as possible.  It really is like Jesus's story in the Bible, and we are trying to rescue the lost sheep.  So we have been really busy this week looking for those lost sheep and trying to bring them back to the herd!  

Also we are having good work with our investigators.  S___ is still off cigarettes, and her husband isn't quite ready yet, so we are going to go ahead with her baptism on the 26th of September!  Brother Niko and his family is really excited about this because she is his sister-in-law and they have been waiting for years for this!  I am way excited about her baptism because she has been through so much to get here!  

We are also working with a guy in his 20s named A____ to be baptized on that date as well.  He has been taking lessons for a few years as well but hasn't made it to baptism yet so we are working hard with him!

Random fact about Tuvalu: it is sinking!  That's right scientists say that in 70+ years Tuvalu will be underwater.  I'm not sure how true this is because I can't google it or anything, but it sounds pretty legit because some of the older Tuvaluans say they have seen the water rise over their lives.  Crazy!  Brother Niko was joking and said we would build a big church on a boat when it happens, and when people start swimming to our church boat he'll say "Oh, you wanna come to church now eh?"  Haha it was pretty hilarious!

Also it is drought season here in Tuvalu because it hasn't rained hard for 3-4 weeks, and people are starting to run out of water!  They end up going to the big Methodist Church here that has big tanks of water to be able to have a bath and stuff.  We're all good because it is only two of us using our water, but hopefully we can get some rain soon!

And because of the "dry season" everyone is getting sick, so we have been doing a lot of blessings lately!  It's funny because a lot of our blessings are to nonmembers, but it is really humbling to see their faith in something they don't understand at all.  But I can't help but admire the faith that the Tuvaluans have and I have seen them get better because of it.

Manuia te faitauga me masei toku gana palagi!
(Good luck reading because my English is way bad!)

Alofa atu!

Elder Harris
Here is a pic of a sunset and a coconut (I think) that just sprouted.  You could probably make an inspirational quote out of it.

I recognized the game Sorry!  except played with rocks and playing cards.

September 6, 2015

Tuvalu - Week 16

E lei fafetai

Talofa!  Ea mai koutou?  Man it has been a good week again here in Tuvalu.  The work here is moving slowly, but it is definitely moving!  It's been a pretty busy week with all of our investigators and less-active members.  We were able to try and get everyone back on track after a bit of slippage when we were gone.  And for the most part everyone was back on track and progressing!  Until Sunday....when noone came to church haha.  I think Tuvaluans have wayyyy too many funerals and weddings, and they all seem to happen on Sundays!  So that's where most people went instead of coming to church.  But it's all good.  I still love them.  Just not their weddings and funerals.  :)

Other than that this week was really good.  Lots of work and fun stuff going on.  Danny, my recent convert, received the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday, which was way exciting!  Man I felt like a proud father haha.  But it will be really exciting watching him pass the sacrament and such!  My other recent convert here in Tuvalu, Fiani, bore one of the best testimonies I've ever heard yesterday!  So I am really glad they are doing good, and I feel really happy when I see them following the path the Savior has for us.

There is some type of flu going around Tuvalu, and Elder Paki and I have been kind of sick all week, so that's been annoying.  Saturday it got pretty bad, and we had to come back to the flat for a little while because we were way sick.  It's been pretty tiring.

One thing I've learned this week is about charity.  We all know that charity is the "pure love of Christ" and we need charity because without it we are nothing.  When I think of that, I realize that we need to try and obtain the love that Christ had for each one of us.  He loved us so much that he bled from every pore and died for us.  That kind of love is incomprehensible!  We can't obtain that by ourselves.  I remember one thing Elder Johansson told me when he was here that charity is a gift from God, and we can only obtain it through prayer.  So I have been working on praying hard for that love of Christ towards all men, especially to the Tuvaluan people.  Through this, I hope to love them the way God would love them.  

Anyways, I love you all and have a good week!

Manuia te aso,

Elder Harris

Making Brooms for Service

This is our house that just us two live in.  The colors are pretty crazy.  Little kids always play in the garage during studies and teach us patience!