October 25, 2015

Tuvalu - Week 23

Au e pili o tagi....

Tapa.  Toe tasi mo te aafa te vaiaso.  Se gali.  Man I only have a week and a half left on this island.  It's going to be hard to leave.

Man I love Tuvalu.  I am really beginning to understand the culture as I am learning to speak the language, and it's a pretty neat experience.  The people are the best!  They have so much faith and hope in life.  Even though they live very simply, they are happy!  I admire their outlook on life and everything I've learned from them.  I feel really blessed to have served here. 

I'm really excited for this Saturday when we will have Logotau's baptism!  He passed his interview this week and is super ready to be baptized.  He's shared his testimony plenty of times about how the gospel has already blessed his life, blessed him to be happier, to control his anger, and to have more purpose in his life.  He has developed great relationships with the branch members and refers to them as his family!  I've seen a big change in him and feel grateful to have been able to help him accept the gospel.  It'll be a great finish to see him baptized before I leave.

On Friday last week President Niko saw us on the road and stopped to ask Elder Paki and I to talk on Sunday.  It was really good to be able to give a talk!  Elder Paki gave a bomb talk on Christlike attributes and then I talked afterwards about the Atonement of Christ and how it not only helps us overcome death and sin, but all pain that we suffer.  

Elder Paki has got way good Tuvaluan!  He's way farther along than I was at that point, so I'm not worried at all for when I leave.  It's funny though because Elder Paki has been annoyed with all the little kids who see us and yell "Palangi!"  So he started arguing with one kid telling them that we're not Palangi.  It was really funny to hear him argue in Tuvaluan with a 5 year old!  Good times.

Anyways I am doing good and I know that the gospel is true.  I know that there are always the hard times, but the gospel helps us get through them and yes even become stronger through them.  I know that if we rely on our Savior through thick and thin that we can have peace with whatever happens.  As my favorite hymn puts it, "I believe in Christ, so come what may."

Alofa atu,

Elder Harris

October 18, 2015

Tuvalu - Week 22


Taaaaaalofa!  Hey everybody its me again coming from Tuvalu!  It's been a really good week with a lot of great stuff happening here!
This kid is half Tuvaluan/half Fijian and 
always wants to fusu (fight) with me:)

I've been trying to soak it all in and enjoy the Tuvaluan life seeing as I only have (trying not to cry) less than 3 weeks left!  I'm in denial that its actually coming to an end; time flies by way too fast!  But I am giving it all I've got for these last two and a half weeks.

Logotau is doing way good!  He is ready to be baptized right now, but we have to wait two weeks because of scheduling conflicts.  But he is pretty much already a member!  He is participating in Church really well and making great friendships with the members! 

Apparently there was a recent convert who was baptized in Fiji, but was too shy to come to church here, and Logotau found out and got him to come to Church!  He's planning on going on a mission after a year, and he is definitely seeing the joys the gospel is bringing to his life.  It's awesome!  It's really brought him closer to his brother and sister who are already members, and Elder Paki and I have grown way close to that family!

We had another cool experience this week in which we were able to bring a less-active man back to church.  So back when Elder Pomate was here with me, we felt impressed to knock at a random house, and when we knocked we found out the man was a member!  His name is Brother Kalo and he is a rather old guy who was a member almost 30 years ago in Kirabus.  But when he moved to Tuvalu around 15 years ago he stopped going to church. He has always had a strong testimony for the restored gospel, but coming back to
church seemed to be something really scary for him after all these years.  

Elder Paki and I have been trying to visit him every week since then, but haven't got him to come to church.  This week on Wednesday, we tried again, and he came to us expressing a lot of anxiety and burden on his soul.  We were able to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him and show him how faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end can help him overcome that burden, and the Spirit definitely touched him.  

It was one of the happiest moments on my mission when I saw him show up to sacrament meeting!  He had a great time at church, and afterwards I could see how happy he was to be back.  It really showed me that we should never give up on bringing the lost sheep back to the fold, and I was glad that the Spirit touched him enough to come back!

Elder Paki found a hermit
crab and wanted to pick it up
On Saturday night we got to go to a little celebration put on by the main bank in Tuvalu celebrating their 35th Anniversary.  2 out of the 3 people in our branch presidency and a few other people in our branch work for the bank, so they really wanted us to come.  It was really fun!  They had a huge feast and a lot of cultural dancing and such! (I promise we didn't do any dancing!)  It was nice to enjoy the culture and to stuff myself with all the food!

I hope everything is going well at home and everyone has a great week!

Alofa atu,

Elder Herish

I found this photo in one of our 
recent convert's Book of Morrmon.....

October 11, 2015

Tuvalu - Week 21


Talofa everyone!  It is great to be able to email today even though the internet is soooo slow.  But it has been a great week here on Tuvalu!  We finally got Soo baptized and confirmed!!!  It was such a good baptism, and I was so happy for her.  It was a really satisfying baptism because I have been working with her ever since I got here to Tuvalu, about 4 1/2 months.  It has been a real struggle for her to get to it, quitting smoking and such, but the smile on her face when she came out of the water was priceless!  She looked so happy!

Afterwards in her testimony the Spirit was so strong and everyone was just so happy!  It was a great day.

To add to the excitement, we have some really good investigators coming along!  Logotau is probably one of the best investigators I have had.  He is really excited about the gospel and loves having us over for lessons!  He is a pretty funny guy.  He is really into country music (really strange for a Tuvaluan) and he has almost every Brad Paisley song ever sung!  He also thinks cowboys are really cool, so I try to pretend that I'm a real cowboy from America.  Ahh man Tuvaluans are so quirky haha!  Our other investigator, Ali, is doing really good and showing his desire to be baptized.  He is one of those guys who everyone loves and knows everybody, so it is really fun to walk with him down the road, and suddenly we are way popular!

We also seem to be popular with all the drunk people here on Tuvalu.  Tuvaluans are really shy, but when they are drunk they forget all about that and come and talk with us.  And for some reason, they all start speaking English when they're drunk!  We have had a lot of funny experiences this week to say the least.

My companion Elder Paki is doing really good!  He's almost got Tuvaluan down and the members love him!  One of his passions is eating sweets, and he knows how to make them himself!  This week he has been making cakes in our microwave and lots of other random sweets.  It's pretty fun, especially when I get to eat them too.

It's hard to believe that I only have a few weeks left here.  I'm not sure that I'll get on that plane willingly when the time comes.

I love the gospel and I love Tuvalu!  Too much happiness!

Tapa too uke a mea ke tusi.  Kaati la tena fua.  Manuia te vaiaso!

Alofa atu,

Elder Harris

Papatisoga a Soo! Elder Harris, Brother Nikko, Soo, Elder Paki

October 4, 2015

Tuvalu - Week 20

To vave te taimi

Taaaaaalofa!  Man I love Tuvalu and everybody here!  This week has been so good and lots of great things are happening here.  First of all, we have Soo's baptism scheduled for this week!  I know I sound like the boy who cried wolf, but I think this week it is actually going to happen!  She is doing really good and super excited, so I hope everything will work out.  It has been a roller-coaster working with her these past 4 months, so this will be really meaningful to see her be baptized.

All of our other investigators are doing well also.  Logotau is doing great and progressing really well towards baptism at the end of the month.  He says he can feel the Spirit as he goes to church and meets with us, which is great!  He is a really funny guy and loves to make fun of Utah people, simply because that's where I'm from!  Haha Tuvaluans are the best.  

Another investigator Ali, has been an investigator for a long long time, but he just gets too distracted with the business of life to come to church and prepare for baptism, so I tried a curveball approach....  Every lesson we get him to pray at the end even though he doesn't like it, so I told him if he comes to church he doesn't have to pray in the lessons!  And it worked!  He's been two weeks in a row now and even shows up early!  Haha sometimes you just have to use a little "island flavor" ;)

In other news my hair is getting kinda long...it hasn't been cut since August!  The problem is there are no barbers here in Tuvalu, and the person who used to cut our hair went to school in Taiwan....  We have been trying to find one of the members to cut our hair but it's hard because  they're all busy.   The other day I looked out the window and saw one of our neighbors holding up a broken off rear view mirror to his face and cutting his own hair with scissors!  I may have to resort to that in a week or two.....

Also Tuvalu had their 37th Independence celebration this week!  There was a big festival going on on Thursday with dancing and lots of food, and the President of Kiribati came and spoke to Tuvalu!  Unfortunately we were sick that day, but we saw a few of the events on other days.  It was really cool!

That's all I can think to write this week.  I hope you all enjoyed conference!  Not sure when I'll be able to watch it, but I know that we do have a living prophet and apostles on the earth!

Alofa atu

Elder Harris
This is a pic of me in a hat made out of coconut tree leaves made by our recent convert Teruka.

Elder Paki

This is Teruka.  He is one super kid who loves to play basketball every chance he gets.  He was baptized right before I came to Tuvalu and hasn't missed a Sunday since he's been baptized!