December 27, 2015

Navua - Week 8

Siga ni Sucu!

Bula family!

It was so good to see everyone on Christmas!  Everyone looked happy and healthy and great!  It was definitely weird not being home this Christmas, but we had a pretty good one down here in Fiji.  We got up on Christmas morning and opened the packages that we had by our little Christmas tree, and then we hopped on a bus and headed to Suva where we had a big missionary activity.  It was mostly just fun little games and a white elephant gift 

At the Diloi's house
And then we went to a member family named the Dilois where we had a lovo (earth oven meal) which was so good!  I really want to learn how to do that so I can cook some of it back home.  After that we just went around visiting a few families sharing Christmas messages....and everyone fed us!  By the time I got home I was so full I thought I would never want to eat again.  It was definitely a Christmas I'll never forget.  

Fijians have a really simple Christmas--usually little or no presents and just spend the day at home with their family.  It's good because they focus more on our Lord and Savior and on His birth, and I really enjoyed the simplicity of it all!

Other than that this week went fairly well as far as the work is concerned.  Probably the biggest news is that we now have a big family of nine that want to be baptized!  The Waqabaca family was being taught in Lami by the sisters until about a week ago when they unexpectedly had to move down to Navua.  Their grandfather was baptized about 6 months ago, and now they all want to follow his footsteps!  They were all very active 7th Day Adventists before, but the message of the Restoration has truly touched their hearts and brought a big change in their lives.  I'm way excited for them!  We are working for them to be baptized in January and it is looking really good!

A lot of other investigators are doing really well!  A girl named Api who I thought was a member because she always comes to church.  Eugene and his wife Ruci are really enjoying our visits and have a great testimony of the Restoration already.  And a new investigator named Samu, who we weren't sure if he was taking lessons for him or his member girlfriend, but he showed up to church and had a great time!  The problem we're finding is the holidays.  Combine normal Fiji time with Christmas/New Years and you get a very very laid back and noncommittal village of Fijians! 

Can't believe my year mark is on Thursday.....hope you all have fun celebrating!  I heard they're going to drop a ball at midnight in New York City just for me! 


Elder Harris

Skyping with Mom!

Very happy with my Mac and Cheese!

December 20, 2015

Navua - Week 7


Bula family!
It has been one crazy week with transfers.  I'm still here in Navua, but almost all the elders in my district were transferred except for me and one other elder!  To add to the craziness, President asked me to be district leader.  But the best part is that I'm training a brand new missionary!  And he's Italian!

We got our transfer calls last Tuesday after district meeting, and everyone got a pretty big shock.  My companion, Elder Levasa, and another elder both were transferred to Suva, my district leader went to Nadi, and one other elder got sent to my first area of Somosomo, Taveuni!  It was pretty sad to say goodbye to all of them because we all got close here, and they were super fun, but I'm sure they'll do great in their new areas.

After they left, our zone leaders called and told me that they had my new companion (at this point I didn't know who it would be), and they said that his name was Elder Giacalone (pronounced like Jackalonay) and he was straight from Italy!  To those who know how much I love Italy and especially Italian food, you can imagine how excited I was at this prospect.  But, the next day, they came down and dropped him off.  Once he got out of the car I introduced myself, and he did as well, and I could tell that he hardly spoke English at all.  The zone leaders left, and we took him inside trying to communicate with him and get to know him in his broken English; I could tell this was going to be a huge challenge teaching him Fijian AND English.  We were talking like that for about 10 minutes when all of a sudden in a perfect American accent he said, "Yeah I can't keep this up; I'm from Tennessee."   The zone leaders totally tricked me!!!

No, my companion is actually from Knoxville, Tennessee, but his family is from the island of Sicily in Italy.  He is the first white companion I have had, but since he is from Sicily I am still considering him an islander.  He's the man!  I've only had him for a few days, but I can tell that he is super prepared for his mission.  Once he learns Fijian, he's gonna be unstoppable.  But despite being born in America, he says he can make some mean pasta, so I am beyond excited about that.

Our area is doing okay, but we didn't have much time again this week because of transfers.  And a lot of our investigators are leaving for Christmas week, so we are just doing our best to keep the ones we still have going.  We did have two investigators come to church though, and there are a lot of new ones that look very prepared to receive our message!  Our work with the less-actives of the ward is going really well too.  We didn't get the car; I don't really know the reasons why but we were told to wait until sometime in January.  I know that as we do our best the Lord will bless us to keep up with all we have to do!

Yesterday I was able to do a baptismal interview for one of the sisters' investigators.  It was a way cool experience to see someone who has been preparing for baptism, ask her the interview questions, and be able to represent the Lord in telling her that she was ready to be baptized according to His requirements!  The Spirit is always so strong in those moments!

I'm super excited for these new opportunities to serve those around me.  I really feel Heavenly Father's love and His Spirit, and I know that he sent me to Fiji for a reason.  This Christmas, I'm trying to think more of His love and His greatest gift which was Jesus Christ.  I'm so grateful to be a missionary and be able to tell people about this great gift.

Merry Christmas!
Loloma levu!

Elder Harris

December 13, 2015

Navua - Week 6

Voleka mai na siga ni sucu

Bula vinaka everyone!

It has been a really great week down in Fiji!  Christmas is coming, and I am way excited to spend it in Fiji!  I'm not really sure how it will be, but I'm glad to be able to spend it with these great people.

Other good news is that we were able to get a lot more work in than last week, and the results were awesome!  We found a bunch of new investigators and were finally able to get a few of our investigators to come to church with us.  

Probably the best experience I had was last Thursday.  We were walking from one area to another trying to find a less-active family, and we met a man walking on the road, who then invited us to come and share something with him!  He then led us on this hardly visible path through a field full of taller-than-me grass and tons of coconut trees, and we finally arrived at his little house.  We started talking with him and found out that about 10 years ago he had taken lessons from the missionaries, and he knows a lot about the Restoration already.  He was never baptized however, because he went to prison for 6 years.  But now he is back and seems ready to receive the gospel!  We are really excited about him and grateful that the Lord put him and us on the right path at the right time.

We're still working with a few of our other investigators that we had before, but the few that were most promising left to their villages for Christmas holiday.  Hopefully we can pick them back up when they return.  I guess it's a Fijian custom to return to your native village if possible around this time of year because it is similar to the summer break back in America
We also had our ward Christmas party on Saturday, which was a blast!  We had so many people show up, and had a big feast!  Afterwards there was a talent show, and we all sang a lot of carols.  My whole district came down to the party, and for our talent we did the haka!  It was my first time doing the haka, so I was way nervous.  But I tried to look as scary as I could and follow what everyone else was doing!  But the party was really fun and everyone there had a great time!

Transfers are this week and Elder Levasa is finished with his training.  He is a way good missionary and I have had a ton of fun serving with him!  Hopefully he will stick around this transfer so we can continue the good work we are getting and he can get to ride in the car (everyone cross your fingers that we'll actually get it this week!).  But we'll see what happens when we get transfer calls tomorrow.

I hope everyone has a great week!  Enjoy the Christmas spirit!

Elder Harris

This is from Lami, behind me is a great view of Suva

For service we cut a lot of weeds!

One of the talents at our Ward Christmas Party

December 6, 2015

Navua - Week 5

Kerea mada e dua na motoka

Bula everyone!
This week was pretty interesting.  Not sure how to explain it....
1. Last Wednesday, we had a mission meeting with Elder S. Gifford Nielsen of the Seventy.  For those of you who don't know this is the Gifford Nielsen that was quarterback at BYU way back when!  I was a bit star-struck, but then after he started talking I forgot all about football and was amazed at how good of a speaker he is and his knowledge of the gospel!  It was such a good meeting and I have way too many things I learned to write here.  One thing he talked about that hit me was to ''not be restrained'', which came out of Ether 12 when Ether was preaching the gospel.  It really hit me that I need to be that kind of missionary!  Nothing should be able to restrain me from sharing the gospel every second I have out here!  He talked about a lot of other stuff too, and everyone really enjoyed listening to him and his wife.

2. We're getting a car!  In some miraculous way, President decided to give us a car out in Navua.  This is going to be huge for the area, since we walk so much trying to get to appointments.  We found out last week and we raced to the Fijian version of the DMV as fast as we could.

3. Everyone in Fiji decided they want to get their driver's license this week.  So I have to wait a week and a half before I can go and do my driving test.  So I guess we'll be walking a little bit longer.

4. The work in our area is pretty slow right now.  Because of everything mentioned above, we only had 2 days to proselyte.  It's been kind of frustrating to be honest, but luckily this week should have no interruptions.  We're still working really hard with all of our investigators and less-active members!

5. I can't think of anything else, so I guess that sums up my week!  This gospel is so great, and I'm so grateful to be a missionary and have all these great experiences!  I hope everyone remembers to hold on to that iron rod as tight as possible!

Elder Harris

Walking back from service last week

I found my old companion Elder Pomate!

Mission Tour with Elder Nielsen