February 28, 2016

Navua - Week 17

Cagi laba kei na kena vakatabui na vale tabu.

Well this has been a crazy two weeks down here in Fiji!  Temple Rededication plus a Category 5 storm makes for some fun memories.

Let's see what I can remember.

So last Friday all the missionaries from Vanua Levu and the West came into Suva to stay for the Rededication.  Almost everyone hosted a companionship except us, but we were able to spend a lot of time in Lami where they were hosting the elders from Vuna back in Taveuni.  It was fun to talk about Taveuni with them!

We woke up Saturday morning and got a message from the APs on our phone that said to stay in the flat until further notice, because a Category 5 cyclone was heading straight for Suva!  We were half scared half disappointed because we were expecting a meeting with President Eyring and Elder Cook at 11.  We waited and waited and finally got another text about 10:30 that said "The meeting is back on!  Everyone get to Samabula ASAP."  So we drove real fast up there and had one of the most amazing meetings I have ever been to.  

President Eyring, Elder Cook, and 4 members of the Seventy all spoke to us.  We learned that right before the meeting the hurricane had changed course away from Suva.  President Eyring talked and said that as he stepped off the plane at the airport, he felt peace that they should continue with the rededication.  It was such a spiritual meeting and my companion and I were able to get the front row right in front of President Eyring!

After that we all got in buses and went to the arena to watch the celebration.  It was super fun to see all the performances especially Tuvalu!  All the songs they danced to got me super homesick for it!  Unfortunately they had to end the celebration early because the government put out an emergency curfew.  We walked outside to see incredibly strong winds and rain.  We got home alright (we stayed in Lami) and just stayed inside the flat for the rest of the day because the winds were so strong.  Our flat was strong enough, thankfully, and we were okay all night.  

We woke up to see a lot of fallen down trees and signs along the road, but nothing too bad.  We couldn't go to the rededication until the afternoon session because of the curfew, but we were able to go.  But we started to hear about how bad things were in other parts of Fiji.  Over the week I have picked up a few pieces of news, but still not too much.  I know the hurricane went between Vanua Levu and Viti Levu tearing up many places in Taveuni, Savusavu, Rakiraki, and alot of northern Viti Levu.  Koro Island, a small island that was right in the path of the hurricane, was clobbered, and from a few pictures in a newspaper I saw there are hardly any houses still standing.  I think the death toll is 42 right now.  It has been a somber week here in Fiji.  Navua and Suva weren't hit too bad, but we have been out of power all week. (Suva is back on but not Navua)  We're just praying for all the people in the other regions who were hit.

I learned this week that we need to follow the prophet.  President Eyring said it would be okay and it was.  We were blessed to have the cyclone divert its direction from Suva, and to have all the missionaries here for the rededication.  I know Heavenly Father took care of us.

And the work is still going!  We are continuing to work with all of our investigators and it is going super well!  Jerry and Emma are still having problems with getting married but it is looking hopeful this week!  And we've found a lot of new investigators this past week who are well prepared to meet with us.

Everyone have a great week!


Elder Harris

The Mission with President Eyring and Elder Cook

February 21, 2016

Navua - Week 16

No email from Elder Harris this week.  The missionaries were able to attend the cultural celebration on Saturday, but it was cut short due to Cyclone Winston approaching the island.  Winston hit Saturday night.  The temple dedication took place Sunday although many members were not able to attend. There will be a re-broadcast next week.  We received an email from President Layton telling us that Elder Harris was safe, but the power is out on most of the island.  Also, Elder Harris tried to send out emails last week but they didn't go out because of a problem with the email server.

February 17, 2016

Navua - Week 15

Isa luvequ.

Bula everyone!

Good morning from a very very HOT day here in Fiji.  It is Tuvalu hot this time of year, and everyone is pretty much dying while they walk down the road......except for us in our air-conditioned car!!!  Haha I feel bad driving by everyone but then again I really really like the car.

Unfortunately no baptism this week.  We are still waiting for some papers from the government that is taking a little bit longer than expected.  We were a bit disappointed, but we have no control over it right now.  The main thing is that they're going to be baptized!  They're pretty excited about it and so are we!  We are also getting really close to baptism with our investigator Barney Holmes.  He has changed so much from the time we started teaching him!  It's awesome to see that change in people.  Hopefully we can get them both baptized within the next few weeks.

Well that was pretty much our week.  We have been finding a lot of new people to teach this week, and it went well!  We found a part-member family from Taveuni and I got way excited!  They said they were going to make me some Waicipoki sometime!

This week is going to be awesome!  The temple will be rededicated.  For the first time in history, our whole mission is going to come in and be together.  We are going to have a mission conference on Saturday with President Eyring, Elder Cook, and 4 members of the Seventy!  How cool is that?  Then we will go to watch the Cultural Celebration at 3pm which will be streaming live on https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/watch/fiji-temple-celebration/2016/02?lang=eng which is 8pm Mountain time I think.  And then it will be dedicated on Sunday!  Everyone watch it, we should be part of the very end of the program where we will be singing Fiji's famous "Isa Isa" song with all the youth!  

I've learned a lot about trials this week.  There's always a lot of them and they always stink.  But I know they are here to make us grow and learn; without them we don't progress very well.  So when you have trials just make sure to rely on God.  That's the only way to get through them!

Vinaka valevu ka kalougata tiko!

Loloma yani!
Elder Harris

February 7, 2016

Navua - Week 14

Au sa draiva mada

Bula vinaka!
To start off we finally got our car!  It was probably the happiest day of my life.  Three months of walking and catching buses is now finished!  We got a Toyota Yaris which is a pretty small car for the rough Navua roads, but it's definitely better than walking.  It's helping out so much with the work by eliminating almost all the waiting time between lessons, so we can see so many more people!  I'm pretty excited.

The work has been going well in our area.  Jerry and Emma are so close to getting married!  They are just waiting for one document from a previous spouse so they can do it!  We're praying really hard that everything will go well so they can get baptized this week.  Emma is doing so good and has been sharing the gospel with everyone!  Every lesson she tells us about how she told her mom, friend, coworker, etc. to go and talk to the missionaries and come to church!  It's hard to believe how much people can change in just a few weeks teaching them.  We are looking forward to seeing Emma and her 3 kids get baptized on Saturday!

The temple open house closed on Saturday.  It was such a good thing for Fiji and people of all religions to come and see what's inside.  The temple is on a busy street up on top of a hill overlooking Suva so literally everyone knows what it is!  We went again on Friday with our ward and there were so many people trying to see it the past two days.  It took so long waiting in line but it was definitely worth it.  I'm so excited for the re-dedication in two weeks!  And the cultural celebration will be the night before; I'm pretty sure that there will be a link online so everyone can watch it from back at home!  We found out today that we get to sing with the youth at the end of the performance! 

One of our goals this year as a mission is to expect and receive miracles.  It has really changed my outlook on what a miracle is and how they come about.  I realized that miracles aren't exactly for our faith, but rather a result of our faith.  I try to ask myself a lot "Is this not faith?", which just gets me pumped up to work harder and to watch the miracles roll in!  The gospel is true.
Have a great week!
Loloma yani
Elda Harris 

Elder Olsen, Elder Giacalone, Elder Harris

Elder and Sister Olsen.  A couple serving in the temple assigned to the Navua Ward.

On our way to the Browns for dinner.  The island in the background is Beqa.

The Beach!