November 26, 2016

Samabula - Week 20

Noqu vanua au mai butu'a!

Bula vina'a!
Well yes I know this is an early email, but I promise we have permission from President!  So I know it was a question last week where I was going to be going, so I guess I'll just let you know.
I'm in Taveuni!
That's right on Thursday I got to return to the beautiful garden island which I call my birthplace.  Except this time I didn't have to take any buses or boats; we just flew in.  We are here with President and Sister Layton and the entire Taveuni zone.  We had zone conference/Christmas party yesterday where we had an amazingly spiritual meeting in the morning about our Savior Jesus Christ.  I learned so much.  In the afternoon, President and Sister Layton thought it would be good to have a little fun, so we played some games and got to watch Finding Dory!  Pretty rad.

We will be here until Tuesday, because this is also the time for our mission tour.  Mission tour happens once a year where a General Authority comes and tours the mission.  We have Elder Cardon of the Seventy who is here in Taveuni doing a district conference and then mission tour on Monday.  We will then fly to Nadi and then back to Suva later on next week.  We had dinner with the Cardons and the Laytons yesterday which was so cool!  He asked Elder Faamoe and I, "What questions do you have for a General Authority?"  So we asked a bunch.  I think the best quote I got from him was, "There are no secrets and there are no shortcuts."

Taveuni is great; it's like a dream being back here.  I got to see Senitiki today and also talk to Tuicakau, the big-time chief whom he works for.  We have 26 missionaries on the island, so we just flooded the villages inviting everyone to district conference.  I am looking for Naliva, which is crazy because I found out he moved to Suva for a while but just came back recently to help his father who is sick.  I am hoping to meet up with him because I heard it's been a while since he's been at church.  We were also able to meet this lady named Aileen whom we met in Samabula.  She came to church with one of our recent converts, and we invited her to district conference, and she was like "Of course I'll come!"  It's gonna be a great week.
Loloma levu,
Elda Harris

Borrowed these pictures from Elder and Sister Whitehead's Blog

They are from Joti's Baptism in October

November 20, 2016

Samabula - Week 19

Sa veisau tale


It's been another fun but busy week!  We had transfers this week with a incoming group and an outgoing group.  It was lots of moving people and luggage around, but it all went well!  It's crazy because some of the outgoing missionaries were in the MTC with my group when we overlapped for two weeks.  It was crazy to see them go home.  

In other news, I'm a grandpa!  That's right, my son whom I trained, Elder Giacalone, is training!  His name is Elder Larsen and he is from Washington.  They are serving up in Vanua Levu.  I'm just happy that my seed is "multiplying and replenishing the [mission]." There were a ton of new missionaries!  15 of them!  It was crazy to look at them and see how fast time goes by.

We saw a great miracle this week in seeing Lesi get baptized!  We had it on Sunday afternoon, and everything was set until right before sacrament meeting.  She needed to be there before her baptism, and we called and called and her phone was off.  So we just went inside and were both stressing out because they just announced the baptism and she still wasn't there.  So we just starting praying that she would make it.  The sacrament started and while they were saying the prayer for the bread, we just kept praying she would make it and then we opened our eyes from the prayer and there she was walking in!  It was a great baptism and you could tell how happy she was to make that decision to follow Jesus Christ.

We are working a lot with some other investigators and less-active members.  A lot of them are doing well, but no one else showed up to church this week.  We are focusing a lot on Kesa and Efereimi.  They are doing well, and I think Efereimi is starting to accept the message we are sharing, but he still doubts a bit just because it is different than what he is used to.  But he loves the doctrine of eternal families!  So we're working a lot on that.  Those two are getting married this week (they technically are already legally married but they just want to do it in a church), so that will be good for them.  

Well, this upcoming week is going to be awesome!  We are going to......well I'll tell you next week:)

Loloma yani,

Elder Harris

November 13, 2016

Samabula - Week 18

Ni varorogo tiko mai


So this has been a pretty good week.  Incredibly, everyone in Fiji is talking about Donald Trump!  I have heard the craziest things about him from all the Fijians; they're probably true haha.

We had a baptism this week!  James, or actually Jungmin, got baptized on Sunday before church and then confirmed in sacrament meeting.  It was really good!  He seemed super happy.  His sister also got baptized whom the sisters have been teaching.  We are hoping that their mom will choose to follow their example and be baptized in the future!

We found out that Lesi had a family event down in Navua during the weekend, so we decided to push the baptism back a week.  She seems to be doing really well!  Her sister-in-law, Lia, is a member who has been deciding to come back to church recently.  It's been a lot of fun working with them.

I went on a few exchanges this week.  The first one was with Elder Carlson, my old comp back in Navua.  He is in Naitasiri, this area in the interior of Viti Levu.  We were proselyting in some pretty legit villages where missionaries are not allowed to knock on doors because of the cultural rules.  They have to work a lot with referrals.  One village we had to cross this river in a little canoe to get to.  It was pretty cool.  Then on Saturday I had an exchange with Elder Bowen from SLC.  He is pretty new in the mission, about 2 months in Fiji, so it was a lot of fun working with him and his "greenie fire".  We had a way good day proselyting here in Samabula.

Moce mada ka kalougata

Elder Harris

November 6, 2016

Samabula - Week 17

Vodo waqa yani vuka lesu mai

Bula vinaka!

It's been a great week!  We had a big meeting with the leaders in the mission where some awesome things happened, and then we took a little trip to one of the outer islands.  And all the while preparing for two baptisms next week!

So we had our Mission Leadership Council this week here in Samabula with President and Sister Layton and all the leaders around the mission.  It was so good!  We had been facing a bunch of issues around the mission, and this meeting was a game changer.  There were a few changes implemented and some great trainings by both President and Sister Layton.  Sister Layton spoke about courage, and how we sometimes have to be courageous to stand for the right.  She shared a quote by Gordon B Hinckley, "The price of leadership is loneliness. The price of adherence to conscience is loneliness. The price of adherence to principle is loneliness. I think it is inescapable."  It was way good and gave everyone a needed boost.

The next day Elder Faamoe and I got to go out to an island called Kadavu.  It is south of the main island, probably about as big as Taveuni, but really unique compared to other big islands because of how far away it is.  There are two elders out there, Elder Miller and Elder Solomon, so we went out to do an exchange with them and see how the work is going there.  We got on a boat at 9:00 p.m. in Suva and got off in Kadavu at 1:00 p.m. the next day.  It was long!  We slept on the floor with all the other Fijians haha it was an adventure.  I couldn't really sleep because they were playing this Chinese action movie which was really loud, but it was definitely a memory maker.  We spent the day with the elders in a village newer to the church where they are looking to make a new unit of the church.  Kadavu is beautiful!  It probably has the nicest beaches I've seen in Fiji.  We flew back on Saturday.

We found out last Monday that Vilikesa got called to a 3-week deployment type thing for his job as a police officer.  So he won't be getting baptized until December.  But Lesi is all set for this week to be baptized!  And also remember that Korean family?  They kind of disappeared for awhile but now they are back and moved into a house in our area.  They wanted the sisters to teach the girls and us to teach James, their 14 year old son.  So we've been teaching him trying to get him ready for next week to be baptized.  He is doing good trying to learn the gospel (they weren't Christian before) and English.  We usually have a translator to help us teach him but yesterday we didn't, so he just pulled out his phone and we used an app like Google Translate to teach!  We hardly spoke at all, but the Spirit was so strong just communicating simple truths of the gospel to him in his native language.  Talk about the gift of tongues(or thumbs)!  Also Kesa and her husband are doing really well.  We committed them both to baptism but because of his work schedule it probably won't happen until late December.

Loloma bibi,

Elder Harris