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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Another Week on Maiana

March 20, 2016

We didn't receive a group email again this week.  Here is the email Zach sent to Blake.

Dear Dad:

I'm running short on time today because we are headed to go net fishing.  Don't worry President Weir said it's okay and the water is really shallow. The problem today was I was having a WAY hard time again trying to get the internet to work. 

All is going well here on Maiana. I get along with Elder Vaai on a personal level.  He's a good guy. It is an awesome story about how his family left Samoa to move to Australia to give him a better life. I think it's been hard on his parents up to now trying to support a family, not speaking English and having little education.  I only have a month left with him, but I'm learning a lot about the culture and the way he's social with people in the villages etc. 

We stay busy with work.  We are teaching lots of teenagers. We were supposed to have three baptisms this upcoming week, but two just fell through so we should have one this week. I'm praying that we can find some families to teach.  These islands are crazy. There is so much opposition from members of other faiths.  I heard stories yesterday of when the church first came here.  Satan works so hard to create hatred towards the church.  When we teach seminary to kids, they are then forced to eat lunch with Catholic and Protestant ministers. It's hard when everyone is Catholic and Protestant and when you are in the minority. It's crazy!  But I have had some great opportunities.  I have led church the past two weeks and given 15 minute talks without using notes.  You definitely feel a responsibility for these things and for the members when you're the missionary who leads church, songs, rounds up people for church, etc.

Last Monday night, we showed up to a family home evening with a member family and there was a religion called "All Nations" there.  They were invited to do a mixed Family Home Evening for different faiths.  They were singing and playing guitar and shaking their heads and saying AMEN and doing all this stuff. Their woman minister proceeded to give one of the seriously best lessons I have heard on love and charity from 1 Corinthians 13. I wish you guys could've been there. 

I love you! I hope you have a great week.

(A few hours later, Zach got back on the email and sent us the following.)

I just got back from net fishing.  We went out on a motor boat to the lagoon and set up a HUGE net and then beat the water to scare fish into the net. We then circled around and checked the net. 12 pretty big fish stuck. We then bit their heads off to kill the fish and then untied them from the net. They're cooking it right now for dinner!  (This is a little different than when we went fishing in Alaska with Grandpa.)  Pretty cool!
These answers were in response to Blake's email in which he asked the following questions:

Blake:  Are you content?  Is the mission what you thought it would be?  How fluent are you in the language at this point?

Zach:  I'm doing well personally! My happiness on a mission isn't really what I thought it would be. It turns on whether I feel like I'm helping people grow and progress towards baptism. It's 100% based on investigators, etc. I get sad only when investigators or the wickedness of people get me down. Whenever I'm sad, it passes pretty quickly because of my surroundings.

The mission is everything and nothing like I expected. You can't prepare for it and now that I'm here, I can't explain it. The language is good. I'm pretty solid.  I have no problem in one-on-one conversation, but sometimes in a group setting where it's loud or lots of things are bouncing around, I struggle. I just need to learn more words etc. I understand the grammar pretty well. It is still an ongoing process, but lessons haven't been a problem and that is all that really matters at the end of the day. I still would like to get A LOT better, but little by little. I've had ZERO health problems. I couldn't get sick if I tried. 

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