February 12, 2017
Hey fam and friends,
It's been a while since I've done a little bit of an update. It's crazy to think that this week will be the end of my first full transfer serving on Tabuaeran or Fanning Island. It's been a super fun transfer serving with Elder Murri as my companion. I'm super sad to see him go. I will be getting a new companion named Elder Rowsell who is from Idaho and is from the same intake as Elder Murri.
This week is a pretty special week because there will be a member of the Area Seventy coming as well as President Larkin and a couple of other people. This will be the first time that the Mission President--let alone an Area 70--will be coming to Fanning Island so it will be pretty special.
This past transfer has been awesome even though Elder Murri and I haven't had any baptisms yet. I love serving on outer islands. There is nothing better than taking bucket showers in the open air and sleeping on mats inside of mosquito nets. This past week we literally slept in hammocks under the stars and got destroyed by mosquitos. We have gone fishing in the beautiful lagoon and we have gone fishing with hand nets. We have done service and learned how to work in the Kiribati pits with the native root called "bwabai" and we have learned how to work on the "seaweed" which is an export native to Kiribati. I feel right at home.
We have seen so many people change and we have some amazing investigators. The branch has many problems, but I wouldn't change our investigators for a thing. We had ten investigators at church yesterday and the work is really starting to go well. Here are a couple of my favorite investigators.
Tenikoraa: She is so smart and she literally just knows that the church is true. She has prayed to know the truth and her prayers have been answered. The problem that is keeping her back from baptism is the fact that she is a Deacon in the Protestant Church. It's been so interesting to watch her fight between what her heart knows is true and what her mind wants. She is shy to come to church and the Minister keeps asking her what is wrong. I hope that she can get over her fear and ultimately come to church, but she is still an awesome person. We would love some prayers her way.
Terewaa: Terewaa is a 75-year old man who is so sickkk. He is one of the oldest and most respected men on the island. In the Kiribati culture, old men are the most important of all people and it's been awesome to work with him. He is progressing so well and even came to church yesterday and had to bike under the blazing sun to get to church. The members were so excited when he came to church and they all went to shake his hand. The only thing keeping him back from baptism is the fact that he isn't married and his wife refuses to get married to him unless it's in the Catholic church. We are praying that something will give and that he will be able to get married by the government.
I love all of our investigators so much and I know that next the next transfer will be a great one as we start to see some of the fruits of our labors. I love this people and this language and this culture.
Funny story: Tabuaeran is known for not having very much cargo so when the cargo ship came this past week, the island basically shut down. Elder Murri and I went and dropped a bunch of money on chips and chocolate, hahah, but that's not the story. We asked the workers on the ship if we could eat with them and they let us on the ship to eat and chat with the captain and the workers. We had an awesome dinner on the ship in the bay eating mashed potatoes and pork with a side of corn–the best food that I've had in almost two years. My stomach was destroyed that night when I kept waking up going to the bathroom. (Maybe I should have eased into the white people food.) It was way interesting talking to the workers on the ship all of whom had very different backgrounds and difficult and kind of hard lives. Elder Murri and I commented that we felt so different from these people. We truly felt like "the chosen generation and a royal priesthood." We feel in the world but soooo out of it at the same time.
It's so great to be a member of the church and to have direction in my life and a sense of where I'm going. Lots of exciting things happening right now. Livin' the dream!