This last week had definitely been a very interesting one! So much to write about!
On Tuesday we held a really nice district meeting which consisted primarily of role plays and sharing OYMing methods. It was pretty fun because we'd planned to have a potluck lunch after district meeting but nobody had time to cook that morning, so we ended up using the chapel's kitchen to cook/prepare our lunch DURING district meeting. Since the people in the house are cooking a lot of the time we approach them, we reenacted several scenarios where a member of the house prepared food for their guests and listened in while the missionaries shared a message with the rest of the family. It was fun, we learned a lot and was able to get a lot done during our district meeting. As we were preparing to leave the chapel, transfer calls were circulating throughout our area, and it was our turn to receive.
President Higgins reassigned me to serve in the Nadi Hindi area!
That night, I received such a tender mercy from the Lord that I don't reckon I'll forget any time soon, and I'll cherish it for as long as I remember. The Tarbiti family always felt bad that some members of the family would still be out in town whenever we arrived at their house, so we'd have to wait a little for everyone to arrive and settle before we could start the lesson. Because of this, we always ran out of time before our dinner appointment so we'd have to quickly close and rush out the door to make it on time. Last week, Fifin asked us to make sure no dinner appointments are scheduled for Tuesday so that THEY could feed us and we wouldn't have to stress about having to be somewhere else. We made sure the Tarbitis were the last family we had planned for that evening, we held a great lesson with the family about the importance of baptizing the same way Jesus Christ did, and a niiice feast was placed in front of us. Before we ate, Fifin told us how much she appreciated our visits and the spirit we bring into their home. She said it was a custom in Vanuatu to give gifts to people who visit the family often and ultimately become good family friends. She and Betisha (9 year old daughter) went into the back room and brought out two of the most gorgeous Vanuatu lava lavas I've ever seen. Betisha came to me, wrapped hers over my left shoulder and tied the ends together under my right arm (like a kihe), and Fifin did the same for Elder Mo'unga. It was only after this that Elder Mo'unga told them that I'd be transferring on Friday and that we'd be busy Thursday night because of transfers, so that would be the last time I got to see them. Fifin was sure, as am I, that the Lord arranged for that evening to be so special. Tuesday night was especially significant for two reasons:
One, I felt like we definitely could have done more work or found more people. My ultimate goal when I enter an area is to leave it better than I found it, and though I can in all honesty say that for Suva, I felt like I could have done more and I was sad. That night, I really felt like we made an impact on that family's lives. Their love and appreciation for us was so evident, and that night, I felt like I'd been successful in that area. The second reason that evening was so special is because it was easily the most love and appreciation I've ever been shown since I've been here. I've taught people who ended up being baptized and even myself helped several into the waters of baptism. The Tarbiti family had not received an answer yet as to whether or not our teachings were true, but they were humble and so willing to find out. Some had no indication, some had received light promptings, but there was no surety yet. Despite this, they knew we were sent from our Father in Heaven and that the Spirit was evident when we entered their home, and they were grateful for that. Even though they haven't been baptized yet, I'm sure they will be one day. That was an amazing night.
On Wednesday we were joined by Elder Fonua, the Hindi elder from Lautoka who was called to train a new Hindi missionary. That night, he taught me heaps of Hindi words that I didn't know that don't even have real English definitions, and I realized how much serving in the city limited my Hindi haha. The next day we were joined again by him and his trainee and we were able to see a good lot of people and teach the yougin his first Hindi words.
Friday rolled around and by 9am, I and 8 other missionaries were on a bus to Nadi. After a nice and beautifully scenic four hour drive, I met my new companion at the Nadi airport.
Elder Kioa was raised in San Mateo, California, but has been living in Utah for the last few years. He is SOOO chill, so humble and suuper funny. I'm super excited for the next transfer, I feel like we're going to have a lot of fun and get a LOT of work done together. This particular area is notoriously dry (in the air and in the work), so I'm really looking forward to getting some good new water flowing these old dusty pipes. It's a bit difficult adjusting to being a senior companion because I feel sometimes that I lack confidence and sufficient enough Hindi to teach someone (even though his Hindi is WAYY good, way better than mine was at his stage), but in time my leadership skills will kick in and I'll be able to preside over this area effectively. But yeah since I'm Elder Kioa's first companion out of training, I am, in missionary terms, his mother! Anyways, Elder Kioa and I are ready for work and we're about to SMASH it here!
I really enjoyed church yesterday as well, Nadi ward is awesome! The members are so loving and inviting. I was actually blessed to give a talk in sacrament yesterday, and I don't know why but I almost threw up on the podium because of how nervous I was. The members seemed to enjoy my nervous twitches, stutters, and facial expressions, so I know they also have a sense of humor. Speaking of which, I was oddly insulted when my new ward mission leader called me haole during our brief Missionary Coordination Meeting, MCM after church. He also needs some time to learn how to pronounce my name, so until then my name is either Elder Islamabad or Elder Istanbul. I'm excited to see what world capital city he can come up with next... he really is a funny guy though.
I learned this morning that my new companion is an excellent disciplinarian (and thus will make an excellent senior companion himself one day). I've come to Nadi for three reasons: To preach repentance and baptize converts, to follow-up train Elder Kioa, and to get black and skinny. Nadi is also notorious for doing that to people, so I'm excited. This morning, we went running. I haven't gone running since that one time in Nasinu, so my legs still feel like they're full of lead. I'm pretty disappointed at this moment because I thought that I had to have run like four miles this morning, but I just checked the distance on google maps and it's just barely two miles there and back. It's okay, a hard run is a good run. Elder Kioa noticed I struggled the first time to our destination, so he was right behind me the whole way back egging me on and pushing me to keep going despite my pleads to let me stop. THAT's a good companion, those kinds of people in paddling and judo always got me through the season.
MAN but yeah, everything is way good! I'm happy and healthy and glad to be in the West zone.
Thank yous so much for your prayers, I know I wouldn't be receiving all these blessings without them. I love you guys so much, hope all is well at home!
Sorry for the lack of pictures, now that I don't have Elder Mo'unga or the other missionaries to leach pictures off of, I may need that camera a little sooner than initially anticipated. Don't worry about it though!
Please give grandma as big a hug and kiss as you all can without hurting her for me, and massage her feet for two hours each (one for every year). Hau'oli lā hanau e ku'u tūtū! Aloha nui wau iā 'oe, e ho'omaika'i a me mālama pono!
Again, love you guys so much! Have a great and blessed week!