As far as this week goes... Man, it's been great! We've been doing even better with lessons, we've been finding more people, had an AWESOME guy get baptized, and really started to click with my comp. He's kind of ridiculously awesome. :)
The guy who got baptized! Uering! THE MAN! We found him a couple months ago, and we've been working with him. He'd gotten out of jail and started talking to a lot of religious denominations. He talked with a bunch of different denominations, the KPC, the 7th Day Adventists, the Jehovah's witnesses, and he said that they were good, but they weren't enough for his heart. And he said that when we came, and we taught him, he thought, "Ah, this is it." It's so awesome! Quit smoking, drinking, nangona, and tea, and totally flipped his life around.
Brought his less-active best friend back to church, and his wife will be baptized way soon. His wife's broken down crying in lessons with us, just thanking us for the huge change in her husband, and I've told her, no, it's not us, it's been the Lord. And honestly, I was there for those lessons, the part we were doing wasn't really that great. Uering was ready, and the Lord was there! He told his wife he'll cry when I get transferred (him and me both) and I got to baptize him. It was SO AWESOME.
I realized that between his family and Rosary, if nobody else's life is changed through my service on my mission, it is TOTALLY worth it. Sometimes people fall back after baptism, but his faith is SO strong. He's asked if he could serve a mission, we told him maybe when he was old he could serve a senior couple mission. :) SO GREAT!!! I'll try to get pictures home soon.
Speaking of getting transferred... Word just came from my connections in Zone Leadership that I should be getting ready to go. Nothing's official yet, but it's looking like I should be getting ready. Which makes sense, I've been here forever, but just thinking about it makes me way depressed. I'm with a companion I love, in an area I love, with people that I love and know, and now I'm about to leave. I know, it happens, but it's really depressing. So I'll crack it hard for the rest of my time here, and leave with no regrets and lots of pictures! :)
Anyway, I should be going, time runs short, but I want you to know that I love you! Hope business goes well, hope everything else goes well, you're in my prayers!
Love, Elder Marks
February 17, 2014 Letter
Man, it's been quite the week. I'll try to keep it fast because it's 3 and my comp still hasn't gotten to email. Spent all day trying to find internet that worked. :P
But ya, crazy week! My comp has been sick all week, but he's a beast and we've gone out to work every day except one. There have been a few times where he just ended up passing out next to me while I taught... Poor guy. But it's been good! We've been getting SO much done! We went from 1 investigator that was making progress a few weeks ago to 7 this week, and 6 have a date set for baptism, from this Saturday to March 22.
One of our people is Rosary's cousin, and she's been having a lot of problems because her husband is a less active member who drinks quite a bit. So this cousin was having a lesson at Rosary's house, and Rosary bore testimony of the huge difference that the church has made in her husband's life, and how after they started to be involved in the church, they found peace in their home, and almost never have problems. It was great! And it's so true, I've seen the difference in both of them! I love being able to see how peoples' lives are changed by the Gospel of Christ, and it makes me even happier when we can help even more people see how their lives can be changed as well!
I'm loving the work, and the work is going awesome. We're starting to be crazy busy, have 8 lessons planned for tomorrow, and it's awesome. I love feeling the Spirit 24/7! My one problem... My new comp just got here from the states, not really in 100% missionary lockdown mode yet. And me, my sense of humor has gone Kiribati. I can be the funniest guy in the world here, but as soon as I'm in English? Er... We just joke about different things! So my poor comp is stuck with a guy who doesn't really remember what people talk about back in America, and who has a Kiribati sense of humor... Poor guy. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be the most boring person in the world for a couple months when I get back. Ah well. I'm loving it. :)
Thanks for the email, hope everything continues to go well! Love you loads, keep it up! You're in my prayers!
Love, Elder MArks
February 9, 2014 Letter
All right, lot to say. First off, my comp. His name is Elder Davis, from Logan Utah. He's the 5th of a family of 6 boys, and his dad's name is David (sorry, Kiribati protocol to introduce him that way. Speaking of fathers, something clicked the other day. I've been saying my dad's name was "tak", trying to kiribatize it, and everybody always went, "huh"? I finally realized that it's because that's also the Kiribati word for duck. :) )
He's a bit shy, but he's a way hard worker, and we've been doing a lot of good work out here. I'm realizing how hard it is to teach Kiribati, but we're doing some way good work!
Funny story, his first morning here, he was unpacking while I did our progress record. All of a sudden, I heard him yell, "Woah! Something made BABIES in my suitcase!" I ran over and saw 4 baby mice, maybe a few hours old. They were all pink and NASTY! So he finished unpacking, and then threw them outside. I was glad he still got an intro to Kiribati, even living in the hotel. :)
Living at the hotel is awesome! For the first time in my mission, I'm living in my area! :) And it's only a half hour bike ride to where most of the people are! The people there are super nice, they give us ice water and watch our bikes at night, and they're all super friendly. I love it! And we can start teaching at 12 rather than 2 or 3, so that's a huge blessing! we're getting a lot of work done, and I'm having a blast. I love it!
This week, I've been really feeling like I've come into my own. I feel like my training is finally done, and I'm really a missionary. I got asked to give a talk in sacrament last second and gave a good one, I'm really connecting well with people, and I'm feeling the Spirit as I teach. And I'm being blessed with the gift of tongues! I'm absolutely loving missionary work, and looking forward to the next little while that I really get to work Banana!
For the blog, if anybody out there is thinking about serving a mission and isn't sure, DO IT!!! It's hard, but you grow closer to God than you ever thought possible, and you really feel what it's like to be a tool in His hands. It's awesome!
I'm loving life, and I love you! Best of luck with everything back there, you're in my prayers! Tekeraoi! :) (Good luck)
Love, Elder Marks
February 2, 2014 Letter
As far as my week goes, it's been another great one! Been CRAZY, because Elder Paora and I have been working two areas. As it turns out, our kids (trainees) touched down on Kiritimati, had a two hour layover, and kept on flying through Fiji to Tarawa! As we say in Kiribati, "A aki bwaati kain Church Travel." But oh well. I actually got to talk to my kid for a little bit, because Zone Leaders called and he was with them. He sounds cool! Maybe a little bit in the "I just got here in a 3rd world country and I'm putting on a brave face until I get this shindig figured out," but not bad at all. I'm excited to meet him on Wednesday! His name is Elder Davis and he has a Rocky Mountain accent. I'm pumped!
I've been a bit sick the last couple days, but I've been drinking lots and I got a priesthood blessing, so I've been able to keep working. Which is good, because we don't have time to rest! We've been going crazy getting new investigators, teaching old ones, and having to walk because our bikes our broken, but it's about to get easier. Tomorrow we'll be moving into and setting up at the Captain Cook Hotel, my kid will be arriving early Wednesday morning, we'll have a District Meeting, and then he and I have 6 lessons planned! So it'll be fun! We have a lot of catching up to do, so we'll be busy. Which is the way to be as a missionary. :)
Anyway, I'm loving being a missionary. Working with Elder Paora is the best, we're being what a companionship should be, and we're rocking worlds. I feel like I've finally finished my training, and I'm just a tad bit scared that I'm not going to be able to always have awesome back-up whenever I need it. He says the same thing, we're an awesome tag-team. :) But here we go! It's fun working together, but we need to do about twice as much work, so, after maybe three weeks of rest, God is about to start stretching me again! (Remember how I used to grow? Get tall and skinny, then fill out, then get tall and skinny, then fill it out. Same deal here!) So, For Narnia! And for Israel! :) Love you lots, you're in my prayers, best of luck with everything!