Sorry, it's going to be another short one, we're late today because the sun just came out for a little time. [Their computer is solar-powered, apparently.] But we have a picture! FANTASTIC week! Elder Tarati has gone, Elder Hungai is here! He flew in this morning. He's from Vanuatu, and is a bit shy, but also very happy and friendly. He's going to be great, I'm excited to work with him. I was worried about his English, but it's definitely good enough for us to get by no problems. It's weird, though, I'm realizing as I speak to him in English that I've been thinking in Kiribati. So it's fun speaking English again!
So, we just heard that a tsunami is coming! Yay! :) It's been a good week. I feel like a shout out to Brother Ormesher is needed. All of those times coming to home teach and talking about deep doctrine payed off! Koito, the guy who we bore great testimony to about the Book of Mormon, has started asking question after question after question. The kind of question where he's trying to prove that the Bahai, his strange religion, is Christ's true religion. They essentially believe that the Holy Ghost has possessed many prophets to preach God's word to the earth, from Moses to Jesus to Mohammed to Buddha, and Hindu gets in there somehow along with another one I've never heard of. It's definitely an interesting idea, and they get a lot of biblical stuff to make it work out. So we've talked about Adam and Eve not having blood before the Fall, Zion coming down from heaven, and where God lives if he really does have a body. So it's exciting! Having a good time with it.
Anyway, that'll be it for this week, my comp's already done and waiting for me. But I love you all! Best of luck back there! Thanks for the prayers!
PS - Radio just said that the tsunami isn't coming! Yay Kiribati. :)
Letter from March 22, 2015
So, last week first!
It was a crazy eventful week on Beru! Taiwan has a foreign aid thing where they want to give a solar-powered light to every house in Kiribati, and it got to Beru last week. It was crazy! We were biking home at night, and it was LIGHT! Every house was lit up! It felt like we were in some huge city! And then people are using them now to go fishing at night, so you look out and night, and it looks like there's a village on the water. We got one too! Electric lighting is an incredible thing. :)
Got hit by a storm this week too. The great thing about Kiribati is that it's a bunch of atolls, and waves get killed in the lagoon. You actually see the breakers way out on the horizon, and then when it actually gets to shore there are almost no waves. Taboiaki, the village on the south, got hit pretty hard though, because they're right on the edge, and thus don't have that huge shield. So there was flooding there, all the old sea walls got broken, and some people had to move out. No danger to life, though. I've even had emails from friends in Fiji who say they heard we got hit pretty hard, so maybe it was worse elsewhere, but it wasn't bad here. We're in a cement bunker of a house, so we've got no worries.
Had a great conversation that week too! One of the moments where you get prompted by the Spirit, but don't realize it until afterward. (Elder Bednar has a talk on that, but I forget when.) We had taught all of our lessons for the day, and were planning on just going to visit random people and see if they were willing to lesson with us. But I said, "Hey, what if we go visit Eterom?" Eterom is a former member who went back to the KPC when he returned to Beru from Tarawa, and is now part of the committee. He was meeting with us, but got really busy (which usually means, "I don't actually want to meet with you guys but my culture doesn't let me tell missionaries that. " ) But we went to visit him anyway, and where before we always just met with him, he sat down with us and called his wife, two kids, and aging mother to meet with us.
His mom is also a former member,, and she told us that she was a member before, but hadn't ever really had a testimony. He told her that was wrong, because he felt a miracle when he was baptized. He said he felt light as he came out of the water. So she asked what the difference was, and we agreed to come back and talk about it. As we left, she said, "Who knows, maybe I'll see you at church someday!" So that was exciting! Thank goodness for the Holy Ghost.
So that was last week.
Then this week was also good! Found out that Elder Tarati will be leaving next Monday, and my new companion, Elder Hangai from Vanuatu, will be coming the same day. So that's exciting! Got a haircut, and pretty much nobody recognized me. Everybody kept telling Elder Tarati, "Oh, you got another new companion?" Holy crud! You'd think they knew me better than that by now! Ah well. :P
Probably the most exciting event this week was that I got T-Boned! We were biking home Friday night, it was dark, and all of a sudden I saw a flash out of the corner of my eye, and BOOM! Great big pig slams into my front tire. So, some people (Here's looking at you, Brothers Kramer and Justus) might say I didn't get T-Boned, I got ham-boned. :)
So that was embarrassing, because one of our recent converts passed by just as it happened, laughed their face off at me. But ah well, such is life! :) I'm totally fine, no worries there.
This week, we got something to play music on, and my companion has a flash drive with loads of good music. Just saying, truly good music praising the Savior has a power to speak to the soul in a way that normal speech has a hard time doing. Music speaks to the soul, and it's glorious! So I've been on a tad bit of a spiritual high. Josh Groban's Amazing Grace is AMAZING! At least it sounds like Josh Groban.
So I'm figuring out the classes I'm going to sign up for next week. RIDICULOUSLY exciting. :) BYU is crazy!
Anyway, I'm going to go do that now. I was going to send pictures, but it looks like this cord isn't going to do the trick, so that'll have to wait for next week. I love you all, hope that things are going well back there, and I'll see y'all in three months! :)
Letter from March 1, 2015
My little bros are BEASTS. No questions asked. :) [He's responding to my letter telling him how awesome Justin and Greg were at Jazz Fest. Both one first place in the district.]
It's SO GOOD to hear what's going on back home, within a week of it actually happening! :)
So, last week I was ridiculously rushed because I spent so much time responding to old emails. Realized afterward that I didn't really give you guys much more background on Beru. So here we go! First of all, Beru is to Kiribati what Alabama is to America. Pretty much the center of Southern culture, and when you just show up and you're not a native speaker, you have NO IDEA what ANYBODY is saying. It's almost like they're speaking with that Irish lilt, where they're jumping between super high and super low and it is SO hard to follow! The kids especially. It makes all the kids sound SUPER sassy, and I thought, "man, if I talked to MY parents like that, it would not end well." But now I know it's just the accent. :)
Beru is also very hot. :) It's small, and they're known for eating mud. So guess what we did last Monday?! Yes, we drank mud. :) See pictures. The other picture is of our state-of-the-art, no-water-waste, zero-emissions toilet! Okay, zero-emissions might be a lie, that thing stinks, but there it is anyway. :)
I just got an email from President! I'm going to be training again! :) And also found out that Marakei, the island I almost went to, does NOT have internet, so what a blessing that that got changed at the last second! The Lord definitely looks out for us, even if we feel like we're falling through the cracks. :)
I've been reading from Answers to Gospel Questions by Jospeh Fielding Smith lately. So many cool things! And references to other books! I have a reading list a mile long when I get home.
I had a GREAT experience teaching this week! We met with Koito, an older man whose children are all members, his son actually served a mission. Koito, however, is Bahai, a religion that believes in a skewed version of dispensations, and actually has a prophet, who they believe is a reincarnation of Christ. So we've been talking to him, and talked about the Book of Mormon, praying about it in the name of Christ, and receiving a testimony through the Holy Ghost. He disputed the praying in the name of Christ was the correct way to pray. They do believe in the Bible, so we went to the point in the Gospel of John where Christ teaches his disciples to pray in His name. Ended up getting it closed off, because my comp was worried we were getting into Bible bashing (though it was NOT contentious at all, just a good discussion.)
But I got to bear my testimony. I testified that whatever he believed about prayer (they believe in set prayers), I knew that I had prayed to Heavenly Father in the name of Christ, and I had received my answer. And I felt the Spirit SO strongly. It was done with humility, and love, and MAN I love it when you can feel the Spirit working through you! I know it testified to Koito of the truth, whether or not he chooses to accept it. So ya. I absolutely love testifying of the Book of Mormon. :)
Anyway, I think that was pretty much it for the week! I love you all so much, best of luck in everything, thanks for the fasting and prayers for me, I really felt the support from them this week!