Sunday, February 1, 2015

Feb. 1, 2015 Happy Ground Hog's Day!

This has been a great week. I love that when you work hard you can see the blessings from it. Most of the funny experiences that I have here involve poop, pee, circumcision, or vomiting, so I think that I'll filter those out and tell you one of our few other stories.

School started this week, and the high school on this island isn't very good, so lots of kids go to other islands for school. So right before they left there were lots of parties and activities which they invited us to. One of which (they called it a Picnic which I thought was funny) they played lots of games. After the games they found this huge speaker and wanted to listen to some music. However they forgot to bring a flashdrive with music on it. But they know that elder Miller has a flash drive with music so they begged him to bring it out. We tried to tell them that it was boring, but they wouldn't listen. So it ended up being me and Elder Miller surrounded by Kiribati people listening to 'Akuna Matatta' and random other disney songs until they got mad and found their own music. It was pretty awkward, but at the same time so very very funny to us. I would just randomly burst into song and sing along. It was short lived, but a good memory.
Here we baptize in the ocean. It would be almost impossible to fill a font as there are no pumps and no place to do it. And the ocean is always close. The farthest we have to walk from a chapel to the ocean is probably 3-400yds. We try to schedule it at high tide, but we'll make it work with whatever. the water is super warm. We just walk out into the ocean until the water is up to our waist then do the baptism. Then we do the baptism. Baptisms are always amazing. The spirit always testifies to me its importance every time. but it is even cooler in the ocean. Something about the waves gently pushing against you and the wind blowing through the coconut trees just makes it seem so much more natural. Oh I love this island so much.
One of the people that we baptized recently totally changed his life for the church. As soon as he found out about the Word of Wisdom he did his best to stop drinking. He used to go to lots of parties, be sorta violent with his family, and disappear for days at a time in the woods drunk with friends. However he stopped completely. This got his wife who is catholic interested in the church. At first she hated the missionaries and would run away when they came by. But when she saw how much it has helped him and how happy the church makes him her heart was soften towards the Church. Now she is one of our most solid investigators and is always so happy to see us. Yesterday we taught him about the priesthood and usually people don't ask questions during lessons, but the first thing he said was, 'How can I get that.' He'll get it really soon. His name is Anetibwa (Anna see bah) and hers is Arenteiti (A ran tace (rhymes with lace)). 
We had a cool experience with prayer this week. We had to go and get one of our investigators for his baptism. He lives super far away so we usually ask people to pick him up on their motorcycle for church (there are 3 people in the branch with motor cycles). But they were busy so we were going to bike 20 min and have him ride with us. Unfortunately our bike had a flat tire that took an hour to fix. Plus the branch president just got called a month ago, so he was super worried about leading this baptism. So after we fixed the tire as best as we could we prayed to know if we should go through with the baptism or not. In the prayer I said that we had decided to not go through with it, and to give us confirmation of that decision so that we could know that we were following his will. Immediately after the prayer I felt peace, but after 2 seconds it was distracted by all of the worries that I had. The peace was so brief that we started taking action in the direction of the baptism. 
We almost let our heads and our man made logic get in the way. Some how we were able to get back to the right track because as soon as we follow the path that had been confirmed to us, however briefly, we felt so great. We were grinning as we said, 'We are about to tell a little boy that is so ready, that has already had his baptism delayed for almost a month. But I just feel so good about it.' That just simple happy feeling lasted the rest of the day and somehow everything fell exactly into place. The boy had got tired of waiting for us and left, but his mom was suddenly a lot more open to the church. We were able to teach a super solid lesson with a new investigator. The Branch President was relieved and somehow not angry. Then we closed in a really fun dinner with a member that is struggling. And the whole time I just had the calm assurance that this is what happens when we ask God then follow his answer. I now have a clear example in my mind of how God speaks to me, and a firm knowledge that he does speak. It is small, it is simple, but it is true and the impacts are amazing. 
I am having a great time on this island studying and working and teaching for the Lord. The Church is true and blesses me every day.

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