Monday, April 13, 2015

4/13/2015 Happy Easter

Sorry I wasn't able to email last week. It was a national holiday,
Easter! I hope everyone's Easter was fun and fullfilling, and that all
were able to hear the wonderous words of our Prophet and Apostles in
General Conference. I was so sad that this would be the first time in
my life that I would have to miss it. But we went on scheduling our
missionary life just the same. It takes lots of scheduling to make all
of our places and times work. This week we had 5 baptisms (one was a
child of record, but we were still asked to teach him). They were
scheduled in our different areas for Aoutin and Tenang in Tabontebike
on Thursday, Buaurenga in Tuarabu on Friday, and Arinteiti and Tirawa
in Borotiam on Saturday. Then on Thursday Morning we found out that
the entire island would gather to watch General Conference on Sunday.
We were so excited, it's hard to testify of a prophet they have no way
to hear. But it also meant that we would not be able to Confirm, give
the Holy Ghost, to any of our baptized converts. But we went through
with it and had some beautiful baptisms.

This week I got a package from mom with candy suggested by friends.
They were all delicious and made it feel more like Easter. I want to
talk about just one. I was enjoying slowly eating all of the new
delicious things that I had received. One cool one was a package of
Candy Frogs suggested by my friend Zach Gates. I hadn't heard from him
in a while, so the memory was nice. I was deciding the best time to
eat it and was about to open it when I had an idea. Tiiwini, my recent
convert and one of my best friends always tries to get me to eat new
things when we visit him. His wife is an incredible cook so we are
always excited. All the time he'll say, "Have you eaten [ cat,
shellfish, stingray, mud, etc] before?" we'll say no and he'll give us
a great meal. I got the idea to do the same thing to him. I said,
'Have you eaten frogs before?" There is one type of frog in Kiribati
(not on my island unfortunately) and it is poisonous. Many people are
afraid of frogs so this is kind of a crazy question. He laughed and
said no. I said, "Well, there is one type of frog in america that is
eaten. I really enjoyed it at home and my mom just sent me some in a
package. Do you want to try it?" He was excited and said yes and
thought it was hilarious when he found out it was candy. (They don't
have a whole lot of variety in their candy here and had never seen
anything like it). They enjoyed it and it was made even more delicious
in the sharing. Thank you Zach for that Memory and fun moment with a
person that I have worked with and grown to love.

I also want to mention the lesson that I taught previous to that frog
eating moment. Tiiwini had been asking us to teach his family for a
while, but we were swamped with work so we delayed it until we
finished with his lessons. So now we have just started teaching his
wife, Karikiman, and youngest son, Taekatau. They have been taught by
their father so know a lot of our lessons before we have a chance to
share them. Also they have both been converted to the gospel by their
father for a long time now. (If I had more time I would add scripture
references). This week Karikiman shared her conversion story. She talked about how she used to be angry and people were afraid of her.
When we first visited her she was mad and almost refused to shake our
hands. Tiiwini would ask her to be polite when we would teach him and
make us food. But she refused and would lay in the corner of the house
saying that she was too tired. But I think that by laying there she was able to hear the lessons and feel the spirit. She said, multiple
times, how strong the spirit has worked in her life. She just kept
saying how greatful she was for us, our lessons, and the Holy Spirit
that we have brought to her. She says she is happier now and people
aren't shy to speak to her. I feel so blessed to be able to have been
able to work with her and see this change in her life. People are so
blessed, I can personally testify, when there is a righteous force as
the head of their home. I wish I had more time. I love you all!

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