Dear Mom and Dad,
This is May 2nd (Happy Anniversary yesterday!) I'm writing because I didn't get a chance to write about my last week in Abaiang. I'll start with when I found out that I was leaving. On
Thursday we worked super hard in Borotiam. We had lots of great lessons and had a fun uplifting chat with Tiwini. I was on such a high. Then I came home. Elder Davis and I were joking around and texting the ZL's on Tarawa. (They are in the same intake, Davis and Mattison.) Then they said that I was being transferred. It ruined my night. They said that it wouldn't be for another week or two. That news totally rocked my world. I was on such a high, completely loving life in Abaiang. just that Monday I had asked if I could stay there with Elder Davis for a long time. We had just made big plans and goals and finally the pieces were in place to see them happen.
Then the next morning I found out I was leaving before Wednesday. Talk about rocking my world. That didn't give me any time to say good bye or even if I did they wouldn't have time to prepare any thing. So I decided to only tell Borotiam in church and they would be all that knew other than select investigators. So I told them and through a crazy turn of events I ended up getting scheduled for 2 good bye parties. So my Monday schedule ended up being: wake up and wash, then pack up, be to Borotiam by 5 for my party then back to Tuarabu by 8 for another party and in the gaps fit in email. Unfortunately Borotiam didn't start until 5 and ended at 8, got to Tuerabu at 9:30 then they partied until 11:30ish 9culturally it is incredibly rude to leave a party that is thrown for you, but you can leave other ones if you have a nice MC). So email fell through.
The Borotiam Party was the best thing in the world. I love the people in Borotiam so much. I have worked personally with or with a family member of 90% of the people in that unit. At parties it is standard to have a 'Marooro' where whoever wants to get up and say something can. Almost the whole unit was there including my recent converts and investigators and most of them spoke. I felt like I was at my own funeral because they all said heart felt messages of thanks and good luck. Tawaia (from Ribono but living close to Borotiam) and Karikaman (Tiwini's wife) both shared their conversion stories. many people cried and I was teary and grinning ear to ear the whole time. I was given 2 chances to speak, once giving a spiritual thought and once at the end of the Marooro! In my spiritual thought I first share Alma 17:23 saying I wish I could stay there until I die, but then said I have been called elsewhere and shared 1 Nephi 3:7 talking about how the Lord will strengthen me. After all this they gave us food. They killed a pig and there was fish and corned beef, papaya, canned ham and bread fruit and all sorts of stuff. They have no budget so it was all donated and I felt their love even more strongly. Then we danced. There was some cultural dancing but mostly it was crazy, funny, but still clean, dancing. Again almost every member of the branch got up and did some dance to make everyone laugh. People are so comfortable with each other here, so someone can do a completely stupid dance and everyone will laugh but no one will care. I love that. Basically lots of love and lots of fun all around.
Leaving Abaiang was cool. On Tuesday Morning the church's speed boat the "Riona' (Liahona0 came to pick me up. it was fun zooming across the ocean. The weather was super nice. We smoothly coasted across the ocean. The boat driver would point out different things to us. We drove right next to like 30 dolphins skipping across the ocean. When we got there we stopped in at Sister Aldredges house.
I've got a little more time, so I'll talk about one fo our investigators in Ribono. his name is Tongobo. We found him through tracting on our first visit there. Every time we have met with him, he has been asleep in a different house, but he always lets us in. He said that he doesn't have a religion, but feels it is important to listen and learn about God. Everyone in Kiribati that I have met, whether they have a religion or not, believes in God. So that is how we generally approach lessons. however when we were teaching about faith, Elder Davis was prompted to ask if he has faith in or believes in God. Then to both of our amazement he said, "no". This guy we hardly know opened up to us and said that he and his family have prayed for years and never seen an answer to prayer. He sees other people receiving answers to prayers, but feels that God must not love him, or if God is supposed to love everyone there must not be a God. His questions was, "Where is God?" Now we are planning to teach the plan of Salvation gearing it towards how God loves us and how to recognize answers to prayers. That lesson we tried to answer his questions and help him trust God. I love having these tender moments with people. The spirit can do some beautiful good things, through us teenagers doing our best.
I love this work and enjoy it everyday. God is there and DOES hear and answer prayers for He love US!