Sunday, June 21, 2015

06/21/2015 Happy Father's Day

Happy Father’s Day,
We’ll see if the internet will cooperate with us today, but if I can’t
send this today, just imagine it came last week!

 This has been another whirlwind of a wonderful week. The week before
last was rough, and this week was a good recovery time where we have
been able to see the turn for the better. I am so full of excitement
for the potential of this area. As with every worthwhile thing in this
world, the progress goes slower than one would wish, but there is
definite improvement. The highlight of this week for me was church
yesterday. It has changed slightly since the last time that I
described it. Now we have 2 cars. One that goes south picking up
everyone that wants to come to church, and the other starts from the
very farthest north and moves down. We had some problems with the car
a few weeks ago. The driver wanted to go to church, but his church
started at the same time that we wanted him to start driving. Nobody
told us his problem, and we told all of our members what time the car
would come. So we were in a bind. But as soon as we knew we changed
the time of our church so that it starts at the same time as his. So
he drives the car and goes to church in the same town as us. So that
made it so we now don’t have time to run church in the far north down
of Tebuange.

So now every Latter Day Saint (Mormon) on the island
catches a car (really a flat bedded truck) to come to church together.
Most weeks there is some problem that either stops the car or the
investigators from coming. So with our relatively big truck, it was
never full, even though the potential is much higher. This week
however was different. This week some people that have never come
before finally showed the faith to come. Man it was a miracle. By the
time we arrived, the North car that I rode in really couldn’t fit
another person. A fair number of people came from the south, some that
have also never come before. So we had a large crowd. The record for
the island is 77 people at church, but that was holding church in
several spots along the island (the previous Elders were able to do
splits to make that work). Our record is 58 holding church in 3 spots,
and yesterday we had 48 (12 of which were investigators, and there
were 2 Less Active Members that came for the first time in years) all
coming to church in one spot all together. Also the southern half
didn’t have us riding the car to encourage them. There was such a
spirit of unity and excitement as everyone saw the crowd growing
larger and larger. Then we gave our talks and every one was more
engaged than usual. Then after Sacrament Meeting we have always wanted
to split up into classes, but never have been able to because of cars
coming late or people not being ready or any of a number of problems.
But this week, we finished and the cars hadn’t come yet. We were so
surprised that we weren’t prepared. We just figured that church
wouldn’t work out again. So we stood up and asked everyone if they
wanted to have a nice question answer session or to have hymn
practice. This branch only knows 10 or so hymns total, so they repeat
a lot. We chose to sing. We laughed and struggled along together as we
figured out the words and the melody (the translation doesn’t always
fit the notes as well as the English version). But it was so beautiful
feeling the spirit that hymns bring together with my small group of
saints, my friends, here.

 Well, the internet isn’t up yet, so I’ll just continue writing! The
biggest highlight of yesterday was Koonono (Co. no no) coming to
church. He is the brother of the adopted man that lives in America
now. He and his wife have had lessons for ages. He was taught when the
Church was first brought back to Nonouti 2 years ago, and has
continued to be taught on and off since. We have had so many
individual personalized lessons with Koonono in an effort to help him
to progress. We have felt for a long time that he has a testimony of
the truth, but has always been too shy to come to church. He prays and
reads pretty well, just couldn’t make it to church, we almost dropped
him and baptized his more faithful wife on her own. There have been a
couple things that have helped his progression. One was finding his
brother. His mom was the one that asked, but he had been curious for
ages about his brother that he hadn’t seen since he was really little.
He just figured he was dead. So bringing that contact back helped.
Also we tried to make a big focus on the family. We taught him and his
wife (Marena) the importance of the family and the role of parents and
gave them a ‘Family, a Proclamation to the World’ paper. Then we told
him that his wife would only be baptized if he was baptized with her.
Not entirely true, but really what we were trying hard to make happen
so that they could strengthen each other. Lastly we gave him a white
shirt to wear to church. We feel that the shirt was the last straw
holding him, but the real change happened through the family.
Yesterday he came to church, we were trying to encourage his wife to
get in and bring their kids, and he jumped in behind me. I couldn’t
believe my eyes. This church really is based on the family. The family
has brought the biggest changes that I have seen in the work here on
this island. I testify that this is the Lord’s work and that it is
centered on the family. I am so happy that we can celebrate families
on this beautiful Father’s Day. Have a great week!
Elder Morley

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