Thanks for the email! I'll answer it in chunks so that you can read it
as it gets to you. First about the camera. Now I use Elder Smith's
camera that is broken a little ,but does everything I need. He is very
kind. We tried to send that dancing video home, but the internet
wasn't good enough to allow it. I can't believe that he included the
boil video. Such a poor guy. That one on his back practically killed
him (not literally of course). My legs are spotless of boils. I am
relatively immune to mosquitos so don't itch. Plus is a boil ever
starts I have learned the 'splinter lesson' and fix it quick so it
heals and doesn't scar. I'm glad you got to see some happy Nonouti
memories. My memory card of my first 6 months is gone.
Here is my letter to President this week.
You were right. I LOVE Nikunau. It is wonderful here. This isn't
something I say without reason. I am fully aware of the persecution
that this island faces. The first words Elder Tiaon said to me were
describing the opposition that the members here face. However the
members are wonderful. They do their best to do new things. Elder
Seguine kind of gave up of fast and testimony meeting, so yesterday
was their first time in a while. But the first lady who stood up said
something to the point of, I did not know that this was the time to
bear my testimony, but Elder Morley invited us to do so, so I will
try. I got the same response when I invited someone to give a talk
next week. They work hard to not allow any anger or hard feelings lay
between them. They all strive and work hard for the church and for
unity. I am reminded of Zion. Plus our home with them is so nice. I am
fully welcome and feel completely at home. I love it here. Elder Tiaon
is, as you said, a very different missionary than my past experience
with an I Kiribati. He is amazing. I love him already. We do our best
to be obedient and are already seeing miracles. I will repeat Elder
Davis's request to you and ask for a good long stay here. As your
favorite scripture states, I wish to stay here, 'perhaps until the day
I saw P Weir on tarawa and informed him that I felt like I deserved a
good interview (I told him through E Smith). We chatted for 1.5 hours.
I needed that. He helped me know lots of good administrative things
that I can do while here, plus we talked about the work. It was
wonderful. To be honest I was praying for the plane to be delayed, or
for something to happen so I could spend 1 sunday on Tarawa. I just
wanted to see how the church runs when I'm not personally running it.
My hope didn't happen, but I did see a Zone Meeting and almost cried
seeing the church run as an organized unit. It was beautiful.
Elder Tiaon is AMAZING. It looks like he may be my favorite companion
thus far. He is new so still has the new missionary fire. Plus he is
completely willing to give his all to this work. He wants complete
obedience and really understands how this work works. He is so cool.
He's also super funny. People asked if Elder Seguine had left. He
would respond, yes, didn't you hear the rain last night? Because a
real storm was coming out of His and the member's eyes! Side note. It
was really tender watching Elder Seguine get on the plane. He has such a
beautiful connection with these members. He was the first to bring
them the truth and they are forever greatful to him. This morning a
baby boy was born and they named it Seguine after him so that his name
will be remembered on Nikunau.
I got the candy in time to give it to some elders at zone conference.
THe rest I asked Elder Smith to send over to me. I think he'll help me
out. Thank you for the packages. They were great. When I got to Tarawa
I was in massive culture shock. I refused to sleep on a bed and
thought everyone was so filthy rich that I was uncomfortable. I was so
happy to leave. My home and my heart right now lies in the midst of
coconut trees and next to the beach. Any how, I didn't eat much candy,
but those around me were very greatful. Thank you for the tools! I
love being prepared. My favorite was the letters. You basically said
in your letter written months ago that I would go to Nikunau. Mom,
from now on, if you know my transfer will you just tell me and get rid
of the susupense? It was fun to read.
As far as gifts. I'm not sure yet. It's hard to give a good gift when
you don't know them very well. But for kids markers and a coloring
book would be cool. These people love watching movies. So any church
movies would be cool (like mormon messages, the Restoration, 17
Miracles, that kind of thing). That would help the whole branch. Elder
Tiaon I just barely told him that my guess is that he will leave on
December 10. We'll se how close my guess is.
President told me that I would be with him for a little while just to
get to know the area, then I would Train. I have wanted to train for
months, but I feel sorry for any Elder that has to start off here.
HUGE culture shock. Me I am completely used to it after Nonouti and am
completely adapted and at home. Pres also told me that I would be here
3 months to which I immediately protested. I told him that I have been
praying for Nikunau to become for me as Abaiang was for Elder Davis.
(It has happened) President then said that I would stay until either 1
he needs me or 2 I 'cry uncle' and ask to be moved, which did happen
in Nonouti, so it could happen here. So my guess is that I'll be here
My house (I live with members) have a dvd player and a big flat screen
tv (the people on this island are literally rich. They never have
cargo to spend their money of food, so they get cool imatong things)
They LOVE Elder Farley here. I need to meet that man someday. I have
followed him to 3 of my 4 areas, but have never seen him in the flesh.
I have NEVER heard a bad thing about him. Everyone loves him. He is
pretty much a legend in this mission.
This island is TINY!!! I've been wanting a small island for AGES.
Abaiang and and Nonouti are among the longest islands here. This
island is equevelant to one town in Nonouti. The first thing we did
when I got here was to bike from the airport (the northernmost point)
to the southernmost point. It took 35-40 minutes. In Nonouti it would
take 4-5 hours! I love it here.
The family we live with feeds us all the time. They own a store so
always keep some food storage in case of a shortage in cargo. So I
haven't had any needs there yet, even though others have. Well, I can't really imagine
America at this point so you know... I now know why president brings
Elders in to Tarawa before they go. It is so that they don't die when
they get to america from the culture shock. When I got to Tarawa last
year I thought it was the lowest type of living possible. Now I
thought that it was America. Oh how things change.
That is the biggest reason I have wanted a small island. A big one
takes all of your time to be with people. Yesterday we had 32 in
church. 3 Mel Priesthood holders (we are included in both stats). Our
family is among the strongest. There is a core of 8 or so adults that
were converted when the Elders first got here. Most of them are
Deacons in the Protestant church. We had Probably 10 adults, 5-10
teens, and 10 kids. I can't give exact numbers because I don't know
Some gifts of the spirit that I have are interesting and very obvious.
In every island that I go to I am blessed to remember everyone's name.
I new the names of probably 1/2 of the population of those in Nonouti
and their dogs (only a small exaggeration). But as soon as I leave a
place, it has happened every time, all the names leave my head and
only the faces stay. Even when I see an old friend I can't remember
their name. It is already starting to happen here. Pray for me to be
able to grasp all the names as fast as I can. That is important.
Another gift is my language. As soon as I got wit Elder Vaai my
language grew and became cleaner. He is not quite as good as Elder
Smith. But now that I am here with a Kiribati companion my language
has shrunk. My gift of tongues is being held for a little bit which
is hard. I have full faith that as soon as I train or have some new
less fluent companion it will come back. But that is another thing to
I now watch the stars while showring at night. It is beautiful.
I really have to go.
I love you so much