Dear Mom and Dad,
So, by now you've probably noticed that I finally got back to Nikunau. Hopefully my scholarship essays got to you. I spent a lot of time on those. I'm finally on my way back. I remember my last Sunday on Nikunau. It was Fast Sunday and I felt that I would leave soon, but I didn't know when, so I didn't tell anyone. The next day I left. I stayed in Tarawa 1 month. Long enough to get my name moved on the Transfer Board. Long enough to help 3 people to the waters of Baptism. Long enough to fal in love with 2 families. When Pres. told us we would work in Ambo he said, "Do you want to know your assignment Your first priority is to get 10 names of prospective Elders and activate them! So that is what we tried to do, but we didn't get too much o a chance to. But I enjoyed it. I decided to love Tarawa, so that's what I did.
I knew when I left that leaving was the right choice. We prayed and felt good about it and I couldn't deny it. But the consequences of it were a lot bigger than I anticipated. I wanted to ask Pres. what he thought and luckily (if there is such a thing as 'luck') President Weir attended our District meeting. (He also told me I was District Leader, Surprise!) After the meeting I asked if I could talk to him and said, "Do you feel that I made the right choice in leaving the island?" He said, "You'll know when you get back! He continued and said that if I go back and see that they have been holding church in my absence, then we will know that the island is ready for a Branch. No matter what my reasons in leaving were it would be worth it just for that info. That made me feel better. Then he talked about how I have just as much right for inspiration from heaven as he does. Inspiration is real. I feel like I'm just starting to know how it works.
I enjoyed writing those essays because it brought to my attention something I hadn't realized. I realized by looking back how well and how smoothly I was prepared on my mission. I started in Betio which is more similar to America: no culture shock. I moved to the closest island to Tarawa: no culture shock. Elder Miller and I figure out missionary work together. Elder Davis comes and is more experienced. Immediately after, we open Ribono and the Branch Pres. in Tabontebike goes less-active and pulls the Branch with him. I learn from Elder Davis how to work on new areas and how to lead. I go to Nonouti. I'm now used to Kiribati culture: no culture shock. My Comp is Branch Pres. and I continue to learn. I go to Nikunau, absolutely no culture shock and I'm now completely trained and ready to revive the work and become Branch President. The Lord's hand is simply amazing.
Here is one more way. Elder K. didn't teach me much language. But Elder Miller was really good. He taught me how to speak. The foundation was set, so he gave me that vocab. Elder Davis learned from books, so he taught me all the structure. Elder Smith is one of the best in the mission so he taught me loads. Elder Vaai is good with the accent so he taught me how to make my words sound good. Then Elder Tiaon was Kiribati, so I learned new things and was immersed in the language. The whole time I thought my language was awful and then I find that I really have been blessed with the gift of tongues. I was able to teach easily and had loads of fun translating for Senior Couples. Line upon Line, precept upon precept. It's so much fun to be a part of.
When I left Nikunau I thought I would get in trouble for leaving my area by airplane. At the very least I thought people would be annoyed with us for making an emergency transfer. All I got was praise for bravery and complimented for my being willing to take action and solve problems. I was almost disappointed. I felt bad enough that I almost wanted to get yelled at.
Wed. Jan. 6 So, now I've been here for almost 2 days. Everyone was really happy to see us. Every time a flight came in a few people went to the airport to welcome us. The good news is that the branch is still strong. Church happened every week and they took the sacrament (they had keys deffer-ed to them), They had FHE, They had a Christmas Party. President's words are right, they are ready for a branch. One cool thing is that we had hired a car for E. Tiaon's farewell party, but the car didn't come. So that gave us one free hire. These guys remembered and hired the car for combined sacrament meeting on Fast Sunday. They rode motorcycles and told everyone they could remember about the car and had a really successful meeting.
The thing that made me happiest though is this. Two - three weeks before I left, Tarawaa, the mom asked me to start an early morning seminary class for her little kids. I didn't get a chance to answer her then. I had meant to give her answer for ages, but I forgot when I saw her and remembered when I didn't. Then it's finally that last Fast Sunday night after 10pm. I'm just finishing eating dinner and I remember her request and I feel like I should tell her my answer. I put it off because it was late, but then I felt so strongly about it that I walk over and sit down next to her. I said, "I know you think that I forgot, but I just never got a chance to tell you. I could easily do a seminary class for you, but that is not really my job. What would be best is if you and Teiaba run it yourselves and start holding scripture study time."
She got so happy, "Oh, why, did I never think of that before. At that time I didn't know I was leaving but the next morning, I left and was gone for a month. I feel like part of the reason the church stayed so strong is because at least this family faithfully held scripture study. The Lord works in simple ways and I am so happy to be a part of it.