Thursday, March 31, 2016

Food Shortage update

There is always an undercurrent on all the messages that the island of Nikunau is used to not getting much extra food.  This is part of a paragraph from March 16 from E. Tonini to his parents that they shared with us.

"......then we saw the big boat come in which was to have all the solving of our food shortage (like really only seen like 3 new bags of flour my whole time here, don't worry though the family we live with feeds us very well, like almost too much, its way funny), the boat came and had no flour, no sugar and almost no rice with a few cans of meat, then just afterwards, the internet place opened at which point it was discovered that due to a lack of the island paying its bills the internet had been shut off... Rough day/week for the island, but everyone seems to have recovered well.  "

Then I just received a snail mail letter from Feb. 16 stating that at that time, they had run out of soap.

Then this week (see post about it)  March 29, D. states that their family has finally run out of their rice storage.  He said that there are still pockets of stored food at other places on the island, so he isn't going hungry yet, but when i asked him to tell me what he eats daily he only mentioned a couple of meals, so that is when I realized that it seemed more serious than usual.  Of course they always can get fish and he bought a pig and some chickens for the 1 year anniversary celebration, so there is still food there, but not at all like we in America might imagine on even our lowest day.  Also, this week announced the new shortage of Toilet paper and sugar, but that they had acquired a bag of flour by 'miracle.'  

He said that he is not concerned for himself as he is used to it, but is a bit concerned for the new missionary coming soon from America with very little transitioning time.  

Letter written Feb. 16 and received recently

 Tues. Feb. 16,
Mauri Mom and Dad,
     I am still on Nikunau and loving it.  The work is going so well.  Sure it has it's ups and downs, but there are definitely more ups than downs so all is well.  E. Tonini and I are enjoying feeling the small effects of the lack of cargo.  Our family and our ward family all contribute to us getting food.  We are always fed 3+ times a day.  Currently though we are on our last bar of soap and we were lucky to get that bar.  I love my mission.

The branch is progressing well.  Remember Pres. Weir told me that we would know i it was worth it for me to go to Tarawa if the people here continued holding church in our absence.  If so, we would know that they are ready for a Branch.  Well, they did hold church, so I took that to mean that they were ready,, so I started giving them callings.  We have always had a RS Pres., now we have 2 rotating primary teachers, a music conductor, 2 rotating Sunday School teachers, a Seminary teacher, soon to be branch missionaries and attendance counters and whatever else is needed.  These people are so much more ready than Nonouti was.  They rise to every call given.

Wed. Feb. 17
The members are doing well, less actives are coming active, actives are getting stronger,  all this amidst persecution and an overall negative feeling about the church.  E. Tonini and I pondered what we could do about this and we felt that we needed to be seen.  We needed soe positive publicity so that we could be viewed as real ministers in a real church.  So we happily greet every person we pass on the road and we do Words of Religion Seminary.  All Kiribati public schools are required to have 1 period of seminary a week.  We made it our goal to attend all of the schools seminaries.  There are 3 primaries and 1 high school.  So before school started this year (Feb.) we coordinated with all schools to get them all at different times.  So around 1pm on Monday thru Thursday we teach the islands children, then we have a lunch with island's religious leaders.  There are loads of mini success stories.  I'll just give one.

As we were trying to coordinate school times we went to every school and asked what time their seminary would be.  They at first all said that they didn't know yet.  They would have a planning meeting on the first day of school and that they would tell us afterwards.  Well, we really needed to know, so being missionaries, we followed up.  They all told us their time, so we showed up and taught class.  In the HS we had the problem of loads of loud and obnoxious kids waiting at the windows disturbing our lesson.  There must have been 30-40 of them and since their numbers were so large they didn't fear punishment or listen or anything.

So, we gave up trying to shew them away and I invited them inside instead.  We've tried that before, but for some reason this time they all listened, exploding our numbers from 7 to well over 30.  It was sure an adventure keeping their attention, but it was fun and we all learned.  We realized afterwards that the reason that that happened is that we were the only seminary teachers to arrive.  We just found out why.  After HS seminary yesterday we were invited to the First lunch this year at the HS.  Everyone was offered the chance to give speeches and the first man, an old Catholic Minister, said, "Sorry for not coming in weeks 1 and 2, but he said it was only because he wasn't told the time.  He then said thanks to us for being on the ball and coming.  The Protestant minister was similar,  she also said, "Sorry for they  forgot to announce the time, because most of the teachers had only just arrived."  So basically it was a nice step to see the 'underdogs' getting complimented by a Catholic minister.  (called a Catechist)

I love you,
Elder Morley

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

March 29, 2016

We didn't actually get a letter this week, but I asked him a few questions.

 David, are you still on?  This is your celebration day right? Hope it is a good one.

Hello! I'm alive (but very wet). I'm happy and healthy. The party is
pushed to Saturday so that kids can get to bed on time for school.
How's America? Guess what! Transfers!

Did Pres. Weir come?
No. He still hasn't told us when he's coming. Someday soon. How was Easter?

When are you going to talk about transfers? You have our curiosity up.
Hehe. I get another son! His name is rumored to be Elder Miller. I
found out 5 minutes ago. He comes on Monday. Tonini is going to Makin.
Yikes! Crazy stuff and only 5 days away! Poor Miller. This island has
no food or toilet paper. I already told Zone Leaders, but he may have
a rough few weeks.

That is awesome.  We will hope that he brings TP with him and flour. 
Are people starting to be hungry?  When do you expect another cargo ship.
How was Easter?

This week was hard because For me the whole island
(literally at least 90%) was in their separate mwaneabas (church houses) celebrating
Easter since Thursday. There was NO BODY TO TEACH. It was rough. But I
got lots of Study time! I ready 70+ pages in Jesus the Christ about
the Savior's last few days. I also read a lot of other easter centered
things. Church was great.  The entire island was crammed into 2 spots. One for Catholics and
one for Protestants.

So will Tonini still be there for the celebration?
  Tonini will be here for the party. It will become
his going away party which we predicted 2 months ago, then combined
Church for Fast and Testimony meeting, then bye bye sniffle sniffle.

We got flour this morning (Miracle!). People are starting to be
hungry, but I am not. My food is getting more traditional, but I am
still very well fed. I enjoy it. I feel bad for the new Elder.

Every missionary has one companion that they really click with.  I am so happy that you have had this time with Elder Tonini.  Your new companion will need some tlc to overcome the culture shock.  I am sure you will do great and with those members on fire it will certainly help.
It should be great. I know how to train better this time. He is coming
to the best place in the world and has nothing to worry about.

You didn't reply about the food.
Sorry, food (rice) only just ran out, so they are figuring things out. I need
to go quick, so this will be my last letter.   They are
finding flour and rice. They got a bag of flour this morning, but they
have no sugar to cook with. Yesterday we had fried fish, and a taro
like root. We drink rain water. This morning we had a sweet bread like
thing made with flour pandanus fruit and coconut all boiled together.
When we do seminary the teachers usually have some rice for us. Life
is good. I love you all. Have a great week. I'll try to get on on
Monday. BYE!

Letter from March 21, 2016 received March 29, 2016

 This was my letter from last week.

Hi all!
The internet really hasn't been working well on this island... Ah
well, I guess it just means we can't get transferred right! The
Saturday before last (the 12th of March) We had an incredible event in
the place we hold church. Our Investigators who couldn't get baptized
because they hadn't married got married then baptized. We bought a
big truck and picked up all of our investigators and members who
wanted to come. When we arrived and organized ourselves we started
into the marriage service. We opened in song and Prayer. Elder Tonini
gave us a spiritual thought and gave the couple a gift of a copy of
'The Family: A Proclamation to the World' and a picture of the Fiji

Then I gave advice to the  couple. Man I felt under qualified
seeing as I have never married (I haven't even dated much!), but the
gospel has the answers to all the important questions of life. I
reminded them the importance of Family Prayer and Scripture study. I
reminded them the duties of husband and wife in the home, and
encouraged them to be teachers to their children. Then I invited them
to stand up and hold right hands, then I performed the marriage. They
wanted to exchange rings so we gave them some CTR rings to use, they
exchanged them and sat down.

Then I looked at my watch and by my calculations the ocean was about to be high tide,
so I didn't even sit
down, I transferred into teaching about baptism, then all of us went
to the ocean. The ocean was beautiful and all ordinances went
smoothly. Ruoi and Maomao (who were just married) along with Teema and
Abinoa got baptized. Then we came back, had a big party lunch and
played games until the early afternoon when the car came to bring
everyone home. The next day all 4 got the Holy ghost and our two men:
Ruoi and Teema, got the Aaronic Priesthood. Speed bump to the middle
of the week. We are now teaching Teema's niece and he has become the
best member present that I have ever seen. After the lesson Teema
asks, 'Is there anything that you want me to do on Sunday?' We invited
him to bless the sacrament, and asked him if he knew the verses to
read so that he could practice. He told us from memory (we had never
told him), but then he said that his eyesight is really poor, so asked
if it was alright if he wrote it down so he could see it in bigger

Skip to Sunday, we arrive and he hasn't written the prayer out
yet. We hurriedly start writing it and he whispers that we don't need to
do that. We think he's joking so we keep on frantically writing. He
whispers again that we don't need to write it out because he has
MEMORIZED it. He then said the prayer perfectly and professionally out
of memory. Wow, he's the man. Also, for that same Sunday his
motorcycle was broken so he couldn't make it to church. What does he
do? He hires the same truck we used for his baptism and brings his
whole house to church. Remember, it still hasn't been a month since
our first lesson with the guy.

Now, let's jump back to that Saturday baptism. The driver of the car
that came to pick us up and bring everyone home was a guy that I've
seen before, but don't know. We always see him driving and he waves to
us, but I've never hired his car, so never spoken to him before. I
walk up to thank him for coming and we trade your standard small talk
when he asks who the stake president in Tarawa is. That's not your
standard question for a nonmember. So I ask him if he is a member and
he says he went to the church high school in Tarawa, Moroni.  He
introduces himself as Kiritimati (Christmas). He was baptized at
school and really likes this church, but since he came back and there
was no church on the island he has gone less active and has Word of
Wisdom problems, but he really wants us to visit him. So we set up a
time and visit him on Sunday, the day after. We come, but we were a
little late and it was starting to get dark. We had other things to do
so we rescheduled and left. His family and especially his daughter get
super excited for us to come. She came to our Seminary class and
brought a Bible, and couldn't stop telling people that we were going
to come to her house (all the kids got super jealous, it was a
problem). So we visited them at the scheduled time. Kiritimati wasn't
there nor was his daughter, but his wife and a visitor were.

We made small chat for a few minutes (maybe 3 or 4) and all of a sudden the
minister flies up on his motorcycle. He comes in shouting and says'
What are you doing here' We casually answered. He marched in and
proceeded to yell at us for over an hour. The family was scared out of
their minds. He kept on asking us to never visit his people again, a
promise that we cannot keep. In the end we promised to keep on
respecting the free agency of everyone and left. The next day we ran
into Christmas. We said hello and he cutin and said that he would
visit us in our house, and asked when church was. The next day his
daughter biked to our house at 7 and repeated the question. And on
SUnday his daughter and nephew came to church. The story isn;t done
yet, but I am happy to say that even though there is persecution (and
no food) the faith of people hasn't been diminished. 'No unhallowed
hand can stop the work from progressing!' Life here is great.
Elder Morley

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

received March 23, written March 14, 2016

I'm so sorry that the internet died last Monday right before I was
able to send my mass letter. The internet just barely started working
again, but we need to work now, really we just got on to send stats.
Holiday on Monday, so we'll try to get on next Tuesday. Love you so
much. I'm happy and healthy enjoy my last weeks letter!

So uh, this is March 14 and the internet just died again. Hopefully
this gets to you someday.

Sorry about the lack of mass letters, this week almost didn't get one
either. so here's a quick update. I got a bunch of letters.(I had sent them back in January)  I got the
one from Uncle Paul that had yours and midori's in it. I got one about
Uncle Paul. I got the one about you packing my Christmas package, and
a few others. I got lots of pictures and lots of love (they sent them
to us ages ago, but they went sight seeing in Beru first.)

The main focus of this week was preparing our 5 investigators for
baptism. We had to make marriage things work out, and teach loads of
lessons to make sure that everyone was in the right place. We are so
excited. This Saturday we are planning a marriage (with a really
handsome redheaded marriage officer) and a 5 person baptism and ward
picnic. We will be baptizing Ruoi and his (almost) wife, Maomao. They
were some of the first people on island to accept elders, but they
couldn't get married because he had to be divorced first. They have
been soo ready for so long and it will be amazing to finally help them
get baptized. We will be baptizing another who first accepted elders a
year ago when they first arrived. Rotabo has been that one
investigator that you only keep on meeting because you have no body
else to meet. We love going to her house, but ran out of lessons for
her since she has not once progressed since last June (that's an
estimation). So we gave her the dreaded drop lesson. We gave her one
last chance and now she is the most incredibly active progressing
investigator. I don't know what we said, but the Holy ghost has been
working hard!

We also have 2 investigators that we have only taught 5
lessons each so far. One is a 12 year old girl named Abinoa (Borenga's
little sister). SHe came to this island a little before February and
we didn't really do anything. Talk about guys not taking subtle hints,
but she had come to every single branch activity for a month before it
crossed our heards that we should lesson with her. We were about to
ask her, but then Borenga asked us when she would be baptized. aka
'Hello Elders Teach My Sister!' So we taught her and found out that he
had had lessons over a year ago, but they never finished, but she has
had a testimony for a long time. Since she was already converted we
are putting her into the first baptism since we started teaching her.
Only 5 lessons, but she was part of one of the best and easiest
baptismal interviews I've ever given (granted I've only given 4).

Lastly but definitely not least we will be baptizing the Man, Teema.
His wife is a RM. They have been living on an island that only accepts
one religion for the past 8 years. But now that there is the church on
this island his wife wants him to be baptized. She told us to teach
him lessons, she even said to teach them every day so he could be
baptized faster. We looked at him and he gave us a double thumbs up.
He's a stud. So yeah, we've only taught him 5 lessons, but he was
converted by his wife years ago. If all goes well he'll have the
priesthood on sunday! I love this work. The Lord is truly hastening
his work!
Elder Morley

The baptism was great and the marriage was beautiful.
Have a great week until my Tuesday,
Elder Morley

Monday, March 7, 2016

03/07/16 Please send Marriage authority!

Hi mom!
I'm here, but since it is a work day I don't have long. If you are
there maybe we can chat for a little bit. But I have a large bubuti
(request) for you. Ages ago, back in Nonouti I sent a letter home that
had a paper giving me the authority to do marriage in Nonouti. can you
scan it in and send it to me asap? I'm going to try to do a marriage
next Saturday!

I got it! Thanks! I'll tell you if they let me do the marriage! News
from here is great! We had 50 at church with 11 investigators! It was
a great fast sunday.

I'm always happy and heathy. The little sores in my mouth are
completely healed. We are planning a miracle baptism for the 19th. All
is so good.

 We do not know when, but we feel a branch is soon. Thanks! I can do
marriage, no prob. They just forgot to tell me. We are planning on
doing a big ward activity. Marriage first, then baptism, then Party!
Next Saturday. I'm sorry I don't have time today, we need to go to
work, but I love you lots and thank you so much for the help!

Elder Morley