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,