Sunday, July 23, 2017

Week #102

Dear Family and Friends, this is the last email I will be sending off as a set apart missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Fiji......

This past week has been a miracle and an experience of a lifetime. I know my Savior lives and just because I am coming home this week does not mean I am done being His disciple. As a missionary we are commanded to follow certain rules and when I return home and am released, those certain rules I will no longer be expected to follow. My new goal is to be as good of a disciple as I can be without being bound by missionary rules! 

This past week Elder Ogden and I worked till we dropped! Which was all I wanted to do...I can't explain how happy I am when I am absolutely exhausted from missionary work. It's a feeling I'm always going to remember and it will keep me driven and motivated for the rest of my life haha! 

We went out finding this week and as always the Lord led us. One of our first encounters of the week was with this older man from the Catholic church. We tried sharing with him about the sealing power that belongs in Christ's church to seal families together forever. Before we even finished reading the scripture he stood up in front of us and told us we were misled and that all of our doctrines were false. In the beginning of my mission this would have discouraged me. Instead, I just sat there and smiled. I just felt peace because I had no doubts about what we had shared. I have complete faith that this church I belong to is Jesus Christ's church. The more persecution I receive the more strengthened my testimony becomes. So I thanked that man and we left his house. 

On that same day we were looking for people to teach and weren't having much success. We were about to get in the car when we had a prompting to try the house our van was parked right next to. We went and knocked on the door and the family let us in. At the end of our message the father of the home said that that week they had decided to leave the Methodist church and were praying to find direction. He told us that we came in at the right time and that his family would pray and seek to find if the church was true. The spirit leads and it testifies of truth when we follow and obey.

THE BEQA TRIP:  Friday morning we took the boat out again to the island of Beqa. We went there to conduct the baptismal interviews for Lavenia and Susana (A mother and her daughter). These two were preparing to be the very first baptisms on the entire island of Beqa. Elder Ogden and I had the awesome privilege of giving them their interviews and I won't forget it... I interviewed Lavenia, the mom. I don't think we realize how mindful our Heavenly Father is of us sometimes...This woman had been searching for truth and she was just ready to follow whatever God asked her to do. We found her 3 weeks ago and sitting down with her in an interview and seeing how much she had learned from the spirit amazed me! 

Saturday morning we scraped coconuts and cleaned up the house for the baptism and the Lovo! President and Sister Higgins came out on a boat that morning to witness the baptism. We hiked to the center of the island to a river and the baptism was full of the spirit! I can't even try to describe it. 1st 2 baptisms on BEQA baby! History made last week! 

On Sunday our ward had me stand up at the front and they sang in Fijian, "God be with you till we meet again". That was hard.

Sunday afternoon, Lo was baptized and I had the privilege of being able to baptize her. At her baptism she shared how as she was leaving her house her mom and aunt were crying and begging her not to go. She said she also began to cry but she felt peace and left and came to her baptism. She knew what she was doing was what God wanted her to do and I know that He is so proud of her...I am too. This gospel changes lives....I know how the Savior feels for us and I can't wait to do home teaching!!

Love, Elder Jonutz

Proselyting is the best

Knocking doors (Fijian doors..)


Upgraded from our van to this!

Waiting at the dock for Beqa

Packing stuff on to the boat

Engine starting up....

And we're off to Beqa!

Got pretty rough along the way at times

Land ho

Went explorin

Found a hidden beach covered by mangroves

My pride rock
A huge hornets nest

Pondering life in Paradise

President and Sister Higgins walking with Lavenia and Susana to their Baptism

The hike in

The baptism smile

The 1st Beqa members

Pretty sick Butterfly

The lovo  YUMMMM

Scraping coconutz

It was hard saying goodbye...

Goodbye Beqa

The Senikuraciri family

Nawaqasema Family

Some of the YSA

More of the YSA

LO at her baptism!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Week #101

  Bula Tale Y'all! The work here is on FIRE! Finally all the work we've been putting in seems to be unfolding into visual success. This transfer I have just learned heaps about hard work and how to work hard even when we can't see any results. 

The best lesson I have ever learned in my life has come clear towards the end of this last transfer. Elder Ogden and I have been working our tails off and haven't seen much success. I took some time to think about what I could learn from all of it and then I discovered that special lesson. Sometimes in this life we are going to work hard and for awhile we will not see any immediate results but if we endure well and keep going the blessings will come.

I can testify that this week the blessings did come! The whole week Elder Ogden and I spent finding. I could feel Heavenly Father guiding us everywhere this week.

TENDER MERCY: We got in the car Thursday morning and prayed that while we were driving we might find someone who could use our help. We parked on the side of the road and as soon as we opened the car door this old Indian man was standing outside our car. He told us about his brother who had just experienced his 2nd stroke and he asked if we could go and give his brother a blessing. If we had not been guided by God then how else did we end up on that part of the road at that specific time for that man to ask for help. We got to his brothers house and gave him the blessing also realizing that he was a member of the church as well as his wife but they had just gone less active over the years. 

Heavenly Father has people we can help every day we just have to ask him to direct us to those opportunities! 

Lo finally came to church again and she also brought two of her friends so let's GO! One of our members also brought all of her friends and so that was bomb as well. Lo wants to be baptized this Sunday which happens to be my final Sunday in Fiji! I am way excited for her. 

On top of that this next week we get to go out to Beqa again to do 3 baptismal interviews! That's right! The very first 3 people to ever be baptized on Beqa is going down this week! President Higgins will be coming with us this time and joining us on the adventure. I am super looking forward to that.

Serving a mission has made me so happy...I don't think anyone can fully describe the joy that comes from being His disciple 24/7.  I don't want it to end so I am going to go so hard this last week and wear myself out. I love being a missionary and sharing His gospel! 

Love you all! Elder Jonutz

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Week #100

Bula Vinaka Everybody!  I feel like this past week I have gained so much's only been a week but I feel as if I've crammed thousands of life-long lessons into my brain that will never be forgotten!  "And now my bretheren, I wish from the inmost part of my heart, yea, with great anxiety even unto pain, that ye would hearken unto my words, and cast off your sins, and not procrastinate the day of your repentance." - Alma 13:27.

Day in and day out, my companion and I have been searching and finding people to help them repent and come closer to Jesus Christ.  We sit with almost 30 people every day and share with them how they can do exactly that! Some of them choose to listen and some of them don't. It's amazing to me how every time I sit down with the people I immediately feel the Savior's love for them. I know we all, before this life, were with our Heavenly Father.  We all knew of His plan for us and we're all brothers and sisters. Having this knowledge makes the random everyday people we meet no longer strangers, but our family! 

I sit with random people every day, all day long.  Almost every single one of them does not speak english and yet I still feel close to them.  I have an overwhelming anxiety to share with them Heavenly Father's plan!  For me, being a missionary is being a good "older" brother.  I love my brothers and all my sisters.  Jesus Christ has provided a way for all of us to get back as a family because He is the best older brother.  Bottom line, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true! 

Elder Ogden and I witnessed a miracle this week from fasting and prayer. Lo's dad hasn't wanted Lo to be baptized at all.....For the past 2 weeks we'd set up appointments to talk with her dad but he stood us up every time.  Finally, this last Saturday we waited outside for an hour until he came out and sat with us. Sitting there all together was the mom, the dad, Lo, us and this random lady.  We started with a prayer and I explained to her father how much Lo had progressed and she told him that she knew the church was true. After all this was explained to him he said, "She has already been baptized in the Methodist church and the answer is no!" I thought the fight was over and then the random lady began to talk....."Hear me out" she said, "I am also in the Methodist church but in our church we don't even baptize people the way Jesus one visits us week after week like these elders do and your daughter has received a personal answer from God that this church is right. In the Mormon church the girls believe in keeping their chastity and she could have an opportunity to serve a mission. Are you really going to hold her back form all that?" Lo's dad sat in silence...... Elder Ogden and I were just sitting there trying not to have our mouths opened in shock wondering who sent this angel from heaven into our lesson! After some silence we saw the power of God change his heart and he agreed to allow Lo to be baptized! LET'S GO! MIRACLES MADA! 

On top of all that we had zone conference with our new mission president who is the coolest man ever! He surfs...and he goes out teaching with us. I already love the guy! Elder Ogden and I also went out to Beqa again and saw a traditional Beqa dance at a resort. If you can't tell by this email, this mission is the best mission in the world! 

 Love, Elder Jonutz

Back on the island of Beqa

Some Fijian Lady from California came and made us fried chicken on the 4th of July! 

When your companion falls asleep on you during zone conference 
We try hard

District kala vata (matching) goals
When I'm trying to get to Beqa but every one is taking their sweet little time

Getting on the Boat


We had to take the boat through some fun waves! 

This dude defines Fijian

When we finally made it

We helped our family cook some dinner

Met this kid on the street. His shirt said "Mr. Happy"

Resort life

More resort

Baby Mr. Crabs