Sunday, December 27, 2015

Week #20

Bula vinaka Matavuvale!, Skyping all of you was amazing. It was so good to see all of you and hear your voices.  This past week has been insane! Today in fiji is boxing day and all the shops in fiji are closed! I’m so mad because I was hoping to get my normal time for email! Right now I’m sitting in the somosomo chapel. There’s only one computer here and all the elders need to use it so we are getting hardly anytime to email! So my week! Yeah it’s been quite the week. I'll just list some stuff. Elder Vitiarai taught me how to make fijian roti last night! Boh! Kana vinaka! Yesterday after church it was pouring rain. I've never seen rain pour harder. Dad, you would have loved it. It was harder than the rain at MY GRADUATION and this rain lasted all day and up until this morning! Elder Vitiarai  and I had to walk around to our lessons with a tarp over our heads hahaha! This week has been a pretty spiritual one for me... Missing you all this Christmas has been hard. But it's pushed me to come closer to my Savior as a result. I've been leading my area since elder barnaby left and so I’ve felt a lot of weight on my shoulders. I've been praying for peace and comfort. The other day I realized though that if I wanted to find comfort I needed to come closer to Jesus Christ. I realize more than ever now that that is what I want. I want to try harder. I want Jesus Christ to be My best friend. I want it so bad.... I want him to be proud of the work he's helping me with! This week because it was Christmas we didn't get to see many people. On Saturday after skype we went to go get Bro Lagi to walk with him to get an interview with President Bautarua. He was a little nervous and wanted us to walk with him. When we got to his house he wasn't there...I was pretty upset because I was excited for him to get his interview. It's hard when you know that all they need to feel and be good is to get an interview and they don't get one. I have faith that next week he will get it though. I’m sorry if this email is so out of order and hard to understand. I’M HAVING TO TYPE WAY FAST BECAUSE I HARDLY HAVE ANY TIME! I’ve learned so much this week and I hardly have anytime to share it. I’ll try my best though! This week I learned probably one of the most valuable lessons in my life. I want everyone to know this! If we constantly desire and with dedicated hearts try our best to live our lives centered on Christ, we will find immense joy. When we mess up, just quickly and whole-heartedly repent. Our Heavenly Father is all loving and our Savior Jesus Christ is our light. If we give all we have to the Savior, our hearts, minds, efforts, trials and sins, he will carry us home back to him and our loving heavenly father's presence. When our lives experience bumps of tragedy and grief or stuff, cling to the Savior. Don't forget every personal moment you felt his caring arms pick you back up. We are all children of our heavenly father! My experience as a missionary so far has opened my eyes to how much he cares about every single one of our feelings and desires, no matter how big or small. The past two weeks have been challenging for me. Day after day I find myself being put into uncomfortable situations. If it wasn't for the Savior and the comfort the holy ghost brings I would be so lost. Last week I sat down with one of our members, Sister Tale. Her testimony of the holy ghost changed my whole perspective on the significance of it's meaning. She said, "The only way I can describe the holy ghost is a miracle, how else could we make decisions without it?" This hit me pretty hard because this world is so confusing and everyday we have to make decisions after decisions! Ultimately, we want our decisions to be in line with God's will so we can come closer to him. Without the Holy Ghost it would be pretty much impossible to stay in line with the will of our father in heaven. I've learned that the Holy Ghost is a miraculous gift from heavenly father.  A gift that if we show him we truly desire and are trying our best to live worthily to keep, he will allow it's influence in our lives. The holy ghost is my link to God. I need him every second of every day! I am inadequate without him. The holy ghost is a miracle because it allows me to understand my heavenly father. I just want everyone to have the gift of the holy ghost constantly in their lives. How else can we live without it.... This week has been stressful and hard but I have a loving heavenly father and the gift of the holy ghost that made it possible for me to feel comforted and make the right decisions. I’m so sorry this email is short! I miss all of you so much. I keep everyone in my prayers and I hope that the things I was able to write in this email maybe helps anyone who reads it. Mom, I haven't received any letters or packages yet since my christmas one. I love you all and hope you have an awesome new years. My email will be more detailed next week!

Much Love, Elder Jonati

me and Elder Dunn on Christmas day. Wishin y'all a nerdy christmas har har

While walking to Qeleni we found the rare "Sea bandit snake" Elder Vitiaria said if you get bit by it you'll die in one minute. It's one of the most deadly snakes in the world. Scary!

Somosomo had a baptism on Saturday ;)

From the Vemeeren's of their Christmas party for the Elders - they are wonderful!!

Hey, this is us!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Week #19

Bula Vinaka! Dear Family and friends! Well...Before I start explaining my week, I need to get some things out of my mouth. You’re all probably curious about what happened with transfers. Well, we got the call from our mission president on Tuesday of last week. We were in the middle of one of our lessons with our investigator, Dipika, when all of the sudden, the phone rang!  Elder Barnaby answered the phone and took a step outside on the front porch. I was pretty nervous not gonna lie.... Elder Barnaby walked in and said he's going to Nakelo! Which is back on the main Island in Viti Levu. for new companion is FIJIAN!  A 6'3" tall Fijian!...... His name is Elder Vitiarai! You can only imagine the thoughts that went through my head when I found out my new follow up trainer is FIJIAN! I am staying in Matei and Qeleni which I am relieved and happy about because I've grown to love the people here.  AND MY COMPANION IS FIJIAN! He is going to teach me how to be a native hehehe;) I have high hopes he'll help me become fluent in Fijian. Wednesday was my last day with Elder Barnaby. It was tough to say goodbye...He's taught me so much and I'll forever be grateful to him. We spent his last day saying goodbyes to everyone. One of our members Naus (the two old nice ladies) gave him this sweet fijian shell necklace! They gave me one too haha SCORE;) On Thursday morning we sent Elder Barnaby off and Elder Tera off on the boat back to viti levu. Elder Barnaby and Elder Tera were the last two original elders from the original district when I first arrived here in Taveuni...Which means I’m the only elder left from my first district here. Which also means I’ve been on Taveuni longer than any of the other Elders serving here which MEANS. I’m currently the KING OF TAVEUNI :) hahaha...just kidding! Thursday through Saturday I spent with the district leader Elder Afatasi waiting for our new companions to arrive. To be honest it felt like forever! Finally on Saturday afternoon my new companion arrived. He's massive... and he doesn't speak english that well. I kinda miss Elder Barnaby right now hahaha! Elder Vitiarai is the man though. It's going to take some getting used to to have a Fijian companion. Since his english isn't all that good it's almost easier to talk to him in Fijian...Which I think means my fijian is going to get a lot better from here on out. I am super excited to have him as a companion YOU HAVE NO IDEA. All the Elders are way jealous of me because well ha my companion is Fijian. He is from Nausori in Viti Levu. He's um....He's 24 years old hahaha...I feel like a kid! He is a convert. He's been a member of the church for about 5 years! His mom is working on an island resort right off Taveuni and she isn't a member. She is coming to Taveuni and we are going to teach her the lessons and Elder Vitiarai wants me to baptize her. I told him if anyone is baptizing your mom it's you hahaha! This week has been pretty hard. My trainer is gone and all of the sudden I’m in charge of making sure matei and qeleni stay strong until Elder Vitiarai gets the swing of things. He doesn't talk much and he is constantly singing in Fijian. On Saturday we went and delivered a package of  food and presents to the family in Fiji i LOVE. Taubale and Paulnia! We showed up to their house in santa clause hats and gave them food and presents and they were so happy! The kids went insane! I wish elder barnaby was there with me to give it to them but all is well. Saturday night was my first night in our flat with Elder Vitiarai. Let's just say it was interesting.....He didn't talk to me for like 2 hours and then when he did the first thing he asked me was "Do you want a candy?" - in his fijian accent. I was like Sure haha... Sums up the past few days haaaa!  Yesterday was church and after church I started feeling really sick. But I didn't want to stop working because I’ve hardly been able to be in my area this week and it drives me crazy when we don’t get enough work done. So I tried to push through and well it made it worse so we had to go back to the flat and I had to rest. This week has been really hard on me. I've been praying for comfort like non-stop. I feel good when I’m sitting down and teaching lessons. I love sitting down with people and sharing my testimony with them. That’s when I feel comforted. On Sunday at church I was so anxious to take the sacrament. The meaning of the sacrament has changed so much for me since I’ve been out on my mission! It's become a need for me. During sacrament this christmas I sat there and thought about how much the Savior has done for me and how close I’ve come to him. I realized how much I depend on him and how he truly is my Savior.  How do people get through this life without that knowledge, I HAVE NO IDEA! But that’s why I’m here! Because there are people who don't know that. Christmas is going to be so different without all of you guys......But so far I’ve had the most unique christmas ever. I am just going to make this week the best and serve people till I feel the true spirit of christmas. I got your package mom! I loved it...I was going to wait until christmas but I couldn't wait. I had a hard night last night so I just opened it and it made me feel so much better. Someone ate the Reese’s peanut butter cups again though ahh hahaha! I’m so excited to skype you guys. I’ll be skyping at 9:00 in the morning here on fiji on the 26th. That way I can skype you guys on your christmas day. I think that means it will be like 2:00 for you guys when I skype! I hope you guys have already made a skype. I don’t know if like I need to know your username for skype so if you guys could email it to me so we can be all set up for it! I’M SO EXCITED! I miss all of you. I am looking forward to sharing stories with you and I loved it last time when everyone had questions for me! I hope your christmas week is good and looks like I'll be having a merry fijian christmas with my new fijian companion. I love all of you. The church is so true. Can't wait to see you guys on Friday! Your friday! haha

Much Love, Elder Jonati

Me and my new Fijian companion Elder Vitiarai
Last days with Elder Barnaby

This is one of our members horses. Majestic

Farewell To Elder Barnaby. He was the best of Trainers

Elder Vitiarai with a parrot at one of our members house hahaha

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Week #18

Bula Vinaka Matavuvale! Bulumakau Tabu! Au lomani na cakacaka oqo! Hey family! This week has been wild! I love this work though! This week was one of the first moments so far on my mission where I fell asleep as soon as I walked into the flat hahaha! There is no better feeling than working as hard as you can and feeling like you truly earned your pillow for the day. This week started off really slow. We set up a whole day to go see all of these people on Tuesday and not one of them was available or home.... This is because this week there was a huge rugby competition down in Qeleni for like the whole week. On top of that there were 2 funerals and a huge birthday party. Funerals last like 3 days down here...and all they do is drink grog and party.  Although it was a struggle to find people to teach this week, I've learned so much! I've been trying to get an answer to a certain prayer for awhile. I was starting to get discouraged that I hadn't gotten it answered yet until I came across this scripture in Alma 5:46! It talks about Alma and how he had to pray and fast for days to come to know the thing he desired! It really hit me because Alma was a prophet and I just always figured prophets got immediate answers to their prayers because well ya know....THEY'RE PROPHETS! But that’s not true. Even prophets have to earnestly seek and pray for answers! And sometimes it takes awhile. After a lot of praying and searching this week I finally found my answer.  I've learned that prayers are always answered.  Sometimes they do come fast and sometimes they don't.  But if we keep praying and keep being diligent God will Bless us. Diligence is the second most important thing I have learned this week. With a slow week like we had this past week it was important to stay positive and diligent! On Tuesday after a whole day of only 2 lessons we were planning to just go back to the flat but we decided to go make a last minute visit to Elia! Elia is the MAN! He's one of our investigators.  He's Taubale's cousin so if we can convert either one of them then we're set hahaha ;))  But we sat down with Elia and I FINALLY TAUGHT LIKE A WHOLE LESSON IN FIJIAN! The words just came to me and I was able to ask him questions in Fijian that I didn't know I even knew how to ask! It's just such a testimony builder to me that Heavenly Father is so involved in this work! He aids me in help every moment I need him. Just the other day I was absolutely Oca sara ga (very very tired). I was starting to feel sick and we had a lot of walking to do just to get to this one house. I heard a car driving from behind us and I just said a silent prayer that the car would stop and give us a ride. The car drove past us and I still had this feeling like I was going to get a ride. All of the sudden right after the car drove past us it changed it's mind and put the car in reverse and drove up to us and gave us a ride.... If that’s not a miracle I don’t know what is. I feel like I’ve been so watched over and protected on my mission so far. On the way back after our visits we even got a ride back to our house. I feel just like overwhelmed with blessings I don't deserve. I've learned so much more about the Savior this week. All the scriptures I’ve read this week have been directing me that I need to be more Christlike so I’ve been like trying everything I can to learn more about Him and try to come closer to Him. Sometimes I wonder what he thinks about me wearing his name on my chest. Something funny that happened this week was the Vermeerans (the senior couple) called me and elder barnaby and said they were on their way to do a detailed annual inspection of our flat. Well....Me and Elder Barnaby about had a heart attack. We hung up the phone as fast as we could and did what I think was the fastest cleaning job in the history of the world! HAHAHA. I've never worked so fast in my life. Long story short, God has not ceased to be a god of miracles and well......WE PASSED! :)) Later that night we went to go see this member in Matei named Sister Hill. She made us passion fruit juice and rolls that she made in this oven. Now let me explain this oven. They found it in the dumps. They picked it up and put it over an open flame and then put stuff in the oven to bake. It's not an actual working oven. But the way they use it actually works ahh haha. Sums up Fiji for ya! Saturday was the weirdest day of my mission ever. We went to go see this old guy who used to be a member named Brother stalls! Guys this guy took me on a trip to “nutville”....He's so nice but to describe him in quite simple terms he is INSANE! He told us all about how Eve is a scientist and he told us stories about nothing and went on and on. He said the best girlfriend he ever had was his mom and the best boyfriend he ever had was his dad....Stuff like that. We sat in his house for 2 hours trying to tell him we needed to go and listened to the most strange things I’ve ever heard come out of his mouth hahaha! I walked out of his house and felt like it had been years since I’d been on planet earth. I was thrown off for the rest of the day. Sunday was a way amazing day! Last week we had 80 members and that was combined with Qeleni and Fiji because they combine on fast sundays. This sunday in Matei alone we had 48 members. More members than they've had there in 8 months....Miracles are happening here in Matei and Qeleni. I’m finally seeing what I’ve been praying to see since my first week here in Taveuni! I love this work with all my heart! Tomorrow I find out about transfers. Pretty nerve racking. I’m almost positive I’m not leaving. But it's a possibility so wish me luck! I don’t want to leave my area ugh. I love the people here. I love you all and it's hard being away this christmas. First christmas ALONE haha... It's weird not seeing any christmas lights or hearing christmas music. But it’s helping me focus on the savior more and I can tell my christmas is going to be very different here then it ever has been for me. I hope you all have an amazing week. Missionary work is centered on Christ and I’m coming to know him more and more everyday. I testify that He lives today! That he loves you personally. He is coming again to the earth and he will again be the leader for this church in the last days. I know that families can be together forever because of him. I LOVE THIS WORK no matter how hard it is and how hard it can be sometimes. I love you all.

Love, Elder Jonati

Taveuni skies

Off into the Jungle

These kids found an old refrigorator and used it as a raft. CLASSIC FIJI

The only tree in Fiji that isn't all Green

Found this baby rat while walking to an investigators house. It's paw was broken. :'( 

The water along Taveuni is so smooth. No waves. Sometimes I feel like I'm just on a lake...

Naselesele Village

Fijians hang bananas from their houses. So dope

Burning Elder Barnaby's Shirt. He hit his one year mark this month!