Much Love, Elder Jonutz
Monday, December 26, 2016
Bula Family and Friends! So the past 2 weeks have been insane. We were stuck in the flat for about 6 days due to flash flooding. That was quite the adventure. Everyone is safe and all is well, just a little sick of staying inside. It feels so good to be free and back into the real world and life of a missionary. A lot has happened and I don't have a ton of time. It was when we were stuck in the flat around I recieved a call from my mission president informing me that my Grandpa Jonutz had passed away. I was pretty upset and didn't really know how to feel so I did all that I knew how to do and got down on my knees and prayed. I can tell you this...the plan of salvation is real and true. My Grandpa Jonutz is in the spirit world and my family and I are going to see him again. When I prayed I just was filled with a feeling of peace. I am sad he is gone but he really isn't gone.....because we are sealed as a family we will see him again. I'm so grateful to be on a mission and proclaiming this message to all I can. I'm out here because I believe it and know this to be true. I'm out here because there's so much that people don't know and so many blessings they can have. We just have to go out of our way to share it! The dead will rise again....families can be together forever if sealed by the priesthood power of God, we can become clean from sin, we can be happy through any trial because we know we can return to live with our Father in Heaven again! I love this gospel. It's so true! I know it has been awhile since I have sent pictures but I have some that I will share soon! I'd like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and hope you all feel the spirit of the Savior. Even if you don't really know if He lives, I testify that He does and He Loves you. Pray and ask.
Sunday, December 18, 2016
Dear Parents of the missionaries serving in Naitasiri Fiji,
I want to write and let you know that you won’t be receiving an email from your Elder serving in Naitasiri today. As you may have heard we have received a lot of rain and wind the past few days. As a result the access road to the Naitasiri flat has flooded with about 5 feet of water that has created a new lake in the mountains. I sent the Assistants up into the area this morning and they took enough food and water to supply the elders for a week. We arranged for a boat to pick up the food from the Assistants and take it to the elders on the other side of their new lake.
I just called the elders and they are doing fine, they have telephone and electrical service, and are comfortable inside their flat. We will monitor their situation and let you know if anything changes. As for now they are happy and getting in a little extra study time.
If you are interested in the weather situation here in Fiji, the web sites I monitor are the following:
We sure love your missionaries and will keep a close eye on them for you.
Sunday, December 11, 2016
BULA VINAQUA! Pretty crazy week out here! The past few days have been raining with thunder and lightening non-stop! I woke up the other night and all I saw was whiteness......and then the biggest boom of thunder I have ever heard! It was so sweet! Overall I'm just super happy about last week! Things are really beginning to grow in our area. We have this one member named Brother Juta and he is the MAN! He has started to come out teaching with us and he is now one of my favorites hahaha! He's about 50 years old but has this back problem that makes him a hunchback but he's way crazy and happy all the time and super pumped about sharing the gospel. Currently we're working with the son of one of our members. His name is Savenaca and he's a beast! He's in his 20's and plays on a professional rugby team! We taught him the plan of salvation the other day and he seemed to really like it because the next day he came to church! This week I've learned a lot about the promptings of the spirit. Elder Carlson and I were driving and all of our appointments fell through and we both had no idea where to go. And then this thought just came to my mind about going to Nauluvatu! Just some background information, Nauluvatu is the furthest village in our area and to get to it we have to cross a river. We decided to listen to that prompting and when we arrived in the village there was this group of 8 people sitting down on an ibe (fijian mat) just waiting for us.....They told us that they were waiting for us to come and share something with them! It was so cool because we hadn't even planned to go there that day but I guess the Lord did hahaha! Missions are crazy! The other day Elder Carlson and I were walking through this village and I saw this way small fluffy little bird just sitting on this log stump. I made a joke saying that I was going to go and grab it. As I reached down, to my surprise it didn't fly away! So we picked it up and took it to a lesson with us and the Fijians got a kick out of it hahaha! I absolutely love the people in our area. They are so kaicolo (bush poeple). For example, we were in a lesson and one of our members was trying to explain something to us about this "plane like thing" that swings up at the top and moves up and down. He even began to make hand motions but he just could not describe what this flying machine was called or what it was! We finally told him it was a helicopter. I was laughing so hard. It's so fun to be in an area with such fun people! For service this week all 4 Elders from our flat went to Brother Juta's teitei (farm). We had to walk across this river and when we got there we were amazed. He's just this small old dude but his farm was HUGE! I have no idea how that man keeps up with it. He gave us this staff and made us dig holes and we had a blast eating all the guava fruit we could find up in the guava trees! We did a lot of finding this week and it was fun! We met this old man named Tomasi. He is from the islands of Lau'. We sat down with him and felt impressed to share with him about baptisms for the dead. We told him how Jesus taught that a man must be born of the water and of the spirit to enter into the kingdom of heaven. We asked him if he knew that was true and he then said yes! We asked him for his bible and he got it down for us and we asked him this question. "If one must be baptized to make it into heaven, what about all your ancestors who lived in Fiji before the gospel was even here....how will God judge them after this life?" We told him that the bible shows us how we can help our ancestors enter into heaven because our Heavenly Father is a fair God." We had him turn to 1 Corinthians . We explained that in this chapter the apostle Paul is speaking to the people of Corinth. At the time the people of Corinth did not believe in the resurrection and Paul was trying to prove to them that there will be a resurrection. He then remembers that the People in Corinth at that time were practicing baptisms for the dead. And Paul poses this question to the people in verse 29- If the dead rise not at all why are you then baptizing people for the dead? We told Tomasi that the power to perform this work for his ancestors is on the earth today restored to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. We asked him if he received an answer from God by the Holy Ghost if he would then be baptized but ONLY IF he recieved that answer from God. He told us yes and we are way excited to continue to meet with him! The way we taught that lesson was shown to us by our mission President. So far since I've been on my mission this approach of teaching has gotten so many people to accept baptism! Next week I get to give a 15 minute talk for our Christmas Zone Conference and I am way excited. It's on...Our Relationship with the Savior Eternally! Wish me luck! I love you all and can't wait to tell you all about my week next week!
Love, Elder Jonutz
Sunday, December 4, 2016
Ni sa Bula Vinaka Family and Friends! Another awesome week here in Fiji! We started last week off by going on some exchanges with some awesome Elders from our zone. Elder Roberts and Elder Kalio! They are way awesome and hard working missionaries and we had a good time! This week we had our Mission Leadership Council and Elder Cardon attended and man was it awesome! It was such a cool experience having a member of the seventy train us. The whole meeting was really powerful and I needed it a lot! Our mission mom, Sister Layton, shared about, "The Secret of the Camel". She shared how camels have some of the strongest bodies of any other animal on earth. They can carry weight over 600lbs and travel through rugged terrain without stopping for hours. The secret of the camel is every morning he kneels before his master and his master carefully loads the camel with packages and supplies being very careful of where to put them. The camel then stands and goes on throughout the day and when night comes he kneels again before the master and the master unloads the heavy burdens from the camel. Every day in this life we all meet challenges or struggles, stress, fatigue, or even depression. Jesus Christ is our Master and as His servants we are permitted to kneel before Him and feel His atonement lift the burdens from our backs. I know this is true....I have seen it and felt it my whole life and it is true. We don't have to stress so much and carry the weight all the time. The Savior can make it light and easy for us to carry. One of my favorite scriptures from this week is - Mosaia 24:14. Sometimes I can't take the weight anymore and I do fall on my knees and beg for His help and I am so grateful for the testimony that I know when I do, He will lift it from me. We have had some huge miracles happen this past week. I mentioned some weeks before that in our new area we cannot knock on doors or talk to nonmembers unless it is referred to us by member... but the Lord has changed that and somehow miraculously we are now permitted to knock on any door and to talk to all we can! He is in this work there is no doubt about it. As of this new advancement in the work out here in Naitasiri we found 6 people last week who said they want to be baptized!!! This week has had some challenges but I can move past them because there is work to do! There are sheep that need to be fed. This week I learned how to drive stick shift so I feel pretty cool. We had some scary moments where I almost killed us but hey.....I'm a pro now and I am proud of it. We bought this creepy huge face of Santa and put it on our front door and we are planning on cutting down a palm tree so Chhristmas is looking pretty promising this year hahaha! I hope you are all doing well and can't wait to talk to you all next week!Love, Elder Jonutz
Sunday, November 27, 2016
Bula Vinaka Everyone! Man it has been quite the adventure this past week....where should I start? So, my right foot got infected this past week. Not quite sure what it was but I haven't been able to walk properly and the nurse gave me some antibiotics and this sock to wear and so I've only been able to wear one shoe and all the Fijian villagers give me the weirdest looks because I only have one shoe. It's pretty funny haha! It's nothing serious it just hurts to walk and it's pretty gross. Nothing to worry about! In fact I have been grateful for the new trial. I've been blessed my whole mission with no major sicknesses and so I can easily deal with this minor one! Actually, it has brought about some tender mercies hahaha! For example, o we had to drive up to the mission office so the nurse could take a look at my foot. They ended up taking us out to dinner that night at this way nice restaurant and it just so happened to be Thanksgiving that day. I had some way good lasagna.....long story short I WAS BLESSED haha! So last week we went out on exchanges with some Elders and it was a blast. While sitting in one lesson both me and the Elder I was with felt prompted to invite this man to be baptized. It was something that can't be described. We both just got the same feeling in the middle of the lesson and when we started to say something, before we could even start...the guy said, "I have a question, how can I be baptized?" We were so happy we didn't know what to do. It's amazing how the spirit touches people and I will never be able to forget it. night Elder Carlson and I made a plan for our area to have family home evenings and switch between the Koro's (villages) every week. We're hoping that the members will invite their friends so that we can start finding new investigators. Lately I've been feeling like the Lord blesses us missionaries more than we deserve. The love of Christ cannot be matched with anything else. We don't get much time in our area but when we do he leads us to the people we need to see. This past week we arrived at a member's house only to find his daughter sitting outside. We started talking to her and then felt prompted to share a message on baptisms for the dead. We committed her to be baptized if she came to know what we shared was true. SHE SAID YES! We just saw her yesterday and now her brother wants to be baptized as well! Sometimes I just wish my whole life could be spent being a missionary. The spirit that comes with this calling is a constant comforter and a teacher. I've learned more out here in the jungle from the spirit than any University has to offer. Heavenly Father has taught me much and I look forward to learning more and more. So another crazy thing happened this week. Our flat ran out of water so.......we had to bathe in the river! That was a first for me and not trying to brag but it was pretty dang awesome. ONLY IN FIJI hahaha! This week we have mission tour and Elder Cardon of the seventy is coming to visit us and so I am way excited! Elder Carlson and I have also started a TeiTei (Farm) at our flat. We're growing 3 pineapples. Yeah. It's pretty legit! hahaha. This month is going to be pretty busy and I am stoked for it! We have Mission Tour, Zone Conference, MLC, and the Mission Christmas program. I will never cease to love being a missionary despite the trials I face. Especially when I'm living in the jungle and crossing rivers to get to villages and speaking a dying language. I love my mission and wouldn't trade it for anything. I hope you all have a great week and I look forward to talking to you all next week!
Love, Elder Jonutz
Sunday, November 20, 2016
Bula Vinaqua Matavuvale (Family!) It's been a pretty crazy week. I got transferred to a new area and had to say goodbye to Elder Payne and all of our investigators. It was hard but, hey, the Lord's plan is the Lord's plan and I just want to follow Him so it's all good! I am way proud of Elder Payne! we got transfer calls and we found out that he is training a brand new missionary so BULLLAA for him! He's going to kill it and so I'm way pumped for him. I have been transferred to the complete opposite of where I was in my last area. Out of the city and into the bush........I'm talking bush bush haahaha! My new area is called Naitasiri and it takes about an hour drive into the middle of Viti Levu and we have this huge flat where four of us stay together! It is way fun! Elder Carlson is my new companion and he is the man! He's from Palau but lives in St. George Utah! He's hilarious and I am way excited to work with him. We have this cool white truck and basically proselyting is a blast because we just have to go on these way crazy dirt roads through all these jungly mountains that are WAY pretty! No one in my area speaks english! I've only been able to spend two whole days in my area so far because Elder Carlson and I have been doing transfers. The work is pretty hard but the Lord is going to show us what to do. As of right now we aren't aloud to knock on any doors. In our area that is considered "Tabu" (forbidden). So all we can do is visit members and invite them to invite their friends over and that's how we get investigators. It's a whole new way of thinking for me because in my past area we knocked on every door possible. It's the chief's rule for all the villages we cover. Right now we cover about 5 villages. Yesterday we had a baptismal interview and I about peed my pants it was so cool. We drove through like these way tall mountains and then ended up at this river. The problem was the village is on the other side of the river.......So this little village kid came over on a boat and we all hopped on and went to the village. So that was pretty cool and I feel pretty dang lucky! The fijian here is in a pretty weird dialect and they speak way fast and so it's been fun to try to catch up. I'm way stoked to learn more fijian. It is way fun being with 3 other elders all in the same flat stranded out in the fijian jungle. Our flat is like on this huge hill over-looking just green mountains. I'm way excited to see what the Lord's plan is for the area and I can't wait to talk to you all next week!
Love, Elder Jonutz
Sunday, November 13, 2016
BULAAA VINKAAA! How are you all!? Probably one of the coolest weeks of my life was just experienced this past week. So many miracles that I just feel so privileged to have been able to witness. Monday night was monumental for Brother and Sister Pilei. We walked into their house as usual but this time Brother Pilei didn’t say a word. He looked at us and then stood up from his wheelchair.... He could only stand for about a minute but with his faith he will walk in no time! I believe miracles happen today the same way they did when Christ caused the blind to see and the dead to be raised. God does not change, nor will He ever! They both came to church yesterday and loved the gospel principles class! Brother Pilei has actually opened up a lot to us hahaaha! He's started to throw a lot more jokes out in lessons and it's become a little too much hahaha! For example..this week Elder Payne led the entire week! Which by the way he did amazing! But for one of our lessons with Brother Pilei Elder Payne was going over baptismal interview questions and he asked the question, "Have you ever committed a serious crime?" Brother Pilei said "Yes, murder!" Elder Payne's face just turned bright white and then Brother Pilei's face remained straight until he said..."I'm joking!" We didn't think it was that funny hahaha! We fulfilled my dream this week by taking one of our recent converts to the temple! I'll never forget it. We decided to take Domoniko to do baptisms for the dead. Our Mission President said we could and our Bishop decided to come with us. COOLEST EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE. The spirit was so strong! I also got to do the baptisms for the dead in Fijian. Dream fulfilled! As we walked out of the temple, I asked Domoniko how he liked it. He said it was the most important thing he had ever done. I don't think there is anything sweeter than to go with recent converts to the temple. On top of going to the temple the spiritual direction we received this week was incredible. While walking down this one street, we had no idea where to go, but we were led. We were trying to knock on some doors to use the new bible approach our mission president just recently instituted (which is genius) but we kept walking house by house not receiving any promptings. We walked for about 30 minutes down this same road and still.....nothing. We felt like we should stop by this one house and this kid came out and invited us in. We walked in and noticed it was a big family. About 13 of them! We started to share with them and they told us they were members. They hadn't been to church in a really long time and so we just invited them and they all came to church yesterday. Sometimes people just need an invite to rekindle what they've been missing. We also found 2 more of Domoniko's kids who started taking lessons this week and they all want to be baptized. All 5 of his kids are planning to be baptized together on Dec 3rd! The Vuniwai family is still doing great! We've become almost family with them! Josefa, Va, Esta, and Lena have all decided to be baptized on the 26th. All of our investigators are just so amazing! 9 of them showed up to church yesterday including 14 less active families that we were so excited to see come. I'm just loving this work! I'm pretty bummed my companionship with Elder Payne is coming to an end.....He's become one of my greatest friends. He's such an amazing missionary and did amazing leading this past week. His ability to listen and follow the spirit is what makes him a way strong instrument in the hands of the Lord and I've been lucky to learn a ton from him. Tomorrow is transfers...... it's the scariest time of the year! Haha Just kidding. For sure one of us is getting transferred so that stinks but the Lord is going to put us wherever we need to be and Elder Payne and I are going to hit it up after the mission so no biggie haha! This week I've been reading "Our Heritage" and the Doctrine and Covenants and I have gained so much more respect for Joseph Smith.... D&C 135. He sealed his testimony with his blood as did so many of the early saints. This church is built on purity. It's leader is Jesus Christ himself and I get so pumped to share that with everyone everyday. I love you all and I'll talk to next week!
Love, Elda Jonutz
|DOMONIKO AT THE TEMPLE|
|Domoniko with Bishop and John (the sisters recent convert)|
|Helping Josaia and Bano build a house!|
Sunday, November 6, 2016
Bula Vina' Everyone! Something I've realized as I have been serving my mission is that no matter what happens every week I only ever remember the good! This week was seriously filled with miracles. I find myself saying that week by week and it's not just some catch phrase I use.......WE LITERALLY SEE MIRACLES! SO let me start from Monday. Monday night was a pretty funny one. We went to go see our Indian couple (Brother and Sister Pilei) and as we were walking to their house their whole neighborhood was flooded! The night before had been non-stop rain showers and so everything flooded. We decided to press on and walk through the flood to get to their house. While walking through flooded dirt and grass amidst jumping frogs I heard some bubbling behind me and a yell from my companion Elder Payne! I turned around to find him half way sunk deep into mud up to his waist! He had fallen into a hole. I helped pull him out and it was hilarious hahaha! We proceeded on to the Pilei's house and had a way awesome lesson. They are both progressing so well. I give all the credit to Heavenly Father because both of them hardly speak english and so somehow we've been able to communicate with them enough that they now both know the Book of Mormon is true and they are still doing great following the word of wisdom. In fact, last night we met with them and Brother Pilei is still seeing miracles from the Word of Wisdom! He told us how his wife left to a wedding and so he had no one to help him to stand up out of bed and go to the bathroom. He told us though that while she was gone he was able to stand up out of his wheelchair.... and walk to the bathroom. Brother Pilei has been in a wheelchair for over 3 years. It was a miracle. Another word of wisdom miracle occurred with another one of our investigators this week. Aseri (Domoniko's son) has been struggling with smoking tobacco. When we met with him 2 weeks ago we felt prompted to tell him that if he would read from the Book of Mormon his desire to smoke would go away. He told us just the other day that finally he tried what we said to do. He told us that he decided to pick up the Book of Mormon before going to work and the rest of the day he had no desire to smoke.....He said when others offered it to him he felt disgusted towards it. It just made me so happy because I know the Book of Mormon is true! I feel the same way when I read it. I have "no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually." He has started to carry his book of mormon with him everywhere. Something also that I have noticed this week is that my hunger or whatever pain I am facing throughout the week goes away as Elder Payne and I sit in a lesson and share the gospel. I know it's because the Savior is with us and He fills our spirits. Another Miracle! - 4 more of Domoniko's children decided to take lessons this past week. They said they all want to be baptized. In fact yesterday we had a lesson for the first time with one of his daughters. When we shared about how the original foundation of Christ's church had apostles, prophets and Jesus Christ Himself was the chief corner stone. When we asked her don't you think if Christ's church was on the earth today it would have those three things? It made so much sense to her and we shared about Joseph Smith restoring all those things. She was so happy she committed to be baptized. Josaia and Bano's sisters, Esta and Lena, became way more interested this week. They started taking lessons with their older Sister Va and her fiancee Josefa. They all are committed to be baptized on the 26th. Saturday night we shared with them the restoration and we watched the video. The spirit filled the room. Josaia had invited his neighbor and his neighbor was present as we shared about the restoration. At the end of the lesson he said he felt the spirit and that he wants to take the lessons with his family. He said when he saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appear to Joseph Smith he wanted to change. The spirit changes hearts! Upon returning home for the night that day this Indian man walked up to us. He stopped us on the road and before we could even start the conversation he said, "I have a question, who is Joseph Smith?" A little shocked Elder Payne and I told him all we knew about Joseph Smith. He then asked us, "Where am I going to go after this life?" I was so shocked by this man's questions. He asked for our phone number and said he wants us to come over for dinner next week and he wants to hear all we have to say. Elder Payne and I walked home dumbfounded. The Lord places those in our path who are ready to receive the gospel! I LOVE THIS WORK. IF I COULD I'd serve forever. I know this church is true because I witness it everyday. If you don't believe it....Read the Book of Mormon and pray. I love you all and am so grateful to be in the service of God. Talk to you all next week!
Love, Elder Jonutz
|Elder Payne in his sunken hole hahaha|
|These fijian kids put this big beetle on my face|
|The Poasa family|
|I found grandpa Jonutz's look a like|
Sunday, October 30, 2016
Bula Vina' all you great people! Our past week here in Naulu, Fiji has been another amazing one! The Lord never ceases to amaze me and I am so happy to report that many amazing things happened this past week. If I'm completely honest I cannot even recall all that occurred but I am going to try. Before I explain the week I would just like to share a scripture that makes life better! - Ether 12:4 "Wherefore whoso believeth in God might with a surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God." If it wasn't for my belief in God I would have no hope.....but I know He lives and I love Him. Those who believe in God are encouraged to live better lives and have more joy. I know that one day we will all return to our Heavenly Father. If we prepare ourselves and accept His gospel...it is not easy but it is worth the eternal joy that we can have. This week we saw many individuals show their faith in God and His Son, Jesus Christ, by going down into the waters of Baptism. Sister Tuliana was baptized on Saturday along with 2 younger boys that our Naulu sisters had been teaching. It was a way sweet experience. The whole village tried to come to her baptism and many of them were able to...including her brother and sister who are members. They were so excited and happy that she was baptized! After she was baptized we heard from 3 more of her children that they also want to start taking lessons so that they too can be baptized. The ripple effect is real! Our Indian couple, Brother and Sister Pilei came to church! Since we've been teaching them they told us about all the blessings they've been receiving. This past week they had no money to pay for their mortgage and they were worried. We had taught them about the word of wisdom and they said they would obey. Friday they told us that that morning instead of drinking tea they had hot cocoa. Later that evening they received a $600 check in the mail from their son who lives in Australia. When we follow the commandments of God He WILL prosper us! Brother Pilei is confined to a wheelchair and his wife speaks no english but that did not stop them from coming to church which just so happened to be stake conference hahaha! They got third row in the chapel! That’s what I'm talking about hahaha! They loved it and are preparing to be baptized soon! So this weekend has been Diwali! For those of you who don't know what Diwali is, it is a Hindu holiday. Every night for 3 days they shoot off thousands of fireworks, decorate their houses with lights, and kids go from house to house to collect Indian sweets. SO really it's like the 4th of July, Christmas, and Halloween all wrapped up into one holiday and it is insane hahahaha! I have hardly slept the past few nights because of ongoing fireworks. Yesterday was stake conference and it was amazing! The whole branch from Levuka came! I got see all of them and Brother Betchu hugged me and would not let go of me and that was a little weird but I felt the love of Levuka hahaha! I found out that a less active family I was working with there, the Swann family, got sealed in the temple last week! I WAS SO HAPPY TO HEAR THAT! Over 1,500 people came to our stake conference and our stake has 4,500 people. So there's some lost sheep we need to go find! Every sheep is of equal worth to Him. Sunday night our Makoi sisters had a baptism at 6:00 P.M. Our mission president has made a new rule, where if we want to go to a baptism we have to bring a new investigator to attend. 5:30 last night we found ourselves in the pouring rain with no one to take to the baptism. We then got a prompting to go and ask this 14 year old boy named Luke who helped us dig a whole for service last week. We went to his house and he said he would love to come. We ended up finding two other people who wanted to go with us. It was super insane. The walk to the chapel is about a 30 minute walk. We were walking in the pouring rain amidst exploding fireworks shooting off sporadically all over the sky with 3 new investigators we'd met for the first time just minutes earlier. The lord works in mysterious ways. While watching the baptism, Luke told me it was the first baptism he had ever seen. He said he wants to take lessons! I love Naulu and the work of the Lord continues. This week was amazing besides some food that made our throats itch and Elder Payne’s infected legs but we press on because we're not here for ourselves we're here for the people. I love you all! This is the true Church!
Love, Elder Jonutz
|Sister Tuliana's Baptism|
Sunday, October 23, 2016
Bula vinaka you guys! Fiji is still very rainy and super hot...they've predicted 7 cyclones to come in the next few months. We've been getting fed literally every single day and I think I need to beef up my work-outs in the morning or I am going to end up like “moto-moto” from madagascar. Miracles just have not ceased and I cannot express it enough that the Savior is with us in our missionary work. It was a pretty exciting week because nothing went as planned. Elder Payne and I were planning on doing a lot of finding this week and we were stunned when we found out that Heavenly Father had already been doing the finding for us. I've told you all about Brother Domoniko and the amazing member who fellowshipped him, Brother Qionitoga (by the way his name in fijian means, shark of toga) Well anyways he has been doing even more missionary work and we are extremely blessed to have him in our area. The Lord is using him for the salvation of souls. Let me explain....On Wednesday we went to Domoniko's house to continue to prepare his wife, Tuliana, to be baptized this Saturday. Earlier that afternoon Brother Qionitoga called us and said, "Elders! I have two more friends who want to take the lessons to be baptized!" We gladly responded and met up with him and went first to see Sister Tuliana. At her house we found her son, Aseri, waiting. Tuliana explained to us that Domoniko took up Aseri's job so that Aseri could stay home and take the lessons because he wants to be baptized! We were shocked! Keep in mind Domoniko is a 74 year old man! The sacrifices people make to hear the gospel and for their family to hear the gospel makes me so happy. So after we sat with them we left their house and were walking with Brother Qionitoga when he said, "This house asked if we could come over and give them a blessing." It was this Hindu house that we pass almost everyday. We walked in and saw that the Indian man who was sitting on the floor had no leg. His wife was sitting by him and they said they both were feeling sick and wanted a blessing. We explained to them that the blessing works according to their faith in Jesus Christ. They told us they were both Christian and left their Hindi religion years ago. We gave them the blessings and it was a powerful experience. They told us that everyday when they see us walk by they've been wanting to ask us if we could come over and say a prayer for them. We explained to them that we come over to do more than just share prayers but we share about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They said they wanted to hear it and so we started sharing it with them this week. Recently we just visited them and they were telling us about all the blessings they've been receiving this week since we came into their home. They both want to be baptized...we just are figuring out a transportation system for them to get them to church. So we are way excited about them! After we walked out of their home Brother Qionitoga lead us to this next house! We sat down with two more of his Hindi friends. The older man is stuck in a wheelchair and explained to us that he used to be a serious preacher but after having an accident his relationship with God has diminished and that he's "backslided". His wife has been to our church before and also wanted to know more. They both explained to us that they want to be baptized and so we told them that before they are baptized we have to share some lessons with them and that we want them to have strong relationships with God before doing so. The only issue is the wife speaks only Hindi and the husband speaks a little english. Miraculously we have been able to teach them.....They understand it and we read the Book of Mormon with them in Hindi so that’s been fun! They said at the rate we've been teaching them they will be baptized very soon. I am just so happy Heavenly Father has blessed us with all these willing souls. On top of that Josaia and Bano's sisters, Va, Esta, and Lena have all decided they want to be baptized as well. We asked them why they didn't come out the first time we went to their house. They told us that they were ashamed because they are the only ones in their family who aren't religious but that ever since we've come over they have felt a difference in their homes. They told us that they saw the change in their brothers after their baptism and that they want to come closer to Jesus Christ. BULLLLAAAA! Honestly I'm shouting Hurrraaah for Israel! Va's husband, Josefa, has also told us he would like to be baptized so we have been preparing them all this past week! Their family tries to feed us every night and they try to give us rides everywhere. Their parents treat us like we are their kids and it is so funny haahaa! This week I've learned that when Heavenly father places people in our path who want the gospel we need to act and we need to devote our all to help them because we are all disciples. Brother Qionitoga is an example to all. When I think of him I am reminded of President Uchtdorf's talk "Use your Amuleks". Brother Qionitoga is our Amulek and when missionary work and members work together the work of the Lord hastens. I know that to be true! - In the name of Jisu Karisto Emeni!
|Digging holes for service|
|Please no Smorking haahah. Taxi rides can be fun!|
Sunday, October 16, 2016
Bula Vinaka everyone! I've just had an incredibly enriching week! I'll just start from Monday......So Monday night our zone leaders came out teaching with us and I got to be with Elder Vitiarai! So that was way fun to get to go and teach with him. Elder Payne is still the man and is doing awesome. He's a really humble guy and I learn a ton from him. The mission is so cool because you can just mold yourself into who God wants you to become, and you do that by being teachable and taking everything you can from all of your companions! P-day last week was a blast because we had a little tropical storm here and it was non-stop flash raining. So the whole zone went to the stake center and we played rugby in the rain. Needless to say, by the end of the day we were covered in the mud and had to get back to the flat quickly to change and then we went out proselyting. That's the Fiji, Suva mission life for ya'll hahaha! Sadly to say we haven't been able to see Enoke's mom this whole past week because we have been so busy in other areas! I'm taking it as Heavenly Father wants us to give her more time before we decide to go back and ask again! We had some sad news with our friend Jovesa.....I'm even hesitant to tell this story because it's just so sad. Wednesday night we went over to his house to go and prepare him for his baptism. The day before he had asked us if our church had a “daily bread scripture sheet” for the Book of Mormon and we said no but that we would make one for him. Elder Payne and I made this whole sheet filled with scriptures from the Book of Mormon that gave Jovesa some scriptures to read every day all the way up until his baptism. As we walked into his house he was hesitant to let us in.... We sat down and he said, "I don't know how to tell you guys this................but last night I was visited by my Methodist church. They came over and the Elders from my church used some strong words and told me that if I did not stop visiting with you guys my family would face some problems." Situations like this are really hard.... Of course we didn't want to jeopardize his or his families safety so we are no longer able to visit Jovesa.... It was a hard lesson. He told us he knows the answer he received from God about the Book of Mormon is true he just doesn't want to cause problems for his family. We're still praying for him. Faith can work miracles and I know our Heavenly Father is mindful of Jovesa and his situation! On a brighter note, Josaia Vuniwai, Isikeli Vuniwai, and Domoniko Katisawani were all baptized this past Saturday!!!! They are all so amazing and were so ready to be baptized. Anxious to know how they felt, I pulled Josaia to the side and asked him how he felt. He said, "Before my baptism I felt like I had this huge heavy armor all over my body....but when I came up out of the water that heavy armor fell off and now I'm free." I can just testify that this church has the authority to wash away sins because this is truly the gospel of Jesus Christ and His original church. It has His original foundation. Ephesians 2:20. It has the offices that Paul spoke of to the Ephesians that would not be done away with until the whole world comes into a unity of the faith. Ephesians 4:11-13. This church is true. People can try to disprove all they want. Our religion is persecuted and torn apart I think more than any other but when it comes down to it.....if you really want to know if it's true. Use your faith and pray and ask God the Eternal Father if it is true or not. God cannot nor will he lie. The promise is...pray and ask and you will find. I promise that anyone who does this will receive an answer that it is true. This gospel just has so much joy in it because it is true! I had a funny experience with Elder Payne the other night. Long story short it involved a member dinner appointment and a "rokete" (an extremely hot pepper). It got pretty hot for him that night hahaha! Our week was awesome because the gospel's true and because of that every week can be awesome. Eso na vosa ni vuku mai Elda Jonati:)
Love Elder Jonutz
|This sunset is Fijianly ;)|
|Mr. Crabs was our dinner|
|Jovesa's Book of Mormon daily bread|
|This is Domoniko's granddaughter and she is hilarious|
|we took hi def pictures of our eyes Legit|
|Josaia and Isikeli after their baptism|
Sunday, October 9, 2016
Bula everyone! I think "joy" describes our past week pretty well! Just my love for the Savior has increased so much. I feel proud to wear his name and follow his voice. The work of God will never cease to amaze me and I will never forget the witnesses I have received. This week we worked hard fortifying the faith of our investigators. I think now more than ever I have come to realize that we don't have to rely on our wisdom to help these people. Christ is the shepherd and I get to find and protect his sheep. He knows his sheep. He knows us....They know his voice and for 2 years I have the opportunity to help people remember his voice! Domoniko is one of our investigators who has come to remember his voice and he knows that this is his church. This week we took lots of time to visit with him and his wife Caroline and they are both preparing to follow their Savior into the waters of baptism! Domoniko had the opportunity to watch conference this week with his wife. They both loved it. In Fiji we watch it the week after, and we have what we call a conference marathon! Saturday we watched all 6 hours of conference straight hahaaha! It was the best thing ever. We literally were wide awake and took notes the entire time! It was complete opposite of what I used to experience at home when watching conference haaa! President Uchtdorf's talk was my favorite. The plan of Salvation really is so profound and awesome. His talk reminded me to not take it for granted! It has brightened the depressed minds of so many. Because of God's plan we know why we are here and where we are going and who we are. Domoniko now knows he can be baptized for his loved ones who have passed on! He told us the other day he cannot wait to dive into the baptismal font this Saturday. We explained to him that diving is prohibited but we appreciated his enthusiasm haaaha! When we told him after his baptism that he would receive the priesthood and could baptize his wife he was so happy. He told us that his whole family after him is going to be baptized and that all of his kids and grandkids will be taking lessons starting this week as well. I AM SO HAPPY FOR THIS FAMILY! Also, Josaia, Bano, and Josefa are doing amazing. This Sunday all 3 of them came to conference and loved it. Josaia said he knows this church is true and he knows this is Christ's church. He said, "Even amidst all the loud kids in your congregation I could still feel the spirit when the apostles and Prophet spoke." Josaia and Bano have their baptismal service combined with Domoniko this Saturday and we are just so pumped. It amazes me sometimes just when I'm sitting down with these people and I realize how much Jesus Christ knows these people because the Holy Ghost always gives us the right things to say that help them feel the spirit! Joy just describes my feelings at this time! Enoke our 15 year old who wanted to be baptized this Saturday had some sad news. When we went to go ask his mom she said no. It was pretty sad....she said he's a naughty kid and isn't ready to be baptized. We are just going to pray for her and keep trying to do all we can. People have their agency but I know God can work miracles through the spirit. I'm just so excited for this week. Conference was the boost I think we all needed and I'm ready to go to work. I love you all!Love Elder Jonutz
Sunday, October 2, 2016
Bula Vinaka Fam and Friends! So many things did not go according to plan this week and it tested our patience and faith. This was a week of trials, but nevertheless my Heavenly Father was with me through it all and good things are happening! Never in my life could I have ever imagined what a mission would be like before serving one. And now that I'm on one every day blows me away. Tuesday was pretty crazy. We had our district meeting and strengthened one another and it prepared us to go out and fight for souls. Our family that we are teaching...Ana, Josaia, Josefa, Bano, and Josaia are constantly growing closer to God. Wednesday night we went and sat down with them and asked them how they felt about what we had been sharing with them. They said they watched the Restoration video as a family and they all bore testimony of Joseph Smith. The son-in-law (Josefa) paused after we asked him how he felt and he said that ever since we have been coming he's desired to change. He said he feels the spirit and he wants to be baptized. His testimony was strong and the whole family felt it so we committed them all to baptized and they said yes. I just think to myself of the first day we found that family. We were walking back to our flat for the night when we walked past this house..... I remember as we walked by the house I felt something inside me that we needed to turn around and go back to the house. If I hadn't have listened to the spirit this amazing family would still have been kept from the truth. But they no longer are in darkness. The whole manner of the family has changed. When we visit with them it's calm. Their sons have stopped smoking, drinking and swearing. Sister Ana says she comes home to find her son, Josaia, reading the book of mormon and that he's a completely changed person. I love what the Book of Mormon does to us. Just the power that is inside this book is more powerful than anything I've ever seen. Since I've been on my mission I've realized that the Book of Mormon is our key. It has become my peace. When I am confused or lost I just open up the Book of Mormon and no matter what chapter or verse I am in I am immediately filled with the Love of God. I feel enlightened and encouraged. Without the constant daily reading of the Book of Mormon I would definitely feel lost. We were able to take the majority of their family to church yesterday and we're still working with the rest. Jovesa finally came to church and loved it! Despite his differences the members treated him perfectly and he is getting closer and closer to his baptism. There’s so much that has happened this week that I can't explain it. Sister Heritage has been having struggles. She was kicked out of her village and now has no home. Her baptism was this Saturday but because of all her challenges she wasn't able to be at her baptism. The Lord is going to help us help her and I have faith in that. Domoniko is just doing amazing. The spirit testified to him the Book of Mormon is true and his wife has also decided she wants to be baptized. If I have learned one thing this week it is that God's children are all different. As missionaries and members we are asked to feed His sheep. It's greater than any other work we can do! No wonder Jesus asked Peter 3 times to feed his sheep. Feeding his sheep is helping our brothers and sisters understand the gospel. It is up to them to accept but if you listen to the spirit you can help them accept. I want to help everyone I can return to the Kingdom of our Father. Whatever it takes. Even if we have to go hungry or lose sleep. When we are in the service of God he takes care of His servants. I love My Father. I know this is His work. It's hard and it hurts sometimes but the Savior suffered more than anything we can experience and that’s why I am here. When I'm feeling sad or discouraged the best antidote is to serve His sheep. I love His sheep. I love you all and share this in the name of Jesus Christ. Emeni.
Love, Elder Jonutz
|Since our district was doing so good we bought a cake|
|For service we got some polau(an awesome indian food)|
|Elder Payne's feet are pretty bad......|
|So I used some Fijian medicine|
|I mashed it all up (its's called QILI)|
|Then I squeezed the medicine on his sores. (Practicing Anesthesiology)|
|All we had was flour and sugar so we made what we could hahaha|
Sunday, September 25, 2016
Bula Vinaka Friends and Family! Another week full of miracles......Our district is just working so hard and every day more and more people come closer to Jesus Christ through this awesome restored gospel! It's always a struggle to choose what to share about our week because literally so MUCH HAPPENS! To summarize this entire week with you all, I think the best way would be just through sharing some stories. I'll start by sharing an experience that happened last night. So after church, we went out teaching and tried to see as many of our investigators as we could. All of them were home but all were busy at the moment and wouldn't be available until today. The sisters had told us earlier that afternoon that some members gave them extra dinner and they were willing to give us the leftovers for dinner last night. So we listened to the promptings of our stomachs and headed over to their area to pick up some dinner for last night. While walking over there Elder Payne and I got the prompting from the spirit this time (not our stomachs) to go and try to visit one of the less active members named Sister Tagimocia. As we approached her house this older man came out the door and said, "PLEASE COME IN!" So in we went and after some conversation we found out that it was Sister Tagimocia's father that we were visiting with. After some getting to know each other he paused for a moment and said, "I need to tell you something!" He said, "God works in mysterious ways. I know you know my daughter is affiliated with....your faith...and I have kept myself from sitting with you people for years. But this morning I went to church. It was my duty in our congregation to introduce a new preacher who was visiting from the other side of Fiji. Earlier this morning I had picked up what I thought was my bible and I was going to share some verses with the congregation. As I got up in front of my church and opened what I thought was my bible I saw that it was the Book of Mormon!" ...He went on to tell us that later he tried reading some of the words but that he didn’t understand it and that he was praying for someone to come and guide him through it and to help him understand it. We explained to him how that was our purpose and he was so grateful! I'd call this the definition of a person who is prepared to receive the gospel! He told us to come and visit him every day and so we will hahaha! Heavenly Father leads us to those who are ready and many are being prepared around us everyday-Alma 13:24. So another witness of the power of the Book of Mormon was with our investigator Jovesa. For weeks we have been trying to help him receive an answer that the Book of Mormon is true. He has read 20 chapters and we were just waiting.....So Tuesday morning we went over to visit him. We felt good about reading 3 Nephi 11 with him. I can just say it WORKED MIRACLES. After he read we knelt down with him and he offered a sincere prayer to know. We sat in silence after the prayer for about 5 minutes or so and then he asked us what the date was..... We replied that it was the 21st. He said, “the 21st of September is the day I found out that this is all true!” It was a way powerful moment and we were so excited that he had finally received an answer! We walked to our next appointment singing "Do you remember? The twenty first night of September...Ba de ya! Say do you remember! Ba de ya!”...HAHA I thought we were pretty clever! Earlier that day we received a referral from one of our members, brother Qionitoga, and he introduced us to his friend Domoniko. He told us he was interested in hearing the lessons so we went and shared with him all this week with Brother Qionitoga! Domoniko is like this 60 year old retired methodist preacher and he explained to us that he was interested in family history. He had 2 grandchildren pass away recently and the idea that he could be baptized in their behalf touched his heart. His softened heart and desire to know if this church was true allowed him to apply Moroni's Promise (Moroni 10:3-5). He received his answer and came to church with us this Sunday and wants to be baptized on the 15th of next month! We've been visiting with Josaia, Bano, Ana, and Josaia Sr. the majority of this week. Josaia and Bano know the book of mormon is true and have been coming to church with us and loved church yesterday! Their parents Ana and Josaia Sr. understand that they need to be baptized but we're trying to help them read the book of mormon and the mom asked us if we could come over and read the Book of Mormon with them everyday to help them know. Tonight we are going to take John (the sisters recent convert) to share his testimony of the Book of Mormon with them. We are way pumped for that and have been praying like crazy to be able to touch their hearts. Sister Heritage had to miss her baptismal interview and is re-scheduled for this week. The sisters in Makoi had 4 baptisms this Saturday. I got to interview all 4 of the 9 year old kids and it was one of the most humbling experiences of my life. Children just know the Savior and are so sincere. It made my entire week. The work here is led by the Lord and I'm just happy I get to follow Him. Last Tuesday we had a District meeting based off of Taylor Swift hahaha so that was fun. We learned how to "shake it off" and we were "feelin 22" this week! (22 lessons!) So standards of excellence in our mission is 20 lessons a week. So our district decided to go above and beyond. All of us worked way hard this week and our district got more united and close. Everyone got above 22 and we felt the Lord working through all of us! I'm praying for all of our investigators and we're coming to love them so much. The gospel changes lives and I feel so privileged to be a witness to the Saviors living work! I love you all and can't wait to share about next week!
Love, Elder Jonutz
|Elder Payne took a picture of me after night.....One of the most tiring days ever hahaha|
|The sisters baptism. So cool to see so many kids dressed in white!|
|Sums up nightly planning|
Sunday, September 18, 2016
Bula Vin'a Family! Well...here goes another attempt at trying to explain a week full of miracles! We've been working like crazy horses here and absolutely loving every trial and every blessing. I wish you all could just witness what miracles we see every day here in Naulu! So I don't know if I've introduced you to Ana and her family yet! They are some of our new investigators. Ana is the mom and Josefa is the father. They have 2 sons who have been taking lessons and they are slowly coming to know the truth and their light just gets brighter and brighter. Josefa just returned from Syria and he is in the Army. Thursday night we walked into their house to follow up on how their Book of Mormon reading was going. I don't remember much of what was said in that lesson but I do know that they all committed to being baptized on the 8th of October! BULLLA! Before we were about to leave, one of their older sons, Josaia, walked in who had also been taking lessons. We told him how we had talked to his family about being baptized on the 8th and asked him if he would commit as well. After a long pause and a look of confusion on his face he said, "Could I move the date?" I told him yes. At first I was worried he meant move the date till later but he responded by saying with so much confidence, "I want to be baptized on the first of October!" Elder Payne and I looked at each other and didn't even know what to say! I couldn't help but laugh and be like...."UMM Yeah, I think we can make that work!" We walked out of that lesson giving thanks to Heavenly Father for leading us to this wonderful family and for helping us know what to say to them! Okay, so funny story...the other day we were walking back to our flat and one of our members walked up to us to say hello. In fiji, to shake hands sometimes they just stick out one finger and you are supposed to stick your finger out too and kind of like swipe fingers and it's the equivalent of a hand shake. So our member walked up to Elder Payne and stuck her finger out at him and he had no idea what to do! He thought she was like trying to poke his belly or something so he kept trying to dodge it and he gave her like the dirtiest look and we both just died laughing and I had to explain to him that it is like a handshake! HAHAHA! I love the culture here so much!! It makes life so much fun! This week I got to conduct some baptismal interviews and it was an experience I will never forget! Literally anyone can change.....even if you were the most wicked person on the face of the planet the gospel can touch your heart and change you. No matter how far away you feel you are from Christ it is never too far away for His atonement to heal you. Just to sit down with such humble people who have had divine witnesses that this is the true church of Jesus Christ hit me so hard. I think about those who are lost and don't even know they are lost. When sitting down with Josaia again yesterday after having him attend church with us, we asked him if he had prayed to know if the Book of Mormon is true. His reply was, "I pray after every verse I read, and I feel so good and I know it’s true." He told us he has even decided to just stop swearing. We didn't even teach him that.......THE BOOK OF MORMON IS JUST THAT POWERFUL! It inspires people to be good and do good! Honestly, if everyone would just humble themselves and read the book and ask God to know if it is true...there is no doubt in my mind that everyone on this earth would all KNOW that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that a prophet leads and directs this church today! We've also been working in Wainibuku where we've met Enoke. This 15 year old boy has decided to start taking lessons. Saturday we sat down with him and he said he read the book of mormon and he knew it was true and he said he wants to be baptized on the 8th of October as well! Even a 15 year old boy can read the book and know it is true. I just testify that this book is so true and that all who read it with a willing heart will know! I love you all! Oh and mom Sister Johnson, Aunt Natalie's friend, came to our ward on Sunday and surprised me with my package!! It made my week! I love you all and the work of the Lord is still hastening! There’s so much more I could say but not enough time! Talk to you all soon!
Love, Elder Jonutz
|A picture with Satan:)|
|This is John, the sister's investigator!, I had the opportunity to baptize him. One of the coolest guys I've ever met!|
|Don't know what face I'm making haha!|
|We call it "in and out" point....It makes us want in and out!|