Sunday, January 17, 2016

Week #23

Bula Vinaka Noqu Matavuvale. I hope all of you are doing great back home.  A lot has happened this week and I've been learning a lot. This week has been hard, but the lessons I've learned from it have been life changing lessons. This week I made it my desire to strive to do everything I can in my area but I learned that people still have their agency :) On Tuesday night we had an A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. lesson with our investigator Jesse. We asked her to pray about baptism and she said if she got her answer she would!  After her lesson we found out Elder Vitiarai's mom is coming to Qeleni and she wants to be baptized here! Tuesday night I was just so good. I was ready to just work as hard as I possibly could and I was so excited to see people accepting the gospel! On Thursday we had to go down to Vuna which is all the way on the other side of the Island. The elders there needed everyone from the district to go down and help level some church property. When we got there it was rainy. And when I say rainy....I mean RAINY! I don't know how the rain has been back home but the rain here in Taveuni I think falls a little different than in California. It's actually kind of scary. You hear the rain coming before it gets to you and you can see it. It looks like a wall of water and one second you can just be in hot sun and then all of the sudden you see and hear this rushing wall of rain coming fast towards you haha. All you want to do is run but there’s no point. It will get you....and it will find you. It’s legit hahaha! Mom, I'm glad you noticed how dirty my shirt is hahaha. They call it the taveuni tan. I only have this one shirt left because the other ones grew mold. Pretty gross.... On Friday, we had a pretty hard day...We did our weekly planning and were way excited to go and commit Jese to Baptism! Before I explain what happened in the lesson I just want to share what I've learned this week. I’ve learned that missionary work is far from easy. Missionaries all experience days where we face discouragement and ridicule. But no matter what I face it will never ever compare to what our Savior went through. I've learned that this work and this life, require faith. I’ve been reading a lot in the New Testament lately and I recently read the story of Peter trying to walk out to Jesus on the water. I've learned that like Peter, sometimes we just need to step out of the boat and trust that he is our Savior. And when our faith weakens or we struggle, his hand is stretched out ready to grab hold and help us. Jesus Christ is our Savior. He loves us more than our minds can even grasp. He wants us to be as happy as we can possibly be! When we let go of ourselves and our pride or fears and put our trust in him, that's when we'll find the most happiness! We can't always control the things that happen in this life or the people around us. We don't have that power. However, we have the power to choose to be happy. I was reading in the Liahona and found this quote by President. Thomas. S. Monson, "We can't direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails." Let the Lord be our light. He's here to guide us and teach us through the still small voice of the Holy Ghost. Jesus Christ, who  healed the sick and raised the dead. Who served and loved his father in heaven with every fiber of his being. He is my Savior. He is your Savior. I know that at some moment in our lives we have felt of his love and his living reality. I had to ask myself this question this week. When was the last time you felt him with you? Remember that he gave his whole life up for us so that we can repent and be happy in this life and the next. His love for us is impossible to comprehend. It is impossible for him to not reach out to us. All we have to do is reach back. Remember that moment when you felt you truly knew him and seize that moment and take it back into your heart. Because I know Jesus Christ truly Lives. It hurts me to think about those who have forgotten his love or maybe have yet to feel it. He loves you and he will come again.  Like I said, this week I've learned a lot about Agency.  Jese took a sad slide down the progression ladder.  She was my favorite investigator. I know we aren't supposed to have favorites but this woman was ready to receive the restored gospel. On Friday night we went to go see Jese. We were excited to hear about her answer to her prayer and solidify her baptismal date. During the last lesson she had expressed to us how much she loves our message. She loves reading the scriptures with us and talking about eternal families because she said in her catholic church they aren't even allowed to read the scriptures nor do they believe in eternal families. The whole Friday I had been praying non-stop that she'd accept baptism. We sat down with her and asked her how her prayer went. She told us she's decided to stay in the catholic church. With a pretty broken heart I bore my testimony to her as strongly as I possibly could. She told us we can still come visit her but only once a week. After this lesson I was pretty confused. I was pretty depressed. We tried to get other lessons that day before we went to dinner at the Czieps because they invited us. We didn't get much lessons. I was struggling inside I'll be honest. Elder Vitiarai pretended to answer the phone and then hung up and looked at me and said, "The Czieps just canceled dinner on us.”  I was about to cry hahaha. He said he was just joking and we both started laughing way hard. Elder Vitiarai is a funny guy and I’m so glad for his sense of humor on really hard days. The next day I was reading in Alma and found this verse: Alma 26:27 -"Now when our hearts were depressed and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success." This scripture was exactly what I needed to hear and the rest of the week I was motivated to give it my all. We didn't get as many lessons as planned this week. We found out our potential returning member almost killed his wife and is now in prison.  A lot of interesting things are happening. I pray for these people every night in my prayers. Please pray for them as well. This work in Matei and Qeleni is teaching me patience, diligence, faith, and that people have their agency. I know that Jese knows this church is true. I could feel it in our lessons. Please pray for her to have an open heart. No matter how hard this week was I loved it. Jesus Christ is the leader of this work and I felt his hand in all of our work this week. I love him. I want to be more like him. I love all of you and hope that you know Jesus Christ lives. Next week is transfers week. I’m praying I'll be able to stay. I love Taveuni so much. Thank you for all your prayers on my behalf and on the people here. They are blessed because of your prayers. I love you Mom and Dad. Tell Hazel, Megan, and Olivia I love them too. 

Much Love, Elder Jonati

I'm still trying to figure out the glasses!!!  I took these pics from the wonderful Vemeeren's blog!  

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